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How to Get Into Ketosis in Less Than 3 Days Man Eating a Large Pork Knuckle How to Get Into Ketosis in Less Than 3 Days? Eat as Few Carbs as Possible!

Ketogenic diets work by reducing basal insulin levels and setting up conditions that will move you into a state of ketosis. Getting into ketosis quickly is important because when the body produces ketones, your hunger level goes down, your energy goes up, and you experience a state of well-being. Those benefits will make it easier for you to stick to your diet plan.

Ordinarily, on a typical keto diet, it takes 3 to 5 days to enter into the state of ketosis, depending on how many carbohydrates per day you were eating before you started restricting carbs. But there are much faster methods. While nutrition should never be sacrificed at the expense of your health, here is how you can get into ketosis in less than 3 days.

Getting Into Ketosis Quickly is the Key to Success
Pan of Fried Bacon Ends Ketogenic Diets Let You Eat High-Fat Forbidden Foods

For those who are struggling to lose weight, picking the right diet program is essential for success. If you go with a plan that leaves you tired, hungry, and craving chocolate chip cookies, that diet won’t be very effective long term. The advantage of going with a ketogenic diet plan is that you’ll be able to eat a lot of the foods that you are not allowed to eat on a high-carbohydrate fat-restricted diet, so the problem of deprivation is much less of an issue.

The key to making the diet work is to get into the state of ketosis quickly, so your cravings for junk food goes way down. That is accomplished by minimizing your carbohydrate intake. A standard low-carb diet advises you to begin dieting by eating between 20 and 30 net carbs per day, depending on which low-carb diet plan you choose. Ketogenic diets limit you to 20 net carbs or less.

What are Net Carbs?
Bowl of Cut-Up Fresh Broccoli, Raw Finding Net Carbs is Easy – Broccoli Has Only 3.4 Net Carbs Per Cup. Net carbs are the total carbohydrates found in the food you want to eat, minus the fiber content in grams.

For example, if you were thinking about eating a cup of broccoli with your bun-less burger for lunch, a cup of cut-up broccoli has a total of 8 carbohydrates. According to my Corinne T. Netzer’s “Complete Book of Food Counts,” that cup of broccoli also has 4.6 grams of fiber.

To find the net carb count, you subtract the amount of fiber (4.6 grams) listed in the book for that food from the total carb count (8 grams). That results in a net carb count of 3.4 carbs. The net-carb count is the number you keep track of.

There are additional food restrictions during the first couple of weeks to help you get into ketosis easier, but since weight loss isn’t the goal, there’s no reason why you can’t be in ketosis in less than 3 days and then move into your chosen low-carb plan.

Keto Diet Meal Plan for Getting Into Ketosis
Plate of Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Cheese Sticks Atkins 72 Offers the Fastest Way to Get Into Ketosis

Most low-carb diet plans come with strict rules and guidelines. A keto diet plan is no different. Ketogenic diets suggest you limit your carbohydrate intake to no more than 20-net carbs per day.

However, if you eat less than 20-net carbs and bump up your activity level, you’ll get into ketosis faster. That’s because your body will have to use more of its carbohydrate stores, called glycogen. When the body’s glycogen level drops to about half of what it was, the liver dips into your body’s fat stores to provide the energy you need to function.

So the fewer carbohydrates you eat and the more active you are during those first 3 days, the faster that will begin to happen.

In 1972, the Atkins Induction Diet consisted of: beef, poultry, pork, seafood eggs, fixed any way up to 4 ounces of hard aged cheese 2 cups of lettuce salad, with cucumbers, radishes, and celery full-fat salad dressings without sugar chicken or beef broth, heavily salted herbs and spices without sugar Variety was severely limited to help you get into the state of ketosis fast.

In Dr. Atkins perspective, that 2 cup-salad was treated by the body as if you hadn’t eaten any carbohydrates at all. To him, that was a great blessing because a zero-carb diet isn’t all that appetizing and the salad helps to make your ketogenic diet special.

