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What to eat to get to ketosis

by (50)
Updated about 8 hours ago
Created June 23, 2011 at 1:54 AM

To reach ketosis I am aware I need to have little or no carbs, little protein and a high amount of fat. Just wondering what my meals should consist of, at the moment I am having 2-3 serves of protein a day cooked in olive oil and 1 serve of vegetables, any suggestions what I can eat to lower the carbs and protein and up the fat?

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18671 · June 24, 2011 at 7:31 PM

On the other hand, if you eat too little protein to cover your gluconeogenesis needs, your body *will* catabolize your muscle to make up the difference.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · June 24, 2011 at 7:29 PM

This is just wrong. Unless there is something seriously wrong with your body, it does not convert amino acids into glucose beyond the demand of the body.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 24, 2011 at 3:09 AM

Eww, ripe? Yuck. I guess yak is kinda gamey? I can't even handle CO in my coffee/tea so... enough said.

0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512
1960 · June 24, 2011 at 1:13 AM

Thanks for the good feedback, all.

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2977 · June 23, 2011 at 8:52 PM

I find that nuts are pretty carb-rich. Actually it (along with cheese) is my 'cheat' food. And if I end up with a bag of salty nuts or fresh-ground peanut butter I'll often inhale the whole thing in one sitting. Fortunately not more than once or twice a month :-)

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

haha - I don't think it's that special by itself - it's just that they drank a LOT of it, just like dropping butter or CO into every cup of coffee. Heinrich Harrer wrote in *Seven Years in Tibet* that they drank it all the time - and he could barely gag it down; it was greasy, very ripe, and they never seemed to get all the hair out of it. Sounds pretty 'paleo' to me...

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Off to google and see where I can find yak butter tea.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c
3756 · June 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM

@Annie- You enter ketosis while consuming nuts? Don't the carbs get in the way??

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Here's an interesting factoid: Tibetan monks. You can imagine what they eat - a bowl of gruel perhaps. A flat bread. Tea. Pretty frugal, right? Their calories? A recent survey showed their caloric intake: 6,000 calories a day! It's all the yak butter tea they drink all day. Sure it's cold, they walk around - but 6,000 is a LOT. I imagine they are in some hella ketosis!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · June 23, 2011 at 5:32 PM

While it's true that higher fat or lower calories will deepen your level of ketosis relative to protein, it's not true that there is some level of protein that is too high to stay in ketosis. I can, and routinely do eat, for example, 3000 calories, 900 of which are protein and be in ketosis. Ketosis is primarily determined by lack of carbohydrate.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Ben I agree that very low calorie regardless of carb counts can induce ketosis. But I'm talking about eating anywhere from ~1200-2000 calories a day so for me it's not a situation of very low calorie. I can eat 1-1.5 lbs beef a day and get into ketosis easily. From observing other low carbers for the last decade I can say that my experience is not unique. I'm not saying this is a sustainable diet but meat/eggs is a common tool in the LC community to elicit ketosis. Cut all carbs and eat a reasonable calorie load and there's a good chance ketosis will happen.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · June 23, 2011 at 11:56 AM

@Shari, love the personal experience-reporting. I would offer though that your getting into ketosis after a couple days of 150-200gramprotein-consumption is more a factor of your caloric-intake being low. Very low caloric levels will always also induce ketosis, even if they are carb-fueled. So, you may be eating that amount of protein but perhaps the large lack of carbohydrate is resulting in a perhaps-unknown caloric-intake low enough to bring you into ketosis. With a very low protein-intake and high fat-intake one can consume many more calories and still enter ketosis. Just food for thought

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Thanks Annie!..

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 6:14 AM

What really helped me "know" what ketosis was all about, was the day I only ate coconut oil at lunch (I was hungry but couldn't get to other food), and then walked up 16 flights of stairs. By that afternoon I could really tell that ketosis was in full swing. Note that this happened AFTER I had been low to very-low carb for a while - I suspect if you jump straight into it it might be rather uncomfortable.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Shari's right - unless you're already at very low body fat and are athletic, you really need to cut the carbs "to the bone". A sweet potato a day probably would stall ketosis in me... Also suggest you increase the fat to what might seem a shocking degree if you're not used to it. Try this: slice of a tablespoon of quality butter and eat it down straight. If that feels 'daring', then probably you're holding back on the fat you should eat.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 6:04 AM

It's easy for me to tell: I can smell it in my pee! And I get the slightly metallic taste too, but it's pretty subtle and it took a while to associate it.

