What is a keto diet?

Are you strictly following your keto diet? Do you feel the signs that your body is adapting to fat? Well, you are on the verge of getting fat-adapted, which can have numerous benefits for your health.

What is a keto diet?

A ketogenic or keto diet is a particular type of eating plan designed to seriously reduce carbs, your body's preferred fuel source, and radically increase fats. The concept is that as carbohydrate levels fall, the body becomes compelled to burn stored fat as its primary source of fuel, which may lead to often dramatic weight reduction. The diet represents a whole turnaround from how most people today consume: While the proposed American diet is roughly 50 percent carbohydrate, 15 percent protein, and 35 percent fat, the breakdown on most average keto diets is 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates, 70 to 75 percent fat, and the rest from protein.

See: Keto diet benefits for weight loss, diabetes & PCOS

What does fat-adapted or keto-adapted mean?

What do you mean by fat-adapted or keto-adapted?

The objective of the low carb, a high-fat ketogenic diet, is to help the body attain ketosis and burn fat as a source of energy. 'Fat adapted' is a metabolic state where your body successfully burns fats instead of carbs for energy. It occurs once your body has adjusted to the new ketogenic diet and hence has begun breaking down the fatty acids to form ketone bodies for energy efficiently.

Fat adaptation or Keto adaptation is when your body goes through to the diet since it changes from utilizing primarily glucose for energy to utilizing mostly fat. The keto component means ketones, which can be water-soluble molecules that the liver makes when metabolizing fats, especially when carbohydrate intake is reduced. Ketones may be used for energy by most cells in your body, including the brain, which can not use unrefined fats as fuel.

Your body is using a mixture of fat and sugar for energy. Still, at a non-keto-adapted condition, it reaches for sugar, because only low levels of ketones are usually generated during fat metabolism. Several cells of the body--for instance, the heart--favor using ketones when they are available. The brain can not use fat, so it is dependent on glucose when you are in a non-keto-adapted state.

If glucose is the body's normal go-to supply of energy, you might be wondering what happens when it suddenly does not have enough to use as its primary fuel.

See: The Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Starving

How does fat adaptation happen?

How does this happen?

In your keto diet, the carb intake is reduced to 5% of your meals. The body breaks down or converts most carbs to the sugar glucose. Glucose is absorbed into the blood, and with the support of insulin, it travels in the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. The body normally uses glycogen (the storage form of glucose) to provide energy. When you are on the keto diet, your body transitions the process of adapting to using fats and ketones rather than glucose as its primary fuel. The lower carb intake makes your body burn off all the remaining carbs and glycogen stored. When there are no more carbs left for the body to burn, it begins burning the excess fats. This phase starts at least 4 to 12 weeks after you have started your ketogenic diet. The range varies from person to person, depending on how strictly you have adhered to the diet. Attaining the condition in which fat supplies the majority of the fuel to your body, ketosis, is not usually a pleasant experience.

The intense carb restriction is often accompanied by adverse effects. Your usual carb-burning is known as 'carb adapted,' irrespective of whether you are following a keto diet or not as your body is a mixture of carbs and fats. A strict keto diet helps shift the balance towards fat burning. At first, you will experience carb withdrawal that will come with cravings and hunger, and for some - the keto flu. Once you have reached this state, your desire for carbs will be lost, and you will tend to stay full for more extended periods of time. The transition might cause a period of exhaustion, fatigue, lightheadedness, "brain fog," headaches, irritability, muscle cramps, and nausea. From the end of the next week (occasionally up to 3 weeks), the body has generally accomplished nearly all its functions in adapting to using fat for energy. By this stage, hunger and food cravings are diminished, and endurance and vitality increased.

While the amount of time necessary to adapt to a keto diet varies, the effects begin after the first couple of days. Then, after about a week to ten days, many low-carb followers suddenly begin to feel keto adaptation's positive impact. They report better focus, improved mental concentration, and more physical energy. Following this, the body continues to make more subtle changes. As an example, it slowly becomes more saving of protein, so we often begin to crave less protein. Athletes can notice less lactic acid buildup in their muscles with long training sessions, which translates into less soreness and fatigue. These changes may take up to three months for these changes to happen and for one to fully reach ketosis.

See: How to lose 100 pounds safely

Is fat adaptation different from ketosis?

Is it different from ketosis?

Ketosis is when your body converts the stored fats and fatty acids into ketones to get energy. It takes time to achieve this state ultimately. If you intake a high amount of carbs suddenly, your body will undo your progress and make you begin from day one of your body's process of adapting to the keto diet.

Fat adaptation is a prolonged process where ketosis has been attained for a consistent period. Ketosis occurs when your body's energy intake is changed from carbohydrate to fat, which results in the accumulation of ketone bodies due to the incomplete oxidation of fatty acids by the liver. If you follow a keto diet, it maintains your body in a state known as ketosis .1. It is a more stable metabolic state.

See: How to lose belly fat naturally

Signs of being fat-adapted

What are the signs of being fat-adapted

If you have been on a keto diet for quite some time now and want to know whether you are fat-adapted. Check for below signs:

1. Decreased rate of cravings:  When you diet, you usually tend to have carb cravings, especially during the 4-6 hours between meals. Keto diet has been demonstrated to reduce these cravings, possibly by exerting an anorexigenic effect via regulating the release of cholecystokinin - a hormone that keeps you satiated.1.

