Low Carb/Keto adapted swimming

2

Comments

  • BBC Horizon had a good doc on this subject last week. I highly recommend it. It's on YouTube, 58 mins long.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    @calypso, did your arms or legs feel "heavy" when you started LCHF? When my wife started me on it, for the first 3-4 weeks, my arms felt "used" at the start of a swim, kinda like they would feel after a particularly hard session or after a lot of weight-lifting. That feeling went away after the 3-4 weeks. I am not on such a LCHF as you; I stick to ~100grams carbs per day. Love the diet. Heartburn, gone. Extra 10 pounds, gone. Hunger, gone.
  • BBC Horizon had a good doc on this subject last week. I highly recommend it. It's on YouTube, 58 mins long.

    Oh! Too late...says "video removed by user".

    Anywhere else we can find it??
  • @DanSimonelli, I'm guessing you won't like/agree with it, but it's interesting. One thing I noted, early on was a mention that there was a cross Atlantic difference in this discussion. Note this is about extreme diets, either high sugar or high fat so not exactly low carb/keto adaptation.

    It's on BBC iPlayer for the UK. If you route through a vpn/proxy or TOR it should work or simply install Hola Better Internet Chrome extension. This is what often happens the rest of the world when US TV prog are linked!
  • Thanks Donal, I'll see if I can figure that out.

    I'm open to any and all info.
    Though I've learned a thing or two about scientific study and nutrition research studies and adhere to the belief that the vast mass of studies upon which we base our knowledge/understanding of nutrition are just plain bad science, poorly done research with unreasonable and nonsensical conclusions!

    Obviously I haven't seen your referenced video, so I'm not assuming it belongs in this pile. But when you said it's about "extreme diets and either high sugar or high fat" argument, it sounds familiar.

    I hope I can figure out how to view it now that I've set the stage...
  • NiekNiek Member
    Hola Better Internet extension https://hola.org
    versions for Chrome, FF, Windows Phone, Android, Apple and more.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
    I am trying to work out how I might fair on a LCHF diet. Why do I want to do this? I have been suffering GI distress during marathon swims (and even during short pool swims) since I started swimming again in 2010. Some of this can be attributed to coeliacs disease, but recent tests confirm that since diagnosis I am largely managing to avoid gluten, so ongoing symptoms are steering me towards alternative solutions.

    I have done a fair bit of research and I know a lot of the process is going to be through trial and error, I also know it will take a few weeks for my body to get used to the switch. However, I would like to understand more about the experiences of those who are already on this diet - who better to ask than my fellow marathon swimmers! Below are some questions that are of particular interest to me (and I'm sure the answers will vary somewhat between individuals) ...

    1. Approximately how many carbs (grams) do you consume each day? Do you count the carb content of every ingredient, or just certain types of carbs (eg most fruit and veg contain carbs, do you include all of these in your daily total)?

    2. Does this quantity include superstarch and training supplements? Or is your carb target for the purpose of daily energy consumption and then you consume superstarch/other carbs on top to meet your training requirements? ie. if I had 50g carb as standard would I then add 20g superstarch (as an example) for every hour of training I do, meaning that if I do a 6 hour training swim, my carb consumption would in fact be 170g?

    3. If you deviate, eg. one day you consume double the amount of carbs, does this significantly impair your performance (ie when the insulin spike blocks ketosis), and if so, how long does it take for your body to get back to ketosis? And how much do you need to deviate by to feel an impact?

    4. Do you measure your ketones? Do you think there is much benefit in doing this?

    5. What is the longest swim you have done on a low carb diet?

    6. A low carb diet often results in weight loss, which is not what I am aiming for. Have you managed to control your weight and do you think you would be able to gain weight if necessary on a low carb diet?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza Member
    edited March 13
    1. Approximately how many carbs (grams) do you consume each day? Do you count the carb content of every ingredient, or just certain types of carbs (eg most fruit and veg contain carbs, do you include all of these in your daily total)? When I was properly keto adapted, I aimed at under 50g total/day including fibre. Some ppl deduct the fibre but I didn't. I actually got a slow as 20-30g/day over some periods

    2. Does this quantity include superstarch and training supplements? Or is your carb target for the purpose of daily energy consumption and then you consume superstarch/other carbs on top to meet your training requirements? ie. if I had 50g carb as standard would I then add 20g superstarch (as an example) for every hour of training I do, meaning that if I do a 6 hour training swim, my carb consumption would in fact be 170g? The only 'carb' I ate as a supplement was superstarch but because it doesn't spike your insulin, I didn't count it as a carb

    3. If you deviate, eg. one day you consume double the amount of carbs, does this significantly impair your performance (ie when the insulin spike blocks ketosis), and if so, how long does it take for your body to get back to ketosis? And how much do you need to deviate by to feel an impact? If I just went over, I didn't notice too much of a difference but occasionally I'd have a proper cheat (generally a beer or 2) and it would take me about 3 days to get my ketones back in range. Didn't notice a massive drop off in performance except after a 4 day 'binge' on holiday in Portugal.

