by Sydnie Aldrich, Milene Brownlow, PhD and Julie Duck
It seems like we’re always on our way to a destination. Whether it’s a physical journey, such as traveling out of town, or a mental one, like getting ready for a job interview, we must prepare for the journey in order to get there. Entering a state of ketosis is no different. Strategic planning is important.
What is “ketosis,” and how can you get there? Many people associate ketosis with a popular diet program and as a way to lose a considerable amount of weight. However, for all of the mystery surrounding ketosis, it’s actually an adaptive metabolic process your body utilizes when there aren’t enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead of carbs, your body burns fat, and ketones are produced as a byproduct of this process. When in a state of ketosis, you may even experience a decrease in cravings and overall appetite,1 which may further promote weight loss. And while all of this sounds great, you need to know how to get into ketosis and stay there in order to receive the healthful benefits it offers.
What Are the Day-to-Day Benefits?
Besides weight loss, the benefits of following a ketogenic dietary approach are manifold.
What to Eat for Ketosis
Food is where your journey begins, and eating the right food is your one-way ticket to ketosis. A typical ketogenic meal consists of:
Remember: Before starting any new health regimen, it’s important to receive personalized guidance from your healthcare practitioner.
How to Track Your Progress
Being in a state of ketosis means that your body has switched from depending on carbs for energy to burning fats for fuel. As you restrict carbohydrate intake and increase dietary fat, more fat is metabolized and more ketone bodies are created. Ketones can be monitored in a variety of ways.
Acetone, a ketone body produced from the metabolism of beta-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) to acetoacetate and then into acetate, can be measured in the breath using a breath meter device. Another way to check for ketosis is by using ketone urine testing strips that change color to indicate the level of ketones (acetoacetate) excreted. However, ketone levels in the urine don’t necessarily match ketone levels in the blood. Additionally, water intake plays an important role in providing false positives or false negatives. Dehydration may result in a false positive while over hydration will result in a lower concentration of ketones, providing a false negative.
Measuring ketones (βHB) in the blood is the most accurate approach, but is significantly more expensive and invasive than the breath and urine test options. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that as your body becomes more efficient in utilizing ketones as an energy source, ketone levels may decrease due to increased tissue utilization (less circulating βHB in blood or excreted acetoacetate in urine). Partner with a healthcare practitioner to decide on a personalized ketosis monitoring approach.
Get Started Today
Starting your journey into ketosis may seem daunting, but with personalized guidance, the right ratio of healthy foods, regular progress monitoring, and some perseverance, you can get there faster than you think.