What is Ketosis and How Can It Help You Lose Weight?
Are you struggling to lose weight and feel like you have tried every diet in the book? If you feel like losing weight is an impossible task, you may be going about it in the wrong way. When it comes to weight loss, things aren’t always quite so simple as just burning more calories than you consume – the kind of food you eat matters as well.
Many people who have trouble losing weight on conventional diets find that a different approach is more effective – one that changes the way you eat and the way your body burns calories. The ketogenic diet is founded on the principle of ketosis, and it could very well be the key to weight loss you have been looking for. Keep reading to learn what ketosis is, how it works, and how to use it for weight loss.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
Simply put, the ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. If you’ve never heard of it before, you may be immediately skeptical about a diet that encourages you to eat fat. What you need to know in order to understand this diet, however, is that eating more fat and fewer carbs can actually change the way your body burns calories. Right now, your body is probably optimized to derive most of its energy from glucose. The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, switches your body over to burning fat for fuel – both dietary fats you eat and excess fat stored in your body.
When your body starts burning fats rather than glucose for fuel, you’ve entered a metabolic state known as ketosis. The ketogenic diet is one that requires very low carbohydrate intake – only about 5% of your daily calories – with very high fat intake and moderate protein intake. As your body burns through available glucose, it then turns to its glycogen stores. When those are depleted, it begins to burn stored fat for fuel. If you continue to limit your carbohydrate intake but keep feeding your body with fats, it will continue to burn fat for fuel. Not only will this help you shed fat and lose weight, but it can also improve insulin resistance, boost cognitive function, increase energy levels, and help you manage a variety of different conditions.
How Do You Enter a State of Ketosis?
In order to enter a state of ketosis, you need to change the way you eat. Start by reducing your carbohydrate intake to no more than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. You may want to make this transition over the course of a week or so to prevent your body from going into something called keto flu – this is simply a transition period in which you may experience side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and irritability. As your body burns through its glycogen stores, it will come to rely on fats for fuel, and the byproducts of burning those fats are ketones.
In order to reach a state of ketosis, you need to make certain changes to your diet. Cut out processed carbs and refined sugars from your diet and limit your carbohydrate intake to fresh vegetables, some fruits, and certain grains. Your primary focus should be on healthy fats like full-fat dairy, avocado, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds. You should also be eating grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, and eggs as sources of both fat and protein. Use only natural sugar-free sweeteners like stevia and erythritol and avoid high-glycemic fruits and starchy vegetables.
As you work to reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your intake of dietary fats, you will want to keep an eye on your ketone levels. There are several different methods you can use to test for ketones, though a blood test will be the most accurate. As you enter a state of ketosis, you can also look for certain signs or symptoms such as the following:
- Increased urination
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath
- Increased energy
- Reduced hunger
When you begin to notice these symptoms, it is a good time to start testing for ketones. Once you have entered a state of ketosis, all you have to do is maintain a low-carb, high-fat diet to stay there. Make sure to consume a varied diet of keto-friendly foods and be careful when you exercise because you won’t have an immediate source of energy available unless you plan your daily carb consumption around your workouts.