Your body needs energy to power it. Even when you’re sitting watching TV, it is undergoing thousands of internal processes that demand a constant supply of fuel. To meet that ongoing need for energy, the body has a default energy system that is based on glucose. When you begin the keto diet you start a process that switches your body’s energy system from glucose to fat.
That transition from a glucose to a fat burning energy system represents a monumental change to how things operate inside your body. After all, you’ve been using glucose your entire life. The change to fat as your fuel source is going to be a shock to your system. It is this transition phase that we refer to as keto induction. In this article, we show you how to ease your way through the keto induction process without the pain!
What is Keto Induction?
The glucose energy system that your body has been operating under since the moment of your conception is based on the intake of carbohydrates. The body converts these carbs into glucose, which it them uses as its primary source of fuel to power you through your life. When we take in more carbs than we need for energy, the body stores them as excess body fat and we gain weight.
But what happens when we restrict our intake of carbohydrates? The body’s supply of glucose will be depleted and it will have to go to its secondary supply, which is stored fat. This represents a far superior, cleaner and more efficient energy system. In addition to providing your body with premium fuel to function at its best, switching to a fat burning energy system will be literally burning off fat calories with every breathe that you take.
This type of eating became popular in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. It was noted that overweight children who had epilepsy dramatically lost weight on this diet. Atkins advocates also promoted it in the 70’s and 80’s.
The period of time it takes for a person to transition from a glucose burning to a far burning energy system is what we refer to as keto induction.
So, how long does keto induction take?
The length of time it takes to go through the keto induction process varies from person to person. If you are fortunate, you will get through the process in a few days. For some, however you take as long as four weeks. However, our research seems to indicate that most people take about two weeks to move through the keto induction phase  of the ketogenic lifestyle.
What Happens During the Keto Induction Phase?
To help you to understand what you are in store for as you begin your ketogenic lifestyle journey, let’s have a look at what happens day by day in a typical progression from a glucose based to a fat based energy system.
The switch to a fat burning energy system will begin once you have depleted all of the glucose from your system. On the first day of your transition you will still have carbs in your system from the last carb including meal that you ate. This will take at least 24 hours.
During this first day, make sure that you are not adding more carbs to the mix. Remember, you are giving your body the time it needs to get rid of the carbs you have already eaten. The last thing you need is to give it more work to do in this regard. Instead of carbs, you should begin to increase your intake of fat.
The fats that you take in on this first day should come from the following sources:
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia oil
When it comes to protein, you will get a good amount from the above mentioned foods. Do not take in too much protein because your body is able to convert it into glucose in a process known as gluconeogenesis. You should keep your protein intake to about 25 percent of your total daily caloric intake.
You will get some carbs with the foods that you are eating to get fats and protein into your body but this needs to be kept to about 20 grams of carbs per day. This is a massive change from the 150-175 grams that you would have been eating previously.
By the second day, your body will be depleted of glucose. This is the point where you will begin to start feeling some differences in the way your body is reacting. The body will be looking for different energy sources than glucose. But, because it has been relying on glucose for your whole life, it will also start giving you signals to get your act together and upping your carb intake. This will translate as strong cravings to reach for sugary foods. However, this is the point where you need to exert supreme discipline and resist those temptations. Focus on consuming healthy fats and, when you feel that carb craving, reach for your water bottle – the body easily confuses thirst for hunger!
By day three of your induction, you will well and truly be carb depleted. Your body will be at its most stressed at this stage and you will feel your worst ketogenic diet transition effects. The slight concern that your body was feeling the day before has become a full-blown panic attack. If your glucose system had feelings and a voice, it would be acting like an abandoned lover craving for your spurned attention. Your desire to stop what you’re doing and get back to the comfort of carbs will be stronger than ever on this day.
Realizing that Day Three will be the toughest of all the days of your new ketogenic diet nutrition lifestyle, you should make plans to help you cope with it. Try to work out your schedule so that Day 3 come on a weekend day or a day that you are not working. Plan to get out of your natural environment and as far away from supermarkets and other places you can buy carb foods as possible. A great idea is to go for a 3-4 hour hike in the woods. Stock up on plenty of nut laden trail mix and carry 3 liters of water with you.
Just know that this will be the worst day of your induction phase. So, if you can get through this day, you’ll be past the worst of it.
Today is the day that your glucose energy system has had enough. To carry through on our analogy about the spurned lover, today’s the day that he or she finally gives up on you and storms out of your life. That leaves you free to pursue a relationship with your new flame. In this case that new flame is a fat burning energy system that will lead to faster weight loss, better brain, liver and heart functioning and greater overall levels of energy.
Your body will now begin to draw on its stored fat reserves to provide the energy to fuel your day. This is when your serious weight loss will begin. But unlike most diets, that weight loss is going to be made up entirely of excess adipose tissue (i.e stored fat!). This is the reason that the Atkins Diet was so popular back in the 70s and 80s. Atkins was based on the same low carb protocol as Keto, and produced similar weight loss results.
