14

votes

Sport and Starches - Does anyone do Paleo/Primal like me?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I've been doing Paleo/Primal for about a year now with good overall results. Body composition has improved drastically and I feel great in general. However, not everything has been smooth in terms of athletic performance which caused me to go against one of the paleo rules and add considerable amounts of starches to my diet.

Basically, my eating since the beginning has been very clean (well over 90% compliance). I started with lots of meat, fish, good oils and vegetables (and the occasional bit of full fat cream and cheese). Carbs were limited to veggies and some fruit maybe twice a week. Within months I had leaned down considerably to sub 10% BF at 5'10" and around 185lbs with minimal, if any, lean tissue loss. I felt quite good in my day to day activities but I was noticing greatly reduced athletic performance.

I play a fair bit of ice hockey and even though I thought I felt ok when I got on the ice, my numbers dropped considerably. It seemed in my case that the paleo diet just couldn't keep up with serious anaerobic activity. It wasn't a drastic drop in performance mind you, but I always felt that mentally I was a bit slower at reading the play than I had been before and maybe one step behind where I used to be. Battles for the puck that I used to win the majority of the time I was now losing. Maybe I was 10% or 20% off my peak but as anyone who plays sports knows that is a HUGE amount and is the difference between being an average player on your team and being an elite one. Especially in hockey where "speed kills", to not have that extra little bit I needed to chase down a puck or pull away from someone like I used to was very frustrating. I mean, I felt fine, but when I needed that push it just wasn't there.

So a few months ago I started to experiment. I decided to add in more starches in the form of yams, sweet potatoes, and some squashes. I tried taking them in the day before a game, the day of, just after, and all sorts of combinations. Things improved somewhat, but nowhere close to where I was before on my more or less SAD diet.

Finally over the last month I decided that body composition be damned, I was going to make whatever adjustments were needed to increase performance. So I went crazy with yams and sweet potatoes and other starches. I have no real idea how many I eat a day because I never count anything but I was eating them in every meal in whatever quantity I wanted. Some days I probably had one, other days four or more. I just went with my body and ate them at every meal until I didn't want any more.

So what happened? Well, performance went through the roof! I have better stats in all the training I do and although my sample size for game performance is small it looks MUCH better. I've also noticed that I heal remarkably fast in comparison. One thing I had seen before was that deep bruises from blocking pucks were taking much longer to heal than on SAD. I found this odd but chalked it up to just getting a bit older. Now I'm seeing my healing rate pretty much doubled (I block a lot of pucks and have an astonishing number of samples for this).

Last interesting thing? My body did not go back to carrying more fat as I expected. In fact, I've leaned out a bit more than before following the last two-three months on high starch. Unexpected, but a nice bonus.

So now that everyone has my life story I'm wondering, has anyone had a similar experience? I see the occasional item from someone working out hard who eats some starch post-workout but I have yet to hear from anyone who really ups their starch at all times. Perhaps there are other people who play sports that have a strong anaerobic element (football, rugby, etc) that have found the typical Paleo/Primal solution lacking and have had similar experiences?

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Exactly why I wanted to post this. I know for people who are metabolically damaged that it may make sense to restrict starches, but I think the "carb-phobia" I see here (and elsewhere in the Paleo community) sometimes goes too far. I think the key as you say is to limit/eliminate toxins, then work from there. So excess fructose, seed oils and likely gluten grains go, but something like the wonderful sweet potato surely has it's place even in large quantities if you so desire.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 20, 2011
at 05:59 PM

Hey Todd, my digestive system is slowly getting better. At first I seemed to react to the starch but now I could eat it with no problems.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 14, 2011
at 12:44 PM

@Todd, i think thats just an adjustment period I did over 3 months of only animal products and after that i had a real fear over digesting even benign things like lettuce. But no worries, it all comes back. We're strong like that. Starch is similar to those lighter veg I'd say - at first you may think you can't handle it and maybe have some gas, etc but your body will quickly adapt. I will note that white potatoes do seem to me to be the absolute easiest to digest: no gas, no bloat, nothing. I'd also definitely rec eating kimchi or sauer kraut every night with dinner. helps a LOT.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 14, 2011
at 05:44 AM

