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How can you go Low carb long term and remain healthy?

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  • How can you go Low carb long term and remain healthy?

    Hi guys,
    I am sitting in a human bio lecture and my lecturer is saying that it is ultimately very dangerous to be low/zero carb because the using up of glycogen from protein creates ammonia which is damaging to the liver and kidneys. And that the brain requires 99% of energy in the form of glucose & potatoes should be eaten over steak.
    Anyway I know low carb is possible (Inuits, Masai, Sherpahs), but I don't know how they do it and remain healthy in terms of biochemistry. Anyone know? Would love to lay out paleo to him and the class.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    ketones
    "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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    • #3
      I eat no carbs for up to 4-5 days with no problems and refeed on the weekends.

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      • #4
        Gluconeogenesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        Ketosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        "If the diet is changed from a highly glycemic diet to a diet that does not provide sufficient carbohydrate to replenish glycogen stores, the body goes through a set of stages to enter ketosis. During the initial stages of this process, blood glucose levels are maintained through gluconeogenesis, and the adult brain does not burn ketones. However, the brain makes immediate use of ketones for lipid synthesis in the brain. After about 48 hours of this process, the brain starts burning ketones in order to more directly use the energy from the fat stores that are being depended upon, and to reserve the glucose only for its absolute needs, thus avoiding the depletion of the body's protein store in the muscles."

        Yanked from wikipedia, no clue how accurate it is, but meh.
        Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

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        • #5
          Our body does not require carbohydrates at all, you know. They are not necessary to the function of the human organism. So there is no problem going long term low carb.

          Cut out fats or protein though and you will be in deep doo doo.

          A good book to read is Living the Low Carb Life by Jonny Bowden, try your library.

          Read Gary Taubes article "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?" from the NY Times.

          & here are a few more references for you.


          Health Benefits of a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Saturated-Fat Diet by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

          How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream about poisoning our systems with grains

          Low-Carb Diet Reduces Inflammation And Blood Saturated Fat In Metabolic Syndrome & Low-Calorie Diet May Be Harmful for Bowel Disease Patients in ScienceDaily
          Odille
          F 58 / 170cms / SW 131.5 kgs / Current 112.4/ GW 65
          following Primal Lifestyle and swimming my way to health

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          • #6
            Ammonia is turned into urea and is excreted by the body in urine.

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            • #7
              My mind is shifting on this. While the body can function without carbs and even thrive for a while, I'm not entirely sure that long term optimum health is achieved on vlc. Optimum health is not the same as survival.
              My website: http://www.shoppinganywhere.net/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Chrish2891 View Post
                Ammonia is turned into urea and is excreted by the body in urine.
                It apparently also comes out in sweat glands. I trained several athletes during the Atkins diet popularity who smelled of ammonia when they perspired. I had the same result back when i ate a TON of protein as a bodybuilder many years ago.
                This is an interesting discussion, and i think it's great that those in this community seem to examine all the options and share their personal experiences for others to consider. I have seen athletes thrive on the short term being "ketone adapted', but most ended up feeling the need to go back to carbs for fuel. It didn't seem to matter what sports they were involved in (bodybuilding, triathlon, powerlifting, track and field, etc). I am very interested in this topic, as I do train with some "primal" athletes, but not exactly sure of their macro ratios yet.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by johneeeveee View Post
                  It apparently also comes out in sweat glands. I trained several athletes during the Atkins diet popularity who smelled of ammonia when they perspired. I had the same result back when i ate a TON of protein as a bodybuilder many years ago.
                  This is an interesting discussion, and i think it's great that those in this community seem to examine all the options and share their personal experiences for others to consider. I have seen athletes thrive on the short term being "ketone adapted', but most ended up feeling the need to go back to carbs for fuel. It didn't seem to matter what sports they were involved in (bodybuilding, triathlon, powerlifting, track and field, etc). I am very interested in this topic, as I do train with some "primal" athletes, but not exactly sure of their macro ratios yet.
                  This is what I think my lecturer is going to say- that it is not long term sustainable. I can't help but believe Dr.K here in thinking that being ketogenic is best suited to cold adapted mammals that don't take part in rigorous exercise on a daily basis. Maybe it is true that if you want to run marathons or train daily then being a carb burner works best...?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fiercehunter View Post
                    I eat no carbs for up to 4-5 days with no problems and refeed on the weekends.
                    +1 (kind of)

                    I've been using fat for fuel almost exclusively for 8 months or so. I don't know if this counts as long term but it's suiting me just fine.

