digestionWell, does it?

We’re all going to be putting food in our bodies just about every day for the rest of our lives. Most of us will do it several times a day. We’ll chew it, send it down the esophagus into our stomach, and expose it to gastric juices and digestive enzymes. We’ll strip it of nutrients and send the excess down to the colon for dismissal, feeding resident gut bacteria along the way. The whole process should go smoothly. There shouldn’t be any pain or discomfort, bloating or constipation. Oh sure, nobody’s perfect, and there will be slow-downs or speed-ups from time to time, but in general a vital, fundamental process like digestion shouldn’t even register in our waking, conscious lives.

But sometimes it does.

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Symptoms of Digestion Problems

Sometimes digestion can be downright unpleasant, or even unproductive. The symptoms are familiar:

  • Bloating. Distended belly. Feeling overly full and unwieldy. Same weight but the pants don’t fit.
  • Excessive gas. No need to define it. You just know it when you see (hear) it.
  • Diarrhea. Acute (occasional) diarrhea that goes away immediately doesn’t indicate poor digestion, but protracted or chronic diarrhea is a warning sign.
  • Constipation. Same deal with constipation: acute normal, chronic not.
  • Stomach pain. Persistent gut pain should never be ignored.
  • Bleeding or pain on the toilet. Elimination should be painless.
  • Heartburn, or acid reflux. Although most people assume heartburn and acid reflux are caused by too much stomach acid, it’s actually the opposite: inadequate stomach acid is usually the culprit.

The Digestive Process: Troubleshooting Top to Bottom

To get to the bottom of these symptoms and hopefully fix them, let’s look at the actual process of digestion. We’ll go step by step down the line to identify and offer solutions for various issues that can arise at each.

What happens when you eat something?

The stops along the digestive route involve:

  1. Sensing and signaling
  2. Oral digestion, or chewing
  3. Mechanical digestion, in the stomach
  4. Duodenum digestion
  5. Small intestine digestion
  6. Colon digestion

Here’s how it works.

Sensing and Signaling

You start digesting before you’ve even taken your first bite. Have you ever smelled burgers grilling, and you mouth started to water? Certain aromas can signal to your body that food is coming, and you begin to salivate and secrete digestive enzymes.

Even thinking about food can trigger a response.

Oral Digestion, or Chewing

Now, you’ve taken a bite.

First, you chew your food. Chewing is the first step in digestion. You physically break it up with your teeth into smaller pieces, increasing the surface area for digestive enzymes to access. Most of those enzymes appear later in the gut, but some appear in the saliva and start working immediately in the mouth during the chewing process.

Your taste buds communicate what you’re eating so that your body starts getting the right digestive juices flowing. For example, if you ate something sweet, you’ll make insulin. If you’re eating a fatty food, you’ll start secreting bile and enzymes.

Salivary amylase begins converting starch into sugar for easier digestion. Chew a potato for long enough and it’ll start tasting sweet.

Lingual lipase begins digesting the fats you eat. This is more important in babies, who express very high levels of lingual lipase in order to optimize their calorie intake from breastmilk. It still has an effect in adult fat digestion.

How to optimize oral digestion

Chew more: The longer you chew, the better you digest your food. In one study, healthy adults who chewed 50 times for each bite ended up eating fewer calories than those who chewed 15 times per bite, a strong indication of more efficient digestion and nutrient extraction.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11051338/‘>2 I’ll have a much more in-depth post in the near future on this topic.

Fix leaky gut: Leaky gut isn’t just about allowing in pathogens and unwanted, allergenic food components into your bloodstream. It also impairs nutrient absorption and digestion in the small intestine. Go through this post and make sure you’re practicing excellent tight junction hygiene.

Pay attention to FODMAPs: Not everyone with digestive issues has to do this, but anyone who gets bloating, belly pain, excessive gas, and many of the other symptoms of poor digestion after eating should analyze their diet for FODMAPs and do an elimination trial. FODMAP foods include a wide range of fermentable fibers, sugars, vegetables, and fruits that have been shown to provoke uncontrollable and uncomfortable gut issues. These are often foods we consider to be healthy. Read the posts I’ve done on FODMAPs and follow the advice listed therein if you suspect you may have a problem with them.

You can also get tested for SIBO to see whether eliminating FODMAPs will benefit you.

Colonic Digestion

You don’t actually “digest” anything in the colon. Rather, you gather and expel the waste — mostly fiber — that’s left over from digestion. Some of that “waste” is food for the gut bacteria who live in your colon. So someone’s digesting the stuff, just not you.