Hey ROB - I have been searching through a lot of Leaky Gut questions trying to figure out the best way to identify, heal, and most importantly, know it's healed. It sounded like you had a lot of issues with starch and your soccer performance was lacking. I too play a lot of soccer and have recently upped my starch. I feel better physically, but my guts disagree. How is your progress?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 14, 2011
at 05:43 AM

Thanks Ben. It works, and my energy is up, no increase in BF that I can see. My stomach doesn't seem to like it... Gas, constipation. This sucks.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 12, 2011
at 01:56 PM

Todd, i just go the most basic: rice in pot, enough water so that it rises above the rice to the first joint in my index finger, boil. There's prolly more clearly expressed instructions but once you get the hang of it its seriously easy, turn-off-your-brain-level cooking:)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 12, 2011
at 02:54 AM

yes......the group in Boston and Mt Sinai show this too. Both very consistent. PAul Jaminet just wrote about this after reading my posts about longevity on FB.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 12, 2011
at 12:45 AM

It would be nice if more of the books and programs made the distinction between glucose and frustose and used it in their recommendations. Perhaps that is the next wave of this "movement"? I wish someone would come out with a book specifically for those who aren't metabolically damaged and want elite performance in a variety of activities (not just endurance like Cordain's book) so people like me wouldn't go down the wrong path. I know weight loss is generally where the money is, but there seems to be a lot of us out here who don't like the VLC zombie state and want to actually PERFORM!

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 12, 2011
at 12:34 AM

Same here. Glad we finally kicked the habit and got on the path to better performance. Before I made a habit of having lots of veggies in every meal just to try and up my carbohydrate intake some. Now I just go with whatever I feel like which means a number of meals without any vegetable content, almost all meals with starch. Mood has improved, performance markers have improved, and no negatives seen so far.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 12, 2011
at 12:29 AM

I just play for fun - no delusions of going pro anytime soon. But I still try to train fairly hard for my sport. I usually do brief HIIT sessions on a stationary bike two to three times a week. Anaerobic conditioning of 1min on / 1 min off and some lactic acid tolerance training of 30sec/30sec as well. Occassional aerobic system training as well. When I was doing it before, pre-starch, I could get decent results and intensity but the biggest problem area was recovery. My muscles would be sore for days! Now, just like the bruises I mentioned above, my body recovers much quicker.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 11, 2011
at 10:53 PM

This was a mistake I made when first attempting paleo. I ate a ton of veggies to reach a certain amount of carbs and felt terrible due to all the fiber I was taking in.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on May 11, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Also for the super centenarian group, is not TC 250 to 300 and LDL in the 200s range also positive for this group...as well as. I guess, all groups? As long as it is mostly pattern A? http://www.kbtx.com/health/headlines/Bad_Cholesterol_Not_As_Bad_As_People_Think_Shows_Texas_AM_Study_121274804.html?storySection=story

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on May 11, 2011
at 09:29 PM

Also for the super centenarian group, is not TC 250 to 300 and LDL in the 200s range also positive for this group...as well as. I guess, all groups? As long as it is mostly pattern A?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 11, 2011
at 08:30 PM

The super centenarian groups even show that those who run a slightly higher BMI have longevity epigenetically dialed in. So what we really believe and what is reality about exercise is clearly unresolved.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 11, 2011
at 08:28 PM

actually Ben this is the focus on my future blog. The question remians unanswered. I think exercise is totally hormetic and what constitutes excess is totally different for every person. If you run a high cortisol and high insulin level you are the most likely person to die early of performance is key to your life. See Lance Armstrong, Grete Waitz, Bill Schroeder etc......IF your a weekend warrior and cross fitter your probably OK. My cut off is 120-150 minutes of heavy working out per week. Once you pass that threshold that is where the science gets interesting.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Love the idea of this for the future, I would love to be able to eat more carbs without worry and it seems there is the possibility once I reach my 'leaning' goal. Almost there and glad to hear I have something to look forward to experimenting with! great question!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:11 PM

Yeah, I use chin-up number as a barometer and I'm only now getting back to where I was pre-LC. It went from 16 down to 12 and I did 15 a minute ago. It takes some serious suspension of disbelief to continue on a particular path if you feel worse and your performance suffers.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:02 PM

Yes, before I got over the starch "boogie man" issue, I felt like a zombie walking around. Now, since I've added starch back in, I feel a great deal better and my sports performance is through the roof.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Well wrritten question.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:26 PM

And this, too. John Maynard Keynes: "In the long run we are all dead."

