10 Signs You’re Becoming Fat Adapted

In this video, Dr. Ekberg discusses the concept of fat adaptation and provides ten signs to determine if someone is truly fat adapted. Fat adaptation refers to the body’s ability to burn fat for fuel when it is predominantly available. It is associated with metabolic flexibility, where the body can switch between burning carbs, fat, or protein as needed. Dr. Ekberg explains that many people have become dependent on carbohydrates for energy and have lost their ability to efficiently burn fat. The signs of fat adaptation include reduced hunger, fewer cravings for carbs, less need for snacks, no ravenous hunger, the ability to skip meals without discomfort, fat cravings, not spilling ketones in urine, stable mood, improved energy, and mental clarity. Dr. Ekberg also mentions that taste buds can change, and foods that used to be sweet may become nauseatingly sweet. The length of time it takes to become fat adapted depends on individual insulin resistance levels and how long someone has been carb dependent.

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How does this happen?

Key Insights:

  • Fat adaptation means that your body has the ability to burn fat when mostly fat is available.
  • The body becomes fat adapted by upregulating cellular machinery, receptors, enzymes, and mitochondria involved in fat metabolism.
  • Fat adaptation is necessary because we have trained our bodies to be dependent on carbohydrates as the primary fuel source.
  • Ketosis is a byproduct of fat burning, but it is not the same as being fat adapted.
  • Being insulin resistant can hinder the process of becoming fat-adapted.
  • The time it takes to become fat adapted varies depending on individual factors such as insulin resistance and previous carb dependency, but it can take two to six weeks.
  • Once you become fat adapted, you can easily transition back to fat adaptation after a period of carb loading.
  • Signs of being fat adapted include less hunger, reduced carb cravings, no need for snacks, no ravenous hunger, and the ability to skip meals without feeling hungry.
  • Other signs include fat cravings, the ability to maintain stable energy levels, improved mental clarity, and taste bud changes.
  • Not everyone will experience all the signs of being fat adapted, especially in cases of underlying health issues or sensitivities.
  • Your taste buds can change, and things that used to taste sweet may become nauseatingly sweet.


Hello health champions! How do you know if you’re truly fat adapted? Well, if you’re still having cravings, ravenous hunger, and sugar cravings, then you’re probably not fat adapted yet. So, today we’re going to talk about what fat adaptation is. I’m going to give you ten signs to tell if you’re getting into true fat adaptation.

So, what is fat adaptation? Fat adaptation simply means that your body has the ability to burn fat when mostly fat is available. Another way of looking at that is called metabolic flexibility. So, if mostly carbs, or mostly fat, or mostly protein, or a mix of all of those are available, then the body does just fine. It has the metabolic machinery to switch from one to the other on very short notice. That’s metabolic flexibility.

The only reason that this is even an issue is that we have trained our body away from being fat adaptive. We’ve trained the body away from metabolic flexibility by having a couple of generations of people who have had virtually nothing but carbohydrate. And carbohydrate is a fuel that raises blood sugar, which is dangerous to the brain. That’s why an excess leads to diabetes and neurological problems and so forth.

So, the body has to dispose of the carbohydrates first. And if we eat frequent carbohydrates, then the body never really gets to anything but the carbohydrates. They become the priority, and the body becomes dependent. So, that is the reason that if you’re carb-dependent, you’ve shifted all your metabolic machinery over to carbohydrates.

So now, when the carbohydrates disappear when you go on a low-carb diet, your body says, „I’ve got no food, I don’t recognize where my regular food is, I’m starving.“ Even though all that fat is available, both in the diet if you eat a high-fat diet and on the body, your body doesn’t have access to it because it has to retrain and become fat adapted.

And what that means is it has to upregulate all the cellular machinery, all the receptors, and the enzymes and the mitochondria involved in fat metabolism. And that takes a while. It can take a couple of weeks if it has been totally, basically shut down.

Ketosis is something that’s measured together with fat adaptation because ketones are a byproduct of fat burning. So, if you’re in fat burning, you’re making ketones, you’re in ketosis. But they’re not really the same thing because you can have some ketosis without being fat adapted.

