Precautions Before Starting A Keto Diet
There are controversies and myths about a keto diet, but for most people, it appears to be very safe. However, two groups often require medical supervision:
- Do you take medication for high blood pressure?More >
- Do you take medication for diabetes, such as insulin? More >
Some people should avoid keto altogether:
- Do you breastfeed?More >
For more details about the pros and cons in different situations, check out our full guide: Is a keto diet right for you?
Disclaimer: While the ketogenic diet has many proven benefits, its still controversial. The main potential danger regards medications, e.g. for diabetes, where doses may need to be adapted . Discuss any changes in medication and relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor. Full disclaimer >
This guide is written for adults with health issues, including obesity, that could benefit from a ketogenic diet.
How Many Carbs To Get Into And Stay In Ketosis
Research suggests that a carb intake of fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day is sufficient to promote ketosis in most people . But again, the perfect amount can change based on the many factors highlighted above.
So how can you tell if your keto macro ratio is working?
Experiencing side effects of Keto flu is usually a good first indicator that your carb-cutting is on track, but the best way to tell if your carb levels are ideal is to measure your ketone levels.
If you are having a hard time reaching ketosis or adjusting to a very low carb diet like keto, keep in mind that it is entirely possible to see the weight loss benefits of going low carb without ketosis, as long as you control your calories.
Bottom line: your body weight, fitness level, and previous diet determine your carb needs for ketosis.
Special Mention: Protein Intake and Ketosis
While carbs are typically targeted as the sole perpetrator of increasing your insulin levels and blood sugar, protein might also increase insulin and can be converted into glucose for fuel. This is why most ketogenic diet advocates suggest only moderate protein intake since it is thought protein may kick you out of ketosis.
How To Calculate Your Carb Intake
To understand your daily carb allotment, take the above percentages, and translate them into grams .
For example, if youre consuming 2,000 calories per day and aim to get just 10% of your calories from carbs, youll multiply 2,000 by .10 to get 200 calories per day. Since one gram of carbs is equal to four calories, youll then take 200 divided by 4 to get 50 grams of net carbs per day.
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Signs You’re In Ketosis
Once your body is in ketosis, you might notice physical changes including symptoms of the keto flu, like nausea, irritability, and confusion.
You may also notice a fruity or acetone scent on your breath, which indicates increased ketones the byproduct of ketosis in your bloodstream.
There are also urine strips that can measure the amount of ketones in your pee to identify ketosis, but these products are not particularly reliable, Proctor says.
Measuring ketone levels in your blood, on the other hand, is accurate, but blood ketone meters are expensive, she says.
So, your best bet is looking for physical symptoms of ketosis and making sure you’re limiting your carb and protein intake.
How Long Does It Take To Get Out Of Ketosis After Eating Carbs
I had flawed thinking when it came to ketosis and how long it took to get out of ketosis after eating, for example, pasta.
I figured I could break the rules and still stay in ketosis. Nope, this was surefire way to put an end to ketosis today, not tomorrow.
So, if you are serious about making the keto diet work, staying under the recommended macros of 50 grams of carbs is essential.
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How To Calculate Your Fat Intake
One of the main mistakes you can make on keto is not eating enough fat. For the longest time, nutritionists declared that fat, particularly saturated fat, was bad, which led to the low-fat craze of the 1980s and 1990s.
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However, this science has since been debunked, lacking any significant data showing a connection between a high-fat diet and an increased risk of heart disease.
After you calculate your protein and total carbs, your remaining calories of the day will come from fat sources. As stated earlier, this is typically 70-75% of your total calories of the day.
To give you an idea, 70% of 2,000 calories is 1,400 calories. If you divide 1,400 by 9 , you get 155.56 grams of fat per day.
The Benefits Of Ketosis:
- Research shows that ketosis lowers bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol.
- Ketosis decreases a persons risk of heart disease
- Research has shown that ketosis improves insulin resistance
- There are also studies into the effects of Ketogenic Diets effects on Alzheimers Disease and Bipolar Disorder that have shown promising results.
- The Ketogenic Diet itself was used in the early 1900s to control epileptic seizures. It is still used today for those resistant to seizure medication. But we wont dive deeply into all of that today.
- Ketosis helps turn your body from burning carbs as fuel to burning fat, which results in fat loss.
- Ketosis has cognitive benefits, improving mood, focus, and general well-being.
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Products To Help You Get Into Ketosis Fast
There are few products that can raise ketone levels fast and measure whether youre in ketosis or not. We recommend that you use only products that have no fillers or nasty additives.
- BHB Salts Will get your ketone levels high fast.
- MCT Powder Also boosts ketone levels rapidly and makes an excellent Crema for Coffee .
- Ketone Meter Know your blood ketone levels in real-time! We are big fans of monitoring and tracking.
