Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Jul

What Does It Mean to Be Fat-Adapted?

When describing someone that has successfully made the transition to the Primal way of eating I often refer to them as “fat-adapted” or as “fat-burning beasts”. But what exactly does it mean to be “fat-adapted”? How can you tell if you’re fat-adapted or still a “sugar-burner”? I get these and related questions fairly often, so I thought I’d take the time today to attempt to provide some definitions and bring some clarification to all of this. I’ll try to keep today’s post short and sweet, and not too complicated. Hopefully, med students and well-meaning but inquisitive lay family members alike will be able to take something from it.

As I’ve mentioned before, fat-adaptation is the normal, preferred metabolic state of the human animal. It’s nothing special; it’s just how we’re meant to be. That’s actually why we have all this fat on our bodies – turns out it’s a pretty reliable source of energy! To understand what it means to be normal, it’s useful examine what it means to be abnormal. And by that I mean, to understand what being a sugar-dependent person feels like.

A sugar-burner can’t effectively access stored fat for energy. What that means is an inability for skeletal muscle to oxidize fat. Ha, not so bad, right? I mean, you could always just burn glucose for energy. Yeah, as long as you’re walking around with an IV-glucose drip hooked up to your veins. What happens when a sugar-burner goes two, three, four hours without food, or – dare I say it – skips a whole entire meal (without that mythical IV sugar drip)? They get ravenously hungry. Heck, a sugar-burner’s adipose tissue even releases a bunch of fatty acids 4-6 hours after eating and during fasting, because as far as it’s concerned, your muscles should be able to oxidize them (PDF). After all, we evolved to rely on beta oxidation of fat for the bulk of our energy needs. But they can’t, so they don’t, and once the blood sugar is all used up (which happens really quickly), hunger sets in, and the hand reaches for yet another bag of chips.

A sugar-burner can’t even effectively access dietary fat for energy. As a result, more dietary fat is stored than burned. Unfortunately for them, they’re likely to end up gaining lots of body fat. As we know, a low ratio of fat to carbohydrate oxidation is a strong predictor of future weight gain.

A sugar-burner depends on a perpetually-fleeting source of energy. Glucose is nice to burn when you need it, but you can’t really store very much of it on your person (unless you count snacks in pockets, or chipmunkesque cheek-stuffing). Even a 160 pound person who’s visibly lean at 12% body fat still has 19.2 pounds of animal fat on hand for oxidation, while our ability to store glucose as muscle and liver glycogen are limited to about 500 grams (depending on the size of the liver and amount of muscle you’re sporting). You require an exogenous source, and, if you’re unable to effectively beta oxidize fat (as sugar-burners often are), you’d better have some candy on hand.

A sugar-burner will burn through glycogen fairly quickly during exercise. Depending on the nature of the physical activity, glycogen burning could be perfectly desirable and expected, but it’s precious, valuable stuff. If you’re able to power your efforts with fat for as long as possible, that gives you more glycogen – more rocket fuel for later, intenser efforts (like climbing a hill or grabbing that fourth quarter offensive rebound or running from a predator). Sugar-burners waste their glycogen on efforts that fat should be able to power.

Being fat-adapted, then, looks and feels a little bit like the opposite of all that:

A fat-burning beast can effectively burn stored fat for energy throughout the day. If you can handle missing meals and are able to go hours without getting ravenous and cranky (or craving carbs), you’re likely fat-adapted.

A fat-burning beast is able to effectively oxidize dietary fat for energy. If you’re adapted, your post-prandial fat oxidation will be increased, and less dietary fat will be stored in adipose tissue.

A fat-burning beast has plenty of accessible energy on hand, even if he or she is lean. If you’re adapted, the genes associated with lipid metabolism will be upregulated in your skeletal muscles. You will essentially reprogram your body.

A fat-burning beast can rely more on fat for energy during exercise, sparing glycogen for when he or she really needs it. As I’ve discussed before, being able to mobilize and oxidize stored fat during exercise can reduce an athlete’s reliance on glycogen. This is the classic “train low, race high” phenomenon, and it can improve performance, save the glycogen for the truly intense segments of a session, and burn more body fat. If you can handle exercising without having to carb-load, you’re probably fat-adapted. If you can workout effectively in a fasted state, you’re definitely fat-adapted.