Every night when you’re sleeping and every morning when you wake up, you have some ketones, even if you have a carb-dependent metabolism. During the night, you go eight to ten hours without food, and your body shifts a little bit. But then, if you’re carb-adapted, you go straight up and you have toast and orange juice and cereal and oatmeal, and you fill up the glycogen stores, and the body forgets all about burning fat. So, you never get into being fat adapted.

So, even though you can have a little bit of ketosis from time to time, it doesn’t make you fat adapted. So, we need to understand that difference. And I heard some people talk about this, I wanted to make a comment about diuresis. They said that diuresis is a sign of being fat-burning, and it’s not. It’s even less so than the ketosis because diuresis is when you lose fluids that have been bound up in the body. And the reason is that glycogen, which you can store carbohydrates as glycogen, you store about 1,500 grams, about three to four pounds. And that binds about three to four times its weight in water. It’s like a sponge, it holds water to it.

So, when you burn through the glycogen stores, that water has nothing to hold on to, and you flush it straight out. So, the first five, six, seven pounds that you lose on a low-carb diet is water, and that’s normal and that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean you’re burning fat or that you’re fat adapted. It just means you’re reducing your glycogen stores, which is a good thing on the way to becoming fat adapted.

Another thing I heard was that you’re fat adapted when you burn through all the glucose that’s lingering. That it can take a couple of weeks to become fat adapted because glucose is lingering. And that’s just not how it works because your body makes glucose all the time, even when you’re completely fasting. Your body makes glucose because you still, even in a ketosis, even in a fasting state, you still are going to maintain a blood glucose in the 70, 75, 80 range. So glucose does not linger. You burn through the stores pretty quickly, and then your body makes it as needed. It has really nothing to do with whether you’re fat adapted or not.

So, how long does it take to become fat adapted, to where your body is metabolically flexible again? Well, it depends primarily on two things. It depends on how insulin resistant you are. The more insulin resistant you are, the higher your fasting insulin. The tougher it’s going to be for you to be fat adapted because that high insulin level locks the fat away. So, even though you’re eating the fat, you’re kind of burning it, but your body can’t see the burned body fat. So, you’re not truly fat adapted because you’re still going to get hungry because you’re depending on dietary fuel because of that high insulin level.

The other factor is how long have you been insulin resistant and how long have you been carb dependent? If it’s been going for a decade or two, then you can probably count on two to six weeks for your body to completely shift, its machinery. And that’s if you’re very consistent. Do you have to be patient? Here’s the good news though. If you are consistent with it, if you truly become fat adapted, then you don’t have to do it over and over and over. It gets easier and easier.

So here are the 10 signs that you are getting fat adapted:

1. Less hunger – you eat your meals and you’re not super hungry between meals, you don’t need snacks, etc. Overall, less hunger.
2. Less carb cravings – you don’t feel a need for carbs when you’re eating a meal.
3. No need for snacks – you can skip snacks without a problem.
4. No ravenous hunger – your hunger becomes more controlled.
5. The ability to skip a meal – you wake up one morning and notice you want to skip a meal, you’re not hungry.
6. Fat cravings – you start to crave fatty foods because your body needs that concentrated fuel.
7. No problem going longer without food – your body is fat-adapted and has a stable source of fuel, so you can go longer without eating.
8. Ketone strips – the ketone strips show a lower number because your body is using ketones instead of spilling them out in the urine.
9. No mood swings – stable blood sugar levels result in stable moods.
10. Mental clarity – ketones provide a stable and better fuel for the brain, resulting in increased mental clarity.

It’s important to understand that while most people will experience most of these signs, not everyone will experience all of them. This is especially true for the last two signs, energy, and mental clarity. These may be influenced by other factors such as sensitivities, autoimmune conditions, inflammation, and hypothyroidism. If you’re not experiencing all ten signs, it’s best to seek help from someone who can assist in addressing the underlying issues.

Additionally, a bonus sign of fat adaptation is that your taste buds will change. Foods that used to taste sweet may now taste nauseatingly sweet, indicating a shift in preferences can occur. You can learn to like healthier foods by changing your taste buds.

Remember, consistency is key, and with time and patience, becoming fat adapted and achieving metabolic flexibility is possible.