Welcome. If you’re wondering, “How long does ketosis take,” or “Am I doing it well?” you’ve come to the right place. Many people think of ketosis as a light switch. Something that is either on or off, but it’s really more of a dimmer switch. It can go up and down.
The truth is ketosis is actually a bit more complex and varies from person to person than we might like to admit, but don’t let that put you off. As you’re about the see, the benefits of being in ketosis are many.
To answer your question “how long does ketosis take,” you first have to look at what you eat and consider if you would be more suited to a low-carb diet, like the ketogenic diet.
What makes the keto diet so unique is that it’s a low-carb high-fat diet (LCHF) and encourages ketosis by giving your body the right environment for a metabolic change.
Ketosis is really just a name for burning fat - not glucose - as energy.
When your body needs energy, it will demand it in order of sugar, carbs, glycogen, and fat. In our grain-rich American diet, most people may never use up their glycogen to hit their fat reserves (1).
On a ketogenic diet, fat is the first source your body will seek out, as there are so few others available. This means most people get into ketosis very quickly on a keto diet.
In an ideal world, you can get into ketosis within a few hours (if you’re fat-adapted). For most people, it will take a few days. And in fewer cases, it may take weeks.
Longer than this indicates you are eating too many carbs or have an underlying issue with your metabolism that may need you to chat with a Doc. Without actually meeting you it is hard to say which, but we are confident most people eat the wrong carbs.
Yes, wrong! The ketogenic diet was never intended to villainize carbs and eating too few, or too many can be problematic.
Eating too few carbs can stall ketosis as it puts pressure on your body and can signal a crisis and too many carbs mean your body will not metabolize fats; it is really about finding that sweet spot in-between.
The good news is we have a few simple and easy tricks that can help you get into a fat-burning state of ketosis as quickly as possible. We’ll walk you through these steps in just a moment, but first, let’s take a look closer at ketosis.
How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?
Many people wonder how long does it take to get into ketosis without fully understanding what it feels like to be there. This is like packing the wrong suitcase for your vacation.
If you’re unsure of the destination, how will you know when you’ve arrived? And what will you do when you get there? It’s time to plan correctly.
For many people, ketosis feels like a natural and euphoric rush; like having a great day. You may experience a sense of joy and contentment, have clearer thoughts, and be more motivated to do things.
For many people, the benefits of ketosis become a benchmark of their success and something they thrive on. Over time, you’ll learn to feel these symptoms to confirm what state you are in so that you can enjoy a diverse range of foods without worrying you’ll suddenly get kicked out of ketosis. More on this coming up.
If you’re still learning the sensations, some other symptoms to look for include sudden weight loss (typically water weight in the first week). You may experience frequent urination, thirst, a suppressed appetite and need less sleep (2).
These are all perfectly normal, and less common symptoms such as keto flu or keto breath and headaches will usually disappear over time or with electrolytes.
Many newcomers will turn to urine strips to ask if they are in ketosis, but these are ineffective; especially as your body becomes fat-adapted. Within 3-4 weeks, your body will stop secreting ketones in the urine and will learn to use them to metabolize fat.
It’s at around this time many people worry they are no longer in ketosis because the test comes back negative. And that may be the reason you are reading today.
If so, you’ve missed the signs and become dependant on test strips. Listening to your body will help you reduce all these fears about being in ketosis, and help you to understand better what works for your body.
No two people are the same, and ketosis has many variables that require you to tune into your metabolism and response to its feedback.
Some people can eat a higher number of carbs and enjoy the benefits of ketosis, while others do better on a more plant-based version of keto, so if you’re interested in a flexible and delicious take on keto that works for you, then listen to your body.
While it’s fun to think about all the steaks and cheeseburgers you can eat; these don’t always work for everyone. Now, let’s take a look at what does.
How to Get Into Ketosis Quickly
Spoiler alert: the best way to get into ketosis quickly is to stay there. The longer you're in ketosis, the faster your body learns to snap back (3). Like muscles, your body will determine responses to situations. Ketosis happens to be one of them.
As humans, we are incredibly proficient at storing fat, but we have forgotten that we can also reverse this just as quickly when we consume fewer carbs. In the days of our ancestors, we naturally lived in ketosis most of the time.
We would eat high-fat meats and green vegetables, and go for periods of time without eating (or catching a meal), and so we had to learn to store fat to burn during these down-times. Fast food and the many grains in our modern world has limited our ability to metabolize fat and taught us how to store more fat than desired.
