Saturday, March 28, 2009

Low carb again

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Given that my post Low Carb Talibans caused such a stir, I thought it would be appropriate to link Lyle's latest article about low carb diets and the "metabolic advantage" Enjoy, folks.

If you consider buying any of Lyle's books, which you should, make sure you read my reviews.

18 comments:

Half Navajo said...

Hey Martin,

i have increased my carbs 10 fold since over a month ago, and i have all my energy back. I don't need coffee to get through a workout, or even the day. Screw low carb diets... i am never doing them again... and i have only gotten more muscular and leaner in this months time! Low carb dieting does nothing but, make you tired, lower your sex drive, cause food allergies, and make you food obsessive, and have constant food phobia.

thanks for your blog!

troy

JC said...

Troy, what you describe is common in people I have spoken with who maintained a low carb diet + deficit for too long. I only tend to go low carb when dieting to create the biggest deficit possible. Refeeding often can help you keep from turning into a mental case as well as keep your sex drive alive too.

My diet is fairly carb based when I am at maintenance or hypercaloric tho.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean mixing raw egg whites with Peanut Butter and eating it? No sweetener?

Martin Berkhan said...

Cooked egg white and peanut butter. It's funny, I've been getting about half a dozen e-mails about this.

Adam Randal Chen said...

I can't believe how carbophobic people are in the modern world. I mean if your main goal is to lose weight with not regards to muscle loss and you have a lot of weight to lose, low-carb might have an advantage.

But when your leaner, you need a balance of both fat and carbs. Alan Aragon said it best when he said that people are afraid of losing muscle yet they are afraid of eating carbs, when in reality, carbs are protein sparing. Hey Martin, I was wondering how many grams of carb the body need for daily function such as the brain, thyroid, and everything else.

Anonymous said...

(Screw low carb diets... i am never doing them again... and i have only gotten more muscular and leaner in this months time! Low carb dieting does nothing)

Troy, I think low-carbing works only when it's cyclical. Plain static low-carb sucks imo, expecially if you're active.

But these options have always worked great for me:

3 LC days and 1 HC day cycled
Alternated LC and HC day to day
Two meals LC and one meal HC
LC during the day and HC at dinner
LC on rest days and HC on WO days
LC at rest and HC pre/post WO

Intermitted Fasting is similar.
Basically you're on a low carb and high fat diet during the fast and can have an high carb dinner.
The increased insulin sensitivity will prevent the negative effects.

Cycles are best.
The body works in cycles.
Rest and activity, fast and feast, glycogen depletion and glycogen saturation, alertness and relaxation.

Half Navajo said...

hey!

i have been cycling 3 or 4 days, moderate high carb, not low carbs by anymeans, and then one day of really high carbs, then back to the normal amount of carbs. I keep a high intake of saturated fats while doing this, and low to moderate intake of high biological value protein. Its worked wonders... stable energy all the time!

troy

Martin Berkhan said...

"Hey Martin, I was wondering how many grams of carb the body need for daily function such as the brain, thyroid, and everything else"

Average adult male needs about 130 g/day.

"Troy, I think low-carbing works only when it's cyclical. Plain static low-carb sucks imo, expecially if you're active."

"Cycles are best."


Indeed. The Standard Ketogenic Diet (meaning no carbs pre/pwo) zapped my strength at record speed when I first tried it. TKD and CKD worked much better. The Leangains approach is more or less carb cycling in a condensed time window. However, ketosis is not, nor should it be, the focus.

Adam Randal Chen said...

Thanks Martin for the reply. Is the 130g a day persistent in everybody or does it vary in such occasions such as long-term low-carb and etc.

I have lost a lot of weight on my own going on the south beach diet, which is high-protein, low carb and low fat. Looking back now, it wasn't low-carb that helped me lose the fat, it all came down to unused calories.

And I agree that ketosis shouldn't be the focus. Ketosis might have a positive effect on blunting appetite in some people, but there are studies on kids in which they had slower rate of height growth. This might not concern you adults, but as a 18 year old former fat kid teen, its a big deal to me.

Anonymous said...

But you're on ketosis during the fast anyway, right?

Anonymous said...

Also slower rate of height growth doesn't mean shorter stature. Just because you grow slower it doesn't mean you will be shorter, it just means you will grow for longer.

Anyway those studies deal with epileptic kids and I don't think the results should be taken as representative of what happens on normal people. Those kids are also vitamins and minerals depleted.

Adam Randal Chen said...

Your right that the studies on the epileptic kids shouldn't be judged to represent normal people on such diets, but I always felt that there is some potential in slowing down height rate growth, considering the fact that the body is breaking down things in the catabolic state.

