3

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Is "Fat Adapted" possible for everyone?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 02, 2012 at 6:09 AM

The farthest I've gotten in one pop on just meat, fat and vegetables only, with just a tiny bit of fruit, was almost a month. In that month a nasty chronic yeast infection clears up, my asthma clears up, allergies way better, lost weight...all good. But still. So. Fatigued. Seemed abnormal, scared me enough to go to the Dr., he said my TSH-3 was normal at 2.69, and AM Cortisol normal at 6.4, and that, basically, was that. Well, I fell back into my old carby sugary ways, and I felt so much better. Energy again. And along with it came back the yeast problem, the asthma, the allergies, 4 pounds, looking like crap... My question is, CAN everyone get fat adapted? I loved some of those changes, but I really couldn't deal with the fatigue. I've read posts on here from people who felt totally crappy for months until they added back more carbs... I so want the benefits of the thing they call "fat adapted," but wonder: IS it possible for everyone? And how long would you wait in a state of bone weary fatigue and brain fog for that great change. Want to keep trying, but I don't know how I could do school and the rest of my complicated life with the brain fog.

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:18 AM

Thank you for posting that article by Dr. Cate it was very interesting!

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on September 02, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I think adding salt does help. Also calcium, in the form of a multi-mineral.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on September 02, 2012
at 10:14 PM

Shape shifter! I like that. I knew that low carb was doing me good because I lost weight, I no longer got hungry a couple of hours after a meal and (like you) my allergies and yeast infections improved greatly. All sorts of other symptoms got better - the list is too long! That's how I knew I was on the right track. But I often felt uncomfortable in ketosis and for about a year I ate between 50-100 grams of starches a day. But the yeast and a few other things came back. Now I seem to have adapted and I can happily eat less than 50g per day and the yeast situation is pretty good.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 04:06 PM

The article by Dr. Cate was helpful...I'm going to keep having a no carb breakfast, and allow myself more starchy carbs and fruit later in the day, keeping track of grams of intake, how I feel, and gradually decreasing. Thanks!

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Also +1 for being a shape-shifter.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 03:44 PM

So--during that period--of low energy--did you just repeatedly go down on carbs till you tanked out, then add, then go down again, etc? How did you sustain a commitment to this style of eating through all that--I mean, what made you so sure that you were going in the right direction, despite the lack of energy?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on September 02, 2012
at 07:25 AM

I was fatigue and sleepy all that time. And cold! Hair loss too. All symptoms of hypothyroidism, without being hypothyroid. TSH is not useless, but it's not useful to know about rT3. You need all 4 hormones to be tested to know if your T4 is producing too much rT3, but family doctors only test or TSH and T4. You need to either ask for these, or go to an endocrinologist (when you're in a diet, not now that you're eating more).

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 07:07 AM

Do you guage your not being fat adapted just by what you're eating and how you're feeling? What was 6 months of hibernation like? How do you live through that. I have so little margin for compromised functionality in my life. I like your blog.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 07:00 AM

I use a LOT of coconut milk, but I never have tried the sugar. That sounds good--your treats--I will try that. Once I get off the bread.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 06:57 AM

Yes, I was thinking that. I didn't try that. I just went from pure junk, to pure paleo with <100g of carbs. So TSH-3 is useless?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 02, 2012
at 06:27 AM

Try probiotics... but since mine are dead... try alive ones? Fermented foods? Kefir? It is all about gut flora. Your bacteria that needs sugar is not happy and it is making your miserable.

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6 Answers

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4
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on September 02, 2012
at 06:37 AM

It's your Reverse T3 you should be checking out (also T4, TSH and T3). When you cut carbs like that, some people fall into hibernation, and the reverse T3 is the one that shows that. The same thing happened to me btw. Paleo for a year, keto for 2 months, and then spent 6 months in hibernation. Only when I started eating up to 200 gr of net carbs daily I got my energy back. I also eat fermented foods, offal, plus kefir for my IBS, and yet I'm still not fat-adapted.

Dr Cate has an article about this: http://drcate.com/going-low-carb-too-fast-may-trigger-thyroid-troubles-and-hormone-imbalance/

And the Jaminets too: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/09/high-ldl-on-paleo-revisited-low-carb-the-thyroid/

My new strategy is to go slowly down to 100 gr of net carbs daily in the course of next year, instead of cold turkey. If I can sustain 100 gr of net carbs on average daily for the rest of my life, with the right energy I'm suppose to have, I'll be happy.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 06:57 AM

Yes, I was thinking that. I didn't try that. I just went from pure junk, to pure paleo with <100g of carbs. So TSH-3 is useless?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on September 02, 2012
at 07:25 AM

I was fatigue and sleepy all that time. And cold! Hair loss too. All symptoms of hypothyroidism, without being hypothyroid. TSH is not useless, but it's not useful to know about rT3. You need all 4 hormones to be tested to know if your T4 is producing too much rT3, but family doctors only test or TSH and T4. You need to either ask for these, or go to an endocrinologist (when you're in a diet, not now that you're eating more).

