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  1. #1
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    OT: Is this new eating plan the answer?

    I suppose this should be in the nutrition forum, but since not too many of us 50+ visit there, this would be appropriate.

    I took up cycling 3 yrs ago at 61. I did it for fun and health. I've certainly had a lot of fun, and from the health side I've lost about 15 lbs or so. But I got stuck about 180 lbs. Worse yet, last year I was diagnosed with pre-hypertension and slightly elevated cholesterol. I was also found to have some thickening in my left carotid artery.

    I was proscribed a bp med (lisinopril 10 mg) for my bp, but I found that it seems to cause cramping at about 60+ mi with hard work and high temps. Recently my Dr upped the dose to 20 mg. Now my BP runs in the 120s/70s but with summer coming so will the cramps.

    My cholesterol was controlled very well with crestor, but the leg pain, fatigue, and sudden twinges in my shoulder muscles got me off that after about a month. Prevestatin came next, but eventually the same symptoms appeared. My Cardiologist suggested high quality red yeast rice, a supplement he is on. That seems to work, but does cause some fatigue.

    I really was hoping that riding 150 - 180 mi a week would help these conditions, but after the initial gains at the start, no luck. I've been kinda stuck. Until recently.

    I regularly listen to podcasts on a range of topics, and one technology podcast got side-tracked on to a low-carb discussion. To make a long story short, Steve Gibson, a "white hat" hacker and technology guru, has become a low carb proponent a la Atkins, "The Paleolithic Diet" etc. Like most of his other endeavors, Steve is not promoting any product, but offering his experience and his in depth critical analysis of the subject. In reality his "discovery" is nothing new, but his approach is somewhat different since he is not out to sell a book or any products.

    To make a long story short, the idea is to eliminate carbs from you diet and force your body into ketosis, a state where it is using fat for energy rather than glucose (carbs.) The theory is that this change in metabolism will cause the fats in you blood to be used readily, keeping your cholesterol low, despite a high fat diet. In addition, this metabolic change causes salt to be processed differently, lowering your bp as well.

    From an athletic standpoint, fat metabolism is more "efficient" than glucose metabolism, since it gives off 30% less CO2 into the blood. Hence you will get a higher performance with out getting "winded."

    If you want the learn more, check out Steve's health page. http://www.grc.com/health.htm

    It lists lots of resources. Be sure to listen to the podcasts. I don't know how anyone as hyper as this guy could ever have a weight problem!

    Your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Brew1's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with getting rid of carbs in your diet. I did the Paleo diet a few years ago and dropped from 190 to about 175 in a month or so and my BP dropped to normal limits too. That was with little exercise because of my bad hip.

    Problem is I really like bread and there always seems to be plenty of it in the pantry
    I'll probably try to start up on it again because I'd like to get down to about 165 and I'm holding at about 170 right now,

  3. #3
    Senior Member teachme's Avatar
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    I agree; getting rid of the bad carbs in your diet is key to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. I only eat whole wheat bread and hardly any potatoes. I have gotten use to whole wheat crackers like Triscuits instead of potaoe chips. I've lost 25 lbs in a year since I started cycling and cutting out the carbs. I'm at 220lbs now, would like to get down to 195 maybe.
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    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    My wife recently did the Dukan diet http://www.dukandiet.com/ and lost around 50lbs over 4-5 months. Now she is on it's maintenance mode and has kept the weight off. Me I've lost 30 lbs over the last 2 years just by watching what I eat and riding the bike more. The hard part is having to buy new clothes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Ahh.........just eat.

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  6. #6
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    The paleo diet is too much of a PIA in a non-paleo world. I like the moderation diet...I eat what is healthy, but I also eat what I like...in moderation.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    The paleo diet is too much of a PIA in a non-paleo world. I like the moderation diet...I eat what is healthy, but I also eat what I like...in moderation.
    Amen!
    Folks, quit getting hung up on the latest fad. Oh, butter is bad for you, eat margarine. Oh, sorry margarine is bad for you, it turns out butter is better. And on and on and on and on. Just eat stuff that seems right and don't eat too much of it.