I'm not sure if the body is in ketosis during the fasting stage. I mean protein takes a long time to digest and casein takes even longer. I need someone with more knowledge and experience to clarify this for me.

I also agree that cycle diets are amazing as it keeps the body guessing and stop its from adapting. It combines the benefits of carbs and fat.

Anonymous said...

Your body will always be on a catabolic state during certain times of the day and anabolic during other times of the day, this applies to baby as well. Burning fat itself it catabolic and burning fat is an ongoing process. When you're gaining weight you're balancing burning fat with more fat storing, but burning fat just like catabolism is happenng anyway.

It's because of catabolism that fasting has positive effects, if you were not on a catabolism when fasting, you were not on fasting and it would be useless.

JE Gonzalez said...

Wutsup Martin,
I have to agree with you on everything regarding the low-carb taliban, but I come here in defense of a lower carb Paleo lifestyle. I won´t say that you do not need to count calories, that is bullcrap. I admit you don´t have to worry as much since said calories don´t turn to fat as easily but they are still calories. Lower-carb paleo however is a very healthy approach that the human body is POSSIBLY the suited for. Am I saying that starchy carbs (almost all non-Paleo) are the devil? Not at all, but I am convinced that the body best utlizes Paleo foods. Attention to the word better, you can get an equal benefit out of nonPaleo carbs as you have shown. But is Paleo the best for fat loss and muscle gain? Muscle? Maybe. Fat loss? That prize will have to go to conventional carb-cycling and of course your diet prescription. IThe thing about the diet you prescribe is that is extremely effective and relatively easy to maintain unlike Tom Venuto´s BTFFTM. So why do I endorse Paleo-esque? Besides being a healthy OPTION it is super delicious and flexible. The more carb resistant among us (probably the majority) would do great on a higher fat diet while the more carb-sensitive would do great on Cordain´s lower fat higher-fruit diet. Also Paleo is just plain delicious. Compare a daily Paleo menu to a menu on a carb-cyclng plan.
PALEO
Breakfast: Four-egg omelette with a small side of bacon (nitrite free of course)small handfull of nuts and an apple
Lunch: Big-ass salad with 5 or 8 different veggies, olive oil, flax oil, pork shoulder, 2 eggs and a small avocado.
Dinner: Steak with holandaise sauce with a side of cauliflouer and some berries for dessert

CARBY DAY ON CARB CYLE
Breakfast: 6 egg whites, 1 yolk 2 cans of tuna. apple
Lunch: Lean skinless chcken and veggies with a hint of olive oil. green beans.
Dinner(post workout)Lean beef with a big bowl of rice and some baked potatoes downed with lowfat chocolate milk(has become popular for some reason)

To let you know both menus have about the same amount of calories. Personally the Paleo menu makes my mouth water. Check out some other recipes at http://sonofgrok.com. So those are my thoughts, and this is not to bash your view beause I have nothing but the utmost respect for you and your method. Actually as a short-term diet yours(or whover creatd carb cycling) is the best and most effective. As a lifestyle Paleo is my choice if only because of delicious dishes like Coq au Vin or big omelettes. But your method comes at a VERY close second as a lifestyle.
PS. When I say Paleo I useit interchangeably with Weston A Price/Primal Blueprint. Check out http://marksdailyapple.com

Enrique said...

And another thing, my sex drive and mood are quite alright on my lower-carb plan.

Martin Berkhan said...

Adam,

"Is the 130g a day persistent in everybody or does it vary in such occasions such as long-term low-carb and etc. "

130 g is a number that gets thrown around as a general guideline for the adult, but of course it varies between individuals.

But since brain size and energy consumption is not as variable as say body weight and BMR (i.e brain size does not vary much between individuals vs body weight/activity), I wouldn't expect this to vary greatly. Perhaps 120-150 g, we're not talking 100-300 g or something along those lines.

One might assume that intellectual activity plays a role here. For example, thinking/problem solving increases percentage glucose burned vs fat (fat metabolism is other wise dominant in the resting state, generally speaking), i.e the glucose/fat ratio tilts a bit more towards glucose whenever you are doing something that requires thinking or problem solving.

And of course, this is assuming a non-ketogenic diet.

Martin Berkhan said...

"I have to agree with you on everything regarding the low-carb taliban, but I come here in defense of a lower carb Paleo lifestyle."

Thanks, but I have nothing against the Paleo diet. For low body fat maintenance and health, I think it's an excellent approach. It is what I tend to gravitate towards myself. With the addition of cottage cheese now and then. And red wine, and cheese cake, and ice cream and potatoes...now and then.

Andrew said...

JE Gonzalez, I'm not a fan of the Paleo diet ideology (I don't like ideologies of any kind) but I have to admit the paleo menu makes my mouth water too.

Can you share more menus somewhere?




My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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