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so how long is it really taking you to get adapted to using fat for fuel it’s not like it’s this magical thing where suddenly you start eating bacon and cut out the bread and your body is just burning fat no keto adaptation takes some time but there’s a big question out there in the world of how long does it really take for someone to start using fat for fuel properly start using ketones or get what we call keto adapted or fat adapted well we have to look at the big picture and what overall goes on in the body and what we’re looking for in order to get fat adapting see the big picture that we have to look at is getting our glycogen levels chronically low that sounds complex I’m gonna break it all down here in just a second but the whole focus of this video is to give you a foundation of whether it takes weeks months or years and all depends on who you are as an individual hey we’ve got new videos coming out almost every single day these days so 7:30 a.m. Pacific time make sure you’re keeping alert because we probably have a new video coming out so hit that red subscribe button then hit that little bell icon to turn on notifications also after you’re done watching this video if you eat grass-fed grass-finished meat then you definitely want to check out butcher box so I put a link down below in the description where you’re gonna save some money on getting some grass-fed meat delivered right to your doorstep so don’t even have to go to the grocery store couple clicks of a button and you’ve got some good grass-fed rib eyes and good grass-fed fillets whatever you want coming right to your doorstep and again you’re gonna save some money if you’re getting it through that link down below in the description so after this video check them out for sure alright so what we have to look at chronically low levels of glycogen what does that mean okay glycogen are the carbohydrates that are stored in our muscles okay that’s all it is now let me make something very very clear to get into ketosis you don’t need to have your glycogen levels depleted okay to create ketones in your body your glycogen levels don’t need to be fully depleted we don’t have to go there but in order to get fat adapted they do need to be chronically low and the reason is is because chronically low levels of glycogen are going to signal hormonal systems to up regulate fat burning okay it’s gonna up regulate the utilization of fat which therefore exposes our body to be able to start getting fat adapted so if we are constantly coming in and out of ketosis it’s harder to get adapted another example would be fasting intermittent fasting but not while in ketosis that’s not going to get you fat adapted as quickly as say just staying in ketosis or ketosis plus fasting so if you look at the little pyramid here I have exercise and I have fasting there to show that there at the bottom of the pyramid because those are increasing like sort of a an acute response to keto adaptation now here’s an analogy to make some sense of it if you wanted to learn a language you’re going to learn a language a lot faster by immersing yourself in the culture or within that language spectrum right so if you wanted to learn Italian you’d go and you’d live in Italy that’d be the best way to learn it okay whereas if you were to go to Italy for one week and then come back go back to Italy and then come back you’re going to learn the language a lot slower right well fat adaptation works the same way when you expose yourself to ketones or you expose yourself to chronically low levels of glycogen you’re constantly up regulating the hormones that are basically allowing this process to occur so now it begs the question how long does it really take how long does it take us to have these low levels of glycogen before our body really preferentially uses fat and we’re just in that ultimate just euphoria of just using fat magically for fuel right okay well first of all we have different variables we have fixed burials these are kind of predetermined once like our predetermined insulin sensitivity which by the way it can change if you’re doing keto but then we have our genetics and then we have our age and we have our sex these are all fixed things that we really cannot change a whole lot then we have environmental things our diet quality yes believe it or not even the quality of your keto diet can influence how quickly you get fat adapted we’ve got sleep we’ve got stress all these things I can’t really address in this video because there – there’s just too much too many variables so it’s just important to know that there could be a wide variety of timelines based on these different genetic factors now it all depends on the yardstick that you’re using to measure fat adaptation okay so we have different yardsticks in which we can look at it we see fat outpatient occurring from weeks all the way to years believe it or not and this is a good thing not a bad thing it doesn’t mean it’s gonna take you years to get used to using fat for fuel here let me give you an example when we first looked at a timeline of weeks we can look at a study those published in the journal metabolism so this study took a look at five cyclists okay they went on the ketogenic diet they’re on the ketogenic diet for four now they were measuring overall how their recovery would be and their respiratory exchange rate and a couple other things now what they found is that after four weeks their overall recovery after a 65% vo2 max event was totally fine so meaning after four weeks they had gotten adapted enough as far as exercise was concerned to recover fully then their respiratory exchange rate decreased indicating that they were able to get more units of oxygen after those four weeks they were adapting they after four weeks that respiratory exchange rate improves which means that they’re efficiently getting oxygen so they’re of course adapting okay then