5

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Any Low Carb Paleo Hacks Experimented with Re-Introducing Some Carbs?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 10, 2013 at 3:23 PM

My Story: After 2 years of pretty strict Paleo (with an additional emphasis on low to no carbs) I can say that my story is a successful one. 120 lbs lost, from a 50" to a 36" waist, energy, vastly improved blood numbers, the whole 9 yards. I should also add that for the past year or so I have been following a strict IF protocol as well, eating once per day within a 4 hour window. Over the last four months, I had stalled in regards to my weight loss with about 20 lbs to go. I think I know the culprit... sneaking in too much in the way of dairy, almonds, cheese, wine and chocolate... essentially I was finding myself hungry and acting upon it. I recently read the Perfect Health Diet and was curious about their recommendation for eating about 1 lb of safe starches every day. If I incorporated, would I feel satiated and presumably stop eating too much of my "crutch" foods as the authors suggested? This wasn't about whether tubers were considered Paleo... I personally think they are. This was about how my body would react after being in Ketosis for the better part of two years. So, I added about 1 lb of sweet potatoes per day and reduced my caloric equivalent in protein. I regularly eat a good amount of quality sat fat. My daily intake was in the 2000 kcal range. I am moderately active... some cardio and weight lifting every week. After one month here are my observations (YMMV):

Hunger: The sweet potatoes definitely nipped my hunger in the bud. With the same caloric intake, I was never really hungry like before (on very low carb). I didn't find myself "snacking" on my favorite foods anymore.

Digestive Issues: Ok, not to be too indelicate here but my experiences in this space were... somewhat frightening. Explosive, emergency are terms that come to mind. Think of the bathroom scene from Dumb and Dumber... near the end of the trial... I think my body was adjusting somewhat (the PHD authors mention gut flora changes) but it was still an unwelcome bit of excitement to my "routine".

Cramping: Until I gave up wheat, sugar and all carbs, I experienced debilitating IBS cramping. It didn't come back to the extent that it was on SAD..... but it did return somewhat once on the sweet potatoes.

Water weight - puffiness: Interesting, additional puffiness in my ankles, hands and face became evident... I had lost some of the sculpted look that I had noticed since my transformation on low carb Paleo. Even my wife mentioned my face getting "fatter".

Energy: I actually noticed a drop off of in energy for an hour or two after eating my carbs (just want to sleep...)... besides that it was about the same (high) as it was on low carb. My workouts were about the same... although I didn't have any issues before.

Weight: My weight went up a couple of pounds in the four weeks... probably water and statistically irrelevant but didn't get the weight loss "woosh" I was hoping for.

So bottom line (for me anyway)... I think that for whatever reason, years of SAD, pre-diabetes or simply that I am carb intolerant (I think that is it for me btw!)... the additional carbs just didn't work for me. I feel better, consistently more energized and just, well "tuned in" on a keto protocol (< 50 carbs per day). Not to mention the digestive drama that resulted in my sweet potato re-introduction. I am off the starches now (maybe forever)... who knows maybe going back into ketosis will give me that weight loss "woosh" I am looking for. Let me know if your experience is different...

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 12, 2013
at 08:36 AM

Maybe...but IBS is really just another word for .."you have a unspecified bowel issue.." and maybe, for me, it is all about poor tolerance to certain starches (wheat, corn, potatoes). Rice is not as problematic for me... let me experiment more with some Sushi! Thanks!

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 12, 2013
at 08:33 AM

Come to think of it... unplanned re-feeds with rice (sushi!) have resulted in a weight-loss kick-start a day or two later. Maybe the sweet potato isn't the starch for me.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on March 11, 2013
at 06:20 AM

# of carbs in one sitting seems to affect me as well, different from just food choices

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on March 10, 2013
at 11:58 PM

Thanks for the report. I have pretty serious insulin resistance nicely controlled by VLC, and I've been wondering how it would be to try this.

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on March 10, 2013
at 10:21 PM

This has been my approach lately and I have had success, so far. White potatoes and rice work much better for me than sweet potatoes in terms of fermentation.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2013
at 08:48 PM

Nice edit, Brian!

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 10, 2013
at 07:09 PM

Interesting... I I'm not adverse to another experiment. I am looking forward to a few weeks of ultra low carb to see what happens. Thanks!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 10, 2013
at 07:09 PM

I get bloated on tubers but not on rice, fwiw. Also, your IBS may be partly due to magnesium deficiency.

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 10, 2013
at 07:07 PM

Thanks about the rice suggestions.... I do miss sushi! I'll give it a try! Dragonfly, sorry about that. I have made some changes - hope it passes muster!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on March 10, 2013
at 05:13 PM

I wonder how your digestion would fare on white rice instead. I find sweet potato can also have that effect on me, maybe the amount of sugar in it? Whereas white rice is quite binding - I have really nice "consistency" with a 1/2 cup of rice a day.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2013
at 04:21 PM

Hi Brian~ Very interesting, but you need to turn it into a question or it will be closed. Please read the FAQs, thanks!

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on March 10, 2013
at 04:16 PM

Ya, there's enough threads here to satisfy almost anybody's requirement for debate on macronutrient ratios. Many here (including me) don't worry about these ratios much, but I think most would agree that too little protein can reduce energy, especially if we're getting older and not digesting as efficiently as we once did.

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 10, 2013
at 03:47 PM

Good question... I am sold on sticking with a 60-70 % fat based diet. Everything that I have read as well as my own personal experience leads me to believe that this approach is optimum. The authors of PHD, I will add, did surprise me in their recommendation to cut back the fat and keep the protein moderate (with the carbs of course) to achieve weight loss. Who knows.. I'm sure we could kick off a spirited thread on that topic alone. For me more good fat never equates to weight gain.