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:56 PM

Awesome question

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:55 PM

I've also noticed very similar results. After dropping 30lbs on VLC (with very diminished athletic and lifting performance) I've begun adding starch. I too thought, well maybe body composition isnt so bad, but low and behold, its done nothing but get better. I play indoor soccer at a high level 4 times a week and lift heavy 2-3 times a week. I haven't tried white rice yet, but I want to. Any recommendations? I assume the instant stuff is bad? How about Basmati? Any ways to prep you would recommend? Thanks :)

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on May 11, 2011
at 03:29 PM

Kudos for the anecdotes guys. I've been considering upping my starch intake after noticing a drop in performance when running/cycling.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Agree with primalGC. Its a false dichotomy. Indeed extreme athletes who are paid to beat their bodies but perform super well will indeed have shorter life spans. But that doesn't mean eating any carb to fuel glucose burn for some performance when we decide to lift heavy things, etc is going to make us live a lot shorter. You can have the best of both worlds, it just means not doing either to extreme. Nothing is black and white and I don't understand why so any people HAVE to view everything as EITHER/OR. Enjoy and use carbs wisely, enjoy and use fat wisely; live strong and hard AND long.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:33 PM

Interesting point. I know that truly elite athletes tend to have shorter lifespans for the reasons you mentioned amongst others. I wonder though, since I'm not truly an elite athlete training every day but more of a weekend warrior who trains occasionally, would there really be that much of a trade-off in performance/longevity? I think I would rather burn brighter but not as long, but my guess is I can get an excellent boost to performance with starches and a minimal hit to longevity compared to someone who pushes their body to an extreme every day. That trade-off would be worth it, IMO.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:27 PM

Totally agree on white rice and the people that have historically eaten it. I didn't want to mention it above because I didn't want to blur the lines too much and because the vast majority of my starches are from sweet potatoes/yams (just more nutritionally dense) but I've also experienced good performances on white rice. It makes me kind of sad to think of the people who are scared of rice or potatoes as "bad carbs" (hey, I was there for a bit too) when I consider how much better my body runs now.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:23 PM

Yup, just loads of sweet potatoes and yams for the most part. I love sushi so there's white rice in there too and the occasional normal potato but for the most part it's nutrient-dense starches all the way.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Thanks for the link. Kurt Harris' blog is fantastic and I think I've read almost every post. As I mentioned in another comment, I was hesitant initially to add starches because I was having excellent body composition changes with a lower-carb approach. Once I decided that I had enough of lowered athletic performance however, blogs like Harris' sent me in the right direction and then I just tinkered until I settled on going all-out with starches at any time.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:17 PM

word up. I'd even go as far as white rice for that whack of carbs. The night before a big lift I'll do a good bowl of white rice. Like you say though, its because I'm fit, active, metabolically solid, etc. A normal human being, in other words. Which btw is the reason i believe all the rice cultures have healthy people. East and southeast asia i mean. Most of those cultures up until being inundated with western fakefood did just fine with white rice. Prolly cuz they weren't metabolically effed up like our food tends to do to people. Know what I mean?

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:07 PM

I just wish I wasn't so hesitant to try introducing more starches early on. I wanted to stick to the plan and the body composition improvements were enough to keep me on track. If I had known that I could eat high starch and STILL have body composition improvements I would have done it day one.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:05 PM

Ha. I've been trying to avoid mentioning Kitavans because I know how that sometimes goes over in these parts, but yeah, I suppose us high glucose consuming athletes are.

451114d9ae1e0f9e1a028cce5538e790

(226)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:02 PM

I think you may be on to something. As long as you aren't eating grains and legumes, you're probably safer than otherwise. The Harris link below has a TON of good info on this.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:00 PM

yeah Chris Kresser also mentions white rice being fine now and again

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:50 PM

Yeah I felt the exact same way. I thought to myself that I felt good and running on fat wasn't as bad as some people said, but when I upped my starch intake I noticed a huge improvement in my athletic ability.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:47 PM

Advocating "good carbohydrates" in the form of safe starches has been gaining a lot of traction. I first heard about this from the perfecthealthdiet.com

