10

votes

Very Low-Carb to Perfect Health Diet. Will I gain weight adding starches?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I'm nervous about this, but I'm fairly certain VLC made my hair fall out. It just goes against everything I know about low carbing to add in starches. I'd like to hear from anyone who made the leap successfully. I have about 30-40 pounds to lose still. I don't want to mess up what I've already done. Any advice? Jump in slowly? I was thinking about adding half a sweet potato per day. Maybe some berries with cream in the morning.

61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on April 15, 2013
at 08:24 PM

I'm a 48yo male. I, also gained 5lbs of fat since Christmas, but all I did was add about 2 potatoes a day to my normal intake--so it makes sense. Over the last 3-4 weeks, I cut out excess butter and sour cream, cheese and nuts and have lost all the 5 pounds I slowly gained.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I train HIT and stay low carb....there is just no good reason to raise my carbs higher than were they are. You wanna do HIT 5x a week and pump those carbs, be my guest man. 2x HIT/week is my max, and I would expect doing more to be detrimental and not give enough recovery time. I get plenty of fat for energy and see absolutely no evidence that I should change anything. I may not beleive carbs are the devil, but that doesn't mean that they are an absolute necessity either.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:42 AM

Will do Burny!!!

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:42 AM

good luck. come back and let me know!

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Thanks. I'm glad I'm not alone in this. Today at the grocery store I stood staring at the sweet potatoes. What a weird moment. I upped my carbs a few days ago and I already feel less anxiety and I have more energy. I hope I didn't jinx it.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 19, 2012
at 02:04 AM

I agree with you, Kelly. The hair loss with PCOS is androgen driven, thus it is typically referred to as male pattern hair loss and indeed, often takes that very distinct male hairloss shape. Love your comment re: the change in your hair distribution post low carb. ;)

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on January 19, 2012
at 01:27 AM

It seems to be overlooked frequently (and I'm not just talking about here) that any significant hormonal shift can result in temporary hair loss. I know many women who lost a significant amount of hair either while pregnant or right after giving birth. The hormonal shift that occurs when you go from high circulating insulin to low circulating insulin by switching from high to low-carb eating is akin to that from taking metformin. I personally shed a fair amount of hair when switching to low-carb, but it grew back (more on my head, less on my body - hooray)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 19, 2012
at 12:44 AM

Thank you, Matthew. From you I consider that a great compliment!

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:10 AM

Good job mem :)

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:39 PM

Also remember that if you add carbs you will probably have to cut fat to maintain energy balance.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:38 PM

Level of activity is not the only variable in human physiology.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 18, 2012
at 09:35 PM

http://drcate.com/when-martians-attack-carbo-loading-could-spell-your-doom/

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Defeatism? Whatchootalkinboutwillis? While I'm touched by your refusal to give up on me, I haven't given up on myself; far from it. The reason I eat zero-carb is because since doing this, I've been truly alive and healthy for the first time in my whole life, including my childhood. This is huge for me, and I'm not giving it up for a potato (ya kiddin' me or what?). It's not easy, socially or even psychologically, for me to stick to such an unpopular diet (although the most flack I get these days is on nutritional fora, lol), but I do it because I haven't given up on myself, and I never will.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 18, 2012
at 09:30 PM

http://drcate.com/how-much-carbohydrate-do-you-need-to-eat-per-day/

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:29 PM

At some point I hope you set aside your defeatism and realize that the body you were given was and continues to be highly resilient and capable of amazing things, carbohydrate tolerance being but one of them. I will never give up on you or anyone else, even if you or they did right out of the gates.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 18, 2012
at 09:28 PM

http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2011/04/14/steve-phinney-low-carb-preserves-glycogen-better-than-high-carb/

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Lifting weights and working out every day didn't help me "tolerate" carbs, Travis. I have nothing against activity, I really, truly don't. But if someone is hyperinsulinemic, or has other glucose regulation issues, exercise -- while good for a host of things -- is not going to help them lose weight. Your "truth" to the contrary. If real life contradicts theory, guess which one is wrong?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Rose, if I lived in your body I'd do the same thing today as I'm doing in my body: lifting weights so I can tolerate carbs like any healthy human.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Rose, if I lived in your body, I'd do a full body workout today and actually attempt to address the problem.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Rose, if I lived in your body, I'd be doing a full body workout today and actually endeavoring to address cure myself.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:19 PM

That individual variation isn't genetic, it's the result of activity level.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Rose, I've seen you brag about how much weight you've lost while being sedentary. What about glucose tolerance? Or is that simply not relevant if you mask the symptoms?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:09 PM

I would treat it with an open mind. Gradually increasing a bit more each day is probably sensible to give you body time to adjust :)

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:08 PM

I would treat it with an open mind. There is no point worrying about potential negative effects based on theories :) Gradually increasing a bit more each day is probably sensible to give you body time to adjust.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:06 PM

Individual variation etc...

