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Why is there a carb gray area?

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  • Why is there a carb gray area?

    If you keep your carbs low you can eventually adapt to it and feel energetic and alert like normal again. At the other end you can eat more carbs and feel energetic and alert so long as you don't go too low carb for too long. But then there's that gray area where you can't seem to adapt to lower carbs and you feel tired or weak.

    How is it there is this gray area where it's difficult to adapt, where you just bounce around miserably forever, never adapting, never improving? Can you ever get over that and adapt to the gray area?
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  • #2
    .... what?

    I didn't quite follow your question, but I'm guessing it has something to do with not everybody being the same and many other variables at play.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #3
      Funny. You are talking about the gray area of car quantity. When I read the post title I thought you were talking about the gray area of carb quality.
      Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

      Griff's cholesterol primer
      5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
      Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
      TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
      bloodorchid is always right

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      • #4
        Is it real? I know that I have never entered that blessed realm of low carb happiness. Maybe folks in the gray area just can't have happy fat methabolism or have to stop eating all carbs altogether to get there or something like that? Or maybe it's like that miserable transitional zone between anaerobic and aerobic cardio.....
        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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        • #5
          SB, you might want to check out Dr. Peter Attia at The Eating Academy website. He calls what you are referring to the "Zone of Misery".

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          • #6
            Yeah, the Zone of Misery. Why does it exist? That's what I'm wondering.
            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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            • #7
              As I understand it, it's kind of like perpetual carb flu that never ends because you aren't fully in ketosis for a long enough stretch to make the transition complete.

              Dr. Attia also notes that it can result from going overboard on the protein portions.

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              • #8
                I think it really depends on the person. I get depressed if I'm vlc (20-30g) for more than a week. And we're talking thinking of running away from my 2 adorable kids and wonderful husband depressed. After a month it was only getting worse so I added carbs back in.

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                • #9
                  I adapted to low carb the first time I did it...every time I have tried since then I have remained in this zone of misery---so I totally understand your frustration! I have resorted to eating carbs---and even some GF grains again, but I feel good, so I'm not going to focus on my weight unless it gets concerning again!
                  Check out my blog on nature and nurture!
                  http://thewoodsygal.com/

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                  • #10
                    I am wondering why it exists at all. Not complaining about being in it. It seems arbitrary.
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                    • #11
                      I've been lucky - never had the carb flu, hope I never will!

                      But my guess would be it's the foods not the carbs. Different (all primal) carbs affect me very differently. Some knock me out, as in, I really need a nap! Others don't affect me at all. Fruit carbs are a whole different ballgame than regular veg carbs, and starchy veg again another story.

                      If I were having difficulty I would vary the foods, do a modified elimination varying the carb sources, and see what worked best.

                      Just a thought!
                      "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                      "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                      If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                      beachrat's new primal journal

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                      • #12
                        Hmm interesting. I don't even think I HAD a "carb flu" at least, not one I noticed, and I pretty much dumped most carbs in one fell swoop. The only carbs I get now are a bit from veg and fruit. I don't even know if I get over 50g a day (honestly, I don't track that well lol) I just eat when I feel like it, and what I feel like... and sometimes probably don't eat enough veggies (due to working evenings/chasing around after kiddies etc. and lack time to always prepare a great meal). I have eaten a couple of high carb veggies a couple of times (ie some potato on the weekend, and some sweet potato and parsnip another weekend) which probably gave a bit of a boost on those days...

                        So yeah, maybe some people have these issues and others don't? I can't say I feel "perfect", but then again I've been primal not quite a month yet (but enough time to experience a carb flu, surely?).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                          I am wondering why it exists at all. Not complaining about being in it. It seems arbitrary.
                          I too would like to get a better understanding of the metabolic function that occurs in this transition.
                          As far as I can tell there are a number of factors at play and each have switch over at various stages and these can be almost seamless in a perfectly adapted individual, but in most of us the timing is not always synchronized:
                          1- Insulin resistance, delayed release of fatty acids into bloodstream
                          2- Muscle Glycogen stores to be depleted and switch from primarily glucose to ketones, then to fatty acids
                          3- Water loss due to both lower insulin and reduced glycogen causing upsets in electrolyte balances, sodium, potassium & magnesium supplementation may be required
                          4- Liver firstly metabolising it's glycogen stores to maintain blood glucose level for brain, then going into glucogenesis to provide glucose for essential non ketone brain functions.
                          5- Brain switching over to predominant ketone and only minimal glucose consumption.

                          Like a perfectly tuned vehicle (automatic), it smoothly changes gear as you accelerate, but if it is out of tune it hunts for the right gear, reving hard in a lower gear, but is underpowered in a higher gear and keeps jumping back & forward, so I imagine we are much the same.

                          One of the key indicators I think would be fasting ability, if you can do daily 24 hour fasts without any discomfort, particularly if there is a good workout early in the fast period, then there is a likelihood that you should transition into ketosis much more easily. If the situation is considered on an evolutionary basis, an individual that was severely disabled because of a change in dietary mix would not have been very succesfull, yes there would be some transition, but it should not be debilitating.

                          The other consideration is pre existing health conditions, eg. Insulin resistance, Leptin resistance, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune, estrogen dominance or anything else for that matter, as all these things usually involve hormonal imbalances usually and it is the adjustment of hormone levels which tell the body what to do, so any imbalances will most likely be expressed as aggravated symptoms during a transitional shift to ketosis.
                          That's where I am currently, but still looking to fill those knowledge gaps.
                          "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

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                          • #14
                            I have noticed that it's much easier to switch to fat-burning or ketosis when I'm doing endurance exercise that's relatively strenuous and lengthy (like hiking). I have no idea if I actually am in ketosis, but it does feel like I'm burning fat for energy. I get to a state where I am expending way more than I'm taking in but without any feeling of starvation. I have never had carb flu when I'm doing extended long-term endurance activities (a few days or more.) And if I do feel like I'm in a borderline carb flu state, endurance exercise seems to energize and restore me.

                            I sometimes read Barefoot Ted's forum and there are a lot of distance runners there. Many of them are very adamantly in favor of low carb and very low carb. I think maybe there is a link with aerobic fitness, endurance activities and greater tolerance of the "zone of misery".

                            Anyway, it seemed like that zone of misery didn't make sense. Why should it be such a sharp either/or dichotomy between the two states? But maybe it is related to our sedentary lives.
                            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                              Anyway, it seemed like that zone of misery didn't make sense. Why should it be such a sharp either/or dichotomy between the two states? But maybe it is related to our sedentary lives.
                              I think it is a combination of both sedentary lifestyle and long term carb dependence that causes atrophy of our fat burning machinery, so to "tune up" we need to address both of those issues, for some it may be a matter of weeks, for others it could take years, but it should be possible to switch between Glycosis and Ketosis without too much discomfort.
                              "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

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