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Reaching Optimal Ketosis for Weight Loss

As much as ketosis could be a therapeutic health measure, it is also a medium for you to achieve weight loss. The ketosis state is easily reached on a low carb and high-fat diet, and this conditions your body to burn off fats as the main source of energy instead of carbs. 

Many people prefer adopting the keto diet for reasons such as improving blood sugar levels, appetite reduction, and maintenance of body mass. But the real question is; what is the specific ketone level to achieve the needed weight loss? This piece borders on the ideal ketone levels to attain weight loss, and how to measure them.

What is the Ideal Ketosis Level for Weight Loss? – Why Do You Even Need to Know Ketone Levels When You Can Track Weight?

weight loss

When you start the keto diet, your body takes some days to exhaust its carbs which your liver and muscles store as glycogen. Once this happens, your body then produces ketones from the stored body fat or dietary fat to burn as energy.

After some time, ketone levels will be easily detected in your blood. The blood level ketone range is typically between 0.5 – 3.0 mg/dL. These levels are the optimal nutritional ketosis range, and this range is the ideal ketosis level to boost weight and fat loss.

Ketones are usually generated by the liver as part of the fatty acid metabolism process. In healthy conditions, these ketones are fully metabolized, leaving very few, if any, ketones in the urine. If the body is unable to obtain sufficient glucose for energy for whatever reason, it will switch to utilizing body fats, resulting in an increase in ketone generation and the detection of ketones in the blood and urine.

More so, you must check your ketone levels even if you are keeping tabs on your weight. This is because tracking your weight alone simply gives you part of the “bigger picture.” For instance, muscle increment contributes to your body weight, but it could also indicate improved health.

Thus, tracking your ketone level helps you to be sure of how effective your diet has been and whether you need to make some alterations. Technically, it shows how effective your burn off fats.

Related: Keto Diet for Beginners

What is Optimal Ketosis and What Do the Test Results Mean?  

exercise for weight loss

As earlier mentioned, the optimal ketosis level is 0.5 – 3.0 mg/dL and it is also the best ketone range for weight loss. To enter ketosis, you must have eaten fewer than 50 grams of carbs within the range of 2 to 4 days. This is the normal range.

On the contrary, some people may take longer periods to reach ketosis and this depends on several factors such as protein intake, metabolism, age, fat, and the likes. The state of ketosis reaches people differently, and it is best to always run a test to check for ketone levels in the body. It could be either a blood or urine test. This means you can keep track of the improvement of your ketone levels as you immerse deeper into ketosis.

Moreover, it is possible to not reach ketosis after being on a ketogenic diet for quite a while. This could be as a result of not cutting down enough of your carbs intake, eating too much protein, and the likes. Consuming much protein could condition your body to use the gluconeogenesis process of converting amino acids to sugar. Too much sugar can hinder the production of ketones in the body.

How to Reach Optimum Ketone Levels?

To achieve optimal ketone levels, you would have to restrict your carb intake. Most persons who are on a keto diet restrict their carb intake to either 50 grams of total carbs, 25 grams of net carbs, or even fewer than that daily.

For those who don’t know, net carbs refer to the total number of carbs minus the amount of fiber. Your body would not start the production of ketones on its own until it burns through your glycogen stores. This wouldn’t also happen unless you cut off your body’s supply of dietary carbs.

As soon as you shift into ketosis, your body will be able to produce ketones for energy from either stored body fat or dietary fat.

Nutrition Tips to Reach Ketosis

ketosis for weight loss

Increasing physical activity

Exercise is an amazing way to deplete the glycogen stores in your body. Most of the time, the glycogen stores get replenished when a person consumes carbs. When a person is on a low-carb diet, they will not be replenishing their glycogen stores.

Increasing healthful fat intake

As your carbohydrate intake decreases, you can replace it with an increase in healthful fats. Some facts that you can consume are olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocados, and avocado oil.

Consuming more coconut oil

Coconut oil is essential in helping a person not only reach but also maintain a state of ketosis. A recent study showed that adding coconut oil to your diet may help people increase their ketone levels. Coconut oil contains fats known as medium-chain triglycerides. The body can quickly absorb this fat and send them to the liver where they are turned into ketones or energy.