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Travis, it is the truth for some people and not the truth for others. Personally I eat lots of carbs if that counts for anything.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:54 PM

"Carbs are only a problem for the sedentary"? Whatever. Good thing you don't live in my body; your head would implode from cognitive dissonance.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:50 PM

I would forget what you know and try it with an open mind. Gradually increasing a bit more each day is probably sensible to give you body time to adjust.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:45 PM

If you're already working out, then you should be set. Cardio's good, but it's the high intensity stuff that makes the biggest difference for carb tolerance. If you did intervals on an exercise bike a few times a week it would yield far better results.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:35 PM

I actually lift heavy weights. I've been doing a slow-burn type workout with a trainer for almost two years. I could probably up the cardio though. My job involves me sitting in front of a computer all day.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:35 PM

Call the truth whatever makes you feel good, it matters not a whit to me.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:33 PM

The low-carbers aren't the only ones with dogma :)

  • B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

    asked by

    (466)
  • Views
    5.2K
  • Last Activity
    1280D AGO
Frontpage book

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

10 Answers

9
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 19, 2012
at 12:07 AM

I am sorry to hear about your hairloss, Burny, which is a very tough thing for women in particular. Are you aware that hairloss is a common symptom of PCOS? Some 70% of women with PCOS suffer from hair issues - both hairloss and hirsutism. In addition to this, some women who take metformin have also reported hairloss, though this is not a listed side effect for Metformin as it did not occur in metformin drug trials. It sounds like you have had some significant success with low carbing previously and if low carbing helps you get your weight down, this will help with the PCOS, which is the most likely cause of your hair loss.

If you need some help figuring out what might be your next best step in fine-tuning your low carb eating plan for weight loss, it might be helpful to you to know that there are a number of big loser low carbers here. I weigh 130lbs. In 1999 when I began low carbing, I weighted 240lbs and was riddled with serious medical illness, none of which I suffer from now. I have maintained a 90lb loss from 02-11, and in the last year have dropped more and now maintain a 108lb loss. This took alot of learning and fine tuning along the way.(And I have a very full head of hair after low carbing for 13+ years.) And there are others who maintain much larger losses than I do, as well as having impacted profound health issues on a low carb eating plan.

I am sorry that you have not gotten very helpful responses to your question. You may find it helpful in the future to provide a link to previous questions in which you have given enough information for responders to have a much better picture of your health status and possible issues affecting your question.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/91065/why-is-my-scalp-burning#axzz1jr9OMPeT

Time was on PH, when those responding would have asked you important questions about your eating, your activity level, any medical issues, meds, supplements, etc. But those times seem to be rare now. It's too bad, as once-upon-a-time there was some hellagood hacking going on here!!!

But factional chest-beating seems to be all the rage, of late.

http://women.webmd.com/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-symptoms

Additionally, I see in your previous history that you suffer from serious sleep issues which may also contribute to your hairloss.

Hang in there.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 19, 2012
at 12:10 AM

Good job mem :)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 19, 2012
at 12:44 AM

Thank you, Matthew. From you I consider that a great compliment!

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on January 19, 2012
at 01:27 AM

It seems to be overlooked frequently (and I'm not just talking about here) that any significant hormonal shift can result in temporary hair loss. I know many women who lost a significant amount of hair either while pregnant or right after giving birth. The hormonal shift that occurs when you go from high circulating insulin to low circulating insulin by switching from high to low-carb eating is akin to that from taking metformin. I personally shed a fair amount of hair when switching to low-carb, but it grew back (more on my head, less on my body - hooray)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 19, 2012
at 02:04 AM

I agree with you, Kelly. The hair loss with PCOS is androgen driven, thus it is typically referred to as male pattern hair loss and indeed, often takes that very distinct male hairloss shape. Love your comment re: the change in your hair distribution post low carb. ;)

7
9143379e9450c76e3246db057133833d

on January 18, 2012
at 03:46 PM

I can't answer this specifically as I don't have experience needing to lose weight, but I will say I had similar issues on VLC where my hair was noticeably thinning and was starting to fall out as well. I mostly attribute this to the increased cortisol levels that VLC tends to cause. Once I added starches back in (in large amounts) and eventually other sugars everything went back to normal over a few months.

