Anabolic processes exceed catabolic ones. It's too high to adapt and too low to feel good on a sugar-based metabolism. However, the test strips are pretty expensive. I think what Volek and Phinney are saying is that when the amount of circulating ketones gets to a high enough level, the ketone bodies themselves will be used for fuel even by the muscles. Also, Olive Oil is NOT a good fat choice for a beginning Keto-adapter because it is a long chain triglyceride which does not turn into a ketone but must be digested for assimilation.
I could get into ketosis the same day I started with an overload of exercise and would avoid some of the severe cravings that I would get if I just allowed myself to get into ketosis over several days of low carb. I recently had been having cheat meals and getting back into keto right away, but now that I've been reading about keto adaptation, I don't know if I'm doing myself more harm by doing that. Long story short, can 1 "cheat" meal take you completely out of keto adaptation or do you have to have to string together several cheat meals over a series of days to be back at step 1?
Also, a lot of the reading said limiting carbs to 50 per day. I haven't found anything that says what's the most you can have at a meal. I don't think you can have 50 carbs at one meal and then none for the rest of the day and have that be okay. Congratulations on the 67 pounds! I don't have hard answers to your questions. As far as I know, it's an open question whether or to what degree a "cheat" sets back keto-adaptation. One thing you could do, though, is measure your blood ketones rather than urinary, which I assume is how you currently know when you are back in ketosis?
Volek and Phinney allude to performance improvements that continue for weeks, but I'm not sure exactly what they are, or whether they are reflected in blood ketones. Still, it would be helpful to know if you are in the 0. Your second question is also interesting to me. Obviously eating g of carbs once every 4 days would have a different effect than 50g once a day, and surely 10g 5 times a day would be different still.
It's likely to be quite individual, considering the range of carb intakes that people need to stay in ketosis. Here again, I would advocate measuring. Find out what level of blood ketones you usually have while fasting, how it changes given different per-meal carb levels, and how long it takes to get back to fasting levels.
Tell us what you find out! I was wondering about potassium after adaptation. Are there any special things I should do or is eating adequate protein enough? Also, I once ate nothing but animal products for eight weeks on a bet. I found I quite enjoyed it but felt I would have enjoyed it more if I could have had a small side of vegetable or use them as a condiment.
Would that sort of diet be sustainable do you think? Toward the end of my eight weeks I must admit I didn't always feel my best. My husband thinks I was not eating enough. I liove what I've read so far and will be visiting regularly. Hi, and thank you for the wonderful article! I have a question regarding fat intakes. After becoming keto adapted, if a person still has substantial weight to lose 30 to 50 lb , would it be wise to cut dietary fat so that the body uses stored fat rather than dietary fat?
If so, should this be done gradually, and how low should the fat be reduced? I realize that this would effectively create a high protein diet It would be high protein by percent, but not in absolute terms. There are mixed opinions on this. Personally, I lost 50 lbs without any fat restriction, and the times I have tried restricting fat, while I did lose a little faster, I felt bad during it, and the extra loss rebounded when I stopped.
Hi Barb, I know this comment is 2 years old, but I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Dr. Newbold prescribed an all-meat diet to his obese patients and continually emphasized the importance of including liberal amounts of fat. He recommended ribeye stakes for this reason and wanted his patients to choose the fatty cuts they could find.
I remember he had one case history of a man who did not feel that good on ribeye, so he switched him to fish the patient's ancestors haled from a sea coast town in Europe somewhere I believe. This patient felt much better on the fish diet, but he had to use large quantities of butter on the fish to make it work. Newbold reported the same thing in his own and his patient's experiences that Amber has shared here about herself: Guys, this blog is fabulous.
So well written and researched. I'm excited to read your forthcoming article on cortisol levels and health, my interest stemming from an understanding of the sympathetic nervous system "fight or flight" as the release mechanism for cortisol, and it's compliment, the parasympathetic nervous system "rest and digest" as a pathway to health and happiness. Are you familiar with glycogen supercompensation ? The idea is that you can exhaust glycogen stores muscle, liver, and brain , e.
