2

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Carb vs. No-Carb vs. Low-Carb Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I'm still a newbie. I've been on Paleo for about a month now. I've eliminated all refined sugar, dairy, oats, etc. I've been good about all the 'biggies' in the paleo lifestyle. I've done well with eating real food, eating lean meat, good fat (I love bacon).

My life schedule is hectic at times, so I'm still learning on what I can snack and bring to eat.

My question is about carbs. No carbs? some carbs? low carbs?

What is recommended? I also do crossfit training approximately 5 days a week. So I'm doing high intensity exercising.

My recent irritable mood, decreased energy level and constant hunger-pangs lately, has caused me to take a second look at my carb intake?

Any recommendations? total amount of carbs / day?

Due to my schedule and just my choice, I don't think I'll ever completely eliminate carbs from my diet, so I'm looking for some suggestions on what would be 'acceptable'... if that makes any sense at all.

Thanks!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on April 17, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Good job Sean! Just keep playing with it until you think you've got it right. You are most definitely earning your carbs with the workouts you do so no need to fear them as long as your body is responding well to them.

6ea7231b1ba56c616ad14efb8564effe

(50)

on April 16, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Shari- I'm still very new to this, so I'm not following Paleo 2.0 or PHD, or Cordain. I'm sort of stumbling my way through this with my prior education and experience. I'm so grateful for everyone's help! I have decided to allow a lil more carbs, and so far I'm less 'miserable'. Thanks again for commenting!!

6ea7231b1ba56c616ad14efb8564effe

(50)

on April 16, 2012
at 12:13 PM

CoachC - ironically I have been debating on eating a fruit for pre-workout nutrition. I guess I'm stuck on the 'carb' concept that I'm forgetting about my activity level and energy needs. Thanks!!

6ea7231b1ba56c616ad14efb8564effe

(50)

on April 16, 2012
at 12:12 PM

Dean, I am trying to lose those last few stubborn pounds, but I'm in no hurry. I think I will be experimenting! Thanks!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:17 AM

As far as I know there were no potatoes in the British Isles at that time. Can tell me which tubers the ancient British would have been eating in large quantities?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:12 AM

Can tell me which tubers the ancient British would have been eating in large quantities?

Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on April 14, 2012
at 07:23 PM

For timing your carbs around workouts look up targeted and cyclic ketogenic diets.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on April 14, 2012
at 07:11 PM

+1 Exactly, just saw this after posting a link to the companion book above.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on April 14, 2012
at 07:08 PM

Lean meat. I see. http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Science-Carbohydrate-Performance/dp/0983490716/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:53 PM

You can crossfit on a all meat diet but probably only 1-2 a week with several days in between. You'll also need, I'd guess, around 30 days of your new diet with lower activity to make sure you are adapted and then ramp your activity level up to match.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:44 PM

CC, all your experiment shows is that you did it a little bit wrong. It's no good just dropping carbs and then expecting your body to cope with the sudden change in fuel. Low carb or no carb should be eased into gently so that the body gradually switches over to burning fat for energy instead of carbs. This is not to say that low or no carb will work for everyone though, because I really don't know that for a fact.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:18 PM

You can't say that for sure actually. I've done hour-long workouts after not eating anything at all for days and performed as well as ever. If we only had 3 minutes of hunting time... Mostly sensible advice though.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on April 14, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Volek's new book on performance is all about his latest studies on exercise. Just came out last week. Or you can also dig through Colting's blog. He's the low-carb ultraman champion.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on April 14, 2012
at 04:30 PM

Does this book talk about how to eat carbs around exercise? The book description isn't very informative.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:41 PM

If you are doing high intensity exercising 5 times a week you would probably feel better with some carbs. The Perfect Health Diet recommends 100-150g of starch for people who are even less active than you are. Experiment with different levels and see what works best for you. If you are not trying to lose weight then there is not much reason to force yourself into an irritable mood and decreased energy.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:10 PM

Congrats Sean on a good start! Can you share a bit more info about what your carb intake currently is and the rest of your diet, sleep? how many calories, fat/protein/carb %'s are helpful too!

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6 Answers

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5
A1a7413b99e03bc77f02d95c4170ea43

on April 14, 2012
at 01:41 PM

I think like anything, this is something you're going to have to play around with a little, but I can say from experience that if you are CrossFitting 5x a week, you're going to need SOME carbs. Any exercise that taps into that glycolytic pathway is going to need to be replenished after the workout. I think that sticking a big ol' yam or sweet potato in the post workout window would be fine, and you can stick to veggies the rest of the time. You may want to try having some fruit before a WOD sometime, especially if it's going to be a longer metcon. Something like an orange or a banana will be fine to just top off those liver and muscle glycogen stores, so long as you properly replenished after that last workout.