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 04:06 PM

The article by Dr. Cate was helpful...I'm going to keep having a no carb breakfast, and allow myself more starchy carbs and fruit later in the day, keeping track of grams of intake, how I feel, and gradually decreasing. Thanks!

E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:18 AM

Thank you for posting that article by Dr. Cate it was very interesting!

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 07:07 AM

Do you guage your not being fat adapted just by what you're eating and how you're feeling? What was 6 months of hibernation like? How do you live through that. I have so little margin for compromised functionality in my life. I like your blog.

2
559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

on September 02, 2012
at 09:58 AM

Mitochondria take a long time to adapt/regenerate after a SAD diet, so adaptation might well take longer than a month - I've heard of people in their twenties taking 6 months to get sufficiently fat-adapted to feel more energetic. I am a fair bit older than that and it took me over a year to be fat-adapted enough to be able to eat less than 50g of carbs per day. Once I did, I was able to stick to it and get rid of my candida etc. I am also fairly effortlessly maintaining my weight loss of 55lb.

Medium-chain fats, such as coconut oil and butter, are metabolised differently and are more easily available for energy than other fats. They might provide some more energy during the adaptation process.

I don't know if fat adaptation is possible for everyone and I can't deny the adaptation process was tough, but for me although it took a bit of patience and persistence, it was well worth it.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Also +1 for being a shape-shifter.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on September 02, 2012
at 10:14 PM

Shape shifter! I like that. I knew that low carb was doing me good because I lost weight, I no longer got hungry a couple of hours after a meal and (like you) my allergies and yeast infections improved greatly. All sorts of other symptoms got better - the list is too long! That's how I knew I was on the right track. But I often felt uncomfortable in ketosis and for about a year I ate between 50-100 grams of starches a day. But the yeast and a few other things came back. Now I seem to have adapted and I can happily eat less than 50g per day and the yeast situation is pretty good.

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 03:44 PM

So--during that period--of low energy--did you just repeatedly go down on carbs till you tanked out, then add, then go down again, etc? How did you sustain a commitment to this style of eating through all that--I mean, what made you so sure that you were going in the right direction, despite the lack of energy?

1
D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd

on September 02, 2012
at 11:14 PM

2.69 is in the published range of 'normal.' However, my doc said that the current trend is they want it lower than 2. The first day I took the thyroid was amazing. I woke up and felt like I was in a Disney movie and wondering where the singing cartoons birds were. I felt refreshed. I thought 'this is what normal people feel like when they wake up.' That only lasted two days, for me; but I have a genetic condition that is unrelated (well, probably) to thyroid or lack thereof.

Paleo is not one-size-fits-all. If fat adapted doesn't work for you, add some sweet potatoes. Smothered in pastured butter. Or coconut butter.

1
3e4324ae50567f8da15bec33d0519d00

on September 02, 2012
at 10:44 AM

Maybe it's salt(s) that you're missing?

Mark Sisson has a post about muscle cramp and fatigue over on mda where he raises the possibility that cleaning up your diet (no processed foods, no sodas) drastically reduces salt consumption.

Clean food prepared from basic ingredients doesd not contain much salt. Salting your food, adding seafood and seaweed, or supplementing with a suitable multi-mineral might be the answer?

Good luck.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on September 02, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I think adding salt does help. Also calcium, in the form of a multi-mineral.

1
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on September 02, 2012
at 10:12 AM

I feel shitty in ketosis, I tried it off and on for over a year. I'm someone who has always had a consistent weight and lower body fat percentage, I think that is a lot of it - those who feel great in ketosis usually have borked metabolisms/plenty of extra body fat to burn through.

It's not a matter, though, of eating nothing but meat/fat/veggies vs eating tons of sugary carbs. I eat about 150g of carbohydrate per day, mostly from rice, potatoes, and veg. Also plenty of protein, and lots of fat (since I am trying to bulk up). I still consider myself paleo/primal.

1
D7f404b29047b12e2c2f528934b7b80b

(133)

on September 02, 2012
at 06:46 AM

I started adding coconut sugar at times when i feel tired and it really boosts my energy. I dont use a lot, but add it to my protein shake or tea. I recently made some treats with coconut flour, almond meal and coconut sugar - helps when i need to get out of brainfog fast and dont wanna prepare something. Not sure if it works for everyone but it might be worth a try?

Ff5d6fd79983af7b92bfab38b71823fb

(290)

on September 02, 2012
at 07:00 AM

I use a LOT of coconut milk, but I never have tried the sugar. That sounds good--your treats--I will try that. Once I get off the bread.

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