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    Remy's Avatar
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    Paleo triathlete wanting to try ketogenic diet - a few questions

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    Hello,
    So I've been eating pretty close to paleo for a few years now. I have no problem not eating grains and eating plenty of fats. I do eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I would say my macro split is probably around 1/3 protein, 1/3 carbs, 1/3 fats.

    I'm wanting to get into a ketogenic diet. Mainly, due to the anti-cancer benefits as my family has a strong history of prostrate cancer. But I have a few questions. Most revolve around ketosis and triathlons.

    I know I have to go ultra-low carb to get adapted into using ketone bodies for a few weeks. No problem. However, from reading research and info from other paleo/low carb endurance athletes, I would be wasting potential if I didn't use carbs during long workouts and races. So here are my questions:

    1) If I get into a ketone adapted phase and use certain carbs and fats for fuels during races, does this take me out of ketosis at all? Is there any research showing a certain carb threshold that allows you to stay in ketosis?

    2) If I'm at a suboptimal ketogenic stage, is it even worth it to go through the adaptation phase? I don't want to go through a few weeks of feeling like hell unless it's worth it. Should I just stay with a paleo diet?

    3) Best carb source for endurance activities? I know there's a lot of info out there on this and I haven't done enough research but I thought I would add this questions as well. I've been looking at superstarch and palitinose.

    Thanks guys and sorry for the dumb newbie questions!

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    Zach's Avatar
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    First, why do you think that ketosis has anti-cancer benefits?

    Second, check out Lyle Mcdonald for all things ketosis. Also Anthony Colpo knows quite a bit, here was a recent article he wrote on the subject.

    Timothy Olson: Another Low-Carb Athlete That Never Was? AnthonyColpo

    Im thinking you would crash pretty hard doing a triathlon without any carb sources. As for the rest, i dont know.

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    If you want to be a low carb endurance athlete, you really should read Amazon.com: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (9780983490715): Jeff S. Volek, Stephen D. Phinney: Books. It's packed with data, based on real human trials and experiences (not furry little critters).

    1) Their research indicates that a "carb up" will take you out of ketosis, and it takes ~2 weeks to get back in. The body doesn't start making ketones until the extra glucose has been out of the system for a while.

    2) See their research on cyclists and how their performance dramatically improved after the adaptation period.

    3) Peter Attia recommends Superstarch - Sports Nutrition Archives The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D. The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D. - but I have no experience with that (and still have plenty of lard to consume).

    Everybody starts out a noob - so don't sweat it.

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    Remy's Avatar
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    Zach,
    Well, I know ketogenic diet in rats has shown some promising results for stopping or shrinking tumor growth in rats. Obviously, such a diet is hard to research in humans but I know there's some great case studies of people fighting cancer with ketogenic diets. I've also read Colpo's stuff, so I do realize the disadvantages if I wanted to try low carb during a race (which I do not!)

    Annlee,
    I'm actually reading Phinney and Volek's first book. Will get that one next! Good to know it addresses some of my questions. I've read their cycling research, and it isn't as convincing as I want it to be! I wish there was more but obviously research is expensive.

    Thanks for the help guys!

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    Given that you are already at a 3 way macro split, I doubt that you would have much in the way of a carb flu transitional period if you want to dip deeper into ketosis. The people who report the wicked symptoms are usually the serious carb and junk food fiends.

    I second the recommendation of Phinney & Volek's second book. The first one is a good general primer but the second focuses specifically on the athletic performance issues you are interested in.

    Zach is a troll who thinks candy and soda are health foods and, for some weird reason, feels the need to hang around here and agitate.

    I use a ketogenic diet to keep my epilepsy under control on a lower dose of meds (working toward getting off them entirely). I am also a five year cancer survivor who would rather not "go there" again. You are very right about ketosis being beneficial.
    I wish you well. Keep us posted on your results.
    Last edited by Paleobird; 12-19-2012 at 09:01 PM.

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    Zach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    Given that you are already at a 3 way macro split, I doubt that you would have much in the way of a carb flu transitional period if you want to dip deeper into ketosis. The people who report the wicked symptoms are usually the serious carb and junk food fiends.

