Increasing carbs once fat adapted

(Diana) #21

I have long wondered the question you are asking. My goal is similar, I don’t want to increase carbs for bad foods, but purely to be able to enjoy some small amount of fruit and veggie without having to worry about weight gain. I so desire to have a bowl of fresh picked strawberries…unfortunately for me, I’m not one of the lucky ones but you may be. My husband can easily intake ~70g and still register blood ketones. From my perspective I wanted to ensure he was still using fat for energy due to the amount of fat he was eating in the day (wanted to ensure it was being burned up).

From what I’m gathering from your question, you want to know that borderline level so that you can eat more carbs but still be considered as in ketosis so that you are in fact burning fat for fuel and that you don’t get any of the nasty side effects like keto flu. I would think then the only way to find out is testing your ketone levels. Increase carbs by 5G each day until you find out that threshold bc that will be very individual.


Agree, Dr A said it all way way way back then LOL


this was me. it is a very very hard fact to accept about what it takes for each of us…I SO tried to climb the carb ladder but every time I went over around 10-12 total g on carbs I failed. I wanted more and more. It is me and I finally learned…with alot of anger believe me LOL that I wasn’t one and of course I said the ‘life is unfair’, this is BS to the max and more HA but in the end, I did for me and what I could do at all times cause my body showed me reality, I had to just accept and move forward if I wanted changes that was all about me ya know…yea it is hard on some of us for sure!

(Jack Bennett) #24

One of the books that goes into this is Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. They present therapeutic ketogenic options but their main diet is a “lower carb” approach with most grains and legumes removed. Carbs are present in the diet mainly in the form of fruit and starchy vegetables - i.e. whole and minimally processed foods. If you were going to add back some higher-carb foods their approach seems like a sensible one.

(Ian) #25

I sounds like a lottery and your mileage may vary depending on a whole host of different factors, such as genetics, insulin resistance, exercise, nature and degree of processing of the carbs etc. The only way to be sure to to test test test. A CGM helps.

From personal experience, I achieve and maintained ketosis very easily at sub 30 g total carbs. Purely out of interest I experimented with carbs to figure out my personal tolerance. It appears that I can eat up to 70-80 g carbs, including some crappy carbs (such as the Tim Horton’s wraps) and still stay in ketosis, assuming I’m starting from my typical baseline line of 1-2.0 m/moles ketone. But I cant eat at that level and stay in ketosis permanently for more than 2 days straight. To remain in ketosis at a lower level I need be less than 50-60 g and that can be any carbs, include bread, wheat etc. If the carbs are nuts, berries, calciferous veggies etc than it can be more.

Good luck with the addictive world of self experimentation!

(Sam) #26

but the problem here is once you are fat adapted… how are you really telling if you are in ketosis or not. Relying on a blood meter won’t really give you the full picture once you are completely fat adapted. I have gone a week doing OMAD, staying under 15 carbs a day, and still read 0.4 on a blood ketone meter. I can go the next week having 40-50 carbs a day and read 0.8 on the ketone meter (blood glucose is relatively the same). So once you are fat adapted … how are you really checking this information? Chasing ketones for ketones sake is obviously not the point… but… how are you measuring if you are still ‘in ketosis?’


Those are 2 things that aren’t interconnected.

Constantly checking ketones to see if you’re in ketosis or not is very much chasing ketones. Who cares? If your carbs are low enough let it go. The number on the meter doesn’t correlate to fat loss speed. If you check your numbers 10x a day you’ll get 10 different readings.

If you’re showing 0.8 after 50g of carbs you’re doing pretty good metabolically. Be happy with that!


I never even measured anything and I don’t belong to the ones who feel if they are in ketosis. I may get some hints under certain circumstances, though… But they aren’t very reliable.

I personally just suspect I am ketosis if I eat very low-carb but I don’t even care. I want to feel right, not “being in ketosis”. But if I am not there on carnivore or close to it (where I feel very good positive changes unlike just in ketosis but more carbs), I really couldn’t care less :smiley:

I would be a bit more lost at 40-50g, I was in ketosis and got fat adapted at 40g net so I suspect it’s ketosis for me… But if I did that below 20g and I felt the same there and at 40 and at 60, well, I wouldn’t know that… I just would do whatever feels best. But it’s my attitude… If someone totally wants ketosis but can’t figure it out, eat very low-carb, maybe?

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #29

If you are not eating carbohydrate and are still breathing in and out, you are in ketosis, regardless of what the meter says.

(Butter Withaspoon) #30

I find my carb tolerance by trying individual foods. If I can’t feel any difference, then that food item is probably ok occasionally.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning with a very slight feeling, like having 5% of a hangover, and remember that I had dinner at someone else’s house and it was a bit carbier, a bit more processed food. My response is to have a super healthy low carb day and that resets me.

