2

votes

should I go LC or VLC?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Hi all I am a 20 year old male weighing just under 100 pounds.

I am in a wheelchair but still keep quite active through handcycling and swimming around 5 days per week. I also do some upper body strength training 3 days per week.

I am looking to build a bit of muscle but want to keep carbs to an absolute minimum because I feel it helps with cognitive function and controlling my appetite.

Can I get some opinions on the minimum amount of carbs I should be eating? Currently I do under 25 grams and this comes from squash/pumpkin/carrot/sweet potato at dinner. I generally don't eat fruit except berries on rare occasions. Is a diet like this sustainable in the long term or should I add more fruit as an additional carb source?

B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

(748)

on October 01, 2012
at 01:55 AM

Predictable people are predictable. if you have a hammer...

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on October 01, 2012
at 12:14 AM

It refutes the dogma that you need carbs to build muscle. Here's another study that showed muscle growth without exercise. http://www.ergo-log.com/lowcarbwithouttraining.html

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on September 30, 2012
at 11:42 PM

The strength gains were not significant even though strength gains are to be expected after a month of training. "The diet consumed was primarily made of beef and veal, poultry, fish, raw and cooked green vegetables without restriction, cold cuts (dried beef, carpaccio and cured ham), eggs and seasoned cheese (e.g. parmesan)." Sounds like they were eating loads of protein.

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:14 PM

"I am looking to build a bit of muscle but want to keep carbs to an absolute minimum because I feel it helps with cognitive function and controlling my appetite." I also eat VLC because I just feel better on it, which is a good enough reason for me. It's also great for building muscle while losing fat.

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:02 PM

These gymnasts, who were already in great shape to begin with, gained muscle and lost fat on a ketogenic diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22835211

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:46 PM

Reading comprehension should be a pre-requisite.......

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:45 PM

I think most here (even those in the immediate comments) totally skip ACTUALLY READING the OPs question and sitiuation. They just see 100lb, 20yrs old, and build a bit of muscle and go off on rants. READ PEOPLE...5 foot tall, in a wheelchair (little leg mass to contribute to his weight and caloric needs). ALSO he enjoys the benefits he has noticed being in ketosis and wants to know if he can sustain it while getting "a bit stronger". Easy. The answer is yes. With the caveat the you may not "have to", but then you are likely to lose the cognitive function and apetite control you enjoy.

5e92edc5a180787a60a252a8232006e9

(345)

on September 30, 2012
at 08:24 PM

You should not be vlcing unless you have a clear reason why. You should clarify your mental condition that supposedly benefits from vlcing --- I tend to think they are related to something else. You're not metabolically deranged. You're trying to gain some weight. There is no reason for you to low carb at 25g. The metabolically-deranged people on this board who ardently recommend VLCing have a VASTLY different metabolism than you. Unfortunately, they belive that what works for them works for anyone.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 06:37 PM

Yeah, fair point, I was just trying to illustrate that 100lbs is not necessarily underweight. I agree that BMI is pretty meaningless.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 30, 2012
at 06:24 PM

^ Ha. So now the BMI is a relevant index?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 30, 2012
at 06:03 PM

I have no idea why Alligator's answer was downvoted. I agree with him. I do not understand your reasons to go low carb. Do you have diabetes? Do you have a metabolic disorder? You are under 100 lb - have you checked your BMI index? I need to be on low carb because of my health, and it is NOT going to be for a long time, maybe a year or two. My doctor told me NEVER to go less then 30 carb grams per day and every third day to go up to 70 carbs not to trigger thyroids. Here is a reference - you figure it out how many carbs you need to have. http://www.trimprogram.com/p/10-steps-to-healthier-body.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 30, 2012
at 05:45 PM

600 calories a day with 60% of them (40 grams) from fat and is not a recipe for lean, healthy, and strong body.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on September 30, 2012
at 04:40 PM

You're severely restricting carbohydrates AND protein and you want to gain muscle mass? WTF?

2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on September 30, 2012
at 04:13 PM

i use to think i could build muscle on a low carb diet, lol didnt happen, now that the carbs are up, im actualy gaining mass,

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:52 PM

https://www.google.com/search?q=ketosis+weight+gain

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:52 PM

So that's a BMI of about 20. Which is perfect.

119b9ca51cae1066fb8f51b5d029a5b2

(224)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Thanks guys for your opinions. To clarify, I am quite short on account of my being in a wheelchair, I think just over 5 feet. Also keep in mind that I have very little muscle mass in my lower body. Yes, my legs are skinny as hell but that's because I don't use them. So under the circumstances I feel my low weight isn't an issue.

