What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a word that has been heavily linked to the diet and weight loss movement in recent years. But what does the word "ketosis" really mean? How can it help you lose weight, be healthier and feel better?
That is what we will cover in this comprehensive article. You will learn what ketosis is and why it really works to help you lose weight and keep it off. We will explain how to get into ketosis and how you will know when you are there.
You will learn about all the benefits of ketosis and also the possible side effects to watch for. Throughout, we will also offer you helpful resources to maximize your ketosis results. So without further delay, let's dive in!
The Science Behind Ketosis
So what is really going on inside your body when you put it into a state of ketosis? Well, let's start with a definition for the word "ketosis."
Ketosis is what occurs naturally within your body when carbohydrate intake is restricted, whether because food is scarce or because you are simply eating less of it. The process of ketosis helps your body access other types of stored energy reserves that it ordinarily might not need to use for fuel.
In a normal (non-ketosis) state, your body will naturally gravitate towards using stored carbohydrates in the form of glucose for its energy. This is because glucose is easier for your body to access, convert and burn for fuel than any other type of energy. To access and convert glucose into energy, all your body needs to do is produce insulin to complete the conversion process.
After your body has accessed, converted and used all of its stored glucose, it will start looking around for other stored energy reserves it can call on for fuel. This will lead it to your body's stored fat reserves.
As the fat your body has stored is used for fuel, the liver produces water-soluble molecules called ketones. The presence of ketones is what signals that your body has entered ketosis.
Your goal in supporting your body to enter the state of ketosis is to help it burn away excess stored fat reserves instead of simply continuing to burn carbohydrates in the form of glucose. Not surprisingly, this requires some shifts in your daily diet, which is what we will explore in the next section.
How to Get into Ketosis
When you have set a goal to support your body to enter ketosis by adopting a low carb or ketogenic diet, the first thing to know is that it is easier to enter ketosis than you might assume.
Here are the seven basic steps to take to help your body enter a state of ketosis:
Step 1: Limit your daily carbohydrate intake to 35 grams (20 net grams) of carbohydrates total.
Step 2: Limit your daily protein intake to no more than 0.8 grams of protein per pound of your own body weight.
Step 3: Aim to take in the majority of the daily calories you need via fats (your personal daily caloric needs should mirror what you would be eating if you were at your ideal goal body weight).
Step 4: Drink LOTS of water so your body can readily flush out toxins as well as control food cravings.
Step 5: Cut out snack breaks and instead aim to take in all of your daily caloric needs through your meals.
Step 6: Add in some daily cardiovascular exercise (20 to 30 minutes per day is a great goal to set).
Step 7: Supplement your low carb diet with healthful nutritional supplements as needed or desired.
Here is a partial list of some of the best nutritional supplements that can support your new diet program and assist your body to enter into ketosis:
How to know if you are in Ketosis
So how will you know when your body has entered the state of ketosis at last? What signs can you be on the lookout for, or are there tests you can do to know for sure?
Here are some of the most common ways your body may tell you it is in ketosis:
There are some simple tests you can also do to test whether your body has successfully entered into the state of ketosis:
You may be wondering which method is best for measuring your body's level of ketosis most accurately. Opinions vary here, but in general the blood test strips tend to give the most accurate results, with urine strips being least accurate and breathing meters being mid-level accurate.
As far as what your measurements indicate, this is a good general-purpose range guideline you can use:
- 0.5 to 0.8 is early ketosis.
- 0.9 to 1.4 is medium ketosis.
- 1.5 to 3.0 is deep ketosis.
Benefits of Ketosis
So what are the benefits of choosing to support your body to enter a state of ketosis?
We have already discussed the weight loss and weight maintenance benefits, which can be significant enough as benefits on their own to make your work worth the effort!
But there are other longer term benefits as well that deserve a mention:
Side Effects of Ketosis
While ketosis brings with it so many powerful potential benefits that it is hard to ignore, it is important to be aware of the possible side effects as well.
Most importantly, it is important not to go overboard with ketosis levels in the body. This can transform a potentially healthful and beneficial state into a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis, which as the name suggests can increase the acidity in your blood to dangerous levels.
Here are some other possible ketosis side effects to be aware of: