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Can I up my carbs during my low carb flu?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 09, 2012 at 3:02 AM

After a couple months off the boat I'm finally pushing through those sugar cravings and getting back to low carb, but this adaption phase is....awful. I've been "Paleo" for about two years, but I'm starting to think I never went through a proper low carb flu....... When I first started out I was always liberal with nuts, startchy foods, and fruits, and then I found my way onto a LeanGains style course so every couple days there was a massive carb refeed happening.

It's been about four days since I significantly dialed down the carbs and I am getting HIT. Lack of focus doesn't begin to describe it. I feel like my usual functioning mind has been split into a 100 different pieces, and I can see all of them, but I just can't pull them together and use them. Folks, this is mental fog and fatigue bordering on causing existential crisis. Sheeesh. I'm a pretty active guy.... biking, gym, muscular build, massive amounts of mental energy expended on a daily basis... ( Usually at least. I can barely read right now. )

So my question: Do I tough it out? Collapse for a week until I can think straight? Would it be a wise idea to throw some sweet potatoes and squash into the mix here, maybe hit 100-150g of carbs a day? Or will that keep me from ever properly pushing through this and keep me in a low carb adaption limbo? Someone out there please, tell me you've been through this!

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on June 27, 2012
at 07:17 AM

@peter You're right, peter, optimal performance and just general high activity are not the same thing. But I can guarantee you that cycling and weightlifting do not require the intake of carbohydrates to sustain whilst achieving a goal such as leaning down. Competitions are a different subject entirely.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on June 27, 2012
at 07:15 AM

@peter -- powerlifting, mostly. I don't train the athletes, just coach the diet.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:01 PM

Doing something for years and optimal performance are not the same thing! How much cardio do you do Warren? As opposed to low impact exercises like weights and work? OP states that he cycles. How much riding have you done with no carbs?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:40 PM

You definitely can't adapt to low carb by eating higher carb. In addition to the great points here, you should make sure you are getting enough salt, because paradoxically, too little salt can flush out potassium.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:06 AM

Activity does not = need for carbs. How many times do I need to come on here every week and say that I workout and that I also work 9+ hours per day, 6 days a week doing very physical work on a construction site and don't need carbs? I've been doing this for years.

1e0b2f383a1487379219681eefce42e9

(0)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:43 AM

Been Paleo for two years, but only a sad shadow of it during the last couple months. Overtraining/binging/recovery cycles of sadness buddy. I figure low carb is part of the process of getting back onto a stable Paleo diet. From THERE I can ease back into experimental deviations like moderate startchy carbs.

1e0b2f383a1487379219681eefce42e9

(0)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:40 AM

Now THAT'S helpful internet advice. Thanks Naomi. Mining a bit deeper here.... You're saying I should experiment with the idea that this IS low carb flu and get through it by dropping carbs down to <50g a day or so? Okay, I can get behind a week of keto style eating and rest, but once adapted do I stay in that keto mentality or go back to taking in moderate carbs to keep up with my physical activity? I do enjoy my steak and sweet potatoes after a heavy lifting day.... On that note. At about 170lbs what's my protein target look like? I don't want to take in too much or too little.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 05:13 AM

What sports do you train athletes in Naomi?

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 05:10 AM

Thats right Naomi. Someone who is cycling and weightlifting, with a muscular build needs to eat carbs if they want to keep up their activity levels and perform at a high level.

175e3ac0acb0b87c28404c8d96d8a868

(88)

on April 09, 2012
at 04:28 AM

Activity != need for carbs...

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3 Answers

4
175e3ac0acb0b87c28404c8d96d8a868

on April 09, 2012
at 04:36 AM

I'm involved in training high-performance athletes that we push through "keto flu" in preparation for cyclic ketogenic diets designed to have them lean out to make a competition weight without losing any strength (often actually gaining strength).

Many things possible with you, here. You may not actually be in "keto flu" but actually just not be eating enough calories from fat. (Don't try to increase calories from protein, you'll just generate glucose, cause insulin spikes, and never downregulate glycolysis.)

You may need a potassium supplement to balance out the sodium you're eating.

You might benefit from supplementing with L-Glutamine, a practice I've only just heard about and need more information on. Anecdotally speaking, some people benefit.

And if you ARE in keto flu, then the first thing is, GET THROUGH IT.

And you don't get through it by eating more carbs. You get through it by toughing it out (and eating more fat and protein, but mostly more fat). Some people take longer than others, but MOST people are through it by the 5th or 6th day, and feel absolutely normal after that.

You should also dial back your activity quite a bit, because it's not helping. You're just causing your body undue stress as your metabolism shifts to fatty acids. Cortisol will absolutely get in the way of your efforts to transition smoothly.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 05:13 AM

What sports do you train athletes in Naomi?

1e0b2f383a1487379219681eefce42e9

(0)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:40 AM

Now THAT'S helpful internet advice. Thanks Naomi. Mining a bit deeper here.... You're saying I should experiment with the idea that this IS low carb flu and get through it by dropping carbs down to <50g a day or so? Okay, I can get behind a week of keto style eating and rest, but once adapted do I stay in that keto mentality or go back to taking in moderate carbs to keep up with my physical activity? I do enjoy my steak and sweet potatoes after a heavy lifting day.... On that note. At about 170lbs what's my protein target look like? I don't want to take in too much or too little.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:40 PM

You definitely can't adapt to low carb by eating higher carb. In addition to the great points here, you should make sure you are getting enough salt, because paradoxically, too little salt can flush out potassium.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on June 27, 2012
at 07:15 AM

@peter -- powerlifting, mostly. I don't train the athletes, just coach the diet.

0
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on April 16, 2012
at 08:37 PM

Your body is just adjusting to running on fat instead of carbs, it will subside, but if you increase your carb intake you will not stay in that sought after ketosis fat burn. Your body will adjust, I now alternate between periods of less than 50 grams a carbs per day cycled with 100-150ish. Once your body is fully fat adapted you will not get the carb flu

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:07 AM

"I'm a pretty active guy.... biking, gym, muscular build, massive amounts of mental energy expended on a daily basis... ( Usually at least. I can barely read right now. )"

In this case why are you going low carb? Activity = need for carbs. You have been paleo for 2 years, what has changed to make you want to go low carb?

175e3ac0acb0b87c28404c8d96d8a868

(88)

on April 09, 2012
at 04:28 AM

Activity != need for carbs...

1e0b2f383a1487379219681eefce42e9

(0)

on April 09, 2012
at 07:43 AM

Been Paleo for two years, but only a sad shadow of it during the last couple months. Overtraining/binging/recovery cycles of sadness buddy. I figure low carb is part of the process of getting back onto a stable Paleo diet. From THERE I can ease back into experimental deviations like moderate startchy carbs.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 05:10 AM

Thats right Naomi. Someone who is cycling and weightlifting, with a muscular build needs to eat carbs if they want to keep up their activity levels and perform at a high level.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:06 AM

Activity does not = need for carbs. How many times do I need to come on here every week and say that I workout and that I also work 9+ hours per day, 6 days a week doing very physical work on a construction site and don't need carbs? I've been doing this for years.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on April 09, 2012
at 11:01 PM

Doing something for years and optimal performance are not the same thing! How much cardio do you do Warren? As opposed to low impact exercises like weights and work? OP states that he cycles. How much riding have you done with no carbs?

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on June 27, 2012
at 07:17 AM

@peter You're right, peter, optimal performance and just general high activity are not the same thing. But I can guarantee you that cycling and weightlifting do not require the intake of carbohydrates to sustain whilst achieving a goal such as leaning down. Competitions are a different subject entirely.

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