But again, play around with it. Everyone works differently. All I can say for sure is that CFing on a no-carb diet won't work. I did an experiment a couple of months ago by not eating any carbs (except some lettuce here and there) for a few days, and then I attempted to do a ten minute workout involving pullups, pushups, and situps, and I just got destroyed. Stopped after about three minutes because I have no energy. I was slow and weak. I sort of knew it would happen, but it was quite interesting to actually FEEL it happen. Anyway, hope this helps.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:18 PM

You can't say that for sure actually. I've done hour-long workouts after not eating anything at all for days and performed as well as ever. If we only had 3 minutes of hunting time... Mostly sensible advice though.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:44 PM

CC, all your experiment shows is that you did it a little bit wrong. It's no good just dropping carbs and then expecting your body to cope with the sudden change in fuel. Low carb or no carb should be eased into gently so that the body gradually switches over to burning fat for energy instead of carbs. This is not to say that low or no carb will work for everyone though, because I really don't know that for a fact.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:53 PM

You can crossfit on a all meat diet but probably only 1-2 a week with several days in between. You'll also need, I'd guess, around 30 days of your new diet with lower activity to make sure you are adapted and then ramp your activity level up to match.

6ea7231b1ba56c616ad14efb8564effe

(50)

on April 16, 2012
at 12:13 PM

CoachC - ironically I have been debating on eating a fruit for pre-workout nutrition. I guess I'm stuck on the 'carb' concept that I'm forgetting about my activity level and energy needs. Thanks!!

4
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on April 14, 2012
at 04:45 PM

It seems your body is telling you it's unhappy with what you are currently eating so good for you for listening and reaching out for some help instead of throwing in the towel as so many would do in this situation.

Assuming you are fairly metabolically unchallenged Crossfit 5x a week earns you the right to eat carbs. Without question. I agree with CoachCanadan that the "how much" is something only you can decide. The best or most obvious place to start is adding in some PWO potatoes/sweet potatoes. Do that for a few days and see how you feel.

I think Paleo2.0's suggestion to look at PHD is a good one too. There are tons of great information on Paul's site. Since you used the phrase "lean meat" I assume you are following Cordain as he's the only one who talks about lean anything I think. His info is great but branching out to Perfect Health Diet and/or any of the other leaders in the paleo community will help you understand all of this a bit better and help you tailor your eating to your own body and your own lifestyle.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on April 17, 2012
at 02:30 AM

Good job Sean! Just keep playing with it until you think you've got it right. You are most definitely earning your carbs with the workouts you do so no need to fear them as long as your body is responding well to them.

6ea7231b1ba56c616ad14efb8564effe

(50)

on April 16, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Shari- I'm still very new to this, so I'm not following Paleo 2.0 or PHD, or Cordain. I'm sort of stumbling my way through this with my prior education and experience. I'm so grateful for everyone's help! I have decided to allow a lil more carbs, and so far I'm less 'miserable'. Thanks again for commenting!!

1
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on April 15, 2012
at 05:57 AM

Everybody is different but if you exercise at high intensity 5 times a week, you will definitely need more carbs than most people.

Play around with different carbohydrate target until you find what works best for you, but it will most likely be in the 100-150 g range according to your description.

1
D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on April 14, 2012
at 05:32 PM

N=1, I need carbs to do any sort of resistance training... if I forget to eat a sweet potato before a workout, I'll fatigue in the first damn set.

1
Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on April 14, 2012
at 04:22 PM

Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on April 14, 2012
at 07:23 PM

For timing your carbs around workouts look up targeted and cyclic ketogenic diets.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on April 14, 2012
at 04:30 PM

Does this book talk about how to eat carbs around exercise? The book description isn't very informative.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on April 14, 2012
at 07:11 PM

+1 Exactly, just saw this after posting a link to the companion book above.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on April 14, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Volek's new book on performance is all about his latest studies on exercise. Just came out last week. Or you can also dig through Colting's blog. He's the low-carb ultraman champion.

0
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on April 15, 2012
at 07:25 AM

I do eat some brown basmati rice with wild rice and sometimes baked potato. We have just found this week (in the British press anyway) more evidence of deliberate fire about 1 million years ago - you need fire to cook meat and potato etc. Whilst I accept our ancestors would not have cultivated products I suspect many of them were not too good at hunting, men went prancing off with spears to have fun for a few days and came back with a tiny rat whilst women dug tubors from the ground and got us some kind of carbs from their harvesting of plants.

Also no carbs tends to make people less happy. I am low carber rather than a no carber which may be why I don't get thin but I do stay happy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:17 AM

As far as I know there were no potatoes in the British Isles at that time. Can tell me which tubers the ancient British would have been eating in large quantities?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 09:12 AM

Can tell me which tubers the ancient British would have been eating in large quantities?

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