Intermittent fasting (IF) has quickly become one of the hottest health and fitness trends and for good reason. People are losing weight and improving their health significantly by incorporating it into their lives.
This guide is meant to help you understand intermittent fasting, its benefits, and how you can incorporate it into your life.
- What Is Intermittent Fasting?
- Intermittent Fasting Benefits
- Intermittent Fasting & Weight Loss
- Types of Intermittent Fasting
- Should You Try Intermittent Fasting?
- Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Okay, not to sound all stodgy but I want to use the right words here.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between fasting (not eating) and eating.
Didn’t that sound stodgy? Bleh.
Intermittent fasting is not about which foods that you eat. That is dependent on the diet (or no diet) that you are following.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, it’s an eating pattern.
There are several different intermittent fasting methods and they all split the day or week into different eating and fasting periods.
Unless you’re the one person on the planet that eats while they sleep, then you put yourself through a fasting period already.
Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending the period of time you don’t eat. Maybe you decide to skip breakfast and wait until lunch before having your first set of calories.
That is intermittent fasting.
If you decided to skip breakfast, ate lunch at Noon and the last time you ate prior to that was 8 pm the night before, then you’ve fasted for 16 hours.
See, intermittent fasting, technically, isn’t that hard to do. What gets people caught up is a routine. Lots of people are used to waking up and eating breakfast.
Knocking yourself out of that routine can be tough, especially if you cave in at the first sign of hunger. However, hunger isn’t usually an issue with basic intermittent fasting.
Once your body gets used to your eating pattern then you’ll find that intermittent fasting is a walk in the park.
What Can You Consume During the Fasting Period?
This is a good question to ask. No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages. There are arguments on whether or not you can drink bulletproof coffee while fasting so I’ll leave that up to you.
Some people like to take a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to curb any hunger. I like to drink flavored seltzer water since it tricks my mind into thinking I’m filling up with a sweet drink.
There are some forms of fasting that allow small amounts of low-calories foods but for the purpose of this article, we’ll continue to talk about the ones that don’t allow you to eat until the eating period begins.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
You probably know that humans have already been fasting for thousands of years. There wasn’t always a grocery store on every corner where you could grab some food.
You had to hunt or gather your food and if you couldn’t do either, then you just didn’t eat.
Many religions also incorporate fasting in their practices.
Do you like to eat when you’re sick? Probably not. Humans and animals alike tend not to eat when they are sick (this is fasting).
There is absolutely nothing unnatural about fasting and our bodies are designed to handle extended periods of not eating.
This all sounds great but what are the benefits of fasting? While there are many, let’s cover the major ones.
Reduction in Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
When your body doesn’t have glucose to use as fuel it must begin to turn to other sources of energy. In the case of the ketogenic diet, this fuel source is ketones.
When you aren’t constantly pumping your body full of carbs then your body has no need to produce insulin so your insulin levels drop. When there is less sugar in your body then your blood sugar levels become more controlled.
Many people that look into IF do so to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting is a very simple way to restrict your calories and burn fat. This is why people that want to get into ketosis quickly, do some form of intermittent fasting to speed up the process.
The faster you can enter ketosis, the fast your body can start burning fat for fuel.
This one is hard to gauge but there are studies showing that rats live longer on an IF routine.
This suggests that you can live longer just as easily as you can lose weight with intermittent fasting. Even if it isn’t the case where you live longer, the benefits are all great signs of a healthy life.
Instead of having to eat 4+ times a day you can condense your meals into 1-3. This means less worrying about what you’re going to eat and when.
When you don’t have to focus on what your next meal is going to be you can focus more on other things.
I guess you can call intermittent fasting a life hack.
I want to dive a bit deeper into intermittent fasting and weight loss so let’s do that.
Intermittent Fasting & Weight Loss
As mentioned before, weight loss is the most common reason that people try IF.
By eating fewer meals, intermittent fasting can lead to a lower daily calorie intake but that’s assuming you eat less and not try to cram what you usually eat into an 8-hour session.
The basis of any weight loss program is that you burn more calories than you consume so if you burn 1500 calories a day just by sitting and an intermittent fasting routine leads you to only eat 1200 calories in a day, then you’ll lose some weight.
But the greater effect that intermittent fasting has is one your hormones. IF lowers insulin levels and increases human growth hormone levels. More importantly, it increases the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
Because of these small changes in hormones, IF can lead to an increase in metabolic rates.
Eat less and burn more. That flips the calorie equation on its head.
All of this sounds great so what are the different types of IF and which one should you choose?
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are several different methods of IF and to cover all of them would take more words than you want to read. Instead, let’s take a look at the more popular ones.
- The 16:8 Method: You fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour period (not 8 hours straight). For example, you eat from 10am – 6pm and fast until 10am the next day.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: 2x a week you do a 24-hour fast. Usually this means that you don’t eat anything for dinner one day until the next day when dinner time arrives.
- The 5:2 Diet: Pick 2 days of the week and only consume 500-600 calories on those days.
The most popular method is the the 16:8 method popularized by Martin Berkhan. I prefer this method because it’s the easiest to stick with and requires no thinking. I know I can eat at 11 am and I need to finish eating by 7 pm every day.
After a couple of days, it just becomes a natural way of eating. Often I’ll look at the clock and see that it’s 2 pm and I haven’t eaten anything yet!
Sometimes I’ll eat at 3 pm and then just not be hungry anymore so I’ll skip dinner and just wait until 11 am the next day so, in reality, I’m fasting for 20+ hours sometimes without even a second thought of eating.
Should You Try Intermittent Fasting?
Unfortunately, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone.
If you are underweight or have a history of eating disorder then you shouldn’t try intermittent fasting without consulting a health professional first. It can even be harmful if this is the case with you.
Intermittent fasting isn’t something that you need to do to lose weight. It is simply a lifestyle choice that people make that can improve their health.
Clean eating, physical activity and plenty of sleep are still the staples of living a healthy life.
There is no nutrition solution that will work for everybody. The best method of eating is the one that you can stick with forever.
Should Women Do Intermittent Fasting?
There is evidence that intermittent fasting doesn’t work for some women. In fact, it does the complete opposite and makes things worse!
There is a study that shows that intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity in men, but made blood sugar control worse in women.
There are also plenty of stories of women who’ve had their periods stop completely when they started with IF and things went back to normal when they stopped.
Because of these reasons, women should be careful with IF. Ease yourself into it and if you experience any problems then stop doing it.
Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
The main side effect of IF is hunger. You are probably used to eating any time that you are hungry so holding off until a certain time will be weird initially.
If you’re familiar with the side effects of keto, then you’ll know about the additional side effects of intermittent fasting like feeling lethargic and a foggy brain.
These pass over time.
