So by now, you have already dived into the ketogenic lifestyle (also called keto diet). All the foods containing processed carbs, added sugars and vegetable oils have been cleared out of your house. You have set your net carbs to 30 grams or fewer, moderated your protein and increased your consumption of healthy fats. Now you are looking around wondering: “How long does it take to get into ketosis?”
I am sure you have heard conflicting viewpoints that would say in as little as 2 days or even as high as 30 days. In reality, it takes the average person 3 to 14 days to enter a state of ketosis. I will discuss later as to what “ketosis” means and what that looks like numerically.
I have been down that road myself and unlike many of you eager beavers, I actually waited before measuring my ketones. I was hung up on spending money on something I didn’t think I needed. I admit it. I have a cheap ass dwelling within me. Lol!
Just in case you missed it, I have already given the answer away to how long it takes to get into ketosis. Oooops, I am not a big fan of hidden surprises or delaying the inevitable. So if you are one of those people who wants a straight answer and that’s it, consider your question answered. You can stop reading right now but I think you will find more value if you continue reading.
Eating healthy fats, moderating protein and keeping carbs low, is the best place to start doing keto but in order to know you’re in ketosis; you must test yourself.
If you want to know more about ketosis and how to measure your ketones (energy created from fat), then continue reading because I have some golden nuggets to share with you.
So What Is Ketosis Anyway? Why do I care?
Ketosis is the metabolic state where your body is burning fat as its primary source of fuel. This is achieved as a result of keeping your net carbs to 30g or less daily. Since your carb intake is greatly reduced, your body no longer has sugar to rely upon as a fuel source. So it responds to this condition by converting fat into ketones to be used as its new primary source of fuel. This means your body will begin breaking down stored body fat and fat consumed through your diet to create ketones.
Ketosis is the measurement of how efficient your body is at producing ketones from fat.
I liken ketosis and keto to test taking and studying. You do all of this “studying” following a ketogenic diet where your macros are roughly 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs (not to exceed 30g of net carbs). As with any traditional way of teaching, your knowledge is verified only after you pass the “test” aka measure your ketones. There are 3 different tests you can take to check your performance. Let’s dive into those 3 tests and which one is best for you.
To Pee Or Not To Pee… That Is The Question!
If that title doesn’t give you a clue of the first method of testing, then I am highly pissed you missed a good joke. (See what I did there?) Lol. Ok ok. All jokes aside. The first method of testing is with urine ketones test strips. These are going to be your fastest and cheapest way of measuring ketones. Essentially you tinkle on a little stick and wait a min or 2 to see some color form on it. As long as you see color on the stick, then you are in ketosis.
Now for the catch. Yeah. I know there is always a catch. These strips tend provided less accurate readings the longer you follow a ketogenic lifestyle. The reason being efficiency. The pee strips are measuring the amount of ketones you are excreting. The longer you are fat adapted, the more efficient your body becomes at utilizing ketones. This translates into lower/false readings on your pee strips.
I personally never went this route because I didn’t want to play the guessing game figuring out when they stop becoming so accurate. So I immediately jumped off into the next option.
Nobody Likes A Prick Unless…
You want to measure your level of ketosis. Then we can make an exception. The prick comes into play when measuring your level of ketosis through blood ketone testing. This is the gold standard for determing whether you are in a state of ketosis. You prick your finger, place a drop of blood on a ketone test strip that’s inserted in a blood ketones monitor, and wait about 10 seconds. Then you will a more consistent and accurate measure of your level of ketosis.
In terms of blood monitoring, you want a reading of 0.5mmol or higher. As long as you are 0.5 or higher, your body is now using ketones as it’s primary source of fuel. Unless you have health reasons that calls for it, you need not worry if your ketone readings are higher than 0.5mmol.
I grew up with a mother and grandmother who were diabetic. So I always thought it was cool to prick my finger and measure my glucose. Unfortunately, not everyone is ok with a little prick. Also, this is the most costly way to test since you have to buy lancets and ketone strips.
Luckily there is a 3rd alternative if you like to avoid pain and can spare some change.
“I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and I’ll Blow”… Into a Breathalyzer?
If your urine freaks you out and a little prick isn’t your thing, then you can go for option 3 which is a breathe ketone analyzer. This device works by measuring the ketones you are exhaling. Unlike the pee strips that measures how many ketones you are wasting, the breathalyzer measure the level of efficiency in which the body is using ketones. This way is painless and save you money in the long run since you don’t need to constantly replace anything. This way also provides you with more convenience than the other 2 options.
By now, you should know, there’s a catch. The catch is the initial cost, degree of difficulty, and factors that can affect your reading. Out of all 3 options, this one has the most initial cost. Once you get it, you have make sure you blow into it properly and long enough to generate an accurate reading. Things such as mouthwashes and alcohol prior to testing can negatively impact the reading.
I own one and love the concept of it. I just value consistency over convenience so that’s why I stick with the blood ketone testing.
Don’t Guess, Test!!!
You now have 3 ways to determine how long it will take YOU to get into ketosis. I am curious though… Which one will you pick and why?
Leave a comment or share your experience below. Whether you have used any of these methods or how long it took you to get into ketosis, I want to right now from you.
In the mean time, keep killing this keto lifestyle and let me know how I can be of assistance to you on your journey.
Black N Keto
Side Note: There are more options within each catergory to test your ketones.