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  1. #1
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    Training and fatigue/intelligence/focus

    Hello

    I am a beginner athlete, I started structured training this September and right now I am at middle of building my base with trainderroad.com , I average about 70 miles/week (trainer/outdoors) + I run for about 5-7 mi/day. I lost about 20 lb of weight and overall I feel much better. But I have huge problem with my real job. My job is highly intellectually challenging, it demands focus and full concentration for about 5-6 hours a day if I lose focus or became less efficient I do not earn any money (more so likely lose some instead). I realize now that even after moderate intensity exercise I cant focus on my work after. I became distracted easily, my motivation in the drain, I want basically lay on couch and watch movies. That's not a big deal, I can do my routine after hours but there's bigger challenge: after moderate to high intensity training I feel absolutely useless for the next day and that's a total disaster. Last week I rode for about 45 miles one day and felt ok after (it's my first time that long) but on a next day I could not do my job effectively, same thing after 2 hr endurance ride on trainer. And since my fitness improving my exercises are becoming harder and my fatigue on next day is even worse. I love biking/running but I can't do much of exercises now because I can't afford to lose 50% of my days (day after each demanding exercise). What should I do? Will this improve after while? I can do some sacrifices if necessary because I believe that physical fitness will improve my working skills.

    If you could recommend good schedule for me I would be entirely grateful. My work is simply 5-6 hours every day at any time (I can't take full day offs since my ability worsen and I have to do at least 2 hours every day) but except that I am free to do whatever. My main goal for training is to improve my intellect and focus.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedmor View Post
    But I have huge problem with my real job. My job is highly intellectually challenging, it demands focus and full concentration for about 5-6 hours a day if I lose focus or became less efficient I do not earn any money (more so likely lose some instead). I realize now that even after moderate intensity exercise I cant focus on my work after. I became distracted easily, my motivation in the drain, I want basically lay on couch and watch movies. That's not a big deal, I can do my routine after hours but there's bigger challenge: after moderate to high intensity training I feel absolutely useless for the next day and that's a total disaster. Last week I rode for about 45 miles one day and felt ok after (it's my first time that long) but on a next day I could not do my job effectively, same thing after 2 hr endurance ride on trainer. And since my fitness improving my exercises are becoming harder and my fatigue on next day is even worse. I love biking/running but I can't do much of exercises now because I can't afford to lose 50% of my days (day after each demanding exercise). What should I do? Will this improve after while? I can do some sacrifices if necessary because I believe that physical fitness will improve my working skills.

    Drink a tall glass of water immediately after finishing your rides. Drink another one about an hour later.


    I can only guess because you say nothing at all about what you eat and drink before, during, and after your rides, but what you're describing does happen if you're dehydrated.

  3. #3
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    I do log my diet at loseit. May be this would be usefull. I eat my normal food before rides and cereal bar/protein bar every hour.

    1. My nutrients distribution:



    2. Last two weeks in numbers:






    What would be proper nutrition for moderate training schedule? I can eat drink whatever I have to - I do not have problem with that. Dehydration could be a problem though because I go to sleep immediately after training and waking up really thirsty all the time with headache. Thanks, that's a good one!

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedmor View Post
    Dehydration could be a problem though because I go to sleep immediately after training and waking up really thirsty all the time with headache. Thanks, that's a good one!
    Yep.

    Before you ride, drink a tall glass of water. After you finish riding, drink a tall glass of water. When you wake up in the morning, drink a tall glass of water.

    And any time during the day when you feel like you are losing focus ... get up, walk to the water cooler, and get a tall glass of water (and drink it, of course).

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    If you are accurately recording all your calories, you are not consuming enough calories. Notice the comments on your loseit.com report that you are under your weekly calorie budget? You have to have fuel to exercise. I have used MyFitnessPal for weight loss goals in the past, and it builds in your exercise calories and encourages you to eat all those calories. You might not lose weight as quickly, but you are able to function, which seems to be your complaint. It looks like you ate around 400 calories one day. That is not even enough for daily activities of living, much less exercise.