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 6:01 AM

Also, would bacon be ok to have with the eggs?

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 5:57 AM

Yes I too have steamed brocoli/cauliflower, maybe I should start adding butter...which kind is best?

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Good on you! And thanks

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 5:56 AM

When you say fat, what things could I eat? And how long should I eat this way for and should I take a multivitamin while doing it? I appreciate your advice

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 5:14 AM

Probably. I have seen so many in the paleo community say you should be in ketosis at 50-100g but honestly I think that is for very athletic bodies. If you are dong minimal movement you better cut it to the bone if you want ketosis. Even with a good bit of training I have to be below 25g or so to hit ketosis. That one sweet potato's a deal breaker for me. And again, if you want to know what it feels like eat nothing but meat and eggs and fat for a few days. You will be in ketosis then and then you'll never have to wonder what it feels like. When you're in it you will know.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0
3946 · June 23, 2011 at 4:28 AM

Leisa, to get into ketosis you have to limit your total carb intake. I generally go for 20 net carbs (carbs minus fiber) which means no fruit, limited nuts and limited veggies. IF is an extra boost for fat burning, but generally speaking, it will be less effective to IF and still continue to eat higher carbs. IF with low carbs is very effective.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0
3946 · June 23, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Leisa, to get into ketosis you have to limit your total carb intake. I generally go for 20 net carbs (carbs minus fiber) which means no fruit, limited nuts and limited veggies. IF is an extra boost for fat burning, but generally speaking, it will me less effective to IF and still continue to eat higher carbs. IF with low carbs is very effective.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 3:41 AM

I can taste it in my mouth. Metallic. Some feel "sweet" in their mouth and/or breath. I urinate an ungodly amount. General signs are thirst, frequent urination, you smell different (breath, urine, sweat), you may feel energized, you may feel tired and the taste in the mouth. It's a very distinct sensation. If you ever doubt it seriously eat meat and eggs for 2-3 days and that, my friends, is ketosis.

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 3:26 AM

Thanks heaps, appreciated!

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 3:25 AM

Yes, how do you know when you are in ketosis? Thanks

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78422 · June 23, 2011 at 3:20 AM

Shari...aside from the stix how do You feel once you've reached ketosis? What is the indicator for you and how long do you remain there?

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 2:43 AM

I have been eating paleo for about 4 weeks, and need to get rid of the last of my fat and have heard that ketosis is good for that. I have also tried Intermittent Fasting for the past 2 days.So if I am IF is all I really need to do to burn ketones? Thanks

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0
3946 · June 23, 2011 at 2:08 AM

I get most of my extra fat from nuts and heavy cream.

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9 Answers

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
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24271 · June 23, 2011 at 3:15 AM

I don't need to watch protein at all to get into ketosis. I eat meat and eggs for a couple of days and I'm there. I can easily eat 150-200g protein and it has no effect on my ability to either get in or stay in ketosis. I say eat meat, some eggs and snack on some butter and CO and call it a good day.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · June 23, 2011 at 3:20 AM

Shari...aside from the stix how do You feel once you've reached ketosis? What is the indicator for you and how long do you remain there?

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 3:25 AM

Yes, how do you know when you are in ketosis? Thanks

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Here's an interesting factoid: Tibetan monks. You can imagine what they eat - a bowl of gruel perhaps. A flat bread. Tea. Pretty frugal, right? Their calories? A recent survey showed their caloric intake: 6,000 calories a day! It's all the yak butter tea they drink all day. Sure it's cold, they walk around - but 6,000 is a LOT. I imagine they are in some hella ketosis!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Off to google and see where I can find yak butter tea.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · June 23, 2011 at 5:32 PM

While it's true that higher fat or lower calories will deepen your level of ketosis relative to protein, it's not true that there is some level of protein that is too high to stay in ketosis. I can, and routinely do eat, for example, 3000 calories, 900 of which are protein and be in ketosis. Ketosis is primarily determined by lack of carbohydrate.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Ben I agree that very low calorie regardless of carb counts can induce ketosis. But I'm talking about eating anywhere from ~1200-2000 calories a day so for me it's not a situation of very low calorie. I can eat 1-1.5 lbs beef a day and get into ketosis easily. From observing other low carbers for the last decade I can say that my experience is not unique. I'm not saying this is a sustainable diet but meat/eggs is a common tool in the LC community to elicit ketosis. Cut all carbs and eat a reasonable calorie load and there's a good chance ketosis will happen.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 3:41 AM

