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Cycling and Carbs

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Old 01-21-19, 06:21 PM
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Cycling and Carbs

How many members eschew carbs in their diets ? I know carb intake is pretty common for cyclists . 4 years ago I went from a very calorie restricted diet where I lost 100 pounds to a keto lifestyle where I spend most of my time in ketosis as I continue to get healthy. I constantly have others ask me why I dont use energy bars , goo, etc. I usually take cheese , nuts and boiled eggs with me for a snack when I ride. Anyway just curious as I see most everyone basically using lots of sugar laden snacks while riding which really isn't that great for you even if you are burning them away during cycling.

Not an expert in nutrition by any means and I am more curious than anything as I try to learn more about diet and nutrition .
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Old 01-22-19, 06:58 AM
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I was motivated to lose 15 lbs and have more energy. I looked into Keto and decided it was too severe for me. So, for the past 2-3 months, I have been on a low carb diet. Trying to keep daily carbs to around 100 g. I've lost 4 lbs and my BP has gone from a high of 170/95 to a consistent 125/81. No meds involved. Curious to see how/if this will affect me on the bike.
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Old 01-22-19, 07:01 AM
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Result of low carb diet?
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Old 01-22-19, 09:13 AM
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Some sugar is not bad for you. Too much sugar is. The dosage makes the poison. Someone who is eating an otherwise healthy diet isn't going to suffer any ill effects from some sugar on a ride.
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Old 01-22-19, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
How many members eschew carbs in their diets ? I know carb intake is pretty common for cyclists . 4 years ago I went from a very calorie restricted diet where I lost 100 pounds to a keto lifestyle where I spend most of my time in ketosis as I continue to get healthy. I constantly have others ask me why I dont use energy bars , goo, etc. I usually take cheese , nuts and boiled eggs with me for a snack when I ride. Anyway just curious as I see most everyone basically using lots of sugar laden snacks while riding which really isn't that great for you even if you are burning them away during cycling.

Not an expert in nutrition by any means and I am more curious than anything as I try to learn more about diet and nutrition .
Okay, then.

When you ride hard, you burn a lot of calories. Nuts, cheese, boiled eggs, besides being nearly impossible to eat when riding hard, would also likely take forever to digest if I didn't vomit them all up first (much more likely). When I eat on the bike, it's things that I can eat quickly, digest easily, and will fuel me effectively. None of what you're consuming would fulfill any of those needs.
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Old 01-22-19, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Some sugar is not bad for you. Too much sugar is. The dosage makes the poison. Someone who is eating an otherwise healthy diet isn't going to suffer any ill effects from some sugar on a ride.
@OBoile is a guy who doesn't speak much (here), but is worth listening to when he does post. FYI.
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Old 01-22-19, 03:40 PM
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For the OP, my answer is that I don't eat much refined sugar, but I eat plenty of carbs. A spoonful of honey tonight won't help me on tomorrow's ride, but oatmeal will. Rice, dark rye bread, and veggies.

A lot of people eat sugary things on the bike on long rides because you can metabolize simple sugars quickly, the energy in a goo can go to the pedals within an hour.

Unless you have a medical condition that makes carbohydrates a problem for you, you should eat more of them, in their complex forms. The people who live the longest and remain healthy the longest all get most of their calories from carbs. See blue zones. (People in them also do other things for their health, it's not only the diet.)
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Old 01-22-19, 08:55 PM
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Diet is way complicated. Athletic diet is even more so. Not the diet of course, just the why. Diet's easy. Anybody can eat whatever. We're omnivores with a very wide range of suitable diets, from Eskimos to African hunters to Mediterranean to Asian. All those diets can be healthy. It's more a question of "What do you want to do?", than what do you want to eat. Michael Pollen: "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much."

Off the bike, I eat natural foods piscetarian. On the bike, I eat almost nothing but a mix of maltodextrin (GI = 100+) and whey protein. I'm 73, winter BMI is currently 24, BP yesterday 100/60. Best VAM (vertical ascent in meters) last summer on ~2000' climbs, 840. It all depends on what you want to do. I enjoy riding hard, skiing, and running as well as homey things, baking almost all our bread for instance. Currently reading John McPhee's Annals of the Former World.

You want to get healthy. What's your metric? What do you want to do?
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Old 01-22-19, 11:23 PM
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Nuts, eggs and cheese are high in cholesterol.

I'm off statins and have no desire to go back on. These foods are not regular parts of my diet.

I can't imagine bringing eggs on a ride.


