12 simple solutions for triggering ketosis

Jill Bridges, SATI STAFF

If you’ve ever researched weight-loss, then you’re probably at least somewhat aware that you’re metabolic process is the biggest influence on how effectively you’ll be able to lose weight. What you might not realize is that there are several ways that you can make your metabolism work in your favor, particularly with regard to weight-loss. For example, there is a natural metabolic process known as ketosis that results in fat burning and rapid weight-gain.

Get your body into ketosis is one of the most effective things you can do to lose weight quickly and easily. In addition, promotion of ketosis has been shown to help control type 2 diabetes and may even treat certain neurological disorders. If you’re interested in losing weight, you need to learn more about ketosis, how to get your body to start this process and the signs that you’re in ketosis.

Here are a few solutions to get your body into ketosis and some of the benefits of this popular weight-loss method.

1. What is ketosis?

Before you can get your body into ketosis, it’s important to be familiar with this process and what it involves. Simply put, ketosis is a metabolic process that your body uses to produce energy[1]. This process is triggered when your normal fuel supply, blood sugar, is in short supply.

If your body detects there is not enough glucose in your bloodstream to use as energy, it will instead produce ketones, an alternative energy source[2]. Ketones are created in the liver using the fat cells in your body.

This means that when your body is in ketosis, it is literally burning your stored fat cells to produce energy[3]. As you might suspect, this results in a tremendous amount of weight-loss and an improved body composition.

By frequently promoting ketosis, you will be using up the fat stored in your body[4], particularly the unhealthy belly fat that has been linked to poor long-term health. Fortunately, getting your body into ketosis isn’t as difficult as you might think, only requiring a few small tweaks to your diet and lifestyle[5].

2. Carb consumption

Out of all the methods you could use to get your body into ketosis, the most effective is switching to a low-carb diet. In fact, one type of low-carb diet, the ketogenic diet is specifically designed to trigger ketosis[6,7].

As mentioned, glucose is the primary source of energy for the cells in your body. Your body can also store glucose in the form of glycogen for later use, meaning you need to get rid of these glycogen deposits before your body will go into ketosis[8].

When you consume very low amounts of carbohydrates, your glycogen stores will be much smaller. This reduces the amount of insulin in your bloodstream, which causes your body to secrete fatty acids to be used for ketone production[9].

Unfortunately, there is no set amount of carb restriction that is guaranteed to trigger ketosis, meaning you’ll probably need to experiment to find what level of carb intake is right for you[10]. However, a general rule of thumb is to eat less than 20 grams of carbohydrates for two weeks. For most people, this level of carb consumption will induce ketosis and put them on the path towards weight-loss.

3. Use coconut oil

While reducing your carbohydrate intake is the most effective method for getting your body into ketosis, it is not the only solution for triggering this beneficial metabolic process[11]. For instance, there are some substances that you can add into your diet that can help induce ketosis, particularly coconut oil[12].

The reason that coconut oil can cause your body to start ketosis is its content of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)[13]. MCTs differ from other types of fat in that they are absorbed and almost immediately transferred to the liver. This means that MCTs will be available for ketone conversion almost immediately after consumption[14].

While coconut oil contains a variety of MCTs, the bulk of its fat content consists of lauric acid, which research has shown can be extremely effective in regards to ketosis[15]. Studies have indicated that consuming fats that content large amounts of lauric acid can keep your body in ketosis for longer periods of time, resulting in more extensive fat burning and weight-loss. In fact, there is some evidence that using MCTs is just as effective for ketosis as low-carb diets.

Because coconut oil can upset some people’s stomachs, it’s important to start with small amounts.

4. Exercise

While altering your diet is one of the most important things that you can do to lose weight, it’s also crucial to make sure that you’re getting enough physical activity. Surprisingly, regular engaging in exercise has been shown to help your body get into ketosis[16].

An ever-increasing amount of research has shown that regular exercise is one of the easiest ways to spark ketosis[17]. By engaging in physical activity, you are forcing your body to use its glycogen stores for energy. If you exercise while on a low-carb diet, your body will not be able to use carbohydrates to replenish glycogen[18,19]. Instead, your liver will increase ketone production to refuel your muscles.

