A lot of people are trying out a ketogenic diet. While keto is not for everyone, it can be a great tool to help your body get into fat burning mode, also known as ketosis. This can obviously be super-helpful if you’re looking to lose weight. However the keto diet is pretty restrictive and does require commitment.
Want to experience ketosis for yourself? Here’s what you can do to achieve this fat burning state as quickly as possible while avoiding the dreaded keto flu symptoms as much as possible.
Ketosis takes some adjusting
It’s important to note that you might experience some flu like symptoms while your body adjusts to burning fat for fuel instead of glucose. This is known as ‘keto flu’. The symptoms that come along with it, while uncomfortable, are normal. You are changing fuel sources when you go from burning sugar to fat, and your body needs to adjust.
Symptoms of the keto flu can include tiredness, cramping, mood swings, brain fog, dizziness, and just general flu-like symptoms. It is not fun, and it can last days to weeks depending on the person. SOme people don’t experience any symptoms at all.
There are some things you can do to make this keto flu pass more quickly and get into ketosis faster. We’ll look at six of them today. Now, these are not quick fixes but details that you can focus on to help with the process.
Ways to speed up ketosis
Everyone is different, and it will take different amounts of time to get into ketosis. This is because we all have unique metabolisms, carb tolerance levels and insulin resistance. Also, your previous diets will also affect how you metabolize glucose.
How quickly these things will help you achieve ketosis depends on you. It can take anywhere between 48 hours to a solid week to get into ketosis. If you fall into the last category, you definitely want to implement some of these tips!
Here are some of the things you can do to get into ketosis quickly:
Watch your macros
The most obvious and most important is to keep your macros in check. Keep carbs down, keep fat up, and keep protein adequate.
When getting into ketosis, focus extra on the carb count. The closer to zero the better. Less than 20 grams for sure, less than 5% of your total intake, but in that transition period, the less you can consume, the faster you will get into ketosis.
And that’s less time for those sucky keto flu symptoms to stick around. Once you are in ketosis and feeling good, you can adjust your carb intake and find your tolerance by testing your ketone levels appropriately.
The same goes from protein. You can really take in less protein for that transition period. A few days isn’t going to affect your muscle mass, and it will help you get over the keto flu more quickly. Because remember, too much protein can lead to gluconeogenesis which is when protein converts to glucose, and you don’t want that!
So in that transition period, you want less carbs and protein than you even usually have while in ketosis and you probably want to up your fat by about five to 10% too.
Know what to eat and what to avoid
Next, know what to eat more and less of… or none of for that matter. Consume:
More coconut oil
Coconut oil is great as is or as MCT oil (which is commonly extracted from coconut oil). MCTs help with ketone production and are really easily absorbed for instant energy. So, more coconut oil for sure.
In fact, you might want to consider cutting the dairy completely while you’re getting into ketosis. Milk still contains carbs which we want less of during this period. Dairy also raises insulin levels which can of course, impact ketosis.
Obviously, no sugar because that is pure carbs. But even sweeteners can affect insulin levels, depending on the person and the type of sweetener. Why take the risk?
So, if you are in the misery of the keto flu and wanting it to be over, go without the sweetener for a few days and expedite the process.
The next tip is to consider intermittent fasting or fasting in general. Intermittent fasting helps you burn fat as fuel. This is because, while your fasting, you aren’t putting any sugar or glucose into your body. So your body can then turn to fat as its fuel source.
See also: Can You Lose Weight By Fasting?
But, yes, fasting can and does help you get into ketosis faster. The only thing keeping you from ketosis is glucose and carbs. If you cut out eating everything, you cut out any possibility of getting carbs into your system. This gives your body a chance to adjust to burning its stored fat as fuel.
You can also do what’s called a fat fast. This is where, for a period of time, you eat upwards of 90% of your calories from fat as opposed to the typical 70 to 75% for the keto diet. That can help you get over the hump of getting into ketosis as well.
Next, get moving. Increase your cardio a bit. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. When you’re in the middle of that keto flu working out sounds and feels like a terrible idea. But when you exercise, you burn glycogen stores or excess glucose.
If you’re also fasting, then working out can drive up ketone levels even more. Even walking can help. So if you feel miserable but can get out and take a stroll, it may help you get through the flu a little bit faster.
Water helps with digestion and eliminating toxins, but it is especially important while getting into ketosis and really if you’re doing a keto diet in general.
Ketogenic diets are very dehydrating. So you want to make sure you’re keeping your liver and kidneys functioning properly. Of course, you want to do this for your own health first and foremost. But also in terms of getting into ketosis, so that your body can produce ketones and mobilize and burn fat.
On low-carb diets, our kidneys flush out salt, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and of course, water. This is why people lose water weight during those first few weeks. However, this can cause electrolyte imbalances… which is really what causes so many of the terrible keto flu symptoms in the first place!
At the same time, if you are drinking more water, you’re also flushing more out. So you do want more water. But that’s also why, on a keto diet, you may need more sodium or salt!
A lot of times, we hear that we should be consuming less sodium. That is not typically going to be the case on a keto diet. You’ll probably need more sodium. And you’ll likely need more in that transition into ketosis too.
If you are getting headaches, try getting in some more salt. You also might need more potassium and magnesium. If you get into ketosis and are still not feeling tiptop, you may want to consider supplementing those.
Remember that these tips are really for the transition and not advice for your time in ketosis itself. Once you get into ketosis you can follow your ketogenic diet plan. Not sure where to start? Take this simple quiz and get you own personalized keto diet plan.