Eat some prebiotic fiber. Ironically, sometimes you need to eat stuff you can’t digest in order to improve your digestion over the longterm. Fermentable, prebiotic fibers like inulin and resistant starch are some of the best-studied examples. They feed the (mostly) good gut bacteria, who in turn produce short chain fatty acids that power your colonic cells and improve your metabolic health.

Take probiotics. Certain probiotics have been shown to reduce bloating and belly pain, improve GI symptoms, improve IBS symptoms, reduce leaky gut, and reduce antibiotic-related diarrhea.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19922649‘>4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3938349‘>6http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20533901‘>1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3143481‘>3 a sudden rush of AA into the blood—as happens in obese and overweight people during initial weight-loss—could be responsible.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533616/‘>5 so you’re both losing and failing to hold on to it. Third, going on a Primal eating plan inevitably entails eating more fresh food and less unprocessed food. Unprocessed food is usually low-salt; processed food often comes with added salt. Nothing a little extra salt can’t fix.

Add salt to taste. Drink salty bone broth (Peter Attia likes bouillon dissolved in hot water, but I prefer the real stuff). Sprinkle a little salt in your water.

4. Eat enough potassium

You also lose potassium when you go low-carb and dump all that water weight.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8274363‘>7 Leafy greens like spinach (again) are great sources of magnesium, as are most nuts and seeds. Even though low-carb and sweeteners don’t usually mix, I’d say the huge amount of magnesium in blackstrap molasses makes a tablespoon worth adding.

You may have to dip into the supplement bin for this one. Any magnesium ending in “-ate” will do: glycinate, citrate, malate, etc. And once again, it’s one of those cases where almost everyone can probably use extra magnesium regardless of their current diet. It’s simply a good nutrient to have.

6. Stay hydrated

People tend to focus on the electrolytes you lose with water loss, but there’s also the water. If you’ve ever been dehydrated, you know the symptoms—dizziness, fatigue, mental confusion—match those of the low-carb flu. Pay attention to your thirst and get yourself a good source of mineral water with a TDS of at least 500 mg/L (or make your own using mineral drops), like Gerolsteiner, to boost your intake of minerals that may be lost to water shedding. Don’t drink healthy-sounding things like reverse osmosis water without remineralizing it.

7. Eat more fat

The study I cited earlier in which a low-carb, high-fat diet increased AMPK had another experimental group who also experienced AMPK upregulation: lean adults given a bunch of fat to eat. It turns out that both carbohydrate restriction and fat feeding can increase AMPK activity. In both instances, the amount of fat available for burning increases. By supplementing your endogenous fatty acids (the stuff coming off your body fat) with exogenous fatty acids (dietary fat, or the fat you eat), you can maximize the AMPK activation and, hopefully, get to a state of metabolic flexibility faster. You may not lose as much body fat this way, but you’ll be happier, less fatigued, and more likely to stick with the diet.

8. Include some medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in that fat

MCTs metabolize differently than other fats. Rather than store them in the body fat or use them in cell membranes, the body sends them directly to the liver for burning or conversion into ketones. So a good percentage of the MCTs we eat become ketones, which provide some additional fuel to glucose-deprived bodies that haven’t quite adapted to a fat-based metabolism. Coconut fat is the natural source of MCTs, though only about 14-15% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. If that’s not giving you the boost you need, MCT oil is an isolated source of the ketogenic fatty acids. You can go even further and get just caprylic acid-based MCT oil, which isolates the specific fatty acid with the most ketogenic potential.

9. Consider ketone supplements

Part of the low-carb flu comes down to poor energy availability: when you take away the energy source you’ve been relying on all your life, it takes a while to feel normal. Similar to MCTs but more so, ketone esters “force” ketone availability. And while I’m skeptical of taking large amounts of supplemental ketones on top of a high-carb diet, I can imagine them helping the newly low-carb speed up the adaptation process and overcome the low-carb flu.

10. Move around a lot at a slow pace

If you haven’t read Primal Endurance, consider grabbing a copy. It really fleshes all this out. But long story short? Hold off on the extended sugar-burning training—long CrossFit WODs, long hard endurance efforts, 30 minute interval workouts, P90X—until you’re fat-adapted. Do some intense stuff, but keep it really intense and brief. Short 2-5 rep sets of full body lifts, brief 5-10 second sprints (with plenty of rest in between), things like that. The bulk of your training should consist of easy movement keeping your heart rate in the fat-burning zone (180 minus your age) until you’re adapted and the low-carb flu has abated. Hikes, walks, light jogs, cycling, swimming are all great depending on your level of fitness, and they’ll jumpstart the creation of new fat-burning mitochondria to speed that process up.