Maintain adequate protein intake

Achieving ketosis absolutely requires a protein intake that is adequate but not excessive. It is necessary to consume so that the liver can be supplied with amino acids where it would be used for making glucose for energy. During the process, your liver will provide glucose for cells and organs in your body that cannot use ketones as fuel.

Test your ketone levels and adjust your diet as needed

Just like a lot of things in nutrition, maintain or achieving a state of ketosis is highly individualized. Thus, it is quite helpful to test your ketone levels just to make sure you are achieving your goals. This will help to determine whether or not your diet requires any adjustment. More so, this is also necessary for those who already know what the Ketogenic diet is.

Dietary Conditions That May Impair Ketosis

food for weight loss

One important aspect of the keto diet is personalizing it to your preferences, goals, and lifestyle. It is important to adjust your diet to fit these aspects of your life. This will make it easier to achieve and maintain the desired result.

Some diets that may impair ketosis are:

Foodgrains

Grains like whole wheat flour, wheat flour, and oatmeals are really high in carbohydrates which can hinder the process of ketosis. Although they can be consumed in limited quantities, it is still advisable to avoid them since they contain a high level of carbohydrates. Some of them to avoid are rice, rye, barley, corn, quinoa.

Fruits

Some fruits to avoid on a keto diet are grapes, dates, peaches, raisins, pears, and mangoes to mention but a few. These could hinder the process of ketosis.

Vegetables

Some non- keto-friendly vegetables to avoid are corn, carrot, peas, potatoes, baked potatoes, etc.

Legumes and Beans

Although legumes and beans are nutritious, they contain a high amount of carbohydrates. Avoid legumes and beans like lentils, green peas, labia, kidney beans, etc.

Beverages

The majority of drinks we consume are high in sugar and carbs and these could hinder ketone formation in the body. Some of them you should avoid are energy drinks, soda, margarita, cola, iced tea, protein shakes, etc.

Overview

In conclusion, your body begins to use ketones as fuel as soon as you get into ketosis. If you have adopted a Ketogenic diet for weight loss, getting into ketosis is vital in achieving that goal. Ensure to cut down on carbs intake, exercise, and eat keto-friendly foods. Moreover, don’t forget to test your ketone levels to check your progress.

Keto Diet for Beginners

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps you to burn fat more effectively without feeling hunger. It is similar to many other low carb diets like Atkins, Paleo, and Dukan. But a ketogenic diet aims to put you in ketosis by reducing carb intake. Although a keto diet has many benefits, there are side effects, too. If you are planning to start a ketogenic diet keep on reading. We have made a list of what to eat while on a ketogenic diet and a one-day meal plan for you.

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic process that happens when the body does not have enough glucose for energy. When the body completely uses its primary source of energy, glucose, fat stores are broken down to produce energy. To go into ketosis, you need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day. This requires removing certain foods like grains, milk and milk products, some fruits and vegetables, legumes, and all products containing sugar. Protein intake should be moderate and fat intake should be high. Be careful, though. Too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

 

Related: Track Your Ketone Level with Vivoo Urine Sticks

 

ketogenic diet

Foods to Eat

Here is the list of foods you can eat on a ketogenic diet:

  • Meat: beef, chicken, turkey, unprocessed meat, pork, ham, bacon

  • Fish and Seafood: salmon, shrimp, sardines, tuna

  • Eggs

  • Healthy fats: avocado, olives, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, 

  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, macadamia nuts

  • Low carb vegetables: green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, asparagus, and kale, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, green peppers…

  • Milk and products: sugar-free soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut yogurt

  • Berries: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries (in moderation)

Foods to Avoid

  • Grains: rice, pasta, cereal, oatmeal, 

  • Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, quinoa

  • Fruits: all fruits except berries

  • Milk and milk products: cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt

  • Root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parnships

  • Honey, jam

  • All products containing sugar: soda, chocolate, gum, ice cream

  • Alcohol

One-day Keto Diet Meal Plan

 

