28

votes

Has the carb pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 31, 2010 at 6:47 PM

It seems it's become rather common recently to insist that paleo is not, by definition, low carb. It might also be a fair generalization to say that this opinion carries with it the presumption of greater sophistication; as if when we were just beginners in the world of paleo we clung to low carb, but now that we know better we understand that the primary diet focus should be eating "real food," avoiding gluten, excessive fructose, processed foods, etc. -- and if this brings with it in general less carbohydrate intake, fine, but this does not necessitate an officially LC diet: less than 100g, less than 50g, whatever.

But, hey: whatever happened to the benefits of eating low carb? Whatever happened to "switching to a fat metabolism"?

When I eat upwards of 100g of carbohydrate (sweet potatoes included here, folks):

-- I cannot go for nearly as long without eating.

-- I cannot work out in the fasted state.

-- I do not ever feel completely full and satisfied.

-- My digestion suffers.

Now I am perfectly happy to admit: It might be the case that these limitations are the result of earlier metabolic "damage"; that had I not messed everything up in the first place I wouldn't "need" to eat low carb.

I am also happy to admit that there is a lot of individual variation on this question. Some people might get what I like to call the "Superman benefits" of paleo by simply dropping below 200g and cutting out the neolithic agents of disease. Or maybe they can do it at 300g, or 125g. To get nice and cynical, I'm sure we all know that every blogger has his or her own particular experience with paleo and then generalizes accordingly.

But is it not true that most of us will see immediate and tangible benefits from just eating meat and vegetables? Am I off my rocker here? Is it not fair to say "most"? Am I just generalizing from my experience? Is it difficult for us to generalize accurately here because each of us is often the only person we know who has gone paleo? And reading about different people's experiences online is one thing but having friends around you describing their experiences is another?

In some cases bloggers go even further and claim things like "no study has shown any benefit from dropping carbohydrate from 150g to 50g." We can note the usual qualifications about studies, but more important is that in claims like these, the bloggers go beyond "everyone should do what makes them feel good" and drift towards "low carb is bunk."

So what do you think? Isn't it time that the pendulum swing back a little bit towards low carb? And please don't say "I'm tired of the debate about carbohydrate" or "eat real food; end of discussion." I think, or I hope, that I've shown I'm aware of these possible responses and am trying to look beyond them.

B0454de6d4f4cdd9ca2e59021dc105bf

(606)

on June 26, 2011
at 12:30 AM

Let's round up all the people who say "Katavan" as if it's a trump card in the paleo vs LC debate and eat their fatty flesh.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on June 17, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Lovely post, Ambimorph. Thanks very much. :)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 24, 2011
at 05:38 AM

Thanks for the response. I remember you are my big-appetite friend from my big-appetite thread. I sort of know what you mean about the carbohydrate "sweet spot." Though currently I am experimenting with longer-term ketosis -- just so I can increase my dietary flexibility, not out of any preconceptions about the superiority of VLC. I think that the longer I eat paleo the easier it is for me to go without carbohydrate.

07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

(3162)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:30 AM

+1 - I had the hardest time getting going on my work-outs until I raised my carbs a little with starchy vegetables. I don't know how to describe it other than I feel like I have energy in my muscles now. My overall energy before was good and steady, it's not like I was crashing mid-day or anything, My body just never felt like doing anything active, even going on walks. There was always some kind of physical resistance. I also eat less and can go longer without eating now.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 20, 2011
at 01:12 AM

This question has merit. For a while last winter I had fooled myself that if prominent paleo proponents could get away with sweet potatoes, potatoes, or even larger amounts of fruit, then so could I. I was so wrong - and it took my weight back up and stalled for a while. It wasn't until I refocused on meat, veggies, and fats at 50g carbs/day or less that I started to feel sane and lose weight again. I guess I'd hate for those who are paleo-curious for weight loss reasons to get into it, not be able to lose any weight (because paleo "doesn't necessarily mean low-carb"), and give up prematurely.

