I wonder if anyone can figure out what I'm doing wrong.
As much as I believe in the paleo way of eating, I seem to keep meeting the same hurdles early on.
So last week I removed all gluten and sugar, as well as all grains except a little bit of rice. I had potatoes some days because I didn't want to go too low carb. And I had a moderate amount of fruit, but not too much. Loads of fat and protein.
I seemed to be getting it right because before long I started feeling FANTASTIC in the morning upon waking up, and already seem to have larger stores of energy throughout the day, but I just don't seem to have enough energy to accommodate my active habits: I cycle a lot and play football. Last night at football I could barely run, so low was my energy. I can usually run around for hours.
So should I just be increasing my carbohydrate intake to compensate for cutting out bread and stuff? I'm kind of reluctant to eat more fruit because I don't want too much sugar. Will the higher-carb vegetables sort me out? Should I be eating more rice and potatoes? Or do I just need to hold out until my body adjusts?
How do other active people support their lifestyle without breaking too many rules?
asked bywaldenpond (25)
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on February 25, 2014
at 01:07 AM
Ultimately, if you want to run around for hours chasing a ball, you will have to eat carbs. But you will find that once adapted you need less carbs than before. Not are how to advise you further since in my experience some of the "wrong" carbs give you the most energy (wheat, oats). I do not think rice and potatoes are all that great in this respect. Bananas are good, as are dried fruits in moderation. You can try coconut, it can not hurt and you will go back to real carbs if that does not work.
on February 24, 2014
at 05:29 PM
Some great advice guys, thank you! Since I'm going to continue to be active for the near future, I think what I'll do is maybe up my carb intake a wee bit, but particularly in the run-up to intense activity (I'll definitely try eating a banana before football, as suggested) and see how that goes. I can slowly reduce it if it seems not to drain my energy to much. I've been wondering whether one can still burn fat PRIMARILY if carb consumption is still moderate-high, or whether you have to be VLC to get keto, but I'll look through previous posts, as well as the stuff you guys have suggested, and see what I can find. Thanks again!
on February 24, 2014
at 01:09 PM
If you want to perform as best you can at football and glycolytic activity generally, I hold the view (as do many athletes pro and otherwise) that eating carbs is necessary. Volek and Phinney talking about ultramarathonners, and becoming 'fat adapted' to become more 'metabolically flexible' in short and long term is one thing, but eating for purposes of fuelling peak performance is another.
In my experience soccer performance and glycolytic activies in general tanked when I was eating a high fat diet. Sometimes when getting outsprinted by some people, I knew there was something wrong... Stubbornly persisted for a while as head was turned by low carb arugments (and, sometimes, dogma). However, eventually I came to my critical senses (or, changed my view...), amongst other things, and worked with carbs.
I suggest you find what works for you with carbs... Eating in hours before, after intense, prolonged activity, and or 'carb loading'/keeping glycogen levels high or generally able to be topped up easily in broader periods could be an option (and to do that requires insulin sensitity, intense and prolonged training, which the carbs themselves will fuel...). Higher carbs diet in general also an option - doable with potatoes rice as you suggest I think, but also other starchy veg, nuts as well as pumpkins, beets/beetroots and carrots are fairly high in sugars and have some great properties, esp the former (though naturally have different levels of energy density...). Bananas, great and cheap where I am (and in so many places...)
As the muscles are being frequently used and in intense ways and fuelled by carbs, the body will get the message to maintain glycogen levels and expand the stores so that ready energy is on call... The HII type Training will likely increase your insulin sensitivity and health markers more broadly might improve... Seeking performance and better health in this sense can go hand in hand*... You do not need to eat low carb to be healthy (although it might help you).
Ultimately if performing at your usual level (or a higher level) is a priority, I suggest that it's good idea to save dietary experimentation/trying blanket higher fat eating for the off season, and eat adequate amounts of carbohydrates to fuel your training and playing in the meantime. This could be in various ways - find what works for you...
Perhaps if you are intererested in fuelling activity with carbs but otherwise eating at a lower than normal carb level (for most ppl in population that is) you can research a phrase like 'carb cycling' and or articles by someone like Anthony Colpo (eg: http://anthonycolpo.com/why-low-carb-diets-are-terrible-for-athletes-part-1/ ) Needless to say if you've read this post, I hold a view similar to Colpo's on this topic/agree with much that he says some of his pieces... However I encourage you to research broadly, think critically and continue trying to see what works for you. I see the answers here are and will be different so that's great, you can consider as you will...
Good luck and take care...
* Note that achieving optimal performance isn't necessary analogous to seeking overall health (although it might be...)
on February 24, 2014
at 11:59 AM
Simple answer - fat adaption.
It takes 2-4 weeks to adapt metabolically to using fats instead of carbs for energy. It might be longer if your maintaining moderate carb (which I also do, although I don't eat rice, that stuff tastes like fluffy iron filings :P).
Basically all those years of eating carbs has geared your body to burning carbs more than fats. I was once told that there are over a thousand epigentic changes in a ketogenic diet (even more fat oriented diet). They also call this "carb flu"; there are extensive writings on this topic of fat adaption.
Basically my advice would be, keep doing what you are doing for say, 4-6 weeks to see if it improves. Coconut oil can boost fat adaption rates, so thats defo worth throwing in (and make sure your fat is adequete to make up for the lost carbs too, none of this lean chicken and fat stripped tuna BS! thats the road to rabbit starvation, and kidney stress).
Myself, I never had carb flu, but thats because I went like this -> Several weeks near starvation from illness, low carb/HF, medium carb/high fat. My body was in fat burning mode when I started the diet.
If your doing the odd potato, little rice, and a bit of fruit, that, once adapted, this is not going to cause an energy issue IMO. Moderate carb or 100-200 carb grams per day, which you will be in for sure, is plenty of carb energy for even very active anarobic lifetsyles, so basically for anyone.
Honestly search paleo fat adaption, or carb flu, you'll find a bundle of stuff. Hope this helps. Add some coconut oil. Make sure the fats are there in your diet. Throw in some intermittant fasting if you like. Good luck! (Your rugby will pick up in time)
on February 24, 2014
at 11:18 AM
Eat more food (heavier on the fats) and make sure your electrolytes are there. I find there's a lack of salt on this diet if you're not salting your food or drinking spring water. Magnesium is good stuff if you're running around all day.
In the beginning, you're just getting used to burning fats for energy. The easy road is to add more frequent meals with more rice and potatoes and slow that metabolic adaptation process. I started out with that approach then very slowly over the past year or so I've lost my superstitions against high amounts of fats / salt / cholesterol allowing me to push through into VLC territory.
When I first started out, I noticed a similar pattern of it working great with lots of energy for a few days when I tried LC, then it getting hypothyroid feeling where I would start to convince myself that I was better off with more carbs, as they didn't seem to cause me too much harm and switching away from junk food was already such a huge improvement in my diet. I wasn't trying to lose weight, so I didn't see the need to run on fat burning. I would then add exercise and more food (carbs) which patched the symptoms. This works, but, I wasn't moving forward. Eating more fats allowed me to push forward.