8 Tips to Get Into Ketosis Fast

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 2, 2020
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Getting into ketosis typically takes between 2-4 days, but it can take up to a week for some people, however, there are a few ways to get into ketosis fast. (18, 19, 20)

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

8 Tips to Get Into Ketosis Fast

1. Significantly Reduce Your Carb Intake

The most important factor for getting into ketosis fast is to eat very little carbs.

Your body will always use carbs first rather than fats for energy. Therefore, it’s important to lower your carb intake enough to force the body to use fat instead.

Whether you’re looking to use keto for losing weight, reducing the risk of heart disease, or managing type 2 diabetes, you’ll need to reduce your carb intake.

How Many Carbs to Eat During Keto

To reach and maintain ketosis, it’s recommended that you keep your carb intake between 5-10% of your total daily calories. (6)

For example, if your daily calorie requirement is 2000 calories, 5-10% of that would be 100-200 calories. Since 1 gram of carb has 4 calories, you should eat between 25-50 grams of carbs per day.

However, some people may get away with eating a little more carbs and still manage to reach ketosis, while others might need to eat less.

Here are 12 reasons why you might not be losing weight on keto.

2. Increase Your High-Quality Fat Intake

Some people think that cutting both carbs and fats will make them even healthier, however, that’s not the case.

Cutting both of these nutrients could lead to nutrient deficiencies and a very low-calorie intake, which can negatively affect your metabolism and hormonal balance.

Whenever you reduce one nutrient from your diet, you should replace it with another.

In fact, eating more healthy fats can boost your ketone levels and help you reach ketosis faster.

How Much Fat to Eat During Keto

During the keto diet, between 60-80% of your daily calories should come from fats, this way you ensure healthy weight loss and a healthy metabolism.

More fat than the recommended is not necessary and won’t lead to more ketones.

This study (7) compared the effects of fasting with different amounts of fat intake on breath ketone levels.

The results showed that ketone levels were the same on people eating 79% or 90% of their daily calories from fat.

Foods with healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and butter.

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3. Consume More Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains a type of fat called MCT (medium-chain triglycerides), which can help you reach ketosis fast.

MCTs are quickly absorbed and taken straight to the liver, where they can be turned into ketones or used for energy.

This study (8) suggests that consuming coconut oil might be one of the best ways to help people with Alzheimer’s increase their ketone levels.

Interestingly, a few studies (9, 10, 11) showed that a diet high in MCTs with 20% of calories coming from carbs produced effects similar to the keto diet.

If you’re just starting out on keto, your body might need some time to get adjusted to digesting too much fat.

So to prevent cramping or diarrhea, consider slowly increasing your coconut oil intake.

You can start with one teaspoon per day and work your way up to three per day over the course of a week.

Another option is to supplement with digestive enzymes to help your body breakdown the fats.

4. Eat the Right Amount of Protein for You

Since protein is an essential nutrient needed to maintain healthy skin, nails, hair, joints, and tissues, it’s important that we get enough, however, too much protein can kick you out of ketosis.

Here’s why you need an adequate amount of protein:

  • To supply enough amino acids to the liver so that it can use it to produce the needed glucose (even on keto, parts of your brain and kidneys need some glucose to function, so the liver produces it from protein).
  • To maintain muscle mass and a speedy metabolism, which is crucial if you’re losing weight.

In these studies (12, 13, 14), subjects on low-carb diets with protein intakes between 0.55-0.77 grams per pound of lean mass were able to reach and maintain ketosis.

To find how much protein you should eat, multiply your ideal body weight (in pounds) by a number between 0.55-0.77.

For example, if your ideal body weight is 120 pounds, you could eat between 66-92 grams of protein per day.

Here are 7 great keto-friendly protein powders.

5. Increase Your Physical Activity

Exercising will help you deplete your body from glycogen, which will help you get into ketosis fast.

To replenish glycogen stores you must eat carbohydrates, therefore, reducing carbs on the keto diet in combination with some exercise will be great for reaching and maintaining ketosis.

This study (15) showed that when ketone levels are low, exercise boosts the production of ketones. However, when they’re already high, exercising will not necessarily increase them more.

It’s important to remember that even though exercise boosts ketone production, it might take 1-4 weeks for your body to adapt to using ketones for energy.