119b9ca51cae1066fb8f51b5d029a5b2

(224)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Alligator, I am not at all looking to eat "multiple pounds of meat" as you say. Most of my calories come from fat (beef tallow and grass-fed butter), and I am careful not to overextend on protein (currently around 40 grams per day).

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:37 PM

"Name one athlete or just ripped person not on steroids who gained weight and got ripped eating a diet consisting of over 50% fat. Please, name just one." How many constraints do you want to put on that question...

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:35 PM

Eh? You don't know how tall he is - you don't know if 100lb is an appropriate weight or not. You can gain weight on a VLC diet, especially if your exercise options are limited.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:32 PM

..."because it controls my appetite"- Andrew, if you want to gain weight you need an appetite to umm, you know...eat food and calories.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:32 PM

What applies for a 20 year old 100lb kid trying to gain muscle does not apply to an overweight, 30 something year old diabetic cardio-bunny trying to lose weight.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:31 PM

What applies for a 20 year old 100lb kid trying to gain muscle does not apply to an overweight, 30 something year old diabetic.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:30 PM

"because it controls my appetite"----you need an appetite to eat calories to build muscle. You are 100lbs. Eat something.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:29 PM

you would be eating HUGE amounts of protein. If this emaciated kid feels fine eating multiple pounds of muscle mean per day then he should be my guest, but if he got over his carbphobic orthorexia, he'd be end up stronger, faster, and better looking because of it.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:27 PM

You need glucose to fuel weight lifting activities (as well as other cellular processes). You need amino acids (protein) present for protein synthesis. To gain lean body mass (muscle), a protein intake of AT LEAST 0.8 grams/lb of desired body mass (usually 1-1.5g/lb is ideal) is optimal. To gain weight, you need to stimulate muscle hypertrophy, which requires higher volumes of glycolytic weight training routines. YOu also need a calorie surplus. So, now we're looking at significant amounts of glucose and amnio acids needed. If you were to get that ALL from just muscle meat...

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:18 PM

^didn't say that gator....and neither does your response. Your opinions on colon, kidney, protein needs, gluconeogenesis and so on are just all pointing towards the fact that you have no clue.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:14 PM

SO now ketogenic diets are good for fat loss and muscle weight gain? LOL YOU slay me. Name one athlete or just ripped person not on steroids who gained weight and got ripped eating a diet consisting of over 50% fat. Please, name just one.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:10 PM

I re-read this answer several times to find one part that was not total BS and couldn't......

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Alligator, since ketosis precludes eating large amounts of protein most people on VLC diets end up eating lots of fat (around 80% by energy).

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:32 PM

Because if you are eating the amount of muscle meat at the magnitude necessary for both protein synthesis and gluconeogensis to build muscle mass and gain weight, you're likely going to be constipated as all hell.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 30, 2012
at 01:55 PM

please expound on the "your colon will hate you for life" assertion

  • 119b9ca51cae1066fb8f51b5d029a5b2

    asked by

    (224)
  • Views
    1.5K
  • Last Activity
    1526D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers

2
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:01 PM

I... want to keep carbs to an absolute minimum because I feel it helps with cognitive function and controlling my appetite.

Then there's really no reason to eat any carbs. There may be some reasons in favour of eating a small number of carbs, best explained by the Perfect Health Diet (I don't personally think there is a need to eat as many as they recommend though), but there's no necessity. The only real consideration speaking in favour of eating significant amounts of carbs is that it makes getting adequate micronutrition easier; if you're eating very few carbs your diet will require some close consideration to hit the spot. Eating more carbs might also help with gaining muscle too, just as eating fewer may help in keeping lean.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:46 PM

Reading comprehension should be a pre-requisite.......

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:45 PM

I think most here (even those in the immediate comments) totally skip ACTUALLY READING the OPs question and sitiuation. They just see 100lb, 20yrs old, and build a bit of muscle and go off on rants. READ PEOPLE...5 foot tall, in a wheelchair (little leg mass to contribute to his weight and caloric needs). ALSO he enjoys the benefits he has noticed being in ketosis and wants to know if he can sustain it while getting "a bit stronger". Easy. The answer is yes. With the caveat the you may not "have to", but then you are likely to lose the cognitive function and apetite control you enjoy.

2
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:16 PM

You could continue at your level of carbs as long as you like for the reasons you stated, but as borofergie mentions ketosis does tend to reduce appetite. If gaining "much" muscle is a goal of yours it may make it more difficult to consume the excess calories needed while remaining in ketosis. However if you are leaning out ketosis is great for preserving lean muscle mass.