If you have a medical condition then it’s important that you consult with your doctor before trying IF. This especially holds true if you:
- Have diabetes
- Have problems with blood sugar regulation
- Take medications
- Have a history of eating disorders
- Have low blood pressure
- Are a female that is trying to conceive
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
With all of that being said there is nothing dangerous about not eating for a bit of time if you are healthy overall.
One of the staples of the keto diet is bulletproof coffee. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- People love coffee
- It’s a great way to get the fats needed to start your day
- People really love coffee
Bulletproof coffee comes in many forms so there is no one true way to make it. However, if you’re looking for a simple way to make bulletproof coffee then this post is for you.
- What Is Bulletproof Coffee?
- How to Make Bulletproof Coffee
- Bulletproof Coffee Benefits
- Bulletproof Coffee & Keto
What Is Bulletproof Coffee?
You can consider bulletproof coffee to be a high-performance drink because it can have a massive impact on your energy levels along with your cognitive function (read people’s minds).
The idea behind bulletproof coffee is that you load it up with healthy fats that will provide you with the energy and brain fuel that you need to tackle your day.
It’s not meant to be a special coffee pour that you eat with a couple of donuts.
Instead, it’s usually taken on its own and acts as a breakfast for many people.
How to Make Bulletproof Coffee
While there are many different ways to make your own version of bulletproof coffee, the “official” way of making bulletproof is as follows (found on Bulletproof.com):
- Brew 1 cup of coffee using filtered water with 2 1/2 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee. Using a French Press makes things a bit easier and allows you to preserve the beneficial coffee oils that filter paper keeps out.
- Add 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of healthy fats (most people do coconut oil).
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter or grass-fed ghee. This throws people off because who adds butter to their coffee? People that drink bulletproof coffee, that’s who.
- Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a foamy latte.
That’s it. Not too complicated at all. You’re basically making coffee and adding some things to it that you wouldn’t usually do.
The ketogenic diet, also known as keto, is a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet which puts your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. It’s more than just a trendy fad diet as it’s been around since the 1920s.
It’s one of the best ways to lose weight, increase mental focus, and just feel happier about life.
The idea behind the ketogenic diet is that when your body enters ketosis, the liver begins to produce an energy source known as ketones. These ketones are used to fuel your body and help to provide a consistent source of energy unlike glucose (carbs).
So what makes this diet so awesome and why is everybody talking about it? Because it completely resets your body and has it working the way it was intended.
Its whole premise is based on the idea that your body runs more efficiently as a fat burner than a sugar burner.
- Being a Fat Burner vs a Sugar Burner
- Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
- What Do I Eat on a Keto Diet?
- Macros and the Ketogenic Diet
- How to Start a Keto Diet
- How to Reach Ketosis
- Types of Ketogenic Diets
- Keto Flu
- Keto Diet Side Effects
- Keto on a Budget
Being a Fat Burner vs a Sugar Burner
When you eat something that is high in carbs (which usually means it’s extra delicious) then your body will simply convert it into glucose and insulin.
Now, I’m not going to expect you to understand either of these things so let’s break them down a bit further:
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert into energy and that’s what makes it the preferred energy source. Many times when you’re craving a donut or cookie it’s not because you are hungry, it’s because your body wants an easy energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process glucose in your bloodstream so that it can be transported around your body.
When you put things like this, it seems like being a sugar burner is the way to go. Your body processes things efficiently and you get to do what you want.
The problem with this route is that when glucose is used as the primary energy source, then your body has no need for fats. It doesn’t get rid of them (that would be great), instead it stores them because it never knows when they will be used.
Also, your body doesn’t keep the extra glucose around for when you decide to run to your mailbox. Instead, it converts that into fat and stores it as well. Almost everything seems like it gets converted into fat and stored.
You can start to see why you might adding those love handles you never expected.
The average person’s diet is based heavily on glucose and therefore most people are storing fat. When your body runs out of glucose it doesn’t immediately start to use the fat for energy. Instead, it tells you that you need MORE glucose so go and grab that cookie.
Hopefully, by now you can begin to see how this cycle continues and unless you are really active, the fat begins to build up and produce a body that you don’t want.
If your body doesn’t have extra glucose to store then it can’t be converted to fat. If your body begins to understand that it can’t rely on glucose as an energy source then it turns to fat.
That is why the ketogenic diet is so successful.
Your body stops being a sugar burner and becomes a fat burner.
Becoming a Fat Burner
When you lower your intake of carbs (low carb diet) then your body knows that it must find an alternative energy source and fat is the next best thing. However, fat itself can’t be used by your organs so the fat needs to be converted into ketones.
When your body is running efficiently and converting fat into ketones this is known as ketosis.
It’s important to understand that ketosis is a natural process and is the reason why you can go weeks without eating. Most of us have enough fat stored in our bodies to last us a good while (sad but true).
One of the questions you might be asking now is why doesn’t the liver constantly break down fats into ketones? You have to remember, your body is a pretty efficient machine so if it has an easier energy source to process (glucose) then it’s not going to bother producing another.
That’s why you need to deprive your body of one energy source so that it can start to create another.
Insulin is another big reason why your liver can’t do what you want it to do.
How Insulin Keeps You Fat
Insulin is a hormone that plays a huge role in preventing fat cells from entering the bloodstream. If fat cells can’t enter the bloodstream then they can’t enter the liver and be converted into ketones.
When you lower the number of carbs you eat, then glucose and blood sugar levels drop which in turn decreases the need for insulin. When the insulin levels drop enough, the fat cells begin to release the water they are storing. This is why people usually have a sudden drop in weight when starting keto.
They are losing water weight (which is what is supposed to happen).
When the water is released, it shrinks the size of the fat cells allowing them to enter the bloodstream where they can then enter the liver and be converted into ketones.
This is the end goal of the keto diet. You don’t enter this state of ketosis by starving yourself.
Starving is never a healthy diet or a way to live. Instead, you’re just simply eating less of the stuff that prevents fat cells from entering your liver.
You enter ketosis by starving your body of carbohydrates, not food.
Now that you understand the science behind the ketogenic diet lets talk about its benefits.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
Often you’ll hear people say that keto changed their lives and this isn’t an exaggeration. While weight loss is the obvious benefit of the ketogenic diet, it’s not the one that keeps people around.
You can only lose so much weight!
It’s the other benefits that make people say it’s a lifestyle and not a diet so let’s dive into the benefits of the keto diet.
Again, this is the obvious one. Rarely do people want to change lifelong eating habits to gain weight.
Because keto is meant to help you burn fat and use it as an energy source then it makes sense that it is a good diet to help you burn fat.
Starve yourself of carbs which lowers insulin levels which in turn allows fat cells to enter the bloodstream which in turn allows them to be converted into ketones.
