Becoming Keto-Adapted: What To Expect During The Adaptation Phase

The ketogenic diet is a specific eating plan where carbohydrate intake is restricted to a large degree and is replaced with fat.

Before going on a low-carbohydrate diet like keto, your body is used to burning glucose as its primary source of fuel.

As you restrict carbs from your diet, your body then switches from burning glucose for energy to burning fat and enters into a metabolic state called ketosis.

Once achieved, ketosis can produce dramatic weight loss effects dropping as much as 10 pounds the first week.

Going on a keto diet will dramatically change the way most people are used to eating. 

In a typical American diet, it’s not uncommon to have 50% of daily calories come from carbohydrates. The rest is usually split between protein and fat.

On the ketogenic diet, those macronutrient ratios change pretty drastically.

Typically on the standard ketogenic diet, the majority of your food will come from fat. 70-75% of daily calories should come from fatty food.

Protein should be around 20-25% and 5% (or no more than 50 grams) from carbohydrates according to these ketogenic diet guidelines.

Fat Adaptation

Keto adapted, keto-adaptation, and fat-adaptation are all the same thing and used interchangeably. 

This is the process your body has to go through when changing the primary source it uses for fuel.

When you become fat-adapted, your body has to change from using glucose for energy to fat. It also starts making ketones.

Ketones are the most efficient and preferred fuel source for our bodies and are used by almost all cells within us. They are made in the liver by breaking down fatty acids that come from dietary fat and stored body fat.

Our bodies are usually bouncing back between glucose and fat for energy, but if you’re not keto-adapted, then it will look to glucose stores first.

During keto-adaptation, your cells are slowly replacing glucose for energy with fat. It comes as a complete surprise to many people that their bodies have to adapt and make new enzymes and proteins from scratch.

Switching To A Keto-Adaptive State

When glycogen stores have been used up, the organs and your brain need to adapt by using fats and ketones for energy instead of glucose.

The process of getting into ketosis can be challenging as restricting carbs can come with some unpleasant side effects – one of them being a flu-like feeling called the keto flu. 

Some experience symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, brain fog, headaches, nausea, and irritability, but these can be avoided. Experiencing the keto flu is a common keto mistake.

How long it takes you to get into a keto-adapted state will vary from person to person, but it usually takes around 1-3 weeks.

Usually, around the 2-3 week mark, the body will be completely adapted to using fat as energy. 

You’ll notice increased brain function and an overall improved mental and physical state. It’s also possible that food cravings aren’t as strong as they were before since you’ve gotten away from your carb addiction. 

You may also notice changes in your training regimen. Some users report that their stamina increased, and their bodies got less sore from training. 

Tips While Your Body Is Adapting

Here are a few ways to help your body get through the adaptation phase:

  • Eating foods high in fiber. This will not only allow for more carbs (net carbs is carbs – fiber), but you’ll feel fuller overall.
  • Make sure your body isn’t dehydrated and increase electrolytes. A lot of the side effects experienced in the keto flu are due to fluid loss. Since your body is flushing out water through urine, sweat, and your breath, you need to replace the water and electrolytes that are leaving your body. 
  • You can exercise, but don’t make it too strenuous at first. Give your body time to adjust by easing into the process. Try yoga, walking, and stretching for a few weeks until you feel like it’s a good time to start your normal workout routine again.

Effects Of The Keto Diet

There’s research showing support from ketogenic and low-carb diets to help with the following:

  • Reversal of metabolic syndrome (1). The defining characteristic of metabolic syndrome is abdominal obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. These are often referred to as the “metabolic risk factors.” Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Reversing type 2 diabetes (2). Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease of the body’s ability to produce or use insulin and is caused by the body’s resistance to the hormone. Insulin is a hormone that helps open blood vessels, which then carries glucose to cells and stores it as glycogen.
  • Improves polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (3). Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects women during the reproductive years. It is a condition in which ovaries have many small cysts on them, resulting in irregular periods. Usually, these cysts cause some other problems like infertility.
  • Can treat seizures (4).
  • Can reverse neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s (5). Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. People with this disease will gradually lose their mental faculties. These changes may include difficulty carrying out daily tasks and communicating with others.
  • Helps treat mood disorders (6).

More and more studies are being done about the ketogenic diet, which is why it’s become so popular around the world. 

Research is also showing that as the body uses ketones as its primary energy source, it has an effect on oxidative stress and inflammation in our body. (7)

Metabolic and cellular changes are happening, such as increased glucose uptake in the cells, increased insulin sensitivity (which is great for those with type 2 diabetes who have become resistant to insulin), lower blood sugar levels, the release of stored fat, higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL), and more.

To make sure whether or not a ketogenic diet is right for you, it’s always best to check in with your doctor to see if it is healthy in your specific situation.

You should notify your doctor so you can get blood work taken to track how your body responds over time. 

Keto-Adaptation Management

As long as you stay under the recommended amount of carbs each day, you’ll find that you’ll be able to stay in ketosis for long periods of time. Even if you get kicked out of ketosis momentarily, you’ll be able to reenter quite quickly. 

If you want to measure your ketones, you can do that as well. The most accurate is going to be using a blood test. It’s not necessary to do this, though. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *