How to Speed Up Keto Adaptation

I’ve touched on this in a few other posts but wanted to address it separately because it’s another one of those questions that gets asked a lot.

Before I dive in though I want to make sure we’re clear on what keto-adaptation actually means.

Keto adaptation is different to being in ketosis.

It is actually relatively simple to get into ketosis, and many people enter ketosis naturally overnight if they have not eaten many carbs the day before.

You are in ketosis when your body is producing ketones. And your body does this as soon as your liver glycogen stores are low/have run out. Your body produces ketones in order that your brain can use fatty acids for energy instead of glycogen.

For someone who is switching their diet from a standard diet to keto, it can take anywhere between 24hours – 72hours to get into ketosis.

However, just because you are producing ketones and are in ketosis does not mean you are keto adapted.

The state of keto adaptation occurs when you’re body is fully able to utilise the ketones you are producing. When you are keto adapted, this is when you become a fat burning machine because your body is able to tap into your fat reserves for energy whenever it needs to, effectively and efficiently.

Until you are keto adapted, your body is still trying to rely on glycogen for all its processes. This means you may feel like you are lacking in energy or the strength that you had before you started eating keto. This stage of the diet is when you need to hang on in there!

In order for your body to keto adapt, there are many internal changes that need to take place. Your metabolism needs to completely shift from what it has been doing for years (running on glycogen), to being able to run on fat.

This can take some time. For me, it took around 3 months. Once I was keto adapted I started feeling like I had boundless energy from dawn til’ dusk. My sleep also improved dramatically, and the weight started to come off more. For some people, it takes less time, and for others it takes longer. It all depends on how healthy and strong your body, your metabolism and your hormones are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I had 3 months of misery until I was keto adapted! After the initial keto flu which took 2-3 weeks, I gradually felt better and better over the rest of that time. But at around 3 months, I felt like I kind of popped out of the other side into a wonderful, energetic and long-lasting happy mood which pretty much stays with me all the time nowadays.

So, back to the initial question:

How Can You Speed Up this Process of Adaptation?

Well, I’m afraid to say there isn’t a magic wand or a sneaky trick that will speed this up for you. Your body will take as long as it needs to in order to keto adapt. Try to think of this as a lifestyle of health rather than a means to an end. Then the timescale doesn’t matter as much – the important thing is that you are on the right path and heading in the right direction.

If you are a woman who has adrenal fatigue or hormonal imbalances you can expect this process to take longer. And actually, if you are in this situation, you may be better off eating a few extra carbs – particularly in the evening to help you sleep. This will slow down the process of keto adaptation, but will help you to heal. And healing and health is what your main focus should be.

With that being said, I do have a few tips I can share that I’ve learned along the way. I believe these things are very important in the process of keto-adaptation:

  1. Get enough sleep.
    If there’s one thing that will inhibit your keto adaptation (other than a MacDonalds), it’s not getting enough sleep. When you are over tired your body produces more cortisol which in turn increases your blood sugar levels and inhibits ketosis.
  2. Exercise moderately.
    It’s important to move your body everyday, but at the same time, while you are adapting it’s important not to overdo it. Overly strenuous exercise will increase your cortisol levels which will inhibit ketosis. Walking, yoga, swimming and a small amount of weight lifting worked best for me.
  3. Eat lots of fats.
    In order for your body to get the message that it is to burn fats for fuel, you kind of have to flood your body with the stuff for a while! Your body needs to start understanding that despite there being a lack of carbs and therefore glycogen, you have access to plenty of lovely fats. This tells your body there’s no need to go into starvation mode or lower your metabolism. The more fats you eat, the quicker your body will learn to use them.
  4. Keep stress levels as low as possible.
    As with the above, stress increases cortisol which increases blood sugar levels – which you don’t want. Stay chilled, take lots of baths, rest up and enjoy the process.
  5. Get your bloodwork done.
    I’ll admit, I didn’t actually do this, but I know a fair few ladies who have been able to get to grips with exactly what’s going on with their bodies and what they needed to do to heal simply because they invested in getting their blood work done before starting.
  6. Measure your macros
    In the beginning at least. I actually prefer not to measure anything these days, but I know that to start with I would have had no idea how much carbs/protein/fat I was eating if I wasn’t keeping track. I used MyFitnessPal – it does the job.

Finally, I would say that the most important thing is to know exactly why you have chosen to go on the keto journey. Adapting can be a bumpy road, and so having a firm grasp on exactly what your goal is and the benefits you will reap by achieving your goal will see you through any tough times.

I hope this has been helpful! Feel free to leave a comment below.

And finally, I want to share this incredibly informative video from keto guru Jeff Volek. It’s pretty long but well worth the watch.


Framed image linking to ketogenic diet guides and plans

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  1. OMG I needed to read this! I’m on week 2 an was wondering about the time frame. I’m staaarrving all the time, but eating lots of fats and have calced my macros. I just keep telling myself to hang in there but wasn’t sure how long 🙂

  2. Thanks for this it is so helpful I’m on day 11 and struggling with low energy brain fog and nausea. I’m going to hang in there though and hope I feel better soon! 🙂

  3. So very helpful. I’m in my second month and still struggling with brain fog and weakness but I also have low adrenal function and hormone imbalance that a functional medicine Dr. is helping me with. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. I have been on a low fat very low carb low calorie diet for 3 months I have lost 40 pounds. My blood ketone level has stabilized for the past 10 days at 1.9. Before that the ketones fluctuated from 1.4 to 4.1. What do you make of this, fat adapted?

  5. Thank you so much for this! I have been in ‘ketosis’ for just over a month now, and although there have been many improvements that have kept me going (such as greatly improved skin tone and no more gurgly ‘carb tummy’) I am still suffering from a lack of energy and brain fog, and though I lost calories initially in the first couple of weeks I have stopped losing altogether now, and still feel like my tummy is ‘bloated’ (without feeling gurgling, if you understand what I mean?) and have noticed no visible reduction in other body fat. I was seriously ready to throw in the towel now that insomnia and restless legs has suddenly started with a vengeance on day 34… I was beginning to think that although I believe this way of eating is the right way maybe I just wasn’t normal and it was not going to work for me – after years of failed dieting it is easy to believe that maybe I am just never going to lose weight no matter what I do. I have been tracking macros diligently and sticking to a 75-20–5, and have not cheated at all, so I don’t think I am doing anything wrong diet-wise. Your post has given me the confidence to keep going – all of the discussions online I have read so far have people only taking a maximum of a couple of weeks to fat adapt, it is such a relief to know that I am not the only one that is taking this long to feel keto’s amazing fat-adapted benefits, especially since I find this way of eating so easy, and I seriously think I could do it forever if not for this fatigue and fog. I will soldier on!

    • Thank you Del..this is me right now (exactly!). It’s just good to know not alone as it seems from the 100s of posts I read online everyone is losing tons of weight and feeling so good right at the beginning etc.. It is now April 2018..have you seen any changes?

    • Hi there. Reads to me you need to increase your minerals perhaps? In the arvo, make an electrolyte drink with 1-2 cups water, lemon juice, pinch salt and magnesium liquid (or powder, but liquid is easier and not gritty) i also use magnesium oil quite generously on my feet every night x good luck .. its hard

  6. please everyone get a baseline b12 level..even with eating meat and dairy you can be very deficient…at the very least take b12 supplements DAILY.. I learned the hard way how it feels like a slow death despite eating healthy.. many reasons a person is deficient…even if your levels are low normal take supplements daily…