  6. #6
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Sleep more/better.
    Austin doesn't have hippies. They have slightly rebellious Methodists. - Racer Ex

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    Quote Originally Posted by lhubbard9605 View Post
    It looks like you ate around 400 calories one day. That is not even enough for daily activities of living, much less exercise.
    I actually ate about 2000 calories a day, I burn about 1000-1200 with exercise (loseit shows food minus exercise) . Is that normal? I hope so. Gee looks like I have to find a nutritionist to help me about all that.

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    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedmor View Post
    I actually ate about 2000 calories a day, I burn about 1000-1200 with exercise (loseit shows food minus exercise) . Is that normal? I hope so. Gee looks like I have to find a nutritionist to help me about all that.
    Seriously, eat more carbs today, schedule an appointment with a nutritionist who works with athletes ASAP. You can work out your plan after that, but for now, you need to eat a lot more, and you probably also need to scale back on your workouts.

    Stress creates strength when coupled with adequate recovery. Otherwise, you are just breaking your body down and digging a hole. From what you are describing, you are digging yourself into a hole. First stop digging. Next step, see a qualified professional. Third step, come up with a new training regimen. Fourth step, return to training. Until then, eat more, exercise less, you need to get back to "0" before you can resume stressing your body. When you can recover adequately, then you build. If you are patient and consistent, fitness will come, but it will take time. There is no shortcut.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    To me it sounds like you aren't recovering properly.

    More food
    More rest
    More hydration
    Consider taking a deload week and reduce the intensity for a few days.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Me too. If I do a hard workout, I'm mentally wasted. It's the opposite of invigorating. It takes at least a few hours to recover. That's one reason I don't work out in the morning or during the day when I'm working. A moderate workout at lunch still has an effect on my afternoon productivity. I prefer to work out after work in the late afternoon or very early evening.

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    Recovery is equally as important as the stimulus IMHO. Give it a shot. There is always something one needs to work on and it changes as life wears on.
    I have issues after intense workouts. However, I work 6-3 as a programmer and workout during lunch 12-1. Even without exercise I have always accomplished most of my work in the morning. Being exhausted for a couple hours where I tend to not accomplish much anyhow isn't a big thing for me.

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Brain runs on glucose. During the night, it gets glucose from liver glycogen stores. In the morning, those are mostly gone. So fuel with carbs/protein about 4:1 immediately after exercise. Restore glycogen with a meal containing a good bit of carbs preferably within 2 hours after exercise. In the morning, restore liver glycogen with a good breakfast, including carbs and protein.

    Weigh yourself every morning. For a week or so, hold your weight constant by simply eating more carbs and less fat. Cut the fat about in half. Kick the carbs up to about 60%. See if that fixes it for you. Timing is important. Eat after a workout: shoot for 100g carbs, 30g protein. Eat breakfast. Have protein at bedtime.

    More info on macros for endurance athletes here:
    http://www.eatingfree.com/newtrition...e-cycling.aspx

    Very good nutritional advice here:
    http://www.hammernutrition.com/knowl...ial-knowledge/
    especially read the Guide to Success. You can ignore their specific product recommendations, but their advice is completely sound and tested.

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    You need to eat more. I can't believe you can run 5-7 miles after eating <1000 calories on certain days. Edit I see that number includes your exercise but you should still be eating more. Make sure you're using realistic calorie burn estimates for exercise since many products wildly overestimate them. For me personally (5'9" 170lbs.) I would be eating 2500-3000 calories on days when I ride (I burn anywhere from 1100-2000 calories per bike ride.) Maybe eat a bit less on "recovery" days but endurance athletes need to keep their glycogen stores "topped off." If you're really doing that much exercise I'd be eating a minimum of 2000 calories per day. You really shouldn't feel wasted the day after a hard workout (although you may be pretty sore.)
    Last edited by Dunbar; 12-31-13 at 02:11 PM.

