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The Science Behind The "Low Carb Flu", and How To Regain Your Metabolic Flexibility
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October 11, 2011
4:32 pm
Γιατί οι άνθρωποι λι
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[...] (ζάχαρων). Οι περισσότεροι ζωικοί ιστοί μπορούν να οξειδώσουν είτε ζάχαρη είτε λίπος για ενέργεια, και οι κετόνες μπορούν να [...]

October 12, 2011
5:35 am
Sample Paleo Meal Pl
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[...] I discovered a real treatments for depression they only used in this list are pretty difficult to find these would like for our diet A details sample paleo meal plans for a [...]

October 18, 2011
11:17 am
» “Eat T
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[...] do think that low-carb diets can be great for initial fat loss, and for forcing mitochondrial fat adaption, but aren’t the optimal way to live for everyone everywhere as I once thought. I’m not [...]

October 19, 2011
8:17 am
Mary T
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I'm on day 3 of an anti-fungal diet which is pretty much VLC. I'm taking some Glutamine in the mornings to keep my mind functioning at work. Are there any other supplements that can help me adapt to this new type of metabolism?

Part of my reason for going on this is that I don't seem to be absorbing Vit-D and Vit-K at needed levels even if I supplement. I'm definitely overweight and need to loose weight so if I can make this a sustainable practice, I hope to make this a long term lifestyle.

FYI - Even when I consumed lots of carbs, I didn't have high triglycerides or cholesterol. In fact it has only been the last few years where I moved into the "normal" cholesterol range... and no I've never fretted about a low fat diet.

October 19, 2011
9:44 pm
training for wrestli
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I've cut cards to a bare minimum out of my diet and I've got to say the results are fabulous. Very informative stuff here, I never quite knew the science behind it before.

November 16, 2011
9:50 am
IF and muscle loss |
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[...] [...]

November 27, 2011
9:45 pm
Carb overload? | Mar
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[...] [...]

December 9, 2011
4:29 pm
» “Eat T
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[...] do think that low-carb diets can be great for initial fat loss, and for forcing mitochondrial fat adaption, but aren’t the optimal way to live for everyone everywhere as I once thought. I’m not [...]

December 12, 2011
3:06 pm
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Mary T:

Sorry I missed your comment!  Anyway, if you're still around, I recommend using coconut oil as your cooking fat (the MCTs are very easily absorbed), and possibly some creatine if you're not eating much red meat.  Some people also find green tea helpful, particularly as a coffee substitute.

Beyond that, the Perfect Health Diet supplement recommendations are pretty solid.  I wish you the best of success!

TFW:

It's reasonably straightforward stuff once you understand basic metabolism.  I'm glad you find it helpful!

JS

December 20, 2011
11:45 am
Q&A: Affording P
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[...] up to two weeks on a low carb diet – your energy should sky rocket as J. Stanton described here. (Richard Nikoley will be participating in a podcast on Monday in which they discuss low carb. I [...]

January 30, 2012
4:33 pm
One Year On «
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[...] first week of going low-carb, I got the ‘low-carb’ flu. Sounds like more pseudo-science doesn’t it? Click the link and revel in the proper, [...]

February 14, 2012
7:17 am
maggie
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I am a basketball player in high school... and about a week ago i went cold turkey paleo (still eating fruit though)... have had many of the symptoms listed including aches, pains, fatigue, muscle tiredness, headaches, dreams of eating carbs/sugar... Should I continue on this paleo? ...I am a strong female athlete who weighs about 140 lbs... or any suggestions to ease the pain?

February 14, 2012
1:38 pm
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maggie:

If you're an athlete and not looking to lose weight -- especially if it's the season and you're practicing/training regularly -- you'll definitely need to eat more carbs than a mostly-sedentary person trying to lose their gut.

What do you mean by "cold turkey paleo"?  Whose book or version of paleo are you following, and what are you eating on a typical day?  Did you go paleo to try and solve any specific health problems?  What sports are you playing?

Not knowing these answers yet, my initial advice would be to keep eating a strict protein+fat+veggies breakfast, but to add starch at your other meals.  Strict paleo pretty much only allows sweet potatoes, but that gets old very quickly.  White potatoes are fine IMO so long as you peel them, and white rice is relatively inoffensive even if it is a grain.  So long as you're avoiding all other grains (particularly wheat) and refined sugars, you'll be gaining the overwhelming majority of the benefits unless you have specific food intolerances.

JS

February 14, 2012
2:32 pm
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Halifax, UK
Gnoll
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An active person need not shy away from carbohydrate – it is a valid and vital macronutrient. Understanding how much you need does come from eating a good paleo diet – your body will speak to you more clearly.

Much paleo dietary wisdom is shy on carbohydrates simply because so many people come to paleo fat, too fat. Pure starches in the form of white potatoes, plantain, taro, white rice and cassava are good for the active person. Eaten earlier in the day and just a little after rampant activity to replenish energy, it's all good.

Paleo is a template, not a diet.

Your template may well need lots more energy than an overweight person used to soda, fries and processed meat.

Let's hear more about who you are and how you like to live to advise more on what you might like to consider as part of your template. Paleo eating is inclusive – it's what you can and should eat, not like a diet where you can't eat things.

Eat real food is the key – meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables from good, raw, natural and organic sources. If your vegetables (and fruits) include more starchy foods and you're active, great!

Meanwhile, understand that if you've been big on modern foods, you will have a period of detoxifying. Also, adjusting.

Jump back with a little more about yourself … don't be scared of carbohydrate just because a paleo diet book says it's no good.