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  8. #8
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    I lost 90 lbs and my cholesterol numbers are now "picture perfect". I don't recall the actual numbers, but I think that they went from 200 to 130. The ratio of good to bad cholesterol is also very good.

    My diet secret? Eat less.

    Really, I just cut my portions in half - and kept eating the same stuff. When people ask, I suggest cutting whatever you are eating now in half. When I first did that, I was worried, "What if I eat too little?" I reassured myself that if I started to pass out or die of hunger, I'd probably have enough residual energy to make it to a grocery store before I actually expired.

    I say "half" because that's a dramatic and noticeable change.My wife (a nurse) claims that this is "psychological bariatric surgery".

    In fact, I eat a pretty high carb diet - oatmeal in the morning, sandwich at lunch, and often beans and rice for dinner. My cholesterol is much better than when I was on Atkins. When I was on Atkins, my cholesterol didn't budge.

  9. #9
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    The paleo diet is too much of a PIA in a non-paleo world. I like the moderation diet...I eat what is healthy, but I also eat what I like...in moderation.
    +1

  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    The paleo diet is too much of a PIA in a non-paleo world. I like the moderation diet...I eat what is healthy, but I also eat what I like...in moderation.
    The Girl and I eat a diet that is very low in starchy carbohydrates, as a celiac we have no quantity fg bread, diet is high in vegetables, and we do not shy away from meat and healthy fats.

    We do avoid processed foods, most things that have added sugar, and get a lot of exercise.

    Breakfast is usually oatmeal that gets dressed up with dried fruit, spices, hemp oil, and butter with whole milk for me and goat's milk for her.

    Lunch is usually leftovers as I cook extra for dinner.

    Dinner is usually beef, chicken, pork, or fish in a smaller quantity (4-6 oz) and I cook a lot of vegetables and a little rice.

    We do not use margarine or any processed vegetable oils except olive oil and fry with a little butter or fresh natural lard which I pick up from the Hungarian market when I stock up on bacon and sausage. That over processed, bleached and hydrogenated lard at the grocery store is crap.

    Was forced into a more sedentary level of activity after taking a header down my stairs in December and got into some bad habits in that I was eating more starchy carbs than usual and not doing nearly as much as normal and saw my weight go up in an unhealthy fashion and lost muscle while I gained fat.

    Have been able to get back to what is close to my pre-fall level of activities and have been able to ride more and am walking better and have been cleaning up my diet... scrambled 3 eggs for breakfast which included a couple of double yokes and seasoned the pan with a quarter teaspoon of lard... it is some new old cast iron that I have seasoned and now have to break in.

    Have always eaten a diet my doctor said would kill normal folks but was also twice as active as most normal folks.

  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
    I lost 90 lbs and my cholesterol numbers are now "picture perfect". I don't recall the actual numbers, but I think that they went from 200 to 130. The ratio of good to bad cholesterol is also very good.

    My diet secret? Eat less.

    Really, I just cut my portions in half - and kept eating the same stuff. When people ask, I suggest cutting whatever you are eating now in half. When I first did that, I was worried, "What if I eat too little?" I reassured myself that if I started to pass out or die of hunger, I'd probably have enough residual energy to make it to a grocery store before I actually expired.

    I say "half" because that's a dramatic and noticeable change.My wife (a nurse) claims that this is "psychological bariatric surgery".

    In fact, I eat a pretty high carb diet - oatmeal in the morning, sandwich at lunch, and often beans and rice for dinner. My cholesterol is much better than when I was on Atkins. When I was on Atkins, my cholesterol didn't budge.
    Inspiring and quite a simple plan as well.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    OMG - Shield's Up, Spin Rite, and now this. I liked GRC back in the day. But this is true synchronicity. Everywhere I go these days I am getting info on low carb diets. We have been having some good discussions/arguments on another blog a couple of us who frequent 50+ participate in so I will jump in here with my story.