Furthermore, a fat-burning beast will be able to burn glucose when necessary and/or available, whereas the opposite cannot be said for a sugar-burner. Ultimately, fat-adaption means metabolic flexibility. It means that a fat-burning beast will be able to handle some carbs along with some fat. A fat-burning beast will be able to empty glycogen stores through intense exercise, refill those stores, burn whatever dietary fat isn’t stored, and then easily access and oxidize the fat that is stored when it’s needed. It’s not that the fat-burning beast can’t burn glucose – because glucose is toxic in the blood, we’ll always preferentially burn it, store it, or otherwise “handle” it – it’s that he doesn’t depend on it. I’d even suggest that true fat-adaptation will allow someone to eat a higher carb meal or day without derailing the train. Once the fat-burning machinery has been established and programmed, you should be able to effortlessly switch between fuel sources as needed.

There’s really no “fat-adaptation home test kit.” I suppose you could test your respiratory quotient, which is the ratio of carbon dioxide you produce to oxygen you consume. An RQ of 1+ indicates full glucose-burning; an RQ of 0.7 indicates full fat-burning. Somewhere around 0.8 would probably mean you’re fairly well fat-adapted, while something closer to 1 probably means you’re closer to a sugar-burner. The obese have higher RQs. Diabetics have higher RQs. Nighttime eaters have higher RQs (and lower lipid oxidation). What do these groups all have in common? Lower satiety, insistent hunger, impaired beta-oxidation of fat, increased carb cravings and intake – all hallmarks of the sugar-burner.

It’d be great if you could monitor the efficiency of your mitochondria, including the waste products produced by their ATP manufacturing, perhaps with a really, really powerful microscope, but you’d have to know what you were looking for. And besides, although I like to think our “cellular power plants” resemble the power plant from the Simpsons, I’m pretty sure I’d be disappointed by reality.

No, there’s no test to take, no simple thing to measure, no one number to track, no lab to order from your doctor. To find out if you’re fat-adapted, the most effective way is to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • Can you go three hours without eating? Is skipping a meal an exercise in futility and misery?
  • Do you enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day? Are midday naps pleasurable indulgences, rather than necessary staples?
  • Can you exercise without carb-loading?
  • Have the headaches and brain fuzziness passed?

Yes? Then you’re probably fat-adapted. Welcome to normal human metabolism!

A quick note about ketosis:

Fat-adaption does not necessarily mean ketosis. Ketosis is ketosis. Fat-adaption describes the ability to burn both fat directly via beta-oxidation and glucose via glycolysis, while ketosis describes the use of fat-derived ketone bodies by tissues (like parts of the brain) that normally use glucose. A ketogenic diet “tells” your body that no or very little glucose is available in the environment. The result? “Impaired” glucose tolerance and “physiological” insulin resistance, which sound like negatives but are actually necessary to spare what little glucose exists for use in the brain. On the other hand, a well-constructed, lower-carb (but not full-blown ketogenic) Primal way of eating that leads to weight loss generally improves insulin sensitivity.

That’s it for today, folks. Send along any questions or comments that you have. I’d love to hear from you guys.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’ve been going primal for about 5 days now, and I don’t think I’m fat adapted at all. I was STARVING after a meal of steak and vegetables. I have PCOS with insulin resistance. Is it possible that it might take longer for me than some to become a fat burner because of my insulin resistance?

    Emily wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Give it more time. It could take a couple of weeks or more for your body to switch over. Patience, not panic. It will happen.

      gibson girl wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • And if you’re hungry, have a snack! Nuts or fish or some avocado, something filling. I was hungry a lot at first, too. I think this is normal. Eventually, you will adjust and find what works for you.

      Janet wrote on July 4th, 2012
  2. the article is very misleading, and constructed to sell their particular diet. while i happen to agree that the paleo diet is the healthiest, but biggest point is that your body adapts to being more fate burning when you do regular cardio exercise…the more endurance, the more you rely on fat burning. if these people had graduate dgrees in exercise physiology as i do they would know that…a half truth is a lie. this is a really stupid article by stupid people written to manipulate the audience that reads it. the kind of food you eat plays little role in how fat burning you are.

    debbbie wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • That doesn’t even make sense… I don’t have a Graduate Degree (so sorry to have an opinion) but if the only fuel available were fat then wouldn’t the beautiful intelligent complex machine that is my body figure out how to burn it???