-Tim-
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Old 01-22-19, 11:31 PM
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This all depends... On age, activity level and intensity. Generally excess carbs becomes fat (I know), and excess protein does not. Just, if you need 2,500Kcal and do that in protein, and then eat 200Kcal carbs before bed - you still have 200Kcal excess carbs. Better to eat carbs in the morning before and after workout and evening less carbs. The extra calories in protein do not as easily become fat on your body.

For those really training - you do better performance with carbs. You must have protein to repair breakdown/muscles, muscles that likely got a better workout because you were using carbs.

Your training and age, both big deals, have a lot to do with what you can do, and what you need to eat to support that. But yea, training hard - sugar is just fine and good. But you also must recover. Sleep is best for that. And likely fewer carbs.

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Old 01-23-19, 07:23 AM
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I don't know much about keto and all that, but isn't the reason a lot of gels and bars that are eaten while riding taken because they are very fast acting and give you an almost immediate energy spike? How fast could an egg or handful of almonds possibly work? I understand the concept behind keto and using fat as an energy source, but I just don't see an avocado giving you that energy spike. Think you'd be better off taking caffeine pills or something.
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Old 01-23-19, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Nuts, eggs and cheese are high in cholesterol.

I'm off statins and have no desire to go back on. These foods are not regular parts of my diet.

I can't imagine bringing eggs on a ride.


-Tim-
For most people, dietary cholesterol doesn't really affect their blood cholesterol levels.

But I agree, they don't make much sense on a ride. But, to each their own I guess.
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Old 01-23-19, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
@OBoile is a guy who doesn't speak much (here), but is worth listening to when he does post. FYI.
Thanks for the kind words Seattle Forrest.
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Old 01-23-19, 02:54 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/Cyclists-Food.../dp/0971891117

Worth looking into.
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Old 01-23-19, 03:32 PM
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Gels with caffeine work for me. As much as I do not like them for many reasons, my stomach under high power seems not to mind. My stomach is the boss. If I do not choke on it and it stays down, I declare victory.
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Old 01-23-19, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Gels with caffeine work for me. As much as I do not like them for many reasons, my stomach under high power seems not to mind. My stomach is the boss. If I do not choke on it and it stays down, I declare victory.
Absolutely. The best bike food is the food that doesn't make you barf, or in milder cases simply sit in your stomach until you stop because you've bonked. Trial and error is how I arrived at my version of bike food.

I know a couple riders who ditched their eating problems by thinking of everything they eat as "fuel" not as "food." That may be a bit more than most folks need, but it's a good way to look at it.

The OP might want to have a look at this randomized clinical trial (RCT): https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...rticle/2673150
In this 12-month weight loss diet study, there was no significant difference in weight change between a healthy low-fat diet vs a healthy low-carbohydrate diet, and neither genotype pattern nor baseline insulin secretion was associated with the dietary effects on weight loss.
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Old 01-23-19, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Nuts, eggs and cheese are high in cholesterol.

I'm off statins and have no desire to go back on. These foods are not regular parts of my diet.

-Tim-
Thank god for cholesterol, without cholesterol our bodies would die.... I'll take my chances with eating real foods made by nature instead of taking an opinion of some misinformed doctor and avoiding foods which humans have been eating for thousands of centuries.
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Old 01-23-19, 06:58 PM
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I don't follow any diets, I just eat food.
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Old 01-23-19, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Thank god for cholesterol, without cholesterol our bodies would die.... I'll take my chances with eating real foods made by nature instead of taking an opinion of some misinformed doctor and avoiding foods which humans have been eating for thousands of centuries.
​​​​​​I've had a doctor warn me about leaky gut syndrome, and a trailhead sign warn me about bigfoot. (I have to admit the trail was dark and squatchy.)
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Old 01-24-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Thank god for cholesterol, without cholesterol our bodies would die.... I'll take my chances with eating real foods made by nature instead of taking an opinion of some misinformed doctor and avoiding foods which humans have been eating for thousands of centuries.