In addition to the above foods, one was allowed to plop a pat of butter on top of their meat, dip hard boiled eggs into a sauce of mustard and mayonnaise, make deviled eggs, or eat a hefty serving of diet gelatin with real whipped cream for dessert. For those who enjoy coffee, you can have that too, provided you use a little bit of real heavy cream instead of milk, and use sugar substitute to sweeten it. Diet soda and tea was also allowed, as was club soda.

In other words, for 3 days, you eat only the barest amount of carbohydrates you could get away with, and try to stay as active as possible. That was what Dr. Atkins recommended in 1972. That method still works great today!

Ignore Calories and Weight Loss for 3 Days
Mom Walking with Daughter To Get Into Ketosis Quickly, Increase Activity and Ignore the Scale

When we’re talking about getting into the state of ketosis as quickly as possible, we aren’t talking about how to lose weight quickly. While a keto diet is one of the quickest ways to lose weight, that isn’t what we’re trying to do right now. Right now, the aim is to get into ketosis without a lot of effort. And eating from the above short list of foods will help you get there. So for 3 days, ignore the calories in what you’re eating, eat until you’re satisfied, and stay completely away from the bathroom scale. Don’t weigh yourself, and don’t skimp on the amount of food you eat. Calories have nothing to do with getting into ketosis.

Although there is a lot of controversy within low-carb diet circles right now about the amount of protein you need to eat to see a decent amount of weight loss each week, when the body runs out of glycogen during those first couple of days, it will turn to burning muscle mass for its protein needs if you don’t eat enough protein foods.

According to Lyle McDonald’s “The Ketogenic Diet,” the bare minimum of protein you need during the first 3 weeks to avoid muscle loss is 150 grams of protein per day. So forget what other people are telling you, and eat until you’re satisfied. Once you get into ketosis, you can make other choices about your diet and adjust your calories, fat level, protein grams, and carbohydrate grams to help you achieve your desired weight-loss goals. For now, forget about those dietary macronutrients.

There’s plenty of time for that later. And while we’re on the topic, don’t forget that this 3-day diet is simply an introduction to a ketogenic diet. It’s not a keto diet itself. A true keto diet is much more varied and includes lots of vegetables to help you from getting bored.

Expect Raging Hunger on Day 2
Tuna in a can You Can Eat Tuna Salad to Quench the Raging Hunger on Day 2 (Photo Credit: Jodimichelle,, licence CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic). Despite a ketogenic diet’s ability to control your hunger and cravings, when the body first runs out of fuel, it will let you know. Hunger may increase dramatically, cravings for cakes and cookies may fill your thoughts, and you’ll find it difficult to concentrate on things other than food. You might even begin to dream about eating high-carb goodies such as cakes and cookies.

That is normal. The body has run out of glucose and is trying to coax you into giving it some carbs. If you ignore those cravings for potatoes and bread, and eat protein and fats instead (a can of tuna or rotisserie chicken mixed with mayonnaise works well for that), the cravings will go away and the body will switch from burning predominantly glucose for fuel to being a fat-burning engine instead.

Once the switch happens, hunger will dramatically go down and the craving for sugar will stop. However, keep in mind that a low-carb ketogenic diet is very dehydrating, due to the way that glycogen is processed, so make sure that you drink plenty of water and that you take advantage of the well-salted chicken broth that is allowed. Extra sodium will help with any leg cramps or disruption in electrolytes that might manifest during those first 3 days.

If the sodium isn’t enough, additional electrolytes you’ll want to pay attention to are potassium, calcium, and magnesium. When sodium is washed out of the body, due to glycogen processing, potassium is washed out with it. Since you aren’t eating very many veggies right now, using No-Salt or Nu-Salt salt substitute on your food can help replace the potassium you’re missing.