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:41 PM

Cool. Funny thing - I thought I felt great before, but I didn't know what great really felt like until I upped the starches beyond simple post workout meals. My thinking before was always that even though my body can run without glucose by converting fat, such a conversion was never going to be optimal. Now I know, at least in my little n=1 experiment, that it is absolutely true.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:17 PM

Just to follow up on that due to post length limitations, I should mention that my current research seems to suggest that the real culprits are excessive fructose (not scared of fructose or fruit, just excessive amounts) and refined carbs. My thinking is that as long as a person is metabolically healthy starches are probably far less of a problem than some make them out to be, even in larger amounts.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:59 PM

Ah, interesting that you mention that book. Early on in my Paleo journey I was considering picking it up, but then I found out it was really The Paleo Diet for Endurance Athletes so I passed. I find my results are causing me to question some things, like the price of eating carbohydrate you mention. Surely some carbs cause damage, but do they all? A lot of my reading seems to suggest that starches (excluding potatoes if you have an auto-immune issue) may not bring some of the adverse effects the Paleo community has associated with them (insulin resistance, leptin issues, etc). Hmm...

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:27 PM

Thanks for the comment. I agree that low-carb really hurts performance in highly glycolytic, anaerobic sports. When I first started and was trying to avoid starches I had an extremely high vegetable intake to try and make sure my glycogen stores were full. It seems you can't consume enough to keep up though. As mentioned, I also tried a variety of eating methods to gauge performance changes. I tried PWO only and while markers improved it was limited. I've also tried cycling carbs in a similar fashion to yourself with mixed results. Only regular starches took it over the top.

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11 Answers

10
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:45 PM

Im with you 100%. Indeed whats new is old - Cordain's book, etc. And of course the whole idea of paleo, per se, is NOT low-carb by default. In my mind its always simply been about eating things that do not hurt us. Within those parameters one is free to tinker with the macros as they see fit.

I like your question because it brings me back to the start of paleo, and especially this site, when it seemed a lot more athletes (or at least athletic-performance-minded people) were in the scene and everything wasn't so weight-loss-based. There was less carb-phobia I feel.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Exactly why I wanted to post this. I know for people who are metabolically damaged that it may make sense to restrict starches, but I think the "carb-phobia" I see here (and elsewhere in the Paleo community) sometimes goes too far. I think the key as you say is to limit/eliminate toxins, then work from there. So excess fructose, seed oils and likely gluten grains go, but something like the wonderful sweet potato surely has it's place even in large quantities if you so desire.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:55 PM

I've also noticed very similar results. After dropping 30lbs on VLC (with very diminished athletic and lifting performance) I've begun adding starch. I too thought, well maybe body composition isnt so bad, but low and behold, its done nothing but get better. I play indoor soccer at a high level 4 times a week and lift heavy 2-3 times a week. I haven't tried white rice yet, but I want to. Any recommendations? I assume the instant stuff is bad? How about Basmati? Any ways to prep you would recommend? Thanks :)

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:27 PM

Totally agree on white rice and the people that have historically eaten it. I didn't want to mention it above because I didn't want to blur the lines too much and because the vast majority of my starches are from sweet potatoes/yams (just more nutritionally dense) but I've also experienced good performances on white rice. It makes me kind of sad to think of the people who are scared of rice or potatoes as "bad carbs" (hey, I was there for a bit too) when I consider how much better my body runs now.

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe

on May 11, 2011
at 03:29 PM

Kudos for the anecdotes guys. I've been considering upping my starch intake after noticing a drop in performance when running/cycling.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:17 PM

word up. I'd even go as far as white rice for that whack of carbs. The night before a big lift I'll do a good bowl of white rice. Like you say though, its because I'm fit, active, metabolically solid, etc. A normal human being, in other words. Which btw is the reason i believe all the rice cultures have healthy people. East and southeast asia i mean. Most of those cultures up until being inundated with western fakefood did just fine with white rice. Prolly cuz they weren't metabolically effed up like our food tends to do to people. Know what I mean?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 14, 2011
at 05:43 AM

Thanks Ben. It works, and my energy is up, no increase in BF that I can see. My stomach doesn't seem to like it... Gas, constipation. This sucks.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 12, 2011
at 01:56 PM

