5 WAYS TO FORCE YOUR BODY INTO KETOSIS
Ketosis is a metabolic process associated with a low-carb or ketogenic diet. It is a metabolic state in which fat serves as a source of fuel for the body because of the limited access of the body cells to glucose (blood sugar) which is the preferred source of fuel for many body cells.
In ketosis, ketones or ketone bodies are produced by the liver at an increased rate from the fat obtained from fat-containing meals and also from your own body fat. Once the level of ketone bodies in your blood gets to a certain threshold, your body is said to be in nutritional ketosis. Interestingly, fasting will also allow your body to achieve ketosis but only a keto diet can provide sustainable ketosis for long periods of time.
Ketones are the by-products obtained when the body breaks down fat for energy. There are three types of ketone:
This is obtained from the breakdown of fatty acids and it is converted to either BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) or acetone.
2. Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid
This is obtained from acetoacetate and is really not considered a ketone.
Acetone is obtained from acetoacetate and it is broken down instantly.
When people hear the word ketosis, the first thing that comes to their mind is weight loss. However, ketosis has a number of benefits that go beyond weight loss. Here are some of those benefits.
1. INCREASED MENTAL FOCUS
Ketones provide a consistent source of fuel for the body. This, in turn, provides the brain with a consistent energy source to pull from which eventually results in an increased mental focus.
2. PHYSICAL ENDURANCE
The body cells naturally rely on glycogen stores for physical endurance. This glycogen store, however, needs to be topped up occasionally for continuous endurance. But with ketosis where there’s the provision of constant fuel, the body just keeps going. However, people that engage in high-intensity workouts like bodybuilders may consider an alternate ketogenic diet where they are fortified with a high amount of carbs before a workout.
The ketogenic diet was originally introduced to help in the treatment of epilepsy back in the 1920s. For people that suffer from epilepsy, a major benefit of the ketogenic diet is that they do not have to take so many medications.
With a clear understanding of what ketosis is and its benefits, let’s find out the ways you can force your body into ketosis. Here are 5 ways to force your body into ketosis.
1. Reduce Your Carb Consumption
Cutting down your carb intake by taking on a low-carb diet is the optimal way by which you can force your body into ketosis. When your carb intake is low, the amount of glycogen stored in the body is reduced. This results in the release of fatty acids from the fat stores which are, in turn, converted by the liver into ketone bodies used as a source of fuel. The point at which the liver converts the fatty acids from the fat stores into ketone bodies is called ketosis.
The level of carb reduction needed to induce ketosis varies individually. Some need to restrict their net carbs to 20 grams per day or less, while others can achieve ketosis by eating double of this amount or more. In essence, reducing your carb intake to 20- 50 net grams per day would result in the release of stored fatty acids which your liver would convert into ketone bodies.
2. Consume More Coconut Oil
Adding coconut oil to your diet can help your body achieve ketosis. Coconut oil contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which unlike most fats are readily absorbed and taken directly to the liver for conversion into ketone bodies. For people with Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders, it is said that consuming coconut oil may be one of the best ways to increase ketone levels.
Experts suggest that fat sources with a higher percentage of lauric acid may produce more sustainable ketosis because 50% of the fat from coconut oil is obtained from lauric acid which is one of the four types of MCTs present in coconut oil. Also, lauric acid is more gradually metabolized than other types of MCTs.
In epileptic children, MCTs have been used to achieve ketosis without having to drastically reduce the amount of carbs intake like the classic keto diet.
Coconut oil, however, has some digestive side effects like diarrhea and stomach cramping and so should be added in little quantity to your diet to minimize this effect.
3. Increase Your Physical Activity
We earlier discussed physical endurance as a benefit of ketosis. You should also know that being more active can get your body into ketosis. When you exercise, the body's glycogen stores are
depleted and since your carb intake is in very little amount, the glycogen stores remain low. Similarly, due to a reduction in the glycogen stores, the liver is forced to increase its production of ketone bodies which is used as an alternative source of energy for your muscles.
Studies have shown that when the blood has a low concentration of ketones, that concentration can be increased with exercise. Also, working out when the body is in a fasting state enhances the production of ketones. It, however, takes between one to four weeks for your body to adapt to using ketones as fuel.
4. Increase Your Consumption Of Healthy Fat
Consuming a lot of healthy fat can enhance the body’s ketone levels and eventually force your body into ketosis. Generally, a very low-carb ketogenic diet is not just low in carbs but also high in fats. However, extremely high fat intake doesn’t correspond to increased ketone levels. It is therefore important to ensure that your fat intake is from high-quality sources. Examples of such high-quality sources include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil,
butter and lard.
5. Take a Short Fast
Another way to force your body into ketosis is to go without food for a number of hours. A number of people achieve mild ketosis in between meals. Children with epilepsy are often fasted for 24-48 hours before commencing a keto diet so as to achieve ketosis faster as this would help reduce seizures almost immediately.
Also, “fat fasting” is another means of forcing your body into ketosis. This approach imitates the effects of simply fasting as it is considered an alternative to fasting. It involves reducing your calorie intake by eating a diet containing almost entirely fat. This should, however, not exceed 2-3 days to prevent an excessive loss of muscle mass.
Intermittent fasting, an approach that involves regular short periods of fasts can also force your body into ketosis.