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  • Carbs Are Essential For Weight Loss

    I started out on a VLC diet, I was eating most of my calories in fat and getting minimal exercise. I was losing weight, however, after 3 weeks of this I began to experience negative side effects. I had no energy, lack of sex drive, depression and really bad headaches. I studied it up, found that there were quite a few people like me going through the same thing on here, they called it carb flu and that it would get better. After 2 months I was STILL feeling this way, so I decided to look into carb refeeds which aren't really recommended for weight loss at my stage. As soon as I upped my carb intake, I felt fantastic! I felt like I could do anything! I didn't even really crash because I was doing quite a bit of exercise. I'm also losing weight! I believe that Grok must of had more plants/fruit available to him back then which were adequate in carbs.

    Anyone else find that upping carb intake helped you with your health and weight loss? What carbs do you take? Do you prefer fruit or starch? I read that watery fruits can be great for your carb refeed days (I have 2 a week), I may try this. Currently, I'm doing sweet and white potatoes as a carb refeed.
    Last edited by ChasePaleo; 09-04-2011, 03:15 AM.

  • #2
    People are unique. Personally, I know I have to keep my carb level relatively low. Many years ago, when I first did Atkins, I calculated my "critical carb level" (point at which you stop losing) at about 20g. I lose weight only if I keep my carbs at <20g, and I maintain at about 20-30g. Again, this is just my personal situation. For me, making sure I get sufficient, high-quality protein is the key to losing.

    IMO, the key to effective weight management is to know one's body and how it responds to various nutrients and not try to adjust to whatever claims someone else makes. What works for that person may be the worst thing for someone else.

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    • #3
      I'm so glad its working *for you* ChasePaleo. I agree with emmie--we are all unique. I personally was able to lose weight pretty easily eating 100-150g primal carbs a day (typically from veggies and fruit--my body is more likely to gain utilizing starch personally, although many folks prefer starch over fruit.) Making sure I keep my carbs above 75g a day helps me with my energy levels as well--I am one of those folks that feels like I am walking through mud when eating under 50g carbs for too long...

      The PB does not recommend VLC (eating below 50g carbs a day) for a sustained period. The PB recommends 50-100g carbs for weight loss, 100-150g carbs for maintenance. This may not work for everyone--we each need to tweak these things to figure out what works for us. There absolutely are many people who feel much better eating VLC, and who need to lower carbs more drastically in order to lose. Other folks (like you and me) seem to do better keeping some more primal carbs in. I feel great just following the PB as written as long as I avoid all dairy. I've never really done carb refeeds, although my carb levels can vary from 75 to 150 depending on the day.

      I think its important for folks new to the Primal Blueprint to at least try following Mark's recommendations before taking forum advice (to eat VLC or eat very high fat or carb cycle etc.) Jumping into an extreme version of the PB before trying it as written seems to trip up a lot of folks in the beginning (seems like you may have done this when you started by doing VLC?)

      I think its totally AWESOME that you've found something that is working for you and keeping your energy up! I'm glad you are sharing as well, as it seems that many folks come to the forums and assume VLC is necessary for primal living when that is really not the case. (ETA: But, I think its also important for folks to recognize that carb refeeds are not a necessity for the majority of folks needing to lose large amounts of weight--following the PB as recommended may be more effective for the majority.) What level of carbs are you eating on a typical day, and how much on your carb refeed days?
      Last edited by FairyRae; 09-04-2011, 05:40 AM.
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      • #4
        I noticed the same thing. I eventually learned (after too long) that primal advice for the overweight is not suitable for those of normal weight. Before, I believed it was more one-size-fits-all and the default wisdom out there seems to be tailored to losing lots and lots of weight. And you'll hear people who have been overfat for years talk about having major issues with small amounts of carbohydrates. So, its very useful for you to find out which boat you're in.

        My starches are tubers and some fruit. Occasionally, some rice products. "My paleo" is basically not dairy and not nuts and not gluten* -- the _amount_ of carbs (some days low, some high) are less of a sticking point for me now, even irrespective of that day's activity.


        *And I've had to eat my words because the last few times I ate gluten products (after a major hiatus) my stomach stung -- I totally don't remember this reaction before.... so watch out if you want to go there.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Orchid View Post
          "My paleo" is basically not dairy and not nuts and not gluten* -- the _amount_ of carbs (some days low, some high) are less of a sticking point for me now, even irrespective of that day's activity.
          This has been true for me as well (I do best with NO gluten, NO dairy, and very very limited nut consumption--the less the better.)
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          • #6
            Originally posted by ChasePaleo View Post
            I started out on a VLC diet, I was eating most of my calories in fat and getting minimal exercise. I was losing weight, however, after 3 weeks of this I began to experience negative side effects. I had no energy, lack of sex drive, depression and really bad headaches. I studied it up, found that there were quite a few people like me going through the same thing on here, they called it carb flu and that it would get better. After 2 months I was STILL feeling this way, so I decided to look into carb refeeds which aren't really recommended for weight loss at my stage. As soon as I upped my carb intake, I felt fantastic! I felt like I could do anything! I didn't even really crash because I was doing quite a bit of exercise. I'm also losing weight! I believe that Grok must of had more plants/fruit available to him back then which were adequate in carbs.