Todd, i just go the most basic: rice in pot, enough water so that it rises above the rice to the first joint in my index finger, boil. There's prolly more clearly expressed instructions but once you get the hang of it its seriously easy, turn-off-your-brain-level cooking:)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 14, 2011
at 12:44 PM

@Todd, i think thats just an adjustment period I did over 3 months of only animal products and after that i had a real fear over digesting even benign things like lettuce. But no worries, it all comes back. We're strong like that. Starch is similar to those lighter veg I'd say - at first you may think you can't handle it and maybe have some gas, etc but your body will quickly adapt. I will note that white potatoes do seem to me to be the absolute easiest to digest: no gas, no bloat, nothing. I'd also definitely rec eating kimchi or sauer kraut every night with dinner. helps a LOT.

5
Medium avatar

on May 11, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Couldn't agree more. The low carb hysteria has confounded carbs with fructose and pinned all of the crimes on an entire macronutrient class. This idea that we don't need to replete our glycogen stores is pure nonsense. LC produces a constant panicked state where your body has to scavenge glucose from anywhere possible, including the catabolism of muscle tissue. It's possible to run various systems on ketones, but I've never seen evidence of ketones being utilized for glycogen repletion.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:11 PM

Yeah, I use chin-up number as a barometer and I'm only now getting back to where I was pre-LC. It went from 16 down to 12 and I did 15 a minute ago. It takes some serious suspension of disbelief to continue on a particular path if you feel worse and your performance suffers.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:02 PM

Yes, before I got over the starch "boogie man" issue, I felt like a zombie walking around. Now, since I've added starch back in, I feel a great deal better and my sports performance is through the roof.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 12, 2011
at 12:45 AM

It would be nice if more of the books and programs made the distinction between glucose and frustose and used it in their recommendations. Perhaps that is the next wave of this "movement"? I wish someone would come out with a book specifically for those who aren't metabolically damaged and want elite performance in a variety of activities (not just endurance like Cordain's book) so people like me wouldn't go down the wrong path. I know weight loss is generally where the money is, but there seems to be a lot of us out here who don't like the VLC zombie state and want to actually PERFORM!

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:02 PM

I think just about every athlete up here has discovered this, sooner or later. So, you're not alone.

Richard Nixon: "We are all keynesians now."

Thomas Seay: "We are all kitavans now." :)

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:05 PM

Ha. I've been trying to avoid mentioning Kitavans because I know how that sometimes goes over in these parts, but yeah, I suppose us high glucose consuming athletes are.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:26 PM

And this, too. John Maynard Keynes: "In the long run we are all dead."

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:07 PM

I just wish I wasn't so hesitant to try introducing more starches early on. I wanted to stick to the plan and the body composition improvements were enough to keep me on track. If I had known that I could eat high starch and STILL have body composition improvements I would have done it day one.

2
742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I am a soccer player and I follow a very similar diet to yours. I still eat lots of fat, around 12 ounces of meat a day and I consume as much starch as I want. I don't really count, sometimes I eat lots and lots of white rice, other times I eat lots of sweet potatoes. I find it extremely satisfying and re-energizing.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:41 PM

Cool. Funny thing - I thought I felt great before, but I didn't know what great really felt like until I upped the starches beyond simple post workout meals. My thinking before was always that even though my body can run without glucose by converting fat, such a conversion was never going to be optimal. Now I know, at least in my little n=1 experiment, that it is absolutely true.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:50 PM

Yeah I felt the exact same way. I thought to myself that I felt good and running on fat wasn't as bad as some people said, but when I upped my starch intake I noticed a huge improvement in my athletic ability.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 14, 2011
at 05:44 AM

Hey ROB - I have been searching through a lot of Leaky Gut questions trying to figure out the best way to identify, heal, and most importantly, know it's healed. It sounded like you had a lot of issues with starch and your soccer performance was lacking. I too play a lot of soccer and have recently upped my starch. I feel better physically, but my guts disagree. How is your progress?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 20, 2011
at 05:59 PM

Hey Todd, my digestive system is slowly getting better. At first I seemed to react to the starch but now I could eat it with no problems.