      It seems to me that how you eat would have to effect what kind of fuel you are burning.

      Thom wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • debbie-you’re being kind of rude, here. One of the things I like about MDA is the wide variety of responses you get from lots of intelligent folks from around the world. People disagree with Mark and with each other all the time, but it usually seems to be more of a debate /exchange of information rather than argumentative. If you have some insights to share, I would certainly be willing to read them, but please be a little more respectful.
      As to selling something, yes, Mark does sell stuff. Both he and the worker bees need money to live on if they’re going to spend time doing this wonderful blog. That being said, this blog is free. Anyone can come here, get the info they need to change their life and never have to shell out a penny. I don’t think you can count this as manipulation.
      Lastly, it may not matter to you what kind of food you eat, but it does for me. That’s another thing I like about this site-Mark admits up front that not everything works all the time for everyone, hence the emphasis on journaling and self experimentation. I’ve been through many diets; all had me eating “heart-healthy whole grains” in varying configurations. All failed to keep the weight off. I also had an incredibly hard time resisting cheating. Having gone cold turkey off grains when I started eating primally, I spent a truly miserable week, then my carb cravings went away. I was sick with bronchitis at the time (yeah, I know Mark said to wait until I was feeling healthy before starting the program, but here I was with an unexpected break from work; the timing was just too perfect…), so I can assure you I was NOT doing any cardio, yet I still lost weight. Can’t cardio if you can’t breathe right!
      I have, in fact, gained so much energy that I actually Want to exercise, a situation that has never obtained for me on any previous diet I tried. Obviously, since we do not have a 100% obesity rate in this country, some people tolerate carbs better than others. If that’s true for you, then fine-for you. I, however, will probably always need to stay low carb and grain free to continue getting and then remaining healthy.
      So please, think what you like, say what works for you, disagree all you want, but please, please, please-stop with the insults. Thank you.

      BJML wrote on July 4th, 2012
      • Dude, you misspelled her name. It has 3 B’s.

        Really? wrote on July 4th, 2012
        • Yeah, but I was trying to be nice.

          BJML wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I don’t pay much attention to whether someone has a PHD, or if an organization has a bunch of PHD’s on it’s staff. Probably half the doctors are spouting B.S. to their patients with chronic illnesses, and I’m convinced that the American Diabetes Asses, and The American Dietetic Asses, are pretty much that…asses.

      Paul wrote on July 5th, 2012
  3. I also have PCOS, and I think I’m getting there as far as becoming fat adapted. I actually just realized my husband and I IF without even realizing it today, 15 hours. I am really impressed with how it has helped with my high and low energy swings, because they don’t exist anymore! I know that was caused from the insulin resistance. Great post, I was actually looking for a ” checklist” for being day adapted on the website the other day. Now that I have read it I’m excited to know that I’m getting there! :-)

    Stormi wrote on July 4th, 2012
  4. Meant to say fat adapted not day adapted….

    Stormi wrote on July 4th, 2012
  5. I can concur with those having issues with ‘bread’ — my wife and I love the stuff but she is wheat/gluten intolerant so its largely omitted from our diets on that basis alone.

    Lucky we aren’t ‘meat’ intolerant :)

    Clint - Crude Fitness wrote on July 4th, 2012
  6. Is it a problem if I am too keto??

    I am definitely fat adapted (3 months primal now, and no 80% rule use as yet) and according to my FitDay tracking I am averaging about 45g of carbs per day. I have been losing 1kg per week on about 1400 calories per day, with no effort at all, IFing regularly with ease and doing fasted workouts often.

    Should I be concerned about my carb intake?

    Thom wrote on July 4th, 2012
  7. Yay, I’m a fat burning beast! :)

    doghug wrote on July 4th, 2012
  8. “chipmunkesque”

    hehehe love you Mark!

    mars wrote on July 4th, 2012
  9. I must be doing something wrong! I find have to eat every couple of hours or I’m starving. I went primal/paleo severals months ago; meat, fish, fruits, veggies, nuts, ton’s ‘o water, lost a few pounds in the beginning then stabilized. 6’1″, 175 – 180lbs, 54 yrs, walk about an hour a day, some yoga, heavy lifts, but food wise, I could eat all the time! Go without a meal? NOOOOOOOO!