    4. Do you measure your ketones? Do you think there is much benefit in doing this? Initially, I started measuring my ketones using one of these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Freestyle-Optium-Blood-Glucose-and-Ketone-Monitor-with-test-strips-and-lancets-/161247646559?pt=UK_Health_Beauty_Mobility_Disability_Medical_ET&hash=item258b1bd35f but after a few months, I could feel when I was in or out... Much more energy... never hungry and no afternoon 'crash'

    5. What is the longest swim you have done on a low carb diet? 2 1/2 hours without any feeding. Had some bacon and avo about 2 hours before the swim and about a litre of water about 20min before... When I came out, I was quite thirsty but not at all hundry. And it was a very choppy Dover so I would rate that as a 3 hour or more pool swim. That was a general rule. I never felt ravenous after a long swim, only thirsty.

    6. A low carb diet often results in weight loss, which is not what I am aiming for. Have you managed to control your weight and do you think you would be able to gain weight if necessary on a low carb diet? Use this http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/ You can up your fat intake to keep your weight stable.

    I assume if you've done your research that you've come across Peter Attia's site but just in case you haven't or for anyone else interested... www.eatingacademy.com

    Also check out http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Science-Low-Carbohydrate-Performance-ebook/dp/B008BYG7RW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394726870&sr=8-1&keywords=art+and+science+of+low
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli Member
    edited March 14
    sharkbaitza covered everything really well...so I'll comment on a couple things and give my personal experience thus far.

    heleng, you're correct in saying "answers will vary somewhat between individuals" and "the process is going to be through trial and error" because it's certainly individual to each person and we must find out for ourselves how our own bodies react to carbs/low carbs and at what point are we "keto-adapted" so that we can more readily use fatty acids for energy and rely far less on glycogen stores.
    Btw, one does not need to be in "nutritional ketosis" to be "keto-adapted".
    I have worked with Peter Attia and although that has been his choice to first test out going into NK and now staying there, I chose not to...yet I'm keto-adapted and conditioned to primarily burn fat.

    I have been on this road for 30 months now and have experimented a lot with different amounts of carbs and my feeds (superstarch; water; Biosteel for the past 6 months), amounts, feeding times, etc.
    I've done many training swims 2-3 hours, +-10k, and several swims up to 4-6hrs, 15k-20k, and I've found what's working for me so far is taking about 40g of superstarch every hour and alternating water and Biosteel on the half hour...though I'm also finding that I may need to increase the amount of water per hour.
    This will certainly be the case for SCAR in AZ coming up in May. So, I'll be able to report back on that and share how it went.

    :-)
  • Quick update:
    Did a 11+mile swim today and tested taking even less UCAN and more water/BioSteel and felt great!
  • helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
    Thanks for your feedback guys!

    I am now on my 10th day of a keto diet (around 30-50g carbs a day) and after a several sluggish sessions in the pool and a few days of feeling very weak, this morning's pool session actually felt pretty good. Furthermore, I no longer seem to be suffering from indigestion and acid reflux which I used to have on an almost permanent basis. I will keep you posted on progress, but it's looking good so far :-)
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    @heleng, I am also thankful for LCHF diet due to my acid reflux (like fire in my throat) has gone away, as well as my indigestion. I also now can drink more hoppy or sour beers. Yes, I still drink beers, but somedays that's my only carbs.
  • helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
    @IronMike, I had to give up beers due to gluten intolerance, but am definitely squeezing some wine into my LCHF diet :-)

    Anyway, another question which you guys might be able to help answer...
    I have heard a lot about feeding on superstarch and consuming plenty of fluids during a LCHF marathon swim, and I understand that we have loads of calories available from fat already stored in our bodies available to use. However, are the fat stores in our bodies all accessible enough for a marathon swim, or would it help to incorporate some fat into feeds?
  • From my understanding, a kilo of fat has almost 8000 calories... so as long as you don't have insulin coursing through your system and are properly keto-adapted, you should be fine.

    The key is that you have to go through the adaption period, which takes between 3-10 days before you are in this advantaged state. There's a really good book called 'The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance' that goes into this in finer detail.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Science-Low-Carbohydrate-Performance/dp/0983490716

  • This will certainly be the case for SCAR in AZ coming up in May. So, I'll be able to report back on that and share how it went.

    Reporting back:

    All went very well at SCAR along with my feed plan, and I didn't deviate at all from how I'd been training. Though, as I figured, I did take extra water...even though it wasn't as hot as it could've been (mid 80s air; mid 60s water).

    So, happy to report...all good!
    :-)
  • It sounds like you all have joined a dangerous mind-control cult.

    If they use the typical cult inducement to join of giving you lots of sex with buxotic love-nymphs, please let me know and I'll join too.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Oh Leonard, did we not mention that...?! ;-)
  • Thanks Evan!
    It's was fun to reflect on the swims and write my thoughts out...so I appreciate Steve asking.
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    Dan...nice discussion/reflections...Your feeding regime may be the new direction for marathon swimming...I feel we are still in the infancy stage of feeding/nutrition...from steaks, tequila (must eat the gusano) at the five coves of death, to lots of sugar, cytomax to.....the next generation
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • emma2franceemma2france Member
    edited May 16
    This is a very interesting topic! I've been looking at alternative feeds as I used maxim on my first solo attempt in 2007 and it made me sick, I switched to PSP for Lake Zurich in 2009 which seemed ok in training, but over a longer period it turned out I was mildly allergic and that made for a very unpleasant experience and ultimately I failed that swim too. After lake Zurich I only had a couple of weeks to come up with a new plan and nothing then seemed to work, so I went back to maxim but barely had anything. My solo was successful, but only feeding on the hour and not much volume for the first 12 hours led to dehydration so I moved to half hourly from then until the end and the extra volume made me nauseous. I was successful, but it does mean that feeding limits the time that I can effectively swim.