Living in the Ice Age
http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk

February 14, 2012
9:27 pm
maggie
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Thank you for the quick response and helpful advice!

What I meant by cold turkey paleo is- I maybe a switch immediately from my old eating habits (pretty much what is in the dining hall including sandwiches almost daily, pasta meals, whatever was being served, plenty of cereal, fruit, and sugary items). I am not sure exactly which version of paleo I am following, I was just guided by my mother and I eat only meat, eggs, vegetables (including sweet potatoes but no regular ones), fruit, milk (by my choice) and nuts (also I was eating peanut butter which I just recently found was legume and not a nut butter!). I usually eat an omelet or scrambled eggs (with bacon) in the morning with milk and a piece of fruit and for lunch/dinner I eat whatever meat is available in the dining hall with vegetables or over a salad! I play basketball and run track and also do crossfit. I have a basketball practice or game everyday, I shoot on my own everyday, and I crossfit on days that are not game or pregame days (I also go on runs when I can). I decided to go paleo because of the effects my parents saw; not just weight loss for them but the newfound well-being. After I was shown the negatives affects of sugar and constantly eating of carbs I decided to make the switch. I have also read much about how in order to improve as a runner (for track) I need nutrition and probably a smaller frame (I am 5’8” 140lbs and muscular and relatively skinny).
I like your suggestions on the other starches that I can integrate some into my typical daily diet.
I was definitely big on modern foods and I am definitely feeling the affects of the detoxifying! Although it does not feel good right now it is encouraging to know that I am sort of cleansing my body, as well it helps to hear from you folks about all of this! Thanks so much

February 15, 2012
6:15 am
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maggie:

Oh, good lord.  If you're practicing every day and Crossfitting frequently, you're going to have to eat MUCH more glucose than you're getting from fruit and the occasional glass of milk.  With that much activity, you might even be short on total calories -- paleo foods are very satiating, and it's easy to not eat enough if you're very active. 

As I say in "Eat Like A Predator", "If you are active and not concerned with losing weight (or trying to gain it), you’ll want to eat more carbs than the average person trying to lose a few pounds."  Your parents (older, probably relatively sedentary, trying to lose weight) are NOT a good guide to what you (young, extremely active, probably still growing) need to eat.

I know that my athletic performance suffered for a couple months after going Paleo, because I didn't have a good feel for how much carbohydrate I needed to eat...I felt great mentally and for the first half-hour of exercise, but I bonked quickly because I was constantly glycogen-depleted.

How to fix this?  My advice: EAT MORE STARCH.  Not sugary fruit -- you don't want fructose, you want glucose.  Anything off the Jaminets' list of "safe starches" will do: sweet and regular potatoes (peeled), taro/sago/tapioca/cassava if you can get them, and white rice.

In order to keep your consumption under control (so you don't lose control and binge), eat the starch at meals (preferably dinner and lunch, not breakfast), and eat it last.  Eat meat and veggies until you're satiated with them, and then start on the potatoes or rice.  Baked and mashed potatoes, simple white rice with butter and salt, potatoes and rice in scrambles...

Rule of thumb: eat more starch until your athletic performance stops increasing.  If you start gaining weight or binging, eat less.  But since you're in strong physical shape, your body will probably tell you how much you need.

There are some advanced techniques you can get into later, but let's get the basics sorted first.

JS

(Annoying disclaimer: As always, this is simply my advice.  Your choice to take it, or not, is your own responsibility.)

March 4, 2012
12:02 am
Rob
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I just wanted to make the comment that "anaerobic" activities are not necessarily limited by waste product accumulation but by exceeding ATP production/repletion (supply) and likely central fatigue, resulting in keeping ATP high enough to prevent death. Great article.

March 4, 2012
1:04 pm
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Rob:

AFAIK the limit on anaerobic metabolism is generally the buildup of lactic acid, which drops the cell's internal pH far enough that the chemical reactions stop working.  This is because, under anaerobic conditions, the pyruvic acid produced by glycolysis is converted directly to lactic acid -- as opposed to aerobic conditions, where it can enter the mitochondria, be converted to acetyl CoA, and enter the Krebs cycle.

If you have sources which demonstrate otherwise, I'd love to see them!

JS

March 22, 2012
4:59 pm
Mags
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I have read and seen a lot about the importance of recovery food within a short span after working out. I have seen protein shakes, chocolate milk, fruit, etc. I am wondering what you believe is the best food/nutrients as recovery after workouts, especially rigorous ones?

Thanks!

March 22, 2012
9:49 pm
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Mags:

It depends what you're doing!  For strength training of any kind, complete protein is most important.  In fact, I'm a big fan of protein after any workout: while muscles are indeed extra-sensitive to glucose immediately PWO, you can replete muscle glycogen anytime.  In contrast, your body has no way to store amino acids, so you'll need to provide them in order to allow protein synthesis that doesn't involve catabolizing existing tissue.  You shouldn't need a lot of fat PWO, since exercise frees it from your own adipose tissue.

In conclusion, something high in complete protein, with carbs according to how much intense glycogen-depleting effort you've put out.  Strength training doesn't use much: that's mostly dependent on the phosphocreatine system.  Intense anaerobic effort is what'll deplete glycogen quickly, e.g. metcons, HIIT.

Of course, real food is best, and you're not going to die if it takes you 30 minutes to get home and fix it.  But if you can't manage that, a can of tuna, some jerky, or a protein shake (and, optionally, a banana) will hold you until you can get to the real food.  In that case I use whey protein because it's absorbed very quickly.

JS

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