Salt substitutes can be a bit bitter, though, so I always add them to something that contains a lot of liquid like soup or my homemade salad dressings to make sure that the potassium salt dissolves completely.

3-Day Ketogenic Menu for Getting Into Ketosis Fast
If you’re coming from a standard American diet, looking over the skimpy variety of foods allowed for the first three days might look a bit scary. A ketogenic diet is going to be a major lifestyle change, so take it slow. Don’t panic, and don’t make it overly important right now. You are definitely going to make mistakes. Just assume you will, and forgive yourself before you make them. The name of the game isn’t perfection. The name of the game is change.

  • Day 1
    • Breakfast: 3 eggs, fried, scrambled, poached, or hard boiled 4 slices of bacon coffee, tea, diet soda, or water
    • Morning Snack: 2 ounces hard cheese
    • Lunch: 6 to 8 ounce hamburger, without the bun top with mustard or mayonnaise small lettuce salad with full-fat salad dressing diet gelatin tea, diet soda, or water
    • Afternoon Snack: can tuna mixed with mayonnaise
    • Dinner: Baked chicken legs or thighs, seasoned with herbs and spices small lettuce salad with full-fat dressing diet gelatin with real whipped cream tea, diet soda, or water
    • Evening Snack: hot chicken broth with minced chicken and celery
  • Day 2
    • Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs with chopped ham 2-ounces hard cheese coffee, tea, diet soda, or water
    • Morning Snack: chicken broth with minced chicken, celery, and egg dribbled into the broth
    • Lunch: 2-cup salad topped with can of tuna, celery, radishes, and cucumber full-fat dressing or mayonnaise diet gelatin tea, diet soda, or water
    • Afternoon Snack: Deviled eggs
    • Dinner: 8 to 12-ounce broiled steak topped with a pat of butter celery sticks, cucumber circles, and radishes with ranch dressing diet gelatin with real whipped cream tea, diet soda, or water
    • Evening Snack: Mixed cold cuts and cheese with mustard
  • Day 3
    • Breakfast: 3-egg omelet; fill with 2-ounces grated cheese coffee, tea, diet soda, or water
    • Morning Snack: Cucumber slices with ranch dressing
    • Lunch: Chicken salad with bacon, celery, mayonnaise wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of bread diet gelatin tea, diet soda, or water
    • Afternoon Snack: mixed cold cuts and cheese with mustard
    • Dinner: 2 pork chops sauteed in butter small salad of radishes, celery, and cucumbers full-fat dressing or mayonnaise mixed with mustard diet gelatin with real whipped cream tea, diet soda, or water
    • Evening Snack: Beef broth with chopped meat, celery, and egg dribbled into the broth

Additional Tips — Start on Saturday
Photo of Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings Start on Saturday and Make Any Substitutes You Like

There is nothing magical about the order of the menu above. You can switch the days around, or make substitutions using other meats if you like. If you can’t do dairy, simply substitute hard boiled eggs, chicken legs or wings, lunch meats, or whatever you can have for the cheese, and leave the whipped cream off of your gelatin. In fact, if you don’t like gelatin and would rather skip it, you can do that too.

This 3-day low-carb diet is merely a SAMPLE of what you can have. You don’t have to eat this much food if you’re not hungry, and if you are, you can certainly add more food. The aim is to keep your carbohydrate content as low as possible and stay active.

Since this is a very restrictive, radical change to what you’re probably used to eating, the above menu was designed to start on a Saturday. That way you’re free to add additional foods to the menu and snacks as needed to satisfy your hunger. You should also be firmly into ketosis by the time you arrive at work on Monday, which will make that third day much easier to get through.

A typical low-carb diet isn’t as limited as this is, so don’t let this sample 3-day menu scare you off. You don’t have to do the radical 3-day ketosis diet. This is just for those who want to do it that way, so, in my next post, I’ll give you a sample 7-day Induction plan that you can move into after you’re in ketosis, or start off with if you’d rather.