    I tried maxi in Majorca and that was a big no-no as I bloated a lot after just 2 feeds which caused an issue with my hernia mesh. So I finished my 6 hour on maxim.

    I've just tried the Ucan superstarch on a 10 hour cold water training swim and noticed the following:
    1. I didn't lack energy despite only taking in about 500 calories during the swim
    2. I didn't notice any spikes and lows in energy, I never felt hungry, I never hit a wall
    3. It did make me burp continuously and feel sick
    4. I couldn't get the powder to properly dissolve and it tasted like powder and looked disgusting!

    So I'm at a loss to know what to do. Does anyone who has used it successfully on a swim longer than 10 hours have any tips on:
    1. How to mix it so that it isn't powdery and nasty?
    2. How much is actually needed - I went on an assumption of 1 scoop per hour (after 2 hours), in reality I only had about 0.5 scoops an hour?

    I'd like to use it as the energy levels were good, but half a dozen feeds were my limit, I just couldn't face putting any more in my mouth at that point!
  • @emma2france,
    a couple quick ideas:

    have you tried other flavors?

    I recently read another ucan user who heats the ucan beforehand (maybe the night before?) and it apparently takes away the powdery/chalky texture.

    as general benchmark, I used about 30g (one scoop) every hour during my training for and during SCAR last week. However, we're all a bit different physiologically and swim with different energy expenditures, so I think we all need to find the amount that works for us individually.

  • calypsocalypso Member
    edited May 17
    IronMike said:

    @calypso, did your arms or legs feel "heavy" when you started LCHF? When my wife started me on it, for the first 3-4 weeks, my arms felt "used" at the start of a swim, kinda like they would feel after a particularly hard session or after a lot of weight-lifting. That feeling went away after the 3-4 weeks. I am not on such a LCHF as you; I stick to ~100grams carbs per day. Love the diet. Heartburn, gone. Extra 10 pounds, gone. Hunger, gone.

    @ironmike: Oh, It was so long ago now I don t really remember. I do feel tired in the afternoon and end of day. But that is probably due to my inconsistent sleeping pattern. Sorry I am responding only now. Haven t been here for a while.
  • calypsocalypso Member
    @DanSimonelli - Congrats on the article. You have now become the official go-to guy in SOCAL on LCHF feeding on long swims. I'll be consulting you soon.
  • @emma2france,
    a couple quick ideas:

    have you tried other flavors?

    I recently read another ucan user who heats the ucan beforehand (maybe the night before?) and it apparently takes away the powdery/chalky texture.

    as general benchmark, I used about 30g (one scoop) every hour during my training for and during SCAR last week. However, we're all a bit different physiologically and swim with different energy expenditures, so I think we all need to find the amount that works for us individually.

    Thanks for the tip on heating it, I did try it in tea which ruined my morning culpa! It's interesting that the instructions say COLD water (their caps not mine!). Perhaps mixing cold and then heating it might work. This will have to be done in advance of a swim as I won't be able to do that on an actual swim or on the beach in Dover. I have ordered some other flavours, so will definitely try that.

    I had planned to use 1 scoop an hour, but I couldn't force that much down so ended up with about half a scoop which was enough to keep the energy levels up. I loved the fact that I visibly lost fat during the swim ;)
  • MvGMvG Member
    edited May 18
    Fascinating stuff.

    Following links posted here I spent several hours on Peter Attia's website www.eatingacademy.com. The case he makes for nutritional ketosis (NK) for better health and better fueling for endurance efforts is very convincing indeed, and the information he provides is superbly presented and argued. The man looks in splendid health too.

    However, it seems to me that going into and staying in NK requires an almost superhuman effort, whatever Dr. Attia may say. While it must be fun to gorge on cream, oil and fat, and I can fairly easily live without bread and sugar, the thought of giving up many vegetables (for Attia mainly a vehicle for oil intake - seriously!), almost all fruits, and all alcohol strikes me as more than a little depressing & quite complicated in terms of supplementing vitamins, micronutrients, and dietary fibers.

    So what to do if one wants to become more fat-adapted, but can't imagine giving up fruits, veggies and the occasional beer altogether? To what extent can fat-adaptation be a gradual rather than an all-out thing, ideally to be mobilized whenever needed?

    @DanSimonelli, @sharkbaitza and @IronMike: if I understand your posts correctly, you guys seem to be following a slightly more moderate diet than full NK that allows you to enjoy fruits, vegs and booze (in moderation I suppose), while remaining fat-adapted. Can you say more about the nutritional margins within which you operate?

    I realize my questions partly overlap with those of @heleng, but I am mainly interested in the question of keeping a diet conducive to fat-adaptation that is also sustainable in the long run.
  • JenAJenA Member
    edited May 18
    The inaccuracies of this thread are driving me crazy.

    so as long as you don't have insulin coursing through your system and are properly keto-adapted, you should be fine.