    What up? Any ideas?

    Jacques wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Maybe you’re not eating enough fat to feel satiated.

      Janet wrote on July 4th, 2012
      • i second that…it is amazing how long good fat will keep u satisfied:)

        Milliann Johnson wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Maybe with your height and weight, your activity level demands that you eat more.

      Joshua wrote on July 6th, 2012
  10. I find that my status as a fat burning beast improves over time. Before this diet, I couldn’t exercise without a constant steady stream of incoming food. (So debbbie, you are so wrong you should tear up your worthless master’s degree.) I couldn’t be hungry during exercise without also losing energy. And I was always hungry during exercise.

    After I finally got over the carb flu and felt adjusted, my energy quality improved so much. I could exercise fasted and without snacking and lose no energy or strength even when feeling physically hungry. The freedom of that has been amazing.

    I still have that freedom now, 11 months since starting the diet, but now that I’m leaner and stronger, I do have to eat a lot more food once more. I don’t have to snack or carb load to keep up my energy level, and I still maintain energy even when hungry. But I do get hungry a lot more now than when I was actively losing weight, and I do have to EAT when I’m hungry.

    I wish I could get another 10lbs off me, but I continue to see improvements even without additional weight loss, so I’m happy for now.

    Diane wrote on July 4th, 2012
  11. Does anyone kn

    Merilys wrote on July 4th, 2012
  12. I wondered if something was wrong with me that I can go without eating for a day before getting hungry. The only discomfort I have from not eating is tolerating peoples reactions. Most are so adverse to this practice I no longer tell anyone when I do or don’t eat.

    Olinbreece wrote on July 4th, 2012
  13. Does anyone know what effect artificial sweeteners have on fat adaptation, if any? I’m struggling to kick my diet soda habit, and was wondering if that’s part of why I’m not as fat-adapted as I think I should be by this point.

    Merilys wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Bingo. Lose the artificial stuff. Every time I felt a craving for sweets I drank several gulps of water and eventually the cravings subsided. Magnesium helps, too.

      Janet wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Check out mercola.com and search on artificial sweeteners. They are truly problematic. Splenda (sucralose) is a kissing cousin to DDT. Lots of folks have reported multiple symptoms, one of which is leaky gut syndrome, worsened by use of these sweeteners.
      I don’t remember reading anything on how they affect fat adaptation , but there’s enough bad things to warrant giving them up anyway.
      A product you might look into is called “Just Like Sugar”: calcium, Vit. C, orange peel flavorings and ground up chicory root. Tastes like sugar, though I have no idea why with that ingredient list.

      BJML wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Why don’t you make your own soda?

      Artificial sweeteners are deadly poisons. Diet Coke is actually worst for your health than regular Coke.

      You can make your own SWEET soda without sugar. Stevia is a natural sweetener from the plant stevia (which you can buy in garden centers too). If you buy a sparkling water machine like Sodastream (I have one, it’s awesome) you can make sparkling water. Add a few drops of stevia extract (available at Whole Foods) and lemon juice, voila. You have yourself an all natural sweet soda (lemonade). Added benefit, no waste (no soda can and plastic in the trash).

      Geo wrote on July 9th, 2012
  14. ok so i tick all the boxes for being fat-adapted-lots of energy, can exercise first thing before eating at all, no cravings, etc etc-I do get hungry 3 hours after breakfast but don’t need carbs in any form-however I haven’t lost any weight after 5 months, yes I’m female and read that others have similar problem despite all the science… so i do fell healthy and admitedly really only 12-15 lbs to lose BUT what’s the deal???

    debbie wrote on July 4th, 2012
  15. fasted this morning, walked 3 miles with my dog, ate salmon, turkey and primal trail mix for lunch, hiked 3 miles, tri-tip, grilled carrots & bok choy for dinner…fat adapted FEEL AWESOME!

    mars wrote on July 4th, 2012
  16. * three hours without eating? CHECK
    * skipping a meal an exercise in futility and misery? NOT WITH ME
    * enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day? CHECK
    * midday naps pleasurable indulgences, rather than necessary staples? CHECK
    * exercise without carb-loading? CHECK
    * headaches and brain fuzziness passed? CHECK

    It is official: I am fat adapted!

