5

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What does "fat adapted" mean?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 28, 2012 at 6:45 PM

What does being "fat adapted" mean? I see this term thrown around a lot. Thanks.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Exactly! A teeter-totter is a good analogy :)

5447e1f37d3ffa1525dac55be36ee454

(1019)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:10 PM

@ Gurlzlovsteak. Fat is different than ketones. Ketones are made from fat, but the body runs mainly on fat, not ketones.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:08 PM

as in a teeter totter and not a switch.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:07 PM

So it's like a teeter totter! Right? I think I vaguely understand this now. Your patience is indefatigable- thank you for hanging in there till I got it.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:52 PM

So, yes, you can emphasize fat burning or sugar burning depending on what kind of activity you engage in. On top of all of this, by playing with the macronutrients you consume, you can further emphasize one pathway or another.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:33 PM

The bottom line is, you are always working both anaerobically and aerobically. Like I said before, it is about the proportion, not a simple "on" or "off".

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:27 PM

The aerobic system regenerates the anaerobic system. For example, after running an all out sprint, you'll notice that you start breathing hard afterwards. For this reason, high-intensity advocates say that you can "get your cardio" without doing "cardiovascular exercise" like running. This is the whole idea behind HIT and the Body by Science approach.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Lol, right on man.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:21 PM

It seems like Sisson argues this, but he argues that the recommendations to do endless cardio is stupid. It doesn't make sense though because cardio is predominantly fat burning, so why would he argue that the mode of exercise that uses fat for fuel is counterproductive?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:20 PM

aerobic (fat burning) vs anaerobic (sugar burning)?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:19 PM

But I'm still confused about this. Could you just turn on or off fat burning via choice of exercise?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:19 PM

I just realized that. My mistake I'm sorry.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Dude, read what I wrote..."I wouldn't say that you "can't access stored bodyfat" on more than 150 gms of carbs a day"

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:17 PM

You said you can't access stored body fat eating above 150g carbs per day, which equals 600 calories.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:13 PM

I agree with Jeff, what the heck is going on here? When did I say anything about 600 calories a day, 250 grams of carbs, etc? I feel like Foreveryoung thinks that I am supporting the idea of being "fat adapted" when I was simply trying to explain the popular use of the phrase.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:09 PM

This is a strange comment thread, I can't tell who's insulting or agreeing with who. But Foreveryoung, you have that backwards; aerobic is more fat burning and anaerobic is more sugar burning

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Your question was "What does 'fat adapted' mean" and I gave you the answer. "Fat adapted" is not a scientific description, it is something that is floated around in the paleosphere and Sisson is a big proponent of "fat adaptation", which is why I directed you to his post.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:25 PM

I would like to think that I am still burning fat when I eat in excess of 250grams of carbs some days of the week.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:23 PM

And I wasn't insulting you. I just don't get how someone presumably as smart as yourself can actually believe you can't access stored body fat at 600 cals. It was half compliment I guess.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:22 PM

Isn't that just showing the difference between aerobic activity and anaerobic activity? From what I gather (not a scientist, by any stretch of imagination), it's showing anaerobic activity is "fat burning" and aerobic is "sugar burning." It's just showing where the cell gets fuel from anaerobic vs aerobic work.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:17 PM

Dude, are you even reading what I'm writing?

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:15 PM

I'm not sure if I was just insulted or supported :/

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:13 PM

You can't access stored body fat eating 600 calories a day? LOL that's absurd. you're brainwashed dude.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on May 28, 2012
at 07:04 PM

Because poor FED offered the usual bro-science bandied about here doesn't invalidate the concept. Keto-adaptation is described by Volek in his books and studies. Look there for its complex and scientific description, OP.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:03 PM

It sounds like if you're a sugar burner you can't also be a part of the fat burner club.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:02 PM

It is highly improbable that anyone is a "pure" (meaning 100%) "fat" or "sugar" burner. The brain requires a certain amount of glucose and there is no getting around that. What we are seeing though is a shift in one direction or the other in terms of fuel utilization. I wouldn't say that you "can't access stored bodyfat" on more than 150 gms of carbs a day and that you're not burning fat either. Again, it is about the proportions.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:02 PM

He also says that glucose is not the preferred fuel of muscles. He doesn't site a single source for this claim, or any of the claims for that matter. Plus, this is a biased source. The guy makes a living profiting of the low carb/primal lifestyle. Could you provide an unbiased source of what fat adapted is? If you can't, the term could just be a marketing gimmick so fat-burners can feel part of an exclusive club.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:56 PM

If I eat over 150g of carbs per day I am not fat adapted meaning I can't access stored body fat and can't burn any of the fat I eat either?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Thank you FED. So, if I can go to sleep and not eat anything for 8-12 hours I am fat adapted? That is several hours in my book. OR does it have to be during the day time?

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2 Answers

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Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:50 PM

In general, being "fat adapted" means that your body is able to efficiently utilize fat (either endogenous or exogenous) as a fuel source.

This is usually offered as an alternative to being a "sugar burner" whose body is accustomed to having a regular supply of glucose (typically from dietary sources, a la "eat every three hours").

Generally, one is considered to be "fat adapted" when they can go without eating without discomfort or adverse symptoms for several hours at a stretch, allowing for the so-called Intermittent Fast.

Here is a pretty extensive MDA post on the subject... http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-metabolic-paradigm-shift-fat-carbs-human-body-metabolism/#axzz1wBxJskQY

If it helps to visualize what is going on, here is a model of cell bioenergetics...

what-does-

This might also be helpful...

what-does-

The energy used is not only determined by diet (i.e. "low-carb" vs "moderate/high carb") but by the type of activity one engages in (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070618124541.htm) as this places varying demands on the body's energy systems.