    This is so, so wrong. If you don't have insulin, you die. Metabolizing fatty acids without sufficient insulin leads to ketoacidosis, then coma, the death. That's why type 1 diabetes is fatal without insulin.

    If you have very low insulin levels, and follow a high fat/protein diet, you look like the kid on the left. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the discovery of insulin. His body continued to make insulin (in decreasing amounts). He was fortunate that insulin was discovered before his pancreas stopped producing insulin all together. The same kid is pictured on the right, after insulin was discovered.

    image

    Before planning your entire diet and nutritional strategy around phobic-ly trying to manage "insulin spikes", I strongly suggest you understand how big and meaningful the spike is.

    Again, I have type 1 diabetes -- the kind that happens when you're a kid because your immune system goes a little zonko on your pancreas. Because my body doesn't make insulin, so I have to inject it, or I die. I have repeatedly swum for 10+ hours taking in 600 grams of carbs of koolaid without seeing my blood glucose level drift out of the "fasting" range. I tested my blood glucose every 30 minutes. There were no spikes. None at all.

    Further, let's remember that preventing/treating hypothermia involves ingesting carbohydrates, not sitting around and waiting for fatty acids to metabolize.

  • Hi @JenA,

    I appreciate your background and experience with this, however, we're not talking about the absence of insulin, rather the moderating of it.

    This discussion is certainly beyond the scope and space of this forum.
    However, this is not new science.

    I suggest that instead of letting our relative layperson explanations here 'drive you crazy' that you read more from the references we're basing our information on and then respond with either your continued rebuttal or input.

    Peter Attia's blog is one starting point:
    Www.eatingacademy.com

    And:
    www.dietdoctor.com

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Science-Low-Carbohydrate-Performance/dp/0983490716

    The first two references Peter suggested to me:

    Good Calories Bad Calories -Gary Taubes
    We We Get Fat -Gary Taubes (simplified version of GCBC)

    Re: your last point, when keto adapted, one is not "sitting around waiting for fatty acids to metabolize". Rather it becomes the primary mechanism (and more direct and much more efficient) for producing ATP.

    And, we're not suggesting "no" carbs. Just a carb source that doesn't generate a significant enough insulin response that blocks the body's mechanism for utilizing fatty acids rather than glycogen.

    A personal example (and continued anecdotal evidence for myself):
    I did a 6hr swim last month when the water temp here took a sudden drop down to mid 50sF.
    And it was choppy and 'surgy' conditions the whole time, thus needed to expend more energy throughout. And I had no signs hypothermia.
  • Responding to Emma's questions and with a thank you to Dan Simonelli !

    I used Ucan for my 3 SCAR Swims two weeks ago - I'm not overly concerned with or focused on "keto adapted" or "fat burning" - nice ideas / ideals but impractical unless you're really dedicated to reaching those goals - and I'm certainly no expert on metabolism, fat conversion or insulin --- I was basically experimenting to see if the Ucan "superstarch" provided adequate energy for longer swims without the bloating & nausea I've experienced using Maxim, Perpetuem & other high carb feeds.

    Happy to report that it worked really well across 35+ miles during 22+ hours of swimming across the 3 days (I skipped the final Roosevelt Lake swim this year). Conditions were tough every day - headwinds slowed all swimmers down -and Apache Lake (17 miles) took me 11 hours to complete this year (vs around 7:40 last year with tailwinds).

    The Ucan worked great - I took one Ucan feed per hour (around 1.5 scoops in 12-16 oz water). It mixed well with cold water and best of all - no nausea or bloating. I alternated with Biosteel / water for my 2nd feed and either water or tea with a couple of Fig Newtons for my 4th feed - 4 x 30 minute feeds, on a 2 hour cycle.

    When I ran out of feeds (and daylight) during the Apache Lake swim, my kayaker - thanks Jon Ford! - begged and borrowed Ucan feeds from returning finishers - Dan Simonelli and Courtney Moates Paulk among them - and that kept me going.

    Water temps were in the low 60s + / - and air temps were relatively low for Arizona - 70s / low 80s during the daylight and a quick drop (at least 15oF) when the sun went down. Although I was a little chilly at the start of the swims, no problems once underway, and I found my intensity and focus increased the longer I swam - to me the ultimate sign of a good feeding regime!

    I'm going to continue using Ucan throughout this season and see how it goes - happy to report back when I get some more swims done.

  • JBirrrdJBirrrd Member
    edited May 20
    Mo~That was my UCan Courtney tossed to you from the party boat, so you owe me a drink…
    Time for me to report back on my experience w/ UCan @ SCAR. After last year’s disastrous season of stomach issues in every longer swim, I am happy to report I fed not one fish in Arizona. I will admit I had other issues I need to address, mostly related to swimming in cooler water for extended time. A moment of weakness in Canyon Lake led to an early exit (if only that warm snuggly power boat had not been so conveniently located, I know Darren would have figured out a way to keep me going). 17 miles in Apache the next day was not going to happen for me w/out a wetsuit (which was offered, but I declined, personal decision) I opted to swim it in a relay so I did not get to test my new feed system on a long swim. No regrets, but …. who am I kidding?? Totally disappointed in my fail, which is only going to replay in my head for the next 11 months until I get another shot at earning my C & A.