6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on November 13, 2010
at 07:18 PM

I think my system is still messed up from eating gluten. I didn't figure out that I was intolerant until late 2008. My protein requirements also seem to be higher than a lot of other folks, and I suspect this is why I can't handle a lot of fiber, no matter how much water I drink.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on November 03, 2010
at 08:14 PM

Potassium or vitamin c are the two that come to mind. Not definite, or even probable, but possible when you're eating very little plant matter. If you could have a few more plants and reduce the risk, why not? Unless you're diabetic or severely insulin resistant, which is a different story.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 03, 2010
at 04:10 PM

Nutrient deficiencies were covered in this post http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthread.php?t=388843 One question is whether an all-meat diet would provide enough folate for certain populations that genetically require more. Apparently, Inuit don't require as much...

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 03, 2010
at 07:24 AM

The question still remains ?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 02, 2010
at 11:34 PM

I heard something cool on a Robb Wolf podcast once: someone who felt absolutely no desire for added carbohydrate in the meal after a serious workout, but did feel it later that night, or the following morning: a little bit of a delay. As I said, I don't really feel it at all, so we now have at least three possibilities: i. feeling it right after the workout, ii. feeling it a meal or two later, and iii. not feeling it.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 02, 2010
at 11:31 PM

@ben61820: Just saw your comment from yesterday. Sorry about that, didn't mean to imply you hadn't read the Harris, but I think there might still be some difference here. I really don't think that I feel more "pop" playing sports or lifting or running with more carb. But this might all be--once again--a matter of degree: i. you probably just exercise more than I do and ii. let's say you don't, if I increased my activity level more and more there would probably be a point at which I might finally need to up the carb intake to get the "pop."

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 02, 2010
at 11:01 PM

@sean, never grains. To add carbs i just used baked sweet potato (smaller one) right after workouts. I mean RIGHT after, like within 5 minutes of stopping my oly lift workouts. For BJJ i was using an old skool technique of just a handful of dried fruit like raisins/gojis/goldenberries/etc with a few nuts about one hour before practice. Not enough to feel it in the stomach but just enough slow-release sugar to keep me highalert fueled during practice which is an hour usually. Intense full hour but only an hour. I did however hang around for a second hour occasionally with no extra fuel though.

Df6b40dd55cf2c7e6097629b4febe4f2

(40)

on November 02, 2010
at 08:09 PM

ben, i am experiencing the same thing you are describing. i feel great on just meat and vegetables but my bjj is suffering. i tried to fix it by shoving down 4000-5000 calories daily and 100-150g of carbs from leafy greens and non-starchy non-sugary vegetables but its still taking too long to recover. If I add too many carbs, initially I feel great and performance improves but after a few days I start feeling really crummy. I am stuck in limbo. How have you added more carbs? Fruit? Starchy vegetables? Grains? Only PWO? Please give details! Thanks :)

Df6b40dd55cf2c7e6097629b4febe4f2

(40)

on November 02, 2010
at 08:07 PM

ben, i am experiencing the same thing you are describing. i feel great on just meat and vegetables but my bjj is suffering. i tried to fix it by shoving down 4000-5000 calories daily and 100-150g of carbs from leafy greens and non-starchy non-sugary fruit but its still taking too long to recover. If I add too many carbs, initially I feel great and performance improves but after a few days I start feeling really crummy. I am stuck in limbo. How have you added more carbs? Fruit? Starchy vegetables? Grains? Only PWO? Please give details! Thanks :)

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on November 02, 2010
at 06:39 PM

I am referring to vlc as <20g a day. I would consider 50g+ lc, which is about what I do.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 02, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Wild. I suspect the first *might* happen to me if I went below 20g for more than four days. The second might happen in some form in that I'd find sweet potatoes delicious, though I wouldn't overeat. But certainly the third would not happen.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 02, 2010
at 04:01 PM

Which nutrient deficiences exactly are part of the VLC (50g+) diet ?