- MCT Oil Works faster than MCT powder but is not as convenient. Keep it in the fridge and start with a tablespoon when in need of some energy. Or when your ketone monitor says youre low on ketones.
How Long Does It Take To Get Into A Ketogenic State
This usually happens after three to four days. Because your body normally extracts energy from glucose, it searches for a new energy source. The body then breaks down fat to get energy. Ketones are produced when converting fat into energy. These ketones play an important role in the ketogenic diet.
Ketones are a type of acid that your body produces when fats are used as an energy source. There are three different types of ketones:
- Beta-hydroxybutyric acid
These acids are created in your liver and, via your bloodstream, they then end up in the urine in your bladder after which you urinate them. Only acetone leaves the body through the breath.
In a normal situation, the concentration of ketones in your body is low and it never exceeds 0.3 mmol / l. When your body is in ketosis, the concentration of ketones increases and your body soon reaches the level of 1.5 mmol / l. This is the moment that your body converts the fats into energy.
The image below shows a graphical representation of the ketosis process:
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How Do I Calculate Macros For Keto
To calculate your keto diet macros, you must establish your estimated TDEE .
Your TDEE accurately measures how much energy you expend each day .
The calculator above measures your TDEE and then creates the optimum macro ratio.
Setting a Calorie Deficit
To achieve fat loss, you need a calorie deficit.
We recommend 20% of your daily calories.
This is automatically applied when setting the Weight Goal to Lose in the above calculator.
Keto Macros: Carbs Protein & Fat
When following a keto diet, the idea is to eat very few carbs, a moderate amount of protein, and just as much fat as you need to feel satisfied, rather than stuffed.
CarbohydratesLimit carbs to 20 or fewer grams of net carbs per day, or 5 to 10% of calories. Although its possible that you may not need to be this strict, eating fewer than 20 grams of net carbs every day virtually guarantees that youll be in nutritional ketosis. Learn more >
ProteinEat enough protein to meet your needs. Most people need at least 70 grams per day, or 20 to 35% of calories from protein. Learn more >
FatInclude enough fat to add flavor. Theres no reason to add lots of fat unless you need extra calories. Plus, many whole foods like eggs and meat contain plenty of fat. On a keto diet, about 60 to 75% of your calories come from fat. Learn more >
If you are wondering what kind of results you can expect from a keto diet, the answer depends on how strict you are, along with a number of other factors.
Evidence shows that keto diets help with weight loss, blood sugar control, and many other conditions.8 But outcomes from even the most well-run study are still an average of what each participant experienced.
That means that your experience with keto will be unique. Your weight loss and health improvements may be sudden and dramatic or they may be slow but steady.
What benefits might you experience by switching to a keto diet? Quite a few, possibly.
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The Takeaway Is There One Keto Carb Limit
In general, restricting your carb consumption to less than 35 grams of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs is what we recommend for the best results. This carb limit is ideal for almost everyone on the ketogenic diet.
It is also important to know that everyone has a unique carb limit that depends on many factors. Some of the factors that you have the most control over are:
- How keto adapted you are
- How much you exercise and what types of exercise you do
- Your stress levels
- How much protein you eat
Each one of these factors can either increase or decrease your carb limit, thus impairing or improving your ability to get into ketosis. This is why finding your own personal carb limit for keto is much more nuanced and complex than you think. However, with some experimentation, you can find out how many carbs you need to eat to stay in ketosis.
Other Changes To Expect
Research so far shows that ketogenic diets can lessen the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome . Keto diets are also successfully used to treat some seizure disorders. Studies indicate they may help other neurological disorders as well, such as ParkinsonÃ¢s disease, though more research is needed.
The more scientists look at the keto diet, the more positive benefits they seem to find. For example, people on these diets have less of the saturated fat in their blood thatÃ¢s linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. Emerging research also shows that using ketones for energy may decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, and may even be involved in turning on some genes that may be beneficial to health.
Be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you start a keto diet, because your lipid panel may significantly change. Your healthcare provider should be notified so that he or she can take your diet and other possible changes, such as weight loss, into account when making clinical recommendations.
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How Stress Impairs Ketosis And Decreases Your Keto Carb Limit
Stress increases the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the blood. It doesnt matter where the stress comes from , it all causes the same hormonal response.
One of the hormones that is released in response to stress is cortisol. Cortisol increases the activity of gluconeogenesis to raise blood sugar levels, while simultaneously decreasing insulin sensitivity. This combination of actions causes more blood sugar to hang out in the blood for longer periods of time, which shuts down the bodys need to produce ketones.
Cortisol, however, is not the enemy. It provides us with the boost of energy we need to start the day and power through exercise and stressful situations. Problems will only arise when the body rarely stops secreting cortisol because the mind is always stressing about something.