My question for you is this: You might roll your eyes, I think, at the closing line of the NYTimes article wherein I found the cited papers: Do you have a link to a guide for n00bs? Pretty sure I don't have my head around what I can and can't eat to properly restrict carb intake. I made a comment about super-compensation here: Volek and Phinney say that keto-adapted athletes also use glycogen more efficiently. I can't find the reference at the moment, though.
Yes, I would certainly roll my eyes at that article. It's a sad state of affairs we're in. For a beginner, I would highly recommend getting the latest Atkins book: It will have everything you need to know from a practical point of view. Will keep the other title in mind. Thank you again for the blog. I'm almost three weeks into the diet, and am loving it. Oh, that's a great choice, too, it's just more theoretical than practical.
I'm glad you are having success! Lots of questions on my mind. Here is one for you along with some commentary. Fat for fuel as an adaptation for survival is unquestionable. But is it the best for explosive type requirements ala "cross fit? However today a lot of us are interested in health and to increase our "weekend warrior'' performance times. Is fat and a keto diet the best choice?
I also believe that honest fact based discussions by us "lay people" with a keen curiosity and a desire to improve our health and lives can lead to some pretty amazing "discoveries.
This is a big contentious issue, and I'm going to mostly skirt it. I don't think most people will have a problem with it, but if there is a problem, what will happen is that you will become hypoglycemic.
See the section about Mat Lalonde in http: Essentially, you take g of fast carbohydrates preferably dextrose 30 minutes before your workout. You should be back in ketosis almost immediately after.
Hi there, I went through exactly what the article described the diffrent phases of adaptation. The result is wow! I can fast for a full day and be very active without suffering from hunger or weakness. I don't think about eating all the time and I get a lot of time for some cool activities.
The major source of energy is fat oils, butter, eggs, ghee - I just made my own today, meat fat, etc while I eat meats and nuts for proteins. In the post, you write "When ketone levels are low, the muscles tend to use them directly for fuel, but as levels increase, the muscles use them less, turning to fat for fuel instead. Or is there a fat oxidation pathway that doesn't involve the production of ketones? Hi Neeraj, sorry for the long delay. I think what Volek and Phinney are saying is that when the amount of circulating ketones gets to a high enough level, the ketone bodies themselves will be used for fuel even by the muscles.
Below that point they will be reserved for the brain. I think you reversed it, probably accidentally. Beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate are made in the liver in about equal proportions, and both are initially promptly oxidized by muscle.
But over a matter of weeks, the muscles stop using these ketones for fuel. Instead, muscle cells take up acetoacetate, reduce it to beta-hydroxybutyrate, and return it back into the circulation. Thus after a few weeks, the predominant form in the circulation is beta-hydroxybutyrate, which also happens to be the ketone preferred by brain cells as an aside, the strips that test for ketones in the urine detect the presence of acetoacetate, not beta-hydroxybutyrate.
The result of this process of keto-adaptation is an elegantly choreographed shuttle of fuel from fat cells to liver to muscle to brain. But, of course, the level of ketones, would also go up over time.
Oliver, I do sometimes make mistakes, but I'm not sure what you think is mistaken here. I don't see anything inconsistent. Could you be more specific about what I may have "reversed"? I was replying to the comment right above mine where you said: I don't mean to criticise. Just want to avoid confusion. Friendly criticism is good! I'm not sure about why I wrote what I wrote just above.
Thank you for pointing it out! Oliver, I think I may have just phrased things badly above. When keto-adapted, muscles are using more fat, but they are still also using ketones. It's just that when blood ketones are higher, muscles use relatively less of what's available. Presumably this is because high levels of ketones indicate low levels of glucose, which means the brain now needs to get priority for the ketones.
But if there is so much in the blood that the brain's needs are met, there will be more available to the muscles as well. Thank you for pointing out the potential confusion.
Nothing but meat for four years!?!? I think massive acidosis is coming your way. Aren't you worried about that? I'm not sure what you mean. Are you confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis? Or are you talking about the common misconception that certain foods have a significant effect on blood pH? I'm not worried about either of those things. I'd like to address them in the myths section, but I'm quite busy with my thesis right now.
There is a good description of ketosis vs. Hi Amber - Thanks for this blog, it's a great resource. I'm about a week into keto-adaptation, consuming 10g carb, 85g protein, and g fat daily and supplementing with salt, magnesium, and potassium, among other micronutrients. I find that my mental alertness and physical energy level are generally solid until my first substantial meal, after which I fatigue significantly and become rather listless.
