Achieving ketosis can be a game-changer for those looking to lose weight, improve their overall health, and increase their energy levels.
Once ketosis is achieved, the key is staying in this metabolic state, which can be challenging.
If you’ve been struggling to stay in ketosis, this article is for you. We’ll delve into the intricacies of staying in ketosis, providing you with practical tips and proven strategies for keeping your body in that coveted fat-burning zone.
First, let’s cover some basics.
What Exactly Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body uses stored fat as its main fuel source instead of glucose (sugar). It’s characterized by elevated levels of ketones in the blood, which are produced when the liver breaks down fat into molecules that can be used for fuel.[*]
There are a few ways to achieve ketosis, including:
- Restricting carbohydrates, such as on a ketogenic diet (this is called nutritional ketosis)
- Taking exogenous ketone supplements
Why would someone want to induce ketosis? There are several potential health benefits, including weight loss, more stable energy, reduced need for insulin in those with diabetes, improved brain health, and reduced hunger.[*][*][*][*]
How Do You Know If You’re in Ketosis?
The surefire way to determine if you are in ketosis is to measure your ketone levels. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Blood testing: Measuring your blood ketone levels using an at-home blood ketone meter is the most accurate way to determine if you are in ketosis.
- Urinalysis: While not as accurate as blood testing, testing your urine for the presence of ketones using at-home ketone strips is a simple and affordable alternative. For best results, research suggests measuring your urinary ketones before breakfast and/or after dinner.[*]
- Breath testing: Testing the acetone levels in your breath using a breath ketone analyzer is another option for measuring ketone levels. This is less established than other methods.[*]
Some people don’t measure their ketones at all and choose to go by symptoms. Physical symptoms that may indicate you’re in ketosis include increased energy levels, reduced appetite, and improved mental clarity. Some people also experience temporary bad breath (aka keto breath) when their body is shifting into ketosis.
How to Achieve and Stay in Ketosis
So how do you enter ketosis and stay there? Here are the top tips to get in the zone.
#1: Follow a Keto Diet
A keto diet is a way of eating that aims to induce ketosis. Keto dieters consume 60-75% of their daily calories from fat, 15-30% from protein, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates.[*] For the average person, this translates to consuming about 50 grams of carbs or less daily.
The lower percentage of carbs is the secret to ketosis success. By limiting your intake of carbs, your insulin and blood sugar levels are kept low. This signals the liver to start breaking down fat into ketones, which are used as a source of energy by the body.
On a keto diet, sticking to set macros is the name of the game. Those who consume over 10% of their calories from carbs will likely have trouble entering and staying in nutritional ketosis.
To determine your macronutrient intake, consider tracking your intake of carbs, protein, and fat using a tracking app like Cronometer. This way, you can ensure that you’re staying within your target ranges.
#2: Up Your Healthy Fats
On a keto diet, the bulk of your calories comes from fat, which acts as your energy source. If you don’t consume enough fat (60-75% of your daily calories), you’ll likely be tempted to turn to carbs for energy, which would likely kick you out of ketosis.
You want to not only ensure you’re eating enough fat, but also the right kinds. Some good sources of healthy, keto-friendly fats include eggs, fatty cuts of meat, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, butter, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Another important note is to ensure you’re not consuming too much protein. An excessive amount of protein can increase insulin levels, which can put the kibosh on fat-burning ketosis.[*] Stick to consuming 15-30% of your daily calories from protein.
#3: Plan Meals in Advance
Meal planning is very helpful when it comes to staying in ketosis. Plan out your weekly meals, make a grocery list, and stick to it. This will help you avoid impulsive, high-carb food choices that will boot you out of ketosis.
#4: Keep Keto-Friendly Snacks on Hand
In the same vein, keep keto-friendly snacks readily available to help you avoid high-carb temptations when hunger strikes. Have snacks like cheese sticks and hard-boiled eggs ready to go in your fridge, and stock up on shelf-stable keto snacks like IQBAR to keep in your backpack, purse, or car.
#5: Watch Out for Hidden Carbs
Some foods, such as condiments, sauces, salad dressings, and marinades, often contain sneaky carbs (usually refined sugar) that can sabotage ketosis. Read food labels carefully and choose low-carb options to avoid these hidden carbs.
#6: Exercise Regularly
When you exercise, your body is forced to use fat stores as a fuel source, which helps deplete glycogen stores and increase ketone production.[*] In other words, exercise can help you reach and maintain ketosis.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day. Whether it’s swimming, hiking, jogging, or weightlifting, find an exercise routine you enjoy and stick to it.
#7: Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (aka time-restricted feeding) involves limiting food intake to a specific time window each day.
One of the most widely adopted forms of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, which involves eating all of your daily calories within an 8-hour window (and fasting for the other 16 hours). For example, a common 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule is to eat all of your daily calories between noon and 8 pm.
While intermittent fasting offers many benefits, one of the best things about it is that it can help you get into a state of ketosis faster. This is because fasting helps deplete your glucose stores at a faster rate, which speeds up the process of running on fat.
#8: Stay Hydrated
Adequate hydration is essential for ensuring that ketones can be effectively broken down and utilized for energy. It’s also necessary for the liver to properly metabolize fat, the primary energy source in ketosis.[*]
Additionally, dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, leading to overeating carbs.
The secret recipe for hydration is drinking electrolyte water to thirst. This will ensure you drink enough water (but not too much) and have the necessary electrolytes to support hydration and other critical bodily functions.
The easiest way to do this is by filling a water bottle with water and adding a high-quality electrolyte supplement, such as IQMIX.
IQMIX is safe for those on a low-carb diet or those with diabetes, as it contains zero sugar and only one gram of carbs per packet. It’s available in delicious flavors, including Peach Mango, Lemon Lime, Blueberry Pomegranate, and Blood Orange. Try our 8-Stick Sampler to find your favorite flavors!
Embrace the Power of Ketosis
By following these tips and strategies, you can stay in ketosis and reap the many benefits that come with it. From improved energy levels to weight loss to better overall health, ketosis is a journey worth taking. So, grab your electrolyte-infused water, pack your keto-friendly snacks, and get ready to ignite your fat-burning engine!
Written by Katie Koschalk, a health and wellness writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and certified personal trainer based in California.