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Thread: Carb advice, please page

  1. #1
    emmie's Avatar
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    Carb advice, please

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    I am very sensitive to carbs, and of the past several years have lost close to 200 lbs by eating very low carb. In experimenting as Dr. Atkins advised, I've learned that my limit is about 25g of carbs a day, and I manage my weight by eating Primal at about 20g of carbs. I'm hypothyroid and have my labs done every 4 months, and all by lab values are superb eating this way. My blood pressure and blood glucose is ideal, and at age 70, the only Rx I take are the hormones for my thyroid (Hashimotos'), so I know that my body loves my low-carb eating.

    However, a doctor (who specializes in low carb) advised me that every 4-6 weeks, I should have a 'high carb' day to replenish my leptin (or something like that; I'm not really sure), and I've been doing that as advised. Unfortunately, in the past (pre-Primal), I did it by having a meal that included bread, potatoes or rice, and dessert.

    Now I plan to have my carbs by making better choices--i.e., eating fruit (bananas and apples) and sweet potatoes. Here's my question. For someone who typically eats no more than 20g of carbs daily, would a day of about 250g of carbs be enough (too much?) for this 'high carb' experience?

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    @lex's Avatar
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    12.5 times the amount of carbs that your body is used to might be a bit of a shock. Try edging out of ketosis at first with a 60-75 gram day and see how you feel and react.

    Honestly, 250 grams of natural carbs is a shit ton of food. I'm an active guy who eats moderate carb paleo, and I'd have to make a concerted effort to hit 250, even with the amount of food I eat.
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    emmie's Avatar
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    Thanks! This is really helpful advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emmie View Post
    Thanks! This is really helpful advice.
    Just to put it in perspective, 250 grams of natural carbs would be something like 8 big bananas or 2.5 pounds of sweet potatoes.

    Start with something simple like 2 bananas or a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes. It'd also help to contact your doctor and get some idea of the context of these "higher carb" days they were talking about.
    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.

    In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


    I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

    SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
    CW: 180 pounds

    Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

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    My advice as a fellow LC'er (I am very carb sensitive also and typically stay in the 20-30 range) is to see how much you can tolerate. If a high carb day throws you off, gives you a headache or triggers binge eating, I wouldn't recommend doing it. I don't really 'do' ultra high carb days because it's too risky for me and I have a lot of weight to lose yet. Every now and then I might "indulge" in some cooked carrots, winter squash, small amount of fruit (berries, pear, banana) or half a sweet potato, but I don't do this every day and I don't eat lots of carby food at once.

    Congrats on the massive weight loss. Knowing others have gone before me gives me the courage to try to do it myself.

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    I would definitely ask your doctor for some context as in how much he is talking. I find it hard to eat much more than 120g of carbs from primal sources and fall around the 50-100 range on a regular basis.

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    I agree with @lex that sweet potatoes and bananas are good choices. White potatoes too. Aim for starchy foods.

    250 g is shooting high, so perhaps aim for 150 g first time around?
    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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    emmie's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone.

    Spubba--As I mentioned, I've done this before--never more than one day and not Primal. I have never had any problems going right back to my 20g of carbs because I actually like eating that way (my body seems to prefer it). I worried at first that it would bring on appetite and cravings, but I think that I've been low carb for so long that a one-day break isn't problematic. I've never gone longer than that with higher carbs, however--nor would I want to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emmie View Post
    Thanks, everyone.

    Spubba--As I mentioned, I've done this before--never more than one day and not Primal. I have never had any problems going right back to my 20g of carbs because I actually like eating that way (my body seems to prefer it). I worried at first that it would bring on appetite and cravings, but I think that I've been low carb for so long that a one-day break isn't problematic. I've never gone longer than that with higher carbs, however--nor would I want to do so.
    I think she was more concerned with the actual day of carb load. Thought process goes that if you have not eaten starchy foods in excess for a long time your gut flora has likely acclimated to your current diet. A sudden and extreme change in that (20-250+) could upset your digestive track and basically just make you feel like crap.

    Woops....just saw, I was thinking of @lex's original post....my bad.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-20-2012 at 05:29 PM.

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    Emmie, I could have written most of your post myself. I've always had an issue with carb sensitivity, even though I was never, ever a sweets junkie. I loved fruit, but loved meat and veggies more than anything sweet.

    I had some big issues with hypoglycemia a few years ago, which led me to the world of low carb, which then (thankfully) led me here. I ended up living happily for a long time while eating a very low carb diet - like you, I was always less than 25g/day, often lower. I was insanely strict and didn't cheat, which I loved - being in total control and food being an afterthought is ideal to me. I hit a wall eventually. (Unfortunately for all here, I've posted about it in different stages of being all over the map) After a while, I gave in to thinking that my days of ketosis were over. Initially, I felt good and there ARE advantages to those carbs I added back. However, lately I have felt worse and worse overall and I am now convinced that what I needed to do back in my ketosis days was to give my body a break and take a brief time to refill what I'd depleted by being SO low carb for so long.

    What your doctor told you to try is the exact approach I've recently decided to take. I'm going back to LC/VLC (with more generous veggies) and will try a "refeed" day once a month or so. I'm hoping it will be the answer for me and that I can have the best of both worlds this way. I'm currently getting my butt back into ketosis and it's been a LONG time since I've had anything resembling carb flu, which is exactly what I had tried to avoid before by staying so strict. I don't think that being out of it for a day or so once in a while will be enough to cause it, though. We shall see...

    I hope you'll continue to post and let us know how this works for you. Congrats on your amazing loss so far!
    Last edited by GoJenGo; 04-20-2012 at 05:23 PM.
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