this lines up with what Ive read , cholesterol is not bad and our bodies make it . Hence it being nonessential
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Old 01-24-19, 05:29 PM
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High sugar consumption can decrease your good cholesterol ( HDL ) and increase you bad cholesterol ( LDL ) and increase your triglycerides and put you at more risk for cardiovascular disease...than eating actual foods which are high in cholesterol such as eggs.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
High sugar consumption can decrease your good cholesterol ( HDL ) and increase you bad cholesterol ( LDL ) and increase your triglycerides and put you at more risk for cardiovascular disease...than eating actual foods which are high in cholesterol such as eggs.
Thing is, high levels of cholesterol have been found to have absolutely nothing to do with death from heart attacks. What appears to be the issue is why arterial plaques break loose in some people but not in others. See this old study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1342254
Using data from the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) registry, we evaluated the relationship between cholesterol levels measured at enrollment and the following events: all-cause mortality, cardiac death, fatal myocardial infarction (MI), and nonfatal MI. Only patients with a significant coronary artery disease (at least one lesion with stenosis > or = 50%) were considered for this study. Results presented for mortality are for a period of up to 11.5 years and those for MI are for a maximum of 8 years of follow-up. Analyses were performed for each type of event and for each subgroup: women (n = 1861) and men (n = 10,941) under age 65, and women (n = 426) and men (n = 1144) age 65 or older. After adjusting for important covariates, cholesterol level was not associated with cardiac or all-cause mortality. No relationship between cholesterol level and fatal or nonfatal MI could be demonstrated except for men under age 65. However, in this subgroup the risk of MI was highest for those with low or middle cholesterol levels. The data show that in patients with angiographically determined coronary artery disease, cholesterol level is not a statistically significant risk factor for death or MI over the follow-up period in CASS.
One thing that's certain is that more aerobic exercise improves longevity
Furthermore, for a given training volume, engaging in higher intensity physical activity provides additional benefit [28]. Extreme examples of the benefits of high exercise volume and/or intensity come from data on competitive athletes. For example, among 2 675 Finnish endurance ex-athletes having participated in the Olympics games between 1920 and 1965, longevity was greater by 5.5 years (75. vs. 69.9 years) relative to an age-matched sedentary cohort [29]. Similar results have been observed in cross-country skiers [30] and former participants of the Tour de France
Athletes who engage in high intensity sports consume a lot of sugar. In Kenyan distance runners, "Sugar plain sugar accounted for 20 percent of daily calories." https://runnersconnect.net/diet-of-kenyan-runners/

All this to say that bro science is wrong about the relationship between cholesterol levels and heart attacks and the relationship between sugar consumption, aerobic exercise, and health. You wanna ride hard and get healthy, eat high GI foods on the bike, despite the wealth of contrary opinion to be found on the web. I remember when a search for "global warming" would return 20 denial websites for every scientific one, and not that long ago. Try it now..

Which is not to say that sedentary folks should eat a lot of sugar. Quite the contrary. Getting a lot of hard aerobic exercise is the exception for the general population, but more the rule for BF. Use what you need for fuel and don't worry about it.
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Old 01-25-19, 01:10 AM
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I got a crash course in the effects of fairly minor diet changes last year. Literally. Crash. Course.

Short version: In my case there's definitely a correlation between body fat and intake of sugar and carbs. No question. It's the one change that made a significant impact on losing belly fat and fat around the lower back over the kidneys.

But I wasn't interested in a keto diet. I wasn't much over my optimal weight to begin with. I'm not training for any competition so there wasn't any incentive to try a radical diet change. But the diet change was forced upon me.

I was hit by a car last May. Broke and dislocated my shoulder. While doing X-rays and imaging diagnostics to check my shoulder and neck they discovered I had thyroid cancer. Oh, joy. It got worse quickly over the summer. The thyroid was so swollen I could hardly swallow solid food without gagging and choking. And I'm borderline anemic. And I didn't have much of an appetite anyway.

All of that forced some diet changes. I had to use any liquids with a good concentration of essential nutrients. Lots of oatmeal, eggs and yogurt. I switched to more low or no sugar yogurt, instead of the sweet desert pudding stuff that passes for yogurt in the US.

And I quit drinking alcohol. I never drank much anyway and mostly enjoyed beer. But I couldn't metabolize it anymore after the thyroid problem. Every couple of months last year I'd try it again -- drink one good beer from a friend's brew pub. A single beer was like instant hangover. Took all the pleasure out of good beer. Giving up alcohol alone peeled off some body fat. (I'm not preaching it as a virtue. It's just a matter of fact. Frankly, I'm not happy about that. I'd rather be able to enjoy a beer with friends now and then.)