    WildGrok wrote on July 4th, 2012
  17. I eat once a day. I shop for gorceries while hungry and not pick up unwanted or unneeded food.I don’t work out but I do work a very physically draining job all day without eating. I manage to keep my prediabetic glucose levels within a normal range.

    mary titus wrote on July 4th, 2012
  18. I’m into week 2 of going primal. I’ve had no problem dropping the grains – except when out and I become hungry (I’ve taken to putting a meat muffin in my handbag for thease ocassions). I’ve dropped all sugar except for a tiny amount in my morning coffee without any real dramas also. I have experienced no brain fuzziness or low energy levels yet. Next week I start my final nursing prac (high performance expected) and I’m really concerned about it hitting when I need to have my brain and energy levels working really well. I also don’t feel like eating at 4am when I get up. Do you have any advice on what I could pack in my lunch to combat this if it strikes at work?

    Catherine wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • fat…eat fat…i like coconut milk mixed with berries very filling…just smash them a bit & let them sit…chill eat…or an avocado or nuts but coconut milk & coconut oil keeps me satisfied for hours a 4am smoothie w/coconut milk & oil would keep u good for a while..:)

      Milliann Johnson wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • After 2 weeks it might not happen at all. Didn’t for me. Eat more salmon or sardines. Awesome brain food :)

      Janet wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • Catherine-I’m an RN, work twelve hour shifts and sometimes I get forced into IF purely due to work load.(Welcome to nursing!) Couple weeks ago, I got floated at three pm to another floor; hadn’t had time to lunch earlier, then got five new patients on the new floor, so never got to take a break there, either. Had breakfast at 0630, nothing but water and green tea all day, then ate my lunch at 8pm after my shift. That was about 4 weeks into eating primally. One of my afternoon patients sent my manager a very nice message about my care of them, so I must have been doing well!
      I would guess if you haven’t had the low carb blues by now, you may luck out and avoid them altogether. However, I will tell you that I am faster and much more clearheaded since starting PB. I will be aware that I am hungry and it would be nice to eat, but no longer have the cranky, fuzzy-headed, headachy kind of feeling I used to get.
      I do, however, throw some beef or turkey Nick’s Sticks in with my lunch, or some sausage sticks if I can find some without a ton of crap in them. For me, having some fat with my protein if I do snack is vital. With your practical coming up, I wouldn’t even worry about being picky-just get something fatty and high protein to get you through next week, then work on better food sources afterwards. Hard boiled eggs, sausage sticks, beef jerky and macadamia nuts are some of my go-to snacks of choice. There’s also a wonderful product called coconut manna, which is ground up whole coconut, includes the oil; a small tuppertainer with a couple tablespoons of that and some squares of 70%+ chocolate is very Mounds bar-like and is mostly straight fat with a couple grams of sugar.
      Good luck with your practicals and welcome to nursing!

      “Save one life, you’re a hero. Save a hundred lives, you’re a nurse!”

      BJML wrote on July 4th, 2012
  19. i must be fat adapted…4 most days i drink coffee with coconut milk & oil & thats it until somewhere between 3 & 5pm & i am not hungry at all. on the 4th i have smoked a turkey/ribs & fixed my family their faves candied baked beans, mac n cheese, corn salad …& brownies…never felt the urge to cheat and they all boo’d me because i forgot the garlic bread…i never even “thought of bread” thats awesome

    Milliann Johnson wrote on July 4th, 2012
  20. Sweeeeeet ;) Great article :))

    Ines Subashka wrote on July 4th, 2012
  21. Karen-
    My wife has candida and is really frustrated with the time it seems to be taking to get rid of it. Mind if I ask what your treatment for candida is? We are both eating primal, and while I feel fantastic and am burning fat like crazy, she is still feeling really crappy and is really questioning this way of eating for her body.

    Jason wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • jj wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • Hi Jason. My naturopath prescribed me a 30-day course of nystatin, which she says is as effective but kinder to our systems than the more mainstream anti-fungals. I also followed her version of the candida diet (there are many variations) for 6 weeks, which overlapped for the first 4 weeks with the nystatin. Since I was already eating primal by the time I started treatment, the only real changes I made for those 6 weeks were that I eliminated all alcohol (I’d been having red wine occasionally) and dark chocolate (out of extra caution), and I cut back on fruit.

