Ketosis – how to get the optimal level of ketosis?
What’s the difference between a low-carb diet and a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet, referred to as keto, is a strict low-carb diet that places more emphasis on reducing protein intake and relies heavily on fat to be your primary source of energy.
Ketosis is induced by almost any low-carbohydrate diet, but a well-implemented ketogenic diet goes a step further.
How to achieve ketosis?
Many factors can increase the level of ketosis. Here are some of them, from the most important to the least important:
- Keep your daily carbohydrate intake to 20 g or less. Dietary fibre does not have to be restricted; in fact, it can provide additional health benefits.
- Limit your protein intake to moderate levels. If possible, eat 1 gram of protein per day for 1 kilogram of body weight. It may also be beneficial to lower this value if you are overweight and set it to 1 gram per kilogram of desired body weight. The most common cause of ketosis failure is eating too much protein.
- Consume enough fat to satisfy your hunger. This is the primary distinction between a ketogenic diet and fasting, both of which induce ketosis. The ketogenic diet can be used for any period of time, while fasting can’t.
- Avoiding snacks when you are not hungry. Reaching for snacks slows weight loss and reduces ketosis.
- Use intermittent fasting if necessary, such as the 16:8 pattern. It’s a powerful way to boost ketone levels, lose weight quickly, and reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Coconut oil supplementation, e.g. in coffee. (usually not necessary)
- External ketone supplementation (usually not necessary)
The optimal level of ketosis
Ketosis isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Ketosis can occur in varying degrees. The figures represent the results of measuring the number of ketones in the blood.
Interpretation of the results:
- Levels below 0.5 mmol/L are not considered ketosis. A result around 0.2 shows that you are going in the right direction, but you are still far from your maximum fat burning. A score of around 0.2 indicates that you are on the right track, but you are still a long way from reaching your maximum fat-burning potential.
- Nutritional ketosis is defined as a level of 0.5-1.5 mmol/L. It enables you to lose weight effectively, but it is not yet at the optimal level.
- Ketosis is best achieved at 1.5-3 mmol/L. It enables you to achieve the best results both physically and mentally, as well as maximise fat burning and weight loss.
- Values above 3 mmol/l are not desired. They will have no more or less effect than levels of 1.5-3 mmol/l. These numbers could also mean you’re not getting enough food (“fasting ketosis”). It could be due to a severe lack of insulin in type 1 diabetes, which requires immediate attention.
- A ketogenic diet alone will not result in values greater than 8-19 mmol/l. They imply that something isn’t right. The most common cause is severe insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and confusion. They can cause ketoacidosis (ketoacidosis) and require urgent medical attention.
Possible side effects of ketosis
Is it possible for ketone levels to become dangerously high? This is impossible in normal circumstances. The majority of people struggle to achieve optimal ketosis. Dangerously high levels (above 8-10 mmol/L) are usually impossible to achieve. Type 1 diabetes, in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, is an exception. In the case of type 1 diabetes, simply stopping insulin can lead to dangerously high levels of ketones. Breastfeeding and taking diabetes medications known as SGLT-2 inhibitors are two other rare cases where ketone levels can rise dangerously.
Nausea and extreme weakness are possible symptoms. Ketone levels that are too high can cause ketoacidosis, which can be fatal. If you think this is happening, you should give your body some carbohydrates right away (e.g. a few fruits, a sandwich, or a glass of juice). If you have type 1 diabetes, you should increase your insulin dosage. Consult your doctor if none of these measures are effective.
Should you aim for higher ketone levels to lose weight faster?
Both yes and no. Intermittent fasting and eating fewer carbohydrates and proteins help you lose weight by lowering insulin levels and increasing ketone levels.
Adding extra fat to raise your ketone levels, on the other hand, will not help you lose weight. Consuming ketone supplements or supplementing with coconut oil to raise ketones does not help. This will have the opposite effect, slowing down your weight loss because your body will have more “fuel” to burn rather than the stored fat.