    I was a long time skinny kid who slowly added pounds over the years - never getting fat but getting a bit overweight and ending up on statins for 15 years. I am 6 feet tall and my college weight was mid 160s to 170. My high point about a year ago at age 63 was 195. I was addicted to chocolate (often eating 8 ounces or more in a single day). About a year ago I polished off a one pound bag of Cadbury mini-eggs in one evening and decided that had to stop. I cut out chocolate and most sugar in any form and dropped down to about 180-182 from 195 where I stayed for most of a year. About 6 weeks ago my wife decided to drop statins because of problems with muscle pain but wanted to see if she could control her cholesterol with diet. I am the cook so I was enlisted. Her advisors were counseling cutting carbs and the discussions I mentioned on the other board emphasized low carb high fat so we both decided to give it a try.

    I borrowed The New Atkins Diet book from the library and started in with their pre-maintenance level 3. This is low carb (~50g/day) but not the difficult first step obese people are steered toward (10g/day). We cut out all the white stuff (bread, pasta, sugar, rice) and used very little whole grains. Bacon and eggs, meats, fish, etc we eat to our hearts content, as we do with salads and to a lesser degree fruits and nuts. The weight simply fell off. I dropped from 181 six weeks ago to 168.2 (this morning) - back at my college weight. I have no hunger and I no longer crave carbs at all. I too went off statins and expected my cholesterol to skyrocket (it was at 202 with 40mg of statins/day). I recently had a simple lipid panel and total cholesterol is indeed in the high range (241) BUT my HDL rose from 67 to 87 and my triglycerides fell from 137 to 91. A lot of people would argue that with those numbers I don't need to worry about the LDL or at least should do detailed testing to see if I have the light fluffy LDL particles that are not a danger (supposedly predicted by the improved HDL/Triglyceride ratio). I plan to go over it all with my doc at my next physical in June and make decisions on the statins. My wife has had a similar weight loss experience (about 12 pounds lost) but hasn't gotten her blood results yet. She is more concerned about staying off statins because of side effects.

    So, this is all anecdotal so YMMV. We were both the types that could eat with impunity in youth so maybe a LCHF diet works easier for us than someone who has yo, yo'd up and down with weight loss efforts. What I will say is that for both of us, the LCHF approach has been very easy and satisfying. Since we are not radical with the carb counts, it should not be hard to sustain. By the way, we have found good low carb breads (great for toasted for sandwiches). Good low carb cereal (we both like to have a small bowl every now and then at breakfast). And Breyers Carb Smart ice cream bars are to die for. Dream Fields pasta claims they have a miracle solution (it tastes great) but I have read some serious debunking challenges so the jury is out on them.

    If you want to read about the low carb concept and don't mind getting into the details I strongly recommend Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories.
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  13. #13
    Member mileslong's Avatar
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    Gary Taubes newest book "Why We Get Fat" has a lot of great information on the role of insulin in how our bodies process, use and store what we eat.

  14. #14
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachme View Post
    I agree; getting rid of the bad carbs in your diet is key to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. I only eat whole wheat bread and hardly any potatoes. I have gotten use to whole wheat crackers like Triscuits instead of potaoe chips. I've lost 25 lbs in a year since I started cycling and cutting out the carbs. I'm at 220lbs now, would like to get down to 195 maybe.
    I am glad someone clarified this. Eliminating carbs from the diet is not only undesirable, it may be nearly impossible. I avoided Atkins for years because all I heard was "eliminating carbs". When I researched the real scoop on Atkins, I was surprised to find that it was not "all the meat you can eat", as is the popular misconception-one that I myself had.

