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Varying between >50g and <50g carbs Ė Low Carb Flu?

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  • Varying between >50g and <50g carbs Ė Low Carb Flu?

    So, for quite a while I was typically under 50g of carbs a day. I felt good generally speaking. Lately Iíve been adding more fibrous veggies to my diet to bring up my daily nutrient intake. This began to push up my carb intake. Iíve noticed is varies quite a bit, anywhere from under 50g to around 90g of carbs.

    Iíve noticed a change lately. I have days were my carbs are very low during the day (I fast from after dinner 6-6:30pm to 11am + my lunches are reasonably low carb) and I start to experience tiredness, headaches, and general depression/grumpiness. Yesterday was an extreme example. I felt like I was experiencing the low carb flu all over again. Later, when I got home and ate dinner I went off on a carb binge (nothing too badÖfruit, nuts, & coconut) which pushed me to about 250g of carbs for the day. I noticed I felt much better after the binge (headache, tiredness, & depression went away).

    My theory is: Because Iíve upped my carbs, I more easily slip into the low carb flu when my carbs are low due to fasting or just not eating as many carbs. The logical solution seems to be either stick with >50g of carbs or stick with between 50 & 100g to prevent this from happening. Opinions are welcome.

    Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?
    "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~ Vernon Howard

  • #2
    I had a period where I was walking a lot and doing plenty of bodyweight exercises (You Are Your Own Gym) while keeping the carbs around 50g, and I started to get tired/grumpy like you say, but also more hungry. Kind of like the carb-flu days. I upped the carbs with bigger salads, more fruit, and sweet potatoes, and found what I think is my sweet spot...I haven't measured it, but I'd guess around 75-100g depending on how hard I'm working out. Are you exercising much?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tom B-D View Post
      I had a period where I was walking a lot and doing plenty of bodyweight exercises (You Are Your Own Gym) while keeping the carbs around 50g, and I started to get tired/grumpy like you say, but also more hungry. Kind of like the carb-flu days. I upped the carbs with bigger salads, more fruit, and sweet potatoes, and found what I think is my sweet spot...I haven't measured it, but I'd guess around 75-100g depending on how hard I'm working out. Are you exercising much?
      I do exercise quite a bit. I'm following the convict conditioning progression, plus some of the stuff from Convict Conditioning 2, along with some other exercise (walking, sprints 1X per week).
      "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~ Vernon Howard

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      • #4
        My theory is: you feel like shit on VLC. If you exercise quite a bit, eat more carbs for crying out loud.
        "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Fernaldo View Post
          My theory is: you feel like shit on VLC. If you exercise quite a bit, eat more carbs for crying out loud.
          Thank you. This is great.

          90g of carbs is a very low carbohydrate diet as well. It's dandy that people that lived in the Arctic subsisted on a diet like that, but we don't live on an ice shelf. We're omnivores and we function best with fat and carbs in our diets for the most part. It's not human to adhere to a low carbohydrate diet just like it's not human to adhere to a low fat diet. Eat real food - meat, vegetables, fruits and starches. If you feel like shit eating a certain way, there's probably a darn good reason for it.
          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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          • #6
            Thank you Fernaldo and ChocoTaco.

            I guess I'm just a bit paranoid because I've had such great success with VLC. I'm at my lowest body fat % ever and I want to keep it that way. I'm afraid upping the carbs will drive up my body fat. However, you both have a great point. It's time to move some move carbs into my diet and see how it impacts me.
            "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~ Vernon Howard

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            • #7
              I just read around on the Gnoll website, and the lady there said that you should either be in Ketosis or NOT be in Ketosis, but not to hang around in almost-Ketosis, because that makes you feel like shit. Any I think she might be dead on. I was in almost- Ketosis for a couple of weeks, and every day was horrible. Eat more carbs, if you work out, and stay away from the Ketosis limbo. That would also explain why you did good on VLC, cause you probably were in proper Ketosis.