If you want to restore your metabolic balance and go back to a time when your body thrived on burning fat and felt terrific, then ketosis is for you. To show you what we mean, we’ve got three super easy and dependable tips that we use to get into and stay in ketosis.
Here at Nui, we use these steps regularly as a simple way to make sure we’re giving our bodies the best foods to thrive.
Step 1: Look for Hidden Carbs
Many times, we meet Nui fans on the road, and they tell us that they’re eating fewer carbs, but they’re just not in ketosis. There’s no easy way to say this, but if you’re not in ketosis, it means you are eating carbs somewhere.
In many cases, it’s hard to accurately guess a portion size so unless you’re documenting what you eat it can be hard to know for sure what is sliding in.
Reading labels can help avoid mistakes, and using an App like Carb Manager will help you understand where you get your carbs from daily.
Vegetables like kale, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are natural accelerators for ketosis and your body vitamins A, B, C D + E, as well as iron, for energy and fat metabolism (4). Green vegetables are also very high in antioxidants and are a fantastic use of your daily carbs.
Step 2: Eat More Fats
Many people on a keto diet chase down their carb count but fail to add in more fat to meet their caloric needs. This has a double-whammy effect. First, not adding fats will make you feel lethargic and induce brain fog. The total opposite of ketosis.
The second is that a low-fat diet makes it hard to produce enough ketones to sustain yourself. By not eating fats you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Ketosis is all about encouraging your body to go back to the ways of our ancestors and to use fat for energy. Switching from one type of metabolism to another is stressful. Not eating enough fat can make your body go into crisis mode. It thinks it’s starving and will hold onto fat, assuming it is helping to sustain you. Instead, we prefer to treat our body and give it all the help it needs.
High-fat snacks will stop your body from stressing out during the transition and soothes your metabolism into finding fat. Eating to satiation, and eating lots of healthy fats, is a great way to kickstart your journey into ketosis. And, unlike other diets, you can eat at or above your calorie goals on the ketogenic and still lose weight. We encourage you to try this out.
Don’t be afraid to pick up a pack of Nui cookies if you feel hungry or tired when getting into ketosis. Your body is working overtime to transition, and our ketogenic blend of grass-fed butter is a simple way to pack more healthy fats into your day.
Fat gives you energy and enables your body to make the transition into ketosis. We cannot say this enough: eat more fat, and then eat some more!
As a nation, we have a long history of not eating enough fat behind us, and it’s time to undo the wrongs and make fat our friend again.
Step 3: Accelerate with MCTs
A really powerful way to get into ketosis is to supplement your diet with MCTs. These are medium-chain triglycerides and a special kind of fat that provides quick-acting energy. MCT oil is a popular addition to many keto coffees and tastes excellent, and are a refined oil taken from the nourishing coconut.
We love the taste of MCT so much we added it to Nui cookies, but don’t worry if you don’t enjoy the taste of coconuts. MCT doesn’t have much of any taste.
MCT has a few benefits in our keto cookies: the first is that it helps you get into ketosis, and gives your body the purest form of energy. Secondly, it gives our cookies a rich buttery taste that people love. And finally, MCT is never stored in the body as fat (4); it doesn’t matter how many cookies you eat, these won’t go to your hips, or anywhere else.
You can read more about the fantastic benefits of MCT oil here, but suffice to say we love this stuff and it’s fantastic. MCTs range from C4 to C12. These go up in increments of 2, starting at C2 (with C2 and C4 being largely intolerable) to C6 (the purest form of energy) to C-12; which is ok. Most MCTs you will see for sale is C8, and C10 blended as this is the most cost-effective and taste good.
We prefer to use C-6 and C-8 MCTs when possible as these are the shortest and most delicious MCTs and give you a true boost of energy. These are a step up, and you’ll feel a pep in your step if you try these out.
Many people enjoy adding MCT to their coffee, but you can also bake it into cookies (like we do) or add it to recipes where you want a rich, creamy taste. Think of it as you would traditional salt; it enhances flavor and makes a creamy, delicious taste.
Once you get into ketosis, however, there is no promise you will stay there. The goal of the keto diet is to sustain ketosis over the long-term. By eating a low-carb high-fat diet, you’ll start to feel and learn the signs you’re in ketosis and will no longer need to ask, “How long does ketosis take?” You’ll already be there and living your best low-carb life!
You can also check out our handy guide on how to get into ketosis faster. This guide is packed with our best tips and tricks you can use to transform your body, and we go into detail on how to accurately test for ketones.