I want to explain a little further what’s happening when we go in ketosis, with a water fast or a ketogenic diet, and the difference between ketosis and fat adaptation.
When we eat carbohydrates, It’s broken down into glucose and we start producing insulin. Glucose is used directly by the brain, which needs at least 30 gr a day, and with the help of insulin it is also used by the rest of the body. Insulin opens the cells so they can absorb glucose, along with the fat we ingested or the fat created directly out of glucose. I read somewhere that 90% of the glucose we eat gets transformed into fat but I guess this varies if someone is on a low carbs, very low carbs or almost zero carbs diet.
Insulin also prevents fat from being burned in order to favor glucose being burned. By eating carbs, we trigger some kind of storage mode in our body where most of the extra calories are stored as fat (some as glucose or glycogen) and all get locks in the cells.
Ketosis is what happens when our blood sugar becomes low. Insulin gets lower and the body starts producing cortisol to get energy out of the cells. This happens every day, during the night or in the morning, as most of the carbs from the day before have been burned or put in reserve. Sugar, triggering insulin, is the reason people get obese. Not fat alone; although sugar and carbs together accelerate the process. Insulin is our storage hormone. If you have too much calorie intake but you’re not eating carbs, you won’t have insulin and the extra calories will not get stored. They will be excreted in the urine which can cause kidney problems if it’s excessive.
I’ve been eating between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of fat a day for a year and a half and I lost 20 kilos. My body fat is currently around 12% and I have a nice 6 pack. All belly fat is gone.
Cells and liver reserves of glucose can only last up to 48 hours so you will have the most carbs craving on the second day when water fasting longer than 2 days or going into a ketogenic or carnivore diet (more below on the carnivore diet). After that, the body can turn proteins into glucose so the brain can have the minimum 30 gr a day it needs.
Most people are quite inefficient at burning fat as we’ve been eating carbs since we were babies (babies are born in full ketosis and fully fat adapted). The short morning ketosis usually doesn’t last long as we are hungry, some may even be hypoglycemic, and we get some carbs asap; in a coffee for example.
When we produce ketone bodies and can’t burn them all, we just urinate the extra although most people will at least use some of them as energy.
As many knows, I’ve been a proponent of a carnivore / ketogenic diet for a long time. By doing this diet, it eliminated most of my neurological symptoms within a week. Physical symptoms were also improved but sexual ones didn’t change much. I believe this was due to glucose and allergen withdrawal rather than ketosis itself (allergens being removed by eating mostly beef and butter or ghee). At that stage I was not fat adapted but could at least burn some of the fat and also used protein as an energy source. I lost 2.5 kilos in 2 weeks, as by eliminating carbs, I eliminated the water that gets absorbed and stored along with the carbs. We all know how to thicken a sauce with flour or starch, it’s a property of most carbs to absorb water.
Sexual symptoms took 3-6 months to start improving. This is also the time it takes to get fat adapted. Correlation doesn’t mean causation so it might be unrelated.
Getting fat adapted means your body becomes increasingly good at using the ketones as a source of energy. Once this is accomplished, urine tests are no longer accurate in determining ketosis levels as ketone bodies are used in greater number instead of being eliminated in urine. Same goes for breath tests as acetone is being used more efficiently. When fasting, more fat is burned for energy and less protein are used as the fat can supply most of the body’s energy needs. Also note that during a moderate fast, say 2-3 days, the protein used by a fat adapted person are not proteins from the muscle but proteins from damaged senescent cells, excess rejected DNA from within the cells (which can be up to 200 times the size of the DNA itself if the body hasn’t cleansed itself for a long time) and other protein rich useless components of our body that are just waiting for the next fast to be cleansed. You see, fasting is actually a natural, vital function of the body. We shouldn’t go for long periods of time without being hungry.
However, unless you have very large reserves of fat, it’s unlikely you’re going to become fat adapted by fasting (though one guy fasted for 1 year and lost hundreds of kilos… of fat. He had good reserves to start with…)
Here comes the carnivore diet. Not only it’s an elimination diet that removes all carbs and allergens produced by plants, but it also provides you with proteins to burn as you’re getting adapted to burning fat.