What I avoid like the plague is treat food and sweet food. Those keto treats that look like snack food are not gonna be good for me. One piece of sweet junk food and I’ll be having the occasional treat for days after (because I REALLY felt like it!!). Starchy vegetables and fruit I seem to have a great tolerance for :woman_shrugging: I think I have a pretty high level of metabolic flexibility and can switch between fuel sources pretty well.

20g of carbs is such an excellent safe upper level for a society of metabolically unhealthy people, but it’s worth remembering that one person’s 20g limit may be the same as another persons 80g limit in the glucose challenge to the system. It would be like telling me I would be fine to drive after 1 glass of wine (because most people would be) - I would absolutely NOT be fine!

(Sam) #31

Yeah. I have had almost an opposite experience. When i used my cgm, i had fairly negative responses (higher blood sugar responses)to berries and certain vegetables (like garlic). But if i have some enlightened ice cream or quest pb cups… Almost no response and feel great. I get that bio individuality plays a role here.

(Sam) #32

Ok so i have been tracking this for about 6 weeks now. Most mornings ~11am, pre workout, my fasting ketones are 0.3-0.4 (by blood testing). It is really hard for me to get above that. Later in the day it might rise to 0.5-0.6 (as i am usually doing 14-18 hr fasts daily).

I did do a 48 hr fast a few weeks ago, and my ketone levels got up to about 1.8, and stayed elevated above 1 for an additional 24 hrs post the fast, but then dropped back down to the 0.3-0.4 range shortly thereafter.

I am still keeping my carbs between 20-30 a day.

(Bob M) #33

That mirrors my results, though my ketones are even lower.

Personally, I think that’s the body’s way of adapting over time. I BELIEVE (though do not know) that this means the body can directly access (more) FFAs (free-fatty acids), relying less on ketones for fuel. Therefore, the body does not create that high of ketones. And, I assume fasting causes higher ketones because there are probably only so much rate at which one can use FFAs. Though I think this, too, changes over time. I used to get really high ketone levels on a fast, but now, no so much.

Has anyone done research into higher carb (at least temporarily/infrequently) to change leptin? That could be one possible benefit to having at least some high carb eating.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #34

This is certainly true of muscles; I don’t know about other tissues (my understanding is that adipocytes can always metabolise fatty acids; they don’t need to adapt). Adaptative glucose-sparing (also known as “physiological insulin resistance”) is also ketone-sparing. I believe it’s one of the reasons circulating ketones drop after fat-adaptation.

(Bob M) #35

You know, I don’t know enough about FFAs. They seem to be out there, but never discussed much. I just did a search for “heart ffas as fuel” and got some interesting results.

I know Dave Feldman discusses them, but not much.

It’s also interesting because his theory is that muscular people (typically, men) would have lower LDL for reasons he outlines here:

I saw Shawn Baker post cholesterol and ketones, and, similar to myself, he has low values of both. While I’m nowhere near Shawn’s muscle mass, I was a pseudo-body builder at one time and have always had low cholesterol. I originally thought that was primary due to a Pritikin diet, but I never thought about muscle mass and lifting.

Anyway, I do think that falling ketones are part of fat adaptation, but even in my case, I had much higher ketones at one time. They’re quite low now. I was just wondering why.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #36

Fatty acids don’t circulate in the bloodstream, because they are not water-soluble. The glycerol backbone of a triglyceride is hydrophilic, however, and so triglycerides are packed into lipoproteins in such a manner as to shield the hydrophobic fatty acids from the water of the bloodstream. Since triglycerides are too bulky to pass through the walls of adipocytes, they have to be lipolysed into their components, the fatty acids and the glycerol have to then be absorbed by the fat cell, and then they are reassembled for storage. The reason insulin promotes fat accumulation is that elevated serum insulin inhibits hormone-sensitive lipase, thus preventing the triglycerides inside the adipocyte from being lipolysed and escaping. (A lot of this was worked out by Berson and Yalow after they devised their radioassay for detecting insulin.)


I am tracking ketosis with breath acetone. I read that this is a good indicator of how much fat is actually being burned, because ketones that are flowing in the bloodstream can be exogenous and not from burning fat.