    But I digress…. I switched to UCan to address my GI issues and I am happy w/ the results. I mix 2 scoops (1 flavor + 1 plain) w/ 24 oz water along w/ a scoop of Endurolytes. For SCAR I kept everything warm in 3 40 oz HydroFlask thermal containers. My kayaker poured 8 oz into a smaller wide mouth plastic bottle. (I note here that my Hydroflasks in fact did the job, keeping my feeds hot for the duration, unlike another unnamed rainbow clad swimmer there who toted along 30 cute little thermoses that reportedly did not do the job. ;-)

    If you don’t care for the chalky texture, add a small amount of boiling water, mix then add the rest of your water, whatever temp you want it to be. I fed every hour alternating hot tea w/ electrolytes on the bottom of the hour. Note: If you refrigerate it the night prior, you will get a gelatinous mess.

    Some day I’ll share my chocolate UCan powerball cookie recipe. Cult indeed…
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza Member
    edited May 21
    JenA said:

    The inaccuracies of this thread are driving me crazy.

    so as long as you don't have insulin coursing through your system and are properly keto-adapted, you should be fine.

    This is so, so wrong. If you don't have insulin, you die. Metabolizing fatty acids without sufficient insulin leads to ketoacidosis, then coma, the death. That's why type 1 diabetes is fatal without insulin.
    As said previously, we are not talking about eliminating insulin completely but avoiding it spiking. There is a big difference between nutritional ketosis, where your ketones levels are somewhere between 1.0mM and 3.0mM, and diabetic ketoacidosis, where your levels are between 15mM to 25mM. Sadly, not many doctors even know the difference. I had an argument with a doctor friend of mine about this and she went and did some research of her own and came back and apologized to me. (She subsequently went on a LCHF diet and lost close to 50lbs) . You need to understand that every person is different and what works for you, doesn't necessarily work for another person.

    By the way, do you realise that you have proved our point? That child in the photo had no insulin and was wasting away because he was constantly burning through his fat stores. As soon as he was given insulin, he picked up weight because insulin promotes fat storage and inhibits fat burning... and that's the point. While this kid's situation was an extreme example, we are trying to do the same thing...

    Keep carbs (and insulin) low, burn fat... keep carbs (and insulin) high, store fat.

    The trick is to find the level of carbs which your insulin spikes at... Some can eat carbs all day and not worry (the lucky b*****ds) and others like me need to keep at low... I try to keep mine below 100g a day when maintaining weight but when training, I need to stay below 30g a day to remain in ketosis.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza Member
    edited May 21
    JBirrrd said:

    Some day I’ll share my chocolate UCan powerball cookie recipe. Cult indeed…

    This I need to hear... My favourite is my fat bomb...

    200ml Double Cream
    200ml Almond milk
    1 packet Ucan choc

    yum yum
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza Member
    edited May 21
    JenA said:

    Further, let's remember that preventing/treating hypothermia involves ingesting carbohydrates, not sitting around and waiting for fatty acids to metabolize.

    Please could you elaborate on this? I've not heard of this..
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Recently I've had a complete blood test. Long time since my last one. (In the military, you get these tests more often, I think, than civilians.)

    I've been on a very liberal LCHF diet for over a year. I eat mostly what my wife tells me to (read: she's a great cook and I eat what's put in front of me). But I'm not a nazi; if I feel like eating a sandwich (heavy on cheese and ham), I do it. But pretty much for over a year, I've had NO cereal (used to be my daily breakfast), pasta once every two months, pizza 2-3x a month, a sandwich once or twice a week. Beer in the evenings. When I was counting, I was at between 100-150 grams of carbs a day. So much lower than my previous 4-ish decades of life.

    So, the blood tests came back. Prior, I made no comments to my doc about my diet (I've found that most MDs are extremely ignorant on nutrition/diet). When she read off my cholesterol (190) she applauded me, because it's lower than my previous reading from 5 years ago (dropped about 30 points). My HDL was high (70's). My LDL was low (30's). My triglycerides were nice and low.

    I told the doc what diet I was on, and to my surprise, she didn't immediately chide me on eating too much bacon. She simply said, "Hmm..."

    Love this diet.
  • @IronMike, your story is becoming more and more common...Praise the Lard! ;-)
  • Great to hear Mike! This is the way nutrition is moving. In fact LCHF is now the official policy in Sweden, the 1st Western Country to change their stance... The problem is the carbohydrate industry is even more powerful than the tobacco industry was so they are really pushing back...
  • @sharkbaitza, I'll have to push back on that comparison. Tobacco is a regional narcotic which was controlled and distributed by an industry comprising a few multinationals and which deliberately avoided scientific consensus about the detrimental effects of nicotine. The World Health Organisation said it caused 100 million death over the 20th century and it's one of the most preventable risks to health in the world.

    Carbohydrates, aka food, literally grow everywhere and the cultivation of them allowed the human race to develop. Unlike tobacco they are also essential. Comparing either deleterious health effects or a centrally controlled industry to the product of worldwide agriculture system is extreme hyperbole. Con Traas' farm up the road from me, (which produces the best strawberries and apple juice ever), isn't sitting around wondering how to control my diet.
  • Well, I would have to disagree with a few points there.

