5

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Anyone running better on more carbs?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 11, 2010 at 4:20 PM

I've been doing strict paleo, very low carb, but feeling like crap. Not sure if it was ketosis or what, but I've found that reintroducing a fair amount of carbs in my diet in the form of sweet potatoes and even sometimes regular red-skin potatoes keeps me feeling great. My blood sugar also seems to remain the same even with more carbs.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 12, 2010
at 06:15 PM

@Eva Yeah i totally agree but i just assumed grimmak wasn't into that sort of activities :P

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 12, 2010
at 04:56 PM

I suspect magnesium deficiency might be a big prob across the board, paleo or no paleo but it does seem to be one of the few nutrients that is hard to get even when eating paleo. As for carbs, I think many (but not all) who are heavily into glycogen burning activities might find they do better on a bit more.

21f8767a0ad95dc20f11c71cea59d9cb

(290)

on August 12, 2010
at 02:39 PM

What makes me wonder is the fact that I was full carb-agnostic paleo for several months before trying the low-carb thing, and I've never felt better in my life. I eat a wide variety of veggies and some fruit, and I eat a lot of fat. I don't think that's the issue. I still don't go nuts with the carbs, and I only get carbs from whole, vegetable sources, but I'm starting to give more credence to metabolic typing. I still feel like crap when I eat a really starchy meal or sugar of any sort.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 12, 2010
at 02:38 PM

Couldn't agree more with GGP. Repeat after me: I am unique! I have unique metabolic needs! (This is part of the non-conformist oath) I am also generally below 20g as well and I feel pretty good - most of the time. I don't need to carb up pre or post workout (doing a BBS thing). But I'm an over 50, MWM, T2 diabetic with over 50 pounds still to lose. I am not supposing that anyone here is like me. (Although there may be a few...) The key should always be what works best for you. That could be anywhere from 0 to 150g CHO. Unfortunately, you have to figure it out for yourself.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on August 12, 2010
at 01:32 PM

You are on point for the reasoning behind the malcontent for white potatoes. Most people coming to the Paleo/Primal diet are coming from the SAD way of life where they are dealing with metabolic derangement, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, etc. So, to help them make that initial push in progress, anything with a high glycemic load such as white potatoes is usually avoided to help bring their insulin levels back down to basal baselines, hopefully. As they thin out, and start taking on more hard core activities, white potatoes now makes sense to start incorporating.

21f8767a0ad95dc20f11c71cea59d9cb

(290)

on August 12, 2010
at 05:10 AM

I really don't understand the paleo prejudice against white potatoes. Sure, the average commercial breeds in America are crap, but people in the New World have been eating them since paleolithic times, and many older breeds are actually very nutritious. Other than the glycemic load, I can't understand why paleo people assume that white potatoes are worthless.

21f8767a0ad95dc20f11c71cea59d9cb

(290)

on August 12, 2010
at 05:08 AM

I've been slowly transitioning to paleo (before I even knew what paleo was) for several years, but I finally went full paleo about 9 months ago. I felt great, then I started reducing carbs, and was on virtually no carbs for the past 2 months. I hit a wall about a month ago, feeling lethargic and tired, which I knew to be a sign of ketosis, but I felt like crap, and it didn't get better for a couple of weeks after that, so I decided to reintroduce some carbs to see what would happen. I ate a sweet potato with my eggs and bacon in the morning, and I immediately felt better.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on August 11, 2010
at 06:55 PM

I would say paleo, as a modern movement, is not *necessarily* low carb, but some argue it naturally should be. Btw, the choice of starchy tubers is a common one because they lack the fructose of fruit and the more common anti-nutrients in many low-starch vegetables.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 11, 2010
at 04:28 PM

1. How long have you been strict paleo/vlc? 2. Did you feel like crap before the switch?

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 11, 2010
at 04:23 PM

how long have you been strict paleo/vlc?

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 11, 2010
at 04:23 PM

how low have you been strict paleo/vlc?

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13 Answers

3
F38f19b6ec74b2c6bf49531fe5dae567

on August 13, 2010
at 08:19 PM

Everyone is an unique snowflake. Some people respond better to low carb and some to moderate/high carb. As many salient people have said, paleo does not have to be low carb. There's nothing wrong with a moderate amount of carbs in the form of wholesome food.

Add carbs back into your diet (sweet potatoes and veggies) and that could help. No, the world won't end.

3
1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on August 12, 2010
at 08:38 AM

I never had any pain transitioning to a low-carb approach. Fewer than 20g carbs is my norm, and I feel even better when I eliminate carbs altogether and pump up the fat. I'm more energised when I'm eating nothing but fatty meat and eggs.