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on November 02, 2010
at 03:46 PM

Everyone? I'm not so sure. But that's probably the best strategy for 90 percent of people, at least those damaged by the SAD

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 01, 2010
at 02:28 PM

Some peoples metabolisms are broken badly. It takes time. Each individual responds differently to very low carb. I believe the best way to fix a broken metabolism is to go very low carb for awhile then figure out your own individual diet through experimentation. High fat/low carb and moderate to high protein works great for me, but it has taken me 10 months to figure this out. Just be patient and you will find what works. I also think when you run an experiment on yourself give it at least a month. Good luck.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 01, 2010
at 02:19 PM

Still scared of fat because of CW? You aren't the only one. I kept track of my food consumption on fit day for a week. I got 70 percent of my daily calories from fat! I'm not scared. I have noticed weeks where I get less than 50 percent of my calories from fat I am much more lethargic. But everyone is different and it's up to the individual to find what works for him/her.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 01, 2010
at 02:15 PM

I think everyone needs to start vlc in order to fix the gut and then start adding back in the carbs to find your individual sweet spot.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 01, 2010
at 01:35 PM

@WCC: im very familiar with all Harris' posts, in fact when i went all-animal for the three months it was after thoroughly going over everything he wrote. I, too, don't need or advocate carb refeeding. Rather what i was referring to was the simple observation from my own experience that i felt more endurance and..."pop" during BJJ with a slightly higher carb-intake. This is all on the physical, too. Mentally i have always felt great with lowcarb, VLC, and all-animal. A clarity, you might say. Some of my observation may be due to the manner of exercise in BJJ.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

(1288)

on November 01, 2010
at 03:09 AM

I find him very interesting too - he has some very good points

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

(1288)

on November 01, 2010
at 03:08 AM

If it makes you feel any better I lost initially ( about 10 kg ) now have not lost at all for nearly 3 months - I have tried High fat no carb little protein ( 5- 10 gms ) not a nada! Dont know what to do now?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 01, 2010
at 12:11 AM

Thanks for the quote. ... Potatoes: it's not that any small amount makes me feel bad, I guess I misspoke. I just mean that I wouldn't consider a bunch of fried potatoes to be something fun to eat. Maybe a piece or two. But not a delicacy at all, when compared to something truly delicious like a slow-cooked lamb shank. Oh yeah.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on November 01, 2010
at 12:10 AM

Saw this as well. With the exception of my performance with high intensity sports, I felt best as pure carnivore

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 01, 2010
at 12:03 AM

But I do suffer to some extent when I cut out the carbs almost completely -- if I go just meat, butter, eggs, some cheese, low-carb veggies, etc., then after about three or four days I do feel slightly less energetic and begin to crave some carbohydrate. But I think that's just the liver asking to be spared the effort of creating glucose. And it doesn't take much in the way of grams of carbohydrate to rectify that situation.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:59 PM

I've never needed to increase the carb intake, even when active. Maybe not as active as a professional cyclist, but still: we're talking, say, a one-hour run (heresy!) and a one-hour weight training, both on the same day, middle of the summer. Afterwards I just eat more fat. And if you hunt through some of Dr. Harris's comments to blog entries and forum discussions, you'll see that he is the same way -- and in fact finds the whole idea of "carb refeeding" to be a little ridiculous. (I think that might be a little-known fact about KGH. Maybe he has a different view now?)

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:15 PM

I think some people can get nutrient deficiences on vlc, and you have to be careful. Some people can absolutely make it work, I won't try to dispute that, I just think you can run into trouble, especially without organ meats. And by high, I mean 100-150g, not anything ridiculous.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:04 PM

Anecdotally for India-- I'm Indian, and I've never encountered an Indian person with an acute reaction to wheat (that they vocalized). From Jared Diamond: "...the spread of cultivated emmer wheat starting in the Fertile Crescent about 8500 BCE, reaching Greece, Cyprus and India by 6500 BCE, Egypt shortly after 6000 BCE, and Germany and Spain by 5000 BCE. By 3,000 BCE, wheat had reached England, and Scandinavia." That sucks that potatoes make you feel bad :(

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 10:45 PM

Ha, I don't see eating potatoes of any kind as a "benefit," just as something that makes me feel bad. Takes all kinds ... Tangent, but relevant: I think I read somewhere that large-scale wheat consumption probably began in the middle east, and so tolerance decreases as you move north and west. How about India and South Asia? How about Africa? Are people of those ancestries better or worse with wheat than Europeans? Wouldn't we assume worse? Do we have any good information on this?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 10:34 PM

I saw the link to that earlier but just now read it. Funny how there are two unstated assumptions at work there: i. eating a low-carb diet would be an extreme measure, so ii. we would be better off looking for pills that turn these genes on and off. Funny stuff. Also I was slightly confused because I thought the "sweet sixteen" gene had something to do with literal sweetness, as in glucose, but it's just the English-language idiom, which calls youth to mind.