Have you ever experienced this or heard about it? Could this be something that levels out as I become more keto-adapted? You said you experience this dip in mental alertness and physical energy after a "substantial meal. Remember, digestion is an energy-intensive process. This is why I think people tend to be semi-comatose after Thanksgiving dinner. It certainly has nil to do with the tryptophan in the turkey.
It could be the huge bolus of carbs, but more likely it's just the sheer volume of food, regardless of macronutrients. You might try just making the meal a little smaller and see what happens. I haven't heard of that kind of experience.
Have you looked at your blood sugar before and after the slump? No I haven't, thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out! I have tried to adapt to low carb but starting from the point I reduced carbs under grams a day I have had a huge energy crash. I brought it down to under 50 grams at one point and that made the symptoms even worse. I suspect that what I am experiencing is some kind of electrolyte imbalance. The main symptoms I am suffering from are a complete collapse of energy levels I went from working 14 hours a day to four hours a day, with bouts of unbearable fatigue throughout , absolutely no energy in my muscles and as a result I can no longer do high intensity exercises like sprinting.
Under 50 grams of carbs a day, I started to see the really serious electrolyte issues like change in breathing patterns, cardiac rhythm problems, and muscle cramping. I am prediabetic with A1C around 5. But I had some kind of osmotic reaction to that and it causes loose bowels. A big concern I have with supplementing high doses of electrolytes is that the four major electrolytes need to be in proper balance. Excess sodium can deplete potassium. Excess potassium can interfere with magnesium.
There are ions and corresponding anions to balance. When we get these things from food presumably they are in balance. When we start taking five grams of sodium from celtic sea salt, that makes me think the others need to be brought in the proper balance, and I have no idea what the right balance is.
Even Volek and Phinney's book only gives this topic the most shallow treatment. Is there any place to read deeper on this? The other thing I badly need to identify is a doctor who works with low carb diets and is familiar with these electrolyte issues. I cannot locate one. I have problems even finding nutritionists who specialize in ketogenic or low carb.
The doctors who advertise on places like "Low Carb Docs" are either general practitioners with no specialization in diet or low-carb, or mostly chiropractors who again appear to have no specialization in diet. I clicked on every single profile on the Low Carb Docs list, and not ONE of those had a web site that proclaimed any kind of diet specialization.
In terms of ketones, I measure with a blood serum meter. I don't get many ketones when rising, but usually after a mid-day salad I start piling on extra fat and ketones will get up to 0. No amount of fat eating seems to move me much over that 0. After 30 minutes of walking, and then only eating fats during and after that exercise, an hour after exercise I can reliably get ketones to 1. I definitely feel better, but the high ketones really just feel like a mask that covers us the energy loss.
If I had to make a wild guess, I think what is going on is that my body is shedding both sodium and potassium, and my body has significantly shrunk its fluid volumes.
It's the collapse of fluid volumes that leaves me with the unbearable fatigue. On blood tests during the subgram phases of low carb, my sodium tested at When I am closer to 80 to grams of carbs my sodium tests low normal range. I'm not a doctor, and all appropriate disclaimers apply. Electrolytes can be very helpful for adaptation, and you should be able to count on your body to correct the ratios, provided you give it enough of each. That is, I wouldn't worry about trying to match your intake ratios to what your body is going to optimally adjust to.
However, I don't think that's your problem! I think you aren't keto-adapted, especially if going all out only gets you to only 0. Staying between 50 and g of carbohydrate is, in my opinion, the worst possible choice. It's too high to adapt and too low to feel good on a sugar-based metabolism. Amber, I did limit to under 30 grams a day for a month, and that left me literally out of breath, pounding heartbeats, massive fatigue, absolutely disabled. I tried to supplement sodium up to five grams additional in drinking water, which I did not tolerate well because it created some kind of osmotic diarrhea in my gut.
I don't believe that most of the fatigue I experienced was due to ketones. I was losing up to four pounds of body weight just in sleep, never going to the bathroom. That has nothing to do with ketone levels. That has to be a diuretic effect from the diet, and nothing I did could control it.