    Firstly, carbohydrates are not essential, in fact there is a growing consensus that they are responsible for the massive increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

    Secondly, we as a race have only had access to carbohydrates in the less 20 000 years or so. A fairly insignificant time evolutionary speaking. There were obviously some fruit and honey available but on a fairly scarce level.

    Your farm up the road from you is a fairly poor example, but someone like Coke is. They had a turnover of $35 billion in 2010 which is equal to the entire tobacco industry in 2012. But I'm sure they are fairly happy to reduce this and don't do any lobbying or corrupting of research to promote their company.

    Do yourself a favour and search for 'Fructose 2.0' on youtube.

  • I think a "non-hyperbolic" comparison/analogy to the tobacco industry is the sugar industry.

    I think we'll find and history will show that the detrimental health effects of over consumption of sugar will dwarf that of tobacco!
  • @sharkbaiza, it was indeed the cultural transformation from hunter/gatherer to agrarian civilization to which I was referring, not any evolutionary change.

    I know there is a paleo-diet movement, but I've never understood how that is meant to feed 6+ billion people. So I'd still say carbs are essential to feed the planet. Also, and @DanSimonelli beat me to it, I was under the impression that it was not carbs per se that were implicated in the huge growth in Type 2 beetus but overconsumption of sugar, esp. the introduction of HFCS into processed food and that as a recent development of industrialised food production, which really began post- WWII and accelerated in the late 20th C. Am I wrong in saying that these are two different aspects of the conversation (excess sugar consumption not equal to regular carb consumption)?

    I completely agree with the problems of industrialisation of food and the widespread use of sugar in processing. I don't think it's radical though to say that it's possible to enjoy a healthy balanced nutritional diet, which includes carbs.

    Anyway, I continue to watch this thread with great interest, and of all people, I need to be careful of going off topic.
  • JenAJenA Member
    edited June 12
    @loneswimmer: Type 2 diabetes is most often linked to diet and inactivity, but its numbers are increasing too quickly for these to be the sole causes. With activity, there is a big increase in insulin sensitivity. This is why, during the initial days of a case of type 2 diabetes caught early, blood sugar levels can normalize with activity and/or diet changes.

    Diabetes is immensely complicated. For example, did you know people with diabetes have excess SGLT-2 proteins, which cause their kidneys to allow the body to "save" 100-300 calories a day? And, in these people, taking an SGLT-2 inhibitor causes the kidney to flush those extra calories out through the urine, leading to weight loss. So, does having excess SGLT-2 proteins lead weight gain which leads to diabetes? Or is it the other way around?

    -----
    Let's talk science.

    I'm not seeing a lot of peer-reviewed scientific evidence supporting low-carb diets and athletic performance. Indeed, when you search PubMed for [low-carb* athlete] you get only six review articles. They say things like:

    On following The Zone diet: "Reliable and abundant peer reviewed literature is in opposition to the suggestion that such a diet can support competitive athletic endeavours, much less improve them." -- The Zone Diet and athletic performance. Sports Med. 2000 Apr; 29(4):289-94.

    "More recent concepts that explain the plausibility of the ergogenicity of low-carbohydrate, or high-fat, diets on exercise performance pertain to an effect similar to altitude training. We and others have observed that although fat oxidation may be increased, the ability to maintain high-intensity exercise (above the lactate threshold) seems to be compromised or at least indifferent when compared with consumption of more carbohydrate." -- Low-carbohydrate diets and performance, Curr Sports Med Rep. 2007 Jul;6(4):225-9.

    "More recently, it has been suggested that athletes should train with low carbohydrate stores but restore fuel availability for competition ("train low, compete high"), based on observations that the intracellular signaling pathways underpinning adaptations to training are enhanced when exercise is undertaken with low glycogen stores. The present literature is limited to studies of "twice a day" training (low glycogen for the second session) or withholding carbohydrate intake during training sessions. Despite increasing the muscle adaptive response and reducing the reliance on carbohydrate utilization during exercise, there is no clear evidence that these strategies enhance exercise performance. -- Fueling strategies to optimize performance: training high or training low?, Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Oct;20 Suppl 2:48-58.

    "Whether implementing additional "train-low" strategies to increase the training adaptation leads to enhanced performance in well-trained individuals is unclear." -- Carbohydrates for training and competition, Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S17-27.

    "Although 'training low' may increase cellular markers associated with training and enhance functions such as fat oxidation at sub- maximal exercise intensities, how this translates to performance is unclear. Further research is warranted to identify situations both in health and athletic performance where training with low glycogen levels may be beneficial." - Altering endogenous carbohydrate availability to support training adaptations, Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2011;69:19-31; discussion 31-7.

    The research also notes that simply rinsing one's mouth with a carb solution increases athletic performance. (Effect of mouth-rinsing carbohydrate solutions on endurance performance, Sports Med. 2011 Jun 1;41(6):449-61.)

    Further, let's link this to marathon swimming and hypothermia. There isn't much research in this area, but here is something fascinating: if your blood sugar level goes too low while you have hypothermia, you stop shivering, and no longer feel cold. It's also more difficult to absorb carbohydrates in this state. ("Shivering stopped as plasma glucose fell below 2.5 mmol/l during insulin infusion and the subjects said they no longer felt cold. [...] 5. Recovery of plasma glucose after hypoglycaemia in the cold was impaired at low body temperatures, but shivering was restored within seconds when glucose was given intravenously." -- Hypoglycaemia, hypothermia and shivering in man, Clin Sci (Lond). 1981 Oct;61(4):463-9.)

