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Reintroducing Carbs After Ketosis

Running Without Carbs – A Week Trialling A Ketogenic Diet

Running Without Carbs – A Week Trialling A Ketogenic Diet

After spending some a lot of time trying to understand the role food plays in running a marathon, this post is about my attempt train for a week whilst on a ketogenic (super low carbohydrate) diet. For an explanation of what ‘ketogenic’ actually means & why I’d do this to myself it’s worth checking out my previous post “Nutrition for a marathon – what should you eat?”, but here’s a summary of the most relevant part: During moderate to high intensity exercise, carbohydrate is the body’s preferred fuel source. There’s a limit to how many calories worth of carbohydrates you can store, and so for endurance events like the marathon it can be difficult to take on enough in order to avoid running out. The other main energy source – fats – are almost inexhaustible, so making your body more efficient at using them during exercise may help delay the point at which fatigue sets in. This theory was enough to make me curious about the application and effects of low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diets. Could an approach almost completely opposite to the ‘carbo-loading’ norm actually help you run further, faster? Fatty fatty run run! The assumption behind following a carbohydrate restricted diet is that it helps the body become more effective at utilising fat as a fuel source. In short, eating yourself to metabolic flexibility. Whether this actually translates to improved endurance ability is another debate, but for now let’s just say there isn’t conclusive proof it doesn’t work, so I thought it was worth a closer look. To be clear from the outset, here’s what the week wasn’t about… I didn’t take any baseline data. I didn’t measure any effects (other than how I felt during the week). 7 days isn’t long enough to become properly fat adapted. Continue reading >>

Going Low Carb In Fight Camp? – Diet Advice For Fighters

Going Low Carb In Fight Camp? – Diet Advice For Fighters

In most minds a low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight. Fighters often need to lose a lot of weight in a brief period of time. A calorie-reduced low-carb or ketogenic diet is the most common option, with the consequence of feeling tired and moody all day. If you are a fighter, the added pressure of making weight might make you aggressively stick to the diet. This might also have negative effects on your training volume, something you don’t want when you’re preparing for a fight. Studies have proven that low-carb and low-fat diets are the most effective ones [1] when it comes to losing weight fast. Are they healthy, enjoyable and without side effects for your training and recovery? Definitely not! Drastically losing weight with a low-carb diet while increasing performance is contradictory. It’s not impossible, but let me tell you that low-carb isn’t the best option. High-carb isn’t a good option either. Let me share my experience from my previous fight camps: Preparing for fights on low-carb Preparing to defend my BAMMA title in 2015 I drastically reduced carbs. I had always done it like that. Someone warned me beforehand: “If you cut out all your carbs, your body will burn less.” Well, I was still eating a bit of fruit now and then so I wasn’t too serious about their advice. I didn’t believe another diet higher in carbs would be an option as the low-carb one was working so well for me to lose weight. I never missed weight at the 125lbs flyweight limit, so the diet was working. I looked good, I felt good and I performed well in the cage. I looked shredded! Looks-wise I was in the best shape of my life. Nevertheless, I was struggling with energy levels and my body switched into energy-saving mode during the weeks of preparation. If I wasn’t train Continue reading >>

Which Low-carb Diet Is The Best To Lose Weight? (and Yes, There Are Several)

Which Low-carb Diet Is The Best To Lose Weight? (and Yes, There Are Several)

Various low-carb diets have taken the health and fitness world by storm in the last few years. Suddenly, you can’t mention carbohydrates without a shameful hiss from every dieter in the office. Although there is some misinformation out there, low-carb diets have proven to be effective for losing weight through numerous studies and thousands of happy, successful dieters. The question is: which one is the good one? There are several low-carb diet plans that have similar principles, but are different in their approach to losing weight. Is one better than the rest? If so, how much better? Diets rely on several factors to be effective, including nutritional requirements, simplicity, and convenience. So, if you didn’t even know that there were different kinds of diets, let’s first take a closer look at the most popular low-carb diets and break them down piece by piece. What are the main low-carb diets? The three main low-carb diets out there today are the Atkins, ketogenic and Paleo diets. All three use a decreased carbohydrate intake as one of their foundational building blocks, but they do have their differences when it comes to other nutrients. The Atkins diet, as famed through their prepared meals, is one of the most popular diets on the planet (regardless of low-carb or non-low-carb). The Atkins diet works in phases. First, you cut out carbs almost completely (under 20g per day), then you slowly add them back in and fine tune the diet until you notice a change in your weight loss. This diet relies a lot on “listening to your body,” and although it does start out with extremely low carbs, these levels will increase throughout the duration of the diet. The ketogenic (or keto) diet has sparked in popularity in the recent years among health and fitness enthusiasts, Continue reading >>

