Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Low Carb (Ketogenic) Dieting: An Argument for Paleolithic/Low Carbohydrate Lifestyle, Part 4

Low Carb (Ketogenic) Dieting: Part 4

·       What effect does a ketogenic diet have on sports performance—this will surprise you!

I realize this has been a long time coming, but I have been horribly busy and I also wanted to do a little more self-testing just to make sure that everything I've read and believed could be called true. Well, true for me at least.

When I'd read in The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance by J.V. Phinney that serious athletes were able to eat little or no carbohydrates and still function in their sports of choice, I was a little skeptical. After all, we're told that we need carbs in order to have energy to perform. Guess what? This is patently untrue. I am a long distance runner now running 8-15 miles each and every day on less than 50 grams of carbs most days. Honestly, I run as long as my dogs can take it, or if it is just too hot to make it safe to continue. The amount of energy that I have now vs. when I was a higher carb eater is incalculable. 

Also, in case you're wondering, nearly two years after my weight loss I am still maintaining within five pounds of that weight. Sometimes it dips too low and other times a little too high. It sometimes goes high when I cave into cravings and eat grains or too much sugar. Yes, I still struggle with that and think I always will. I shoot for 100% clean eating, but I fall within the 80% range. I am, after all, just human. I also believe that if you beat yourself up whenever you go off-diet that you beat yourself down and that will just make it harder for you to get back on track.

So, what do the experts have to say about low carbohydrate/high fat performance for athletes? I'm not talking about some scientist sitting on his/her ass in a lab, but the real athletes, and specifically the endurance athletes. Why? Because we are the ones who live and breath by our diets. I don't care if the information is anecdotal--it is still real and carries more weight with me than some researcher's data from the lab may show.

First up, is Ben Greenfield. His is a fitness expert and triathlete who has embraced the low carb high fat, LCHF, diet as his own. Do you know what a triathlon consists of? It's a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 miles bike ride followed by the 26.2 mile marathon. No breaks. When I ran my one and only marathon it took me over 5 hours. Mr. Greenfield did the entire triathlon in just under 10 hours. Guess what? He didn't carb load before the event. Instead, he fat loaded--half a stick of butter and two shots of medium chain triglyceride, MCT, oil. He has numerous youtube videos, pod casts, interviews, and web site. He is worth reading and taking seriously. 

Next up is Doctor Peter Attia. He is a surgeon and endurance athlete who also endorses the LCHF diet. He actually performed a number of scientific tests on himself that I'll sum up here. Later, if you like, you can go to his website and read all about him. His results were similar to mine--increased aerobic efficiency because we are able to use fat for most of our energy needs and using glycogen (sugar) for when our bodies absolutely need it. This means longer runs, longer swims, longer whatevers because our bodies don't run out of fuel as easily as a person who relies primarily on carbs for fuel. No need to carry sugar-filled energy gels to keep us going. The best thing? Not feeling like you've hit a wall and you have to "power through" just to finish your event. 

These two, plus myself, are just a few examples of how well endurance athletes can perform without all the carbs. Granted, we get some, but they typically come from the vegetables and small amounts of fruit that we eat.

Next up:
We'll tackle:
·       Leg cramps, weakness, fatigue, and headaches:  Low-carb flu, or something else?
·       Cravings and how to beat them.
·       How long is safe to stay in a ketogenic state.

Also, this will be the last post on this particular blog... I've found it too difficult to maintain so many blogs with so many different themes...  There will be plenty of variety, but I assure you, I have not abandoned my desire to share information with respect to low carb and paleo living. you can follow me now at: dmilabulic.webs.com