    That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Low blood sugar leading you to stop shivering and entirely impairing your ability to shiver yourself warm? I'd say having a steady supply of glucose is a good thing.

    At best (at best!), the world of peer-reviewed science doesn't yet support low carb athetic performance.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza Member
    edited June 13
    Well, too many points to answer here but I will say this. The gold standard in scientific experiments are randomized, double blind, placebo controlled experiments and I will admit you will find none of these that find for low-carb. You won't find any of those that find for the low fat, high carbs diet either. In fact, there aren't even any of these that prove that smoking causes cancer... yet we know it is true.

    What i do know is that since the late 70's when the US changed their dietary advice from one that was fairly high in sat fat to one that is high in carbs, the rates of diabetes and obesity have exploded. It's almost like somebody flicked a switch. There is no doubt that the rise of the fast food industry has played a part and the sugar part of this is a big problem but it's really about insulin.

    Insulin prevents the body from burning fat and promotes the storage of it. In people that are insulin resistant (and i believe this is by far and away the majority of ppl). When you eat carbs, your insulin rises and your fat-burning stops and storage starts.

    Donal, I actually agree with you that carbs seem to be the only way to feed the planet but that doesn't mean it is healthy. In fact, this point is actually what sold me on this hypothesis. There were studies done in sub-Saharan Africa where they looked at kids that had severe malnutrition however their mothers were obese. Now you either have to believe that these mothers were massively over-eating and at the same time starving their children or you have to believe that whatever they were eating was causing them put on weight despite them not eating that much. It is worth pointing out that they were on a corn based diet. They had no access to MacDonalds or Coke or any fast food etc.

    I’m by no means an expert and definitely don’t write as well as most of you but I believe that any intelligent person with an open mind that really does some very basic research on this would come to the same conclusion.


    If you are interested, a really good book is Gary Taubes’ ‘Why we get fat’ – In fact there is a youtube video that gives you a basic rundown on the book if you don’t feel like reading it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDneyrETR2o
    Also have a look at a youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvWX33enZE0 which is a video on this study which compares Atkins, Zone, Ornish & Learn diets http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17341711
  • JenA said:

    @

    Further, let's link this to marathon swimming and hypothermia. There isn't much research in this area, but here is something fascinating: if your blood sugar level goes too low while you have hypothermia, you stop shivering, and no longer feel cold. It's also more difficult to absorb carbohydrates in this state. ("Shivering stopped as plasma glucose fell below 2.5 mmol/l during insulin infusion and the subjects said they no longer felt cold. [...] 5. Recovery of plasma glucose after hypoglycaemia in the cold was impaired at low body temperatures, but shivering was restored within seconds when glucose was given intravenously." -- Hypoglycaemia, hypothermia and shivering in man, Clin Sci (Lond). 1981 Oct;61(4):463-9.)

    That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Low blood sugar leading you to stop shivering and entirely impairing your ability to shiver yourself warm? I'd say having a steady supply of glucose is a good thing.

    At best (at best!), the world of peer-reviewed science doesn't yet support low carb athetic performance.

    I'd love to know more about this. It doesn't match my experience. I haven't done a marathon swim yet but I did my 2 hour qualification for my EC relay in Dover. The temp was 11.5C and in the group I was in, I was by far the least cold afterwards. Bear in mind, I was at the time restricting myself to under 20g of carbs a day and had not had any carbs at all that day (Well other then whatever miniscule amount there is in eggs and bacon.) Even others with similar body composition to me seemed colder. I know this proves nothing but it is just an observation.

    In fact, I have wondered if the fact that I am feeding of my own fat as opposed to carbs might aid my internal temp... Again, no proof, just and semi-educated guess.
  • MvGMvG Member
    I have decided to volunteer as a guinea pig for the sake of this august forum, to try and create some good old-fashioned anecdotal 'evidence'! ;-)

    Tomorrow I intend to participate in a 10-kms swim race in Vriezenveen (NL) and to do so in full ketosis. Before and during the race I will eat nothing but proteins and fat, probably some cheese, sesame seed paste (tahin), eggs, or fatty fish. To this I should add that I will not be able to resort to glycogen already pre-stored in my blood or liver as I have been in ketosis for 3 weeks now. (I feel quite ok with it (apart from missing my beer while watching football games), enough energy, clear-minded, not hungry. Some weight loss too, which in my case is a bonus :-) )

    Another factor that I expect will affect my performance simultaneously, and almost certainly negatively, is the fact that I have swum very little over the past 8 months, and in fact the past 11 months. My total over those months is probably not more than 20-25 kms, inluding my longest swim of 6 kms three days ago. I have however been cross-training with weights, kettlebells, treadmill and crosstrainer, and feel reasonably fit generally. Hopefully my body 'remembers' all the long swims I did before and during the Summer of 2013.

    I did the race the Vriezenveen race twice before, in 2009 and 2010, and finished in 2h53 and 2h54 respectively. My only other 10k race in open water, in Medemblik (NL), also resulted in 2h54. That gives me a pretty firm benchmark against which to compare.