Not sure if stress is a problem for you? Heres a list of common stressors that can keep you from ketosis:
- Exercising too much
- Beating yourself up for past mistakes
- Overwhelming yourself with work and never taking breaks
As these and other stressors accumulate in your life, your stress hormones remain elevated throughout the day. This limits your ability to produce ketones, lose fat, and maintain muscle mass three things that you want to avoid at all costs on the ketogenic diet. No keto carb limit can save you from these adverse effects. You must take responsibility for mitigating your own stress.
How Many Carbs Can You Eat And Still Be In Ketosis
We recommend that you stay under 25g of net carbs per day to stay in ketosis.
There is more than one way to approach reducing carbs, but Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, M.D., suggests starting out on a strict Keto diet right away. This will give you the best idea of whether you like how you feel, how it impacts you and what sort of results you get. Then, as you achieve your health and weight goals, you can decide whether to add more natural carbs back into your diet to a level where you feel your best and can maintain your health goals.
When it comes to a keto diet, its important to note that every persons body is different.
And therefore each person will have a slightly different net carb intake to get into ketosis.
Some folks on keto who are very active might maintain ketosis if they eat 35g or even more of net carbs per day while other people on keto will need to eat around 15g of net carbs.
So while we recommend that you stay under 25g of net carbs per day, you may want to consider testing your ketone levels to ensure that youre actually in ketosis.
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How Many Carbs Can I Eat On A Ketogenic Diet
Carbohydrate tolerance varies among individuals. Some people may need to limit themselves to no more than 30 grams of total carbohydrates per day to remain in nutritional ketosis and maintain its benefits while others may be able to consume more. However, most people with underlying metabolic issues find that they need to maintain a carbohydrate intake below 50 grams per day, especially if they have type 2 diabetes. With diabetes reversal and weight loss over time, many peopleâs insulin sensitivity improves, and this can open the door to increased carbohydrate tolerance. Thus, to remain in sustained nutritional ketosis you may want to initially consume closer to 30 grams per day and then while tracking fingerstick blood ketones explore your personal level of carbohydrate tolerance while maintaining your metabolic health.
When To Eat Carbs On A Standard Keto Diet
The most common and beneficial type of keto diet for most people, SKD has a dietary macro breakdown of:
- Fats: 7080% of your calories
- Protein: 2025%
Youll strive to keep your daily net carbs in the 2050g range .
Eat most of your carbs in the afternoon and evening. Contrary to what most people believe, theres no scientific evidence to support the idea of carbing up heavy in the AM and working off these carbs throughout the day.
In fact, there are loads of studies to prove that eating carbs in the morning actually sets up your body for a neverending carb cycle of cravings and crashes. You can thank your bodys hormones for this.
See, sleeping puts your body into a fasted state overnight, which causes glucose and insulin to both rise in your system. As a result, your blood sugar and insulin levels are highest in the AM.
When your insulin levels are elevated, its almost impossible for your body to use the carbs you eat. Insulin, as its job as a storage hormone dictates, tucks away the energy from your breakfast and prevents you from burning these carbs for fuel.
When insulin levels normalize later in the day, blood sugar levels decrease and fat burning becomes possible again.
Your hormones also need to adjust according to the time of day.
Cortisol levels are highest in the morning too. Known as the cortisol awakening response, this stress hormone can increase as much as 3875% as part of your bodys circadian rhythm, or your natural sleep/wake cycle.
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Eliminate Milk And Low
To get into ketosis fast, youll need to drop all milk and low-fat dairy from your diet.
Replace milk in your coffee with a dash of heavy/full cream, or drink it black.
Instead, try MCT Powder, as it makes an excellent crema and gives you a boost from the fast-absorbed fatty acids.
Milk has too many carbs and will prevent you from getting into ketosis fast.
How Do You Achieve Ketosis Successfully
Putting and then keeping your body in ketosis isnt exactly easy. Youll need to severely minimize your intake of carbohydrates, eating no more than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day to get there and stay there. A single medium pear, for example, contains 26 g of carbs, and even foods that arent generally considered high in carbs such as nuts and nonstarchy veggies contain a small amount of carbohydrates, and so will need to be limited or avoided on this plan.
If youre following the keto diet, you will need protein, but you should limit your intake to about 20 percent of your total daily calories. This is important because when you consume more protein than you need, your body converts the excess protein into carbs through a process called gluconeogenesis. This process pushes your body out of ketosis.
Another dietary approach thats gaining popularity nowadays is called intermittent fasting and is based on skipping food for limited, planned periods of time. Intermittent fasting will not put you into ketosis on its own. Some people combine intermittent fasting with a keto diet but you should know this approach hasnt been studied or proven to work for weight loss.
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