  15. #15
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    I am glad someone clarified this. Eliminating carbs from the diet is not only undesirable, it may be nearly impossible. I avoided Atkins for years because all I heard was "eliminating carbs". When I researched the real scoop on Atkins, I was surprised to find that it was not "all the meat you can eat", as is the popular misconception-one that I myself had.
    Eliminating all carbs may be difficult but limiting them to ~50g/day is easy, at least it is for me. That takes a lot of vigilance because carbs are hiding in a lot of unlikely places. But after a few weeks that vigilance becomes second nature. If you keep the carbs at that level the craving for more rapidly disappears - again, worked for me but may not be universal. One of the biggest problems in my diet was low fat commercial products. For years I assumed low and no fat stuff was good (e.g. yogurt, ice cream, fruit juices, non-fat coffee creamers, on and on). Unfortunately, lots of these products are monstrously high in carbs. The food manufacturers deliver what they have been told we need (low fat) and keep the taste acceptable with sugars and other carbs. I now treat no fat products like the devil's spawn.
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  16. #16
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    The first 6 - 8 weeks is a bit tough from what I've heard. Until your body's metabolism has adapted to burning fat all the time, you can suffer "Atkins Flu" I've only had mild diarrhea (tmi, I know) so far, but on today's ride I bonked really bad at 35 mi. I did have 2 bottles of some "gatorade" type drink (25 carbs each! That's my carb limit for the day!)
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    Personally I'm suspicious of the lchf diets. In one of the diet forums I'm in, the common advice given is 'saturated fats are good for you.' They usually go along with high dietary cholesterol, and that isn't good for you. I checked both Harvard and the Mayo Clinic, and neither of them like saturated fats. I can't believe it's just because they are not as smart as most of the members of that forum.

    There was a news item about a study of bicyclists who completed a tour de France. They lived about 12 years longer than average. Most of them were high carb people. Not many people besides bicyclists refer to eating as 'carb loading.'
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  18. #18
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Go for the common ground:
    1) eliminate refined carbohydrates;
    2) eliminate soft drinks;
    3) eat plenty of fiber;
    4) maximize cruciferous vegetables;
    5) spread out and reduce intake of high glycemic carbs.
    6) use olive oil instead of butter or margarine;
    7) avoid trans fats;
    8) avoid hydrogenated fats.

    I have been ovo-lacto vegetarian, plus an occasional serving of salmon, herring ,etc. for 30 years. I lost weight and lowered my blood pressure on the extremely low fat Pritikin diet, but my energy level is better on my current "eco-Atkins" diet, which includes plenty of nuts, avocados, olives, etc., but plant, rather than animal, sources of protein. I like Indian, Mediterranean, Mexican, and some Asian restaurants, where I can find lentils, garbanzos, black beans, tofu, and other legumes.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Mort Canard's Avatar
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    Two quotes from Michael Pollan;

    “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”

    In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

    Keep It Simple S​tu.....!
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  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    Personally I'm suspicious of the lchf diets. In one of the diet forums I'm in, the common advice given is 'saturated fats are good for you.' They usually go along with high dietary cholesterol, and that isn't good for you. I checked both Harvard and the Mayo Clinic, and neither of them like saturated fats. I can't believe it's just because they are not as smart as most of the members of that forum.

    There was a news item about a study of bicyclists who completed a tour de France. They lived about 12 years longer than average. Most of them were high carb people. Not many people besides bicyclists refer to eating as 'carb loading.'
    If you participate in extremely strenuous sports you can take in more carbs with less ill effects... for the average person that loads up on carbs and then spends their free time watching tv this is a recipe for disaster.

    Professional athletes tend to be extremely fit and eat very healthy diets and probably have fewer vices... it makes sense that they wouold also enjoy an extended lifespan.

    When I was riding and training at a 10,000 mile per year pace I could have eaten sugar by the spoonful and it would have been burned off in no time.

  21. #21
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort Canard View Post
    Two quotes from Michael Pollan;

    “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”

    In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

    Keep It Simple S​tu.....!
    ^^^ This is my take on it.