    So I'll test two things at the same time: 1. Is it possible for me to swim 10 kms without any carbs, (and how does it affect my speed)? 2. Is it possible to remain fit enough to swim a reasonably long distance without having swum much in preparation?
    In a proper experiment I should of course have isolated and controlled the variables much more precisely (carbs on the one hand and swim training volume/cross-training on the other hand) but alas, not possible. It wil complicate the puzzle a little bit when trying to draw conclusions from the results tomorrow, whatever they will be.

    I'll post about the outcome of the experiment asap. In the meantime wish me luck, because, to be honest, I expect a rough ride...

  • Looking forward to hearing about this. Have you been testing your ketones up till now?
  • MvGMvG Member
    Yes, I have, with Ketostix. Not very precise, but it gives an idea: usually I am between 1.5 and 4 mmol/L.
  • Nice... I'm jealous... I could never get it consistently that high... I generally hovered around 1mM peaking at 3.7mM after a particularly long swim...
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli Member
    edited June 13
    @JenA, I appreciate you coming back and injecting some research arguments...it helps to stir the pot so we're less inclined to walk like sheep into the next pasture of plenty...

    However:

    Well, too many points to answer here but I will say this. The gold standard in scientific experiments are randomized, double blind, placebo controlled experiments and I will admit you will find none of these that find for low-carb. You won't find any of those that find for the low fat, high carbs diet either. In fact, there aren't even any of these that prove that smoking causes cancer... yet we know it is true.

    The "gold standard" should be called simply proper "science". There is no other...it's either good, properly done science or it's crap from which people (media, society, legislators, etc) draw unfounded conclusions.

    "The Man" breaking it down:
    :-)

    Hence the need for properly done science in the realm of nutrition science, and hopefully, relevant to our forum, sports nutrition.

    And one such organization is working to do just that!

    www.nusi.org

    So, @JenA, while it's good to reference research studies (directly, not summarized by some media outlet) instead of headlines or hearsay, we all have to be very careful what we're talking about when we're referencing studies that have no business being considered "Science".
  • MvGMvG Member
    edited June 17
    Update on my no-carb 10 km experiment of last Saturday (announced above) with minimal swim preparation and in nutritional ketosis. I hope those interested in keto-adapted swimming and crosstraining will find it useful.

    In short: it went very well: at 3h03m I was only 9 minutes slower than in 2009/2010 (2h54). To note that there was a fairly strong headwind in the first half, and I heard that most participants swam somewhat slower than in earlier editions of the same race. Plus, I am 4-5 years older of course...

    As I said I had trained not more than appr. 25 kms in the 8 preceding months (which is max 5% of my swim volume in preparation of the 2009/10 editions) including a 6 km swim in the week before). But I had kept in shape even better than I thought with a not very consistent mix of weight training, kettlebells, treadmill, and crosstrainer, and the occassional game of volleybal. On average 3, sometimes 4 good workouts per week, with a lot of variation - I recorded all trainings in a training log. I do believe that a well-timed kettlebell session can be as useful as a swim session, even if not as much fun

    Swimming in ketosis was easy, at least for this relatively short distance. Right before the race the level of ketosis as measured with Ketostix in urine was 1,5-4 mmol/L, my usual level in the preceding  3 weeks. A few hours after the race it peaked at 16 mmol/L, the highest Ketostix can measure - clearly my fat metabolism had been in overdrive. 
    Burning fat instead of carbs did not make any difference for my strength, power or mental clarity, and I felt fine right after finishing.
    (For the record: already in nutritional ketosis for 3 weeks, my breakfast before the race consisted of fatty fish (smoked mackerel), a few slices of Gouda cheese, 10-15 olives, a few handfuls of hazelnuts and almonds (chewed well), plenty of water, and just before the race a few celery stalks with cream cheese. Quite a change from carbo-loading...)

    As for speed, I think the small difference vis-a-vis my benchmark is better explained by headwind and this year`s modest specific swim preparation - being in ketosis seemed to make no difference.

    A real advantage of swimming in ketosis for me: less feeds. Whereas I normally stop every 20 minutes for a carbohydrates feed, I now stopped only twice, once (after 3,5 kms) for a quick swig of water, the second time after 5,5 kms  water and some cream cheese. The cream cheese was only to mitigate the feeling of an empty stomach, not for a lack of energy.( In the last hour I swallowed some of the water we were swimming in, as it seemed reasonably clean.)

    So does this allow me to generalize? Perhaps not, as there are too many variables at play at the same time. But, cautiously:
    - no problem to do a 10k in ketosis, burning body fat rather than burning carbs. Logic would suggest that bonking can be entirely avoided this way. Not sure how it would work for people swimming at much higher speeds though.
    - keeping one`s (well, my) swim fitness with a low swim volume is possible, but only if compensated properly with cross training. But to tell by the soreness of my arms and shoulders, I doubt I could do more than 15 kms with so little specific swim prepration.

    Conclusion: the experiment has given me enough confidence to try a considerably longer swim in ketosis next time (whenever that may be). Swim mileage to be increased though, but I will keep the crosstraining elements, if only to avoid boredom, & to keep maximum flexibility in training possibilities.
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