431274eafd914ee34d9c57262c1f617a

on October 31, 2010
at 08:42 PM

"Go higher if you can, but not too high" Keep lower the better IMHO. If you can tolerate higher levels and want to eat foods higher in carbs, go for it....but still better to limit and keep as low as possible. I feel our biggest problem is artificial, damaged, inferior "food" and eating natural is best. But, just like grass-fed is better than grain-fed, lower carb is better than higher. But yea, that's me and that's my opinion.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 08:36 PM

But I guess I was also asking about the paleosphere, something like: should we shift our emphasis slightly, "as a group"? If that makes sense.

8ea84667a7f11ac3967f2ecfcad28ad8

(641)

on October 31, 2010
at 08:22 PM

Timely! I've just been wondering along these lines myself ...

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:57 PM

Really good question! I'd love to see some good answers, but I guess the most will be about how it is a n=1 experiment, because there seems to be no real agreement, like you mentioned

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:48 PM

What's wrong with VLC?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:46 PM

By "appreciate" the benefits, I mean "fried tubers".

  • 47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

    asked by

    (9647)
  • Views
    3.6K
  • Last Activity
    1283D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

15 Answers

11
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:38 PM

Rampant speculation:

  • Most modern paleo converts are white
  • Ancient Europeans may have eaten less carbs than their equatorial brethren because of lack of fruit during the winter
  • I strongly suspect Europeans have a higher incidence of wheat intolerance
  • We paleo converts were not raised 100% paleo, and most have spent the majority of their lives eating some neolithic foods
  • Therefore there may some lingering intestinal/metabolic issues, so low carb paleo for now feels better than moderate/high carb paleo

To sum it up, I'm speculating that white people do better on low carb diets, and it might take time to completely heal the gut and metabolism fully enough to "appreciate" the benefits of moderate carb (~100 grams) paleo.

There are no sources for this, but I love seeing anecdotal evidence of how different ethnicities do with different flavors of paleo. In the one in a billion chance that a Kitavan paleohacker wants to chime in, I'm all ears :)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 10:45 PM

Ha, I don't see eating potatoes of any kind as a "benefit," just as something that makes me feel bad. Takes all kinds ... Tangent, but relevant: I think I read somewhere that large-scale wheat consumption probably began in the middle east, and so tolerance decreases as you move north and west. How about India and South Asia? How about Africa? Are people of those ancestries better or worse with wheat than Europeans? Wouldn't we assume worse? Do we have any good information on this?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:46 PM

By "appreciate" the benefits, I mean "fried tubers".

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:04 PM

Anecdotally for India-- I'm Indian, and I've never encountered an Indian person with an acute reaction to wheat (that they vocalized). From Jared Diamond: "...the spread of cultivated emmer wheat starting in the Fertile Crescent about 8500 BCE, reaching Greece, Cyprus and India by 6500 BCE, Egypt shortly after 6000 BCE, and Germany and Spain by 5000 BCE. By 3,000 BCE, wheat had reached England, and Scandinavia." That sucks that potatoes make you feel bad :(

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 01, 2010
at 12:11 AM

Thanks for the quote. ... Potatoes: it's not that any small amount makes me feel bad, I guess I misspoke. I just mean that I wouldn't consider a bunch of fried potatoes to be something fun to eat. Maybe a piece or two. But not a delicacy at all, when compared to something truly delicious like a slow-cooked lamb shank. Oh yeah.

8
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on November 01, 2010
at 04:07 AM

There are just so many benefits to a ketogenic diet, that it seems like the obvious choice to me. For example, The Ketogenic Diet: Uses in Epilepsy and Other Neurologic Illnesses talks about the evidence that a ketogenic diet may help a variety of neurological and other diseases. The Neuroprotective Properties of Calorie Restriction, the Ketogenic Diet, and Ketone Bodies shows that the benefits of calorie restriction and ketogenic diets have common mechanisms. Much research has demonstrated the power of carbohydrate restriction to overcome heart disease markers, and reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Why would anyone pass up a diet that shows so much potential for preventing the diseases and other processes associated with ageing?