    I second the recommendation of Phinney & Volek's second book. The first one is a good general primer but the second focuses specifically on the athletic performance issues you are interested in.

    Zach is a troll who thinks candy and soda are health foods and, for some weird reason, feels the need to hang around here and agitate.

    I wish you well. Keep us posted on your results.
    How was my post in any way trolling? I gave him advice and pointed him to smart people. We all know that 99% of endurance athletes fuel with carbohydrate, its no secret.

    I think its you with the agenda. You are one of the last people on here recommending a VLC or ketogenic diet. Maybe the lack of carbs is getting you a little crazy? Can Low-Carb Diets Make You Crazy? AnthonyColpo

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    Paleobird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    How was my post in any way trolling? I gave him advice and pointed him to smart people. We all know that 99% of endurance athletes fuel with carbohydrate, its no secret.

    I think its you with the agenda. You are one of the last people on here recommending a VLC or ketogenic diet. Maybe the lack of carbs is getting you a little crazy? Can Low-Carb Diets Make You Crazy? AnthonyColpo
    Take a breath, Zach.
    First, I eat a ketogenic diet for my reasons and it works for me. I have never pushed that as an agenda on anyone. The OP was not talking about racing without carbs, just the train low, race high strategy that is used by a lot of elite athletes. The OP has already made the decision to try ketosis for his/her own reasons the main one being a strong family history of cancer.

    Second, there are a lot of people on this forum who eat LC or VLC (fluid definitions at best). They have been shouted down lately by some really vehement carb proponents and many just got tired of the constant carb wars. There is room enough under the Primal tent for a wide range of macro ratios. There is no room however for people like you who proudly profess to eat processed sugary junk and then presume to give advice on being Primal

    Third, Anthony Colpo is a braying jackass. "Nuff said.

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    I think what some folks forget is that sometimes you just have to eat according to what feels good to you. We are all individuals each with our own set of unique needs. For some of us Keto has made the difference between taking meds (Paleobird, you've found a way that works and I say "right on" to that!) and some of us feel terrible on keto.

    Remy, I would encourage you to try it if you like, however be honest with how your body is responding. If you start to have poor quality sleep, your body aches, you're stress levels rise and you feel terrible (past the initial breaking in phase), stop. No questions asked.

    For myself, if I go less than 50g/carbs per day I experience night eating syndrome (its a strange thing to wake up with your head in the fridge) and my body HURTS, stress levels rise. I especially notice this in the summer months when I'm logging a lot of running miles on the trails.
    Follow your body, learn to listen, it will tell you what is right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    Second, check out Lyle Mcdonald for all things ketosis. Also Anthony Colpo knows quite a bit, here was a recent article he wrote on the subject.
    Seems a bit trollish....you point a triathlete asking how to improve with ketosis to a couple of anti-low carb body builders??? Lyle isn't all bad, but by no means is he any sort of final word especially on ketosis. Colpo....well he's just an ass-hat. Seriously I don't know how people can make it through a paragraph of his garbage.

    Anyway, there are people out there doing what OP is talking about. I think OP might be interested in this site...

    The interplay of exercise and ketosis

    Then since OP asked about using other fuel at race, he talks about something he calls superstarch here:

    http://eatingacademy.com/sports-and-...rstarch-part-i


    I am not a triathlete so I can't give any specifics from my own experience, but there are resources like those listed above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    First, why do you think that ketosis has anti-cancer benefits?
    Probably because cancer utilizes sugar as a fuel source. Trials show keto-diets stop the growth of some brain cancers (haven't tested them all individually yet). I personally know of a trial on advanced thymus cancer that is still going on with 16 patients with very good result. This trial is not ketogenic though...its testing on blocking insulin so that the tumors can't take up their food supply. So far (over a year in) all 16 have seen their tumors stop growth and one has seen it reduce in size. Keto is a low insulin/low glucose environment.

    Treating a disease is not the same as preventing, but in this context seems rational to think that cancer would have a harder time getting a foothold in an organism where insulin and glucose are kept in check.

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