3

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Fat adaptation and carbs (and performance)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 12, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Another low carb question.. I've been eating a pretty high-fat, low-carb diet on and off for a while now. I'm not sure if I'm really keto-adapted (I haven't had that weird metallic taste in my mouth for a while), but I know that carbs make me feel super crappy now. Still, every once in a while, I give in and have carbs for 1-3 days at a time. I'm assuming that this completely takes me out of the keto-adaptation phase and that I have to start all over again. But just this week, after about two days of eating really high-fat/low-carb (after a weekend of eating carbs, I felt awesome at practice - Ultimate Frisbee. I was able to do all-out sprints over and over again without getting tired. So my question is this: once you've entered ketosis or at least started keto-adaptation, does your body get more used to it even though you've had carbs? Is the process of re-adaptation faster, or do you really have to start all over again? Cause for all I know, this "feeling awesome" thing could just be in my head. Thoughts? Opinions? Facts to share? Thanks

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 14, 2012
at 07:25 PM

haha, I was wondering if anyone would catch that ;)

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on October 14, 2012
at 04:05 PM

"naturally" _______

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4 Answers

4
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on October 12, 2012
at 05:20 PM

What you want is not an either-or situation. You don't want to be a sugar burner, nor do you want to be solely keto-adapted. You want to have metabolic flexibility so you can burn what ever fuel you have available and what is the best fuel for the current situation.

As you discovered, a carb refeed helped your Ultimate game because you had more immediately available fuel for the glycolytic pathway that Ultimate hits hard. That doesn't necessarily mean that you are no longer keto-adapted. If you're downing gatorade all the time and constantly feeding yourself carbs, then yes your body will turn off the fat-burning pathway just because it has all that extra sugar it has to burn. But if you're doing a mostly high-fat diet with some type of punctuated carb loading to replete glycogen, then you get the best of both worlds.

I've become a big fan of carb-backloading. I've been doing it for years and didn't know it had a name. But is works really well for me to have my workout late in the day after work and before dinner so I'm training fasted. Then I head home, have a big dinner with lots of (paleo) carbs. I keep leaning out, gaining weight, and getting stronger and faster.

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 12, 2012
at 05:15 PM

Sounds like carb-refeeding. This is a very useful tool that provides huge benefits for some people -- http://www.marksdailyapple.com/carb-refeeding-and-weight-loss/#axzz296dBORg5

I do this naturally with a couple of beers on the weekend, but then again that's just me :)

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on October 14, 2012
at 04:05 PM

"naturally" _______

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 14, 2012
at 07:25 PM

haha, I was wondering if anyone would catch that ;)

1
F26fbc92b18f4689769d6f8746ea40f7

(334)

on October 12, 2012
at 07:30 PM

Keto-adaptation involves lots of physiological/molecular changes within your body that enable you to run on fats. That's why it takes a couple of weeks to kick in. That kind of adaptation is not lost when you carb-refeed in an acute manner. It is similar to athletic training. If you have been training consistently for a fair amount of time and you stop for a couple of days, you certainly don't lose all your fitness at once.

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 13, 2012
at 03:10 AM

The answer is I don't think anyone knows. Sissons thinks it takes a couple of days, Steve Phinney reckons you're back to square one, and have to do the whole 2-3 week adaption again.

I guess closer to the former rather than the latter. You're hearing a lot more about "low-carb" endurance runners (such as this guy), but I'm pretty sure that most of them still use carbohydrate to replace their depleted glycogen stores.

Tim Noakes, the guy who viturally "wrote the book" on carb-loading has now changed his position. This podcast is worth a listen.

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