how long does it take to get into ketosis

The ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight, improve mental cognition, balance hormones and treat various diseases like diabetes and epilepsy. But how long does it take to get into ketosis?

When you enter a state of ketosis, your body switches from using glucose to using ketones for fuel. This has been associated with a number of health benefits, including:

  • Weight loss: Reduce hunger and cravings while staying full longer
  • Reduced risk of diseases: Lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes and even cancer
  • Higher energy levels: Less blood sugar spikes and overall better well-being

But how long does it take to experience these benefits?

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?

You cannot simply jump into ketosis in a 24-hour timespan. Your body has been burning sugar for fuel your entire life. It will need time to adapt to burning ketones for fuel.

So long long does it take to get into ketosis? This transition could take anywhere from 48 hours to one week. The length in time will vary depending upon your activity level, lifestyle, body type and carbohydrate intake. There are several ways you can speed up this process, like intermittent fasting, drastically decreasing your carb intake and supplementation.

Remember: Once you get into ketosis, there is no guarantee you will remain in ketosis. If you eat a carb-laden meal, practice carb cycling, or increase your carb intake for athletic performance, your body may start burning glucose. To get back into a fat-burning state, follow the same methods you did to get into ketosis initially.

How to Get Into Ketosis Fast: 5 Steps to Follow

Follow these steps to get into ketosis faster:

#1 Drastically Cut Carbs

The general carb limit for the keto diet is around 30 grams per day. If you’re an athlete, this may increase to 100 grams.

When starting a low carb diet like Atkins or keto, some people find comfort in cutting out carbs gradually. However, if you want to get into ketosis fast, drastically reducing your carb intake is a necessary step. Track your carbohydrate intake during this time, not letting any hidden carbs slip under the radar.

Going low carb is easier than you think, even when you’re eating out or traveling. Perfect Keto founder Dr. Anthony Gustin (@dranthonygustin) often makes special requests at restaurants to make his meals low carb, like this porchetta and egg sandwich without the sandwich. Follow him for more keto tips!

#2 Increase Fats

Healthy fats make up a large component of any keto meal plan. If you’re new to keto, it may take time to transition to this way of eating. Make sure your fat intake accounts for 70-80% of your total calories. This will help your body transition to using fat as its primary fuel source.

Consume these healthy fats to get into ketosis quickly:

  • Oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil or powder, avocado oil or macadamia nut oil
  • Fatty meats, egg yolks, butter or ghee
  • Fatty nuts and nut butters (but be careful on these)
  • Plant fats like avocados, olives or coconut butter

#3 Take Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones are supplements to help you get into ketosis faster. The most effective exogenous ketones are those made with beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB ketones). BHB is the most abundant ketone in the body, making up to 78% of total ketone bodies in the blood. It’s also a more efficient fuel source than glucose.

Taking exogenous ketones helps your body get into ketosis faster (sometimes in as little as 24 hours). You still need to eat a low carb, ketogenic diet, but supplementation can decrease the amount of time it takes and decrease unpleasant side effects.

#4 Try Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is often used in conjunction with keto. It poses a number of health benefits, including improved concentration and reduced blood sugar levels. It has also been associated with decreasing symptoms of various diseases. When used in combination with a ketogenic diet, it can help you get into ketosis faster, and aids weight and fat loss.

If the thought of intermittent fasting intimidates you, try these other two approaches:

  • Fat fasting involves eating low-calorie (usually around 1,000 calories), with roughly 85-90% of those calories coming from fat, for a few days.
  • Fast mimicking mimics the effects of fasting within a short time frame. During this brief time span, you still eat high-fat foods[*].

#5 Exercise More

Exercise helps deplete the body of glycogen stores (stored glucose). When glycogen reserves are low, and not being refilled with carbohydrates, the body turns to burning fat for energy. Therefore, increasing your exercise intensity can help you enter ketosis faster.

Reasons Why You’re Not in Ketosis Yet

If you tried all of the above methods and still haven’t entered ketosis, there might be an underlying cause. It’s important to take a hard look at your diet and daily habits that might prevent you from entering ketosis.

#1: You’re Not Eating Enough Fat

By now, surely you understand a ketogenic diet requires a high-fat intake. However, many people underestimate just how much fat they need to consume.

If you want fat stores to be your body’s new, preferred energy source, that energy source must first be available. Make sense?

To enter ketosis, up to 80%of your daily calories should come from fat. To put this into a frame of reference, if you eat 2,000 calories a day, 1,600 of those calories should come from fat sources. This comes out to roughly 144-170 grams of fat. Both quantity and quality are equally important, so consume fats from high-quality sources, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis? Speed up the Process

#2: You’re Not Eating Enough, Period.

When you transition to a ketogenic diet, sometimes it’s difficult to eat enough calories. Fat is incredibly satiating and sometimes acts as an appetite suppressant.