The critical thing on Day 4 is that you do not start to slip backwards into your old carb loving ways. You’ve gone through the pain of the breakup. Reaching for carbs now would be like secretly sending love texts to that person you broke up with while you’re romancing your new love! You know that sort of carry on is going to blow up in your face!
We strongly suggest that you strictly limit your self to 20 grams of carbs today and for the next couple of weeks. After that you can extend it to a maximum of 50 grams. To make sure that you are keeping within these limits, be sure to purchase a good set of scales with which to weight your food. You should also use an app such as MyFitnessPal to keep on top of the macronutrient count of your food.
After the 4th Day
Not everyone will have the same time line as the one that we have progressed through above. For many people, the discomfort that they begin to experience on Day 3 will morph into what is known as the keto flu. This can last for up to two weeks. Here are some of the things that you may experience during this time . . .
Keto Flu Symptoms
- Sugar cravings
- Stomach upset
- Lack of mental clarity
The ketogenic flu is a pretty nasty process to go through. It’s quite natural that when you do experience these things you will start to question the wisdom of this whole ketogenic diet to lose weight scenario. This induction phase will pass – and then you will reap amazing benefits for your brain, liver and every other part of your body. The change that your body is making during this induction are profound and life changing. Your new nutrition plan that is built around seriously reduced carb intake will have you running on fatty acids. Those fatty acids represent premium grade fuel for your body.
The bottom long is to stay strong and work your way through the keto flu and you will soon reap the rewards of your new food plan.
Here are some things you can do, in addition to keeping the carb count in your food to 20 grams or less, to help you through this process . . .
When you transition to the ketogenic diet, your body suppress its release of insulin, which is a hormone that is triggered by carbohydrate intake. As well as forcing you to store body fat, insulin also instructs the kidneys to store insulin. This means that your body will remove its stores of sodium when you focus on eating low carb food. As a result you should take an electrolyte formula that includes sodium. You should also salt your food to get more sodium in the food that you eat. Another good way to up your sodium intake is to drink a cup of chicken broth each day.
When you transition to keto, you will naturally increase your rate of urination as this is how ketone bodies get removed from your body. It is inevitable that you will lose electrolytes at the same time. That is why you should take an electrolyte formula that includes the following:
You can also increase your consumption of avocados and green leafy vegetables. In addition, you should look for low carb recipes that include the electrolytes mentioned above.
Cut Back on Your Workouts?
You definitely should be exercising as part of your new diet and health lifestyle. So we don’t want to discourage you in that regard. However, while you are going through the transition from using carbs to using fats as your primary energy source, experience has shown that cutting back on your workouts can be a prudent idea.
Your body is undergoing a fundamental change during this period. It will be struggling to supply your basic energy demands, let alone the extra stress that is placed upon it with exercise. You will have the whole rest of your life to work out once you get through the induction phase.
We recommend that you take up to two weeks out from your workout schedule as you go through this period. Make use of this time to focus on getting your diet on point. Buy yourself a good book of recipes and discover your favorite recipes that are high in fats, moderate in protein and low in carbs.
This is the perfect time to give your body the extra ammunition it needs to work through its transition phase that comes with smart supplementation . Here’s what we recommend . . .
A good multivitamin will ensure that you are getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need as you transition. You can check out our favorite one here.
Getting extra carnitine in your diet will help you to more efficiently burn fat. There are some very good products available in the market but this is the one we recommend for you.
L-Glutamine assists the body to synthesize protein. In addition, glutamine will help to pack solid muscle tissue onto your body.
When switching to the keto diet, some people find it hard to digest the extra fats that are part of this new nutrition plan. Digestive enzymes (we recommend this) can be a big help in the regard. It will hep to prevent the bloating, gas and diarrhea that some people experience as they transition to the diet.
How long is induction on the keto diet?
The length of time differs according to the individual. As a general guide, though, you should allow for two weeks for the whole process to works its way though your system.
How can I get into ketosis in 24 hours?
If you want to get into ketosis in 24 hours your best bet is to fast for that period and take exogenous ketones.
How fast can you lose weight on keto?
You can expect to lose between three and ten pounds in the first week. After that the weekly rate of loss will be 1-2 pounds.
What do you eat the first week of Keto?
Focus on foods that are high in healthy fats, moderate in proteins and low in carb content. The following shopping list will cover all your bases . . .
- Water, coffee and tea
- Spices and herbs
- Stevia and erythritol sweeteners
- Lemon or lime juic
- Low carb condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard and pesto
- Chicken beef and bone broth
- Nuts and seeds – macadamia,pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, chia seeds
- Low carb protein powder
Note: leave the skin on the chicken and the fat on the meat!
- Butter (ideally grass fed)
- Sour cream
- Heavy cream
- Cheese (hard and soft)
- Cream cheese
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Unsweetened coconut milk
Fats and Oils
- Avocado oil
- Olive Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Bacon fat
Nuts and Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
The induction phase of getting into the keto diet is a challenge. Once you overcome it however, you will have entered into a whole new way of eating that will profoundly improve your life for the better. Accept the challenge, apply the suggestions offered here and stay positive – you’ll get through this!