The thing is even increasing my carb levels I have had problems getting back to any kind of baseline. I have been with these symptoms for five months. I have eaten less than 30 grams for more than a month. Every time I increase carb levels from 30 grams I start to feel a little bit better, but still have not recovered.
This diet has completely messed me up. Low carb or ketogenic is a miracle diet for people who are overweight. They have extra body fluid, so a diuretic is a very beneficial thing for them. But people who start out skinny and don't have any extra fluid to lose have to manage that issue very carefully. It was beyond my skill level, and my experience, to navigate this. For some of us, these diets are very technically challenging diets to implement, and there are simply no good professional resources available to us to help us through it.
Amber, is there any article on the site that shows what the ketone levels are over a 24 hour period, for a keto-adapted person? It would be interesting to see how those numbers ebb and flow over the 24 hour cycle. Well, I'm really sorry you are having such a hard time.
It's hard to troubleshoot from afar. I would have to know a lot more about you to even hazard a guess. I'm pretty confident that your problems are not because you don't have a weight problem. Lots of people who are already in great shape use ketosis to enhance endurance. I also have at least one friend who keto-adapted quite easily and has never been overweight. I have another friend who had a very hard time on ketosis that turned out to be almost certainly due to adding large amounts of coconut oil to her diet, which she turned out to have an intolerance to, because of the salicylates.
So you might look to see if you have greatly increased a food that wasn't part of your regular diet before, that might be triggering an intolerance.
At one point, I think Jimmy Moore was keeping a list of low-carb friendly doctors. You might try looking on his site. I don't have data on the circadian cycle of ketones, but I know they tend to be lowest in the morning and highest in the evening. Best of luck, Amber. The salicylate reaction was an IgE type allergic reaction? My symptoms are extreme, but there are many many people blogging online how they crash on low carb diets.
So that is extremely common. Advocates of these diets always say it is a keto adaptation problem. Yet my ability to lose four to five pounds a night and constantly be dehydrated, even when my ketones were high, tells me that it is just more complex. At least for some of us I went through Jimmy Moore's list a while back, and none of those people have web sites that convince me they specialize in low carb or ketogenic diets.
You might think about a post in the future documenting ketone levels throughout the day. It would be incredibly useful to anyone who attempts one of these diets to have a target baseline, so they could compare their own results to someone who has been successful with the diet. I understand your frustration.
It is very difficult to have a health problem and no answers. I've certainly been in that situation, and it's terrible. I think the reason people like me who have been in this community a long time will point to keto-adaptation first, is because it is a very common problem. I have had many experiences with people having problems who turned out not to be keto-adapted.
Also, your first letter was unclear to me. It sounded like your carb intake was much higher. Beyond that, it does get complicated, and I'd have to learn a lot of detail about your life, and devote a lot of time. I'm sorry I can't help you further. Too bad about Jimmy Moore's list.
Another list I recently heard about is this one: Hi P1, have you tried making and drinking bone broth on a daily basis. I am a thin person doing the Ketogenic diet for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, not weight issues.
When I decided to switch to a Ketogenic diet, I did so by drinking 2 quarts of bone broth every day with sea salt to taste. Bone broth provides both potassium and magnesium. Stefanssen, the arctic explorer who lived off the Inuit diet himself, said that the Natives emphasized to him the necessity of drinking bone broth on this type of diet. I have had a very easy transition to a Ketogenic diet and I suspect this may be why. I have, however, discovered that I have other food sensitive issues - like salicylates - and I have had to eliminate ALL plant-based foods from my diet, along with eggs, in order to feel my best.
I hope this helps. My potassium always tests at 4 to 4. I read somewhere that low carb diets can increase cortisol, and cortisol in turn can cause intracellular potassium to deplete.
I don't know my cortisol situation yet , as it took me fully five months just to figure out that my problem was electrolyte related, and to get my doctors thinking about that issue at all. Everything in fixing this moves very slowly. For me, the low carb diet has been life-crushing.
Every aspect of my life has been adversely affected by this situation. I badly need the help of a doctor or nutritionist with expertise in both low carb and electrolytes, but I literally cannot find anyone. The people who know about these things - like Dr Eades - do not take patients.
They write books, blogs, and give speeches. I get the feeling that low carb diets are fantastic for people who start from a point of being overweight, insulin resistant, and fluid bound. Those people greatly benefit from the diuretic effects of the diet.