next up their glycogen levels started to replete okay so after four weeks is starting to see okay these guys are getting keto adapted enough that their glycogen levels are restoring whether it’s from protein that’s going through gluconeogenesis or whatever the whole point in saying this is that yes we can see that after four weeks you are getting key to adapting clearly your body is starting to understand how to use ketones and fat for fuel okay but then we have to say what about another yardstick what about over the course of months because if we just took that study we can just end it all and say okay at four weeks or ketu adopted but I don’t think that applies to everybody so this next piece of information comes from Verta health which is a very reputable source so it’s not a clinical study but it found that when people went on the ketogenic diet they had an increase in uric acid production big spike and then it came back down after three months now what does this have to do with ketones okay uric acid competes with ketones okay another organic acid from the body so what that means is when there is a presence of ketones when someone starts ketosis your body is gonna resorb the ketones and therefore forcing the excretion of uric acid since those acids compete within the kidneys for resorption so if ketones all of a sudden come into the equation then uric acids getting the boot because they compete right so ketones are gonna get the preferential treatment in the uric acid kidney say get out and you’re gone so that’s why we have a big spike in uric acid coming in the urine because it’s getting kicked out because of the ketones but after three months that comes back down to normal so what that tells us is that after three months the kidneys sort of adapt the kidneys are saying okay we get it now now that uric acid levels are normal and it ends up making it so that we’re not just constantly hoarding all the ketones we’re excreting just what we need to excrete so a nice adaptation occurring there but then the other thing we have to look at is the overall mitochondrial biogenesis now mitochondria die and then come back to life in a new form right so we get new mitochondria so it’s it’s recycle it’s not like we have one mitochondria that were born with for life and that mitochondria changes what happens is the mitochondria gets exposed to fat it gets somewhat fat adapted it dies off and then of course it recycles okay it’s a half-life so what ends up happening is as a mitochondria gets exposed and gets fat adapted it goes through various half-life’s and eventually new mitochondria will be fully adapted think of it as like evolution okay an adaptation our mitochondria are evolving with this exposure to fat now it’s been found that in order to reach equilibrium at the mitochondrial level we have to go through about five half-lives so what that means is like when the mitochondria dies every one to two weeks we have a new one born that’s a half-life okay then that one dies another one is born that’s a half-life it takes on average about five half-lives for this to occur for a fat adaptation to truly occur so by the time we’ve gone through five half-lives the mitochondria is now accustomed to using fats so based on that we can see that it could take five to ten weeks for the mitochondria to truly become fat adapted so now we’re looking at this now we’re looking more like a couple months right for true mitochondrial fat adaptation that’s probably more along the lines of a more realistic approach because that’s not necessarily with athletes that’s with anybody okay a lot of these studies look at athletes which can skew things because they have different factors that are you know forcing glycogen depletion mitochondrial biogenesis is mitochondrial biogenesis whether you’re an athlete or not so when we take a look at these studies that take a look at four weeks three months and 20 months a year and a half on arresting glycogen levels we see that there is a pretty significant adaptation still occurring at 20 months so the way that we’re measuring this is we’re looking at how quickly the body is starting to reabsorb glycogen essentially so as long as we’re resorbing glycogen we’re having an increase in the reabsorption of glycogen it means that we still have an adaptation occurring so this study show is that sure we have a big degree of adaptation occur at four weeks we have another adaptation that’s still occurring at three months but then we have more adaptation that’s still happening to a small degree after 20 months all this is telling us is that even individuals that are on the ketogenic diet for a long period of time are still adapting even more now we don’t have studies that look at this over the longer picture like I’ve been keto for pretty much nine years right so my degree of adaptation could be significantly more than someone that’s been on keto for five years we don’t really know but we do know that the adaptations are continuing to happen because glycogen is resynthesizing so the keto diet we barely scratched the surface with what we can get out of it and we don’t even know fully the adaptation that can occur and how much our bodies can thrive in this state if we allow ourselves to adapt then the cells will adapt more so yes you will get fat adapted after a few weeks to some degree your body will know how to use those fats and you’ll get some benefit after a few months you’re gonna get even more after a couple of years you might get even more but I’d say the sweet spot where we see the biggest influx where we see for sure with mitochondrial biogenesis probably 2 to 3 months as always make sure you’re keeping it locked in here on my channel and I’ll see you in the next video
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How Long to Get Adapted to Keto and Fasting [NEW SCIENCE] – Thomas DeLauer
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How Long Does Keto-Adaptation Take?