When your body doesn’t get enough calories, it will go into starvation mode. This causes it to “hoard” body fat, rather than use it for energy. This can also cause several metabolic and thyroid problems[*].

As a beginner to the keto diet, track your calories to ensure you’re eating enough. This might sound counterintuitive, especially if you’re following keto for weight loss. However, it is much more common amongst those following keto to not eat enough than to eat too much.

Tips to Transition Into Keto

When your body enters ketosis for the first time, it’s switching its preferred fuel source. This transition can cause flu-like side effects in some people, including fatigue, headaches, dizziness, sugar cravings, brain fog and stomach trouble. This is often called the “keto flu.”

Supplementing with exogenous ketones can help negate these unwanted symptoms. When supplements aren’t enough, try these tips:

Stay Hydrated

Many people experience a flush of water weight when they switch from eating a standard, high carb diet to keto. Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated. Plus, hunger is often confused for dehydration. Avoid this by drinking water often, especially when you experience cravings or hunger.

Get Enough Sleep

Proper sleep is important for hormone function and repair of the body. Not getting enough sleep is tough on the adrenals and blood sugar regulation. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you struggle with quality sleep, create an environment that is conducive for rest. This could be keeping your room cooler, turning off all electronic devices one to two hours before bedtime or using a sleep mask.

How to Know If You’re in Ketosis

If your goal is to get into ketosis as fast as possible, you have to test your ketone levels. Why? Testing helps you recognize what foods or habits kick you out of ketosis.

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis? How to Speed up the Process of Ketosis

There are three primary methods to test your ketone levels:

  • Urine testing: While this is one of the most affordable methods, it’s also the most inaccurate. Unused ketones leave the body through the urine — meaning, you are essentially measuring unused, unburned ketones.
  • Breath testing: This is a far more accurate method than urine testing, but still not the best. This measures the amount of acetone (another ketone body), when you should try to measure the amount of BHB.
  • Blood testing: This is the most highly-recommended, most accurate way to test your ketone levels. With a small prick of a finger, you can measure the level of BHB ketones in the blood.

If you test your ketone levels regularly, follow the steps outlined above and supplement when necessary, you’ll no longer be wondering how long it takes to get into ketosis. You’ll be in it, burning fat and energetically reaching your health goals in no time.

Dr. Anthony Gustin is a board-certified sports chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, entrepreneur, podcast host, and founder of Perfect Keto.

Over the last few years, he has treated thousands of patients with movement rehab, internal diagnostics, and natural interventions, including NFL, MLB and NBA champions. After growing his sports rehab and functional medicine clinics to six locations in San Francisco, he shifted his mission to help as many people as possible achieve optimal health and well-being.

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Responses (16)

  1. This article helped me a lot to make a better version of my lifestyle. I am doing the keto diet for a while and I am really happy with the results. I feel more healthy 😀

  2. This info is very healthful. I need to lose weight, lower high blood pressure and reduce risk of dietebeties

  3. Info healthful I need to lose weight, lower blood pressure and reduce risk of dietebeties

  4. Week 1: No testing needed as the results speak for themselves.
    I followed 30g carbs as my limit each day, moderate protein, increased fat intake (avocado at each main meal plus carefully chosen oils, eggs and nuts) and have upped green veg to the bucket load and incorporated a juiced lemon in water to my morning, as well as my usual water consumption. I also did intermittent fasting Mon to Thur, 18 hours fasting each day.
    I have lost 11cm from my waist and multiple cm from every other area this week.
    Will be keeping this up and am excited to see what the next week brings.

  5. That is promising. I need to give this a real try and keep on it or my health will fail. Thanks!

  6. Lots of good info but some things are just plain wrong. It takes 2 days max to get into ketosis if you stop eating carbs. Your body can only store roughly 2 days worth of glycogen. When those stores are exhausted your body will immediately turn to fat. It may take a week or several weeks to get “keto adapted” but it simply won’t ever take you more than 2 days to get into a state of ketosis.

  7. Hello! There is some conflicting information here with regards to starving your self and intermittent fasting. Please explain the difference.

  8. The challenge for me is what 80% fat looks like. If I eat 1500 calories a day – mostly veggies and protein – how do I best get the fat? I can eat an avocado with my meals, olive oil on my salads, cook my eggs in coconut oil, but I am not clear on how to eat so much fat the healthy way while keeping calories at a lower amount. I eat once – twice a day. I am not a fan of eating tons of saturated fat – bacon on everything is bad advice I have seen pushed out on other pages. Eating Keto does not mean eating high fat meats for your fat. Healthy is the focus. How to eat a heavy veggie, low protein, high fat diet the most healthy way? The calculations are challenging on a tight schedule for one trying to get started :)I would love some solid advice.

  9. How to know if i already be ketosis? Because first day i start i got bad breath – second day i got dizzy muscle cramps nausea frequent urination – third day im all fine everything is gone suddenly but still crave for carbs only not sugar am i ketosis yet? Please answer me

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