Think of your body as having 2 types of fuel. Type one is you are burning carbs, type two is you are burning fat for fuel. Your body can only do one or the other, it can not do both at the same time.
Because sugar is so damaging to your body, if your body is responding to having eaten a high carb meal by raising insulin then it will be burning the sugar, only once the carbs are burned up does your body revert to burning fat.
Your body is clever, it does not want you to starve. So if calories are limited but insulin remains high preventing you from using your fat stores for fuel for a number of weeks / months then your body will respond by making your metabolism more efficient. So you need less calories for every day living. That makes it not only harder to discard extra weight, but easier to put on extra weight in the future. – (Look for articles online on the long term outcome of the USA program The Greatest Loser.)
So how can you be sure you are burning fat ( in ketosis.)…
Option one, fasting. The obvious option is if you don’t eat anything for a while your body will use up the sugar stores and move into ketosis. How long does it take to get into ketosis, it does depend on your sugar stores, but if you look at Dr Fungs work then 36 to 42 hours are the normal recommendations for getting into ketosis and having a period where your body is burning fat / healing.
Option two, keto eating plans. – Research has shown if you eat less than 20g of carbs a day every day you will be in ketosis. So some people install an app like fat secret on their mobile and count daily carbs.
Option three, work out what your personal boundary is for carbs and being in ketosis. – While those of us who have been on a high carb diet for years and are not athletes have to stick to under 20g of carbs a day, Elite athletes are more “metabolically flexible” and can switch back and forth between carbs and fat for fuel during a day even on 100g of carbs a day. – If you measure if you are ketosis you can work out your personal carb boundary which may be more flexible than 20g of carbs.
Option four, eat low carb and count calories for only a short period of time. Maybe as this is DR M’s forum I should have put this as option 1. Its why he recommends only following his protocol for 8 weeks at a time.
Having read back through the posts on this thread, it sounds to me like you may want to read up on Insulin and Insulin Resistance, which is the stepping stone where eventually the damage progresses to being diagnosed to T2. I would strongly recommend Dr Bikmans work as well. –
How to tell if you are in ketosis, well the first is what not to do. Don’t waste any money on pee sticks. – These are sticks that test for ketones in your urine. When you start going into ketosis your body will generate surplus ketones and get rid of them in your urine. – But this is only at the start, after a while it gets efficient and only generates as many ketones as you need for fuel.
There are plenty of mentions on USA and Canada forums of using blood test monitors. These involve purchasing both the monitor and test strips. – The monitor that seems to be the most popular is not sold in Europe or the UK. so most people this side of the pond don’t test to do daily tests.
The third option is testing your breath for the byproduct of burning ketones. There are specialist monitors sold, and cheap breathalysers available from Amazon sold for this. Turns out they use the same mechanism so you may as well buy the cheap option. – There is a knack to using them, involving holding your breath and then its the last of the lung output you need to blow into the monitor. There is a thread we used to use to save links to useful articles and research papers. Called Take a Look at This, If you search it for links I posted a couple of years ago that mention AT6000 (the make of cheap breathalyser used to test for ketones) you will find more info.
Should you test ? When I started on this journey a few years ago, it was all about weight loss for me, and I had more surplus weight to discard than it would have taken me 8 weeks to achieve. So I had to work out what to do to continue beyond 8 weeks. I have found using the cheap breathalyser useful as it has highlighted to me how long it takes me to get into ketosis, and how few carbs it takes for me to fall out of ketosis even 2 years down the line. ———– It has also helped me confirm what feelings in terms of energy and mental awareness mean I am in ketosis, which then means I can tell without having to test. —————-
However, I do think there is an element that measuring ketones has been for me about trying to fight the tide. I realise I have been trying to juggle emotional pulls to eat with trying to heal, stopping for meals during the day, and looking with envy at the “nice” food everyone else is buying is the supermarket is all about a twisted view on what is being kind to yourself.
Hope that helps.