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    Wow! Thanks Carbonfiberboy that's amazing!

    I ate about 300 cal worth in cookies before training today (ran for 3 miles, nothing special) and candy after and I feel great - energized and my mind is clear!!! turns out that wasn't overtraining. wow. But I am not sure if that's ok. Cookies? Candy? Isn't that bad and all?

    May be I should put this into perspective: I am overweight, I started losing weight when I was about 240 lb (I am 5'9") so my BMI was about 35 then, I am 203 lb now (BMI 29.9 so I am not obese anymore technically, yay) but still I have about 30 lb to lose. So in the beginning when I started eat less and exercise I thought carbs are my enemies and I had almost all my energy from protein/fat but it's clear now with increased workload that this approach dosent work anymore since exercises require carbs in form of glucose, hence my question - what should I eat to continue to lose weight but not feel exausted? I need carbs, right? in what form? What's a best food that will not make me fat again and will help my body through transformation from coach potato I was?

    thank you guys, this is a best forum that I posted in my life, so much support

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedmor View Post
    I ate about 300 cal worth in cookies before training today (ran for 3 miles, nothing special) and candy after and I feel great - energized and my mind is clear!!! turns out that wasn't overtraining. wow. But I am not sure if that's ok. Cookies? Candy? Isn't that bad and all?

    You could definitely come up with better choices than cookies and candies! Try fruit, veggies, nuts, and if you're going to go with cookies, choose something with oatmeal and nuts and fruit.

    If you're trying to lose weight, you shouldn't have any candy anywhere around. It's pure sugar and pointless calories. Eat a banana instead.

    And don't forget to drink water.

  16. #16
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedmor View Post
    ...
    in the beginning when I started eat less and exercise I thought carbs are my enemies and I had almost all my energy from protein/fat .... but it's clear now with increased workload that this approach dosent work anymore since exercises require carbs in form of glucose,
    Just be aware that there is a LOT of controversy over that subject. Many knowledgeable people DO believe that you should be driving your system with fats and proteins and that carbs are your enemy. And, many knowledgeable people believe quite the opposite. This guy is in the latter camp:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9LMezWH5DA

    But the key to the controversy seems (to me) to lie more with WHICH carbs are you talking about?
    ... Are you eating White Bread, sugary cereals, sugary drinks and candy?
    or
    ... Are you eating 100% whole grains and fruits and vegetables (NO fruit juice except in cooking).

    The first overwhelms your system with simple sugars and produces insulin spikes.
    The second gives your body all the nutrients it needs (including protein) without the spikes...

    I found that when I converted to a 100% whole grain, plant based diet that my energy levels improved greatly and that they stayed high throughout the day. The thing that really surprised me was the mornings: when I wake up, I am fully awake almost immediately -- I don't need coffee anymore.

    But, its a hard diet to follow -- because our culture pushes simple carbs, fat and meat on you...

    But, if you are interested in getting more healthy, helpful carbs, Rip's father's book would be a good place to start. ("Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn M.D.). And, in the end, you may find a healthy diet combination that works for you and your lifestyle choices.

    But, one thing is NOT controversial: simple carbs (like you get from Coca-Cola or white bread) are bad for you. So, don't "avoid them", eliminate them -- completely.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

  17. #17
    Senior Member Buzzatronic's Avatar
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    As many others have said, EAT MORE. You're under 1,000 calories for multiple days which is BAD even if you weren't exercising.

    For me I've found the sweet spot is net 2300-2600 calories a day (eating 3400, exercising off 800-1000 by commuting 80mi a week). If I dip below that, I start to feel like crap in a hurry both on and off the bike.

  18. #18
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, George, but you're wrong. You do the OP's workouts and job and see how you do. Medical science and coaches are on my side with this. The other side is populated by folks who make money off the credulity of our poorly educated population. Call this an intervention.

    Results matter.

