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Are You Fat Adapted, or Carb Adapted? the Difference May Be Keeping You Fat

Do you know what it means to be either fat adapted, or carb adapted? More importantly, do you know how that affects your attempts to lose weight? Below, we will discuss the ins and outs of fat versus carb adaptation. We'll also give you the secrets to becoming fat adapted so you can lose that stubborn body fat once and for all!

Carb Adaptation: Signs and Symptoms

If you follow a Standard American Diet, if you take your health advice from the USDA food pyramid, or if you have tailored your diet according to the advice of an "old-school" nutritionist who still believes in the disproven "fat makes you fat" dogma, you are more likely than not to be carb adapted. This means that your body, first and foremost, wants to get its energy from burning glucose instead of fatty acids. However, for most people, this is a very bad thing. Being carb adapted can cause many physical and mental health problems, such as:

  • Cognitive impairment. When your brain burns glucose for energy, it leaves behind more toxic by-products then fatty acid metabolism. It can also make you feel sleepy, sluggish, and give you brain fog when your blood sugar is low.
  • Insulin resistance. The more sugar you put into your bloodstream, the more insulin your body produces in order to manage it. Over time, this can create a feedback loop which makes the cells in your body completely resistant to insulin. This severely taxes your pancreas, liver, and other major metabolic organs, which will lead to serious health problems over time.
  • Obesity. People who are carb adopted gain more weight more quickly and have a harder time burning it off. This is true even if they follow a "healthy" diet and exercise regimen. They are also more likely to store this excess body fat around their abdomen, which creates unhealthy hormone imbalances. These hormone fluctuations are responsible for overeating, fatigue, and serious health problems like metabolic syndrome or type II diabetes.
The easiest way to figure out whether or not you are carb adapted is to try and follow a low-carb diet for up to a week. Pay close attention to how you feel, and be on the lookout for:
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings/feeling "hangry"
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Aches and pains

If you experience any or all of the following symptoms, then we have some bad news: you are carb adapted. But don't worry - there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to reverse the damage and become fat adapted.

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Health Benefits of Fat Adaptation

By now, we're sure you can intuitively guess that being fat adapted means your body prefers to burn fatty acids (AKA ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. There are several reasons this can create healthful benefits for your body and your well-being. And as you will see, being fat adapted is pretty much the opposite of being carb adapted.

For starters, being fat adapted can have a detoxifying effect on the body. When your brain burns fatty acids for energy, it leaves behind fewer toxic plaques and increases the amount of brain-healthy byproducts. This makes your memory sharper, gives you more energy, and gives you that hyperfocus most people think only comes from a "limitless pill".

Becoming fat adapted means that your body will release less insulin since it has less glucose to metabolize. This will improve your insulin resistance over time and, depending on certain factors, can help increase pancreatic and liver function. Things like your age, your genetics, and the amount of time you have been living with insulin resistance will determine how long you must be on a high-fat diet in order to become fat adapted. Older people who have eaten a high carb diet for many years will take longer to adapt - but it's still a good idea to try since it will improve your quality of life as you get older.

For athletic people, becoming fat adapted has the potential to significantly improve athletic performance. This is especially true if you are into endurance sports like running, biking, or swimming long distances. Unfortunately, there isn't any evidence yet that proves fat adaptation can increase performance during short, explosive workouts like HIIT cardio or short, intense weight lifting sessions. You may have to follow a modified high-fat diet to get just enough carbs to see the results you want from that type of physical activity. But such exercise still increases your metabolic rate for many hours after the fact, and if you are fat adapted, this means you will still burn more body fat than someone who is carb adapted.

How to Get Fat Adapted

The easiest way to become fat adapted is to follow a high-fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet. Some helpful food suggestions include:

  • Healthy fats - Eggs, natural cheese, full-fat dairy products (with the shortest distance from farm-to-table), avocados, olive oil, flaxseed, and cashews. Following a high-fat diet is no excuse to pig out on fast food - the key word is healthy fats. Trans fats should be avoided at all costs.
  • Protein - Make sure not to eat too much protein, because your body can transform it into glucose and keep you carb adapted (it's called "gluconeogenesis" in case you want to look it up). Fattier cuts of grass-fed beef, free range poultry, and sustainably raised pork will help you get the protein you need while encouraging fat adaptation. Try to eat as little processed meat as possible.
  • Carbs - Fruits and vegetables. Get very familiar with the produce section of your local supermarket! Keep refined grains, sugars, and even whole grains to a minimum if not avoid them completely. The higher the fiber content of the carbs you do consume, the better. This improves got health, which can also help you meet your weight loss goals.

Another great thing you can do to encourage fat adaptation is to start taking a ketogenic supplement. The more ketone bodies you have in your system, the easier it will be to teach your body how to prefer fat for fuel. You'll have tons of energy, you'll burn away body fat at blinding speed, and you will feel like the happiest, healthiest version of yourself. Hooray for fat adaptation!

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