I think that the "fat adapted" vs "sugar burner" analogy is reductive and simplistic. The actual process is much more complex and subject to a high level of individual variation. However, the SAID principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAID_principle) does come to mind and by changing the "demand" (by eating more or less carbohydrates for example) you will stimulate a physiological adaptation that seeks to adjust in order to maintain homeostasis.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:13 PM

You can't access stored body fat eating 600 calories a day? LOL that's absurd. you're brainwashed dude.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Thank you FED. So, if I can go to sleep and not eat anything for 8-12 hours I am fat adapted? That is several hours in my book. OR does it have to be during the day time?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:17 PM

You said you can't access stored body fat eating above 150g carbs per day, which equals 600 calories.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on May 28, 2012
at 07:04 PM

Because poor FED offered the usual bro-science bandied about here doesn't invalidate the concept. Keto-adaptation is described by Volek in his books and studies. Look there for its complex and scientific description, OP.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:09 PM

This is a strange comment thread, I can't tell who's insulting or agreeing with who. But Foreveryoung, you have that backwards; aerobic is more fat burning and anaerobic is more sugar burning

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:03 PM

It sounds like if you're a sugar burner you can't also be a part of the fat burner club.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:08 PM

as in a teeter totter and not a switch.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:22 PM

Isn't that just showing the difference between aerobic activity and anaerobic activity? From what I gather (not a scientist, by any stretch of imagination), it's showing anaerobic activity is "fat burning" and aerobic is "sugar burning." It's just showing where the cell gets fuel from anaerobic vs aerobic work.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:21 PM

It seems like Sisson argues this, but he argues that the recommendations to do endless cardio is stupid. It doesn't make sense though because cardio is predominantly fat burning, so why would he argue that the mode of exercise that uses fat for fuel is counterproductive?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:56 PM

If I eat over 150g of carbs per day I am not fat adapted meaning I can't access stored body fat and can't burn any of the fat I eat either?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:19 PM

I just realized that. My mistake I'm sorry.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:07 PM

So it's like a teeter totter! Right? I think I vaguely understand this now. Your patience is indefatigable- thank you for hanging in there till I got it.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:23 PM

And I wasn't insulting you. I just don't get how someone presumably as smart as yourself can actually believe you can't access stored body fat at 600 cals. It was half compliment I guess.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:17 PM

Dude, are you even reading what I'm writing?

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:27 PM

The aerobic system regenerates the anaerobic system. For example, after running an all out sprint, you'll notice that you start breathing hard afterwards. For this reason, high-intensity advocates say that you can "get your cardio" without doing "cardiovascular exercise" like running. This is the whole idea behind HIT and the Body by Science approach.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:15 PM

I'm not sure if I was just insulted or supported :/

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:52 PM

So, yes, you can emphasize fat burning or sugar burning depending on what kind of activity you engage in. On top of all of this, by playing with the macronutrients you consume, you can further emphasize one pathway or another.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Exactly! A teeter-totter is a good analogy :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:25 PM

I would like to think that I am still burning fat when I eat in excess of 250grams of carbs some days of the week.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:20 PM

aerobic (fat burning) vs anaerobic (sugar burning)?

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Lol, right on man.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:02 PM

He also says that glucose is not the preferred fuel of muscles. He doesn't site a single source for this claim, or any of the claims for that matter. Plus, this is a biased source. The guy makes a living profiting of the low carb/primal lifestyle. Could you provide an unbiased source of what fat adapted is? If you can't, the term could just be a marketing gimmick so fat-burners can feel part of an exclusive club.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Dude, read what I wrote..."I wouldn't say that you "can't access stored bodyfat" on more than 150 gms of carbs a day"

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:33 PM

The bottom line is, you are always working both anaerobically and aerobically. Like I said before, it is about the proportion, not a simple "on" or "off".

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:19 PM

But I'm still confused about this. Could you just turn on or off fat burning via choice of exercise?

5447e1f37d3ffa1525dac55be36ee454

(1019)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:10 PM

@ Gurlzlovsteak. Fat is different than ketones. Ketones are made from fat, but the body runs mainly on fat, not ketones.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:02 PM

It is highly improbable that anyone is a "pure" (meaning 100%) "fat" or "sugar" burner. The brain requires a certain amount of glucose and there is no getting around that. What we are seeing though is a shift in one direction or the other in terms of fuel utilization. I wouldn't say that you "can't access stored bodyfat" on more than 150 gms of carbs a day and that you're not burning fat either. Again, it is about the proportions.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Your question was "What does 'fat adapted' mean" and I gave you the answer. "Fat adapted" is not a scientific description, it is something that is floated around in the paleosphere and Sisson is a big proponent of "fat adaptation", which is why I directed you to his post.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2012
at 08:13 PM

I agree with Jeff, what the heck is going on here? When did I say anything about 600 calories a day, 250 grams of carbs, etc? I feel like Foreveryoung thinks that I am supporting the idea of being "fat adapted" when I was simply trying to explain the popular use of the phrase.

2
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 28, 2012
at 11:03 PM

You're in luck. You can read FED's post above and you can read this very clearly written, excellent blogpost on ketoadaptation. The writers are a couple of long-term low-carb ancestral eaters who are now blogging.

Take some time to peruse the research links as well! ;)

http://www.ketotic.org/

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