I can taste it in my mouth. Metallic. Some feel "sweet" in their mouth and/or breath. I urinate an ungodly amount. General signs are thirst, frequent urination, you smell different (breath, urine, sweat), you may feel energized, you may feel tired and the taste in the mouth. It's a very distinct sensation. If you ever doubt it seriously eat meat and eggs for 2-3 days and that, my friends, is ketosis.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 24, 2011 at 3:09 AM

Eww, ripe? Yuck. I guess yak is kinda gamey? I can't even handle CO in my coffee/tea so... enough said.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 6:04 AM

It's easy for me to tell: I can smell it in my pee! And I get the slightly metallic taste too, but it's pretty subtle and it took a while to associate it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · June 23, 2011 at 11:56 AM

@Shari, love the personal experience-reporting. I would offer though that your getting into ketosis after a couple days of 150-200gramprotein-consumption is more a factor of your caloric-intake being low. Very low caloric levels will always also induce ketosis, even if they are carb-fueled. So, you may be eating that amount of protein but perhaps the large lack of carbohydrate is resulting in a perhaps-unknown caloric-intake low enough to bring you into ketosis. With a very low protein-intake and high fat-intake one can consume many more calories and still enter ketosis. Just food for thought

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

haha - I don't think it's that special by itself - it's just that they drank a LOT of it, just like dropping butter or CO into every cup of coffee. Heinrich Harrer wrote in *Seven Years in Tibet* that they drank it all the time - and he could barely gag it down; it was greasy, very ripe, and they never seemed to get all the hair out of it. Sounds pretty 'paleo' to me...

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
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18671 · June 23, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I would recommend picking up a copy of a low carb diet book, such as Protein Power, or Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. It will give you the basics and lots of sample menus, and answer many, many questions you might have about low carb diets. Your library probably has copies.

8be7a492e2844e2ad5595a6c73974f99
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891 · June 23, 2011 at 3:09 AM

I would recommend cooking in butter, ghee, coconut oil or animal fat.

Some people argue that olive oil is more healthful when it is unheated. Some say it's a myth...

Buy the less expensive higher fat meats and eat them.

Another great way to get some added fat in is to puree your serving of veggies with a crap load of butter and coconut oil.

I find it challenging to eat more than 50g of carbs in a day unless I have a sweet potato or carrots. Do some research on FitDay regarding how many carbs are actually in a serving of your veg. You might be surprised.

Have fun!

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 3:26 AM

Thanks heaps, appreciated!

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8255 · June 24, 2011 at 3:03 AM

The concern about ketosis and protein is that protein converts at roughly a 58% rate to glucose through gluconeogenesis. So if you eat too much protein, you could knock yourself out of ketosis. It's not really a fixed number (since the amount of glucose that prevents ketosis varies per person), and it might or might not be an issue, depending on your diet.

Assuming a couple easy numbers. 100 grams of protein = 58 grams of carbs/glucose. 200 grams of protein = 116 grams of carbs/glucose. People say to stay under 100 grams of glucose to ensure ketosis (some people need substantially less).

For some size comparisons with some rough numbers, an 8oz steak = 56 grams protein. An 8oz chicken breast = 48 grams protein. 1 cup of eggs = 31 grams protein. A scoop of CFM whey = 28 grams protein.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · June 24, 2011 at 7:29 PM

This is just wrong. Unless there is something seriously wrong with your body, it does not convert amino acids into glucose beyond the demand of the body.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · June 24, 2011 at 7:31 PM

On the other hand, if you eat too little protein to cover your gluconeogenesis needs, your body *will* catabolize your muscle to make up the difference.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0
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21405 · June 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

How long have you been doing this?

It really depends on what you consider a serving of veggies to be, and what they are.

It should only take you a few days to get into ketosis... and usually less than that if you kicked it off with a fast lasting over 18 hours (your body burns ketones in semi-fasted state).

