What Does Fat Adapted Mean on Keto?

  • Author: Katie
  • Date: October 9, 2022
  • Time to Read: 7 min.

What Does Fat Adapted Mean on Keto? Fat adaption is a longer-term ketosis condition in which you consistently obtain the majority of your energy from fat. Because your body has switched to fat as its primary fuel source, this state is more stable. Let’s find out how to become fat adapted and the health benefit you will feel from this.

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What is ‘Fat Adapted’?

Fat-adaptation is a broader remodeling of a variety of physiologic systems. It means you’ve cut down on carbs to the point where the carb resources in your body have been exhausted and, as such, your body has turned to fat as its primary food source instead.

Fat-adapted athletes and inactive people can get up to twice as much energy from fat while reducing their reliance on carbohydrates.

People are fat-adapted when they reduce carbs to the point where they sustain nutritional ketosis.

It is possible to be fat-adapted without entering ketosis.

Can I eat more carbs if I am fat adapted?

There are several different schools of thought on whether you can eat more than the 20 grams of carbs without falling out of ketosis once you are fat adapted. 

what-does-fat-adapted-mean-on-keto

There is research to show that once you are fat adapted, you can increase your carbs above 20 grams a day for a short period of time (up to 7 days) with your body still burning fat as its primary source of energy.

There is not much research to support this at this time.

However, from, personal experience, I have experienced this. When I go traveling (which I do a lot of) I do like to try local delicacies.

The reason for this is that I like to try all of the local flavors so that when I come home, I can try and recreate the dishes in a keto-friendly way.

Eating carbs on holiday is always considered and planned.

If I know that I am going to eat something on a particular day, I will plan my other meals around it to ensure that they are low carb.

I do not do blow-out cheat days, I’m not sure that I would remain fat adapted if I did this. 

Is Being Fat Adapted Different from Being In Ketosis?

Fat-adapted means that your body uses fat for energy, whether dietary fat or body fat.

Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which the body produces ketone bodies at an accelerated pace and stores them in the bloodstream.

What Is Fat Adapted

Initially, ketosis can be a very delicate state, and a slight rise in the number of carbs consumed can kick your body out of ketosis.

Some endurance athletes advocate carb cycling.

It is possible to be fat-adapted without entering ketosis.

What Are The Benefits of Being Fat Adapted?

  • Mental capacities

A fat-adapted brain function on ketones rather than glucose generates less reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, and more adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Ultimately, what this means is that you are more focused. The brain fog that you had pre keto, or may have got as a side effect when you started keto will be gone.

For me, what this meant in reality, was at work when I used to have that ‘slump’ after lunch, this became some of my most productive time.

Also, I used to rush out of the door at home, with my head spinning, knowing I would have forgotten something, this disappeared. Even though I was no less busy in life, things seem to run a lot smoother, I feel a lot more ‘on top’ of life.

  • You will eat less – your hunger will be suppressed.

People naturally acclimatize to a lower calorie load after fat-adapting.

Hunger hormones play a role, but the body also improves its fat-burning efficiency with time. Being in ketosis allows you to go for long periods without feeling hungry. Even a tiny bag of nuts will keep you satisfied for several hours if you’re hungry.

This is the reason that you will find a lot of people on the keto diet will start combining it with intermittent fasting, or move on to one meal a day (OMAD). This is because they physically do not feel the need to eat.

  • Helping in controlling cravings

Compared to carbohydrates, fat fills you up faster and helps you control your hunger and carb cravings.

As a fat-adapted keto dieter, you will be considerably less picky with food, and your sense of taste will extend to keto and non-keto meals.

You will also find that you do not crave sugary foods in the way that you did before. Trust me, as somebody who lived on carbs and sugars for years, I never thought that I wouldn’t crave sugar, but I don’t.

It will also impact the diversity, number, and overall health of the bacteria species that live in your gut, which directly impacts your brain chemistry. Another significant advantage of being fat-adapted is the ability to enjoy new foods.

  • Consistent energy and endurance

Being fat-adapted involves relying on fatty acids for energy synthesis rather than sugar. Although sugar is far from ideal, most people enjoy it. However, eating a sugar diet will put you in the cycle of getting a euphoric high from eating sugar, followed by a sugar crash.

On the other hand, dietary fat has a lower impact on blood sugar and is a more consistent energy source. It implies that your reserve tank stays fuller for longer during endurance activity, allowing your muscles to store more glucose for later usage. Again, this ties in with the improved mental focus, no longer do I feel like I am struggling to get through the day, I consistently have energy, even late into the evening.

  • Loss of weight

The first few pounds lost on keto are primarily water weight due to glycogen depletion. Alternatively, fat loss will not begin until you have become fat-adapted.

A diet rich in fiber and fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates, particularly processed carbohydrates, is extremely filling, which can assist in weight loss.

  • Improved Sleep Quality

Most people will report that they have improved sleep quality when they are fat adapted. On top of this people will often report that they need fewer hours of sleep as the quality of the sleep they are having is of such good quality.

What is the Quickest Way to Become Fat Adapted?

Becoming fat adapted is often sought as the holy grail for keto eaters. Becoming fat adapted will happen naturally over time – it takes a different amount of time for different people, but normally will occur within 4 to 12 weeks of consistently eating a keto diet.

However, there are things you can do to try and speed up the rate at which you will become fat adapted.

  • Eat Low Carb High Fat Foods

You’ll want to boost dietary fat intake as you reduce your carb intake. Eating a high fat diet prepares your cells to run on fat as a fuel source, rather than carbohydrates, which has a reduced influence on insulin levels.

This low-insulin state encourages fat-burning rather than fat-storage.

  • Fast

Your body still needs energy after you stop eating. Some come from carbs, but you can quickly deplete glucose reserves through fasting.

Fasting can be a terrific approach to kick start fat adaption in your body since it requires you to go without food. It also aids in the recovery and repair of your body during stress brought on by moving to a new energy source.

  • Exercise

Exercise will not make you fat-adapted on its own, but it will make the process a lot easier. The more insulin resistant you are, the faster you resume fat burning following carbs.

In this context, high-intensity interval training workouts appear to be particularly effective. Burning stored glucose by increasing your heart rate is a fantastic approach to getting rid of it. Check out this article for more on exercise on keto.

How Long Does It Take To Become Fat Adapted?

Fat adaption is a healthy state. It means you can get energy from your body fat.

Most people who eat non-keto diets are carb-adapted, even though their bodies utilize a combination of carbs and fats. It shifts balance through the ketogenic diet, which favors fat burning. Fat adaption can begin after being in ketosis for 4 to 12 weeks.

Signs That you are Fat Adapted

As with the benefits of being fat adapted above, there are a number of signs to know whether you are fat adapted.

Improved sleep quality.

You will notice that you are sleeping better and waking up feeling more refreshed.

  • Reduction in cravings and hunger.

Your hunger hormones are affected by fat adaption. Ketones also increase the production of cholecystokinin, a hormone that makes you feel full.

Physical activity improves endurance. Once fat-adjusted, you have easy access to a significantly greater energy supply, allowing you to exercise for longer periods and sustain more energy.

There you have it, now you should know what being fat adapted on keto means, what the benefits of being fat adapted are, as well as being able to recognize when you are on your way to becoming fat adapted.

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