I’m going to go over information in summary from training I’ve done on how to achieve ketosis.
What I have in this article is 3 year’s worth of work of organizing and developing the steps to ketosis, all to help you get started. Read beyond the numbered list to learn details about each step.
There is one major rule that works consistently is to get your grams of carbohydrates below 20 grams per day. This step alone is easier to grasp knowing 2 things:
1) The popularity and success of the carnivore diet which is basically an all meat diet and is zero carbs.
2) Using an app called Cronometer or using cronometer.com to track the amount of carbohydrates in foods.
Beyond the carbohydrates, there is protein and fats, the other two macronutrients. The protein can be very high with tremendous health benefits and no negative consequences. The fat intake needs to be leveraged depending on your needs. More to come on these two subjects.
There are different variations of ketosis, and they work differently for different people. It may take you a day or three months to get through these steps. Go at your own pace. These are the steps IN ORDER that make it easy to achieve:
- Increase fat intake and protein intake. These 2 nutrients keep your appetite satisfied.
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt per day. This is only 8.5 grams of salt whereas some native tribes consistently had 100 grams per day.
- Start lowering your carbs by decreasing or eliminating sugars, grains, and fruit in this order. This does not also mean “raise your vegetable intake”.
- Solidify your macronutrient ratios. This means get your carbs below 20 grams per day.
- Start testing your blood using Keto-Mojo or urine using Ketostix to ensure you have achieved ketosis.
- Make sure your protein is above adequate and your fat intake is appropriate. See below for details.
- Being in ketosis means you can easily skip one meal a day. This is called Intermittent Fasting. For example: only eat lunch and dinner.
- Block Fasting is the next step where you only consume water for 5 days straight.
If you’re brand new, Step 1 means increasing meat or consuming extra butter and healthy oils. I have a video called “Healthy Fats For You To Consume,” which tells you just that: the best fats for you to eat! Some examples of healthy oils are coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. You might work on a gradient up to six tablespoons, or if you’re small, if you’re a hundred pounds, you might only need two tablespoons. Tablespoons of oil are easily measured, so you know one tablespoon is 14 grams of fat (butter is 12 grams). If you take six tablespoons of oil, that’s 84 grams of fat.
If you are trying to lose weight, this is a temporary measure to help you get into ketosis and control your appetite. Once you are in ketosis, you cut the fat intake back so your body is burning fat off your waist rather than the fat you are consuming.
One of my employees recently got into ketosis. It took her two and a half weeks, and she increased her fat by one and a half tablespoons of butter per day.
Another thing that works for this step is to eat our Good Fat Bars, specifically our Good Fat Keto Bars. The base of the bars is cacao butter, an excellent healthy fat. (Note: these bars won’t take the place of oils while fasting since oils can be taken during fasting hours and won’t break your fast. Good Fat Bars aren’t just fat: they also have some protein and some carbohydrates, and therefore will break your fast). For example, the Ketodamia Bar has 17.1 g fat, 2.1 g carbs, and .9 g protein. It’s mostly fat! These bars are great for increasing fat in the diet.
Step 2 is adding salt. A high carb diet keeps insulin up which retains fluid in the body. Lowering insulin causes extra urination and the loss of edema and reduction of blood pressure. With the extra urination, you may lose minerals like potassium, magnesium, etc. and get symptoms such as constipation, “keto-flu’, and muscle cramping. All the while you eat low-carb, you must increase your salt.
Step 3 is starting to lower your carbs. Subtract the high carb sugars, grains, and fruit. Eat only vegetables with all their fiber, not juiced.
Step 4 Subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of carbs. You may be left with 20 grams of net carbs per day even if you have large quantities of salad. Use Cronometer to measure this so you know for yourself. It automatically gives you net carbs.
Step 5 You’ve been measuring ketosis in your food, now it’s time to measure ketosis in your body. Ketostix is an easy way to measure urine for ketones. It is not as accurate as the blood tests such as Keto-mojo which measures blood ketones and sugar. If you achieve a ketone level of .5 in your blood, this is enough to reverse diabetes over time. A one year study by VIRTA HEALTH showed a 60% reduction of diabetes in 262 diabetics! See my video on youtube “Benefits of ketosis by degree.”
Step 6 Now you’re in ketosis, and you’re playing with the other two macronutrients. Good protein intake is grams per ideal body weight. It is better to have too much protein than to have too little. Example: If you weigh 250 lbs. and you want to weight 170, then eat 170 grams of protein.
For fat intake, there are two rules. If you are an endurance athlete, keep the fat intake high such as 130+ grams so you can use this for fuel for many hours. But if you want to lose weight, drop the fat intake to a low level such as 50 grams.
Step 7 is intermittent fasting. Check out my video “Ketosis is not enough. Fasting, Feasting, Diet Variation, Fasting Mimicking, Fasting for Women“. This video will give you a more rounded-out idea of different fasting techniques. Basically, intermittent fasting is where you skip a meal in order to have a 14-18 hour fasting window, and you consume all of your daily calories within a 6-10 hour window.
Step 8 is block fasting, or fasting for a full 24 hours or more. You might go dinner to dinner, where every day you have dinner, which is almost block fasting. More accurately, an example of block fasting would be doing 5 days of water fasting: no fat, no carbs, no protein. Thomas Seyfried, the incredible cancer researcher, says if everybody did a one week water fast, once a year, the rates of cancer would drop 99 percent nationwide.
A 5-day block fast looks like this:
Day 1: you are hungry.
Day 2: you might be miserable or not.
Day 3: you achieve ketosis and feel better or even quite good.
Day 4: you get autophagy which is healthy cell death. You have to recycle the old cells. For every cell that dies, you get a new cell (see Day 5)
Day 5: you get a surge of new stem cells. This is how you make a new body.
So there are the steps to ketosis for you. As I said, there are many ways to go about it, but if you’re just starting out, (or even if you’re a seasoned ketosis dieter and want a new technique!) this is the route I recommend.
Regardless of the technique, here’s the end result: lower insulin. The goal of ketosis isn’t necessarily to raise ketones, because you can take ketone supplements and it doesn’t get the final end result of lowering insulin. Higher insulin is the marker for what’s called metabolic mayhem, all the altered physiology that can happen in the body. As long as you get that insulin down, then the metabolic mayhem goes away, and that’s the goal. It’s something that’s needed if you’re chronically ill (that alongside addressing lactic acidosis, for which I have other videos).
In places like Australia, they call it banting when you go to fat-burning mode. It’s named after Mr. Banting, who wrote the first book ever on ketosis (at the time they didn’t call it ketosis, of course). That book is called A Letter On Corpulence, written in 1860. If you’re in Australia and people ask you, “Are you banting?” That means are you in fat-burning mode and getting healthier.
So join the movement! Give these steps a try and get into ketosis!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Darren Schmidt