If you’re feeling the urge to start keto, you may be anxious to know how long it will take for your body to start utilizing ketones, seeing results and becoming a fat-burning machine!
You may also be wondering if there are any ways to speed up the process. Or if there are things that will slow down your achieving ketosis, so you can avoid them!
Will it take weeks and weeks or even months? Or will it be an overnight thing?
Let's run through how long it generally takes to get into ketosis, if there is anything you can do to speed up the process, or if there are any side effects.
How Long Does It Take To Get Into Ketosis?
So, how long will it actually take you to get into this fat burning state, running on fat for fuel, and enjoying the extra energy, lower blood sugar, and reduced inflammation?
Some say that you can get into ketosis in as little as 12 hours. However, it will more likely take anywhere from 1 to 7 days and may take typically longer than that to see results depending on the respective metabolic starting point and previous lifestyle choices.
For those that are already healthy, active, and eating well, it could take less time than those that have been eating high amounts of sugar and other carbs. It takes a lot of effort to switch fuel sources so your body will take time to transition. Be patient!
Transitioning to ketosis is dependent on 3 important steps happening in the body:
Glucose that doesn’t get used immediately will get stored as glycogen in the liver or muscles. The body can only hold onto so much glycogen before it is sent into the more permanent and more spacious “storage unit” of fat!
When our bodies run low on sugars, our insulin levels drop and our body goes into “starvation mode”. During this time, our body reaches into our fat reserves for energy!
In the liver, fatty acids are broken down into compounds called ketones. Ketones are the “body’s favorite way of transforming fats into easily digestible packets of energy.
Your brain can’t absorb fatty acids, but it can absorb ketone bodies” (Rodio, 2018). Once your body is producing ketones, you will start using these for fuel.
Once these three things happen, your body is in functioning in ketosis.
Can You Speed Up the Process?
There are a few ways to get a jumpstart into ketosis. Trying these methods may speed up the process to get to your fat-burning and health goals!
A fat fast is only recommended for those that are just starting keto for the first time or those that have experienced a 2 week (or longer) plateau. One should never fat fast for longer than five days as your body will actually begin to starve and will turn to muscle mass for energy.
Side Effects of Ketosis?
While discretion is advised, for most, eating low carb, conservative fasting, and exercising are perfectly safe methods to get into ketosis. However, when starting the ketogenic diet, some people experience the keto flu.
These flu-like symptoms are due to the body adapting to a new diet of very little carbohydrates.
“This drastic reduction can come as shock to the body and may cause withdrawal-like symptoms, similar to those experienced when weaning off an addictive substance like caffeine (Kubala, 2018).
Some slide by the transition with no side effects, while others are plagued with nausea, diarrhea, headaches, muscle cramps, sugar cravings, etc. (Kubala, 2018).
Typically, these symptoms will not last long and may be reduced through rest, hydration, and getting your carbohydrate limit through a high-base of vegetables and healthy fats.
How Do I Know if I’m in Ketosis?
There are several different signs that your body is in ketosis:
- Breath: Acetone is the smallest ketone produced as a by-product when fatty-acids break down. If you’ve heard of “keto breath”, this is why! When the acetone is produced during ketosis, breath smells metallic, fruity, or just… smelly.
- Weight Loss: For those looking to shed a few extra pounds, this will probably be your favorite indication that you’re in ketosis. Some see dramatic weight loss in the first week, but that is typically just water weight. As you keep with it, the fat will start coming off as well.
- Urine: If there are ketones in your urine, you are definitely in ketosis! You can test with a urine test strip.
- Suppressed Appetite: When in ketosis, our appetites are suppressed by balancing blood sugar levels. Ketones impact cholecystokinin (CCK) a hormone that makes you full, and ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” (Asprey, 2018).
Keto Flu: As previously mentioned, flu-like symptoms are a common result of being in ketosis!
- Blood: Ketones can appear in urine or blood. Testing ketones in blood are easily done through a blood ketone meter and are more accurate than a urine test.
While the ketogenic diet may seem like a drastic change, especially compared to the traditional Western way of eating, it is relatively easy to get into ketosis and could be the key to your health and weight loss results you desire.
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