So my advice is if your hair is coming out, RUN from VLC as fast as you can! NOT a good sign.

5
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on January 19, 2012
at 12:21 AM

Sometimes people who add starches to their diet after VLC see weight gain initially because the added starch can help replenish glycogen stores (glycogen is something like 1 part glucose to 3-4 parts water).

But if you're doing PHD, that seems less likely since it's more carbs than VLC but it's still a lower carb diet ... you're eating enough carbs to support your body's daily glucose needs, but not typically enough to be storing lots.

Anyways, in my experience PHD works extremely well as a weight loss diet, but you may have a temporary hiccup as your body adjusts.

3
1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:26 PM

I made this move so my N=1 anecdotal answer is... yes! (for whatever that is worth). I'm 5'8" and was 135lbs while struggling on VLC (I looked emaciated and felt worse). When I jumped to PHD I quickly gained almost 20 pounds but not in any bad places - my muscles re-inflating was the most obvious change. I'm eating close to 150 grams of carbs most days and my weight hasn't changed in over a month.

2
29cc3e65544936676fc7a99c7a27bbfe

on April 15, 2013
at 11:19 AM

Over the course of 3 months, I gained 5 pounds of fat (not muscle or water) by adding daily rice or sweet potatoes into a strict primal diet. I am a former fat person with hypothyroidism, and in the midst of menopause, so may be metabolically 'broken', meaning I can't handle carbs like a 30 something male crossfitter. Some of us can't handle much carbs without an adverse reaction.

61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on April 15, 2013
at 08:24 PM

I'm a 48yo male. I, also gained 5lbs of fat since Christmas, but all I did was add about 2 potatoes a day to my normal intake--so it makes sense. Over the last 3-4 weeks, I cut out excess butter and sour cream, cheese and nuts and have lost all the 5 pounds I slowly gained.

2
792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on January 19, 2012
at 02:03 AM

Hi Burny. My n=1 says that you might gain a couple of pounds to start with, but that's all. I'm about 30lb overweight, lost 22 on low carb but felt crappy. I changed to PHD last September - I don't measure, but I added potatoes and sweet potatoes, buckwheat flour very occasionally, bananas, and maple syrup (those last three are connected, lol). I feel dramatically better since then, and to start with I only gained those couple of pounds. Since then I've stayed stable at that same weight in spite of some quite greedy days ;).

I started IF at Christmas time to try and lose a bit more weight - it's working well. I still eat PHD style completely freely for several hours a day, and still don't measure (it makes me into a crazy woman). I've lost about 8lb in the last 3 weeks.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Thanks. I'm glad I'm not alone in this. Today at the grocery store I stood staring at the sweet potatoes. What a weird moment. I upped my carbs a few days ago and I already feel less anxiety and I have more energy. I hope I didn't jinx it.

2
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on January 18, 2012
at 11:47 PM

I have gone from being VLC to adding starches. 100 gram of carbs = 400 calories. I replaced about 45-90 grams+ (400+ cals) of fat with the carbs. You will not gain any fat from this, if anything, your liver and muscle glycogen will begin to fill and scale weight will go up but its not fat gain, its intramuscular glycogen and liver glycogen, and its good for you.

2
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on January 18, 2012
at 03:49 PM

I'm sure you'll get lots of anecdotes telling you the best way to eat but the main thing is not to stress about it. If you've had success so far then that isn't just going to disappear with a couple of weeks of experimentation. The body likes nothing so much as to stay where it is. If you stop losing weight it may even help if you end up going back to your current diet - and nothing can take away the valuable experience you've built up so far.

In all likelihood, you'll gain some weight immediately in water, which is normal and fine. You can try adding a little as you suggest and seeing how things go, but I'd favour splitting things up so you eat more carbs some days and maybe stick with VLC on other days to see how things go. It also matters how much exercise you're getting - if you're doing something regularly you will better be able to handle added carbs and may well even increase weight loss.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on January 18, 2012
at 11:55 PM

I am trying the same thing right now and will let you know how it goes. So far so good.

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:42 AM

good luck. come back and let me know!

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:42 AM

Will do Burny!!!

0
Medium avatar

on January 18, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Carbs are only a problem for the sedentary due to mitochondrial atrophy and the downregulation of the corresponding enzymes. Just start lifting weights and your body will partition energy far differently than what you're accustomed to.