A truly efficient fat burning machine.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Many people around the world suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is caused by your body’s inability to handle insulin. Because keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels, your body produces less insulin.
Keto has been shown to have huge benefits for people that are pre-diabetic or have Type II diabetes.
Because keto helps to maintain your blood sugar levels and keep them more consistent you find that you have more control of your everyday life. This is a huge benefit.
You won’t be able to read minds or anything but it’s amazing to feel like nothing is clouding your brain. Apparently, carbs can make you feel foggy and if you’ve been on carbs long enough then you just don’t notice it anymore.
However, when you switch over to keto you’ll notice that you can concentrate on single tasks better. You don’t get distracted as easily and you think with a lot more clarity.
Again, you won’t be able to read minds but your mental performance will definitely improve and if you want to know a reason why it’s because when your body is using ketones as an energy source, that proves to be a consistent energy source.
When your body depends on glucose, energy levels fluctuate because the amount of glucose in your body is constantly changing. However, with ketones, your body is able to produce a consistent level (depending on your needs) so your brain doesn’t have to go through fluctuations of fuel.
Increase in Energy
No more feeling groggy or wanting to take an afternoon nap.
When your body has consistent energy then that means consistent performance throughout the day.
Who knew that you were supposed to feel fine throughout the day and not just during certain moments?
Because your body can only store so much glucose that means its fuel source is limiting unless you’re able to constantly replenish it.
Carbs can also cause spikes in blood sugar levels and you know what happens when those levels suddenly drop: you crash…hard.
Ketosis helps to provide your body with a reliable energy source throughout the day so you can just keep on chugging along.
Better Appetite Control
It’s one thing to be on a diet and starve yourself and it’s another thing to be on a diet and just not be hungry at all because your body is doing just fine.
But that’s what happens on keto.
People find that one of the hardest things about the diet isn’t sticking to it, it’s reaching their daily macros because they have no urge to eat.
If you aren’t hungry, you aren’t hungry.
When your diet is filled with carbs you’ll often think that you are hungry when in fact, your body is simply craving more glucose.
Another plus about the ketogenic diet is that because you’re loading your body up with healthy fats you end up feeling naturally satisfied. This leaves your body in a satiated state for much longer.
No more random cravings. No more feeling like you’re going to collapse if you don’t eat something immediately.
In fact, you won’t even think about being hungry which will allow you to focus on other things.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet can help to improve both triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels.
Why is this awesome?
Because it means that there is less toxic buildup in the arteries which allows blood to flow more freely throughout your body. Exactly as it should be.
Low carb and high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL (this is the good cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL (this is the bad cholesterol).
All of this helps with improved blood pressure. This is no surprise considering that most blood pressure issues arise from being overweight and since the keto diet helps with weight, an obvious benefit is a decrease in blood pressure.
Type II diabetes occurs when your body can’t handle the insulin that it produces.
Because the ketogenic diet helps to lower insulin levels to healthy ranges, many people find that they are no longer on the cusp of getting diabetes.
Because a lot of skin issues are related to hormones and keto helps to balance all hormone levels in your body, you end up with better skin without any additional creams or medications.
This is one of those things that you would never think about but I don’t think anyone is going to argue against having better skin.
The keto diet was originally created in the 1920s for sufferers of epilepsy and it has been used ever since and is still one of the most widely used treatments for children suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy.
Keto is great for epilepsy because it reduces the amount of medication epilepsy sufferers need to take which is always a good thing.
If you’re looking for more awesome things that keto brings to the table then check out What is Ketosis where we do a deeper dive into what ketosis is all about and how it can benefit you.
Now that you understand the benefits of keto you’re probably wondering what you should eat when doing keto.
What Do I Eat on a Keto Diet?
I’m not going to pretend that the keto diet is one of those diets that allow you to eat anything that you want while also making you secretly train for a marathon.
While there are a ton of keto recipes for you to choose some, there are limits to what you can eat.
Keto food is delicious. If you think you’re going to miss out on sweets then don’t worry because keto fat bombs will make sure your sweet tooth is satisfied.
It’s important to understand what you can eat on keto because you can easily knock yourself out of keto if you munch on something that you believe is safe like a bag of carrots.
Thankfully, most of the foods that you need to avoid are pretty obvious.
Foods to Avoid on Keto
- Grains: wheat, corn, bread, rice, pasta, cereal
- Sugar: honey, agave, maple syrup
- Fruit: apples, bananas, oranges
- Tubers: potato, yams
If your diet consists of most of these things you might think that there is nothing left. For instance, if you can’t eat bread then what do you do?
You turn to some form of keto bread.
Love fruit? Well, there are some fruits you can eat on keto but they probably aren’t the ones that you’re thinking of.
Generally, you shouldn’t feel yourself being left out of good food.
Now, let’s talk about the foods you can eat.
Food to Eat on Keto
- Meats: fish, beef, lamb, poultry, egg
- Leafy Greens: spinach, kale
- Above Ground Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower (you’ll find this in a LOT of recipes)
- High Fat Dairy: hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter
- Nuts and Seeds: macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Avocado and Berries: raspberries, blueberries and other low glycemic index berries
- Sweeteners: stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
- Other Healthy Fats: coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats
If you’re looking for an easy to read list of keto-friendly foods then check out this keto shopping list which will help you for any time that you go shopping.
Now that you understand what foods you can eat does this mean you get to eat all of the food that you want? Unfortunately, no.
You need to figure out your macros and use those as a guide. What the heck are macros? Let’s find out.
Macros and the Ketogenic Diet
Any weight loss diet begins with the premise that you need to put yourself in a caloric deficit. What does that mean? It means you are burning more calories than you are consuming.
This is why people get so caught up in calorie counts but they aren’t really something you need to track on keto as long as you know your macros.
Macros are going to be your main source of calories. The macros that you need to keep an eye on to be successful with the ketogenic diet are:
Because the ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet, that means the majority of your calories need to come from fats. Makes sense right?
The general ratio of macros to follow is 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbs. If that seems confusing to you then this is how it would break down if your daily calorie limit was 100 calories (nobody is this low):
- 70% of the calories are going to come from fats. This doesn’t mean 70g of fats because 70g of fats doesn’t equal 70 calories. Instead, 1g of fat equals 9 calories. So if you need to get 70 calories (70% of daily limit) from fats, then you would need to eat 7.78 grams of fat.
- 25% protein means you need to eat 6.25 grams of fat. Why? Because 1g of protein is equal to 4 calories. 25 calories divided by 4 equals 6.25.
- 5% of carbohydrates means you only get 1.25 grams of carbs a day.
Remember, these numbers are all lower than what you’ll eat in a day because we are working off of a 100 calorie day.
When talking about carbs I should’ve been more specific. Instead of 1.25 grams of any carbs a day, you are allowed to consume 1.25g of NET CARBS.
