I interviewed Amy Berger of http://www.tuitnutrition.com/ about fat metabolism, fat adaption and ketosis for my podcast THE WHOLE ATHLETE on ITunes.
What is your background and what do you do for living? I am a nutritionist so I do see clients all over the place via phone and skype including overseas.
What is fat adapted and what is keto-adapted? In my opinion keto-adaptation is just a degree of fat adaptation. It is just like fat adaptation, it is just a further deeper level of running your body on fat except you knows keto-adapted just means you are probably in more keto-genic state then just running on fats.
So, how fat metabolism work? So the fat adapted is when your whole body makes a whole self-shift away from running primarily on glucose to running primarily on fats and ketones and you are still running on some glucose and I understand the beauty of ketosis but the body still does use glucose now it doesn’t mean that you do eat carbohydrates but there are processes in the body and even specific cells in the body that literally can’t run on ketones and fats only.
However, you are primarily running on fats and ketones with a little bit of glucose coming in. It is general rule that the lower the insulin the lower the carbohydrate intake, the lower the blood glucose but not always but then the higher the ketones and more the ketones will fuel the brain and more the muscles will be fueled on fats.
What are ketones and what is ketones vs ketoacidosis? Ketones are a totally natural normal by-product of the breakdown of fats, so when you are eating little amount of carbohydrates, when your insulin level is very low, your body has no choice but to use fuel other than carbohydrates, so it uses fat and when the amount of fats that you are breaking down is sort of overwhelms the body ability to use it. Ketoacidosis have been sometimes in type 1 diabetic because type one produce little to no insulin and when you have little to no insulin there is no feedback mechanism stopping these ketones from building up to very high levels and problem with the very high level of ketones is that these ketone molecules are acidic so if this is way too many in the blood then the whole blood becomes acidic and that is actually life threatening very dangerous situation.
What you suggest for your clients who needs to be in ketosis and who does not? Not everybody does need to use ketosis 24/7 and I just suggest low carb but who doesn’t have any option then I may suggest them ketosis. The people that are conscious about their weight they may not need to use extra fats. Your calorie becomes out of control when you use nuts and cheese, these are two things which are notorious for people.
What about fasting? Depending upon individuals, for someone it is helpful and for someone it is dangerous but usually it is stressful for someone because you try to keep away from food that may have calories or proteins that you need.
What about the hormones Insulin and Glucagon? Insulin is a huge player but when the liver itself becomes insulin resistant there is nothing to stop out poring of glucagon. People with extremely high blood glucose sometimes actually secrete too much glucagon because glucagon is just rising. If lot of body is insulin resistant the liver specifically there is nothing to counterbalance the glucagon. So whether the blood sugar is high or low the glucagon is constantly pouring out more glucose from the liver. Glucagon is what that keeps your blood sugar level safe. Glucagon and insulin are both opposite to each other, if one is high one is low and vice versa.
What is the difference of being a fat burner or being “fat adapted” to being “keto-adapted”? We know we can train our body to burn primarily fat for fuel or we can be extremely low-carb and burn ketones for our main fuel. We have more of an understanding that we do not want to burn only carbohydrates or glucose- as we want to avoid being on the blood sugar roller coaster in order to avoid the spikes in our fat storing hormone insulin.
How we are do we use fat for fuel versus ketosis? Fat and ketone burning go together. Getting fat adapted means we can also burn ketones well when carb intake is especially low
How we can be burning fat even if not in ketosis. Two different systems. We always are burning a mixture of fuels. So we can burn mostly fat and all glucose from our last meal like a salad, even if we are not in full blown ketosis. The breakdown of fat for fuel vs. sugar/glucose for energy processed depends on the person’s diet and fitness practices. Becoming fat adapted means burning more % fat at all intensities. We can handle carb ingestion provided it is not excessive. We don’t need to be in the extreme state of ketosis unless you have cancer, neurological disorders and metabolic damage from obesity. Becoming good, or efficient, at burning fat is a function of moderating dietary insulin production so fat is accessible for energy use. Exercise can help fine-tune fat adaption with sensible training. The byproducts of breaking down fat for fuel instead of glucose – and when in ketosis the byproducts are: less inflammation, better use of mitochondria for energy production means less free radical production, more regulated energy level and appetite. We can go all day burning fat but with sugar you are on roller coaster- you are burning sugar.