If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that Paleo should be treated as rough guidelines and not rigid rules, since every metabolism is built a little differently and we've all lead different lives with differing levels of adaptation and damage. It's frustrating when paleo peeps comment on something as "not being paleo" - who's to say? If it's avoiding the nasty neolithic agents that are conclusively reported as damaging (in large doses at least), then any way of eating within those guidelines is paleo to me. Low-carb choices to get a grip on insulin resistance and carb addiction, higher carbs to fuel athletic performance - whatever your reason, if it works for you, it's fine. And our bodies and needs change, so don't be afraid to experiment.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 12, 2010
at 02:38 PM

Couldn't agree more with GGP. Repeat after me: I am unique! I have unique metabolic needs! (This is part of the non-conformist oath) I am also generally below 20g as well and I feel pretty good - most of the time. I don't need to carb up pre or post workout (doing a BBS thing). But I'm an over 50, MWM, T2 diabetic with over 50 pounds still to lose. I am not supposing that anyone here is like me. (Although there may be a few...) The key should always be what works best for you. That could be anywhere from 0 to 150g CHO. Unfortunately, you have to figure it out for yourself.

2
F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

on August 12, 2010
at 09:58 AM

People always assume that if you feel lethargic you should increase carbs but i'm not so sure about that. Although yes, you could run better on carbs, maybe you should up your fat intake and see how you feel.

It can also mean you're missing some nutrient so you should put your food through something like fitday.com and check if something is on the low side.

In my own experience i can say i felt like crap on most days after going paleo, until i did some cleansing. I went VLC for a couple days, took some probiotics and prebiotics (i.e. onions, garlic). Now i feel like i was reborn! Perhaps i had a bad gut flora and it was feeding on the sugars or maybe i had some "bug" and it got wiped from all the garlic, i really don't know.

I also started supplementing with magnesium which significantly improved my energy levels and my mood...

I think you should tinker and experiment until you are sure of what is causing that lethargy and not assume you're carb deficient right away.

My 1/2 cent.

Disclaimer: I'm a paleo rookie ;)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 12, 2010
at 04:56 PM

I suspect magnesium deficiency might be a big prob across the board, paleo or no paleo but it does seem to be one of the few nutrients that is hard to get even when eating paleo. As for carbs, I think many (but not all) who are heavily into glycogen burning activities might find they do better on a bit more.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 12, 2010
at 06:15 PM

@Eva Yeah i totally agree but i just assumed grimmak wasn't into that sort of activities :P

21f8767a0ad95dc20f11c71cea59d9cb

(290)

on August 12, 2010
at 02:39 PM

What makes me wonder is the fact that I was full carb-agnostic paleo for several months before trying the low-carb thing, and I've never felt better in my life. I eat a wide variety of veggies and some fruit, and I eat a lot of fat. I don't think that's the issue. I still don't go nuts with the carbs, and I only get carbs from whole, vegetable sources, but I'm starting to give more credence to metabolic typing. I still feel like crap when I eat a really starchy meal or sugar of any sort.

1
167c3252a54b4c51e6d7a8e82a92db82

on October 06, 2010
at 02:11 PM

Your on the right track by experimenting to find what works for you. Keep notes on what you eat, how your body feels, how clearly you think, your athletic performance capability and how long your meal lasts.

Set up a free account at http://nutritiondata.self.com and you can get very detailed analysis of each meal you make to help you figure out what is working and why.

If you can afford it, buy a blood sugar meter and a test your blood sugar just before eating, and again at 15, 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the meal. You may be surprised at the effect plain yogurt, whey protein or even thick rolled oats without sugar or fruit added have on your blood glucose (sugar).

Another great tool is a submaximal metabolic assessment. If you can, have one done at a local university athletic department. Done properly it will reveal how your body is using fats and carbohydrates to produce energy at various levels of exertion. You may be surprised at how much your particular body uses carbohydrates for energy at even low levels of exertion. Speaking from experience it is possible to retrain the body to utilize more fat and less carbohydrate.

1
A3414e929f7c39da2fb07ef3b973bc25

on August 13, 2010
at 07:55 PM

I have to wonder if a potassium and/or magnesium deficiency isn't responsible for some of the energy issues on a VLC diet. I've taken to drinking a glass of low sodium V-8 each day, providing 820 mg of K. Several hundred milligrams of magnesium (glycinate or taurate) has helped too. I'm training for a marathon (up to 13 miles) and seem to be doing well so far. I typically eat about 80 g of carbs a day.

1
6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on August 11, 2010
at 11:01 PM

I eat 125g of carb a day, on average. I feel 100% better than I did on 50g.

