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  1. #1
    Long Haul Truckin' Jaye's Avatar
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    Question About Carbs...

    Just posted this in General Cycling without even realizing this forum was here, so here it is again...

    Ok so I am an overweight person (started at 280 and am now down to 238) I have done this mostly by doing the Atkins diet.

    Now I understand that different people have different views on how the Atkins diet will affect overall health, and while I apreciate the concern it is working for me where nothing else has in the past.

    I am very new to cycling so my body is not at all conditioned for it yet and I tire out very easily, lately though I have been wondering how much of that is a lack of fitness and how much of that is a lack of carbs.

    My question to everyone here however is how badly am I going to hurt my ability to ride by living on a low carb diet? I generaly consume under 30 carbs per day, which obviously means that curently the sugestions of Pasta, Clif Bars, etc are not being utilized by me.

    So to be effective on a bike should I forego the low-carb diet? All together? Only while on the bike?

    Any input (cycling specific only please) is greatly apreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Rubber Side Down soccerismylife's Avatar
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    You need carbs to function. As Chris Charmichael has said many times, low-carb diets are not for athletes. If your goal is weight loss, then simply expend more calories than you consume. You need carbs to function so you should have at least 50g a day. Although some people might disagree, lower intensity workouts are better at burning fat than high intensity. During low intensity training your body uses mostly fat, but as you increase the intensity, the energy coming from carbs increases.
    "Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike, busting my ass, six hours a day. What are you on?"
    -Lance Armstrong

  3. #3
    Senior Member rick1's Avatar
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    In general these diets cause the body use more fat for energy, which appears to be a sound principle. But in reality, the fact is as a society we consume to many of the wrong type of carbohydrates. The low-carb diet, unlike the others, is not purely founded in deception. There is some legitimate science behind it. The average American consumes 168 pounds of sugar a year. If you cut back on carbs, you are cutting back on sugar and on those refined, bleached and processed carbs that are easily converted and stored as fat.

    First weíll cover some of the downside to these dietsÖ
    The liver, among itís approximately 63 other functions, must insure the provision of glucose (carbohydrates) for brain function. Glucose is the brainís only source of energy. During periods of extremely low carbohydrate intake, the liver is stimulated by the hormone Glucagon from the Pancreas to release its stored Glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in the form of glucose at a rate of about 26 calories per hour. This process is known as Glycogenolysis. When liver stores are exhausted, catabolic and cannibalistic enzymes and hormones are released into the blood that breaks down Amino acids, blood proteins, and body tissues into glucose energy. If a low blood Glucose condition is prolonged, metabolic acidosis can occur as a result of the toxicity of the bi-products of protein and body tissue cannibalism which is also referred to as ďKetone bodiesĒ. Ketones suppress appetite, but they also cause fatigue, nausea, bad breath and potentially dangerous fluid loss. Anyone with diabetes, heart, or kidney problems should NOT follow a diet that promotes the formation of ketones.

    Headaches are common due to the fact the brainís energy is supplied from carbs. Carbohydrates attract water, so when on a high protein diet drinking lots of water is a necessity, The first 7-10 pounds of weight loss on a low carb diet are normally due to water loss not necessarily fat loss. Also water is needed to eliminate ammonia and urea toxins to avoid dehydration, constipation, and abnormal heart rhythms while on these diets.

    High protein diets can cause kidney scarring, cautions the American Kidney Fund, as a result of the extra waste that has to be processed. Blood uric acid levels are elevated due to extremely high protein consumption, and this can lead to the development of a painful form of arthritis known as the gout. Uric acid crystals actually deposit in the joints as a result eating meats, poultry, eggs shellfish, seeds, and nuts in abundance. Many of the low-carb diets are low in calcium, low in fiber, low in phytochemicals because they're low in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole-grains so the development of certain cancers become a concern.

    Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Commission for Responsible Medicine refers to research recently published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease, based on studies of 10 healthy people put on the Atkins diet. "Because their focus is kidney disease, they wanted to look at calcium loss. It was awful: On the induction diet, calcium losses were 65 percent above normal, and even on the more moderate maintenance diet, calcium losses averaged 55 percent above normal," Barnard says. "Osteoporosis is a bad enough problem as it is. If you do something that increases calcium losses, you're just asking for hip fractures." Your bones are not static. They make various immune and blood cells. They also act as a "metabolic reservoir" for calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Older bone tissue is reabsorbed by cells called osteoclasts. New bone is formed by cells called osteoblasts. In the case of osteoporosis, the problem is that resorption gets ahead of formation, resulting in bone loss.

