Ketogenic v. Standard Paleo and Refeeds

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 23, 2012 at 4:31 AM

I just got through Jeff Volek and Stephen Finney's Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. It's worth the $6 Kindle price if you happen to have an e-reader: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Science-Carbohydrate-Performance/dp/0983490716

One of the things that struck me is the authors' claim that they and other athletes have maintained uninterrupted ketosis for months and even years at a time.

It seems that a lot of athletes in the paleo community (myself included) find the need for carb refeeds. I'm sure I dip into ketosis every once in a while, but the amount of veggies I consume on a regular basis (around 100g carbs) is unlikely to have me in full ketosis. I've found bi-weekly refeeds work best. When I need a refeed, I can feel it, and they do wonders for bringing recovery and energy back up to full levels.

But what of these athletes claims in the book (ultra marathoners even) that they can maintain uninterrupted ketosis for months at a time? Is there a point at which a ketogenic diet (less than 50g/day of carbs) mitigates the need for a carb refeed on a more standard paleo diet that is not as carb strict (between 50-150g/day)? What would the mechanisms be? Or is this just standard variation between individual needs?



on June 05, 2013
at 08:45 PM

It no longer works, I think this has been moved to http://jackkruse.com/forum/showthread.php?297-Fasted-State-Training-Adaptations



on August 24, 2012
at 04:50 AM

A lot of people discuss it in terms of weight loss/body building, but it comes up frequently in recovery as well: MDA touches on it here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/carb-refeeding-and-weight-loss/ (feeling sluggish, etc.)



on August 23, 2012
at 06:09 PM

I thought refeeds were for weight lifters trying to build attractive muscles. Anyway, it seems that very low carb works well for endurance athletes. They discuss this often over on Barefoot Ted's forum.

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6 Answers



on August 23, 2012
at 05:02 AM

When considering athletic performance Dr. Kruse has stated that full fat adaption may take years to accomplish.

Read this whole thread. ;)




on June 05, 2013
at 08:45 PM

It no longer works, I think this has been moved to http://jackkruse.com/forum/showthread.php?297-Fasted-State-Training-Adaptations



on June 05, 2013
at 09:15 PM

I believe athletes can, under controlled circumstances, manage refeeds without destroying ketosis. Empty glycogen stores via exercise, and the deplete muscle is ready to take up glucose, so glucose gets transported to the muscles quickly, and ketone levels can return to pre-workout levels.

Which is to say, these guys are eating enough carbs to get kicked out of the Low Carb Hezbollah, but are probably managing to stay in ketosis most of the time.

Jenny Ruhl once talked about something Dr. Bernstein mentioned- that you could get by raising you blood sugar just a little, if you felt like you were tanking during a workout, with something like 2 (or maybe 5?) grams of glucose. So, you grab a few smarties candies, and it's enough to pop up your blood sugar, but not enough to kick insulin up. So, I am sure they are probably doing something similar in race. They are depending on ketones to fuel the long run, but they know they'll need little boosts along the way.


on June 05, 2013
at 08:36 PM

The book should have made it pretty clear. It takes 2 weeks for most, sometimes 4 to 6 to become full keto adapted. From that point it is best to stay that way and endurance activities should be fine. Not only fine, but done with much less perceived exertion due to lower CO2 output.

It is not good for sprint type sports, for those you can carb up temporarily with a slow burn product like super starch - not horrible sugar based products.



on November 04, 2012
at 03:08 AM

Need re-feeds...maybe. Who are you and what is your sport? You sure as hell need them if you are a Sprinter, maybe even a BB if you really like 8-12 reps per set. On that last one maybe. Pure strength orientation or pure ultra-endurance? I don't see that you need 'em. Endurance is almost all aerobic, non-glycogen burning exercise. My personal experience on a 150g or less of protein per day and 30gm of carb is that that I can make it thru my linear progression on Strong Lifts 5x5 while in Ketosis with no problems. I might go slightly catabolic during the workout, it isn't hard to tell since instead of smelling like sweat you smell like cat pee, but that is really 1 out of 5-6 sessions and on those days I hit a bit of Whey with no carbs and I'm fine. I recover better than when I was eating yams. Mood is better too... Some people who are insulin resistant take a while to adapt and the first month might suck but I suspect you'd bounce back.



on August 23, 2012
at 05:55 AM

The mechanism might be the physiological insulin resistance that occurs in people on a very low carb diet. If you're low-ish carb then perhaps your peripheral tissues still want glucose.


on August 23, 2012
at 06:01 AM

Silly rabbit, ketosis is for Jimmy Moore!

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