Ketosis: Description, Diet, Pills, Benefits, Symptoms, And More

Ketosis is the secret weight-loss method for millions of men and women around the world. These people include regular folks who have 9-to-5 jobs as well as movie stars we admire on the silver screen.

Ketogenic weight loss, as well as the other benefits of ketosis, are easier to achieve than you may suspect. In fact, with some of the methods mentioned in this article, you will be able to enjoy ketosis in a matter of days or weeks.


However, if you are curious about why the internet is going wild about ketosis and keto weight loss, this article is for you.

Along with my recommended method of achieving ketosis, you will also be provided with the essential info about ketosis and ketogenesis. This includes the different ways to achieve ketosis, test for ketosis, potential dangers of ketosis, keto-friendly foods, and well-known keto pills that promote ketosis.

What Is Ketosis?

The primary source of energy in the body is carbohydrates that come from your diet. However, if your body is short of carbs, it can also produce ketones (by activating ketosis) which is an alternative energy source.
Ketosis is a metabolic process in which the body burns fat when there aren’t enough carbohydrates being metabolized.

With a regular diet, you eat more than enough carbs, preventing you from entering ketosis easily. But following a low-carb, high-fat diet like a keto diet can help you successfully achieve ketosis.

Nowadays, you can also get ketosis pills that contain exogenous ketones that boost internal ketone levels. This allows you to achieve ketosis in a shorter period and will be less hassle.

But ketosis isn’t for everyone, and some people need to follow some precautions before jumping into ketosis. However, for the most part, ketosis has proved itself to be beneficial for weight loss, diabetes control, and more.

How Are Ketones Produced?

Ketones are produced in the liver which breaks down fatty acids from your body’s stored fat.

There are three major ketone bodies:

  • Acetoacetate (AcAc), which is produced first
  • β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which is produced from acetoacetate
  • Acetone, which is created as a byproduct while producing acetoacetate

Ketosis Promotes Production Of These Three Major Ketone Bodies

However, BHB is the ketone body that is most relevant for us. This is because BHB is the ketone that is most related to promoting weight loss.

How Long To Get Into Ketosis?

The amount of time it takes for you to get into ketosis depends on several factors. These include your dietary carb/fat amounts, exercise routine, and your fat percentage.
For most people, it can take anywhere between 1 day and 3-4 weeks to achieve ketosis.

But this can take longer (2-3 months) for men and women who have a high intake of refined carbs in their current diet.

Of course, there are ways in which you can speed up this process and achieve ketosis faster. Fat fasting, water fasting, keto pills, and keto diets are just a few of the most popular options.

How Is Ketosis Linked With Diabetes?

Ketosis is a process that causes the natural production of insulin to be lowered.

Additionally, the most significant effect on your diabetes occurs because of the reduction in carbohydrate intake.

When carbs intake is lowered, glucose (sugar) levels drop, reducing blood sugar levels.

How To Speed Up The Process Of Achieving Ketosis?

Ketosis is the state in which your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates to make energy. However, achieving ketosis is not easy, especially when you only rely on a keto diet without any assistance from keto supplements.

So, here are some proven tips and tricks to speed up your ketosis:

Restrict Your Carb Intake

The whole foundation of achieving ketosis is based on minimizing the intake of carbohydrates. Normally, carbs are broken down and stored as glycogen, which is used by the cells as a fuel source.

However, when you restrict your carb intake, the glycogen levels in the liver and muscles are depleted, forcing your body to find an alternative source of energy. Lowered glycogen levels also force insulin levels to decline, which promotes the production of ketones.

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely how many grams of carbs you need to achieve ketosis as everyone’s situations are different. However, experts suggest restricting the carb intake to 20-50 grams per day for at least two weeks to see ketosis. To get a more accurate understanding of your ketosis progress, use a blood ketone reader.

Keep An Eye On Your Protein Intake

Your body needs protein to function normally, but too much protein can kick you out of ketosis. This is because excess protein is converted into glycogen to be stored as fat, working against your ketosis.

It’s important to not completely cut off your protein intake as some parts of your body can only use glucose (and not ketones) as fuel. These include your red blood cells as well as parts of your brain and kidney.

Proteins are also important for maintaining muscle mass. So, if your protein intake is excessively restricted, your muscle mass may start deteriorating.

Work Out Regularly

You don’t have to wait until you achieve optimal ketosis to start losing weight via exercise. Start regularly working out, and you should see faster progress in your ketosis.