            Anyone else find that upping carb intake helped you with your health and weight loss? What carbs do you take? Do you prefer fruit or starch? I read that watery fruits can be great for your carb refeed days (I have 2 a week), I may try this. Currently, I'm doing sweet and white potatoes as a carb refeed.
            A lot depends on your definition of VLC. Were you under 50g/day? Also, it is not surprising that you went from not exercising to exercising and started to lose weight and feeling better. Shocking !!! When you get into working out several dys a week, yes a carb re-feed works well for a lot of people. Its called carbohydrate cycling. Here is a good article on it :
            Carb Refeeding and Weight Loss | Mark's Daily Apple

            Oh, and my go-to re-feed food is sweet potatoes slathered in butter.

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            • #7
              Yep, we're all special snowflakes, whether we want to be or not.

              Since our bodies are at different health levels, our genetics are different and our activity levels are all different, it stands to reason our needs will be different as well. I think the basics are still the same, but we all have to do a little tweaking once we can see what works and what doesn't.

              Me? For some reason, eggs are insanely good for me. Any day I eat a lot of eggs is going to be one where I'm doing well. No clue why.
              Durp.

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              • #8
                I noticed the same thing. I eventually learned (after too long) that primal advice for the overweight is not suitable for those of normal weight. Before, I believed it was more one-size-fits-all and the default wisdom out there seems to be tailored to losing lots and lots of weight. And you'll hear people who have been overfat for years talk about having major issues with small amounts of carbohydrates. So, its very useful for you to find out which boat you're in.
                I'm normal weight and have trouble maintaining with too many carbs. I never was obese (only 15 lbs over my ideal at my max.)

                We really have to be careful to generalize at all around macros.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by emmie View Post
                  IMO, the key to effective weight management is to know one's body and how it responds to various nutrients and not try to adjust to whatever claims someone else makes. What works for that person may be the worst thing for someone else.
                  Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
                  We really have to be careful to generalize at all around macros.
                  Really great points!!!!
                  My Before/After Pics
                  Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                  "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FairyRae View Post

                    I think its important for folks new to the Primal Blueprint to at least try following Mark's recommendations before taking forum advice (to eat VLC or eat very high fat or carb cycle etc.) Jumping into an extreme version of the PB before trying it as written seems to trip up a lot of folks in the beginning (seems like you may have done this when you started by doing VLC?)
                    +100

                    Originally posted by Orchid View Post

                    My starches are tubers and some fruit. Occasionally, some rice products. "My paleo" is basically not dairy and not nuts and not gluten* -- the _amount_ of carbs (some days low, some high) are less of a sticking point for me now, even irrespective of that day's activity.
                    YES. This is me, too. My carbs can vary quite a bit, even over 150 some days with sushi, and I continue to lose weight, but it's the dairy and the nuts that for sure will put a halt to everything for me.
                    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                    • #11
                      Thank you for this. I was feeling slightly loser-like!

                      The first time I was living primal I didn't pay too much attention to carbs, and I had no issues.

                      Coming back on after my hiatus I felt that I needed to drop way down to get over my newly found carb fixation. That was a very bad idea for me. Sure, I could have tried to shoulder through more than 5 days of apathy, depression, poor sleep, nightmares, difficulty thinking and anxiousness, but what if it didn't let up as quickly as I hoped? How long are you supposed to give feeling as if you are living trapped in a negative fog before it lets up?

                      Yesterday, at about only 4 1/2 to 5 days in of VLC was plenty long enough for me to decide that I couldn't live another moment in diet-caused misery. Yesterday's choices weren't the best, but by this morning I feel relatively normal again, and I had no nightmares and restless sleep last night. So, I'm back to not worrying about carb count.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ChasePaleo View Post
                        I started out on a VLC diet, I was eating most of my calories in fat and getting minimal exercise. I was losing weight, however, after 3 weeks of this I began to experience negative side effects.
                        Yes, I'm that way too. Three weeks. But I don't think it's necessarily the carbs, it may be about insulin surge and brain neurotransmitters. I can get the same good feeling back from low carb whey that creates an insulin spike.
                        In the past I did great with weight training and refeeds. But what I won't do anymore is the 5-6 small meals a day thing. I don't think we're were designed to eat like that, and it's a setup to return to bad eating habits if life gets bumpy. I like being able to go 12 hours comfortably without food.
                        Glad you found what works for you.

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                        • #13
                          Everybody is different, and needs different things at different times. I healed a lot of things quickly with VLC/ZC/lots of IF, but once I was healthy, it was time for me to add back in carbs. Now I eat plenty of starch and feel much better. I can still drop to ZC without LCF, and I still IF but generally feel better with starches.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RitaRose View Post
                            Yep, we're all special snowflakes, whether we want to be or not.

                            Me? For some reason, eggs are insanely good for me. Any day I eat a lot of eggs is going to be one where I'm doing well. No clue why.
                            +1 :-)
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                            • #15
                              Chris Masterjohn did a good piece on this subject a few weeks ago: The Daily Lipid: Against Dietary Dogmatism

                              Basically what he said was not only do what different people need vary, but what one person needs may vary over time, which was a good thing for me to look at, since I am getting to the maintenance phase in the last month, and although I am not making big changes, there are some tweaks I am making in my diet - notably, getting a little more carb based.
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