11. Reduce carbs gradually

The vocal ones, the people who post on message boards and leave comments and submit success stories, are generally going to be more extreme. They’re going from 400 grams of carbs a day to 20 grams. They’re going all in. They’re going cold turkey (literally: they’re eating entire meals consisting entirely of cold turkey to avoid carbs). That doesn’t work for everyone.

Another option, and one that might work even better for most people, is to gradually reduce carbs. By reducing carbs more gradually you reduce the shock to your system and give your body the chance to find its sustainable sweet spot. You might do best on 150 grams a day (that’s about where I am, in fact). You might like 120, or 130, or 70. The point is going gradually allows you to take a journey through all the possible permutations of carb/fat/protein intake. It’s quite possible that 140 grams a day works best for you, but because you immediately launched into a very low-carb 20g/day diet and failed miserably, you’re turned off from the idea altogether.

You can judge your ketone sweet spot by how you feel after the first week. Or, you can measure your ketones and see what levels make you feel your best.

That’s what I’ve got, folks. Those are the tips that work best for me and mine. Those are the tips that science suggests actually work. What about you? How have you gotten over the low-carb flu?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.


The post What Is Low Carb Flu, or Keto Flu? And Ways to Beat It appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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how to quit sugarLet me guess. You’ve been on keto for 5-6 months and enthusiastically thinking this is how you’ll finally wrangle your sugar cravings into submission! You’re loading up on healthy fats, avoiding grains, and ditching highly processed, high-carb foods. Yet there’s that incessant nagging. You know, the one that tells you that life is too short not to indulge in that giant Costco muffin or the more paleo-friendly version, another square (or three) of dark chocolate.

For a lot of people, including my own clients, moving toward a fat- or protein-dominant diet does the trick. You may have seen this article that Mark wrote earlier this year where he says “it takes two to three days of very-low-carb eating for the liver to start pumping out ketones” and that cravings will “decrease noticeably within three to ten days.” Research backs it up too, concluding that cravings are significantly reduced almost immediately as people get into ketosis.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666312000219‘>2 Researchers looked at food cravings records of 52 women dieting to lose weight and 37 non-dieters and found that the dieters experienced significantly more food cravings, especially for sugary foods like chocolate.

2. Emotional Association

Cravings are tied to the brain’s memory center. From celebrating birthdays and holidays with sugary desserts to being rewarded with a treat for good grades, sugar has always been along for the ride. So, it’s no surprise that when you go to a party or achieve a goal, or even feel down, your sugar cravings might feel irresistible. Not to mention the fact that your hippocampus, caudate, and insula (areas of the brain activated by cravings) https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/research-reveals-people-s-mental-health-negatively-impacted-covid-19‘>4 If you’ve been dealing with a new routine, financial uncertainty, isolation, or fear, you might be feeling like your cravings are out of control and you’re turning to sugar to cope. As I’m sure you know, sugar consumption (temporarily) increases serotonin, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/habits-not-hacks/201408/want-change-your-habits-change-your-environment‘>6 And if you have the ritual of consciously or unconsciously seeking out a specific food in a specific situation, you’ll begin to form the expectation that it will occur every single time you’re in that situation.

5. Past Trauma

The Mark’s Daily Apple article I referenced above struck a chord with a lot of readers, with many bravely sharing that they felt their cravings were due to a lack of love and emotional bonding early in life, and therefore a lack of the hormone, oxytocin. Because of this, they began to turn to other things to make themselves feel good, including sugar. Studies not only validate our readers’ experiences, they show the impact of oxytocin on everything from metabolism to chronic illness.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435775/‘>8 If you haven’t had the pleasure of tapping into your own awareness, this will be a game changer for you.

3. Ask Yourself What You Need

When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, fearful, or bored, ask yourself what you really need. A few bites of the donut in your kitchen or a quick drive through the Dairy Queen will work, but in reality, you’re just avoiding those uncomfortable feelings by numbing them with food. Be open and honest with yourself about what you need on an emotional level. It could be the comfort of reading a good book, the excitement of getting outside for some exercise, or just holding space to accept where you are in the moment.

4. Create New Rituals

Your past rituals influence your current behaviors, so why not spend some time creating new, healthier rituals? If the sound of dinner dishes being put away sends you running for dessert, think about other post-dinner rituals you could do. Maybe it’s a family walk around the neighborhood or taking a long, relaxing bath. By interrupting your patterns (when dinner ends I look for dessert) you’re able to develop new patterns that work toward your goals, instead of against them.