What are those?
Total Carbs vs Net Carbs
It’s important to understand that not all carbs are created equal. Some carbs are derived from fiber which doesn’t present any harm to your body. Because of this we can subtract the amount of fiber from the total amount of carbs to get the net carbs.
On a nutrition label you’ll see Total Carbohydrates and two things underneath it: Fiber and Sugars.
To calculate your net carbs you simply use this equation:
Total Carbohydrates – Fiber = Net Carbs
If there are 25g of total carbohydrates in something and 7g of fiber then the net carbs for that something is 18g.
Because the keto diet is based around the concept of eating a small amount of carbs a day it’s important that you keep an eye on the amount of carbs you consume.
This is also why people get tripped up eating vegetables because you would never think that vegetables can be a large source of carbs.
When people used to tell you to eat your vegetables as a child they never said “eat your vegetables but only those with a low amount of carbs”.
Some vegetables just have a higher amount of net carbs than other vegetables. That’s why when you go through keto recipes you’ll find that a lot of your favorite vegetables might not be present.
Below is a table showing you the different amount of net carbs in popular vegetables.
|Spinach (Raw)||1/2 Cup||0.1|
|Bok Choi||1/2 Cup||0.2|
|Lettuce (Romaine)||1/2 Cup||0.2|
|Cauliflower (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||0.9|
|Cabbage (Green Raw)||1/2 Cup||1.1|
|Cauliflower (Raw)||1/2 Cup||1.4|
|Broccoli (Florets)||1/2 Cup||2|
|Collard Greens||1/2 Cup||2|
|Kale (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||2.1|
|Green Beans (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||2.9|
If you’re interested in diving in deeper into keto and vegetables then check out 11 Low Carb Vegetables That You Can Safely Eat on Keto.
Alright, now you probably think you got the hang of things so the next question is how do you get started on keto?
How to Start a Keto Diet
By now you’re probably excited to give the keto diet a shot. I don’t blame you, it’s awesome.
However, one of the worst things that you can do is think that you can just go to the store right now and dive right in.
Many people fail keto because they aren’t prepared, not because it is hard.
Before you jump head first into the ketogenic diet I suggest that you take the time to understand meal planning on keto so you don’t have any missteps.
Also, understand how to calculate your macros on keto using some type of macros calculator.
If you nail those two things then it just comes down to execution which also includes drinking enough water each day and making sure that you are getting enough sleep. This article answers the quesiton of how much water should you drink per day.
As for sleep, well just make sure you get enough of it.
If you don’t want to plan meals because you think it takes too much time or it’s something you don’t like doing then keto is going to be a little bit harder for you.
You can always do keto blind and just make up the meals as you go along but then you aren’t sure if you are getting the fats and protein you need or making sure that you’re keeping your body in a caloric deficit.
It’s not impossible, it just makes things a little bit harder.
Overall, it’s important to make food that you enjoy and that means experimenting a bunch. You won’t like every single keto recipe that you prepare so expect a lot of trial and error until you get things nailed down.
Once you begin your keto journey you’ll wonder how you can get your body into ketosis as quickly as possible.
How to Reach Ketosis
Because the whole premise of the ketogenic diet is to get your body into a state of ketosis, it’s important to understand how to reach it.
In the book, The 3-Day Weight Loss Manual, a technique is shown that helps you enter ketosis in 3 days.
If you aren’t in that much of a hurry or want to go extreme with fasting and carb reduction then you can take things a bit more slowly and still enter ketosis in a short amount of time.
Before I show you some steps to enter ketosis it’s important to remember that every person’s body is different. Some people enter ketosis in days while others take weeks. It’s completely dependent on the body and how it handles foods.
With that being said, here are some great tips to help you enter ketosis:
- Restrict your carbohydrates. While you’re already restricting your carbs on keto you can push it even more by only consuming 5g or less of carbs a day.
- Restrict your protein. Protein is sneaky because too much of it and your body will begin to convert it into glucose which is what you don’t want because once the body notices it has glucose it can use it will switch over to that and knock you out of ketosis (or prevent you from entering it).
- Stop worrying about fats. To lose weight on keto you need to consume fat. This goes against what many people believe in but healthy fats are the best way to lose weight so you need to get over that mental block.
- Drink lots of water. If you aren’t consuming enough water then the organs in your body can’t function properly. There is no point in eating right if your body can’t do what it is supposed to with the foods. Drinking plain water can get tiring so I like to either use MiO in my water (this kind also helps to replenish electrolytes) or I’ll turn to a detox water to change things up.
- Careful with snacking. Snacking is what gets many people in trouble when trying to lose weight. When you snack you aren’t sure the amount of carbs you are consuming. That’s why it’s important to find the right kind of keto snacks to keep you in ketosis.
- Consider fasting. Many people on keto like to do some form of intermittent fasting because it forces the body to rely on fats as an energy source.
- Add in exercise. The fast your burn calories, the faster your body needs to find more energy. Combine exercise with fasting and you have a fast track way to enter ketosis. Tabata workouts are great for keto. A simple 20-30 minute daily walk can also work wonders.
- Consider using supplements. There are a number of keto supplements out there that can help you reach ketosis quicker and stay in it. They aren’t necessary but it can sometimes be hard getting all of the vitamins, minerals, and fats that you need simply through the food that you eat.
Most importantly, always check the list of ingredients in the foods that you eat. If sugar is near the top of the list then you probably shouldn’t touch it.
How to Know if You’re in Ketosis
There is no point in trying to get into ketosis if you can’t tell when you’re in ketosis so let’s talk about the different ways you can tell if you’re in ketosis.
The most popular way to test your body for ketones. Keto strips are small pieces of strips that you urinate on.
They will tell you the number of ketones in your urine.
However, more ketones don’t always mean you’re in ketosis and low ketones don’t always mean you’re out of ketosis.
These strips are helpful to understand how much ketones your body is producing at the beginning of your ketogenic journey.
Once your body gets used to using ketones as an energy source it gets better at producing the right amount so ketone strips may no longer show any more ketones present in your urine.
You can purchase these strips on Amazon or head down to your local CVS.
Blood Glucose Meter
You can go the more expensive route of buying a Blood Glucose Meter which tell you the level of glucose in your system.
The lower the reading, the closer you are to ketosis.
However, this can be a pretty expensive way to test for ketosis because the test strips can be pricey over time.
If you don’t want to buy anything then you can look for symptoms of ketosis.
Because your body is going through a process that you’re not used to, you’ll begin to notice some crazy things happening which are signs of ketosis.
- Increased urination: Doing keto is a natural diuretic so don’t be surprised if you find yourself going to the bathroom more than usual especially with how much water you’ll be consuming. Because your body is now producing ketones, one of them is Acetoacetate which is excreted through the urine.