    To the OP: Cookies are not so good, not because of the sugar, but because of the fat. Pure carbs won't put weight on you unless you eat an incredible quantity of them, like drink Big Gulps, etc. But fat combined with carbs definitely will. "De novo lipogenesis," meaning the creation of fat from carbs, is difficult for the body to do. But creating fat from fat, almost no metabolic cost to that. There's a good study on that subject here:
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/2/240.full.pdf

    So don't eat cookies. Banana bread would be a better choice. But to answer your question, the trick is not to eat more than you burn. Here's a calorie calculator for running:
    http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/calories_burned.asp
    For bike riding, you can figure ~40 calories/mile. Don't eat more than half that many calories in pure carbs during your exercise. Then counting that, plus your before and after, don't exceed your burn. You want to be somewhat negative - that's the fat you'll burn.

    There is absolutely no harm in eating carbs while you are exercising and just before and just after. The easiest and perhaps best form is gels. Those Hammer folks to whom I gave you a link sell Hammer Gel in pint containers and gel flasks to put it in. No nasty waste and easy to use. Runner's fueling belts are specially make to hold flasks like these. On the bike, put a flask in your jersey pocket. This way you can exactly meter the calories - the gel flask has graduations on the side. For before and after fueling, for now you could try Hammer Recoverite. You can also use Endurox. These are easy to use powders that you mix with water. They are a little expensive, but the calories are on the label. Once you figure out if they work for you, it's possible to duplicate them very cheaply using maltodextrin and whey/casein protein, buying that in bulk. For after, you can also use chocolate milk: it's a fave for those who are lactose tolerant. Again, read the label for calories. I have a long distance riding buddy who drinks a quart of chocolate milk every 50 miles. My wife uses Ensure, which is the same idea with added vitamins and minerals, and which she finds more palatable. Worth a try. On the bike, you can also put Recoverite or diluted Ensure in one of your water bottles instead of using a gel flask.

    BUT! When you are not exercising, cut the carbs down, to more like your current diet plan. As the link above points out, carbs + fat = fat deposits if you go over your calorie budget.

    I'm 68, my wife is 64 and we ride a tandem together, plus a whole lot of other athletic activity. We work out hard. We have eaten for years just like I've explained to you, lose weight at will, and have blood lipid profiles our doctor describes as "ideal." Plus we can ride the legs off people 30 years younger. I should note that my buddies call me "The Deranged" and my BMI is only 24. Working toward 22, though. We're signing up for RAMROD this year:
    http://www.redmondcyclingclub.org/RAMROD/RAMROD.html
    Now there's a goal for you. If we succeed in the lottery, we'll be two of the oldest riders on the course.

    Anyway, keep weighing yourself and adjust calories by your weight to keep the loss going. Eating more calories before, during, and after may mean cutting them somewhere else. On the good side, you'll find that fueling properly will increase your exercise intensity and tolerance, so you'll burn more during. It is said, "Fat burns in a carbohydrate fire."

  19. #19
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    BUT! When you are not exercising, cut the carbs down, to more like your current diet plan. As the link above points out, carbs + fat = fat deposits if you go over your calorie budget.

    carbs, fat, or protein will all make you fat if you're consuming more than your body needs.

    While I agree there is nothing inherently wrong with consuming carbs (I actually think all athletes should be consuming quite a few), I do try to monitor the source they come from. 200 calories from coke or white bread are going to treat me differently than 200 calories from rice or quinoa. And I perform better when I feel better.

    Fats are a huge part of my diet as well, I think people just need to also be choosy over what fats they consume. I eat nuts,organic butter, coconut oil, and olive oil almost daily and I'm fairly lean.

    Over-consumption and bad food choices seem to be the problem when it comes to storing fat IMO.

  20. #20
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I'm sorry, George, but you're wrong. You do the OP's workouts and job and see how you do. Medical science and coaches are on my side with this. The other side is populated by folks who make money off the credulity of our poorly educated population. Call this an intervention.
    ...
    ."
    I would like to say that we'll have to agree to disagree... But I don't think that that is really correct...