      I hope your wife is seeing a doc who thinks about her as a whole person and takes all symptoms into account. I assume that since you say she has candida, she’s officially been diagnosed, but even still there could be other issues that are impeding her progress. In my case, I also treated adrenal fatigue and thyroid along with the candida. It’s hard now to say exactly what made things begin to turn around for me, but it’s possible the whole combination of efforts was necessary.

      I hope she beats whatever’s got her system stuck soon. I know I’m just N=1, but primal has definitely been a key aspect of my new found quality of life. Best of luck and health to you both!

      Karen wrote on July 22nd, 2012
  22. My vanilla coconut milk has 64 grams of sugar in one half gallon. Is this sugar bad for me and something I should avoid?

    David wrote on July 4th, 2012
    • There is better coconut milk out there or you can make it yourself from shredded unsweetened coconut. I do. Info on how to do this is on the web with some searching.

      Sharon wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • I use unsweetened coconut milk – not the canned stuff…much much less sugar.

      Grok's Girl wrote on July 5th, 2012
  23. If one has fatty liver, would one have to wait until that is resolved (via eating low carb primal as Chris Masterjohn points out in this link: http://chriskresser.com/chris-masterjohn-on-cholesterol-and-heart-disease-part-3#comment-22270 ) before fat-burning of adipose tissue can commence effectively?

    Here is my post which goes into detail of my current dilemmas:
    http://paleohacks.com/questions/132075/low-carb-paleo-intermittent-fasting-lipid-creation-or-clearance#axzz1ziDoIz7b

    Short story is that I’ve been eating low carb Paleo and doing IF 16/8 to 20/4 the last few mos. Although I have lost some weight and bodyfat (was 24%, now 19%) and I am far from my goal of <10%. It is hard to pinpoint what could be impeding my goal. Fatty liver comes up as my first suspect.

    Mark wrote on July 4th, 2012
  24. Thanks so much for this post, Mark! It really helped me see how far I’ve come myself, and how far my kids have come since falling into step with a fat adapted lifestyle.

    Cheers! Hope you all got to play today ;)

    yoolieboolie wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • I was curious if a fat adapted child has less meltdowns? Do they not get cranky when hungry? Notice any difference with your children?

      Sharon wrote on July 5th, 2012
      • I’ve noticed much better behavior in my kids, ages 5 and 6 since ditching grains. They now eat bacon and eggs, sausage and eggs, nuts and dried fruit or something else with protein and fat for breakfast. Most days they don’t stop going full speed until around 2pm when I have them eat lunch. No need for snacks every 2-3 hours as during their carb-heavy snacking days in daycare. Now they know when they are actually hungry and politely ask for something to eat. No crankiness. No whining. No tantrums. It’s wonderful!

        Decaf Debi wrote on July 5th, 2012
        • You should drop the sausage and bacon immediately though. These are the worst processed meat you can find and usually contain potassium nitrates which cause digestive problems and sodium nitrates which cause a variety of cancers. Most hams are also loaded with these chemicals that help preserving the meat and also keeping it pink, otherwise your ham and bacon would be gray, which is how it should look if you want to have it.

          Geo wrote on July 6th, 2012
        • I happily found out Whole Foods is selling bacon not processed with added sodium nitrate. I got some, delicious. But, it costs $9/lb, while the Oscar Mayer junk costs $4/lb. You get what you pay for I guess.

          It’s a nice treat once in a while but IMO, I’d rather spend $9/lb on buffalo ground meat.

          Geo wrote on July 9th, 2012
  25. Hey guys
    I’ve only just started the Paleo diet and it already feels good!!

    Im confident I can drop body fat as you all have but naturally being so tall I dont exactly look well (buff) so lean.

    Carbs have allowed me to build a little more muscle which was good but way too much bodyfat.

    On the paleo diet how do I build muscle?? Is it basically switching from carbs to very high protein and ensuring I eat enough / or more calories?

    Thanks

    TOCHA wrote on July 5th, 2012
  26. David,

    “Vanilla Coconut milk”- Not very primal, i would think. Look for a variety that’s not flavoured. Organic non flavoured would be best, in my opinion.

    God knows living right is difficult for me. I live in the middle east, and organic stuff costs me an eye, arm and a leg.

    Mark wrote on July 5th, 2012
  27. Just finished readin ‘The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance’ by RD, Jeff S. Volek PhD and PhD, Stephen D. Phinney MD

    Quite an interesting book although a lot of their work is still in progress.