I have been experimenting with different foods, checking with the acetone meter and also monitoring glucose levels with fingerpricks. I had some extreme high values on the acetone, like off the chart (99 ppm, where you should keep below 40), it freaked me out. Not diabetic, but still, ketoacidocis was right around tge corner ! But according to a/m article it was not bad at all, my glucose was low enough to be in the ‘metabolic heaven’ area… it is all so confusing for a newbie. Just trying to find my way in the keto world, but don’t want to ruin my health. I am aiming for max 30 grams of net carbs now and doing my best to meet the 119 grams fat limit. It leaves me 62 grams of proteine. The last days I have been between 15 and 25 ppm, which is considered ideal. I also feel better than when it was too high. I am still wondering how I can keep in that feelgood range without overdoing carbs. Sometimes I have difficulties reaching all the limits which has me too low on calories (Not hungry enough), this might be a theory to look at. Currently loving the experiments and looking forward to find out more so I can cruise through keto with less testing someday. :nerd_face:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #38

Lots of us here have purchased and used (at least for a while) various acetone breath meters and discussed our experiences and experiments. So welcome to the club. Of course, the manufacturers of breath meters want to convince you that measuring acetone is the ‘Holy Grail’ and lots of us would like to think it is. However, reality intrudes…

In the following discussion please refer to the diagram below.

Acetoacetate is the fundamental ketone. It’s the energy molecule. Whenever ketones are utilized they are utilized/oxidized as acetoacetate. The big problem is that acetoacetate is not stable so whatever acetoacetate is not utilized/oxidized within a very short time - minutes? - does one of two things: it either (1) spontaneously breaks down into a molecule of acetone and a molecule of CO2 or (2) spontaneously transforms into a molecule of β-hydroxybutyrate which is its stable form and which can last for hours. For this discussion we’ll address the issue of what acetone indicates about one’s ‘state of ketosis’.

First, let’s put a myth to rest. Acetone is not a good indicator how much ketones and/or fat your metabolism is burning. Look at the diagram: acetone is a product of acetoacetate breakdown not oxidation. Yes, there is a relationship between the amount of acetone and the amount of acetoacetate but it tells us nothing about how much acetoacetate is oxidized and nothing about how much fatty acids are being oxidized. Only some acetoacetate breaks down into acetone and CO2 while most converts into β-hydroxybutyrate. We have no way to measure how much of each process occurs and measuring acetone in exhaled breath tells us nothing about it. A breath meter only tells us how much acetone got exhaled. We can deduce from that how much acetoacetate disintegrated uselessly into acetone. But we can deduce nothing about how much acetoacetate was oxidized or converted into β-hydroxybutyrate.

So what can breath acetone (BRACE) tell us for sure? Not much. For example, if you blow a high ppm of BRACE does that mean you’ve got ‘high ketones’? Not necessarily. It might indicate you just exhaled a lot of useless acetoacetate waste and utilized very little. It might also indicate you’ve consumed ethanol and not necessarily just from drinking it, generated isopropanol, or consumed some other food that broke down into one or the other or both.

If you blow a low ppm of BRACE does that mean you’ve got ‘low ketones’. Not necessarily. It might indicate that most of the acetoacetate either got used fairly quickly or converted into β-hydroxybutyrate before it had time to break down.

So what I’m getting at is this. Have fun with your breathalyzer, record and graph your data, look for repeating patterns and try to match with eating, sleeping, exercise, etc. But don’t get too excited by all of it. You’re measuring a moving target and seeing momentary points that don’t really indicate all that much that matters. Things are a lot more complicated.

(Mame) #39

I finally got to read this thread! Just the kind of discussion I like :smile:

I love how everyone pointed out it really is an individual thing and I believe it is!
I want to add that we don’t stay the same over time. Our bodies are on a journey.

What I can do now with a HOMA-IR <1 for the past year is different from what I could do 3 years ago. (I don’t track my carbs or ketones anymore, but I always pay attention to what I am eating, when I am eating and how I feel after. My main goal is to eat only for physical hunger most of the time)
10+ years ago when low carb for years I could eat a spoonful of rice and I was fine, right now my body and rice hate each other.
I can eat gluten until the cows come home (seitan) with no ill effects.
I used to fast for days and felt great. Now if I go over 20 or so hours I feel ■■■■■■ so I eat.
I can eat part of a grain free brownie sweetened with honey and I am fine the next day.
The volume of food I need is so small I emphasize nutrient dense foods that I like most days.

But sometimes I eat 12 fries with my fish and I am fine the next day. Does my habit brain want to keep eating fries daily? yeah but that’s ok. my reasoning brain does not.

I don’t assume things will stay the same over time in my body. I am getting older, my hormones will be changing, my stress levels change… I just pivot and experiment as needed and do my best to be my own best friend.

For me it’s about a transformed relationship with food mentally. If I want to try something I put on my virtual lab coat and go for it!

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #40

This is interesting. A study of continuous acetone, β-hydroxybutyrate and glucose monitoring in 30 T1D patients and 5 healthy controls. What I found interesting is the correlation between acetone and β-hydroxybutyrate levels in the healthy controls. Note: I was unable to link directly to the study because it’s posted in a download directory that automagically downloads the file without option to view only. So I copied it to one of my servers.

@ctviggen You may be interested in looking at some of the numbers in this study.
@PaulL for your attention.