If you’re new to all of this, then you might be wondering what ketosis is. For starters, it isn’t anything new. You might have heard about it at least a couple of times from your friends or somewhere online. The state of ketosis is more commonly recognized as an important stage in the Keto Diet. Its earliest use was discovered as a remedy for kids that had epilepsy but later, it gained attention for being a helpful way of losing weight.
This specific diet, for most people, isn’t seen as a diet but a way of life. However, falling into the state of ketosis and sustaining it, needs a lot of motivation and work.
By the end of this article, you’ll get an overall picture of what ketosis is, how it works and how long is it safe to be in ketosis.
What is Ketosis?
So, ketosis is a metabolic state that your body enters to obtain energy that we need to function but mostly from fat. In this state, your body uses fat to create an energy source called ketone bodies in a process called ketogenesis. It’s basically you avoid consuming glucose or sugar for up to 12 hours and your body will start making ketones. Ketones are the by-product of fat burning. You can test your ketone levels by using ketone strips from any medical store.
We aren’t typically in a state of ketosis even though it’s a natural process. This is because our bodies almost always prefer to use glucose as an energy source, and we can obtain glucose with ease by just eating carbohydrates. Even when carbs aren’t readily available, we can utilize stored glucose that is called glycogen. Hence, to enter ketosis, we need to burn off all our glycogen stores and also not really eat any carbs.
When we convert our bodies from sugar to fat, it takes between three days to six weeks to become fully adapted. The timeframe depends on how long we’ve been running our bodies on sugar. So, some minor side effects can occur such as – nausea, bad breath, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion. However, these side effects subside in a few days.
How does ketosis work?
Let us talk about how our bodies can get rid of extra body fat easiest and the most natural way. We have trained our bodies to love starchy and sugary foods like bread, cereals, pasta, rice, pulses, biscuits and honey.
We love consuming these foods because they give us quick energy. Unfortunately, for many of us, there’s a huge price to pay for eating loads of starch and sugar. Let’s face it, what we don’t use as energy is going to be stored in our bodies as fat which, leads us to the big question – how do we get rid of this fat? Well, the answer is quite simple and this is where ketosis comes in.
Being a natural solution that it is, this process is the body using preferring fat as a source of energy over sugar and carbs. It’s easily triggered by eliminating starch and sugar from our diet and switching to a balanced diet of proteins and vegetables.
Both proteins and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as essential fatty acids therefore you get 100 percent of your daily nutritional requirements by eating these tasty and healthy foods.
Once our body isn’t getting cheap and easy energy from starch and sugar, it will burn the stored fat to provide stamina and strength to our bodies. Think about that excess fat in your body as your very own pack of energy. Not only will this keep you in shape, but you’ll find that this way of eating is a healthier way to live.
How to know if you’re in the state of ketosis?
If you’ve recently started the keto diet and are wondering if your state of ketosis has begun, but you can’t seem to figure it out then here are some signs you should be looking for to confirm your process.
Your body will convey several physical signs if you’re in ketosis. These signs are the symptoms or the minor side effects we mentioned earlier. These signs are also known as the keto flu. The transitioning may trigger the keto flu which, results in general feelings of fatigue and weakness.
But it’s not just bad signs. If you’re feeling like you’ve got the keto flu, then be happy because the beneficial signals are coming your way or are already there and you missed to notice them. In the first week or two, you’ll probably notice rapid weight loss.
This is because the stored fluid in your body is being shed as your glycogen stores have run out. Following this, you might experience some digestive issues. It’s normal for you to have an upset stomach because you just made a change to your diet.
Constipation and diarrhea are typical side effects initially. Another signal from which you’ll be able to tell you’re in ketosis is by experiencing sleep disturbances. All these side effects go away in a span of the first few weeks.
During the transition phase, you’ll notice a decrease in your performance. You might not be able to work out as long or as hard as you did. However, once you have transitioned into ketosis, you’ll regain your performance even matter.
Benefits of ketosis
Before this state was known as a diet, the keto diet was used for diabetic patients because insulin wasn’t invented yet. The state of ketosis is actively studied in research related to acne, polycystic ovary syndrome and cancer.
Researches are being conducted to understand the underlying mechanism that delivers these beneficial effects from ketosis. One thing is evident that zeroing out on starches and sugars can lower the levels of insulin in our bodies.
Because insulin is a growth-stimulating hormone, probably reduced insulin in the body can also slow down growth of cancer cell POS, and acne. Moreover, ketosis has seen to lower cholesterol levels which, implies that it’s good for your heart and potential diseases related to it.
Some of the primary benefits of ketosis are:
• Increase energy and focus
• Significantly reduced hunger
• Better sleep
• Waking up refreshed
• Quick weight loss
• No inflammation
• Better skin
• Improved hair and nails strength
How long is it safe to be in ketosis?
Now, towards the main query… Although it is a quite common question, there’s no straight answer to the query that how long you can be in ketosis state, as it varies among individuals. Remaining in a fixed state of ketosis isn’t what a lot of individuals aim for and stretching the span of carrying it on might not be needed as well.
However, as per a study published in Nutrients Journal, individuals have followed remaining in ketosis as a lifestyle and have not experienced any side effects. Staying in the state of ketosis as a lifestyle has led to people living healthier lives, however, this state might just not be suitable for everyone.
Strictly following the state of ketosis is hard to stick to. It requires consistency and motivation. But once consistent comes the benefits of it so you can remain in ketosis (safely) for as long as you want. In case you are a bit worried about any potential harm to your health, then you can go for the cyclic ketogenic diet.
In this modified version, you consume carbs strategically by alternating days of the ketogenic diet, where you eat around 400 to 600 grams of carbs to refill muscle glycogen. The carb-loading phase typically lasts for 1 to 2 days. This version functions effectively, not only physiologically but psychologically as well.
On the other hand, if you’re just planning to go full ketosis only to lose weight or reach a weight goal, then you can stick to this state till you’ve achieved that. Once that’s done, you can slowly bring carbohydrates back to your diet, but in a balanced form so you can preserve what you attained.
As we mentioned, ketosis is a natural state of our body. Whether you’re staying in it short term or long term either way it is beneficial for you.
Our bodies were originally designed to run on ketones. Plus, the truth most of us like to avoid is that sugar isn’t THAT good for us. Fat fuel is a much cleaner and more efficient fuel to run your body on than sugar. However, most of the dietitians still recommend a balanced diet. One may opt to try putting oneself in this state if nothing else works but that too under medical supervision.