In need of advice to get into ketosis

Answered on August 27, 2013
Created August 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Hey guys, sorry if this question is beating a dead horse but I've been changing my diet to the keto lifestyle and I'm struggling to get into ketosis. I've been doing it for 6 days and still no sign of ketosis. I've definitely cut all obvious carbs out completely and my net carbs are lower than 30 grams per day so far. Is there any advice to make sure all my keto lifestyle bases are covered? Also will having a high daily protein amount hinder entering ketosis. I want to make sure everything is proper so that I can get the best results for fat loss and less muscle gains. Thanks for you time! Sincerely, Cris


on August 13, 2013
at 04:24 AM

I'm in the same boat



on August 11, 2013
at 12:29 AM

how do you know you are not in ketosis?

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2 Answers


on August 27, 2013
at 08:51 PM

First, let's talk about what is needed to get into ketosis

  • the carbs need to be low enough. How much "low enough" is, depends on a lot of variables. A good ballpark figure is less than 50 grams of carbs a day, but this might vary depending on:
    • the person
    • the types of carbs
    • the timing
    • how they are split throughout the day
    • the activity level
  • the protein intake also needs to be low enough. Obviously, you should go too low on protein. The protein intake is primarily dependent on the following factors
    • the lean body mass (see below)
    • how it is split through out the day (see below)

Let me expand on: Lean body mass as a guide for protein intake

A general guideline is 0.6 to 1.0 g of protein per lbs of lean body mass; or 1.2 to 2.0 g per kg of lean body mass. From personal experience, I don't recommend going to the upper limit; at least no in the beginning. You can test later, if you can stay in ketosis with a higher protein intake.

Let me expand on: How to distribute protein/carbs throughout the day:

It is generally better to split the carb and protein intake into several meals throughout the day instead of doing intermittent fasting and eating all your carbs and protein in a relatively short amount of time or even at a single meal.

The traditional 3 meals per day are a good starting place and you should split your carbs and protein intake relatively evenly. If you have more protein at one meal, consider eating less carbs at that meal to balance it out. It's just easier to avoid mistakes by distributing the daily carb and protein intake evenly across 3 meals.

Example: I am about 165 lbs (75 kg) with about 15% body fat, which means I have a lean mass of approximately 141 lbs (64 kg). With 0.6 to 1.0 g of protein per pounds of lean body my protein intake should be between 85 and 141 grams. I currently consume about 90 grams of protein and - without dairy - can get fasting blood ketone values of about 2-3 mM, which is pretty great. My carbs are somewhere in the 20-30g range, but that is just an educated guess, since I don't count my carbs. I might be able to eat a little more protein, but I really can't. My hunger won't let me. That might change on some days and I might consume 110 or even 120 gram, but then on the next day my hunger goes down and I can only eat 60 to 70 grams.

When I eat too much dairy, however, my ketones drop significantly (this is also a comment on how the types of carbs/food can effect the ketone level).

On measuring ketosis

I do strongly recommend measuring blood ketone levels (fasting blood ketone levels in the morning, to be more precise) instead of ketostix. They are way more reliable. The strips are expensive, but you don't need to measure everyday. If your diet doesn't change, you should be fine with measuring once or twice a week, although I do think that in the beginning it is a good day to measure more often. Look online for prices of strips. It the states you can pay $6 per strip, in Australia - I heard - it's less than $1 and in Germany it's about 1.50 EUR per strip.

Further reading

I highly recommend the book The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek. It is probably the best resource you can find on nutritional ketosis. There is also an interview with the authors on youtube and Peter Attia has some very interesting blog posts and videos about nutritional ketosis, as does Jimmy Moore.


on August 10, 2013
at 04:37 PM

I'm not going to question why are you seeking ketosis as it's not the point of the question, so straight to the doubts, yes, high protein might keep ypu away of ketosis due to gluconeogenesis, seems that no more than 0.8 gr per kilo of body weight are needed as a limit (but I guess it depends also on how ypu split them into meals, etc).

Don't know how you're mesuring it but if you use ketostix, have in mind that they might not be reliable.

Also, the "good feeling" resulting from ketosis is not magic either and if you're being guided by this... I don't personally think that the fact you're not showing that great state of mind or 0 cravings necessarily means you're not into ketosis.

I'd say that fasting for many hours and only break it with fat meals with little to no carb and protein could be a sure way to you to enter it eventually sooner or after, but frankly... doesn't seem very natural to eat that way either. Also, I'd suggest you to move, move a lot, even if it is not exercise per se, walking, moving, going to meet some people... don't stay inactive, and if you do it specially after your last meal of the day, even better. MCTs like in supplements or extra virgin coconut oil could help you enter ketosis as they load you with ketone bodies.

My take is that if you're limiting bad sources of carbs (refined sugars, grains, very high glycemic index carb sources) and avoiding bad sources of omega-6 fatty acids from seed oils and, trans fats, and eating paleo with plenty of vegetables plus meat, organs and seafood... you're in the right direction and no need to obsess over ketosis...

If you'are after it for other purposes like trying to improve on some illnesses like seizures, etc... or trying to fat adapt for endurance events... or whataver... then I hope I can brought up some tips for you! :D

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