                    I only add in the carbs after heavy lifting to refill muscle glycogen. Adding carbs after lifting is relatively new to my routine, and I felt great before upping the carbs. It's not a lack of energy that has me eating them, but better recovery and size/strength gains.


                    I'm not sure if I'm in the minority, but I actually get a slight euphoria feeling in ketosis.
                    Apparently, my body is making all of the day-to-day sugars it needs on normal days.

                    Note: I'm not exactly no-carb, as on non-heavy lifting days I do eat veggies, but it's almost always under 50g

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NWPrimate View Post
                      +1 (kind of)

                      I've been using fat for fuel almost exclusively for 8 months or so. I don't know if this counts as long term but it's suiting me just fine.

                      I only add in the carbs after heavy lifting to refill muscle glycogen. Adding carbs after lifting is relatively new to my routine, and I felt great before upping the carbs. It's not a lack of energy that has me eating them, but better recovery and size/strength gains.


                      I'm not sure if I'm in the minority, but I actually get a slight euphoria feeling in ketosis.
                      Apparently, my body is making all of the day-to-day sugars it needs on normal days.

                      Note: I'm not exactly no-carb, as on non-heavy lifting days I do eat veggies, but it's almost always under 50g
                      I have a similar feeling, like I somewhat know when I'm functioning off ketones, particularly when I do things in a fasted state. I only do intake starches when I know I'll be exerting some real effort in Kickboxing, or grappling. Usually, those will be eaten, after those activities.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by savanasky View Post
                        This is what I think my lecturer is going to say- that it is not long term sustainable. I can't help but believe Dr.K here in thinking that being ketogenic is best suited to cold adapted mammals that don't take part in rigorous exercise on a daily basis. Maybe it is true that if you want to run marathons or train daily then being a carb burner works best...?
                        I think the jury is still out on all of this... carbs... fats... and the discussion about what works best for who and why is an endlessly fascinating topic to me. There are SO many variables, and I welcome hearing experience from anyone, especially those that are doing something very different than I. I seem to learn the most there.
                        Thanks - jv

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by savanasky View Post
                          Maybe it is true that if you want to run marathons or train daily then being a carb burner works best...?
                          That is a great question, but it seems more logical to me that the longer distance runners and cyclists would do better on fats as they burn slower, but i guess getting them into your system fast enough is the question. Maybe the issue is that fats usually come with a great deal of protein, which is the last resort for energy, in my research and experience.
                          Hmmmm.... great discussion - jv

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                          • #14
                            I would like to know at what rate people on ketogenic diets store glycogen in their liver/muscles? It must be enough considering Grok etc. would have to use their muscles over short and long periods, using up the glycogen via aerobic and anaerobic respiration in flight or fight and endurance situations.

                            Also from what I gather about muscle fibre types, some people being 'naturally thin' or 'naturally more muscular' would have something to do with what exercises and activity is best suited to them. As in a naturally thin person would have more slow-twitch muscle fibres and would better suit endurance aerobic exercises, and a bulkier person with more fast-twitch fibres would do better with weight lifting.

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                            • #15
                              I wonder how individual this is? I ask because at age 70 (female) who does a moderate amount of exercise, I seem to thrive on very low carb--mainly fish, meat, eggs, and fats for cooking. My major indulgence is occasional almond butter. Vegetables are also occasional, although I go through 'spurts' of eating my homemade vegetable soup on a daily basis. My carbs are usually <20g a day. I feel best eating this way.

                              However, many years ago when I 'discovered' Atkins, I experimented with adding carbs and noticed that what he called my "critical carbohydrate level" (CCL), the level at which appetite soared and weight increased was very low--no higher than 25g. This seems to have remained consistent because I can easily gain weight by adding too many green vegetables and increasing my carbs while keeping my calories within a maintenance range.

                              I'm hypothyroid, and my endo does lab work every four months. All my lab values remain excellent, and the only Rx I take are for my thyroid. At my age, that's pretty good, in the opinion of my doctors, so I don't think my very low carb eating hurts me in any way--quite the opposite, I think it's very healthy--for me. It might not be that appropriate for others. We all have to identify the best WOE for our unique physiology, IMO.

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