Staying in ketosis is physically very easy; mentally it is much harder. There is a reason sugar and carbohydrates are so hard to cut out, our bodies evolved to reward us when we eat them. Of course, that was before we started eating refined sugar instead of naturally occurring sugar. Now we eat it like it is real food and obesity is at an epidemic. Ketogenic diets have started to reverse that trend, but staying is ketosis isn’t always easy.
Control Carb Intake
First and foremost, to stay in ketosis, you have to limit or cut carbs. That includes paying very close attention to labels and finding hidden carbs, especially in processed food. One example of this is maltodextrin. It isn’t considered a sugar, but it has a greater impact on blood sugar than the sugar you use on your cereal. You’ll find it in a lot of things you wouldn’t expect, even if in small amounts.
The golden rule to stay in ketosis is to keep your daily net carbohydrate intake to <20 grams per day. If you are unsure what net carbs are, see “What are Net Carbs and why do they matter?”.
Some people eat more carbs and manage to maintain ketosis while others try to eat as few carbs as possible and still struggle. For the vast majority of people though, eating under 20 net carbs per day will result in ketosis after your internal carbohydrate stores are used up.
The only other thing to add is that you have to pay attention to all of your carb intake, including non-foods like condiments and sauces. This is one of the main reasons eating out on keto can be challenging.
Even if you get the steak with broccoli, the seasoning and steak sauce could have a lot of carbohydrates themselves. One carb here and two carbs there adds up quickly.
Watch Protein Intake
The ideal amount of protein intake will depend on your ideal lean body mass. You can do the calculations pretty easily online. First, calculate your Ideal Body Weight HERE. One you have a ballpark number (the calculator uses multiple formulas, so I do a rough average of them), you plug it into the weight box of the Protein Calculator HERE. We recommend staying above the World Health Organization recommended safe lower limit results.
It is thought by some that if you eat more protein than you need, it will be converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis (the process the liver uses to make glucose). There are probably just as many that think the glucose produced because of elevated protein intake would not have an impact on ketosis. What little research there is, is inconclusive.
I personally err on the side of caution and stay right above the WHO recommended safe lower limit, but again, I am not very active and don’t need a lot of protein.
Utilize carbohydrates better
One way to help stay in ketosis is to utilize carbohydrates better. Insulin is the enemy of ketosis (see the Enhancing Ketosis page for more information) and is produced / released when there is a high level of glucose in the blood. There are various ways to decrease circulating glucose, (again, see Enhancing Ketosis), but the easiest way by far is to use it.
After you eat a meal with carbs in it, get up and move. You don’t have to have a sweat inducing workout, but even walking around helps get the additional glucose out of your system by using it as food for your muscles. The faster it gets used up, the faster your insulin levels return to normal and the faster your body starts making ketones again.
Cheat the system
The final thing you can do to stay in ketosis is to cheat the system. OK, this one is a plug for Herbal Adjunct, as we manufacture the only supplements that are specifically designed to enhance ketosis. By using KetoGuardian™ or KetoSavior™, you are able to increase your carbohydrate intake without breaking ketosis. See Enhancing Ketosis, The Science, as well as the KetoGuardian™ or KetoSavior™ pages.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.