6864d23c49952605b2a97d6256af804d

(726)

on March 10, 2013
at 03:41 PM

Thanks for posting! What was the reasoning behind reducing protein intake, rather than fat?

Ed0cb30f40daff568778b776b2a5a81d

(943)

on March 10, 2013
at 03:35 PM

Very interesting read. Thank you for sharing.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 10, 2013
at 03:29 PM

Thanks for sharing! Interesting!

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7 Answers

2
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 11, 2013
at 06:05 AM

I came to Paleo 1.5 years ago because of gut issues. During that time, I've healed a great deat. I experimented and did ok in ketosis, but I'm doing best up to 75-80 gr of NET carbs per day, which is pretty low carb. I can do up to 100-120 gr without problems, however, there's a trick. If I eat all the carbs in one go (e.g. a big bowl of ice cream, or a big bowl of rice), I get sick again. But if I eat that same amount of carbs spread out through the day (giving my gut the chance to properly digest a smaller portion of these carbs), then I have no problems. So it's not a matter of "how many carbs per day" per se, but rather "how many carbs in one go".

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on March 11, 2013
at 06:20 AM

# of carbs in one sitting seems to affect me as well, different from just food choices

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2013
at 08:47 PM

After 3 months of Primal eating, I did vlc for 6 weeks and felt great once I dialed in my Magnesium. I didn't have as much juice for my 2x a week bodyweight sessions, so I knew I either needed to give vlc more time so I could adapt or I could choose to up my carbs a bit.

So I eased into 50-100 gm of carbs a day and my body likes this level; plenty of energy, good sleep, no bloating. (as long as I avoid FODMAPS!)

If I eat much more than 100 gm carbs, I get bloated and lethargic.

0
705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

on March 11, 2013
at 05:48 AM

I was able to switch from 2 months of low carb paleo to a perfect health style paleo diet with safe starches. My digestion is not 100% perfect but better than you describe. I'm still able to lose weight with starches added back in but it is slower.

The digestive problems you describe sound like a problem to me though. As far as I'm concerned, healthy people don't get explosive poop from sweet potatoes. The energy problems could be directly related to digestion, rather than an additional symptom. Is it possible that there is an IBS-type problem that low-carb is hiding?

Did you try any other "safe starches"?

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 12, 2013
at 08:36 AM

Maybe...but IBS is really just another word for .."you have a unspecified bowel issue.." and maybe, for me, it is all about poor tolerance to certain starches (wheat, corn, potatoes). Rice is not as problematic for me... let me experiment more with some Sushi! Thanks!

0
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on March 10, 2013
at 08:39 PM

Last fall I added about one serving a day of potatoes or rice. (ok, in truth my diet was sliding because hubby was cooking a lot) I did that for a couple of months. It did not go so well. My anxiety issues started to return. Thankfully, I did not get a full blown anxiety attack. My brain seems to do better in ketosis. I'm glad I did the test as I was not certain if it was gluten that was causing the anxiety or the carbs. Too bad ketosis does nothing for my weight.

0
D964a9a8eef65e10b292394f32c74e31

on March 10, 2013
at 07:47 PM

I can't comment about my experience of adding carbs back in to my diet permanently, as I'm still low carb (75 or under) and in ketosis most days. But I am also in the position of having lost a significant amount of weight and now looking to lose the last 20 lbs or so but have plateaued. I do Crossfit 3x a week, and I stumbled upon the concept of carb refeeds, and calorie refeeds which have been working for me 2x a week on heavy workout days to cut weight. You might consider something like this once a week just to reset your metabolism, and see if it works for you. I usually have a day or so of bloating from water weight but then slim back down and am back in ketosis by the second day after a refeed and see the scale drop a little bit around that time.

Although if you have issues adding in sweet potatoes, you may want to try fruit or rice instead (I have no issue with fructose but personally stay away from rice), and try eating the majority of your carbs before bed (you'll sleep better).

But I know what you mean about feeling better low carb and keto, I feel the same :)

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 12, 2013
at 08:33 AM

Come to think of it... unplanned re-feeds with rice (sushi!) have resulted in a weight-loss kick-start a day or two later. Maybe the sweet potato isn't the starch for me.

0
06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

on March 10, 2013
at 06:21 PM

I think I agree with some posters above. While I think every experience is individual I think you will find that Paul would recommend reducing fat intake and maintaining carbs and protein.I think you may have gotten the swoosh you expected if you followed that approach. Or.. maybe not. Just my thoughts.

A6abd3780d495c822d0a45c6fc2d184c

(25)

on March 10, 2013
at 07:09 PM

Interesting... I I'm not adverse to another experiment. I am looking forward to a few weeks of ultra low carb to see what happens. Thanks!

0
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on March 10, 2013
at 06:18 PM

Thanks for sharing. I have been starchy veggies free for a year now. Like you, a strict low carb Paleo diet has helped to resolve my IBS. I would like to dabble with a starchy veg in order to raise my carb intake (..I'm probably at 75 grams/day right now). I will probably dabble with something that has a high-ish glycemic value, like sticky rice or jasmine rice. Why? Because if it has a high glycemic value I believe the starch will be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and less likely to be fermented in the gut. Sweet potatoes do have a high glycemic value.

There are plenty of online resources on glycemic index. If rice doesn't suit you then you might go with little red potatoes. They have a much higher glycemic index than other potatoes (eg., Russet).

_Lazza

PS - of course if you have insulin issues then you will need to be very careful with high glycemic foods.

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on March 10, 2013
at 10:21 PM

This has been my approach lately and I have had success, so far. White potatoes and rice work much better for me than sweet potatoes in terms of fermentation.

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