How To Reintroduce Carbs Coming Off A Ketogenic Diet

How To Reintroduce Carbs Coming Off A Ketogenic Diet

Reintroducing carbs at the end of a ketogenic diet requires a structured and gradual approach to avoid adding body fat, say Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery Iron Insights Carb control Following a keto diet means you are no longer carb-adapted, so you can’t suddenly expect to be able to return eating them at your former level and not see any negative impact. Start slowly Our study shows that adding carbs back in at 1g per kilo of bodyweight doesn’t result in fat storage, and allows you to then increase intake each week while maintaining your physique. Avoid overspill We also found that reintroducing carbs at 3g per kilo led to a fat overspill within one day because your body is not well-adapted to deal with carbs after avoiding them for so long. Continue reading >>

Knowing What To Expect Can Keep You From Panicking

Knowing What To Expect Can Keep You From Panicking

If you are eating a carb-restricted diet, sooner or later, no matter how much weight you've lost or how well controlled your blood sugar has become, you are going to run into the carby treat with your name on it, and when that happens, chances are you're going to eat it. What happens next may be the single most important moment in your diet. Are you going to be taken by surprise by normal physiological changes that occur? Will you start the three month binge-from-hell that leaves you wallowing in self-hatred while you pack on all the weight you lost and more? Or will you use the experience of going off-plan to strengthen your long-term diet success? The choice is up to you. Knowing What To Expect Can Keep You From Panicking When you boost your carbs above the low carbing threshold--the specific amount varies from person to person--two things will happen. You will become hungry and you will immediately gain a startling amount of weight. The reasons for your sudden weight gain are explained here. Why Carb Intake Causes Hunger Cravings The hunger is a bit more complicated, especially since it may not kick in right after you eat the carbohydrates that send you off-plan but may take a day or two to develop--when you are eating low carb again. If you experience intense hungers immediately after you eat your first carby meal, the explanation is this: After you have been low carbing for a while, your body stops producing some of the enzymes needed to digest complex starches and sugars. It takes a day or two for these to ramp back up. But in meantime, when you eat carbohydrates your blood sugar may go up a lot higher than it normally would, even if you don't usually have blood sugar problems. This is why some researchers have reported that low carbing can actually cause insulin Continue reading >>

Is A Low-carb Diet Ruining Your Health?

Is A Low-carb Diet Ruining Your Health?

I am adding some research gathered from other posts on this site regarding Candida, as I suspect it will help people whose Candida infections are getting worse, or are not improving, while on a low carb diet. As Jeff Leach has pointed out, when people switch to very low carb diets their fermentation drops considerably — which means that there is less acid being produced as Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). Candida is a dimorphic fungus, which means that it can be either benign or pathogenic (extending hyphae). Candida is only hyphal when it gut pH is extremely acidic (somewhat rare, but can happen with gut diseases like ulcerative colitis) or too alkaline (which happens from not eating enough resistant starches and fibers). If you read through the half dozen studies in that link, you’ll see that Candida has a number of growth genes that are sensitive to pH. These hyphal growth genes switch on when gut pH is too high or too low. In other words, Candida is benign when gut pH is normal. It’s the SCFAs from our fiber and RS fermentation that keep our guts slightly acidic. And it’s no coincidence that acids like acetate or caprylic acid are well known to inactivate candida. Virtually any acid would inactivate candida and it’s the SCFAs from our own gut bugs that do a particularly good job. So, people on very low carb diets have guts that aren’t fermenting and are therefore too alkaline, which as we can see from above promotes candida overgrowth. For these people, increasing their safe starch consumption and taking RS will increase SCFA (acid) production, which helps normalize gut pH and switch off the candida growth genes — returning candida to its benign and harmless state. Simultaneously, RS and fibers tends to bloom good bacteria (which also contributes to in Continue reading >>

What Is The Best Way To Start Iifym After A Low Carb Diet?

What Is The Best Way To Start Iifym After A Low Carb Diet?