    The problem is that you have picked a few researchers and their research and declared that it is not only valid -- but the ONLY valid research...

    And, in the field of nutrition, that seems to happen far too often.

    The fact is: with a few exceptions (like consuming large amounts of simple carbs while sitting on a couch), the research has been inconsistent and inconclusive -- and there are simply too many unanswered questions out there. And, complicating the matter is the marvelous complexity and adaptability of the human body. And, further complicating it is that typically a researcher will do research into a narrow question and then announce that it is THE answer -- when, in fact, it is a piece of THE answer...

    I am glad that you have had success with your chosen diet. But a LOT of people have had success with THEIR chosen diets... That doesn't prove anything except that we still don't have THE correct answer. Actually, we have a whole lot of semi-correct answers...

    ... My advice to the op stands: "Do your own research and tread carefully. And, beware of the person who tells you that his answer is the only correct answer. Your job is to learn from him, not just obey him. Keep an open mind."
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

  21. #21
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Good thread, BTW. Enjoy the diversity of opinion.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedmor View Post
    Dehydration could be a problem though because I go to sleep immediately after training and waking up really thirsty all the time with headache. Thanks, that's a good one!
    But most importantly ... drink more water. Especially drink when you finish your workout.

  23. #23
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    I would like to say that we'll have to agree to disagree... But I don't think that that is really correct...


    The problem is that you have picked a few researchers and their research and declared that it is not only valid -- but the ONLY valid research...


    And, in the field of nutrition, that seems to happen far too often.


    The fact is: with a few exceptions (like consuming large amounts of simple carbs while sitting on a couch), the research has been inconsistent and inconclusive -- and there are simply too many unanswered questions out there. And, complicating the matter is the marvelous complexity and adaptability of the human body. And, further complicating it is that typically a researcher will do research into a narrow question and then announce that it is THE answer -- when, in fact, it is a piece of THE answer...


    I am glad that you have had success with your chosen diet. But a LOT of people have had success with THEIR chosen diets... That doesn't prove anything except that we still don't have THE correct answer. Actually, we have a whole lot of semi-correct answers...


    ... My advice to the op stands: "Do your own research and tread carefully. And, beware of the person who tells you that his answer is the only correct answer. Your job is to learn from him, not just obey him. Keep an open mind."
    But these are just words, George. Where are the results, where are the double blind interventional studies that show eating very low carb produces better results than eating moderate carbs? Where are the racers, the long distance winners who eat low carb? I mean other than the self-promoters on the web. I mean race winners, not talk winners. Your contention is that "research has been inconsistent and inconclusive." I don't think so.

    As it is said, "We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts." Where are your links? I don't mean links to the self-promoters, but to the research itself.

    I'm not arguing that low carb diets don't work well for ad libitum diet weight loss. They do. However, they don't work well for athletic performance, and as we've just seen in the OP's case, athletic and mental performance combined with weight loss.

    Carefully monitored patient diets have produced remarkable weight loss results, for low fat, low carb, and any diet combination you could name. The consistent factor is that they are doctor-monitored and calorie deficient. Any closely doctor-monitored, calorie deficient diet will produce results, which just says that for weight loss, exact diet is not as important as monitoring and going calorie negative.

    OTOH, for athletic achievement, team athletes are also very closely monitored. What do they eat? Very high carb. They pass riders Cokes, right from the team car, in the cans. Yet reading some posters on this forum, one would think that Coke was anathema. One RAAM rider, a few years back, did most of his mileage on pop tarts and bean burritos. A friend and riding buddy won the Furnace Creek 508, drinking 18 cans of Ensure plus other similar foods in 24 hours. What's the first ingredient in Ensure? Sucrose.