BREAKFAST

Omelet with olive oil

Sautéed mushrooms and spinach

Avocado or olives

Mixed greens


LUNCH

Smoked salmon

Zucchini noodles


SNACK

100 grams of coconut yogurt (7-8 grams of carbs)

3 strawberries (7 grams of carb)

Almonds


DINNER

Grilled beef with asparagus

Mixed green salad

 

Advantages of a Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet helps you to lose weight by increasing fat during ketosis. This diet helps to break insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, a keto diet increases the feeling of satiety due to protein and fat content. Also, the keto diet also makes you feel less bloated and may decrease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 

Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

One of the most common side effects of a ketogenic diet is a reduction in the intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The limitation of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains can also decrease the amount of fiber consumed, which causes constipation. Another side effect of a keto diet is that the increased amount of protein can cause the liver and kidneys to work harder. It also increases uric acid and blood lipids. During the diet, blood pressure may fluctuate. In addition, following a strict diet can be very difficult: that’s why it is not sustainable. To avoid the side effects, you shouldn’t be on the diet for more than 10-15 days.

 

A ketogenic diet is not recommended for people with Type 1 diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, liver and renal dysfunctions, hypoglycemia, or pregnant or lactating women. 

Practical Tips for Keto Flu


Keto flu is a common side effect of a ketogenic diet. It is usually seen when people start the diet. The symptoms are very similar to the flu and are caused by the body adapting to a diet that consists of very few carbohydrates. They include headache, dry mouth, increased thirst and urination, bad breath, nausea, lack of energy, and dizziness. These symptoms generally start on days 3-7 of the diet and last for a few days. If you don’t have a chronic disease, there should be no need to worry.

To avoid the keto flu:

  • Drink plenty of water during the day.

  • Increase sodium intake by consuming more salt.

  • Drink mineral water every day.

  • Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables.

  • Avoid heavy exercise during the first week.

     

Related: 4 Ketogenic Dessert Recipes

 

5 Easy Ketogenic Salad Recipes

These simple but totally delicious and freshly made ketogenic salads make the perfect meals for lunch or dinner.

 

1. Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad

smoked salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of smoked salmon
  • 1/4 of an avocado, sliced or diced
  • 2 cup of mixed greens
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the greens and baby spinach with olive oil and lemon juice.
  2. Slice the avocado and add it on top of the greens.
  3. Top with the smoked salmon.

 

2. Egg and Tuna Salad

tuna ketogenic

Ingredients:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup of tuna
  • 2 cup of iceberg lettuce
  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes
  • 5 Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Boil the egg for 8 minutes, then shell and halve.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the chopped lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Add the tuna, boiled eggs, tomatoes and olives on top.

 

3. Soy Souced Grilled Chicken with Sesame and Ginger

chicken keto salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chicken thighs, grilled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 2 cup of romaine lettuce
  • ½ in piece chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the chicken thighs in reduced-sodium soy sauce, chopped garlic and fresh ginger.
  2. Grill the chicken in a non-stick pan.
  3. Flavor the chicken with fresh thyme and sesame seeds on top.
  4. Mix the romaine lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice, and add the grilled chicken and raw cashews on top.

 

4. Shrimp and Avocado Salad

shrimp and avocado keto salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of shrimp
  • 1/4 of an avocado, sliced or diced
  • 1 cup of mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup of rainbow chard
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the greens and rainbow chard with olive oil and lemon juice.
  2. Add the sliced avocado and cucumber to the mix.
  3. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  4. Mix together salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in shrimp to coat with spices.
  5. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  6. Transfer the cooked shrimp on the top of your salad.

 

5. Beef Salad with Asparagus and Almonds

beef keto salad

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces of beef
  • 1 pound of asparagus
  • 1 cup of mesclun mix
  • 1/2 cup of arugula
  • 1 tablespoon of raw chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the mesclun mix and arugula with olive oil and lemon juice.
  2. Heat a non-sticking pan and saute the beef.
  3. In another pan, saut the asparagus with a pinch of salt and a little oil.
  4. Put the asparagus, beef, and chopped almonds on top of your salad.

 

if you are looking for some sweet treats, don’t forget to check out 4 Ketogenic Dessert Recipes.