Switching from a low carb diet or keto to flexible dieting can be a bit tricky. Not due to IIFYM mind you, but due to the fact that when eating such a low carb diet, your body has been trained to perform a certain way. Once you start adding carbs back into your diet, your body might love it, or hate the change. It really depends on how long you were in depriving your body of glycogen for. If you we eating low carb or keto for a few months, your transition into flexible dieting will probably be a cake walk. All you’d have to do is slowly increase carbs over a period of 3-6 weeks until you get to your daily allotment. If you were doing keto or Atkins for a year or more, you might run into a bit of glycogen rebound (don’t research that term, I just made it up – basically just added weight from sodium, water, glycogen and fat depending on how hard you go with your carb orgy). Simplest Approach Moving Forward The best action most people can take is to ease back into a regular diet that includes all three macronutrients. Moving into it slowly, and following a structured program will help keep you focused so you don’t pig out on everything you were craving while you were eating such low carbs. Simply put, The best way to come off of a low carb diet or low-calorie diet it to reverse out of it. Before I go any further I want to be clear, that I am not talking about any of the popular reverse diets that are designed to rebuild your metabolism. I am simply talking about introducing carbs back into your diet in a slow and methodical fashion that will ensure a smooth and body fat-free transition. Let me also say that the best way to reverse out of any kind of diet is with the help of an experience nutrition coach. Click here to see our IIFYM Coaching programs. Where To Start Continue reading >>

Keto Vs Atkins Diet

Keto Vs Atkins Diet

The Keto vs Atkins debate has been raging for years with neither able to establish a clear advantage in the eyes of the public. Both have their passionate advocates and equally ardent detractors so trying to find a definitive answer to which is better can be challenging. Much of the confusion regarding which low carb diet is better centered on the fact that there is a significant amount of overlap between the two diets. But while the overlay is real there are genuine differences as well. Below we’re going to take a close look at both the similarities and the differences between the diets. First a brief overview of each. The Atkins Diet is often called the "Atkins ketosis diet", which you eat as much fat and protein as possible while avoiding foods that are high in carbs. This process has been known to work for many people along with medical proof from proven professionals. The Atkins diet has been highly popularized and it consists of 4 different phases: The Keto diet (read about it in-depth here) was developed nearly a century ago. Like the Atkins diet that came after it (and borrowed from it) this diet relies on drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and entering ketosis where the body is burning fat for energy. There are several accepted variations of the diet: The following table presents a side by side comparison of known issues with the 2 diets so you can better understand the important ways in which they differ. Possible Issue Atkins Keto Carbohydrate Levels With Atkins this changes from phase to phase, starting with drastic reductions followed by gradual re-introduction. Fixed level: Approximately 10% of average consumption. Carbohydrate Monitoring Method Net carbohydrates Total carbohydrates Protein Intake Three 4 to 6 ounce servings of protein daily. Appro Continue reading >>

Getting Off Your Low-carb Diet Without Gaining Weight

Getting Off Your Low-carb Diet Without Gaining Weight

As predicted, many people are growing tired of #low-carb diets because, like all diets, they have a low long-term success rate, offer little variety and — well, I guess people miss carbs. But the truth is that you can continue to lose weight, or maintain the weight you lost on your low-carb #diet, if you follow a few simple rules. PATIENCE You’re not going to lose weight as quickly when you go off your low-carb diet, and, in fact, you might actually gain a few pounds at first. “Don’t freak out. When you start #eating healthy carbs, you may gain some water weight, because some of the weight you originally lost was water, especially in the intro stages,” says Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City. How long do you have to give yourself to adjust? “Give it about three to four weeks,” suggests Dawn Jackson, R.D., L.D., of Northwestern Memorial Wellness Institute and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. DON’T GO WHITE One of the biggest mistakes low-carb dieters make is going back to the white stuff. It’s very easy to overindulge in empty-calorie foods, such as cookies, cakes, white bread, potatoes and pasta. “And white carbs are also convenient — too convenient! — available at every turn: in the vending machine, the open box in the pantry, as side orders in restaurants,” explains nutritionist Molly Kimball, M.S., R.D., of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. Instead, make sure your starchy carbs come from whole grains. “When you reintroduce carbs, the whole grains give you a more consistent release of energy, whereas eating foods with refined white flour or sugar may make you hungry sooner,” says Heller. Whole grains have a high fiber content, whi Continue reading >>