During the adaptation period, your exercise performance might decrease but should come back to normal once your body has adjusted. (16)

6. Try Intermittent Fasting to Get Into Ketosis Fast

Intermittent fasting consists of going without eating for a certain period. Fasting and keto share some of the same benefits and are often used together.

Intermittent fasting can help lower blood sugar levels, slow tumor growth, and Alzheimer’s as well as help you reach ketosis faster.

In fact, you most likely go into mild ketosis when you go to sleep until you wake up and have breakfast.

Breakfast is the first meal after an extended period of not eating, it is the meal that “breaks” the “fast.”

“Fat fasting” is another alternative if the idea of going without eating for an extended period is not something you want to try.

Fat fasting consists of eating around 1,000 calories per day, with 85-90% of them coming from fat.

This combination of low calories with a very high fat intake can help you reach ketosis faster.

However, since a fat fast is very low in calories and protein, you should only do it for 3-5 days at most to prevent too much muscle loss.

If you’d like to explore more, check out my article on what happens when you fast.

7. Include Exogenous Ketones to Get Into Ketosis Fast

Exogenous ketones are supplements that may help you get into ketosis fast.

If you plan on using them, make sure the ones you get are made with BHB ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate).

BHB makes up about 78% of total ketone bodies in your blood.

Keep in mind that while this supplement can help you reach ketosis faster, you still need to eat a very low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein diet.

8. Test Your Ketone Levels

As I mentioned before, we are all different and might react differently to certain diets.

This is why you should track your ketone levels to make sure that what you’re doing is getting you the results you want.

Ketone levels can be measured in your breath, blood, or urine.

     • Measuring Ketones in Your Breath

Acetone – a type of ketone – is found in your breath. Studies (17) have shown that testing for acetone breath levels is actually a reliable way to check for ketosis.

You can use a keto breath meter to measure acetone in your breath. When breathing into the meter, a reading of 0.0 means you are not in ketosis, while readings between 0.5-3.0 mean you’re in a state of ketosis.

     • Measuring Ketones in Your Blood

Another reliable way of measuring ketones is with a blood ketone meter. This works by placing a small drop of blood on a strip that’s then inserted into the meter.

The blood meter will measure the amount of BHB in your blood.

The only downside to this approach is that the strips might be a little on the expensive side.

     • Measuring Ketones in Your Urine

Urine strips are the easiest and cheapest way to measure ketones, however, some people might argue that it’s not very reliable.

Urine strips measure your levels of acetoacetate. These work by dipping the strips into your urine, after that, the strips will turn different shakes of pink or purple depending on your ketone levels. The darker the color, the higher your ketone levels.

Using any of these methods to check whether or not you’re in ketosis can help you troubleshoot any issues that may be preventing you from reaching ketosis.

What is Ketosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body converts fat into ketones to use for energy instead of glucose (sugar), which comes from carbs.

After eating a high-carb meal, the excess glucose will get stored in your liver in the form of glycogen and released as needed for energy.

Significantly reducing your carb intake will force your body to use its glycogen stores.

Once your glycogen stores have been depleted, your body will have no choice but to convert fat into ketones to use for energy.

Your liver actually produces small amounts of ketones every day when eating a high-carb diet, however, when you drastically reduce your carb intake, your liver speeds up this production.

Once you reach a minimum of 0.5 mmol/L of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), you’re considered to be in ketosis.

At the end of this article, I mention ways you can measure your ketone levels.

How Long Does It Take To Enter Ketosis

Reaching ketosis is much more than simply cutting carbs from your diet, and it typically doesn’t happen in only 24 hours.

Your body needs time to adjust and adapt to using ketones for energy, and this adaptation can take anywhere from 48 hours to a little over a week.

Why such a big difference?

Well, that’s because things like your metabolism, activity levels, lifestyle, and carb intake can affect how fast you get into ketosis.

However, some things like intermittent fasting, exercising, and some supplements might help speed up this process.

Benefits of Ketosis

Studies (1, 2) have shown that diets focusing on reaching ketosis are very beneficial for weight loss, one of the reasons being their ability to reduce appetite.

Other studies (3, 4, 5) show that it might help with type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and some types of cancer.

Here are 10 unexpected benefits of the keto diet.

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