3. Do More Feel-Good Activities

If you lacked a sense of joy and connection growing up, it’s possible to increase oxytocinhttps://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm‘>10 and help you move forward safely.

Do any of these reasons or strategies ring true for you? Anything you’d add? Tell me about your experience with emotions and overcoming sugar cravings in the comments.


The post 5 Reasons You Can’t Quit Sugar appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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gluten intolerance sensitivity 

Dear Mark,

You talk a lot about the evils of grains. I follow your logic on why a grain free diet is best, and I have seen weight loss and just feel better overall since heeding your advice. But there is one thing (well, more than one) that I don’t understand but hear about often. Could you explain what gluten intolerance is and why you should avoid gluten?

Excellent question. Even though we’re seeing gluten-free labeling more and more, it’s not always clear why gluten can be problematic. Because of cross-contamination, it’s not always obvious whether a food contains gluten or not. Further, gluten intolerance symptoms can masquerade as other conditions. Let’s break it all down.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a large, water-soluble protein that creates the elasticity in dough. It’s found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, triticale, and oats. These days it’s also found in additives like thickeners and fillers used in everything from lunch meat to soup to candy. You can also find gluten in beers and vinegars that have been fermented from gluten-containing grains.

What Is Gluten Intolerance?

If your body reacts when you eat gluten-containing foods, there’s a chance you may have gluten intolerance.

Gluten Intolerance or Sensitivity Symptoms

When an affected person eats or drinks something containing gluten, the protein initiates a kind of allergic reaction in the body, resulting in some level of inflammation. The reaction can vary significantly from person to person. Symptoms include:

  • Skin changes (rash, itching, scaling)
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Mood changes
  • Abnormal menses
  • Digestive discomfort

Some gluten sensitive people show no symptoms, at least for a certain period of their lives.

Gluten Intolerance vs. Celiac Disease

In serious cases, gluten intolerance causes intestinal atrophy known as Celiac disease. Celiac disease is hereditary, and it is estimated that 1 in 10 people with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) who has celiac disease will also have the condition.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016508515000293‘>2 It’s considered a genetically influenced, life-long condition, with some relationship to autoimmunity.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=RHEB-1‘>1

One study (full PDF) from the 1940s found that varying amounts of twenty-four hour IFs (every other day, every fourth day, every eighth day, etc) prolonged the lifespan of rats without retarding or stunting the growth (as occurred with calorie restricting them). Female rats responded best to every eight day fasts, while males responded best to every other day fasts.

Reductions in brain insulin signaling have been shown to increase lifespan in animals, either by calorie restricting or actively knocking out brain insulin receptors.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21244426‘>3

Blood Lipids

Going in and pharmaceutically manhandling your cholesterol synthesizing equipment is one thing; eating real food and exercising, resulting in possible alterations to your lipid profile, is another. We don’t set out to force your blood lipids into submission, but lifestyle changes that happen to change them for “the better” are usually a good thing. Fasting brings potent changes to blood lipids in an “organic” way – you’re just letting your machinery do its thing on its own – and this is probably a very good thing.

Intermittent fasting is as effective or even more effective than calorie restriction in improving metabolic syndrome markers in overweight women, and it’s a whole lot easier to stick with.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20300080‘>5

I discussed this last week, but it can’t hurt to mention that short-term alternate day fasting wrought improvements in LDL particle size and distribution in obese adults.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20815899‘>7

Heck, intermittent fasting even helped cocaine addicts stick to their treatment and rehab program.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18184721‘>9 In fact, here’s a review of most of the animal anti-cancer evidence.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19135806‘>11 This is refreshing news. A preliminary studyhttp://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/296/1/R29.full‘>13 I’ve found this to be the case for me. If the body “needs” food right after a workout, why would hunger be blunted? This is why I tend to hold off on the eating post-workout. Every little bit helps, especially as you age.