1
95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 11, 2010
at 06:03 PM

The VLC thing doesn't work for lots of folks, and although it seems to have become part of online paleo culture it isn't necessarily part of the deal. 100g of carbs/day or thereabouts (from good sources) is just fine if you're not aggressively trying to lose weight. Mark Sisson has good stuff to say about this in his book.

1
A5c91eff12152adfd014d63e845c4c16

on August 11, 2010
at 05:52 PM

Paleo isn't meant to be low carb. Try adding nutrient dense fruits and vegetables as your carb source, not starchy potatoes.

21f8767a0ad95dc20f11c71cea59d9cb

(290)

on August 12, 2010
at 05:10 AM

I really don't understand the paleo prejudice against white potatoes. Sure, the average commercial breeds in America are crap, but people in the New World have been eating them since paleolithic times, and many older breeds are actually very nutritious. Other than the glycemic load, I can't understand why paleo people assume that white potatoes are worthless.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on August 11, 2010
at 06:55 PM

I would say paleo, as a modern movement, is not *necessarily* low carb, but some argue it naturally should be. Btw, the choice of starchy tubers is a common one because they lack the fructose of fruit and the more common anti-nutrients in many low-starch vegetables.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on August 12, 2010
at 01:32 PM

You are on point for the reasoning behind the malcontent for white potatoes. Most people coming to the Paleo/Primal diet are coming from the SAD way of life where they are dealing with metabolic derangement, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, etc. So, to help them make that initial push in progress, anything with a high glycemic load such as white potatoes is usually avoided to help bring their insulin levels back down to basal baselines, hopefully. As they thin out, and start taking on more hard core activities, white potatoes now makes sense to start incorporating.

1
4ab3b10d52010fcb0d00b1a893b3d9df

on August 11, 2010
at 05:25 PM

I find I run just fine on no or very-low carbs. The only time I feel the need for carbs is on heavy training days. I remember Robb Wolf mentioning in his podcast that after a workout, it is fine to eat sweet potatoes, as the insulin it produces goes straight to the muscle's glucose stores. On non-workout days, I really don't feel the need for any carbs. I do however, always make sure to have a lot of fat, so perhaps that is why.

1
0637289bb4a0ab314d80fa4de627d395

(1015)

on August 11, 2010
at 04:43 PM

I have found the same thing. A small amount of carbs 75-100 grams per day makes me feel much better. Especially on Crossfit days. I tried the VLC approach (30 grams per day) and it did not work well for me due to my activity and intensity level. On rest days I tend to drop down to the 25-50 grams per day. I vary my carb intake. Sometimes I fuel up before a workout and other times I replenish after a workout.

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 12, 2010
at 03:31 AM

When I originally did Atkins, I did very low carb, maybe about 30 to 40 grams. What I noticed is I would often feel really tired after lunch for a spell. Now, I am eating fruit and get maybe about 100g of carb per day. Now I don't feel any after lunch 'power outages' as I used to call them. And I still seem to be losing weight at the same rate as I did on the very low carb. I have been a bit wary of eating potato though as it's something that I have a tendency to just want to eat more and more of. Whereas for whatever reason, fruit is something where I can eat some and then feel satisfied. Fruit does not illicit too strong cravings in me. Potato might be a bit more dangerous. I'll probably try potato again eventually, but not yet. Probably the next time I go camping I will eat it again though, as when I camp, I hike for large swaths of the day and need more calories, but am much more limited in my food choices to things that do not need refrigeration.
-Eva

0
344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

on August 11, 2010
at 05:14 PM

Yeah - I kind of know your pain...carb-ly speaking. I was told, as the giant fatty I am, that I need to really restrict carbs and take more meatly approach, but my GOD I felt like arse the majority of the time.

Now that I eat a little potato, a whole butt-load of non-starchy veggies, and sometimes a little honey in my coffee, I feel a darn sight better. I mean, I'm not losing weight or anything, but I feel more capable of participating in life. There are those that are made for zero carb but I truly feel that most people in most places were made for a veggie-rich approach. It makes me feel like I'm more involved with life. That, and given the fact that most 'experts' tend to be white, rich, American men and I am none of those, it makes sense to me to get in a few good, real food carbs.

Hope that helps, petal. :)

0
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on August 11, 2010
at 05:00 PM

For me, I felt the best when I had about 50g carbs during my breakfast at noon and 50-100g from sweet potatoes and other stuff at dinner post crossfit. Low carb always made me hit the wall at crossfit and I feel that I don't do well at HIIT with LC or VLC. I was eating sub 50g a day back then

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