When you work out, you end up depleting your body’s energy (glycogen) reserves. When out of ketosis, these are replenished by metabolizing carbohydrates. However, when your body is short of carbs, it burns fat to provide the energy your body needs.

This results in faster fat burn and increased energy levels, even while doing the same exercises you have been doing earlier. It’s also found that exercising on an empty stomach can boost ketone levels, improving ketogenic weight loss.

Integrate MCT Oils In Your Diet

Foods with high levels of Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) like coconut oil are beneficial for ketosis seekers.

In fact, coconut oil contains four types of MCTs and is a good source of healthy fat. And the reason MCT Oils are beneficial for ketosis is that they can be easily absorbed by the liver and converted into ketones.

Coconut oil also contains a high percentage of Lauric acid which can be metabolized to produce a steady supply of energy and ketones.

However, it’s recommended to start slow by introducing coconut oil and other MCTs into your diet. This is because MCT oils can cause stomach cramping or diarrhea for some.

Improve Your (Healthy) Fat Intake

Along with low carbs, you also need to ensure that your keto diet is packed with healthy fats.
If you want to reach ketosis faster, you are going to have to eat a lot of fat.

In fact, the classic keto diet for weight loss requires you to take 70-80% of your calories from healthy fats.

The predominantly fat-based diet allows your body to produce more ketones and helps you achieve optimal ketosis. It also helps prevent the body from being forced to cannibalize muscle mass to provide energy in the absence of carbs and fats.

Give Fasting A Try

To get into ketosis faster, many people start with fasting, either with an intermittent or fat fast.

Intermittent fasting involves several short-term fasts which can activate ketosis faster. This fasting has also been shown to be effective with children suffering from epilepsy that is about to start a keto diet.

Fat fasting, on the other hand, requires you to have a 1,000 calorie intake per day. However, 85-90% of these calories should come from fat. The reduced levels of protein and carb speed up the process of ketosis.

But be careful only to use fat fasting for a maximum of 3-5 days as any more can cause muscle mass loss.

Customize A Keto Diet To Maximize Your Ketosis

The standard keto diet has a macronutrient breakdown of 70-80% Fat, 20-25% Protein, and 5-10% Carbs.

However, everyone is different, and the macronutrient ratio isn’t universal. Factors like your exercise schedule, keto goal, fat percentage, age, and gender can affect your progress with ketosis.

So, if you want to speed up your ketosis, be sure to set up a keto diet that fits your situation. For this, you can talk to your doctor or find an online keto macro calculator.

Ketosis Diets Can Be Customized To Get The Best Results

Other than the keto diet, there are plenty of diet plans for women that provide similar weight loss results which may be easier to follow for some women.

What Are The Benefits Of Ketosis?

Ketogenic Weight Loss

The most popular keto benefit is the boost in weight loss. Short-term weight loss is achieved because of the drop in water weight within the first few days. As for long-term weight loss, this is achieved by enhanced ketogenic weight loss that converts stubborn fat into ketones.

Improves Sleep and Energy Levels

Initially, people experience a drop in energy levels and sleep quality when they start with ketosis. However, within a week or two, they report a boost in energy levels while experiencing better sleep. This is said to be possible because of using ketones as a fuel source for the brain.

Reduced Blood Sugar

Ketosis helps lowers insulin levels and subsequently helps reduce blood glucose levels. This is beneficial for people with diabetes that struggle with high blood sugar. A study has also found people with type 2 diabetes decrease their diabetes medication by 95%.

Combat Some Cancer Types

Studies have found ketone supplementation can reduce tumor cell viability in studies on mice. This is on the basis that cancer cells find it difficult to use ketone bodies as an energy source effectively. So, ketosis may help combat some cancers.

Improved HDL And Reduces LDL Cholesterol Levels

Higher ‘healthy’ fats in your diet will improve the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels which are known to lower the risk of heart disease. The size of your LDL cholesterol particles is increased when in ketosis, resulting in a reduction of LDL levels and improved heart health.

Combat Epilepsy

The keto diet is used to help combat/cure epilepsy in children. Some studies have found a 16% success rate of children becoming seizure-free from epilepsy. This can especially be beneficial for children who aren’t responding to drug treatment.

Improves Focus

Ketosis is proven to boost cognitive function, memory, focus, and mental clarity in patients with Alzheimer’s patients. This benefit is also available for men and women who don’t have mental health problems for improved brain health and mental performance.

Reduces Appetite

The reason people follow a ketogenic diet or take keto pills over other diets or pills is because of the added benefit of appetite suppression. This reduction in hunger and improved satiety can make the weight loss process several times easier, improving satisfaction and results.