You could add more carbs in the way of sweet potatoes, squash, or fruit if you wished. This would bring you bring you out of ketosis and you may not experience the attributes you previously mentioned, but for that reason it may also make increasing mass easier.

1
B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

on October 01, 2012
at 02:10 AM

Andrew,

There are hacks you can apply to get the best of both worlds.

Your upper body strength training can be emphasised to help you build some mass. ive seen people in wheelchairs press big weights overhead, cable rows, even chin ups strappeded into the chair, so have fun adapting any excercise you want and progressing.

on the three days after you train, eat an extra serviving pumpkin/potatos/ carrots to your hearts content. have them in a big meal late in the day. the glucose will go straight into your depleted muscles, and wont mess with your LC zen going on.

on the other days, keep going as you are.

Just adding a specially timed meal after strength training seems to me like what you are after.

You can read up on carb back-loading, leangains, Nate Miyaki, and convince yourself too.

Peace

1
75e8ceee00e2459860ea38220a3a8118

on September 30, 2012
at 08:42 PM

Hi Andrew! I think your diet and fitness level are fantastic (especially now that I see your height). What are you eating for protein?

1
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:10 PM

You've answered your own question: "I am looking to build a bit of muscle but want to keep carbs to an absolute minimum because I feel it helps with cognitive function and controlling my appetite."

If you're doing well on 25g a day, then why bother adding back the carbs?

I've been VLCing for 18 months (because I'm a T2 diabetc), but I have found that I feel much more lucid than I ever did in my high-carb days.

While it's true that there isn't much (any) scientific research into the possible long-term risks of eating a low-carb diet, there also isn't much data that suggests that there are any risks.

Just make sure that you eat plenty of fat to stop yourself losing weight.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:35 PM

Eh? You don't know how tall he is - you don't know if 100lb is an appropriate weight or not. You can gain weight on a VLC diet, especially if your exercise options are limited.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 30, 2012
at 06:24 PM

^ Ha. So now the BMI is a relevant index?

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:52 PM

So that's a BMI of about 20. Which is perfect.

119b9ca51cae1066fb8f51b5d029a5b2

(224)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Thanks guys for your opinions. To clarify, I am quite short on account of my being in a wheelchair, I think just over 5 feet. Also keep in mind that I have very little muscle mass in my lower body. Yes, my legs are skinny as hell but that's because I don't use them. So under the circumstances I feel my low weight isn't an issue.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 06:37 PM

Yeah, fair point, I was just trying to illustrate that 100lbs is not necessarily underweight. I agree that BMI is pretty meaningless.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:32 PM

What applies for a 20 year old 100lb kid trying to gain muscle does not apply to an overweight, 30 something year old diabetic cardio-bunny trying to lose weight.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:32 PM

..."because it controls my appetite"- Andrew, if you want to gain weight you need an appetite to umm, you know...eat food and calories.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:31 PM

What applies for a 20 year old 100lb kid trying to gain muscle does not apply to an overweight, 30 something year old diabetic.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:30 PM

"because it controls my appetite"----you need an appetite to eat calories to build muscle. You are 100lbs. Eat something.

1
3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

on September 30, 2012
at 01:33 PM

You need carbs to gain clean muscle. Why? Because if you ate the amount of protein to fuel both gluconeogenesis AND protein synthesis, your colon would hate you for life, and potentially your kidneys too.

YOu are only 100lbs and 20, so you should not be going low carb of very low carb.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:32 PM

Because if you are eating the amount of muscle meat at the magnitude necessary for both protein synthesis and gluconeogensis to build muscle mass and gain weight, you're likely going to be constipated as all hell.

B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

(748)

on October 01, 2012
at 01:55 AM

Predictable people are predictable. if you have a hammer...

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:52 PM

https://www.google.com/search?q=ketosis+weight+gain

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Alligator, since ketosis precludes eating large amounts of protein most people on VLC diets end up eating lots of fat (around 80% by energy).

119b9ca51cae1066fb8f51b5d029a5b2

(224)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Alligator, I am not at all looking to eat "multiple pounds of meat" as you say. Most of my calories come from fat (beef tallow and grass-fed butter), and I am careful not to overextend on protein (currently around 40 grams per day).

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:18 PM

^didn't say that gator....and neither does your response. Your opinions on colon, kidney, protein needs, gluconeogenesis and so on are just all pointing towards the fact that you have no clue.