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on June 17, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Lovely post, Ambimorph. Thanks very much. :)

6
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on October 31, 2010
at 09:40 PM

Carbohydrate tolerance may be an individual matter...

... but then there was this in the news last week. Cynthia Kenyon, a genetics professor at UCSF, has been able to make roundworms live up to 6 times longer by turning off a gene called "grim reaper" and turning on a gene called "sweet sixteen." The expression of both genes is linked to carbohydrates in the diet and insulin levels. Granted, she's working with roundworms, but similar genes have been found in higher animals, including humans.

I think it's telling that Professor Kenyon has cut way back on her own carbohydrate intake since her discoveries.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on November 01, 2010
at 12:10 AM

Saw this as well. With the exception of my performance with high intensity sports, I felt best as pure carnivore

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 10:34 PM

I saw the link to that earlier but just now read it. Funny how there are two unstated assumptions at work there: i. eating a low-carb diet would be an extreme measure, so ii. we would be better off looking for pills that turn these genes on and off. Funny stuff. Also I was slightly confused because I thought the "sweet sixteen" gene had something to do with literal sweetness, as in glucose, but it's just the English-language idiom, which calls youth to mind.

3
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:04 PM

I think the carb issue inside the paleo sphere really differs between two groups: people that need/want to lose weight and then a group of athletes (or at least non-overweight people) who are not looking to lose weight but rather to improve performance, extend life, etc.

Those two groups will tweak the amount of carbs within the general paleo style of living i'd say. That simple.

For example, myself: Ive never been overweight. I started paleo when i was training brazilian jiu jitsu excessively. 5-6 times a week. In the beginning it was fine. Reading more i decided to lessen and lessen my carb intake just to see how i performed, etc. Eventually culminating in a three month no-plantmaterial diet. My performance suffered.

Did i feel terrible, look terrible, etc? No. Do i believe we need plants, and by extension any certain amount of carbs? No. However, athletically i have simply found that i perform better and longer with a higher amount of carbs (still not high, we're talking maybe 100-300 gram/day range only). Further, something in the diet has to give and if i raise the carbs a good bit something has to come down so my fatintake comes down to compensate. Low fat? No way. Just that i'd rather lessen fat intake than protein.

But for people who are maybe older (i am 31), overweight, diabetic, or just looking more towards weightloss as opposed to atheltic performance I would assume that lowercarb intake within the paleo lifestyle would be more prevalent.

Most diet movements don't have this dichotomy so it may strike a lot of us as weird here. Most are simply aimed at weightloss (which i think is why Atkins gets bashed a bit).

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 01, 2010
at 12:03 AM

But I do suffer to some extent when I cut out the carbs almost completely -- if I go just meat, butter, eggs, some cheese, low-carb veggies, etc., then after about three or four days I do feel slightly less energetic and begin to crave some carbohydrate. But I think that's just the liver asking to be spared the effort of creating glucose. And it doesn't take much in the way of grams of carbohydrate to rectify that situation.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 02, 2010
at 11:31 PM

@ben61820: Just saw your comment from yesterday. Sorry about that, didn't mean to imply you hadn't read the Harris, but I think there might still be some difference here. I really don't think that I feel more "pop" playing sports or lifting or running with more carb. But this might all be--once again--a matter of degree: i. you probably just exercise more than I do and ii. let's say you don't, if I increased my activity level more and more there would probably be a point at which I might finally need to up the carb intake to get the "pop."

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 02, 2010
at 11:01 PM

@sean, never grains. To add carbs i just used baked sweet potato (smaller one) right after workouts. I mean RIGHT after, like within 5 minutes of stopping my oly lift workouts. For BJJ i was using an old skool technique of just a handful of dried fruit like raisins/gojis/goldenberries/etc with a few nuts about one hour before practice. Not enough to feel it in the stomach but just enough slow-release sugar to keep me highalert fueled during practice which is an hour usually. Intense full hour but only an hour. I did however hang around for a second hour occasionally with no extra fuel though.