    Before I started cycling, I was 180 lbs on a 5'8" frame. My gut, where all the weight was at, was to the point that I had to bend over to see my feet. I was wearing a tight, size 36 pants and getting ready to go into a size 38. My blood pressure was high, my overall cholesterol was high, my triglycerides were high and my LDL/HDL were flip-flopped. When I became serious about my cycling, I also decided to change my lifestyle, including the way I was eating.

    Before cycling, I tried different diets, including Atkins, but none of them seemed to work well for me. With the lifestyle change, I quit eating fast foods entirely. I ate lunch at a Burger King last month for the first time in over two years. I also quit drinking soft drinks, and I worked at Coca-Cola before my retirement and they were free. I limit not what I eat, but how much I eat. I normally have a bagel with fat free cream cheese for breakfast, usually no lunch, and half of the portions I used to eat at dinner. Because I don't eat a lunch, I snack on crackers, cheese, nuts and fruits but the snacking is spaced out over a two hour period and the portions are small. If I snack after dinner, it's usually a handful of nuts or some cheese. I also increased my intake of fruits and vegies.

    At my doctor's visit, last month, I weighed 147 lbs, no B/P or cholesterol (150) meds. My triglycerides, LDL and HDL were normal. I can see my feet standing straight up and I'm wearing a loose 34 pants size. I'm a firm believer that it's a change in lifestyle that is more important than dieting if you want to loose weight and stay healthy. Most people tend to return to what they did before dieting when they reach a desired result. Changing your lifestyle is permanent with a lasting result.
    Last edited by John_V; 05-20-12 at 08:22 AM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    It's amazing that low carb can be mentioned on a bike forum without hoots of derision! Things are really changing.

    I've been below about 20 g of carb/day for three years now. I don't find it difficult at all. Eggs, bacon, ribeye steak, chicken, fish, salad, pot roast, flax bread, carbquik waffles, shrimp, crab, lobster, ribs, pork chops...

    For blood pressure, see my post here:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post14247425
    Last edited by TromboneAl; 05-20-12 at 11:25 AM.
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  23. #23
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    Personally I'm suspicious of the lchf diets. In one of the diet forums I'm in, the common advice given is 'saturated fats are good for you.' They usually go along with high dietary cholesterol, and that isn't good for you. I checked both Harvard and the Mayo Clinic, and neither of them like saturated fats. I can't believe it's just because they are not as smart as most of the members of that forum.

    There was a news item about a study of bicyclists who completed a tour de France. They lived about 12 years longer than average. Most of them were high carb people. Not many people besides bicyclists refer to eating as 'carb loading.'
    Here's my take on it. History shows that the scientific community, including medicine, is very slow to change, even in the light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Evidence is mounting very fast that the low dietary fat "wisdom" is wrong.

    Ask the people at Mayo about the Inuit people. No veggies, fruit, starch or grain. Not much more than fatty seal meat, blubber, and fish. No cardiac disease.

    Or what about the French Paradox?

    It's really very simple. Dr Atkins was on the right track, as is the Paleo diet. We are not designed to eat these high carb diets.

    FACT: Starch and sugar trigger insulin production. FACT: Insulin changes starch and sugar to glucose, and tells the body to store fat. FACT: Your body will burn glucose before burning fat.

    Why? Nature tells our body that when starch and sugar is available (spring and summer,) burn sugar and store the fat for later. In fall and winter, not much starch and sugar is available so the body shifts over to burning stored fat. The problem is we have starch and sugar available year around. And processed foods are low in fiber, another important ingredient.

    LCHF diet or eating plans are taking off in Europe. The Swedish Medical Society has renounced the low fat diet as a proven failure. They now endorse the LCHF diet.

    It's only a matter of time before the US medical community changes their mind. IMHO.
    Last edited by bobthib; 05-20-12 at 12:59 PM.
    BT
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