2. Neuroprotective role: Those doing a keto diet are seen to have increased brain activity and improved focus. Research studies have proved ketogenic diets to act as a mood stabilizer in bipolar illness. This effect may be attributed to its role in enhanced neuronal signal transduction and gene expressions. The ketogenic diet has reported its beneficial effects in treating Epilepsy by providing increased beta-hydroxybutyrate availability, a ketone body that is readily transported through the blood-brain barrier.  

3. Feeling energetic throughout the day – Once you are fat-adapted, your body entirely relies on fat stores instead of carbs for energy. It can tap into its fat stores and provide you with a steady stream of keto energy throughout the whole day.

4. Weight loss-  Ketogenic diet, which constitutes low carbs and high fats followed by high protein intake, puts your body to ketosis. This is a metabolic state where your body tends to breakdown fatty acids to form ketone bodies to provide energy. This way, the ketogenic diet helps in reducing weight in obese patients.3.

5. Promote longevity - Fat adaptation has demonstrated to activate specific pathways that tend to promote longevity. It has also shown to reduce the oxidative stress that damages the cells, enhancing longevity.3.

6. Improved sleep – Fat adaptation due to ketogenic diet has shown to normalize sleep architecture, which is associated with a loss of body mass, particularly body fat. This benefit is due to an increase in the slow-wave sleep cycle and a decrease in rapid-eye-movement sleep. Studies have also shown enhanced adenosine activity in the body, due to keto diet. Adenosine helps relax the nervous system, and reduce the inflammatory mediators and pain in the body- all of which can help improve your sleep pattern.4.

7. Boosts endurance and increase your exercise capacity- When your body is adapted to fat, it utilizes fat instead of glucose to meet the energy requirements. You may require glucose at any given time, and a glucose driven body may find it difficult to reach for fat stores. In such a case, a fat-adapted body can easily derive its energy from the reserve fat stores.

When you begin a keto diet, you might experience keto diarrhea, fatigue, brain fog, and bad breath. It could affect your liver and increase bile formation. The gut microbiome balance could also get disrupted, leading to constipation.

8. Other Benefits

Research so far indicates that ketogenic diets (and low carb diets generally ) can decrease the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Keto diets can also be successfully utilized to treat some seizure disorders, and studies indicate they may assist other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, though more study is required.

Research on the keto diet continues to be positive. As an example, people on such diets have less of the saturated fat in their blood linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Emerging research also demonstrates that using ketones for energy can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation within the body and might even be involved in turning on certain genes that could benefit health.

See: Proper Diet Eliminates Chronic Migraine and Brain Fog

Managing Keto-Adaptation

Handling Keto-Adaptation

Some find that their ketosis is pretty stable as long as they consume a low-carb diet under approximately 50 grams of carbohydrates a day. Still, others find they have to eat fewer carbohydrates to remain in ketosis. Trainers and heavy exercisers often can consume over 50 g of carbs and remain in ketosis. Other influences, such as hormonal fluctuations and anxiety, have been known to throw people out of ketosis.

Other people find value in measuring their blood ketones, which can be done at home with a specific meter and test strips. However, most low-carb diet authors do not suggest bothering with it. If you are getting the benefits, you expected to get a keto diet, worrying about how large your ketones are may just add a degree of complication you do not need. You can overcome the first week of carbohydrate withdrawal with some dietary changes: 

- Eat a Lot of fiber and fat. Fiber and fat will make you feel fuller sooner. The fuller you end up feeling, the less likely you are to miss carb-laden foods. Foods that are made with flaxseeds are high in both fiber and healthy omega-3 fats.

- Increase water and salt intake. Lots of the adverse side effects are brought on by a loss of fluid and electrolytes like sodium (carbohydrates hold on to water, so you are probably going to urinate far more after you eliminate them). 

- Go easy with physical action. As you adapt to another fuel supply, strenuous workouts may further strain your body, so adhere to gentle forms of exercise such as yoga, swimming, walking, and stretching for a couple of weeks. Consult with your physician before doing a keto diet if you have other health conditions. You don't want your diet to cause problems with other aspects of your health. 

See: Easy To Digest Foods For Upset Stomach

References

1. Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T, et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004;9(3):200-205.

2. Sumithran P, Prendergast LA, Delbridge E, et al. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;67(7):759-764. DOI:10.1038/ejcn.2013.90

3. Iacovides S, Meiring RM. The effect of a ketogenic diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on sleep, cognition, thyroid function, and cardiovascular health independent of weight loss: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2018;19(1):62. Published 2018 Jan 23. DOI:10.1186/s13063-018-2462-5

4. https://www.sleepreviewmag.com/curated/better-sleep-keto-diet/

5. Volk BM, Kunces, LJ, et al. Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. PLoS One. 2014 9(11). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0113605

6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. Published December 2015.

7. Masood W, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.  Updated March 21, 2019.

8. Shimazu T, Hirschey MD, Newman J, et al. Suppression of oxidative stress by β-hydroxybutyrate, an endogenous histone deacetylase inhibitor. Science. 2013;339(6116):211-4. DOI:10.1126/science.1227166

9. Ma S, Suzuki K. Keto-Adaptation and Endurance Exercise Capacity, Fatigue Recovery, and Exercise-Induced Muscle and Organ Damage Prevention: A Narrative Review. Sports (Basel). 2019;7(2). DOI:10.3390/sports7020040

10. Gupta L, Khandelwal D, Kalra S, Gupta P, Dutta D, Aggarwal S. Ketogenic diet in endocrine disorders: Current perspectives. J Postgrad Med. 2017;63(4):242-251. DOI:10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_16_17

See: Ayurveda For Brain Fog & Chronic Fatigue

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