    Clippies wrote on July 5th, 2012
  28. I’d love to see Mark publish a follow-up to this talking more about the process we should expect.

    I admit that every couple months I crave bread or baked goods. After 3 years, I think I always will.

    When I do indulge, it still tastes great. (Like nothing else out there.) I don’t feel great afterwards though. I don’t notice any progress off this cycle.

    Is this normal? Will it change if I keep at it?

    Cheryl Boswell wrote on July 5th, 2012
  29. i started the PB in january, first step was to cut sugar, replaced it with honey. now i have cut that too and find i don’t even like eating sweet things. cutting grains was difficult, but 6 months in and i am mostly grain free – if i do eat pizza or pasta etc, the next day is somewhat uncomfortable so i only do it rarely when friends want to go to the pizza shop once every few months. the biggest thing i noticed is that recently i am going to the gym for an hour, or riding 20km on a daily basis… all without having eaten anything. i have more energy, don’t get hungry or fatigued mid session and am building strength and endurance at a rate i didn’t believe possible.

    i pretty much eat meat, fish and vegetables, with a bit of fruit and nuts depending on the season. since January i have lost 12kg with little effort, but i still drink too much booze due to some personal reasons (relationship related depression – we have all been there)… if i could drop that the last 5kg around the middle would be history. another side effect of going primal has been that i do not get sick any more… seriously, everyone i know gets the flu a few times a year and even getting sneezed on by some sickly grain junkie in the street does not pass on the virus.

    this site has changed my life, just gotta deal with the depression and stop drinking beer and i will be the finished fat adapted product…

    ozzie wrote on July 5th, 2012
  30. Okay, I think I am extremely fat adapted, low carb, 2 to three meals a day. So why do I look more like the guy on the left than the right? I feel good, lots of energy, but weigh too much.

    No, i am not eating candy in my sleep.

    David wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • I hear you and I’m the same. It’s funny how comments like yours get overlooked. You say that something’s not working, but I don’t see any helpful advice for you. Just everyone else patting themselves on the back. Don’t we all want success? It’s easy for others to think people who are overweight are just weak, or that they tell lies about their self-control or discipline. But what if they try just as hard and still nothing changes?

      fiona wrote on July 6th, 2012
  31. I’ve been following this faithfully for almost a year… It has changed my life! I’ve lost about 100 pounds and have about 20 still to go. People always ask me how I’ve done it (if they recognize me at all!) and I first U replied “I gave up wheat and sugar” which sounds like a sacrifice which it’s not. I now say “I cut out the foods that were killing me” and imagine myself as a proactive swashbuckling pirate protecting myself. Puts a smile on my face… thanks Mark!

    Annette wrote on July 5th, 2012
  32. I’ve been following this faithfully for almost a year… It has changed my life! I’ve lost about 100 pounds and have about 20 still to go. People always ask me how I’ve done it (if they recognize me at all!) and I first U replied “I gave up wheat and sugar” which sounds like a sacrifice which it’s not. I now say “I cut out the foods that were killing me” and imagine myself as a proactive swashbuckling pirate protecting myself. Puts a smile on my face… thanks Mark!

    Annette wrote on July 5th, 2012
  33. correction, at first I replied… apparently my coffee hasn’t reached my fingers yet…

    Annette wrote on July 5th, 2012
  34. Do you know much about how your body works when breast feeding your child?

    rose wrote on July 5th, 2012
  35. I’m not quite sure if i’m fat adapted :s the problem is, I started eating Primal a while, and I lost a lot of weight. But here’s the catch, i’m only 18, and to begin with, I wasnt that heavy. Now I’m pretty skinny and my mom keeps telling me that I’m underfed.

    What I’d like to know is, is it normal to lose noticable weight when you go primal, even if you werent THAT heavy to begin with?

    Now, because of a lack of support within the family (they understandably think that eating primal is rather expensive, which it is) I have found myself reverting back to my old ways. I dont eat bread a lot, only about a couple of sandwhiches a day, and i make sure those are loaded with protien and fat (100% natural peanut butter, and “heart healthy” margarine)and my job requires a lot of physical labor (landscaping).

    what can I do to make sure that I dont get too skinny, and is it alright that I eat some carbs?