    Everyone in the groups with whom I ride eats approximately the same macros, though exactly what they eat varies a lot and seems to matter little, all the way to a diet of Gummi Bears, ice cream, and peanut butter, and including the lactose intolerant, a celiac, and type 1 diabetics. Why would this be? Simple: if they don't eat like we do, they can't keep up. It's self-selecting, and it's pretty much the opposite of what you are saying.

    It's not just reading research. One has to apply the research and see what works. Doing what works is the thing. One would think that the OP's recent experience would send some sort of message.

    Results matter.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    To the OP: Cookies are not so good, not because of the sugar, but because of the fat. Pure carbs won't put weight on you unless you eat an incredible quantity of them, like drink Big Gulps, etc. But fat combined with carbs definitely will. "De novo lipogenesis," meaning the creation of fat from carbs, is difficult for the body to do. But creating fat from fat, almost no metabolic cost to that. There's a good study on that subject here:
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/2/240.full.pdf
    And for anyone who is interested, here is a well written critique of this study (and others like it.)

    http://www.lucastafur.com/2011/04/ex...is-and_04.html

    "So we have a scenario in which glycogen is depleted by diet plus exercise and then there is a massive high carbohydrate low fat refeed for seven days. Glycogen storage increases until the 4th day, in which glycogen stores had become saturated and de novo lipogenesis starts to increase. This shows that you need 4 days of overfeeding carbohydrates to start getting fat? No. This shows that in LEAN HEALTHY YOUNG SUBJECTS, AFTER A GLYCOGEN DEPLETING PROTOCOL, a relatively well known phenomenon called GLYCOGEN SUPERCOMPENSATION occurs.


    I dont think we can extrapolate these results to everyone nor this study shows that you can eat 500g everyday and not get fat. Specially if you are not lean and/or healthy."
    Last edited by Dunbar; 01-03-14 at 04:40 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    ...
    George. Where are the results, where are the double blind interventional studies that show eating very low carb produces better results than eating moderate carbs?...
    ...
    They pass riders Cokes, right from the team car, in the cans. Yet reading some posters on this forum, one would think that Coke was anathema. .
    Well, I guess you hit the nail on the head with that one...

    ... Yes, for a rider going all out he needs a short term, quick replacement of carbs -- and it does him no physiological harm.

    But, for most people in most circumstance, the coke is going to do no good but will cause some physiologic damage. Maybe it won't be measurable from a single 12 oz, but change that to several a day, every day -- while the person is watching TV... And, yes, it will be doing harm...

    Another example would be a diabetic going into hypoglycemic shock -- the standard 'medicine' is a glass of OJ (or anything that will inject simple carbs into his bloodstream quickly). But, if that same person drinks that stuff on a regular basis, he will have an extremely difficult time maintaining his glucose levels...

    ... So, yes, there are exceptions, but generally, it is safe to say: "Stay away from simple carbs like refined grains, sugary drinks and the like...

    For most of us, the diet that counts is the one we eat every day. In a separate thread, I reported what happened to the director of Boston Marathon -- an excellent athlete in excellent health -- who was recently diagnosed with heart disease --- which was probably mostly due to his standard American diet. I suspect his cardiologists will have him speaking with a nutritionist real soon -- and somehow I doubt that she will be telling him to take in simple carbs (like Coke). It is far more likely she will tell him to eat more complex carbs like whole grains and vege's


    But, when you ask:
    "George. Where are the results, where are the double blind interventional studies that show eating very low carb produces better results than eating moderate carbs?..."

    I think you need to re-read my post -- because I never suggested that low-carb diets were better... I DID say that it is generally accepted that simple carbs (like refined grains and sugary drinks) should not be a regular part of a healthy, day-to-day diet.

    In actuality, I have been eating high carb for the past four months -- and it is working quite well for me. But I still take in almost zero SIMPLE carbs.

    Simple carbs do have a place in special circumstances -- but in a general, day-to-day diet they produce little or no benefit but they do cause harm: Energy spikes, weight gain, nutrient deficiencies, insulin spikes, increased glucose levels, etc...
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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