Keto-adaptation, also called fat-adaptation, is the process by which the body physiologically adapts to a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) ketogenic diet by learning to use dietary and stored body fat as fuel. As practitioners and advocates of the LCHF/keto lifestyle can tell you, once you’ve made it through adaptation, which can be quite a struggle for some, the results can be amazing! From weight loss to diabetes reversal to mental clarity and so much more, the overwhelming consensus is that a well-formulated LCHF/keto lifestyle improves quality of life, particularly for those who struggle with chronic health issues. It’s the kind of thing you don’t believe until your experience it. So, how long does adaptation take?
Ask any LCHF/keto researcher, doctor, dietitian, or trainer how long adaptation takes and you’re likely to get a wishy-washy answer like, “we don’t yet know” or “it depends.” These are certainly truthful and responsible answers. The research on keto-adaptation is in its infancy. How quickly you adapt depends on how insulin sensitive you are to begin with, how rigorously you adhere to the diet, and whether you also exercise or fast. However, there is some research that provides insight into the duration of the adaptation period…
In order to even try to answer the broad question “how long does keto-adaptation take?” we first need to define the variable(s) we use to measure adaptation. So, what variables do researchers measure and how do they change overtime? Well, there are a lot of them: subjective experience, blood uric acid levels, respiratory exchange ratio, insulin sensitivity, inflammatory markers, mitochondrial density, and much more.
Focus on two main points that are easy to understand and of interest to many: athletic performance and muscle glycogen content. To start with the former, studies suggest that, while athletic performance tends to become impaired for the initial weeks on a ketogenic diet, around 4 – 6 weeks performance is back to baseline or better (Phinney S et al. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 1980; Phinney S et al. Metabolism, 1983). However, muscle glycogen content may take a lot longer to fully recover. Glycogen is the body’s stored form of carbohydrate, so when you restrict carbs glycogen stores decrease. However, your body can make glycogen for you from other molecules, including fat (despite the fact that most textbooks forget about the β-oxidation-ketone-methylglyoxal-analplerotic pathway and brush glycerol gluconeogenesis under the rug). And, as you keto-adapt, your body gets better at making and storing glycogen. Fascinatingly, although athletic performance (at least endurance performance) appears to recover after about a month of being in constant ketosis, a comparison among several studies shows that your resting glycogen stores continue to increase for at least 1.5 years! This suggests that, even if you think you’re fully adapted, your body may still be learning and changing in positive ways (Phinney S et al. Metabolism, 1983; La Fountain R et al., Military Medicine, 2019; Volek J. et al. Metabolism, 2016).
Even the shortest estimates for the most keto-compatible people (young insulin-sensitive athletes) suggest that keto-adaptation takes at least several weeks. So be patient with the process and don’t be too hard on yourself if things aren’t going well at the beginning. Stick with it, seek out help to troubleshoot your particular problems, and things are likely to get better. Second, even if you’ve been with keto for months and feel great, your body may still be changing and you may still have improvements to look forward to! And, third, because this process takes a while, be critical of the research you may read. All too often there are papers attempting to support the calories-in-calories-out model of weight control by comparing low-carb to low-fat diets, or claiming that keto impairs athletic performance, but usually these studies are short-term. It’s as if you took a people who never ran a day in their lives, forced them to run ten miles, and tested their ability to run the next day. If they didn’t do better, could you conclude that training doesn’t make you a better runner? Of course not! So be patient and continue to improve yourself.