Neurological Health

Fasting doesn’t cause your brain tissue to waste away, contrary to what some people will tell you. It’s actually good for brain health. Any dietary restriction tends to increase neuronal plasticity and promote neurogenesis, but it was IF that had the greatest effect (with the fewest downsides).http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01586.x/full‘>15 That is, mice who ate larger meals more infrequently saw greater increases in brain and overall bodily health. Still another study found that IF was beneficial for peripheral nerve function in mice by promoting the maintenance of the neuronal pathways responsible for locomotor performance.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21106691‘>17), which is the process by which cells recycle waste material, eliminate or downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Why is autophagy so important? It’s required to maintain muscle masshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20104028‘>19  It reduces the negative effects of aginghttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17934054‘>21

Without the autophagy that fasting provides, you would get very few of the benefits. Fasting even increases neuronal autophagy,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21051570‘>23 (which mean better performance down the line), improved muscle protein synthesis,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20187284‘>25 (you’ll earn your meal and make more muscle out of it if you train on an empty stomach). Studies on Muslim athletes during Ramadan show no effect on performance while fasting,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19787180‘>27 in those who exercise and fast rather than just fast. When you train in a fasted state, glycogen breakdown is blunted28 and more fat is burned, leaving you more glycolytic energy in the tank for when you really need it and less body fat. Those are just a sampling of the benefits to fasted training; there are dozens more.

Mental Well-being and Clarity

A lot of health influencers will tell you that failure to eat something every few hours will cause mental fog and sluggishness, so keep a banana or a granola bar on your person at all times. Of course, this is all based on an assumption that we need to supply exogenous carbs on a regular basis to properly fuel the brain. This notion that fasting is only the province of anorexics or “caveman” has kept many people from experiencing the vast array of benefits.

I maintain that one’s comfort in handling intermittent fasting effortlessly does increase dramatically when you’ve reprogrammed those cells (and genes) to predispose your body to derive most of your day-to-day energy from fat, as opposed to constantly dipping into glycogen stores (as happens when we rely so much on refeeding carbs every few hours).

Overall, fasting just seems right. It’s like a reset button for your entire body, presumably across a large spectrum of maladies and dysfunctions. It puts your body into repair mode – at the cellular level – and it can restore normal hormonal function in the obese or overweight. Now, you don’t have to fast, but it’s definitely something to consider.

Have you tried intermittent fasting yet? Let me know how intermittent fasting has worked – or hasn’t – with your lifestyle in the comment section!


The post The Myriad of Benefits of Intermittent Fasting appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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fat adaptedWhen describing someone that has successfully made the transition to a Primal or Keto way of eating I often refer to them as “fat-adapted” or as “fat-burning beasts”. But what exactly does it mean to be fat-adapted? How can you tell if you’re fat-adapted or still a sugar-burner?

As I’ve mentioned before, fat-adaptation is the normal, preferred metabolic state of the human animal. It’s nothing special. It’s just how we’re meant to fuel ourselves. That’s actually why we have all this fat on our bodies – turns out it’s a pretty reliable source of energy.

Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of becoming fat adapted, or keto adapted, and why it works with your biology.

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Are Being in Ketosis and Being Fat Adapted the Same Thing?

Fat-adaption does not necessarily mean you’re in ketosis all the time. Ketosis ketosis describes the use of fat-derived ketone bodies by tissues (like parts of the brain) that normally use glucose. That happens after you’ve depleted your glucose stores, and your body starts producing ketones for energy. When you’re in ketosis, you can usually detect ketones in your bloodstream.

Fat-adaption describes the ability to burn both fat (through beta-oxidation) and glucose (through glycolysis).

The Disadvantages of Primarily Burning Sugar for Energy

To understand what it means to be fat adapted, it’s useful examine what it means to depend on sugar for energy.

It Is More Difficult to Access Stored Fat for Energy When You’re Dependent on Sugar

What that means is, when your body is primarily looking for sugar for fuel, your skeletal muscle doesn’t as readily oxidize fat for energy.

What happens when a sugar-burner goes two, three, four hours without food, or skips a whole entire meal? They get ravenously hungry. A sugar-burner’s adipose (fat) tissue even releases a bunch of fatty acids 4-6 hours after eating and during fasting, because as far as your biology is concerned, your muscles should be able to oxidize them. After all, we evolved to rely on beta oxidation of fat for the bulk of our energy needs. Once your blood sugar is all used up (which happens really quickly), hunger sets in, and your hand reaches into the chip bag yet again.

A Sugar Burner Doesn’t Readily Access Dietary Fat for Energy

As a result, more dietary fat is stored than burned. Unfortunately for them, they’re likely to end up gaining lots of body fat. As we know, a low ratio of fat to carbohydrate oxidation is a strong predictor of future weight gain.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-1716.1970.tb04764.x/abstract?systemMessage=Due+to+scheduled+maintenance+access+to+the+Wiley+Online+Library+may+be+disrupted+as+follows%3A+Monday%2C+6+September+-+New+York+0400+EDT+to+0500+EDT%3B+London+0900+BST+to+1000+BST%3B+Singapore+1600+to+1700‘>2 If you’re unable to effectively beta oxidize fat (as sugar-burners often are), you’d better have some quick snack options on hand.

