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When does the body start to prefer fat over carbs?

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  • When does the body start to prefer fat over carbs?

    I am relatively new to the Primal Blueprint, have tried it off and on for the past few months but keep falling off the band wagon. This time, however, I am determined to make the switch to Primal living permanent and non-negotiable. I do have a question for all those who are successfully living by the Primal Blueprint. How long does it take to become accustomed to low carb eating and for your body to actually start to prefer burning fat over carbs? I feel like I read somewhere that it takes a period of time but I can't remember how long this adaption period lasts. Any insight would be really appreciated.

    Thank you all!

  • #2
    For me it was about 6 weeks. Prepare for people to tell you not to follow the low carb methodology that Mark recommends.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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    • #3
      How do you know when it does? (other than weightloss)? Are there signs when you body actually begins to prefer fat over carbs?
      An avocado a day keeps the doctor away!

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      • #4
        For some people they're feeling great in as little as two weeks, but I've heard of others who tried it for several months or even a year or longer and it just never happened for them. There are a lot of factors that can effect how well you'll feel on low carb and how quickly you'll adapt to it, there isn't one universal truth for everyone. It's also worth mentioning that you don't need to go low carb to eat within a primal or paleo template, and LC isn't mandatory for weight loss like some people say. I started eating this way January 1st 2012 at a portly 215 pounds, and now I'm typing this at 180 pounds with a lot less fat and a good deal more muscle than when I started. I eat anywhere from 150-300 grams of natural carbs a day, but I also load up on healthy fats and protein from animal sources. I'm not saying you should eat how I do, but don't be afraid to experiment within the context of real foods to find what works best for you and your specific goals, and try not to get caught up in all the dogmatic nonsense that hangs off the paleo community like a tick. Just eating real foods and avoiding processed garbage and toxins is a huge step in the right direction and a solid investment in your future well-being. I know it can be tough at first, but if you stick to a plan that works for you and take the time to research and educate yourself then there's no reason that you can't achieve your goals. Hell, if I can do it then you certainly can, you just gotta stay positive and realize that even a single step forward puts you that much closer to your destination.
        Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

        In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


        I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

        SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
        CW: 180 pounds

        Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

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        • #5
          "prefer burning fat over carbs" isn't really an accurate way of looking at it. The body is "permanently" set up to burn carbs before fat, assuming you eat them both at the same time. That's because glucose can't just swim around in your bloodstream while fat gets burned off. So you never "prefer fat burning" - fat, either dietary or in your fat cells, is always secondary.

          The question you might want to ask is "How long till the body gets used to burning fat and stops assuming carbs are coming" - right? When does the carb flu end? People report a wide range of experiences. I'm not sure I ever experienced carb flu myself.

          I don't really "low carb" anymore at all, but I have not forgotten how shittity I felt having an addicton to sweet bread products, and I think just about anyone coming off of SAD ought to at least semi-low carb for a while to get adapted to fat burning. People who say otherwise have, in every single case I can think of, never been obese or over 30. Correct me if I'm wrong choco.
          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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          • #6
            @ tfarny, yes, the question you posed makes much more sense. Either way, just wondering how long until I become better adapted to the lower carb, higher fat diet. Thanks to all who have helped answer my question so far!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tfarny View Post
              "prefer burning fat over carbs" isn't really an accurate way of looking at it. The body is "permanently" set up to burn carbs before fat, assuming you eat them both at the same time. That's because glucose can't just swim around in your bloodstream while fat gets burned off. So you never "prefer fat burning" - fat, either dietary or in your fat cells, is always secondary.

              The question you might want to ask is "How long till the body gets used to burning fat and stops assuming carbs are coming" - right? When does the carb flu end? People report a wide range of experiences. I'm not sure I ever experienced carb flu myself.

              I don't really "low carb" anymore at all, but I have not forgotten how shittity I felt having an addicton to sweet bread products, and I think just about anyone coming off of SAD ought to at least semi-low carb for a while to get adapted to fat burning. People who say otherwise have, in every single case I can think of, never been obese or over 30. Correct me if I'm wrong choco.
              Well, just coming off SAD and eating a paleo-type diet will automatically lower carb intake by a large amount, unless that person is eating 8 pounds of potatoes a day. You're cutting processed sugar and grain products, which make up the vast majority of the carb content on a SAD diet.
              Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

              In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


              I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

              SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
              CW: 180 pounds

              Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

              Comment


              • #8
                For me it was when I was able to hold a conversation again and felt clear-headed and calm. I had energy for exercise and could exercise all day without feeling hungry or tired. The initial water weight went whoosh and I was able to start losing real weight. Then in the following months, I was eventually able to reach my former level of ability in the sports I enjoy most. I had to endure about 4 or 5 months of being the last one to reach the summit of a mountain when I went hiking, then I went back to being first one to the top like I always used to be. And I can do that now without needing to eat when I get to the top or anywhere along the way.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  Just focus on eating whole foods, dropping all the processed foods, and you'll see the difference probably pretty quickly. The way we feel pretty much reflects what we're putting into our bodies.
                  Motherhood: When changing from pj pants to yoga pants qualifies as 'getting dressed'.

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                  • #10
                    It was around six weeks for me but it was a progression. I felt better so I thought I had made the switch and then two weeks later I felt even better than before. The main sign for me was how hunger felt. Instead of making me weak and shaky it was suttle. If it's just not convenient now or if I need to finish what I'm doing, I can ignore it for two or three more hours without wrecking my day. I think it will depend upon how insulin resistant you are. The more resistant you are, the more you will notice and appreciate the change in being able to use your bodyfat stores. You will also see it in the mirror after a couple of months.

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                    • #11
                      I felt terrible (TERRIBLE) for three weeks, and I am not sure whether or what I was burning. No energy, crappy mood, depressed, no sleep...I was going vlc without meaning to, and I think I was running on nothing. But I wasn't having cravings or real hunger. Then I ate CW for a few days, just because I wanted to not feel bad anymore. Now I do Paleo again, which I love food-wise, and try to ease into it with more carbs. It's actually a bit of a struggle to keep them up to 100g. Anyway. I feel good with middleing energy and can sleep again. Not sure if I'm in mild ketosis or not, but do not much care either.

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                      • #12
                        To just go over the mood swings/fatigue when going from high carb-low fat to high fat-low carb it takes 2 or 3 days when i cycle the macronutrients. I have never done the VLC for long enough without a carb-up to see the full switch. The longest I went on VLC was for 14 days when initiating Anabolic Diet.
                        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                        • #13
                          For me it was in about a week. I was not very overweight though when I started (dropped 10lbs total). Works great! If your having a lot of issue lowering then you could always wean your way down rather than all at once.

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                          • #14
                            Try not snacking. Read the threads on intermittent fasting. Refined carb addiction leads to an eating addiction. You need to eat not necessarily less food, but the same amount of food in just two sittings. That's why you eat fats. They're more filling and keep you sated between meals.

                            Start by skipping breakfast, then having a large lunch, no snacking until a large dinner, then no snacking until lunch the next day. Remember, I'm not telling you to eat less food, just eat it all at two daily sittings. If you feel hunger pangs inbetween, drink some mineral water or herbal tea. If you are a coffee drinker, by all means keep drinking coffee. It's not a good idea to try to cure two addictions at the same time.

                            Your stomach will shrink and the two large meals will become more and more filling. You will be much better able to avoid the temptations of carbs.

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                            • #15
                              It took 8 weeks for my body to love this lifestyle!!!!!

                              I fought hard to eat vlc every day before that.

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