GETTING INTO FAT ADAPTED MODE
Becoming fat-adapted is the goal of low-carb dieting. Full fat adaptation means your body has switched from burning glucose as its fuel to burning the more efficient ketone-based fuel that results from cutting carbs and eating a diet of 70% fat.
Cutting carbs to less than 20g per day is the first step in stopping glucose production, but with our carbohydrate-heavy diets (1), it can take from a few days up to a week to fully deplete the carbs and glucose we have stored in our cells. Once the stored glucose is used up, our systems can begin producing and burning the fat-based ketones that help deliver the ketogenic benefits of low-carb living.
Truncating that transition time to get into the fat-adapted state is very doable, but it requires a little knowledge and dedication.
In this list, niKETO will share our top 7 tips to getting adapted quicker, and getting your body into optimal ketone production mode faster.
1. HYDRATION AND ELECTROLYTES
The process of becoming fat-adapted is fraught with minor side effects like headaches, dizziness, the dreaded keto flu, and other temporary maladies whose onset is a result of your body trying to find its new equilibrium. But all of these pains can be cured by staying hydrated and making sure you get enough electrolytes to replenish the ones you’re losing to keto’s diuretic effect (2). So eat plenty of green, leafy veggies and nuts to make sure you’re getting the magnesium, potassium, and sodium you need to avoid these problems.
Drinking enough water and getting your electrolytes will keep you feeling better and prevent the symptoms that can cause some people to quit before fat-adaptation can do any good.
Reaching fat-adaptation is all about burning stored glucose so your body can switch to processing the ketones your new low-carb diet is creating.
A great way to get rid of the stored glucose is to burn it off by elevating your heart rate with some exercise (3). A jog, running up some stairs, shadow boxing, anything that will get your blood pumping faster will help to get rid of the glucose that much quicker and get you into a state of fat burning optimization.
3. INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent fasting is a great way to boost your system into fat adaptation because it calls for long periods of the day where you consume no calories. Typically, an intermittent fast is an 8 hour eating window – say noon to 8 p.m. – followed by a 16 hour window of zero caloric intake. Those 16 hours of not feeding forces your system to use stored nutrients and the excess glucose you are trying to get rid of to hit fat-adaption.
Fasting is also a great way to help your body recover and repair (4) during this time of stress caused by the switch to a new energy source.
4. KEEP AN EYE ON PROTEIN
Low-carb diets have a funny relationship with protein. To reach optimal ketosis, it’s absolutely necessary to get the right amount of protein, but too much will result in a process called gluconeogenesis (5), where excess protein is turned into a glucose, ruining fat adaptation. Make sure to keep your protein intake to 20% of your daily caloric intake to avoid sabotaging your ketone switch-over.
Here is a handy calculator to help you figure out exactly how much protein you should be getting each day.
Sleep and water are the 2 most underrated elements of a successful fat adaption transition. Everyone sleeps, but most people don’t sleep enough (6). Getting quality rest in R.E.M. sleep is vital to your success in any health endeavor (7). Sleep is when the body takes inventory and repairs itself. It’s in the deepest part of your circadian rhythm that your body craves down time in order to adjust. Since fat adaptation is all about readjusting and acclimating (8) your body to a new way of working, it’s important to give it the time it needs to realign. If you fight sleep and stay awake too long, it will throw your rhythm off and take longer to adapt.
6. MCT OIL
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides. Basically, MCT oil is a fatty acid that helps promote the burning of calories, the oxidation of body fat, and reduced food intake. Together all of that equals weight loss. MCT oils, like coconut oil or designed supplement MCT oils, can help the body switch to fat adaption by providing a healthy, easy to metabolize fat for ketone production (9). Taking an MCT supplement or getting it from coconut oil can also help keep energy levels up during the honeymoon phase of keto, when lethargy can hit hard.
7. EXOGENOUS KETONES
Exogenous ketones are a ketone supplement to help assist with the body’s endogenous ketones (10). Endogenous means from within the body: exogenous means coming from outside the body. Taking these extra ketones will help add to the natural ketone production created by eating low-carb, which in turn helps to bombard the system with the good fuel we are aiming for on a low-carb diet. Having a high amount of ketones in the body helps to push the metabolic change-over (11).
But exogenous ketones also assist by cutting down on blood glucose created by the liver, because exogenous ketones have an acute insulin sensitivity (11).
The most important thing to remember with exogenous ketones is to follow our first tip about hydration and electrolytes. Taking a ketone supplement can cause an imbalance in electrolytes, so it’s incredibly important to stay on top of your minerals and to use your daily carb allotment on healthy, green carbs.
Try following these tips, and you’ll see your fat adaptation take less time, and your weight loss journey begin much faster. Be sure to keep all of these tips up throughout your time on a low-carb diet as they are helpful, and in most cases, essential to an optimal low-carb weight loss lifestyle.
1. Cordain, L., Eaton, S. B., Sebastian, A., Mann, N., Lindeberg, S., Watkins, B. A., … Brand-Miller, J. (2005). Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81(2), 341–354. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn.81.2.341.
2. Phinney, S. D., Bistrian, B. R., Evans, W. J., Gervino, E., & Blackburn, G. L. (1983). The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydrate oxidation. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, 32(8), 769–776. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6865776.
3. Chang, C.-K., Borer, K. & Lin, P.-J. (2017). Low-Carbohydrate-High-Fat Diet: Can it Help Exercise Performance? Journal of Human Kinetics, 56, 81–92. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28469746.
4. Glick, D., Barth, S. & Macleod, K.F. (2010). Autophagy: cellular and molecular mechanisms. The Journal of pathology, 221, 3–12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2990190/.
5. Masood, W. & Uppaluri, K.R. (2018). Ketogenic Diet. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island, FL.
6. CDC. (2016). CDC Press Releases. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html. Accessed 28 August 2018].
7. MacMillan, A. (2017). Why Dreaming May Be Important for Your Health. Time. Http://time.com/4970767/rem-sleep-dreams-health/. Accessed 28 August 2018].
8. Afaghi, A., O’Connor, H., & Chow, C. M. (2008). Acute effects of the very low carbohydrate diet on sleep indices. Nutritional Neuroscience, 11(4), 146–154. https://doi.org/10.1179/147683008X301540.
9. St-Onge, M.-P., & Bosarge, A. (2008). Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(3), 621–626. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.3.621.
10. Stubbs, B. J., Cox, P. J., Evans, R. D., Santer, P., Miller, J. J., Faull, O. K., … Clarke, K. (2017). On the metabolism of exogenous ketones in humans. Frontiers in Physiology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00848.
11. Kesl, S. L., Poff, A. M., Ward, N. P., Fiorelli, T. N., Ari, C., Van Putten, A. J., … D’Agostino, D. P. (2016). Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood ketone, glucose, triglyceride, and lipoprotein levels in Sprague–Dawley rats. Nutrition & Metabolism, 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-016-0069-y.