Here's How Long It Really Takes For The Keto Diet To Work

In the world of dieting, the keto diet appears to be popular these days — even celebrities have become followers. Professional athlete LeBron James, actress Halle Berry, and reality TV queen Kourtney Kardashian are all fans of the low-carb, high-fat diet, according to Men's Health. So, what's the big deal and how exactly does it work? Clinical Dietitian Robert Santos-Prowse tells The Healthy that the goal of a keto diet is to put your body in ketosis. This means you burn fats as a primary source of fuel instead of the glucose found in carbohydrates. So, a diet that says we should eat more fat to burn more fat? We're curious to find out how long it takes for this plan to work.

The Healthy claims that depending on your goal, it doesn't take long for the keto diet to work. Santos-Prowse says the process of getting your body into a ketosis state takes on average around three days. On some occasions it can take up to a week depending on your genetic background. He goes into further detail describing how the diet works saying, "Ketones are created as a byproduct of the chemical reactions your body performs to break fat down. These ketones are then used by almost every cell in the body as fuel."

The lower your carb intake, the quicker you'll produce ketones

In order to achieve ketosis, most people need to limit their carbohydrate intake to a total of 25 to 30 grams per day. Natalie Allen, RD, and instructor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University explains to The Healthy that the lower your carb intake, the quicker you'll produce ketones. However, "the body needs some calories, so make sure to eat meats, non-starchy vegetables, fats, and nuts," says Allen.

So how exactly do you know if your body is in the fat burning-state of ketosis? Healthline claims there are three ways to measure this: by urine, breath, and blood testing. You may also be able to tell if you are in ketosis if you experience "keto flu" symptoms. These include headache, fatigue, nausea, increased thirst, and bad breath. Intermountain Healthcare states that the keto flu normally begins within the first few days of removing carbs and on average, can last up to a week. 

While experiencing flu-like symptoms is never fun, when done safely, watching the number on our bathroom scales creep closer to our goal absolutely is. It's motivating to know that with the keto diet, we can watch this happen from around three days to a week. Note, though, that because the keto diet is so restrictive, it's best practiced in consultation with a medical expert.