Df6b40dd55cf2c7e6097629b4febe4f2

(40)

on November 02, 2010
at 08:09 PM

ben, i am experiencing the same thing you are describing. i feel great on just meat and vegetables but my bjj is suffering. i tried to fix it by shoving down 4000-5000 calories daily and 100-150g of carbs from leafy greens and non-starchy non-sugary vegetables but its still taking too long to recover. If I add too many carbs, initially I feel great and performance improves but after a few days I start feeling really crummy. I am stuck in limbo. How have you added more carbs? Fruit? Starchy vegetables? Grains? Only PWO? Please give details! Thanks :)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:59 PM

I've never needed to increase the carb intake, even when active. Maybe not as active as a professional cyclist, but still: we're talking, say, a one-hour run (heresy!) and a one-hour weight training, both on the same day, middle of the summer. Afterwards I just eat more fat. And if you hunt through some of Dr. Harris's comments to blog entries and forum discussions, you'll see that he is the same way -- and in fact finds the whole idea of "carb refeeding" to be a little ridiculous. (I think that might be a little-known fact about KGH. Maybe he has a different view now?)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 01, 2010
at 01:35 PM

@WCC: im very familiar with all Harris' posts, in fact when i went all-animal for the three months it was after thoroughly going over everything he wrote. I, too, don't need or advocate carb refeeding. Rather what i was referring to was the simple observation from my own experience that i felt more endurance and..."pop" during BJJ with a slightly higher carb-intake. This is all on the physical, too. Mentally i have always felt great with lowcarb, VLC, and all-animal. A clarity, you might say. Some of my observation may be due to the manner of exercise in BJJ.

Df6b40dd55cf2c7e6097629b4febe4f2

(40)

on November 02, 2010
at 08:07 PM

ben, i am experiencing the same thing you are describing. i feel great on just meat and vegetables but my bjj is suffering. i tried to fix it by shoving down 4000-5000 calories daily and 100-150g of carbs from leafy greens and non-starchy non-sugary fruit but its still taking too long to recover. If I add too many carbs, initially I feel great and performance improves but after a few days I start feeling really crummy. I am stuck in limbo. How have you added more carbs? Fruit? Starchy vegetables? Grains? Only PWO? Please give details! Thanks :)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 02, 2010
at 11:34 PM

I heard something cool on a Robb Wolf podcast once: someone who felt absolutely no desire for added carbohydrate in the meal after a serious workout, but did feel it later that night, or the following morning: a little bit of a delay. As I said, I don't really feel it at all, so we now have at least three possibilities: i. feeling it right after the workout, ii. feeling it a meal or two later, and iii. not feeling it.

1
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on March 22, 2011
at 01:57 AM

What I want to know is when did 'low-carb' come to mean '50g or less' (ketosis)? Whether your diet defined as very low, low, moderate, or high in carbs has to do with the proportions of macronutrient calories you are eating as far as I am concerned (internet seems to agree). I eat about 150g of carbs most days, but considering I eat 3000+ calories per day mostly from fat, it's really not much carbohydrate compared to someone eating, say, 1700 calories per day and 150g carbs.

It should be a personal thing and everyone should experiment to see what best works for them. Overall, I didn't feel my best while in ketosis (it helped some issues a lot but hurt others). I tried it for 6 months, I simply feel better with higher carbohydrate intake. Plus it's helping me meet some goals. I am not in this for weight loss - I want to build mass and get stronger. I wasn't finding that easy in ketosis.

On VLC:

*I have decreased stamina (I can't work out fasted either way, fasting destroys me - I usually work out in the morning just on heavy cream though, and feel great).

*I get some reflux. Only ever had this on VLC, grains give me digestive issues too but different ones.

*Increased appetite, only satiated by more carbs. Can eat veg and protein until my stomach is distended, and still feel hungry until I get at least a couple bites of sugars.

*Weight gain is harder. I need muscle AND fat (and already too lean). Oddly muscle gain seems to be easier since adding more carbs, too. Could just be I feel better and am able to work out more.