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on October 01, 2012
at 12:14 AM

It refutes the dogma that you need carbs to build muscle. Here's another study that showed muscle growth without exercise. http://www.ergo-log.com/lowcarbwithouttraining.html

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:37 PM

"Name one athlete or just ripped person not on steroids who gained weight and got ripped eating a diet consisting of over 50% fat. Please, name just one." How many constraints do you want to put on that question...

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:10 PM

I re-read this answer several times to find one part that was not total BS and couldn't......

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 30, 2012
at 01:55 PM

please expound on the "your colon will hate you for life" assertion

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3

(415)

on September 30, 2012
at 11:02 PM

These gymnasts, who were already in great shape to begin with, gained muscle and lost fat on a ketogenic diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22835211

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:29 PM

you would be eating HUGE amounts of protein. If this emaciated kid feels fine eating multiple pounds of muscle mean per day then he should be my guest, but if he got over his carbphobic orthorexia, he'd be end up stronger, faster, and better looking because of it.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:14 PM

SO now ketogenic diets are good for fat loss and muscle weight gain? LOL YOU slay me. Name one athlete or just ripped person not on steroids who gained weight and got ripped eating a diet consisting of over 50% fat. Please, name just one.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on September 30, 2012
at 11:42 PM

The strength gains were not significant even though strength gains are to be expected after a month of training. "The diet consumed was primarily made of beef and veal, poultry, fish, raw and cooked green vegetables without restriction, cold cuts (dried beef, carpaccio and cured ham), eggs and seasoned cheese (e.g. parmesan)." Sounds like they were eating loads of protein.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:27 PM

You need glucose to fuel weight lifting activities (as well as other cellular processes). You need amino acids (protein) present for protein synthesis. To gain lean body mass (muscle), a protein intake of AT LEAST 0.8 grams/lb of desired body mass (usually 1-1.5g/lb is ideal) is optimal. To gain weight, you need to stimulate muscle hypertrophy, which requires higher volumes of glycolytic weight training routines. YOu also need a calorie surplus. So, now we're looking at significant amounts of glucose and amnio acids needed. If you were to get that ALL from just muscle meat...

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on September 30, 2012
at 04:40 PM

You're severely restricting carbohydrates AND protein and you want to gain muscle mass? WTF?

2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on September 30, 2012
at 04:13 PM

i use to think i could build muscle on a low carb diet, lol didnt happen, now that the carbs are up, im actualy gaining mass,

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on September 30, 2012
at 05:36 PM


Wow you really know how to stir up some drama don't you? No, seriously, on to the point. Speaking as someone who went from about your weight at 16 to 140lbs 3 years later all the while keeping body fat below 8-10%. Sure you can settle for inferior gains that are mostly fat and some muscle, but why would anyone ever settle for anything less than the best they're capable of? I'm just going to tell you what, in my experience is the best method.

In order to gain muscle (and not fat..no one wants to just "gain weight"), you are going to need some more protein. 60% of your calories as pure fat and you want to gain lean body mass? Seriously, gaining clean mass takes some sacrifices. I'm sorry to say it but shoveling meat and fat in your mouth all day and hardly exercising is not a sacrifice. We all wish we could do that and get lean and strong, but it's not doable. Sure, once you're there you can definitely cut back on volume and carbs, because maintaining what you've got is a helluva a lot easier than getting what you do not have. So, I say set aside 2 years of doing it right.

If I were to do it all over again. I'd do it a-la lean gains with a 6-8 hour eating window and all meals post workout. I'd probably split my macros up like 40/40/20 P/C/F...but i honestly would not count, i'd just keep a close eye on how my body is responding and manipulate based on intuition. I'd start there though. You should be well-enough in tune with your body to know when you're gaining and losing weight/muscle/fat, so just go by intuition.

I'd probably keep my eating window from 12-6PM or 2-8PM.

I'd eat only clean foods: chicken breasts, shellfish, eggs, lean beef, sardines, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, berries, and honey for carbs. I'd probably use some olive oil too when I eat a salad. Other than veggies that would be the extent of my diet.

My first lifting program was West Side for Skinny Bastards, which I enjoyed a lot. After that I did 5x5 and then moved towards more hypertrophy workouts with reps around 6-15 and higher volume. That progression worked well for me. Now I do upper body alternated with lower body workouts that are more strength based, but I think cycling strategies works well for developing an all around strong body. I'm now graduated from 140lbs to 150lbs.

IT takes a lot of hard work to go from skinny to lean and strong. It is my experience that one cannot accomplish this eating 60% of your calories from fat on a low protein, low carb diet. If I saw just a single person prove me wrong, then I might reconsider, but I have not.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!