6 Easy Steps For Reintroducing Carbs Without Gaining Weight

6 Easy Steps For Reintroducing Carbs Without Gaining Weight

Have you tried a ketogenic diet and discovered it's not the right diet for you? Me too! Maybe, you've arrived at the Atkins pre-maintenance phase, Phase 3, and are now feeling a bit timid about returning carbs to your diet. This article will help you, too. Either way, reintroducing carbs doesn't mean you have to settle for weight regain. While you do have to be mindful, here's the 6 easy steps I used to reintroduce carbs after leaving ketosis. A traditional low-carb diet is very restrictive. Most plans require you to lower your carbohydrates to less than 50 net carbs per day. Some people enjoy eating mostly protein foods and vegetables, and some do not because along with lowering those carbohydrates, most low-carb plans don't let you eat potatoes, rice, bread, or other starchy foods -- even at higher carb levels. Many people begin missing those higher carb foods, especially if you've never adapted to burning fat for fuel or the weight isn't coming off as easily as you thought it would. While you can always adapt your low-carb meal plan to fit your preferences, most people don't know how to do that. If you used low carb as a temporary, lose-weight-quick solution, you might have discovered that body fat doesn't go away any faster than it does on other diet plans. This can be quite frustrating! The frustration increases even more if you don't have the genetics to easily burn fats for fuel, or you have health conditions that interfere with fat burning. If so, you just won't feel well eating at very low carb levels. No matter what your reasons are for leaving ketosis behind, you have probably found carbohydrate restriction to not be sustainable long term. While some people feel better eating at very low-carb levels, others do not. Regardless of what most low carbers believe, Continue reading >>

How To Eat Carbs After Low-carb Dieting

How To Eat Carbs After Low-carb Dieting

Low-carb dieting is a great way to lose weight quickly and get that super-lean conditioning that is necessary for a competition-winning physique. However, adding carbs back to the diet after a stint of low-carb dieting can cause a "yo-yo" effect if done too fast or incorrectly. Carbs can cause the body to overcompensate by storing large amounts of body fat. Follow a few simple guidelines to prevent gaining weight after low-carb dieting. Video of the Day Add carbohydrates to the diet slowly. For example, a typical low-carb diet involves eating 30 to 50g of carbs a day for five days, then carb-loading 100 to 200g for one or two days. Try adding 30g extra carbs a day for the first week, without loading carbohydrates on the sixth and seventh day of the week. Stick to low-glycemic carbs. Eating high-glycemic carbs causes a huge spike in insulin, which could quickly trigger body fat storage. Instead, eat oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain breads and pastas and fresh fruit. Avoid carb binges to prevent fast weight gain. Time your carbs to further discourage them from being stored as body fat. For example, add your carbs to a pre- or post-workout meal, when they are less likely to be used for fat storage. Or, take most of your carbs in during the day when they will be burned for energy. Avoid large amounts of carbs close to bedtime. Drop your dietary fats to keep calories stabilized. You may have added extra fats to your diet while on your low-carb regimen. When they add carbs back, the hike in calories is sufficient to cause weight gain. Do not cut your healthy fats completely--just cut down your fat intake, especially saturated fats. You can also stagger your meals by alternating between healthy fat and protein and low-glycemic carbs and protein. Continue to have one cheat meal Continue reading >>

What Is A Keto Diet? (the Ketogenic Diet 101)

What Is A Keto Diet? (the Ketogenic Diet 101)

The Ketogenic Diet (also known as Keto) has gone mainstream, leaving many people (including me!) asking: What is a Keto Diet? After all, you’re seeing ripped bodybuilders, figure competitors, and even normal men and women who just lead busy lives shed massive amounts of weight through this things called Keto. What is it? Why do it? Is it sustainable? What are the benefits? What are the downsides? These, and many more questions, I’m going to answer in this article, so if you’re asking “what is a keto diet?” you will have all the information you need to decide if a Ketogenic Diet is for you, you’ll have all the tools you need to get started. Related Reading: How I lost 23 pounds & 20 inches in 60 days of Keto What Is A Ketogenic Diet? A Ketogenic Diet, also know as the Keto Diet, is a very high fat, very low carb, moderate protein diet that is very popular because it can cause you to lose body fat very fast, and study after study after study has linked Keto with benefits against cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more. Eating Ketogenically involves cutting carbohydrate intake from 200-300g daily down to 20-50g daily and replacing those missing carbs with fat. Reducing carbohydrates this drastically puts your body in a state of Ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which you body uses fat for fuel, rather than carbohydrates. When you eat normally, when you consume more carbohydrates than you body needs to run for the next 24 hours or so, you body turns those excess carbs into fat and stores them as (unwanted) body fat. But if you cut the carbs in your diet drastically, your body enters Ketosis and starts burning that stored fat for fuel, resulting in better health and body composition for you. 4 Types of Ketogenic Diets Cutting your carbs sounds Continue reading >>