Some people say too much protein will kick you out of ketosis but this is unproven. It takes 5 calories of protein to produce 2 calories of glucose. The body will only produce what it needs, around 30 grams for the brain.
If you eat ruminant meat (animals with horns with multiple fermentation stomachs like cows, goats, sheep, dears, bison, antelope etc…) you will get very little carbs as those meat contain almost no carbs at all. This is due to the bacterial fermentation process in their digestive tracks that transform all carbs, including fibers, into fatty acids and proteins (the bacteria themselves are proteins). We classify those animals as herbivores but the truth is, they cultivate bacteria and feed both on the bacteria themselves, as a source of proteins, and from the fat the bacteria produce as a byproduct of their metabolism. Ruminants feed from animals which feed from plants, not directly from plants. They should be called bacteriavores instead of herbivores, unlike koalas, for example, which actually feed from plants.
Many anthropologist believe those ruminants were human’s main source of food during the paleolithic as they are a good source of fat and proteins. Because humans have smaller intestine than chimps but larger brain, we are a very energy dependent specie. Ruminants, using bacteria to transform plants in fatty acids and protein, are very efficient at transforming pasture land into condensed forms of energy. It is theorized that without those ruminants, humans could not have developed such a large brain as a trade off for a smaller intestine. Remember that grains were not evolved at that time and it was humans, by selective breading, that created the large energy dense grains we are cultivating now. But that came later, when we were smart enough to do selective breading of grain.
I will so make the point that the ultimate paleolitic diet is a ruminant based diet as well as the fat produced by those ruminants (butter, ghee, cheese etc…)
I suggest, as a therapeutic approach, to eat ruminant meat and fat in order to eliminate carbs and allergens, get fat adapted, and become more efficient at fasting which ultimately will help repair the body (and as a bonus reverse the effect of aging)
Being fat adapted means you can very easily stop eating a few days and go on with full energy as your body just uses your fat. Fasting is a breeze and your energy is not food dependent, at least not within a few days.
If it takes 3-6 months of a zero carbs diet to get fat adapted, I believe you need to have carbs all the time in the blood for 3-6 months to lose the adaptation, and even then the body would be fast to re-adapt.
Once fat adapted, you can easily eat small quantities of carbs sporadically, as long as you depend mostly on fat for energy you will not lose your fat adaptation. Birthday cakes are not a problem however, all carbs should be avoided for at least 3-6 months to make sure you get fat adapted.
Having ketones in your body has advantages that goes beyond the withdrawal of carbs and allergens.
In some studies I posted on this forum (in the success story thread) it is stated that Butyrate / Butyric acid and BetaHydroxyButyrate (which is a ketone produced by your body from fat, in the absence of carbs and insulin) loosen the DNA from its histone “rolls” and enable an easier gene expression. We often talk about gene methylation as a cause of pfs and the other related diseases here on this forum. Butyrate and BHB does nothing against methylation to my knowledge but if part of the disease is due to DNA tightening around the histones, than it helps with that.
Fasting, however, induce autophagy which in turn uses senescent cells as a source of energy (the body “eating them up”). Cells become senescent not only because of shortened telomeres but also because of epigenetic damage (including methylation) which causes the cells to produce defective, useless proteins. Age causes epigenetic damage, as well as chemicals and other stressful events including medical drugs. I believe this is the cause of many of the symptoms we suffer. Fin and some other drugs has caused epigenetic damage to the endocrine system.
Being fat adapted does not increase the amount of ketones in the blood during a fast but it does increase its usage by the body, making you much more energetic than you would if you were not fat adapted. It can enable you to fast longer and more often. Being fat adapted and burning more ketones also delay the onset of ketoacidosis, a dangerous pathology caused by elevated blood ketosis in later stages of starvation. Ketoacidosis can induce coma, cause irreversible damage and even death.
So there you go, that’s the difference between being in ketosis (full of ketones) and being fat adapted.
All of the above is my understanding of those various subjects. I may have misunderstood some of my readings, but I think as a whole this text is a condensed version of my various readings on those subjects.
I hope it will be useful to some of you.
(Gee, it really looks like I felt like writing today… Lol)
I wish you all the best.