Have you ever done a ketone strip test, waiting for the color to change, and it doesn’t budge, not even after a week? I have. Then I did a 1-day dry fast and 20 hours in, boom: KETO!!!
Does dry fasting get you into ketosis faster? Dry fasting causes both a reduction in glucose levels and an increase in your body’s metabolism, which in turn increases the rate of lipolysis or fat-burning. This leads to a higher amount of ketones being generated, which increases ketosis.
Fasting has been recognized as one of the best ways to get into ketosis, especially intermittent fasting. But not many know that dry fasting can get you there much, much faster. Here’s why dry fasting is the ultimate keto hack.
How does dry fasting induce ketosis?
For most healthy people (except diabetics or pregnant women), ketosis usually takes about 3-4 days to get into if they eat less than 50 carbs a day or 5-10% of their caloric intake. This process can be sped up immensely through fasting.
Dry fasting is fasting on fire. It’s 3 times faster than water fasting with its therapeutic benefits. That means 1 day of dry fasting equals 3 days of water fasting.
You know you’re in ketosis when your ketone body concentration goes above 0.5mM— the official threshold for ketosis. This can be achieved in about a day plus of water fasting. While water fasting, your body needs about 48-72 hours to get into medium ketosis, with ketone concentrations of 1-2mM, and after 5 days of water fasting, levels range 7-8mM.
Dry fasting supercharges this by replicating the physiological results of water fasting 3 times as fast: dry fasting for 24 hours can result in ketone levels of 3-8mM.
What creates ketones in the first place?
When your body runs out of glucose and glycogen as a course of energy, we start burning alternate fuel sources, such as fat. Fat is our backup energy storage. When you are metabolizing fat into ketones, you’re in ketosis.
Dry fasting amplifies ketosis through another method. When you’re dry fasting, the body not only needs food, it needs water. The way it makes water is also to metabolize fat, but for a different purpose – to create pure metabolic water.
In the absence of water, your body breaks down its fat cells: hydrogen (H) from fat combines with the oxygen (O2) from air to create… H2O! Your body can make up to 1 liter of water a day, as fat cells are more than 90% water—100 grams of fat cells create 110 grams of water, as this research shows. This entire process of metabolizing water requires… energy.
Water deprivation and ketosis is a double-whammy. Resources are scarce, which means more energy is needed to create these resources, and dry fasting becomes a double-edged sword that dices fat for fuel and water, doubly increasing ketosis.
Higher levels of ketosis trigger a spike in the metabolic processes such as human growth hormone (HGH) secretion, autophagy, and stem cell regeneration, creating a recycling mechanism that removes old, unwanted cells and creates fresh new cells. HGH also triggers the secretion of noradrenaline (norepinephrine), increasing your fat-burning rate and metabolism.
Changes in metabolic pathways also mean increased autophagy (a process where phagocytes consume your fat cells, unhealthy cells, organelles, and proteins to become precious food for our starving cells). Meanwhile, every cell in the body creates its own internal furnace inside each cell to burn unneeded resources to generate more fuel, increasing the heat in your body and requiring more energy.
During a dry fast, your metabolism can increase by as much as 10%. This overall increased energy need increases your metabolism and your fat-burn rate, increasing ketosis.
How to increase ketosis when dry fasting
Getting into ketosis is different for every individual. Your age, weight, fitness level, fat mass, muscle mass, and food—not only your last meal but also in the week preceding your dry fast—can impact the rate you get into ketosis.
The amount of carbs, meaning glucose stored in your body, is the most significant factor delaying your entry into ketosis, so naturally, eating fewer carbs before the dry fast can increase your ketosis and get you there more quickly. The minimum is to have 20g carbs per day, or less than 5-10% of your calorie intake from carbs, a day or two before your dry fast.
Having more fat also helps get into keto, and having portions of healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil can help your body adapt easier to keto. Better still, if you are already on a keto and your body is fat-adapted. If you enter a dry fast with low keto levels, your keto concentration will shoot up, even within 12 hours, and your fat-burning will spike.
Cutting calories is also recommended. To properly prepare for a dry fast and reap the best benefits, the day before the fast, you should eat half your daily calorific intake and have foods low in carbs and protein and high in fat as your final meal. So you are actually ramping up into keto by getting in a semi-fasted state before you even start!
(High-fat content is also recommended for a more comfortable fast—you’ll get less thirsty since there’s already fat for water production in your bloodstream.)
Increased exercise quantity and quality will also increase your fat burn and get you into keto faster. Although you may not exercise a lot while dry fasting, light exercises, like yoga and walking, are highly recommended during a dry fast.
Walking, if possible, at a brisk pace, about an hour a day, will raise your metabolism. Short bursts of resistance exercise, such as weights, will also help get you into keto. It’s just maths: energy goes up, ketosis goes up.
Can intermittent dry fasting get you into ketosis?
Intermittent dry fasting is dry fasting for durations of 12 hours to 23 hours and is what Muslims globally practice in Ramadan. Depending on the region, Muslims fast between 12-22 hours. Like intermittent (water) fasting, intermittent dry fasting can also get you into ketosis much more quickly.
The speed at which you can increase the keto is the same; everyone is different, but you can primarily increase keto through food choices and exercise.
Much like the regular practice of intermittent fasting, the chances of getting into keto increase if you do intermittent fasting for long hours. You should aim for a dry fast of about 16-18 hours long as the minimum.
If you are already doing intermittent fasting, an effortless way would be to slowly incorporate dry fasting within your regular sporadic hours. So if you’re doing 16:8 or 18:6 water fasting, start with 12:12 dry fasting in your water fasting window and move your way up to daily.
You could also alternate more days of intermittent dry fasting with regular dry fasting days. This will increase your chances of being in ketosis, which lets your body adjust to getting into ketosis even more often and quickly, without the symptoms of keto flu.
If you want to know more about how ketosis and dry fasting helps with rapid weight loss and age reversal, check out my new video course, 25 Again! The Dry Fasting Lifestyle For A Younger, Slimmer You.
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/ physician, and although I have a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science, I cannot and do not hold myself to be a medical professional (“Medical Provider”). This article does not contain medical /health advice. The medical/ health information here is for general and educational purposes only. It is my opinion, based on my research and personal experience, and not a substitute for professional advice by your health care provider. Please consult with a professional before acting on the information here, and do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of anything you read in this article. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.***
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