- Dry mouth: The more fluids that are leaving your body, the fewer fluids you have to keep certain parts wet (your mouth silly). This is your body telling you that you need more electrolytes. This is the reason why I sometimes add this MiO to my water. Also, don’t hesitate to salt up every meal. Salt can be your friend.
- Bad breath: Acetone, another ketone, is partially excreted through your breath. It doesn’t smell good but over time it disappears. If you want to fight it at the beginning then feel free to chew many of the sugar-free gums out there.
- Reduced hunger and increased energy: This is the sign that lets me know I’m definitely on the right path because it’s so noticeable. When I feel less hungry and yet have more energy I know that my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.
When doing keto, the last thing you want to do is continuously test to see if your body is in ketosis. For some people, it becomes an obsession and tends to distract from the main goal of getting healthy.
If you want to dive deeper into ketosis and its signs then check out What Is Ketosis? The Thing Behind the Ketogenic Diet Explained and 7 Signs You Might Be in Ketosis When Doing the Ketogenic Diet.
Types of Ketogenic Diets
If you continue to do research on the ketogenic diet you’ll find that there are actually a couple of different versions of the ketogenic diet.
The reason for this is that people have different needs. For example, if you’re a bodybuilder, you probably need more protein than the daily recommended 20%.
If you’re a marathon runner you might want to consume some carbs before the big race.
These are completely different strategies that one needs to incorporate that differ from the traditional keto diet and this is why there are variations of the keto diet.
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is the version that we are talking about in this article with the 75/20/5 ratio of macros.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): This is a small variation where you follow SKD but consume a small amount of fast-digesting carbs before any strenuous physical activity.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This is a much more complicated version of keto that is mainly used by bodybuilders. In this version of keto you give yourself one day a week to “carb up” and resupply your glycogen stores.
So if you are someone that does an insane amount of physical activity just know you aren’t limited by the traditional keto diet that many people talk about.
Speaking of physical activity, should you do any type of exercise on keto?
Many people that have high levels of physical activity are concerned that keto will lower their performance levels. It’s easy to understand why they believe this because we are conditioned to believe that we need carbs to fuel us.
Hopefully by now you understand that carbs (glucose) isn’t the only energy source that your body can use.
However, you might experience a slight perfomance hit at the beginning of your keto journey but that is because your body needs to adjust.
If you want to learn more about exercising on keto then check out Keto Workout: Exercising While on a Ketogenic Diet.
Now it’s time to talk about the bad side of keto.
When you start on your ketogenic diet journey it’s important to remember that you are completely rewiring your body. This transition doesn’t come without some short term consequences.
While switching over to keto you’ll have this funky period where your body uses up all of your glycogen stores and it hasn’t produced enough enzymes yet to break down fat into ketones.
What does that mean?
It means your body doesn’t have a fuel source that it can turn to which can lead to a lack of energy and general lethargy. This can be quite discouraging because one of the huge benefits of keto is increased energy and this is the completely opposite.
However, this is only temporary and you just need to fight through it.
People also experience headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness and aggravation. None of this sounds appealing at all but there are ways you can preven this from happening.
All of this is usually caused by the lack of electrolytes so if you’re able to keep your sodium intake at a good level throughout the day you should be alright.
If this sounds like the flu to you then that’s almost exactly what it is and it’s why it’s called keto flu.
What Is Keto Flu and How to Prevent It
Keto Flu is a very common experience for people doing the ketogenic diet and it’s also the reason why many people quit.
Nobody wants to feel terrible and the easiest way to stop feeling terrible is to stop the cause of it so people end up quitting.
However, you can find the Keto Flu if you understand why it is occurring.
- Keto is a diuretic. Every time you urinate you’re losing electrolytes and water. To combat this some people like to drink bone broth or make a drink using a bouillion cube. The goal is to replace the electrolytes that you’re using.
- Your body is transitioning to a new system. For however many years you’ve conditioned your body to work with carbs. Telling it suddenly switch to fats isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s like telling a car factory that they are now going to start making boats.
The faster you can get your body in ketosis the faster you can get out of (or avoid) Keto Flu. Sticking to less than 20g of carbs a day is a good start but if you can drop that even lower then your chances of entering ketosis increase.
Remember to drink your water and monitor your electrolyte intake daily.
To learn more about keto flu check out Keto Flu: What It Is and How to Beat It the Healthy Way.
Keto Diet Side Effects
Besides keto flu are there any other side effects of keto?
Don’t be alarmed though because these side effects won’t affect everyone. Remember, we all have different bodies so how your body will handle keto can differ from how mine does.
Because keto is a diuretic you end up losing a lot of fluids. When your body is dehydrated you can experience cramps so the best way to retain some fluids is by upping your water and sodium intake.
If you find that this isn’t helping with the cramps then you can also incorporate a magnesium supplement.
When I first started keto I didn’t poop for days.
This isn’t normal. When you’re dehydrated you’ll find that you are using the bathroom less and that’s not a good thing.
You can prevent this by increasing the amount of water that you drink and making sure that the vegetables you are eating are filled with quality fiber.
For some people even this isn’t enough so they need to supplement (initially) with psyllium husk powder.
This sounds scarier than it really is. On keto your heart may begin to beat faster but this is standard for a lot of people.
As usual, you need to make sure that you’re drinking enough water and eating enough sodium. If the problem decides to stick around longer than you want then look into adding a potassium supplement to your daily routine.
Reduced Physical Performance
Since your body hasn’t fully transitioned over to keto yet, you’ll find that your physical performance might slip due to the lack of energy.
This will disappear once your body enters ketosis.
As you can see, the side effects aren’t terrible and you can prepare for them if you plan ahead. Ensuring you keep electrolytes in your body will many times prevent any of these side effects from even showing their face.
Taking supplements and restricting yourself to non-processed foods sounds like it can get expensive but it really isn’t.
In fact, you can do keto on a budget.
Keto on a Budget
Some people wish to believe that eating keto costs more. This is simply not true.
Initially, you might find yourself spending more money than usualy when you go shopping but that’s only because you need different ingredient from what you’re used to.
For example, how many people keep almond flour around or coconut oil?
However, once you switch your pantry over to a keto pantry the food costs are still the same if not lower.
Because you’re going to be eating a lot of meat (if you’re not a vegetarian) then you can buy meat in bulk and freeze it.
If you really want to push the limits you can also grow your own vegetables and herbs.
Keto also forces you to cook for yourself more instead of eating out which will save you a ton of money.
Meal planning will also help you save money since you won’t randomly buy meals that don’t fit your plan.
One of the greatest advantages to cooking on keto is that you’ll find you have a lot of leftover food that you can eat the next day. Leftovers always save money.