    AlternativesÖ
    Keep in mind, carbohydrates are a nutrient, and a nutrient is defined as something your body needs in order to sustain life. With that thought in mind, itís pretty clear making all carbs the enemies can prove harmful. The main issue is eating to many of the wrong type of carbs. While the Atkins diet allows for 26 percent saturated fat and up to 68 total fat in itís plan, why not use an Atkins like model, but consume low fat protein sources such as soy protein, fish, whey protein supplements, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil and flax oil? Then add a few pieces of low carb fruit daily along with plenty of low carb vegetables and whole grain sources (around 100 grams a day). Plenty of water, a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement, and regular exercise round out the program.

    You should really educate yourself regarding the glycemic index which will list carbs and their ratio of elevating your blood sugar, remember carbs are not just carbs there are catagories of this nutrient some of which should not be consumed if possible.

    Rick

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    No use quoting this but this has all been debunked. The brain makes its own glucose. High protein diets in general do not hurt the kidneys' headaches? Where did that come from? Sounds like you need to do more research rather then quoting misinformation.
    People keep pulling up the same lame arguments that still have not been proven true. You can be an athlete on low carb. You may need some carbs but not a huge amount unless you are competing. Most here donít race so it is a bit pointless to keep bringing it up. Check this thread out atkins and riding bikes
    Me I have to be on very lo carb because I get sick if I eat any carbs. No idea why but I donít eat any carby foods and the only carbs I get are the ones in foods like nuts and the veggies I can eat. My carb allergies made me pretty sick and now I am getting better. I ride 20 miles a day 5 days a week with no carbs. I can ride more but I just donít have a reason to really.
    I know a lot of people who eat low carb and work out just fine.
    If you eat right it is fairly low carb. Once you remove all the prepared foods garbage grains wheat and rice and potatoes and sugar and junk in the American diet you are on a lower carb diet.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaye

    My question to everyone here however is how badly am I going to hurt my ability to ride by living on a low carb diet? I generaly consume under 30 carbs per day, which obviously means that curently the sugestions of Pasta, Clif Bars, etc are not being utilized by me.

    So to be effective on a bike should I forego the low-carb diet? All together? Only while on the bike?

    .
    Jaye, big question is what type of cycling are you talking about? If you're riding less than 30 miles at a slower pace, you'll do fine if you're in ketosis and burning fat. How long have you been riding? It's likely lack of conditioning right now that's making you tired. Increase small amounts of riding each week, make sure you get rest days, look at some interval training to boost cardio.

    When you get to the point where you're riding more agrssively, you may want to target some carb intake to fuel a specific activity (riding, in this case). You can eat a banana 45 minutes before your workout and supplement with diluted gatorade, or some other "ade". Follow up with a protein shake and you should be fine. This is what works for me, so you may have to play around with timing and amounts, but no, you don't have to forego the "diet".

  6. #6
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    Rick:

    Right on brother!

  7. #7
    Senior Member rick1's Avatar
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    Steven, if your comparing food allergies to carbs and energy it's comparing two different scienaros. It's possible you like many people are having trouble digesting Frutose or components that contain Frutose or High Frutose corn syrup. Frutose is metabolised differently from most other sugars and a percentage of individuals have bad digestive reactions which can simulate an allergy. I'm only suggesting it's a possibility. Do your own research as food allergies can be caused by a variety of things.

    Regarding high protein diets healthy people with normal kidneys should be ok provided they consume enough water on these diets but approx 18 million people have reduced kidney function but are not aware of it. The lessoned kidney function combined with the excessivly high protein intake puts them at risk. Also you excrete more calicum than normal elevating your chances of Kidney stones and other complications later in life.

    I've had two clients approach me that had been on the Atkins diet and both experienced low energy levels and headaches. Not all do but most see to experience it on different levels. As time goes on more data is aquired which backs this up.

