What are the stages of a Ketogenic Lifestyle?
There are three distinct phases that occur with when a well formulated ketogenic diet is implemented.
- Endogenous Ketone Production
The first phase is when you start showing elevated ketones in your bloodstream. This usually starts after 1-2 days of carbohydrate restriction (20g or less total carbs). In this phase, you may still struggle to have enough energy. Making sure you get electrolytes (salt, potassium and water) and adding extra fat (like fat bombs) can be helpful to fuel the body until your body can better utilize your own fat for fuel.
- Becoming Fat Adapted
This can take about 4-6 weeks (or even more for some people). This phase is where the body starts to utilize body fat for fuel. This is called Lipolysis. Stored body fat (adipose tissue) is triglycerides. Each triglyceride molecule is three free fatty acid (FFA) molecules connected with one glycerol molecule. It taps stored body fat to generate FFA to fuel muscle and other lean tissues as well as some glycerol (that it turns to glucose) to fuel parts of the brain that still need glucose. At this point you want to ditch the extra fat (fat bombs, etc.) so your body uses more body fat for fuel (fat loss and shrink fat cell size).
- Fully Keto Adapted
Now you become a metabolic powerhouse. It can take anywhere from a month or two months to a few months (up to 6 or more in some cases). This is where there are some real changes at the cellular level. Mitochondria become more efficient, you can use FFA much better for fuel and much more. Insulin resistance is being reversed. Adipose tissue and fat cell size is reduced. This is where you really start feeling like a super hero with loads of energy, healing your body and other great benefits (moods, focus, memory, etc.).
With these stages, it becomes clear that in the first phase, you do need to add extra fat to the diet for fuel until the body adapts and can make it from your own fat cells. But once your body gets Fat Adapted, you can now use dietary fat or body fat equally. Using body fat for fuel (lipolysis) is what you want for weight loss (fat loss). So, you don’t want to add lots of dietary fats if feel weight loss and healing is the goal or it will use those for fuel instead of body fat