My optimal lean weight now at age 61 would be the same as when I was an amateur boxer in the 1970s-'80s, around welterweight -- 145, give or take a couple of pounds. Last May I weighed around 160 and had only a little pudge around the belly and lower back. Now I'm down to 150 and still have a little belly fat because my upper body isn't as muscular as it was in my teens and 20s. That's what bicycling does -- different physique. And I still can't do full pushups or lift weights -- the shoulder break finally healed but the dislocation still bothers me and I can't handle more than about 5 lbs without pain. So it's tough to keep any muscle mass on my torso. I do a lot of stretching and low stress toning exercises, and some isotonic/isometic exercises suitable for bike riding.

Over the summer and fall, on a mostly liquid diet, my fat loss stalled at 155 because I was drinking a lot of protein supplements but wasn't strong enough with enough energy to work out as often. So the extra sugar wasn't being burned up -- whether sucrose, dextrose, glucose, etc., or sugar alcohols (maltitol), or maltodextrin, etc. -- all the stuff commonly found in supplements and snacks marketed to athletes.

So at least in my case there was evidence of the current conventional wisdom that body fat is primarily linked to sugar and junk carbs. Specifically, eating more sugar than we burn up.

Since my thyroid surgery in November my esophagus has unkinked and I can swallow solid food again. I'm eating more meat because it's the most efficient source of protein. And I like it.

I've cut back on the supplements. I drink the smoothies with whey or egg protein only around my workouts, not every morning or every day. I've cut back on the protein "energy" bars and use them only as fuel for bike rides and workouts. For most hard road bike workout rides I only take Clif mocha gels with caffeine, and water with electrolyes, creatine and Picot antacid powder (soothes my stomach and the sodium bicarb and citric acid may help a bit).

I used to eat more variety for rides but can't right now. Even a bowl of oatmeal before my ride Thursday kept trying to come back up. I never used to feel barfy during hard workout rides or interval training sessions but do now. So if I eat I need to wait a couple of hours. Maybe I can handle a banana just before or during a ride. But that's about all. So the gels are essential if I'm out long enough to feel bonky. Usually I can go 90 minutes before I begin to feel a bonk. I might use a couple of gels during a two hour ride and that gets burned up quickly.

So I'm down to 150, but sort of skinny-fat with some persistent belly fat, not really in top shape and probably won't be for several weeks or months. I'm still looking at followups to check the thyroid and Big C thing for the rest of 2019. My energy is better than it was over the summer, but not back to where it was before my injury.

I can't tell that anything else in my diet makes any difference in body fat. I pay almost no attention to cholesterol, oil, grease, etc. I use a lot of real butter and olive oil. I eat lots of eggs. I try to eat hamburgers two or three times a week. I cook a lot of chicken and lean beef, but don't eat much -- maybe 4-6 oz a day. If I don't eat meat I'll feel ravenous all day and will begin to crave sugar and junk carbs. For me, no other form of protein staves off those cravings as effectively as meat. Tried it all, every variation of diets. Nature determined I'm an ominvore and carnivore.

I'm skeptical about the conventional wisdom regarding cholesterol control and have no plans to use any meds. It didn't help my mom or her older brother. The cholesterol meds may have even contributed to the dementia that ended their lives -- Alzheimer's in mom's case, Parkinson's in my older uncle's case. Ditto blood pressure meds. I plan to try to control mine with exercise. I do occasionally take a beta blocker but it's to relieve severe headaches, not BP problems. For some reason beta blockers and calcium channel blockers help relieve migraines, cluster headaches and trigeminal neuralgia in some people. It works for me.
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Old 01-25-19, 09:38 AM
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Carbs aren't what puts weight on. It's the combination of carbs and fat. I don't grease my bread, for instance. Carbs satisfy your need for calories and the fat goes directly to adipose fat. I eat carbs with vegetables and protein, not fat. I eat fat with vegetables, not carbs. I put cheese in my vegetable soup. Quiche is fine. Thin crust pizza is fine. Cheese sandwiches will put weight on. I eat them of course, but I'm aware of it. Two slices of whole wheat bread will spike your BS more than 2 tablespoons of sugar. It's hard to get away from the bro science.

I always put at least 2 hours between eating and a hard ride. That's normal. I can't eat oatmeal right before a ride or anything hard to digest like that. Everybody's different.
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Old 01-25-19, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Carbs aren't what puts weight on. It's the combination of carbs and fat. I don't grease my bread, for instance. Carbs satisfy your need for calories and the fat goes directly to adipose fat. I eat carbs with vegetables and protein, not fat. I eat fat with vegetables, not carbs.
Consuming too many calories is what puts weight on. Combinations don't matter aside from the fact that they may cause you to accidentally over-eat.
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