SMM said:The adaptation period is sometimes not considered by people not aware of nuances. And some people don't take the time or like to read, like irjO said, so definitely sharing this!
One of the goals of the keto diet is being "keto adapted". This means that your body is primed for functioning with very little glucose. Different enzymes are involved for breaking down fat than breaking down glucose. When you first enter ketosis, you are using fat for energy, but at first it's in limited amounts because you don't have as many fat-converting enzymes. These get built up over time. This is what causes the tiredness at the beginning of the diet. Once the enzymes are in place, your cells change the way they get energy. It's really amazing all the changes that have to happen internally for keto-adaptation to happen. It's like you can't just put diesel into a regular car engine and expect everything to work smoothly.
Once you are keto-adapted (which can take a few weeks to a month depending on the person), fat/ketones becomes the preferred fuel. Hormone levels are changed, glycogen (glucose stored in muscles and liver) is lowered, you carry less excess water. You're able to function well - lots of energy, you can exercise, lift, build up endurance etc.
When you're keto adapted and get an "overdose" of carbs (more than your body needs at the time) different things happen. First, glycogen gets replenished, which causes water retention. Secondly, insulin rises, which can affect other hormone levels as well. While your body processes the carbs, you are not burning ketones. Once the glucose is dealt with, you will go back into ketosis. When you're keto adapted, this doesn't take long because you already have the enzymes and are "primed" to use fat for energy.
As noted above, the difficult part of keto-adaptation is the first stage. There are two reasons. The first is that glucose is less available, but fat and ketone metabolism haven't effectively taken over. The best strategy for coping with this is to eat a lot of fat. Even if you eventually wish to get most of your fat from your fat stores, you do not normally need to restrict it in the diet, and especially not now. Fat is an important source of essential fatty acids and nutrients. Moreover, ingesting fat with protein helps to moderate the insulin response. A keto diet is not a high protein diet, it is a high fat diet. Do not fear it. Eat plenty of fat during keto-adaptation to ensure you have energy available.
The second difficulty is a result of the sodium excretion and transient rapid water loss we mentioned. If care is not taken to replenish sodium and water, both sodium and potassium are sometimes lost too rapidly. This can cause tiredness, weakness, and headaches. Be sure to get enough sodium: about 5 grams per day, or 2 teaspoons of table salt, will help prevent these symptoms.
Adequate potassium may be necessary to preserve lean mass , and magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle cramps, as well as fatigue and dizziness. Both of these minerals are abundant in meat, but are easily lost though cooking: into the water, if the meat was boiled, or the drippings otherwise. In addition to taking care to preserve the liquid from meat, acute effects can be cut short through supplementing potassium and magnesium by capsule. We recommend regularly drinking broth.
Finally, keep your dietary carbohydrates low. The worst scenario is to eat some every few days -- you will set yourself back, and be in perpetual limbo. Now is not the time to experiment with your carbohydrate tolerance, or eat foods you aren't sure about the content of. Commit to a very low level of carbohydrate intake, and stay with it consistently for at least long enough to get ketone production in full force.
Fluffy said:Thanks for all these links Laura, I'm nine hours into my first day and surprisingly I am still alive :P
I know it gets harder, I lasted 8 days last time, but I'm willing to push on this time, you're so right when you say we ALL should be living off ketones, it just makes so much sense.