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              • #8
                I'd say it'd take regular snacking on small amounts of carbs every couple of hours to achieve hanging around in almost-ketosis for days on end.

                I spend a few hours each day in ketosis and it's an easy transition from not being in ketosis. Often I work out while in ketosis.

                There's nothing magical or specific to PB about ketosis. Most people on a SAD go into ketosis every night during the last couple of hours or so before awakening, when their liver runs out of glycogen.
                F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JVib View Post
                  Thank you Fernaldo and ChocoTaco.

                  I guess I'm just a bit paranoid because I've had such great success with VLC. I'm at my lowest body fat % ever and I want to keep it that way. I'm afraid upping the carbs will drive up my body fat. However, you both have a great point. It's time to move some move carbs into my diet and see how it impacts me.
                  The reason why people have issues adding carbs is they do exactly that - they ADD carbs. They take everything they're eating normally and just add a potato or a couple pieces of fruit. While I commend expanding healthy food choices, adding a large potato to your dinner does nothing but add 200 calories to your daily diet, meaning every week you're taking in a caloric surplus of 1,400 calories. That may not only be enough to stall your progress, but totally reverse it and start gaining.

                  If you're going to start adding carbs, you have to start subtracting fat. That means less butter, leaner meats, less nuts, less olive oil on your salad - whatever it takes. Which is fine, because if you're eating a large potato with dinner, chances are you'll want to eat less steak. It comes down to whatever works for you. You may find out you like steak a lot more than potatoes and enjoy eating a larger steak versus a smaller steak with a starch, and that's fine. The important thing to take away here is if you start gaining or stall, it's a caloric issue, not a carb issue.
                  Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fernaldo View Post
                    My theory is: you feel like shit on VLC. If you exercise quite a bit, eat more carbs for crying out loud.
                    This is so simplistic. YOU feel like shit on VLC. OK. Not everyone does. The OP was talking about feeling yucky after adding some carbs not while VLC.

                    Personally, I feel awesome in ketosis. YMMV.

                    I think the OP and the Gnolls article cited by Comma nailed it very well. Either be in ketosis or not. I think a lot of people who say they feel like shit on VLC may actually have been only on that borderline, bouncing in and out all of the time. That's like permanent carb flu. No fun.

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                    • #11
                      As I said before, there's no way anyone is going to bounce in and out of ketosis unless they are snacking every hour or so on carbs.
                      F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by paleo-bunny View Post
                        As I said before, there's no way anyone is going to bounce in and out of ketosis unless they are snacking every hour or so on carbs.
                        I disagree. Nobody knows the exact number of carbs/day=ketosis for any one person. Mark only puts out the 50 number as a rough rule of thumb. Some people have said they need much lower levels to get to ketosis. I have measured my ketones with ketostix and yes, you can zig-zag in and out without snacking on carbs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                          I disagree. Nobody knows the exact number of carbs/day=ketosis for any one person. Mark only puts out the 50 number as a rough rule of thumb. Some people have said they need much lower levels to get to ketosis. I have measured my ketones with ketostix and yes, you can zig-zag in and out without snacking on carbs.
                          You've missed my point entirely.

                          The point I made about bouncing in and out is pretty much independent of daily carb intake. It's about crossing the line and then taking in some carbs to cross back over ... if you think about it.
                          F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                          • #14
                            I'm eagerly waiting to hear your argument that our metabolisms are not attuned to a smaller unit of time than a whole day. LOL!
                            F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                            • #15
                              Paleo-bunny, I think we may really be saying the same thing but failing to communicate about timelines. I'm not (and never was) talking about going in and out of ketosis minute by minute or hour by hour. I'm talking more in terms of days. And to get past the carb flu it takes several consecutive days, depending upon the person, of course.

                              I never went through any carb flu but then I never was much of a carb eater to begin with. I only ate the "healthy whole grains" because I thought I should. Someone who has a great portion of their calories coming from carbs and then makes such a switch might have a much rougher time.

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