Those - like me - who start out skinny and not particularly insulin resistant end up getting squashed like bugs. I see a lot of people online complaining about the cardiac rhythm issues, muscle cramping and loss of muscle energy, and overwhelming fatigue that I too suffer from. Being such a stubborn person, I just refuse to believe there is not a way to get myself out of these electrolyte hell-hole. I am very appreciative of any ideas you might share, and particularly for any human resources who actually focus in this area and might be willing to take on new clients.
I am badly in need of some help. Hi P1, This is my first time posting on this site and I am a newbie to keto adaptation with a 30 day close to zero carb initiation. In my case I have pushed my ketosis up gradually over a multiple year process.
I have been on a lifelong health research project which subjected me to most of the popular extremes such as vegetarianism and veganism. Fortunately I didn't stay on any food intake program when my symptoms interfered with my physical wellbeing for an extended period of time. Although I would continue the education process, I would resume eating in the last known way that had me on a path of overall wellness and ideally some improvement.
In that way, I could evaluate the particulars which caused me an inability to continue with a food program from a general condition of physical functionality. I did notice that your description of your fat intake included the use of olive oil as a fat source alternating with baking chocolate and MCT oil.
Amber mentioned a concern about possible allergy to the salicylates in Coconut fat from which MCT is derived and I did not notice any comment about that from you. Also, Olive Oil is NOT a good fat choice for a beginning Keto-adapter because it is a long chain triglyceride which does not turn into a ketone but must be digested for assimilation. Butter, Coconut Oil, and animal fat ie.
Take minerals with your fat intake as many of them require fat to be absorbed. Take it easy on yourself. I believe there is an answer for your challenges if you have the patience to keep adding to what works for you and leaving behind what doesn't. Olive oil is also very high in salicylates, as are avocados. I strongly suggest a trial of eating only animal-based foods for a period of time in order to eliminate this confounding factor.
Hi Amber, If anyone has a tough time accepting that our brains can run on ketones with a minimum of glucose, they need only take a look at this study from Base line insulin tolerance tests were administered in the postabsorptive state with the subject at bed rest.
Repeat tests were carried out in nine subjects after a minimum of 60 days of fasting which had resulted in a mean weight loss of 73 lb. This is the kind of thing that could be done back then, especially at a VA hospital. Yet they had no symptoms of hypoglycemia.
So, as long ago as the early 70's, some doctors had an inkling of the brain's ability to run almost purely on ketones. These guys were fasting, so they had no protein intake to provide the raw material for gluconeogenesis. I suspect they were wasting their muscles to get the bare minimum of glucose needed.
I would like to say the same thing, it's really a unique blog article. I read about Keto-adaption first time. Hi, love your work! I need some help. I have been on keto diet for 17 days now. I have had absolutely NO carbs in that time. Am also having my two teaspoons of salt per day and drinking plenty of water. I am experiencing all the benefits of a keto diet - weight loss, even energy levels, long periods of satiety, etc.
The only issue is I have had is watery bowel movements for the last two weeks. It is not like I have chronic diarrhea, as I still just go twice a day as I always have, but I have not had a solid stool for the last two weeks - it's starting to concern me. Any advice on how I can address this issue? That is not unusual at all, and typically normalises over time, though it will probably not ever get as firm as what you are used to.
By the way, if you are really eating no carbs at all, by which I mean no plant sources, I personally consider this ideal. It is how I eat, and I interact with many others who do the same.
We have found through collective anecdote that the benefits are retained at a higher protein ratio than with a keto diet that includes plants. There is a small group of zero carbers in the discussion forum linked at the top.
I have read that this sort of issue is common through the adaption period so I expected it, but most seem to say it corrects within a few days to a week, which is why I was concerned. I'll hang in for another week and hope it returns to some sort of normality. I'll def check out the zero carbers. Keto-adaptation is the process of shifting your metabolism from relying mostly on glucose for fuel, to relying mostly on fat-based sources of fuel.
Not only does fat oxidation itself increase, but your body starts producing enough ketones that they can be used as a significant source of fuel as well.
