Switching to a Ketogenic diet can be exciting, and you may be wondering how long it will be before you can expect to see results or ask “how long does it take to get into Ketosis?” This is perfectly normal, and almost everyone wonders the same thing when they switch to a low carb, high fat diet.
The truth is, there is no one size fits all answer; it really does depend on who you are, what you eat, and how long it takes for your body to adjust. The good news is, for most people, this change takes place within a few days or weeks.
Keep reading to find out how you can improve your body’s efficiency, and learn how to stay in Ketosis for the long-term. After all, it’s easier to stay in Ketosis once you’re there.
How Do I Get into Ketosis?
To answer your question of “how long does it take to get into Ketosis,” you must first ask “what is Ketosis” and “how do I get into Ketosis?”
Let’s get started: Ketosis is a metabolic process and describes when the body uses fat for fuel. This occurs when there is a lack of glucose. As we generally eat a high carb, high sugar diet in the Western world, most people never enter Ketosis. Just because you lose weight does not mean you are in Ketosis, either, it just means you are eating a calorie deficient.
When you switch to a low-carb diet and restrict your glucose, you might experience the Keto flu; these symptoms are your body learning to use fat as fuel, and signaling there is a change. For most people, this is a welcome change, but for other people, the transition takes a few weeks. It can even take a few people months to get into Ketosis, but this is usually because they are not following a strict Ketogenic diet.
To get into Ketosis, you must:
Eat less than 20g of carbs per day
Restrict your intake of protein and starchy veggies, as these can be turned into glucose
Be consistent – this is not a diet you can hop in and out of and get results
If you follow the rules, and eat a low carb diet, and workout moderately, you can expect to go into Ketosis within 2-3 days (only a few people need 7 days). The greater the carb restriction, the greater the amount of exercise, and the greater the calorie deficient, the greater the speed at which your body will likely go into Ketosis. Most people adjust to using fat as a fuel source fully within a few weeks. If the change is too severe, simply change your ratios and go slower.
Am I in Ketosis Yet?
The only surefire way to confirm if you are in Ketosis is to limit your carbohydrate intake to less than 20g per day and monitor your Ketone levels. The most reliable and accurate way to measure your ketones is to use a Blood Ketone Meter. You can also use Keto test strips at home, which you urinate on, but these are not considered as accurate as a Blood Ketone Meter.
Using a Blood Ketone Meter, you want to fall into the following ranges:
Light Ketosis: 0.5 moll/L – 0.8 mmol/L
Medium Ketosis: 0.9 mmol/L – 1.4 mmol/L
Deep Ketosis (best for weight loss): 1.5 mmol/L – 3.0 mmol/L
If you fall out of the range, it’s best to do a Fat Fast, and resume a strict Ketogenic diet until you are back in range. The fat fast is a technique brought by Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution – and is used by people who are metabolically resistant or who have trouble with their induction.
So, what exactly is a fat fast? It’s eating between 1000 and 1200 calories a day, where between 80% and 90% of your calories come from fat, and fat alone. You break these 1000-1200 calories into 4 or 5 meals a day, eating in blocks of 200-250 calories per meal.
For some people, it may take a few days or weeks to adapt. Once you are back in range, be sure to keep a food diary and check your Ketone levels regularly to learn what might be kicking you out of Ketosis. Over time, you will learn what works for you.
Why Do I Keep Getting Kicked Out of Ketosis?
The simplest answer is that you over ate your carbohydrate limit, but the truth is, there are many reasons why you might get kicked out of Ketosis. If you keep getting kicked out and wondering “How long does it take to get into Ketosis,” you might not be having the best Keto experience. It’s best to stay in Ketosis for as long as possible to see results, but also to prevent Keto flu and other side effects.
Below are some common reasons why people fall out of Ketosis:
Not understanding your Keto macros: if you do not use the correct ratios for your body type (and update them regularly), you run the risk of overeating and eating the wrong foods. Use this Keto calculator to learn your macros.
Using Keto sticks: many people use Keto sticks to urine-analyze their Ketone levels, but these are not always accurate. Unless you use a Blood Ketone Meter, you cannot be 100% sure if you are in or out of Ketosis.
Artificial sweeteners: many people who follow a Ketogenic diet will use net carbs, which do not factor in certain artificial sweeteners, and while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, net carbs are generally great; some people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners.
Note: If you are triggered by artificial sweeteners, stop eating Aspartame, Sucralose, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin, Xylitol, and Sorbitol. If you still crave sweet treats and want a Keto approved snack, switch over to foods that contain Monk Fruit, and Erythritol, which don’t tend to spike blood sugar levels. Keto Kookies are a great option that only use all-natural sweeteners that won’t kick you out of Ketosis.