How to go into ketosis, what it means and how to do it

by | 4 Jan 2024 | Health

Going into ketosis means that your body is using ketone bodies as its primary energy source instead of carbohydrates.

Normally, when you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugars, such as glucose, which are used as fuel.

However, when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body depletes its glucose stores.

In the absence of sufficient carbohydrates, the liver begins to convert fats into ketone bodies through a process called ketogenesis.

Ketone bodies, particularly beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone, become the main source of energy for the body, especially for the brain, which can use them effectively.


What are ketone bodies

Ketone bodies, also known as ketones, are molecules produced by the liver during ketosis. They are organic compounds that the body uses as an alternative source of energy when carbohydrate intake is limited.

During a ketogenic diet or in situations of prolonged fasting, the body depletes glucose reserves (which comes from carbohydrates) and begins to use fat as its main source of energy.

When fats are broken down in the liver, they are converted to ketone bodies through a process called ketogenesis.

The three main types of ketone bodies are:

Acetone: It is the most volatilie and is eliminated mainly through exhalation and urine. Acetone can cause a fruity or nail polish odor-like smell when excreted.

Acetoacetate: This is the main ketone produced during ketosis. It is converted to beta-hydroxybutyrate or can be converted to energy directly by body tissues.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate: This is the predominant ketone present in the blood during ketosis. It is converted into energy by cells in the body, including the brain.


How to go into ketosis

To achieve ketosis, it is first necessary to reduce carbohydrate intake: Limit carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day, although the exact amount may vary from person to person. Avoid carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice, cereals, added sugars and sugary drinks.

Increase your intake of healthy fats: Fats will be the main source of energy in your ketogenic diet. Consume healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, butter and high-quality animal protein.

Consume a moderate amount of protein: Avoid excess protein. Choose high-quality proteins such as lean meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Maintain a moderate amount of protein to avoid excessive conversion of protein to glucose in the process called gluconeogenesis.


How long does it take to go into ketosis

Entering a state of ketosis can take anywhere from a few days to a week, as your body must deplete its glucose reserves and adapt to using ketone bodies.

During ketosis,your body burns fat deposits to produce energy, which can aid in weight loss and in achieving therapeutic ketosis.

It is important to note that dietary ketosis is different from ketoacidosis, which is a potentially dangerous condition that occurs in type 1 diabetics when ketone body levels rise and insulin levels are critical.

Dietary ketosis, on the other hand, is a natural and safe process that occurs in response to a low-carbohydrate diet.

It is always advisable to follow a ketogenic diet under the supervision of a nutritionist who specializes in the ketogenic diet. It is important to note that the ketogenic diet is not suitable for everyone and may not be recommended for some people, such as those with certain medical conditions.