Intermittent fasting, paleo diet, low-carb diet, keto diet… There are many diets that supposedly have very positive effects on the body. The keto diet, for example, has long been at the top of the methods to burn fat. Don’t know what ketosis is? We tell you about it in this article.
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What is ketosis?
The keto diet or ketogenic diet has one goal: to get the body into a state of ketosis. But what exactly is ketosis? The state of ketosis is one in which the body switches to using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates , its typical energy source.
Generally, what gives our body energy is glucose in the form of carbohydrates. However, in the keto diet, the intake of these macronutrients is drastically reduced, so the body is self-sufficient from the fat it has stored. The liver uses fat to produce ketones (or ketone bodies) , which are released back into the bloodstream and used as a source of energy.
The ketosis process only begins when glucose stores are completely empty . This means that neither the muscles nor the liver must contain stored carbohydrates in order to achieve this state.
Important: To ensure that we provide our body with the vitamins it needs when in ketosis, it is advisable to take supplements. For example, our Daily Vitamins.
By the way, you don’t have to worry about your brain running out of energy in ketosis. Ketones are water soluble and are transported through the blood. In this way, they cross the blood-brain barrier to be used by the brain as a quick source of energy.
.What are ketones?
Ketones (or ketone bodies) are chemical compounds produced by ketogenesis in the liver. Its function is to supply energy to the brain. There are three types of ketone bodies: acetoacetic acid (acetoacetate), beta-hydroxybutyric acid (β-hydroxybutyrate), and acetone.
Acetone is produced in the oxidation process of acetoacetate and is exhaled, leading to bad breath . However, after a few weeks, that bad breath characteristic of the keto diet will improve. The more efficient ketogenesis is, the less acetone will be produced.
How to get into ketosis?
There are several ways to get into ketosis, but they all have one thing in common: you can only consume 30-50g of carbohydrates a day and get energy from fat.
You can get into ketosis if…
- you fast for more than 24 hours and then follow a keto diet.
- reduce your daily carbohydrate intake to less than 50 g for a period of at least 2 weeks and get energy mainly from fat.
- you combine intermittent fasting and the keto diet.
However, keep in mind that you will not enter ketosis after the first fasting interval. It is true that after about 16 hours without eating, the body will burn more fat for energy. You will notice it, among other things, because, by doing a regular fast at intervals of 16/8, you will stop feeling hungry after an adaptation period.
For your body to go into 100% ketosis, your glycogen stores must be empty. This usually occurs after going 24 hours without eating carbohydrates. Of course, keep in mind that not everyone has the same glycogen stores.
As soon as your body realizes that it can no longer get energy from carbohydrates, it will begin the transition to ketosis. At that time, it begins to produce the enzymes necessary to convert fatty acids into ketones.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
It takes an average of 4-7 days for your body to enter ketosis. Depending on your metabolism and eating habits, the interval can vary between 24 hours and 14 days.
For the change to be permanent , you must follow a ketogenic diet consistently and strictly adhere to the limit of 30 to 50 g of carbohydrates per day.
Ketogenic Flu: From Glucose to Ketosis
The keto flu is a common symptom experienced when starting a keto diet . Your body is not used to low blood glucose and manifests it in various ways.
Those symptoms closely resemble typical flu symptoms. For example, most people experience fatigue, nausea, dizziness, decreased energy, lightheadedness, and heartbeat disturbances. They peak in the first seven days and decline after four weeks .
Tip: Drink plenty of fluids and take small breaks from your ketogenic diet for the first few weeks to give your body time to adjust to the new situation.
Measuring ketosis: How to know if you are in a state of ketosis?
After you’ve done everything you can to get into ketosis, you want to know if all those efforts really worked. To measure ketosis, there are subjective and objective parameters.
Subjective parameters consist of one’s own bodily sensation. If you’re very experienced and your body is fine, you can usually rely on that perception.
How to measure ketosis: subjective parameters
This method consists simply of observing your body. Possible symptoms that you are in ketosis are:
- You feel full for a long time after eating
- You are not hungry all the time
- They do not give you cravings for sugar
- You sleep very well at night
- You have bad breath, with a slightly fruity smell
How to measure ketosis: objective methods
If you’re new to the world of ketogenic diets, you’re better off using more objective methods of measuring ketosis levels. Here are the most reliable ways to measure ketosis :
- Urine Ketosis Test Strips Urine ketone strips are easy to use and fairly inexpensive. For the result to be reliable, you should do a daily test for a week. You can find these strips in pharmacies, although we warn you that their results are not 100% reliable .
- Breath test More accurate than urine strips. The slightly fruity breath odor that people in ketosis have is due to the increased concentration of acetone in the air they exhale. This meter is used to discover the concentration of these ketones. The investment is well worth it if you are going to follow the keto diet for a long time .
- Blood Test This is the most accurate way to measure ketosis. To measure blood ketones, you need an electronic meter and a lancet + test strip kit, the same as those used by diabetics to measure blood glucose. You are considered to be in ketosis when your blood ketone concentration is greater than 0.5 mMol/L.
- Generally, our body gets energy from carbohydrates.
- In a state of ketosis, the body converts fats into ketones and uses them as an energy source.
- Blood glucose levels remain more stable in a state of ketosis, which has many health benefits.
- To get into ketosis, you need to minimize your daily carbohydrate intake (only 30-50g per day).
- If you want to be in ketosis for a long time, it is recommended that you take a break from time to time, since there are no long-term studies on keto diets.