Sugar Burners Use Stored Glucose Quickly During Exercise

Depending on the nature of the physical activity, glycogen burning could be perfectly desirable and expected, but it’s precious, valuable stuff. If you’re able to power your efforts with fat for as long as possible, that gives you more glycogen – more rocket fuel for later, intenser efforts (like climbing a hill or grabbing that fourth quarter offensive rebound or running from a predator). Sugar-burners waste their glycogen on efforts that fat should be able to power.

The Benefits of Being Fat Adapted

There are some compelling advantages to being fat adapted or keto adapted, which may move you to make the switch if you haven’t already.

People Who are Fat Adapted Often See Improved Insulin Sensitivity

A ketogenic diet “tells” your body that no or very little glucose is available in the environment. The result? “Impaired” glucose tolerance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19407076‘>4

Being Fat Adapted Means You Go Longer Between Meals

A fat-burning beast can effectively burn stored fat for energy throughout the day. If you are fat adapted, chances are, you can handle missing meals and are able to go hours without getting ravenous and cranky (or craving carbs).

You Can Better Utilize the Fat You Eat for Energy

A fat-burning beast is able to effectively oxidize dietary fat for energy. If you’re adapted, your post-prandial (after mealtime) fat oxidation will be increased, and less dietary fat will be stored in adipose tissue.

When You’re Keto Adapted, You Always Have a Fuel Source

A fat-burning beast has plenty of accessible energy available in the form of body fat, even if he or she is lean. If you’re adapted, the genes associated with lipid metabolism will be upregulated in your skeletal muscles.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18801964‘>6 If you can handle exercising without having to carb-load, you’re probably fat-adapted. If you can workout effectively in a fasted state, you’re definitely fat-adapted.

You Can Still Burn Glucose When Fat Adapted

It’s not that the fat-burning beast can’t burn glucose – because glucose is toxic in the blood, we’ll always preferentially burn it, store it, or otherwise “handle” it – it’s that we do not depend on it. I’d even suggest that true fat-adaptation will allow someone to eat a higher carb meal or day without derailing the train. Once the fat-burning machinery has been established and programmed, you should be able to effortlessly switch between fuel sources as needed.

A fat-burning beast will be able to burn glucose when necessary or available, whereas the opposite cannot be said for a sugar-burner. Ultimately, fat-adaption means metabolic flexibility. It means that a fat-burning beast will be able to handle some carbs along with some fat. When you’re fat adapted, you will be able to empty glycogen stores through intense exercise, refill those stores, burn whatever dietary fat isn’t stored, and then easily access and oxidize the fat that is stored when it’s needed.

If you want to feel these benefits and more, sign up for Keto Month and get

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How Do You Know if You’re Fat Adapted or Keto Adapted?

There’s really no “fat-adaptation home test kit.” I suppose you could test your respiratory quotient, which is the ratio of carbon dioxide you produce to oxygen you consume. An RQ of 1+ indicates full glucose-burning; an RQ of 0.7 indicates full fat-burning. Somewhere around 0.8 would probably mean you’re fairly well fat-adapted, while something closer to 1 probably means you’re closer to a sugar-burner. The obese have higher RQs. Diabetics have higher RQs.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20864947‘>8 What do these groups all have in common? Lower satiety, insistent hunger, impaired beta-oxidation of fat, increased carb cravings and intake – all hallmarks of the sugar-burner.

It’d be great if you could monitor the efficiency of your mitochondria, including the waste products produced by their ATP manufacturing, perhaps with a really, really powerful microscope, but you’d have to know what you were looking for.

No, there’s no test to take, no simple thing to measure, no one number to track, no lab to order from your doctor. To find out if you’re fat-adapted, the most effective way is to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • Can you go three hours without eating? Is skipping a meal an exercise in futility and misery?
  • Do you enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day? Are midday naps pleasurable indulgences, rather than necessary staples?
  • Can you exercise without carb-loading?
  • Have the headaches and brain fuzziness passed?

Yes? Then you’re probably fat-adapted. Welcome to the human metabolism you were wired for!

That’s it for today, folks. Send along any questions or comments that you have. I’d love to hear from you guys.


The post What Does It Mean to Be Fat Adapted or Keto Adapted? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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