Research has shown that when ketones levels are low, exercising can increase their quantity to a large degree[20]. Engaging in physical activity while you are currently hasn’t has also been linked to elevated ketone production.

If you use exercise to help your body get into ketosis, you should be aware that it may take some time for this adjustment to occur. Generally, you will need to regularly exercise for at least four weeks before your glycogen stores will be depleted and ketosis begins.

5. Healthy fats

In a previous section, we discussed how consuming MCTs, particularly lauric acid, can help induce ketosis. While MCTs are the most effective fats when it comes to ketosis, increasing your consumption of all healthy fats can trigger this metabolic process[21,22]. The ketogenic diet, for instance, requires both a sharp reduction in your carbohydrate consumption and an increase in the amount of healthy fats that you eat[23].

For example, people who are using the ketogenic diet specifically for weight-loss will generally get between 60% and 80% of their daily calories from fat[24].

When the ketogenic diet is used to treat conditions like epilepsy, calories from fat can be as high as 90%.

When you increase your fat consumption in an effort to induce ketosis, it’s crucial that you’re getting your fats from the right sources[25]. Some of the health fats that you can choose to trigger ketosis in include avocado, olive oil, lard, butter, and coconut oil. If you get your fats from unhealthy sources, you will likely cause weight gain instead of losing weight.

6. Try a fast

Most people view fasting as strictly a religious practice, and while fasting can sometimes be religious in nature, it’s also a very simple way to induce ketosis[26]. Ketosis can occur naturally when you are not eating food.

Some people, in fact, experience a mild form of ketosis when they go many hours between meals[27]. This means that by extending the amount of time between eating sessions you can trigger ketosis and support your weight-loss goals[28].

To lose weight, many people choose intermittent fasting, which is a type of fasting where you eat normally on some days and fast on others. While intermittent fasting has been shown to cause ketosis, a form of fasting called “fat fasting” may be even more effective[29].

With fat fasting, you will be combining low calorie intake with high consumption of health fats. Typically, people who are fat fasting will eat 1,000 calories a day, with up to 90% of those calories deriving from fat[30]. Combining high-fat and reduced calories should allow you to trigger ketosis and lose weight easily.

7. Protein consumption

An obstacle that many people encounter when attempting to induce ketosis is getting the right amount of protein. While you cannot achieve ketosis without some amount of protein, consuming too much protein may inhibit ketosis from occurring as extensively as you need[31,32].

Primarily, you need to eat just enough protein so that your liver can produce glucose. While this may seem counterintuitive, not every cell in your body can use ketones for energy, so you must maintain some amount of glucose in your system to power these cells[33].

Secondly, you should eat enough protein to prevent loss of muscle mass. When you rapidly lose weight, it’s very easy to lose muscle mass as well, and protein consumption can help with this effect[34].

Research has shown that the ideal level of protein consumption for preservation of muscle mass and prolonged ketosis is between 0.55 and 0.77 grams of protein for every 1.2 to 1.7 pounds of lean mass[35]. Staying within this range of protein intake should induce ketosis and result in impressive weight-loss.

8. Testing

Perhaps the most difficult part or inducing ketosis in an effort to lose weight is that everybody responds to these methods differently. The metabolic process is very individualized, and what sparks ketosis in one person may have no effect on another. To make sure that you’re able to induce ketosis, it’s important to test your ketone levels frequently to see which of these solutions works best for you[36].

Fortunately, ketone levels can easily be checked in a variety of ways[37]. There are several ketone testing tools available today, most of which of very simple to use. Your liver produces three types of ketones: acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate[38].

The easiest way to measure your ketone levels is to test for acetone, which is found in your breath. By blowing into a ketone meter, you can test your acetone levels to see if your body is in ketosis[39,40].

If you want more accurate testing, you can also test your ketone levels using blood or urine. There are many blood ketone meters that work in the same way as the glucose meters used by diabetics. With just a drop of blood, you can see if you’ve been able to induce ketosis.

9. Reduced appetite

While testing your blood, breath or urine are the most effective way of determining if you’re in ketosis, there are a few other methods you can use to detect whether any of these proposed solution have helped you trigger this powerful metabolic processing. Understanding a few of the signs of ketosis will help you make sure that you’re meeting your weight-loss goals.

One of the easiest ways to detect if your body is in ketosis is to consider your appetite. While on a ketogenic diet, for instance, many people report that their appetite is greatly reduced after a short period of time.

While the cause of this reduction in appetite is still unknown, the likely reason that ketosis suppresses appetite has to do with your body’s hunger hormones.

The increased consumption of fats and vegetables that are required for a ketogenic diet likely alter to way your body produces hunger hormones, particularly leptin and ghrelin. By decreasing ghrelin and increasing leptin, you will feel fuller much longer after meals, resulting in reduced calorie consumption throughout the day.

10. Halitosis

As mentioned, ketosis can be detected by measuring the level of acetone in your breath. However, you don’t necessarily need an expensive breath meter to detect acetone, mostly because one of the symptoms of full ketosis is bad breath[41,42], which is also commonly known as halitosis.

When your body is in full ketosis, the ketones in your body will be highly concentrated, particularly the acetones in your breath[43]. This results in a change in the way that your breath normally smells.

While elevated acetone levels often results in unpleasant breath, some people, particularly those on either the Atkins diet or a ketogenic diet, report that their breath smells vaguely of fruit[44].

Monitor how your breath smells on a day to day basis and you should be able to easily tell when your body has reached a state of full ketosis[45]. When you notice that your breath has changed for the worse, you’ve likely achieved a level of ketosis that will result in a reduction in body fat and weight.

11. Keto flu

If you regularly induce ketosis, which is common for people following the ketogenic diet, you will usually experience elevated energy levels and improved focus. However, in the earliest stages of a regular ketosis, it’s common to undergo something called the “keto flu”[46,47].

As its name would suggest, the keto flu is a side-effect of inducing ketosis that is feels very similar to the seasonal flu. The most common symptoms of the keto flu are fatigue and weakness[48].

Generally, the keto flu is caused by the changes in your diet you have made in order to spark ketosis. In particular, drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake can affect your energy levels, which is why fatigue is often associated with the earlier part of a keto diet[49].

While the keto flu can certainly be aggravating, it should be short lived. It can take as long as 30 days for your body to reach full ketosis[50]. After this point, you will have adjusted to your new diet and the symptoms of keto flu will have disappeared. If you want to reduce these symptoms, it’s possible to take vitamin supplements and increase your intake of electrolytes.

12. Digestion

When you’re making alterations in your diet, your body can experience a variety of negative short-term effects. One of the most commonly reported issues for people altering their diet to induce ketosis is a change in their digestion. The most typical digestive issues that you can experience as a result of trying to get your body in full ketosis are constipation and diarrhea.

Like most of the symptoms that can result by attempting ketosis, these digestive problems should clear up after your body adjusts to your new lifestyle. However, there are a few things that you can do to prevent these symptoms and to make the process of inducing ketosis much easier.

First, you should be sure that you’re keeping track of the foods that you eating. Keeping a food journal can help you determine which foods are giving you digestive issues so that you can make adjustments.

Secondly, you should make sure that you’re getting enough fiber while trying to induce ketosis. Eating vegetables that are low in carbohydrates but high in carbohydrates can help maintain normal digestion while you’re adjusting to your new ketogenic diet.

The sati line

If you’re ready to improve your health by losing weight, the most important thing you can do is use your body’s natural metabolic processes to your advantage. As we’ve seen, the best way to tweak your metabolism to lose weight is to induce ketosis. When ketosis occurs, your body stops using glucose for energy and starts using ketones produced from the stores of fat in your body.

By inducing a state of full ketosis, you’ll naturally lose both body mass and unhealthy fat. Luckily, because ketosis occurs naturally in your body, triggering this process is very easy. For example, by eliminating the majority of carbohydrates in your diet, you’ll be decreasing your stores of glycogen and forcing your body into ketosis. You can also trigger ketosis by consuming healthy fats, increasing your activity level, and fasting.

When attempting to induce ketosis, you can gauge your success by watching out for common symptoms of ketone producing diets, including bad breath, a reduction in energy and decreased appetite. If you’re able to induce ketosis, you should be able to lose weight.

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