Ketones are derived from partially metabolized fat, and they can be used in many of the same tissues of the body as glucose can, including much of the brain. What hormone released into the blood shown by letter D by the posterior pituitary inhibits or prevents urine formation?
Hypersecretion of what hormone can produce the effects of gigantism individual in the center of this image? Osteitis fibrosa is a rare complication of hyperparathyroidism where the bones soften and deform. Which of the following adrenal gland homeostatic imbalances is characterized by persistent elevated blood glucose levels, dramatic losses in muscle and bone protein, and water and salt retention, leading to hypertension and edema?
What hormone, notated by letter B, is released by the anterior pituitary to target the adrenal cortex when we are under stress? Which of the following is NOT a major type of stimulus that triggers endocrine glands to manufacture and release hormones? Which of the following occurs in situations where more than one hormone produces the same effects at the target cell and their combined effects are amplified? Which of the following hormones stimulates the adrenal cortex to release glucocorticoids that help the body to resist stressors?
The anatomical effects of acromegaly can usually be reversed by surgically removing the tumor from the anterior pituitary. Which hypothalamic hormone stimulates the release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary lobe? Which of the following is NOT a homeostatic imbalance related to underactivity of the thyroid gland?
Two adrenal glands make hormones that are essential for life. Pheochromocytoma produces symptoms of uncontrolled sympathetic nervous system activity. Which of the following is common to both adrenal chromaffin cells and adrenergic fibers of the sympathetic nervous system?
Which of the following pairs correctly matches the adrenal gland zone or area with the class of hormones it produces? Which letter represents the hormone that promotes a decrease in blood pressure and a loss of sodium and water in urine?
Which of the following statements is most correct regarding the intracellular chemical signals known as "second messengers"? Direct gene activation involves a second-messenger system.
All peptide hormone synthesis requires gene activation that produces mRNA. What ion is sometimes used as a second messenger of amino acid—based hormones? G protein acts as the link between first and second messengers. ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to release corticosteroid hormones. LH is also referred to as a gonadotropin. Oxytocin is a strong stimulant of uterine contractions.
What role do the kidneys play in erythropoiesis? The kidneys detect low levels of oxygen in the blood. What triggers erythropoietin EPO production to make new red blood cells? What organ in the body regulates erythrocyte production? Ghrelin, produced by the stomach, is a powerful appetite stimulant. Many factors influence BMR. What is the most critical factor? The preferred energy fuel for the brain is fat.
Which hormone directs essentially all the events of the absorptive state? Which of the choices below happens during the absorptive state? Anabolic processes exceed catabolic ones. Where are oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone ADH made? Which of the following is not a category of endocrine gland stimulus? Which of the following is not a steroid-based hormone? It does not require a second messenger to effect a response.
Oxytocin and ADH are produced in the posterior pituitary. FSH stimulates sperm production in the testes. Iodine is an essential element required for the synthesis of thyroxine. Thyroid hormone production requires the presence of iodine and calcium.
The prime metabolic effect of cortisol is gluconeogenesis. Addison's disease is due to a insufficient output of glucocorticoids only. Hypersecretion of catecholamines can result in hypertension.
How do glucocorticoids enable the body to deal appropriately with stress? The pineal gland is used as a brain orientation landmark for brain X rays. The hormone that raises blood sugar levels is insulin. Which organ is responsible for synthesizing ANP?
The beta cells in the pancreatic islets produce insulin. Which of the following is not a cardinal sign of diabetes mellitus?
Which of the following hormones suppresses appetite and increases energy expenditure? Most type 2 diabetics do not produce insulin.
What part of the body does erythropoietin EPO target to increase erythropoiesis? Identify the thyroid gland. What is the primary function of hormones? What amino acid-based hormone uses the direct gene activation method illustrated in this image? What is required for the production of anterior pituitary gland hormones? What gland secretes growth hormone? Where is thyroid-releasing hormone TRH made?
Which hormone is the body's major metabolic hormone? What type of cell is shown at letter C? What hormone is released by the cells pictured in letter D? Which of the following would result from hypoparathyroidism? Which of the following is NOT a property of endocrine glands? Which of the following is NOT an endocrine gland? Which letter represents the adrenal glands? At what point does the receptor-hormone complex bind to DNA?
Which of the following is a hormone produced by the posterior pituitary?