1
61e254571b4c792bca87340a090a3ea1

on May 11, 2011
at 04:28 PM

I am not an athlete but I am very active. Carpenter, hand tool woodworker, large scale gardener, hunter, archer, and I could keep going. I find that I need to eat much higher carb then I see most people recommending. I also don't worry about body comp and actually try to add weight in the form of fat sometimes. I am naturally low BF so if I am going hunting/hiking for a week or so. I try to get as fat as I can. I call it survival muscle!

1
451114d9ae1e0f9e1a028cce5538e790

(226)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:44 PM

Sounds like you've discovered The Paleo Diet for Athletes on your own. I use this diet for cycling events that are two hours or longer. Adding simple carbs can really crank up performance and help preserve glycogen stores, but as we know, it comes at a price. This book helped me understand when and how much to use in order to minimize the damage these foods cause. Great read. Endurance sports are much less anaerobic than hockey, but you may find some parts of it applicable.

*I have no affiliation with this book or the authors, just a satisfied reader

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:17 PM

Just to follow up on that due to post length limitations, I should mention that my current research seems to suggest that the real culprits are excessive fructose (not scared of fructose or fruit, just excessive amounts) and refined carbs. My thinking is that as long as a person is metabolically healthy starches are probably far less of a problem than some make them out to be, even in larger amounts.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Love the idea of this for the future, I would love to be able to eat more carbs without worry and it seems there is the possibility once I reach my 'leaning' goal. Almost there and glad to hear I have something to look forward to experimenting with! great question!

451114d9ae1e0f9e1a028cce5538e790

(226)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:02 PM

I think you may be on to something. As long as you aren't eating grains and legumes, you're probably safer than otherwise. The Harris link below has a TON of good info on this.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:23 PM

Yup, just loads of sweet potatoes and yams for the most part. I love sushi so there's white rice in there too and the occasional normal potato but for the most part it's nutrient-dense starches all the way.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:59 PM

Ah, interesting that you mention that book. Early on in my Paleo journey I was considering picking it up, but then I found out it was really The Paleo Diet for Endurance Athletes so I passed. I find my results are causing me to question some things, like the price of eating carbohydrate you mention. Surely some carbs cause damage, but do they all? A lot of my reading seems to suggest that starches (excluding potatoes if you have an auto-immune issue) may not bring some of the adverse effects the Paleo community has associated with them (insulin resistance, leptin issues, etc). Hmm...

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:47 PM

Advocating "good carbohydrates" in the form of safe starches has been gaining a lot of traction. I first heard about this from the perfecthealthdiet.com

0
Ce2324fa6a105075d84f3e89d1c20238

on May 11, 2011
at 08:20 PM

i started adding a lot of starch last week, and have so much more energy. i think part of it is that the starch is replacing overly large veggie servings that interfered with digestion and were sometimes goitrogenic.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 11, 2011
at 10:53 PM

This was a mistake I made when first attempting paleo. I ate a ton of veggies to reach a certain amount of carbs and felt terrible due to all the fiber I was taking in.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 12, 2011
at 12:34 AM

Same here. Glad we finally kicked the habit and got on the path to better performance. Before I made a habit of having lots of veggies in every meal just to try and up my carbohydrate intake some. Now I just go with whatever I feel like which means a number of meals without any vegetable content, almost all meals with starch. Mood has improved, performance markers have improved, and no negatives seen so far.

0
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on May 11, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Yes, this is exactly what I've been doing. I play tennis for multiple hours a day, plus fitness. It is definitely anaerobic, although we do get breaks and such. I eat potatoes mostly, with sweet potatoes and rice for variety. I also have some berries, but I've found that pure starch makes me feel better. Are you training for anything, or do you just play for fun?

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 12, 2011
at 12:29 AM

I just play for fun - no delusions of going pro anytime soon. But I still try to train fairly hard for my sport. I usually do brief HIIT sessions on a stationary bike two to three times a week. Anaerobic conditioning of 1min on / 1 min off and some lactic acid tolerance training of 30sec/30sec as well. Occassional aerobic system training as well. When I was doing it before, pre-starch, I could get decent results and intensity but the biggest problem area was recovery. My muscles would be sore for days! Now, just like the bruises I mentioned above, my body recovers much quicker.