Improves Physical Endurance

The BHB ketone is proven to boost muscle gain in several studies. Many professional bodybuilders also support a ketogenic lifestyle to enhance their workout performance. Other studies have also shown ultra-endurance athletes on a keto diet experience a boost in their mental and physical performance.

May Lower Blood Pressure

A keto diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, and hypertension by lowering blood pressure. This can be beneficial for men and women who are struggling with hypertension.

Reduced Triglycerides Levels

Achieving ketosis can help lower Triglycerides levels within the blood. This is done by the body breaking down the fat in the cells to produce glucose required for some parts of the body. A drop in Triglyceride levels can also help reduce the risk of obesity, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, and heart disease.

Reduces Inflammations

Ketosis promoted by BHB ketone supplementation is known to be effective at fostering anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have suggested that the anti-inflammatory benefits of ketosis may combat acne, eczema, IBS, arthritis, and psoriasis.

Effective Against Metabolic Syndrome

A metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms including elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol levels, higher blood sugar levels, and elevated blood pressure. Studies have shown keto diets to combat Metabolic syndrome, improve overall health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Ketosis Comes With Several Mental And Physical Benefits

What Are The Symptoms Of Being In Ketosis?

  • Increased ketone levels in breath or urine: Ketosis can increase the levels of acetone ketones that are ejected by the body, especially at the initial stages of ketosis.
  • Higher blood ketone levels: Ketosis promotes the production of ketones in the body. This causes ketone levels in the body to become elevated. You can test your ketosis by measuring your blood ketone levels.
  • Appetite suppression: A reduction in hunger is a positive sign that you are reaching ketosis. This allows you to feel fuller and lets you eat a lot less.
  • Short-term fatigue: The keto flu that is experienced by many people can cause short-term fatigue. This is caused by the body-switching from carbs to fat as a fuel source.
  • Bad breath: Once you’ve reached optimal ketosis, you may notice a fruity-smelling breath. This is caused because of the acetone ketone that is ejected from the body via the urine and breath.
  • Constipation or diarrhea: Digestive problems are a known side effect of the initial transition to achieve ketosis. This should sort itself out after a few days.
  • Faster weight loss: Losing the water weight in the first few days can cause quick weight loss. This is caused because ketosis reduces glycogen levels, which are bound to a lot of water.
  • An initial drop in performance: The keto flu also causes a short-term decline in performance. However, this only lasts until the body gets used to the new fuel source.
  • Insomnia: While the body is switching from carbs to fat, it can cause some initial sleep problems. However, people have found keto diets to improve sleep quality over the long-run.
  • Improved energy and focus: If you experience a boost in energy and focus when on a keto diet, you may be experiencing the effects of optimal ketosis.

What Is The Keto Flu?

The keto flu (aka carb flu) is a term best used when someone experiences flu-like symptoms when they are at the early stages of achieving ketosis.

Ketosis Can Cause Keto Flu

This usually happens when the body is transitioning between using carbs to using fat to produce energy. While most people experience this stimulation when they are starting with a keto diet, starvation or fasting can also cause keto flu.

Simply put, the keto flu occurs because of the shock the body goes through when the supply of carbohydrates is drastically reduced. Think of it as the withdrawal symptoms after weaning off caffeine (or other addictive substances).

Some of the symptoms of experiencing keto flu include:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Sugar cravings

Note that you may experience one or more of these symptoms when trying to achieve ketosis. However, some people are capable of reaching ketosis without experiencing keto flu.
Fortunately, keto flu only takes a few days to pass. This happens as your body gradually adapts to the new energy source.

What Is Ketoacidosis?

There’s a big difference between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis.

When we are discussing ketosis for weight loss or other health benefits, it’s nutritional ketosis we are discussing.

On the other hand, Ketoacidosis is a very dangerous condition that can lead to coma or death. It’s also impossible for you to achieve Ketoacidosis by following a keto diet or by taking keto pills.

The condition of Ketoacidosis is defined when the blood ketone levels are elevated over 10-25 mM. This can only happen if the ketotic state gets out of control due to a dangerous drop in insulin levels.

The most common situation when this happens is with a diabetic who forgot to take his/her insulin shots or who isn’t making enough insulin to counter the rise in blood sugar levels. This situation is called Diabetic Ketoacidosis and is the reason diabetics are asked to be extra cautious when it comes to ketosis.

