Keeping a firm grip on your ketone levels is vital to maintaining ketosis and staying on top of the ketogenic diet.
As you gradually shift from a diet of carbohydrates and sugars to a diet with monounsaturated fats and protein, your body will naturally produce ketones in the absence of glucose. While on ketosis, your body will begin to burn fat cells at a much quicker rate, and hopefully help you lose those extra pounds.
Knowing which foods and activities will help you raise your ketone levels will keep your body from “relapsing” back into its natural state. However, before we get into our top four ways to raise your ketone levels, perhaps we should begin with a word of warning:
Managing ketone levels doesn’t just mean raising them but also warding off over-saturating your body with ketones. Ketoacidosis occurs when your body is too low on vital nutrients and too saturated with ketones and can reap some nasty side effects.
Blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, and excessive urination are common symptoms of ketoacidosis. If you or a loved one is on the ketogenic diet and experiences these symptoms, please—seek treatment immediately.
While the below list is designed to keep your ketone levels high, be careful to include small amounts of carbohydrates and natural sugars in your diet to ward off this dangerous condition.
That all being said, when executed properly, the ketogenic diet is a perfectly healthy way to manage your weight and increase fat burn. If you’re properly executing a keto diet and need to raise your ketone levels, check out these four ways to maintain ketosis:
- Eat Nuts
Ketone levels depend on a low carb, high fat diet, and perhaps no food item fits that description better than nuts.
Nuts are comprised of more than 50% fat, and more than enough protein to recommend for anyone hoping for a daytime snack.
It is common to feel hunger pangs between large meals when obeying the ketogenic diet. In many ways, this is a good thing—as your body has transitioned to rely more on body fat than waiting for the next meal. However, this tends to be less good when resolve is low or when nearby sugary snacks are just out of reach.
Nuts are small, filling snacks that will keep your ketosis in check, raise ketone levels, and keep you full and focused on sticking it out until the next meal. Nuts are great snacks during long hikes and other workouts as well, so be sure to implement these wherever possible.
Oh, and if you can’t manage to keep away from sugary snacks? There are a variety of low carb peanut butter cookies that will satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking your diet.
- Eat More Fiber
If you’re managing your fat and carb levels without checking in on fiber, odds are, you’re neglecting the great use fiber has on increasing ketone levels.
Leafy greens are perfect candidates for food that has fiber content that vastly outweighs the carbohydrate content. Implement more salads to gain that extra boost from lettuce and spinach, and throw in vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli to keep your fiber in check.
If you’ve never increased your fiber levels before, its best to slowly introduce the new normal to your body. Too much fiber too quickly can do quite a number on your digestive system, so a little bit of nuance is key.
Regardless, up your leafy green intake and consider trying out flax and chia seeds for a near-complete dose of the stuff. More fiber will counteract carbohydrates and net you far fewer carbs than before you implemented the food. Fewer carbs, more ketones, and another day of total ketosis.
- Fast (Intermittently)
If you’ve got your caloric intake and carb intake in check, but still aren’t seeing major results or changes in your ketone levels, chances are you’re eating too often.
Eating too often a bit different from eating too much. While maintaining your levels is important, eating sporadically throughout the day keeps the body digesting food as opposed to breaking down body fat cells.
To combat this, try eating your food a shorter time frame during the day. The most recommended way to do this is only to allow yourself to eat during an eight hour period and fast for the other sixteen. During the long spans of time you’re not eating, your body will be forced to break down your body fat instead of relying on constant snacks throughout the day.
This suggestion goes in pretty direct opposition to our first, but this is for a good reason. While some struggle to maintain ketosis due to cravings, others have no issue maintaining but struggle with fasting. Whether you are in your journey with the ketogenic diet, there’s always room for improvements and changes.
Just be sure to drink lots of water however you approach your ketone levels.
Finally, if all else fails, it is time to get outside and start moving.
Exercise, especially cardio, is the key to depleting your glycogen reserves and burning fat. Long periods of time of constant movement burn calories and fat at a pretty consistent pace and will serve you much better than shorter workouts like weightlifting.
If you’re going for cardio, make sure you’ve drunk enough water beforehand and eaten enough as not to become famished. While working out on an empty stomach will raise ketone levels significantly, it’s generally regarded as dangerous and should not be attempted frivolously.
Cardio is also an easy way to raise your ketone levels on top of some of our other tips. A good cardio session completed with a high-fat meal like salads and seafood, for instance, will get you burning fat and replenish your energy without severely hurting your ketone levels.
We hope that our top four recommendations for raising your ketosis levels in a safe and effective manner. As always, be mindful of your health, ensure you’re keeping a healthy balance of all nutrients, and maintain healthy ketosis for as long as you can.