How Long Can You Stay in Ketosis Safely?
Can It Be Permanent?
Are you looking for a diet for weight-loss or fat-loss? If so then you might be interested in ketosis. The question is whether you can stay on it permanently. That’s because it’s critical for any ‘diet” to become part of your everyday life and eating habits.
So, What is Ketosis?
It’s important to first understand what it is all about. It’s a natural state of the human body when it’s fueled almost 100% by body fat. This state takes place during a low-carb or “keto” diet as well as during fasting.
It’s important to understand how this process is related to fat loss. The term originates from the fact that the human produce produces tin fuel molecules known as “ketones.” When the body doesn’t have enough blood sugar/glucose it gets energy from this source.
The body produces chemicals when it gets a very low supply of carbs and a moderate amount of protein. The liver’s fat produces ketones then the body and brain use it for fuel. The process is especially important for the brain since the organ can only run from glucose/ketones.
Medical research shows that early humans probably experienced the state very often. The reason is that hunter-gatherer societies ate a high-meat diet and had less access to carbohydrates than modern humans. As a result human bodies evolved so they could get energy from fat even though it mimicked starvation mode.
Today there are various reasons why people use the ketogenic meal plan. Some of the most common ones are to lose weight or control epilepsy. The firm supporters point out the health benefits of the diet but others note that it’s a dangerous “hack” of the body’s regular metabolic system.
These are the benefits to this process:
- Less eating due to no appetite
- More fat loss from abdominal cavity
- Lower blood sugar/insulin levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Very low triglycerides (fat molecules)
- Higher “good” cholesterol
- Less pattern of “bad” cholesterol
- Treatment for brain disorders
- More weight loss from low carbs
It should be noted that while these are possible results of low-carb/ketogenic diets different people will experience various symptoms when going on such meal plans. Several factors impact the symptoms that individual experiences on the diet such as age, gender, weight, fitness, and so on.
One of the main advantages of the lifestyle is the fat-burning results. The whole body’s system changes and gets nearly 100% of its energy from fat cells. When the blood sugar levels drop it significantly boosts the body’s fat-burning. It becomes much easier for the body to access extra stored fat and burn it. Studies show that the process can be very effective for weight loss. However, it’s only one of several benefits you can experience on the diet.
How to Stay in Ketosis and Maintain it?
So, now let's get into the question, "how to maintain a ketosis state?" This is the real nitty-gritty of them all, right?
Well, it's a very tough question to answer but there are many things that you can do to maintain ketosis. And, right now I will get into them in detail. Here are the three things that people do that help them achieve and stay in a ketogenic state:
1. Moderate your Protein Levels
This is a very common mistake for people that are trying to maintain the state of ketosis. Eating too much of that steak will definitely get you out of the diet.
Why? Because when your protein level is too high while your carbohydrates are too low, your body will start to run gluconeogenesis which means that your body will start breaking down all the protein then turn it into fuel. To avoid this, you will need to up your intake of health fats so that your body will use it instead along with the ketones to make energy for your body.
2. You Need to Track your Carbs
This is the most important thing when it comes to staying in ketosis. Tracking your intake of carbohydrates is a must, you can only take a certain amount each day along with a very high intake of healthy fats. The reason why is because your body will start using all its natural fat-burning capabilities and turn all that fat into energy.
You will have to be extra careful when it comes to tracking your carbs, and also knowing how much to take per day for your body is whole other story. This is the trickiest part when it comes to achieving ketosis.
3. Test Your Ketone Levels
Here is where it gets easier. The ketogenic diet is not like any other diet in the world, it's not something that you just keep doing blindly, you can actually measure it. Our bodies produce ketones which burn the fat and turn it into energy, and guess what? We can measure ketones in our bodies using special products that you buy online. We review some of them right here.
By using these products, you can keep track of your ketone levels to know when you need to ramp up your diet and when to adjust it properly. With these, you aren't just flying blindly, you can actually see the goal that is maintaining in ketosis.
Also, if you are looking to get into ketosis fast, supplementation is the key. But choosing the right supplements isn't always easy. Check out our reviews on the best keto supplements and products.
How Long Can People Stay in Ketosis?
This is the big question if you want to maximize your fat loss. There are some debates if this type of diet should be long-term due to the lower carb intake. This is critical because carbs are the normal way that people get instant energy. So, in the case of the ketogenic diet, it’s somewhat of a hack of the body’s regular functionality.
But does that make it dangerous to stay in keto for too long?
Studies have showed that the Inuit (Native Americans) lived their lives in a permanent state of ketosis. There are also a few other Great Plains tribes that were at least seasonally on a ketogenic diet for their entire lives.
Children with epilepsy commonly go under keto therapy, which has a profound effect on the frequency and intensity of siezures. Many of them stay with the diet as long as 12 years.
So there are indeed examples of extremely long diet durations.
Many experts share that while a low-carb/keto diet can produce short-term results, there can be various health issues related to staying on a low-carb diet. The USDA’s recommendation is that 80% of a person’s food should typically be vegetables, fruits, and grains, and 20% should be protein. Non-protein foods are important for issues like micronutrients, digestion, and so on.
It’s generally recommended that people on a low-carb diet “carb up” from time to time. This spike in carbohydrate intake is often 1-2 days per week and sometimes mid-week. It’s also often recommended that people who do High-Intensity Training (HIT), for example, should also avoid the lifestyle or carb up more often. The reason is they’ll need the extra energy for high-intensity exercise.
Is it Safe to Stay in it for Too Long?
While a permanent ketogenic state can result in weight/fat-loss it can also cause some health hazards. For example, some people can go from the long-term state to ketoacidosis. In this state, the blood becomes acidic and the person could risk experiencing major health complications. The people who get this condition tend to be people with a history of diabetes or alcoholism.
Such people should specifically try to avoid diets as they could become major health issues. In addition, they should be constantly be monitored for red flags they’re experiencing during the state permanently. That can help to avoid becoming very sick.
Having said that, there are very many people and cultures that go into ketosis and stay there for years and years without any negative effects. It might all boil down to the existing health conditions of your body if anything.
There are also other possible risks of high-protein, low-carb diets:
- High cholesterol
- Kidney problems/stones
As with other diets, it’s important to consult your physician before starting the ketogenic diet or planning to stay in it for very long. They’ll be able to determine if there are any precautions you should take due to your general health and fitness level, for example.