0
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:27 PM

When measure performance vs longevity you generally need the carbs.....it all depends upon your context and your goals. I think Anthony Colpo has made this point multiple times that for ultimate performance you need carbs. But where the performance crowd falls is that there is a big trade off for short term gains in long longevity. Performance tends to exhaust stem cell supply and generate more mitochondrial ROS so one needs to keep it all in the context of your goals.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 11, 2011
at 08:30 PM

The super centenarian groups even show that those who run a slightly higher BMI have longevity epigenetically dialed in. So what we really believe and what is reality about exercise is clearly unresolved.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on May 11, 2011
at 09:29 PM

Also for the super centenarian group, is not TC 250 to 300 and LDL in the 200s range also positive for this group...as well as. I guess, all groups? As long as it is mostly pattern A?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Agree with primalGC. Its a false dichotomy. Indeed extreme athletes who are paid to beat their bodies but perform super well will indeed have shorter life spans. But that doesn't mean eating any carb to fuel glucose burn for some performance when we decide to lift heavy things, etc is going to make us live a lot shorter. You can have the best of both worlds, it just means not doing either to extreme. Nothing is black and white and I don't understand why so any people HAVE to view everything as EITHER/OR. Enjoy and use carbs wisely, enjoy and use fat wisely; live strong and hard AND long.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:33 PM

Interesting point. I know that truly elite athletes tend to have shorter lifespans for the reasons you mentioned amongst others. I wonder though, since I'm not truly an elite athlete training every day but more of a weekend warrior who trains occasionally, would there really be that much of a trade-off in performance/longevity? I think I would rather burn brighter but not as long, but my guess is I can get an excellent boost to performance with starches and a minimal hit to longevity compared to someone who pushes their body to an extreme every day. That trade-off would be worth it, IMO.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on May 11, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Also for the super centenarian group, is not TC 250 to 300 and LDL in the 200s range also positive for this group...as well as. I guess, all groups? As long as it is mostly pattern A? http://www.kbtx.com/health/headlines/Bad_Cholesterol_Not_As_Bad_As_People_Think_Shows_Texas_AM_Study_121274804.html?storySection=story

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 11, 2011
at 08:28 PM

actually Ben this is the focus on my future blog. The question remians unanswered. I think exercise is totally hormetic and what constitutes excess is totally different for every person. If you run a high cortisol and high insulin level you are the most likely person to die early of performance is key to your life. See Lance Armstrong, Grete Waitz, Bill Schroeder etc......IF your a weekend warrior and cross fitter your probably OK. My cut off is 120-150 minutes of heavy working out per week. Once you pass that threshold that is where the science gets interesting.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 12, 2011
at 02:54 AM

yes......the group in Boston and Mt Sinai show this too. Both very consistent. PAul Jaminet just wrote about this after reading my posts about longevity on FB.

0
19eedcc966e18e2864383fa53dcb80f6

(110)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:21 PM

Read Kurt Harris's post on carbohydrates: http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/2/5/no-such-thing-as-a-macronutrient-part-ii-carbohydrates-revis.html. He is not afraid of starches and even a little bit of white rice.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:00 PM

yeah Chris Kresser also mentions white rice being fine now and again

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Thanks for the link. Kurt Harris' blog is fantastic and I think I've read almost every post. As I mentioned in another comment, I was hesitant initially to add starches because I was having excellent body composition changes with a lower-carb approach. Once I decided that I had enough of lowered athletic performance however, blogs like Harris' sent me in the right direction and then I just tinkered until I settled on going all-out with starches at any time.

0
C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:15 PM

I've found that I tend to do better with a cyclic low carb diet, so eat very low 5 days of the week then go nuts (200+ grams of carbs in one meal) 2 meals a week.

Eating low carb may not be the best for high performance spots, carbs help replenish glycogen, without that processed is greatly slowed. If your muscles do not have it then you are trying to do something running on empty.

I think you could mess around with it more to find out when your body needs them the most, PWO window for example, (or post hockey). However some people just function better with more carbs.

9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

(273)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:27 PM

Thanks for the comment. I agree that low-carb really hurts performance in highly glycolytic, anaerobic sports. When I first started and was trying to avoid starches I had an extremely high vegetable intake to try and make sure my glycogen stores were full. It seems you can't consume enough to keep up though. As mentioned, I also tried a variety of eating methods to gauge performance changes. I tried PWO only and while markers improved it was limited. I've also tried cycling carbs in a similar fashion to yourself with mixed results. Only regular starches took it over the top.

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