Staples for me to stay on the ketosis train, a single tablespoon of coconut oil to curb snack attacks. 2 of those per day when you feel hungry and that should get your fats up pretty well.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0
3946 · June 23, 2011 at 4:28 AM

Leisa, to get into ketosis you have to limit your total carb intake. I generally go for 20 net carbs (carbs minus fiber) which means no fruit, limited nuts and limited veggies. IF is an extra boost for fat burning, but generally speaking, it will be less effective to IF and still continue to eat higher carbs. IF with low carbs is very effective.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0
3946 · June 23, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Leisa, to get into ketosis you have to limit your total carb intake. I generally go for 20 net carbs (carbs minus fiber) which means no fruit, limited nuts and limited veggies. IF is an extra boost for fat burning, but generally speaking, it will me less effective to IF and still continue to eat higher carbs. IF with low carbs is very effective.

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Thanks Annie!..

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 2:43 AM

I have been eating paleo for about 4 weeks, and need to get rid of the last of my fat and have heard that ketosis is good for that. I have also tried Intermittent Fasting for the past 2 days.So if I am IF is all I really need to do to burn ketones? Thanks

37cbbd14609cda6139c5b6a8806b5714
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0 · June 28, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Thanks James, Just surfing through for an understanding of protein v. fat and found this page. Your numbers on this were very helpful and coincides with some other info. I have found. I am one of those people who have to watch everything to stay in ketosis. Thanks Again, Diane

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166 · June 23, 2011 at 4:59 AM

I have never done ketosis while on paleo. But a few years ago I did do a doctor monitored fast. I did no more than 800 calories a day(in the form of high protein shakes), no carbs, all the water I could drink. I went into ketosis in 4 days. A sign for me was NO more hungar pangs. After that I had to force myself to eat on schedule..I just wasn't hungry. It was great! I lost 64 lbs in 3 months...but this was very very monitored by a doctor and extreme. It can cause damange to the heart if done for too long. After 2 months I was allowed to eat 1 cup of raw vegetables to reintroduce foods to my diet. As mentioned above...watch those carbs they are hid in lots of vegies.

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Good on you! And thanks

0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512
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1960 · June 23, 2011 at 4:11 AM

Hmm. Dunno -- this pretty much describes what I do, and I don't notice any of those effects. Wonder if I'm still eating too many carbs. For the most part, I eat one sweet potato with dinner, and I usually have some kind of steamed veg -- broccoli or cauliflower, w/butter, for instance.

0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512
1960 · June 24, 2011 at 1:13 AM

Thanks for the good feedback, all.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Shari's right - unless you're already at very low body fat and are athletic, you really need to cut the carbs "to the bone". A sweet potato a day probably would stall ketosis in me... Also suggest you increase the fat to what might seem a shocking degree if you're not used to it. Try this: slice of a tablespoon of quality butter and eat it down straight. If that feels 'daring', then probably you're holding back on the fat you should eat.

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 5:56 AM

When you say fat, what things could I eat? And how long should I eat this way for and should I take a multivitamin while doing it? I appreciate your advice

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 23, 2011 at 6:14 AM

What really helped me "know" what ketosis was all about, was the day I only ate coconut oil at lunch (I was hungry but couldn't get to other food), and then walked up 16 flights of stairs. By that afternoon I could really tell that ketosis was in full swing. Note that this happened AFTER I had been low to very-low carb for a while - I suspect if you jump straight into it it might be rather uncomfortable.

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 6:01 AM

Also, would bacon be ok to have with the eggs?

03f2fb1c6cc60da437adc85027c8a89e
50 · June 23, 2011 at 5:57 AM

Yes I too have steamed brocoli/cauliflower, maybe I should start adding butter...which kind is best?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · June 23, 2011 at 5:14 AM

Probably. I have seen so many in the paleo community say you should be in ketosis at 50-100g but honestly I think that is for very athletic bodies. If you are dong minimal movement you better cut it to the bone if you want ketosis. Even with a good bit of training I have to be below 25g or so to hit ketosis. That one sweet potato's a deal breaker for me. And again, if you want to know what it feels like eat nothing but meat and eggs and fat for a few days. You will be in ketosis then and then you'll never have to wonder what it feels like. When you're in it you will know.

E67463e13cd30cb2aa51481ae1819fd1
0
5 · June 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

I have been doing paleo/Whole30 for 40 days... and the test was taken after only 2 weeks on paleo/whole30.

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