    Problem? wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • Get rid of the margarine and stick to good quality butter. Try increasing carb intake from vegetables such as sweet potato – with your activity level you can probably even get away with potatoes, pumpkin and carrots as well.

      Roanne wrote on July 5th, 2012
  36. Good timing as I’ve been wondering how I can tell when I’ve become a fat burner. Fortunately, I meet all the criteria above. I still can’t shake the feeling that it doesn’t seem “painful” enough. I eat very well (and don’t need to starve myself…shocking!!!). I train hard but don’t kill myself as I did before. I am only hungry when I truly should be and can exercise at a high intensity without needing to fuel beforehand AND I’m not starving afterwards. As a side effect, I’m leaner than I’ve ever been in my life. Seems too damn easy, thanks Mark!!!

    Katerina Styers wrote on July 5th, 2012
  37. This article fails to address the most obvious topic of how to train one’s body to become able to digest fats as opposed to sugars. I already know I’m a sugar burner, but how do I become a fat burner?

    Jeff Phillips wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • Stop eating sugar. Stop eating grains that your body converts into sugar. Lift heavy things and move slowly often.

      I don’t mean to make it sound so simple, but it really isn’t very complicated. If you are new here and haven’t read much of the site yet, spend some time under the “Start Here” tab. Thats where I started and I didn’t even read all of that info in order. I read the things that jumped out at me first, because those topics answered my most burning questions. Do the same and I’m sure you’ll find the answers you need/want.

      Good luck!

      Decaf Debi wrote on July 5th, 2012
  38. My Dr. suggested I purchase, read and follow
    “Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution” .
    Dr. Gundry is a heart surgeon, inventor of a special heart pump for surgeries and a former sugar burner.
    HIs book is a 3 Step Program of Reprogramming your
    genes and then maintaining your new genes.
    Very exciting stuff as Mark’s stuff.
    The problem with any program as it must become a lifestyle, NOT a diet.
    Dr. Gundry varies with Mark in the AMOUNT of protein eaten in any given day. Dr. Gundry prefers a lower animal protein while higher or bulk of your energy comes from plants, nuts, and minimal fruit (whole fruit) not juices.
    BOTH programs I have done.
    Both are excellent programs.
    However, if you have unknown health issues like I did, Dr. Gundry’s along with my Metabollic testing showed I have a very HIGH iron count. Hemochomatosis from my Swedish ancestors so the high eggs, beef, etc. was my enemy on the simple Palio diet.
    I ENCOURAGE anyone who may have northern climate ancestors to have their blood tested for Hemochomatosis.
    HIGH IRON is deadly for your organs and ultimately your longevity.

    Donna wrote on July 5th, 2012
  39. I discovered this informative website several weeks ago. I have what will be a ridiculous question for a website on the Primal Blueprint: how can a vegetarian follow a fat-adapting diet? I limit carbs as much as possible, other than fruit. I eat lots of nuts and seeds, veggies, Greek yogurt, cheese and soy milk. I have lost 10 lbs in the last 3 mo by limiting carbs. Any suggestions for me and other vegetarians? (I have been a vegetarian for 31 yrs and there is no possibility of me ever eating meat/seafood again.)

    Linda wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • I am a former vegetarian (15 years veggie), and although I now eat meat, I do believe the Primal Blue Print can be adapted to a vegetarian diet as long as you are willing to eat some animal proteins and fats, such as eggs and yogurt.

      Eat lots of eggs! Eat lots of good fats like coconut oil and olive oil and avocados. Ditch the grains completely. Have some raw cheese and butter and whole milk yogurt. Get rid of the soy milk and all soy. Eat lots of veggies and some fruit. Eat some nuts, but not a lot. If you won’t eat eggs, eat some beans prepared by traditional methods – but try to convince yourself that eggs are healthy and can be raised by ethical farmers in an ethical fashion and eat those instead.

      Good luck.

      Heidi wrote on July 5th, 2012
    • Try switching the soy milk for almond or coconut milk.

      Roanne wrote on July 5th, 2012
  40. I used to be fat adapted before I became pregnant. Now I really am not sure because I feel hungry a few hours after and cannot go with skipping meals. So not sure if I’m no longer fat adapted of whether it’s just my body doing strange things!

    Aloka wrote on July 5th, 2012

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