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November 10, 2018 2 min read

Ketosis is the metabolic state when blood ketone levels reach a certain level (around 0.5 mmol/L). People will typically enter ketosis when they restrict carbohydrates (i.e., by following the ketogenic diet) or eat little to no calories (i.e., fasting for multiple days).

In general, the body will not enter ketosis as long as there are enough carbs available from the diet or stored glycogen (the storage form of sugar) to provide the cells with energy. As long as sugar is available (and you don’t consume exogenous ketones or medium chain triglycerides), your body will do just fine using glucose as its primary fuel source. In fact, many people will go throughout life without ever entering ketosis while maintaining optimal health.

If it is true that ketosis isn’t necessary for optimal health, then this raises a couple of questions: What’s the purpose of ketosis? And wouldn’t we do just fine by burning fat and sugar for fuel?

To get a better idea of why we have the ability to burn ketones for fuel, let’s approach these questions from two perspectives — health and evolution.

How do I get there?

 

Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance:

  1. Restrict your carbohydrates. Most people tend to only focus only on net carbs. If you want great results, limit both. Try to stay below 20g net carbs and below 35g total carbs per day. If you need extra help, we also have a small guide on finding your keto carb limit >
  2. Restrict your protein intake. Many people come over to keto from an Atkins diet and don’t limit their protein. Too much protein can lead to lower levels of ketosis. Ideally for weight loss, you want to eat between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound lean body mass. To help with this, consider using the keto calculator >
  3. Stop worrying about fat. Fat is the primary source of energy on keto – so make sure you’re feeding your body enough of it. You do not lose weight on keto through starvation.
  4. Drink water. Try to drink a gallon of water a day. Make sure that you’re hydrating and staying consistent with the amount of water you drink. It not only helps regulate many vital bodily functions, but it also helps control hunger levels.
  5. Stop snacking. Weight loss tends to do better when you have fewer insulin spikes during the day. Unnecessary snacking may lead to stalls or slow in weight loss.
  6. Start fasting. Fasting can be a great tool to boost ketone levels consistently throughout the day. 
  7. Add exercise in. It’s a known fact that exercise is healthy. If you want to get the most out of your ketogenic diet, consider adding in 20-30 minutes of exercise a day. Even just a small walk can help regulate weight loss and blood sugar levels.
  8. Start supplementing. Although not usually needed, supplementing can help with a ketogenic diet.