4

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Ketosis vs. Fat Adapted vs. "Paleo"

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 04, 2012 at 4:45 PM

I've read through some past questions, and none quite explained what I was looking for.

Can someone explain the difference between "ketosis" and a ketogenic diet, and "fat adaptation," and how they both differ from a "Paleo" diet? There have been a lot of "Paleo is not low carb" discussion comments, but I dont see how a higher carb paleo diet can still have the benefits listed of fat adaptation (not eating to eat every 4 hours, burning body fat for fuel, etc.)

Are the benefits of the Paleo diet, from a strictly macronutrient perspective, the same as for low carb and ketogenic diets? Obviously Paleo has a lot of other good things going for it!

Acf3f15ef2f914d0684960ed21a81bd5

(155)

on September 19, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Depends. In terms of "low carb diets," for most people this usually includes vegetables. When keeping track of/counting carbs, the fiber content is subtracted from the carbohydrate content because of the way the vegetables are broken down and absorbed during the digestion process. In terms of "carbs" as in "carbohydrate sources," from what I've generally seen, vegetables are not considered a primary source of carbohydrates, with a few exceptions. TL;DR Low Carb Diet? Yes, generally, vegetables included. Carbohydrate Source? No, generally, vegetables not included.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 04, 2012
at 10:06 PM

@foreveryoung, you're right. Ketosis is not just a diet trick for low carbers. In real life it's associated with disordered eating: starvation dieting, anorexia and ketotic hypoglycemia. If you're going to try it, don't undereat!

De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on June 04, 2012
at 08:33 PM

Yeah that makes sense.. like I said, I'm no expert.. not even close ;)

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:56 PM

They aren't the same thing. Being "Fat adapted" is more intangible point where you don't "need" carbohydrate to perform optimally (such as no longer crashing post-meal or feeling drained if a meal doesn't contain carbs). It's an obvious response to ketosis but can occur without ketosis. If you get as much energy from a pat of butter, as you do from a dinner roll, you are likely fat-adapted.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:47 PM

why would there be two words for the same thing? Unless, of course, it is a marketing strategy.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:46 PM

"to be fat-adapted you(r) body needs to be in a ketogenic state" Wouldn't that just be keto-adapted? Burning fat and burning ketones are different things. You can be ketogenic eating 100g of carbs a day if that is all that you are eating (totaling 400 calories).

De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:09 PM

It goes without saying that a paleo keto diet shares the same benefits of a normal paleo diet, in that you heal your gut, sleep better, have better energy, etc.

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4 Answers

8
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:23 PM

Paleo is a way of eating that is devoid (or at least limiting) of pre-agricultural foods.

It is not:
Based on Macronutrients
Based on weight loss
Based solely on "fat adaption" or ketosis.

  • "Classic" Paleo 1.0 was/is "low carb" and the benefits to many folks that tried it was a reduction of insulin highs/lows, an improvement in well being, and an improvement in how they personally allocated bodyweight (became leaner/heavier depending on their levels of obesity or thinness). Most likely, the folks that have responded well on lower-carb Paleo had a particularly damaged system (insulin and gut issues). These are the folks that may need to be "Fat adapted" to get healthy.

  • Some people attempted the lower-carb Paleo and found it affected them negatively. Those folks decided to experiment with higher carbs and found they worked well. For these folks, most likely the damage to their bodies may not be as severe as those individuals listed above. Because of this, they may choose to eat more carbohydrate (such as taters, precious) and thrive just as well as the group above.

Personally, I am getting to a point where carbohydrate (in the form of potato/sweet potato and tropical fruits such as mango) does not affect me as negatively, it simply slows weightloss. For this reason, as I get closer to my goal weight I will re-introduce carbohydrate gradually, and revert back if/when my weight becomes unmanageable... and I will do so for the rest of my life. A healthy system will effectively convert most natural calorie sources efficiently. Problem is, many of us do not have a healthy system to begin with, and in my case, it took years of a lower-carb approach to get to a point where I don't get sick (dizziness from insulin spikes, rapid water and intestinal bloat, gastric distress from gut-fermented sugars, etc) from eating starch or heavy-fruit.

1
Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 04, 2012
at 07:35 PM

Fats are always burned for fuel via oxidation to acetyl CoA. This is the main metabolic pathway. Ketogenesis occurs when bloodstream glucose is low.

The excess fat you eat will be stored without regard to metabolic pathway.

I view paleo as ancestor diet, and think that the ketogenic state would have been rare rather than common. If you're looking for the diet we evolved to eat, I'd expect it to be 50% carbs, with seasonal variability from 0-100%.

0
C68f0b374156e5ce7a9b8358232bfed0

on September 19, 2012
at 04:49 PM

When I read carbs here, do people include vegetables in that?

Acf3f15ef2f914d0684960ed21a81bd5

(155)

on September 19, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Depends. In terms of "low carb diets," for most people this usually includes vegetables. When keeping track of/counting carbs, the fiber content is subtracted from the carbohydrate content because of the way the vegetables are broken down and absorbed during the digestion process. In terms of "carbs" as in "carbohydrate sources," from what I've generally seen, vegetables are not considered a primary source of carbohydrates, with a few exceptions. TL;DR Low Carb Diet? Yes, generally, vegetables included. Carbohydrate Source? No, generally, vegetables not included.

-1
De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:05 PM

I'm no expert, but in order to be fat-adapted you body needs to be in a ketogenic state most/all of the time. The primary way to maintain a steady production of keytones is to limit your carb intake (less than 50g/day for most people.) Fasting and MCT oil can also help induce ketosis.

In terms of paleo, when you eliminate grains and sugar from you diet, your carb intake drop substantially. So unless you replace those carbs with safe starches and fruit, your going to be pretty low carb. That said, if your shooting for ketosis you still need to keep an eye your carbs even without fruit/starches.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:47 PM

why would there be two words for the same thing? Unless, of course, it is a marketing strategy.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:46 PM

"to be fat-adapted you(r) body needs to be in a ketogenic state" Wouldn't that just be keto-adapted? Burning fat and burning ketones are different things. You can be ketogenic eating 100g of carbs a day if that is all that you are eating (totaling 400 calories).

De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on June 04, 2012
at 05:09 PM

It goes without saying that a paleo keto diet shares the same benefits of a normal paleo diet, in that you heal your gut, sleep better, have better energy, etc.

De641ff2accb4975e1f42886b43009db

(2227)

on June 04, 2012
at 08:33 PM

Yeah that makes sense.. like I said, I'm no expert.. not even close ;)

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 04, 2012
at 06:56 PM

They aren't the same thing. Being "Fat adapted" is more intangible point where you don't "need" carbohydrate to perform optimally (such as no longer crashing post-meal or feeling drained if a meal doesn't contain carbs). It's an obvious response to ketosis but can occur without ketosis. If you get as much energy from a pat of butter, as you do from a dinner roll, you are likely fat-adapted.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on June 04, 2012
at 10:06 PM

@foreveryoung, you're right. Ketosis is not just a diet trick for low carbers. In real life it's associated with disordered eating: starvation dieting, anorexia and ketotic hypoglycemia. If you're going to try it, don't undereat!

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