Now, it is absolutely necessary for me to practice moderation in my carbohydrate intake. Not too much total, absolutely NOT TO MUCH AT ONE TIME, and less if I'm not burning some of it off with exercise! Thankfully on inactive days, I don't even tend to have a taste for carbs. If I break my rules, my blood sugar starts to go nutso (I am mildly hypoglycemic), my energy levels suffer, and depending on what I am cheating with I can start to feel sickly all over again. It's a delicate balance but I've found my sweet spot I think.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 24, 2011
at 05:38 AM

Thanks for the response. I remember you are my big-appetite friend from my big-appetite thread. I sort of know what you mean about the carbohydrate "sweet spot." Though currently I am experimenting with longer-term ketosis -- just so I can increase my dietary flexibility, not out of any preconceptions about the superiority of VLC. I think that the longer I eat paleo the easier it is for me to go without carbohydrate.

1
6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on November 02, 2010
at 03:30 PM

OK, here's a weird one for you. If I eat below 75g of carb or so:

  • I can't do fasted workouts, especially not early in the morning

  • I overeat. I actually find sweet
    potatoes, carrots, etc to be filling

  • My digestion suffers. I don't do
    well on tons of green veggies, which I WILL eat if I'm eating low carb.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 02, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Wild. I suspect the first *might* happen to me if I went below 20g for more than four days. The second might happen in some form in that I'd find sweet potatoes delicious, though I wouldn't overeat. But certainly the third would not happen.

6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on November 13, 2010
at 07:18 PM

I think my system is still messed up from eating gluten. I didn't figure out that I was intolerant until late 2008. My protein requirements also seem to be higher than a lot of other folks, and I suspect this is why I can't handle a lot of fiber, no matter how much water I drink.

07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

(3162)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:30 AM

+1 - I had the hardest time getting going on my work-outs until I raised my carbs a little with starchy vegetables. I don't know how to describe it other than I feel like I have energy in my muscles now. My overall energy before was good and steady, it's not like I was crashing mid-day or anything, My body just never felt like doing anything active, even going on walks. There was always some kind of physical resistance. I also eat less and can go longer without eating now.

1
33ab3c085652a0cfbd7ab15c049afd1f

on October 31, 2010
at 09:43 PM

I've been listening to a lot of ROn Rosedals' stuff here.

I think he makes a lot of great points that we need to look deeper than simply the anthropological menus of early man. He thinks we need to study nature and evolution itself to determine the best diet. According to him the diet that most likely promotes longevity is a low carb, moderate protein (like no more than 50g a day) and high fat diet.

Take a listen - it's really interesting I think.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

(1288)

on November 01, 2010
at 03:09 AM

I find him very interesting too - he has some very good points

0
07c86972a3bea0b0dc17752e9d2f5642

on March 20, 2011
at 02:13 AM

Like most people have said, I think it's a personal thing and possibly gender and ethnicity play into it as well. Since adding white potatoes (and a little white rice once in awhile for variety) and eating lots more squash and carrots in place of green vegetables, my energy is way better. I feel strength in my body that hasn't been there in awhile. I can do all the things in my workouts that I want to, and I am less hungry and most importantly, I don't crave nuts, fruit and chocolate like I used to. I haven't gained any weight or gone all carb crazy either. I probably went from about 50 carbs a day to around 90. I think that's probably still "low carb" by most standards, but it was the evil insulin-spiking starch that made the difference for me. I felt pretty good without the starch, but now I just feel amazing.

0
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on March 20, 2011
at 12:36 AM

Low carb isn't and never was NO carb. I eat more vegetables then most vegetarains and guess what- they have carbs. It is Low carbs, high fat, not all fat no carbs.

0
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:15 PM

I am VLC between 20-30 carbs per day. Still not losing. Thinking that it is some hormonal issue that needs to be dealt with, because I am also eating less than 1500 cals per day and very active. If I eat more than that in carbs, I gain. Everyone is different.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 01, 2010
at 02:28 PM

Some peoples metabolisms are broken badly. It takes time. Each individual responds differently to very low carb. I believe the best way to fix a broken metabolism is to go very low carb for awhile then figure out your own individual diet through experimentation. High fat/low carb and moderate to high protein works great for me, but it has taken me 10 months to figure this out. Just be patient and you will find what works. I also think when you run an experiment on yourself give it at least a month. Good luck.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

(1288)

on November 01, 2010
at 03:08 AM

If it makes you feel any better I lost initially ( about 10 kg ) now have not lost at all for nearly 3 months - I have tried High fat no carb little protein ( 5- 10 gms ) not a nada! Dont know what to do now?