They can save time as well. For instance, you might decide to do some keto with an instant pot so that you can throw food in and simply walk away.
On keto, money and time shouldn’t be an issue if you really want to achieve the body that you want.
Doing a diet is never easy, not even the keto diet when you aren’t sure what you can eat. In this post, I’m going to go over the different foods to eat on the keto diet. Consider it the ultimate ketogenic diet food list.
So why is it important to understand what foods you can eat when doing keto? Because keto is a science.
While the basic philosophy is that you eat a low amount of carbs, a medium amount of protein, and a high amount of fat, it’s hard to do any of that if you don’t know what you can and can not eat.
Just because you’re on a “diet” that doesn’t mean you should load up on vegetables.
The Ketogenic Diet Food List
The foods below follow the strict 5% guideline when it comes to carbs. This is what most people use as an allowance when calculating their daily macros.
If you’re trying to find an easy way to keep track of what is allowed then this general list should help you out:
- Vegetables: Since this is what most people are going to lean on it’s important that you stick to above ground vegetables (bye bye potatoes) and if you can stick to mostly leafy greens.
- Dairy: Worried you can’t have cheese? Please. You can have cheese. Lots of cheese. Most dairy is fine and you’ll want to use the full-fat variety. The harder the cheese, the fewer the carbs.
- Fats & Oils: You want to get as many fats from natural sources as possible like meat and nuts. However, there are times when you won’t be able to reach your macro count for fats so you’ll need to supplement with saturated and monounsaturated fats. These can be found in coconut oil, butter, and olive oil.
- Protein: This is where a lot of people tend to mess up because it’s much easier to eat protein (meat) than it is to try and load up on fats. The reason why this is a problem is that if you eat too much protein your body simply breaks it down into glucose which is the opposite of what you want it to do.
- Nuts and Seeds: Not all nuts and seeds are created equal. A handful of almonds won’t do as much damage as a handful of macadamia nuts. Nuts and seeds are great for snacks in keto but only when taken in moderation.
- Drinks: What do you drink on keto? Water, lots of water. Many people like to start off with a bulletproof coffee and others tea. I tend to stick with flavored seltzer water or water with some Mio.
Fats and Oils
Since the ketogenic diet is all about fats it’s important to understand where you get your fats from.
The great thing about fats is that there are so many different ways to add them to your meals that you’ll feel like you’re the most creative person in the world when you decide to add butter to your eggs.
While fats are vital to our bodies they can be very dangerous if you’re consuming the wrong ones. I don’t want to scare you away from all fats because the bad fats are pretty easy to avoid when you know what you’re looking for.
Here is a quick rundown of the different types of fats:
- Saturated Fats: You want to consume these. They can be found in butter, ghee, coconut oil, and lard.
- Monounsaturated Fats: You want to consume these. These can be found in such things as olives, avocados and macadamia nut oils.
- Polyunsaturated Fats: Here is where things can get confusing to people. Naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats found in animal protein and fatty fish are great for you. Process polyunsaturated fat, like the type found in margarine, is not good for you.
- Trans Fats: There should be a skull and bones sign here because these are the fats that you want to avoid at all costs. They are what get people in trouble and give the good fats a bad name.
Why are saturated and monosaturated fats okay for people? Because chemically they are more stable and therefore cause less inflammation. These are the fats that you can find in butter, macadamia nuts, coconut oil and other awesome things.
Omega-3 and Omega-6
You’ve probably heard of these fatty acids. Because scientists like to confuse the hell out of people you would think that there isn’t much difference between them but there is.
Omega-3 is the fatty acid that you don’t want to cut back on. It’s primarily found in fish and that’s why you see people pimping out fish oil so often.
You can also find it in some plant sources like nuts and seeds. These make for great keto snacks when eaten in moderation.
The main issue with consuming too many nuts and seeds (besides some having high carb counts) is that they can also contain a high number of Omega-6 which is high-inflammatory.
Simply keeping an eye on your snacking and any desserts high in almond flour will usually help you maintain a solid balance of omegas.
If you want to read more about Omega-3 and its health benefits then check out Omega-3: A Simple Weight Loss Guide to the Healthy Fat.
Where to Find Fats and Oils
So in what foods can you find the fats and oils that you need to get the omegas into you? Great question and that’s what this post is about.
These foods are ideal for fats and oils as well as being keto-friendly:
- Animal Fat
- Fatty Fish
- Olive Oil
- MCT Oil (amazing)
- Macadamia Nuts
- Egg Yolks
- Coconut Butter
- Coconut Oil
When using vegetable oils stick to cold-pressed options if you they are available to you.
With fats out of the way, it’s time to take a look at Proteins.
Protein on Keto
Proteins are something that most people are aware of because we are drilled at a young age that we need eat protein so we can get big muscles.
Or something like that.
This can cause a lot of headaches while doing keto because often you think you should be eating MORE protein when in reality your body doesn’t need as much as you think.
In fact, too much protein just causes your body to convert the excess into glucose which can either knock you out of ketosis or keep you out of it.
With all of that being said, you want to get protein in you to maintain your muscle mass and ensure that your body has the amino acids available to produce more lean muscle.
So where do you find protein? If you’re a non-vegetarian then your best bet is going to be in pasture-raised and grass-fed meat.
Because it minimizes the bacteria and more importantly hormones that you’re consuming.
If you’re eating poultry, darker meat has more fat than white meat so if you can roll with that, do it.
Of course, you already know about the awesomeness of fatty fish like tuna and salmon.
When it comes to meat you’re pretty much free to eat whatever you want. If you’re thinking about jerky as a snack then be sure to read the nutrition label as many jerkys are loaded with sugar to help preserve the meat.
There are ketogenic jerkys out there if you keep your eyes open.
If you find yourself eating a protein-heavy meal be sure to balance it out with fatty side dishes or sauces.
Here is a list of foods that are great sources of protein on keto:
- Whole Eggs
- Other Meat
- Bacon (yum) and Sausage
- Nut Butter
As long as you consume protein in moderation you should be fine with regards to ketosis and losing weight.
If you’re a vegetarian and you’re wondering if keto is for you then check out these vegtarian keto recipes that should help give you an idea of true balance.
Speaking of vegetarian, let’s take a look at vegetables and fruits now.
Vegetables and Fruit on Keto
I love keto. I wouldn’t have started this site if I didn’t. I really do think it’s the future of eating but there is one thing that sucks about keto.
The lack of sweet and refreshing fruit.
You can find replacements for bread and pasta. However, you can’t find a replacement for an apple or watermelon! Unfortunately, some things you do have to sacrifice on keto.
After a while, you do start to lose the cravings for sweet things but even if you don’t then you always have fat bombs to fall back on.
Okay, let’s actually talk about what you can eat with regards to vegetables and fruits.
