Updated: Aug 22
Fat Adapted means your body has the ability to BURN FAT when FAT is available… and this is also known as having Metabolic Flexibility.
Back in the day I would assume we were FAT ADAPTED when we were born, simply because if you look at our ancestor’s obesity didn’t exist like it does today. So, what has changed? Our western society has moved away from a protein and fat fed society and into a carbohydrate (refined carbs too, which makes matters worse) fed society.
When we overload on carbohydrates our body has to burn the calories off as they come in, hence why most people recommend carbohydrates around workout times. If we do not burn it off it thus becomes stored as body fat. Insulin, which is a hormone released by the pancreas as a result of glucose (sugar), opens the cells up to allow fuel to be used or stored… Once we become overly reliant on this one fuel source we then become less sensitive to insulin. For a real-life example think of Type II diabetes. Additionally, if you overload on carbohydrates your brain will become reliant on this energy source, which is erratic. Fat and Protein are the most efficient fuel for cognitive health.
In order to become sensitive to insulin again and shift towards metabolically flexibility your body has to up-regulate and adapt all the cells, mitochondria, and enzymes that are essential in fat burning. You can do this by eliminating or reducing your carbohydrate intake. A few popular methods of eating, which has benefits on flipping the sensitivity switch on, is Fasting and Keto. When you Fast, your body produces ketones*, which helps you use fat as fuel, because it doesn’t have access to carbs (1). Do note that as soon as you dive back in to eating carbs it stops. Some people argue about measuring your ketone levels (using pee strips) to determine if you are fat adaptive but this is not fully accurate nor reliable. For example, if you are fasting at night your will increase ketones because you are not eating.
Ketone Strips… You pee on strips that measure your ketones levels. At the beginning of the FAT burning / transition process you should see a higher level of ketones. This is showing that your body doesn’t have the mechanisms to utilize ketones but that you are producing them. As you go further in to your lifestyle change, and have the ability to use ketones, the levels that you are measuring through your urine should go down!!
A good or better measurement for Fat Adaptation is fasted Insulin Levels. If you have high levels of insulin during times of fasting you are most likely insulin resistant and thus your cells will lock the fat away rather than using them for energy. The longer you are insulin resistant the longer it will take you to become fat adapted. If someone has terrible eating habits for a long period of time, in my experience, they shouldn’t expect any change for at least 6-8 weeks… and you must be consistent for the change to happen for those weeks!!
If you start losing weight right away on your new eating habits, great, but it is most likely water. This is not to discourage you but rather inform you that water falls off first! Keep going, stay consistent and you will eventually become more sensitive to insulin, which will eventually allow you to burn fat!!
A few signs of FAT adaptation:
You are LESS hungry
You GET FAT cravings
You DO NOT eat as frequently
You NO LONGER crave carbs and sugar as much
You have the ABILITY to skip breakfast
You have HIGH MOOD and you DO NOT CRASH (energy)
Sweet-sweet-sweet products that you used to like, you will not like it anymore, because it is too sweet!
Here are THREE QUICK TIPS, regarding your dietary habits, to help you become FAT ADAPTED!!
Eat Protein & Fat only at breakfast
Pick TWO DAYS per week to skip dinner so you FAST for 16-18 hours… Have your last meal at 4:00pm and do not eat again until 8:00am. Your last meal should be a high protein & high fat meal, such as grass-fed steak with an avocado or wild caught salmon and veggies…
Only eat CARBS pre/post-workout
I hope this is simple enough to understand while giving you insight in to how you become FAT adapted! Thank you for reading…
Thank you for READING!!
*Ketones are energy molecules created by the liver when it breaks down fat.