0
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 31, 2010
at 09:31 PM

I personally don't digest "excessive" (at least what non-Paleoers would consider) amounts of fat and thus have to turn to more carbohydrates in the form of some fruit and pumpkin. I can tell when I've overwhelmed my system with fat, especially an overindulgence in coconut oil. I do have to be careful and stick to the carbs that won't set me off. If I feel like I'm going down a binge road, I go ahead and find some avocado or other fat that I know will blunt that feeling.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 01, 2010
at 02:19 PM

Still scared of fat because of CW? You aren't the only one. I kept track of my food consumption on fit day for a week. I got 70 percent of my daily calories from fat! I'm not scared. I have noticed weeks where I get less than 50 percent of my calories from fat I am much more lethargic. But everyone is different and it's up to the individual to find what works for him/her.

0
154bf5c84f7bd9f52b361b45d05dbc3a

(1215)

on October 31, 2010
at 08:52 PM

I found I just lost too much weight with too low carbs, so I've recently added white potatoes back into my diet. So I eat quite a lot of carbs.

I haven't noticed any differences in terms of energy levels which was the reason I got into paleo in the first place.

0
431274eafd914ee34d9c57262c1f617a

on October 31, 2010
at 08:38 PM

I do much better with lower carbs, although I have added back a few foods (veggies/fruits) I wouldn't touch a year ago, I still only have them once in a while and always as part of a meal with lots of fat and protein.

I'm still in loosing mode, and suspect I'll probably be able to increase carb intake for maintenance, but still will keep on the low side. Most of the fruits/veggies I like are lower carb and I get almost all my carbs from fruits/veggies.

0
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:23 PM

I think it's a personal thing. Go higher if you want to, but not too high. And I wouldn't say go vlc, for most people at least. The best thing about paleo is that it's flexible. Your diet can be completely different from someone elses interpretation, and still be healthy and paleo.

431274eafd914ee34d9c57262c1f617a

on October 31, 2010
at 08:42 PM

"Go higher if you can, but not too high" Keep lower the better IMHO. If you can tolerate higher levels and want to eat foods higher in carbs, go for it....but still better to limit and keep as low as possible. I feel our biggest problem is artificial, damaged, inferior "food" and eating natural is best. But, just like grass-fed is better than grain-fed, lower carb is better than higher. But yea, that's me and that's my opinion.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on November 02, 2010
at 06:39 PM

I am referring to vlc as <20g a day. I would consider 50g+ lc, which is about what I do.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on November 03, 2010
at 08:14 PM

Potassium or vitamin c are the two that come to mind. Not definite, or even probable, but possible when you're eating very little plant matter. If you could have a few more plants and reduce the risk, why not? Unless you're diabetic or severely insulin resistant, which is a different story.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on October 31, 2010
at 11:15 PM

I think some people can get nutrient deficiences on vlc, and you have to be careful. Some people can absolutely make it work, I won't try to dispute that, I just think you can run into trouble, especially without organ meats. And by high, I mean 100-150g, not anything ridiculous.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 01, 2010
at 02:15 PM

I think everyone needs to start vlc in order to fix the gut and then start adding back in the carbs to find your individual sweet spot.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on October 31, 2010
at 07:48 PM

What's wrong with VLC?

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on November 02, 2010
at 03:46 PM

Everyone? I'm not so sure. But that's probably the best strategy for 90 percent of people, at least those damaged by the SAD

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 03, 2010
at 07:24 AM

The question still remains ?

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 02, 2010
at 04:01 PM

Which nutrient deficiences exactly are part of the VLC (50g+) diet ?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 03, 2010
at 04:10 PM

Nutrient deficiencies were covered in this post http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthread.php?t=388843 One question is whether an all-meat diet would provide enough folate for certain populations that genetically require more. Apparently, Inuit don't require as much...

0
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on October 31, 2010
at 06:59 PM

For me I need higher carbs to feel right, too low for too many days and I just don't feel quite right. One of the people I live with needs about the same, one less. We deal with it by eating more fruit and giving him more meat.

I think it is really a personal thing that is best played with, it is interesting that in our house it seems to break down along gender lines.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!