Vegetables are going to become a huge staple of your keto lifestyle. Unfortunately, you do have to be careful with regards to what vegetables you consume. Some contain a crazy amount of sugars so we need to make sure we don’t include them.
The best type of vegetables for keto are the ones that pack a ton of nutrients but minimize the carbs. These are mostly dark and leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc).
You want to try and eat vegetables that are grown above ground and are leafy and green. “Organic” has a bad reputation due to price, but if you can grab it then get it since it should contains fewer pesticides.
If you don’t want your vegetables to go bad quickly then buy frozen vegetables. They are just as good as the fresh variety.
Almost any vegetable can be consumed in moderation so you simply need to plan things out when doing your meals.
If you want to go more in-depth on keto and vegtables then check out our guide on keto vegetables.
Now we take a look at something that every keto person gets used to. Dairy.
Dairy Products and Keto
Creams and cheeses. Cheeses and creams. These things always seem to find a way into every keto recipe because dairy is commonly consumed to meet your daily macros.
You have to be careful, though. If you love yourself some dairy, you need to consume it in moderation as most of your calories should be coming from protein, vegetables, and add fats.
Don’t go walking around with a jug of heavy whipping cream.
When it comes to dairy products, raw and organic are the preferred choice. Highly processed dairies are usually packed with carbs and this can get many keto people in trouble.
You want full fat products over any fat-free or low-fat alternatives.
If you’re worried about the lactose then choose very hard and long-aged products since they contain less lactose.
So what kind of dairy is okay to eat on keto? Take a look:
- Greek Yogurt
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, etc.
- Soft Cheese
- Hard Cheese
Dairy is an awesome way to get in extra fats for your meals. Sprinkle cheese on everything. Create delicious sauces. Make creamed spinach.
Dairy is awesome…in moderation.
Nuts and Seeds on Keto
You want roasted nuts and seeds because they remove any anti-nutrients. It sounds weird but it is true.
Peanuts are legumes, not nuts. The name will trick you so if you can avoid them then do so.
If you want to add a bit of crunch to your meals then sprinkle raw nuts on them. If you’re going to snack with nuts and seeds be sure to only do so in heavy moderation as snacking can increase insulin levels preventing you from losing weight.
While nuts can be great for weight loss they are also a source of carbs so make sure you understand what you are consuming.
If you’re baking with nut flour then you also need to note the amount of protein that you are adding to your recipe as the protein count in nut flours catches many people by surprise.
In general, just be careful with nuts and seeds. Over time you’ll understand how much you can eat and what you can eat. Here are some more tips:
- Fatty, low carbohydrate nuts: Macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans
- Fatty, moderate carbohydrate nuts: Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts
- Higher carbohydrate nuts: Pistachios and cashews
Nut and Seed Flours
These are a great alternative to the regular flour that you are used to cooking with. If you find that one particular type of flour isn’t providing you with the texture that you’re used to then you can easily mix different flours together.
This means you will need to do some experimenting but the beauty of this is that, depending on the flour, you can actually lower the carb count of certain recipes.
The difficulty of mixing flours is understanding how each one behaves. One is not like the other.
The Ketogenic Diet revolves around the idea that you can get your body into what is known as a state of ketosis. The important question is, what is ketosis?
You can do keto for a lot of reasons but for the majority of people the main reason is to lose weight and if you want to lose weight then your body needs to enter a state of ketosis.
Without ketosis, there is no keto and that’s why it’s important to understand what ketosis is and how you can achieve it.
What is Ketosis?
Being successful on the ketogenic diet is all about knowledge. Too many people treat it like any other simple diet where they can just wing it but that rarely leads to success.
If you understand the science behind keto then it becomes a lot easier to achieve ketosis.
Seriously, understanding the science part of keto will provide you with a better chance of success in the long run.
When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, which just happen to be the main fuel source for most people, you’re also depriving your body of its ability to maintain its glycogen stores.
This simply means that your body needs to find an alternative fuel source and because your body is awesome it knows exactly what it needs to do. When it realizes that it can’t depend on glycogen anymore it starts to transition over into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
When your body is in ketosis, it begins to convert fat into ketones which become your body’s new source of fuel.
This then begs the question what are ketones?
Ketones are simply byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy. That’s it.
There are 3 types of ketones. I’ll tell you about them but I won’t quiz you on them because, in all honesty, you don’t need to remember them.
- Acetoacetate: Created from the breakdown of fatty acids and is broken down into either BHB or acetone.
- Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (BHB): Not really a ketone but for the sake of understanding keto we like to consider it a ketone. This is why I said I won’t quiz you.
- Acetone: The cause of bad breath when starting keto. It’s expelled through your breath and waste (urine).
Why Does Your Body Need Ketones?
If you’re reading this article then odds are you have the luxury of having access to food any time that you want.
You are spoiled in a good way but unfortunately, a lot of people in the world don’t have that luxury and a lot didn’t have it in the past either.
Have you ever heard of the statement that you can survive without food for weeks? The reason why is because your body does a great job of being able to use the resources that it contains when it needs to survive.
When you don’t eat for a couple of days, your body doesn’t completely shut down because it doesn’t have a fuel source. Instead, it switches over to a different fuel source (fat) and begins to use that.
How to Test for Ketosis
If you want to test whether or not your body is in ketosis then that means you need to check your ketone levels. There are a number of ways to do this and they all vary in their degrees of accuracy.
Definitely, the most popular way to test for ketone levels simply because they are cheap. These urine strips work exactly as you would think.
You pee on them and they let you know the level of ketones in your urine.
However, they aren’t always an accurate reflection of whether or not you are in ketosis. The reason why is because once your body gets used to using ketones as a fuel source it has a better understanding of how much it should produce so it’s no longer trying to overproduce them.
If there are no extra ketones flowing through your urine then it’s easy to think you are no longer in ketosis.
However, if you’re just getting started with the ketogenic diet, then it’s always fun to see the strip change color.
A more expensive alternative is a blood glucose meter. This helps you see how much glucose is in your blood. The lower the number, the closer you are to ketosis.
The device itself isn’t that expensive (around $35-$40) but the strips needed for testing can add up if you are running through them.
If you don’t want to take any chances and you 100% need to know if you’re in ketosis, then you can go with the Keto-Mojo Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit. Is this necessary?
But some people like to be as accurate as possible.
In all honesty, knowing if you’re in ketosis or not isn’t that important once you start to see results and feel better.
How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?
This is the million dollar question.
How long does it take to enter ketosis?
And the answer, as shitty as this sound, is that it depends on the person. Some people can enter ketosis in a couple of days while others may take weeks.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), everybody’s body is different and react differently to different things (did I say “different” enough there?).
Some people find that eating too much dairy is holding them back while others don’t realize that they aren’t drinking enough water.