You have a misplaced loyalty to a way of eating that is clearly damaging your health. Being sedentary and/or low carb is detrimental to human health, so it's better to correct both at once. Carbohydrate restriction only masks the symptoms of glucose mismanagement that arises due to (primarily) a sedentary lifestyle. To actually cure the problem, high intensity exercise is needed. We evolved to have a tough life; we suffer the consequences if we don't at least simulate that.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/76290/how-much-of-the-metabolic-derangement-we-hear-about-is-due-to-a-sedentary-lifes#axzz1jlfPE1h9

http://jap.physiology.org/content/78/6/2140.short

In addition, you will greatly decrease the odds of sarcopenia, osteopenia, NIDDM etc. etc.

Edit: Obviously you can't eat a ridiculous amount of fat after adding energy to a diet that has kept you weight stable, even with some added resistance exercise (though your metabolic rate will increase for sure). Reduce it to a reasonable amount, i.e. that amount of fat that is attached to meat, some yolks every day and so on. The pursuit of fat beyond that is unnecessary and doesn't have the mystical qualities that dietary fat fetishists claim.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:06 PM

Individual variation etc...

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:35 PM

Call the truth whatever makes you feel good, it matters not a whit to me.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:29 PM

At some point I hope you set aside your defeatism and realize that the body you were given was and continues to be highly resilient and capable of amazing things, carbohydrate tolerance being but one of them. I will never give up on you or anyone else, even if you or they did right out of the gates.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Rose, I've seen you brag about how much weight you've lost while being sedentary. What about glucose tolerance? Or is that simply not relevant if you mask the symptoms?

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 18, 2012
at 09:35 PM

http://drcate.com/when-martians-attack-carbo-loading-could-spell-your-doom/

B9b76c30366c142e323049db109ca4ac

(466)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:35 PM

I actually lift heavy weights. I've been doing a slow-burn type workout with a trainer for almost two years. I could probably up the cardio though. My job involves me sitting in front of a computer all day.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:03 PM

Travis, it is the truth for some people and not the truth for others. Personally I eat lots of carbs if that counts for anything.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 18, 2012
at 09:28 PM

http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2011/04/14/steve-phinney-low-carb-preserves-glycogen-better-than-high-carb/

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Rose, if I lived in your body, I'd do a full body workout today and actually attempt to address the problem.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:19 PM

That individual variation isn't genetic, it's the result of activity level.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:54 PM

"Carbs are only a problem for the sedentary"? Whatever. Good thing you don't live in my body; your head would implode from cognitive dissonance.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Rose, if I lived in your body I'd do the same thing today as I'm doing in my body: lifting weights so I can tolerate carbs like any healthy human.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:45 PM

If you're already working out, then you should be set. Cardio's good, but it's the high intensity stuff that makes the biggest difference for carb tolerance. If you did intervals on an exercise bike a few times a week it would yield far better results.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 19, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I train HIT and stay low carb....there is just no good reason to raise my carbs higher than were they are. You wanna do HIT 5x a week and pump those carbs, be my guest man. 2x HIT/week is my max, and I would expect doing more to be detrimental and not give enough recovery time. I get plenty of fat for energy and see absolutely no evidence that I should change anything. I may not beleive carbs are the devil, but that doesn't mean that they are an absolute necessity either.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on January 18, 2012
at 09:30 PM

http://drcate.com/how-much-carbohydrate-do-you-need-to-eat-per-day/

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Defeatism? Whatchootalkinboutwillis? While I'm touched by your refusal to give up on me, I haven't given up on myself; far from it. The reason I eat zero-carb is because since doing this, I've been truly alive and healthy for the first time in my whole life, including my childhood. This is huge for me, and I'm not giving it up for a potato (ya kiddin' me or what?). It's not easy, socially or even psychologically, for me to stick to such an unpopular diet (although the most flack I get these days is on nutritional fora, lol), but I do it because I haven't given up on myself, and I never will.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:38 PM

Level of activity is not the only variable in human physiology.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Lifting weights and working out every day didn't help me "tolerate" carbs, Travis. I have nothing against activity, I really, truly don't. But if someone is hyperinsulinemic, or has other glucose regulation issues, exercise -- while good for a host of things -- is not going to help them lose weight. Your "truth" to the contrary. If real life contradicts theory, guess which one is wrong?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 18, 2012
at 08:33 PM

The low-carbers aren't the only ones with dogma :)

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 18, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Rose, if I lived in your body, I'd be doing a full body workout today and actually endeavoring to address cure myself.

Answer Question


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