Adaptation of cells to environmental changes requires dynamic interactions between metabolic and regulatory networks, but studies typically address only one or a few layers of regulation. For nutritional shifts between two preferred carbon sources of Bacillus subtilis, we combined statistical and model-based data analyses of dynamic transcript, protein, and metabolite abundances and promoter activities. Adaptation to malate was rapid and primarily controlled posttranscriptionally compared with the slow, mainly transcriptionally controlled adaptation to glucose that entailed nearly half of the known transcription regulation network. Interactions across multiple levels of regulation were involved in adaptive changes that could also be achieved by controlling single genes. Our analysis suggests that global trade-offs and evolutionary constraints provide incentives to favor complex control programs.