Here’s a summary of what happens in Ketoacidosis:
  1. Insulin levels drop to critical levels which fails to control the fatty acid levels
  2. Increased fatty acids are converted into ketone bodies by the liver
  3. The ketone bodies flood the bloodstream, raising blood ketone levels
  4. Excessive blood ketone bodies in the blood end up making the blood pH acidic
  5. The acidic blood causes several health problems like Hypoglycemia, Hypokalemia, and Cerebral edema.

Keto-Friendly Foods:

  • Meat: This can be a rich source of high-quality protein and nutrients, especially if you get grass-fed meat.
  • Coconut oil: This is a potent source of MCTs that boosts ketone levels, improves ketosis and weight loss.
  • Greek yogurt: This food contains some carbs (5 grams per serving) but is effective at reducing appetite and improving satiety.
  • Cheese: This is nutritious and delicious with high fat, CLA, and calcium levels while being low-carb.
  • Avocados: This tasty fruit contains only 2 grams of net carbs while being otherwise packed with vitamins and minerals that boost ketosis.
  • Tea or coffee (without sweetener): These drinks improve metabolism and performance while having zero carbs.
  • Dark chocolate: This food contains flavanols that improve artery health and lower blood pressure.
  • Seafood: Shellfish like crabs and fish like Salmon are low-carb while being rich in potassium, selenium, omega-3 fats, and B vitamins.
  • Veggies (Low-Carb): These include Broccoli, Zucchini, Lettuce, Kale, and Celery which are high in fiber and nutrients.
  • Berries: These fruits contain a lot of fiber and few carbs, promoting digestion and health.
  • Olive oil: This oil improves heart health as it contains monounsaturated fats and zero carbs.
  • Eggs: Each egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs while keeping satiety levels high.
  • Nuts and seeds: These can be rich in healthy fats and fiber while being low in carbs.

Ketosis Foods And Their Carb Content

Are There Tests That Measure Ketosis?

You don’t have to just go with what symptoms you notice to guess if you’ve achieved ketosis.

The best way to accurately check ketosis is to measure your ketone levels externally.

The three ways that you can measure your ketone levels include:

Urine Strips:

The simplest and cheapest method to measure your ketosis is through using urine strips.

These strips are super easy to use as all you have to do is dip one in urine, and they’ll change color to display the ketone levels.

The biggest advantage of these strips is that they are cheap and readily available in stores.

That said, this test isn’t 100% accurate. This is because the ketone in your urine can be diluted if you drink more water. Additionally, after a few weeks of ketosis, your body better retains ketones, providing inaccurate results with the urine test.

I would recommend you only use the Urine Strips at the beginning or if you’re merely curious about your ketone levels.

If you’re serious about your weight loss and want a better grasp of your progress with ketosis, the other two options are recommended.

Ketone Breath Analyzers:

If you are looking for the easiest method of measuring your ketosis, breath ketone analyzers are the way to go.

These breath analyzers measure the concentration of Acetone in your breath. If you remember, Acetone is the byproduct of the liver producing ketones and is the cause of the bad breath that ketosis is associated with.

In terms of cost, breath analyzers have the highest upfront cost when compared to the other two. But this one has zero recurring costs.

However, this is still not the most accurate ketone measuring product out there. This is because, what you ate can alter the results you get, which may not correlate with your blood ketone levels.

I would recommend you to buy a Breath Ketone Analyzer if you want a convenient way to track your progress. It’s also the easiest way to measure ketosis.

Blood Ketone Meters:

The most effective and accurate way to measure your ketosis is by using a blood ketone meter.

These meters work similarly to a blood glucose meter and require a drop of blood to analyze your blood ketone levels.

These aren’t as expensive as the breath analyzers, but they aren’t cheap either. But for your investment, you are getting a quality piece of kit that will give you an accurate read on your ketosis.

You can also buy blood ketone meters which also provide blood glucose levels, increasing its usefulness.

I would recommend you get a blood ketone meter if you want accurate at-home ketone level measurements.

This is necessary for men and women who are serious about trying to reach optimal ketosis, which can maximize the weight loss experienced.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Ketosis Pills?

Following a keto diet is a great way to achieve ketosis. However, maintaining ketosis is not for the faint of heart as it can take just a single snack to slip up.

So, men and women nowadays are using keto pills to put their bodies into ketosis over following a keto diet.

A quality keto pill that uses the right set of weight loss ingredients makes it easier for you to get into (and maintain) ketosis.

It also lets you be more flexible with your diet and exercise routine. However, a balanced diet and regular exercise are essential if you want to get the best ketosis benefits.

About Jessica J, M.D

Written & reviewed by Dr. Jessica J. Follow me on Pinterest & LinkedIn.