    I'm certainly not an advocate for high carb diets and in reality as a society we consume to many of the wrong type of carbohydrates. Carbs can be a very complex subject and individuals need to educate themselves what the conquesences of what different sugars can do.

    Rick

  8. #8
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    I had a friend that tried that no carb thing for a while. He lost a few pounds but his riding went to pot. He had no energy,even a short ride just wasted him.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  9. #9
    I get hit by cars Crash Dummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveknight
    No use quoting this but this has all been debunked. The brain makes its own glucose. High protein diets in general do not hurt the kidneys' headaches? Where did that come from? Sounds like you need to do more research rather then quoting misinformation.
    People keep pulling up the same lame arguments that still have not been proven true. You can be an athlete on low carb. You may need some carbs but not a huge amount unless you are competing.
    Not to be rude, but the brain does not make its own glucose. Virtually all of the glucose in the bloodstream comes either from direct absorption in the digestive tract or from broken-down glycogen stores. This is relevant given that the brain has a barrier in place (called the Blood-Brain barrier) to prevent almost all blood-borne substances (particularly undesirables like toxins, bacteria and viruses) from getting into the brain. Glucose is one of the many compounds that cannot penetrate the barrier on its own. Naturally, the brain needs a way to get the things it needs. The brain has special transport proteins to accomplish this (for glucose uptake, they're called GLUT-1 transports for those interested).

    As far as kidney damage goes, one of the kidneys' functions is to deal with nitrogenous (protein) waste. Greatly increasing one's protein intake naturally makes one's kidneys work harder. Increasing one's carb/sugar intake makes the Beta cells in the pancreas work harder. Do this for too long, and the Beta cells give out and you're left with diabetes. There's not much research as to the effects of Atkins on the kidneys, but by analogy, I would certainly be wary of it. Everything in moderation, as my grandfather said. In my estimation, we'll be getting more of a definitive verdict on this in the next few years as long-term Atkins people either do or do not begin to develop kidney problems. But my guess is, within 20ish years, Atkins people will know what a nephrologist does with while the rest of the populace remains blissfully ignorant.
    The Pessimist is always either correct or pleasantly surprised.

  10. #10
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    First, there are those whom, using what historical facts they're able to recover, say that a high-carb diet is not what humans evolved for, and thus it not proper for us. Look up the Paleo or Caveman diet.

    Secondly, there are those who look at more recent history, from Banting to more recent dieters, and say that a reletively low-carb diet does work well for weight loss.

    Thirdly, there is evidence of a confusion between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketosis is fairly normal, athletes, pregnent mothers, etc go through it routinely. Ketoacidosis is the acetone "fruity" breath, and other health effects seen in extreme starvation and diabetes. Ketosis does not seem to be harmful, ketoacidosis is not generally a good thing.

    I myself am trying to follow what I call the "meaty herb-y" diet, meat OK, veggies OK but they must be green, purple, more herb-like, no Iceberg lettuce, must be nutrient and vitamin-rich, for other snacks I eat nuts, some really "rough" whole grains stuff, berries with lots of pigment, etc. The overall rule is whole foods, what I'd find as a successful hunter/gatherer. I do break the rules a little bit, I drink coffee and eat dairy, mostly as cream in the coffee and some cheese. And you have to get Variety! Remember a good hunter/gatherer gets a lot of that, many different plants and things, different game, even bugs. And drink your water, I swear by Gerolsteiner which is fizzy water, $1 a bottle but it's much cheaper than beer, and probably has all kinds of good stuff in it, I try not to think about it perhaps being tinctured with the essence of German tourists.....

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rick1
    why not use an Atkins like model, but consume low fat protein sources such as soy protein, fish, whey protein supplements, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil and flax oil? Then add a few pieces of low carb fruit daily along with plenty of low carb vegetables and whole grain sources (around 100 grams a day). Plenty of water, a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement, and regular exercise round out the program.
    To this I cannot agree more. And I'm pretty sure that most "low carb" plans have this as a final goal. This is pretty much how I eat, and it works great for me. Initially the plans all call for a bit less carbs to kickstart weight loss, but the eventual goal is a healthy diet and lifestyle as described above.

    Rick, most plans I'm familiar with also promote the intake of additional calcium, magnesium and potassium. And a good multi-vitamin to round things off.

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