In this 3-Day Weight Loss Manual you are provided with a technique that can help you enter ketosis as quickly as possible.
For most people, fasting and exercise is the fastest way to enter ketosis but if your body isn’t ready for such extreme measures then it’s okay to take your time.
Tips to Enter Ketosis
Again, everybody’s body is different so one technique might work well for one person while another technique doesn’t. However, I’ve found that if you follow most of these tips then your chances of entering ketosis are much better.
1. Lower Carb Intake
This one seems kind of obvious because if you’re doing keto then you’re lowering your carb intake anyways.
But some people prefer to just stick to the 20g daily carb limit and will make sure they get every carb they can while others will try to completely deplete their diet of any carbs.
If you can manage on 2g – 5g carbs daily you increase your chances of entering ketosis much quicker.
2. Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet
Coconut oil becomes your miracle supplement.
It contains the healthy fat that will help your body get into ketosis.
The miracle fat is known as MCT (medium-chain triglycerides). MCT is important for your body because it’s absorbed quickly and your body can use it for energy almost immediately.
It’s why you’ll see many keto resources talk about the awesome benefits of MCT Oil and how they add it to almost everything.
I prefer to go the coconut oil route because I like the creamy taste it adds to my meals.
If you do decide to add more coconut oil/MCT oil to your diet then do it gradually. Your body isn’t trained to handle this much fat at once and if you add too much to begin with you might encounter digestive problems.
3. Do HIIT or Increase Your Physical Activity
I’m always wary of giving this piece of advice simply because when you start with the ketogenic diet, you’re putting your body through something completely different.
When you add exercise on top of that, it can be too much for a lot of people. I usually suggest doing keto for 30 days and allowing your body to get used to things before diving right in.
However, if you’re confident that you can handle things or you’ve already done the keto thing before then increasing your physical activity can improve your chances of entering ketosis quicker.
Exercise means your body needs fuel so it has to burn something? The faster you can burn through your glycogen reserves then the faster your body can move on to ketones.
This doesn’t mean you need to enter the gym for hours each day but doing some type of HIIT workout or Tabata workout first thing in the morning before you eat can not only help with weight loss but also help you enter ketosis faster.
4. Eat More Healthy Fats
It’s amazing how many people don’t consume enough fats when trying to do keto. I understand because if you aren’t prepared it can be tough trying to find where you’re going to get your fats from.
When you consume healthy fats you increase your ketone levels. This is exactly what you want.
Great sources of fat are avocado, macadamia nuts, butter, and ghee. When doing keto it’s important to understand the foods that you can and can’t eat. This ketogenic diet food list will help you see what is okay to eat on keto.
When you combine fasting with some type of HIIT workout it’s almost impossible not to enter ketosis but again, a lot of people aren’t ready for this. This isn’t a slight on them because it definitely puts your body through its paces.
Some people get confused when they hear about fasting and keto because what is the point of learning about what you should eat on keto if you aren’t eating at all?
The reality is when people talking about fasting and keto they are usually referring to intermittent fasting.
In simple terms, intermittent fasting is when you portion out a part of your day where you don’t eat. The most common cycle of intermittent fasting is 16-8.
This means that you only eat during an 8-hour window. For example, you might consume all of your meals between 10am and 6pm and then you fast the remaining 16 hours of the 24-hour cycle.
Fasting isn’t easy if you’ve never done it before. My advice is to make sure you plan out your meals so you know what you’re going to eat and when and to also consume a lot of water.
6. Eat Protein
There is a fine line between eating enough protein and eating too much protein.
It’s very easy to consume more protein than your body needs and when that happens the extra protein is converted into glucose. This is why understanding your daily macros is so important.
However, you want to make sure you’re eating enough protein so you don’t lose muscle mass. Why would this happen? While your body is transitioning over to ketosis, it begins to look for energy in your muscles. You don’t want that to happen so instead you eat your protein and allow your body to get what it needs from that.
Protein is going to help your body achieve ketosis because it helps to provide the necessary amino acids to your liver so it can convert them into glucose for the parts of your body that can’t handle ketones.
7. Drink Water
Water is the secret (or not so secret) ingredient that makes your body tick. Without enough water, the organs in your body can’t do what they are supposed to do like create ketones.
If they can’t create ketones then you can’t enter ketosis.
It’s that simple so make sure you’re drinking enough water daily. How much is enough?
The easiest way is to take your weight (in pounds) and divide it in half. That’s the minimum amount of water you should be drinking in ounces.
It’s the reason why I carry a fancy water bottle with me wherever I go.
8. Get Sleep
Seriously. Get sleep. Your body does different things when you are sleeping and if you aren’t sleeping it can’t do those things.
Nothing more you need to know.
What Are the Benefits of Ketosis?
So why should you consider putting your body into the metabolic state known as ketosis? What is the big deal?
I’ll admit that reading these benefits is pretty cool but actually experiencing them yourself is even cooler. However, let’s go over some of the awesome benefits of ketosis.
Better Mental Focus
This is a weird one to talk about because I can’t tell you to take a test before and after keto so you can see how your mental focus has improved. It just happens.
Because people tend to fall out of focus from a lack of consistent energy, keto is perfect for this because once your body is in ketosis, ketones become a consistent source of fuel for your brain.
If your brain never runs out of fuel it shouldn’t lack for mental focus.
This kind of works the same way as mental focus. If your body has a consistent fuel source that it can turn to you aren’t left trying to hunt down a Snickers to make you feel better.
Because you’re not relying on glycogen which your body can burn through rather quickly, you have a great chance at lasting longer with whatever you do.
You may encounter some people that are on the keto diet popping some type of carbs before a high-intensity workout. The reason for this is because they want to give their body a quick fuel source to help them power through their workout.
Keto was first introduced to help people with epilepsy back in the 1920s.
A big reason why keto is used to help people with epilepsy is that it usually means they can take fewer medications.
This one is still up in the air due to how many different studies of cancer are out there, but recently, studies have shown that cancer cells love to feed off of sugar.
With keto, there is no sugar so the cancer cells are left to find another fuel source and fortunately they don’t know how to use ketones.
Keto isn’t going to cure cancer but it can go a long way in helping the prevention of it.
Ketosis Is Your Body’s Natural State
If you think about it, ketosis is the natural state of your body. The world wasn’t always filled with processed foods loaded with sugar.
Instead, people relied on vegetables and the meat that they could hunt. Sometimes that meant going a while without any type of food or very little of it.
While it wasn’t great, it worked because of ketosis.
Yes, ketosis is great for losing weight but it’s also great for helping your body reset and work as it was meant to.
If you’re interested in learning more about the keto diet then check out our guide Keto Diet Beginner’s Guide: Understanding the Ketogenic Diet.