Keto-adaptation, which is sometimes referred to as “fat-adaptation,” occurs when the body is primarily burning fat as its fuel source. Many newcomers to the Ketogenic diet struggle to understand the fundamental differences between this phenomenon and the process known simply as “ketosis.” As far as some individuals are concerned, with their lack of the appropriate information, they are the same thing. But they are not. Both terms will be found in any Ketogenic diet resource, but they refer to two different stages of this low-carb diet.
Ketosis vs Keto-Adaptation on the Ketogenic Diet
Both terms refer to ketones, the byproduct of fat being burned as a result of minimal carbohydrates being present in the body.
Ketosis occurs when the body first begins creating these ketones. There are three ketones produced by the body when it is in a state of ketosis:
These ketones are created when the body is beginning to burn fat in place of carbs, particularly in the liver. Now, the fatty acids in the liver are always creating ketones, so this is not enough to say for sure that you are in ketosis. That is why there are varying “levels” of ketosis, which can be measured via blood, breath or urine. These values are measured in millimoles per liter (or mmol/L).
- Negative ketone levels are between 0 and 0.6 mmol/L
- Low to moderate ketone levels reside between 0.6 to 1.5 mmol/L
- High ketone levels are between 1.5 and 3.0 mmol/L
- Very high ketone levels are more than 3.0 mmol/L
The process of attaining keto-adaptation can begin in as little as a few days after beginning the Ketogenic diet, though it can take several weeks to become keto-adapted. Keto-adaptation occurs when a specific set of circumstances are met within the body, particularly when the body begins using fat as its primary energy source.
In the time frame between entering ketosis and becoming keto-adapted, your body will likely experience some side effects, like headaches and food cravings. But it should be kept at the front of your mind that these side effects are merely temporary. If you push through them with the right determination to improve your overall health, keto-adaptation will occur and you will feel immensely better.
Many Ketogenic dieters praise keto-adaptation for their improved focus and memory, reduced depression symptoms, better blood sugar and lowered blood pressure. This can take a number of weeks to occur, but the positive feelings accompanied by keto-adaptation often make themselves known clearly and suddenly-like a weight being lifted from your shoulders all at once. The headaches, cravings and other unpleasant side effects of being in ketosis prior to adaptation disappear and are replaced with notable improvement.
The aim of the Ketogenic diet is to burn fat in place of carbs, reduce insulin production and minimize blood glucose for the goal of weight loss and healthfulness. While it may take some time and serious dedication to ensure that the body enters a keto-adapted state, it is absolutely worth all that it takes to get to that point.