Short-term Effects Of Adding Carbs To Very Low-carb Diets

Short-term Effects Of Adding Carbs To Very Low-carb Diets

In my last post, I noted that So far, all the negative experiences [from adoption of our diet] I am aware of have come from low-carb dieters who had difficulty after adding carbs and/or cutting protein…. It’s interesting that the same dietary change – adding “safe starches” to a low-carb Paleo diet – made some people feel better and others worse. In thinking about why adding starches can cause short-term trouble for some people, my first thought was a fascinating post from two years ago by Peter Dobromylskyj of Hyperlipid. Peter noted: Bacterial endotoxin is a breakdown product of the cell wall of gram negative bacteria. It’s a lipopolysaccharide and even quite small amounts of it are extremely unpleasant…. Now the scary thing is that eating a high fat meal, probably based on any fat which generates chylomicrons, markedly increases your uptake of endotoxin from your gut, which is obviously full of gram negative bacteria. Eating short chain fatty acids or carbohydrate [1] does not have this effect. Endotoxins are fat-soluble, and so fat carries them into the body. The paper Peter cited actually found an increase in blood endotoxin levels after people were fed a high-fat meal: In humans, no significant relation was observed between cardiovascular disease risk factors, carbohydrate and protein intakes, and plasma LPS concentration. Conversely, positive correlations were observed with fat and energy intakes. [1] The same effect was found in mice: Compared with the control mice, mice fed a high-energy diet showed an increase in plasma LPS. However, in mice fed a high-carbohydrate diet, the increase in plasma LPS was blunted compared with mice fed a high-fat diet. The conclusion: Experimental data suggest that fat was more efficient in transporting bacterial L Continue reading >>

What Really Happens To Your Body When You Stop Eating Carbs

What Really Happens To Your Body When You Stop Eating Carbs

Many people think that the Atkins Diet marked the beginning of the low-carb diet craze, but that's simply not true. In 1862, an obese undertaker named William Banting, tired of experiencing hearing problems, sought the advice of an ENT named Dr. Harvey. Harvey told Banting his problem wasn't in the ears, but rather, in the fat pressing on his inner ear. He put Banting on a diet of meat, vegetables, wine and fish only — no starch or sugar (except for the wine). Banting lost weight, and his hearing problem disappeared. Over the years, many studies and many low-carb diets were tested. In most cases, subjects lost weight. That could be why, today, low-carb, high fat diets are still a thing. But are they safe? What happens to your body when you deprive it of carbs? You do lose weight Critics of the low-carb diet will say most of the weight lost is water weight. They're right. But, as former endurance athlete and Olympian Mark Sisson points out, that might not be such a bad thing. He says, "Retained water can amount to 10, 20 or more pounds depending on how large the person is." Since diets high in sodium and insulin-promoters (like refined carbs) force the body to store water inside and in between cells, the body doesn't really need it. So, when you cut out carbs, your body gets rid of it, resulting in weight loss. Keep in mind, however, that Sisson promotes the Primal Diet, one that encourages people to eat enough carbs to provide enough glucose for brain function and some anaerobic exercise. His point? Depending on how active you are, you may need to consume more carbs. A caveat here – no self-respecting nutritionist or dietitian (or former endurance athlete/nutrition guru) will tell you it's OK to eat refined carbohydrates. When these diets tell you to limit carbs, th Continue reading >>

Why Your Ketogenic Diet Isn’t Working Part One: Underfueling And Overtraining

Why Your Ketogenic Diet Isn’t Working Part One: Underfueling And Overtraining

“My training, racing, and health were all great… until I crashed.” For athletes, it’s not uncommon for the transition to a ketogenic diet from a standard high-carbohydrate diet to look something like this: Take all the carbs out of your diet, cold-turkey - feel awful… Build the metabolic machinery to burn fat more efficiently - feel great! Suddenly, out of nowhere - crash. Like a rollercoaster, you went from feeling terrible to feeling on top of the world, and then back to feeling terrible. The question is “why the crash??” You think: maybe I just need to do a few more fasted training sessions each week. Or, maybe I need to drop my carbs from 30 grams per day to 20 grams per day (broccoli just has too many carbs)... Nope. You might just need to train less and eat more. Still here? Good. This is part one of a series of articles examining potential reasons why a ketogenic diet may fail to produce the expected benefits. Regardless of whether things are just now starting to go downhill, or you never saw results in the first place, the most important step is recognizing that something isn’t right. Getting into nutritional ketosis is one thing, but just because you’re registering 2.0mmol/L on the blood ketone meter doesn’t mean the diet is working for you. Ultimately, performance and health are the goals, and they may or may not coincide with high blood ketones. There are many aspects of life as an endurance athlete that must be accounted for in the equation of optimal health and performance. The most important one that we regularly see is people struggling on a ketogenic diet because they’re underfueling and overtraining. So that’s where we’ll begin! Ultimately, performance and health are the goals, and they may or may not coincide with high blood k Continue reading >>

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