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Thread: Why do some people do poorly on very Low Carb diet?

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  1. #1
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    Why do some people do poorly on very Low Carb diet?

    Interested and been looking at this for a while.

    One of the things I stumbled across is the connection between blood glucose levels and the thyroid hormone T3, it seems that if blood glucose level falls, then in order to conserve the glucose, the body produces reverse T3 which results in a lowering in T3 levels, which induces a lowering of basal metabolic rate and hence a reduction in glucose consumption, I have seen this refered to as the "Hibernation Response".

    Following the line of thinking, a low blood glucose level on a very low carb diet would most likely be due to inadequate gluconeogenesis, and although it is not necesarily the only cause it appears that high leptin levels (leptin resistance) can impact negatively on this.

    As leptin resistance often precedes insulin resistance by decades, does this mean that these individuals are pre-pre-pre-diabetic and that leptin levels should be checked before diving into a low carb diet.

    Leptin seems to have many fingers in the pie of glucose homeostasis and depending on areas affected including accessing hepatic glycogen, so some individuals can not do any low carb meals at all while others can low carb for a day, but if they go for a week their FT3 levels fall and their metabolism slows down.

    The other interesting thing was the link between low T3 and High LDL

    Here's some of the links I looked at in order of relevance, sort of:
    High LDL on Paleo Revisited: Low Carb & the Thyroid | Perfect Health Diet
    Low Carb High Fat Diets and the Thyroid | Perfect Health Diet
    The Daily Lipid: The Central Role of Thyroid Hormone in Governing LDL Receptor Activity and the Risk of Heart Disease
    What is leptin's relationship with PEPCK? - PaleoHacks.com
    The role of leptin in glucose homeostasis - Denroche - 2012 - Journal of Diabetes Investigation - Wiley Online Library
    Comparative acute effects of lept... [Cell Biochem Funct. 2005 Nov-Dec] - PubMed - NCBI
    Leptin resistance and the response to positive energy balance
    Fasting plasma leptin level is a sur... [J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI
    Central role of cAMP in the inhibiti... [Pol J Pharmacol. 2004 Mar-Apr] - PubMed - NCBI
    Melanocortin-independent Effects of Leptin on Hepatic Glucose Fluxes

  2. #2
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    Interesting thoughts. Something that has been on my mind as well. I was initially a HF/LC "champion so to speak among my friends etc. I lost lots of weight, got my type 2 diabetes under control (my own doctor says reversed) and overall improved my life. But when it came to my workouts (krav maga) I always felt something was lacking. Through some more carful reading, glycogen hit me. What are some of these people doing for activity? If you do heavilly glycotic exercise (crossfit,martial arts, HEAVY lifting) while trying to low-carb, your gonna have a bad time.

    For myself, I don't do keto as often (kinda happens by accident now) and eat way more starch (sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains) and my actions @ krav have gotten much more explosive and quick. I have come to think that keto is just the gateway to retrain a broken metabolism,
    then slowly re-introduce carbohydrate depending on activity.


    Everyone just needs to experiment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeldingHank View Post
    Interesting thoughts. Something that has been on my mind as well. I was initially a HF/LC "champion so to speak among my friends etc. I lost lots of weight, got my type 2 diabetes under control (my own doctor says reversed) and overall improved my life. But when it came to my workouts (krav maga) I always felt something was lacking. Through some more carful reading, glycogen hit me. What are some of these people doing for activity? If you do heavilly glycotic exercise (crossfit,martial arts, HEAVY lifting) while trying to low-carb, your gonna have a bad time.

    For myself, I don't do keto as often (kinda happens by accident now) and eat way more starch (sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains) and my actions @ krav have gotten much more explosive and quick. I have come to think that keto is just the gateway to retrain a broken metabolism,
    then slowly re-introduce carbohydrate depending on activity.


    Everyone just needs to experiment.
    Well said, I agree with the use of keto as a gateway. I was strict Paleo for 4 months and kept carbs under 70 gms per day, dropped 48 lbs and reached my goal weight. At this point I started to focus on getting body fat under 12% and introduced some starches (yams, white rice etc.) and increased workout intensity with great results. Currently under 10% body fat and getting great strength gains. Recently read the Perfect Health diet and I am employing their recommendations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeldingHank View Post
    I have come to think that keto is just the gateway to retrain a broken metabolism,
    then slowly re-introduce carbohydrate depending on activity.

    Everyone just needs to experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by canuck416 View Post
    Well said, I agree with the use of keto as a gateway. I was strict Paleo for 4 months and kept carbs under 70 gms per day, dropped 48 lbs and reached my goal weight. At this point I started to focus on getting body fat under 12% and introduced some starches (yams, white rice etc.) and increased workout intensity with great results. Currently under 10% body fat and getting great strength gains. Recently read the Perfect Health diet and I am employing their recommendations.
    Keto or VLC as a gateway... I never thought of it this way but this makes sense! I thrived on VLC/keto for months. I had boundless energy, didn't need that much sleep, I was never hungry, and I was feeling great all the time. But then I stopped thriving. I slowly noticed IBS symptoms becoming more pronounced, hair loss and other hypothyroid symptoms coming to light. I thought it was something that would just pass, or maybe I was doing something wrong or not eating something I should have been. After everything I had read, I believed that VLC/keto/ZC made the most absolute sense and that I whatever I was experiencing was something that would just pass. The IBS just got so debilitating after a certain point that I had to change something. Like canuck416, I'm also following the recommendations of the PHD and have noticed quite an improvement in how I'm feeling. I still engage in daily fasting (16/8, sometimes more) but the addition of starches has really changed a lot for me, in a good way. So maybe I was thriving on keto while I was more "damaged," but stopped thriving after that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodletoy View Post
    cutting out grains doesn't translate instantly to vlc. it's quite easy to be at 100+ gms of carbs with a bit of starchy tuber and fruit. i think many would do just fine between 50-100.

    however, as pb mentioned upthread, and i have seen it too, many who try to go lower don't do what they need to do to succeed. for example, the simple necessity of replenishing electrolytes due to the diuretic nature of ketosis, slips through the cracks more often than i can count.

    i am not trying to disagree that it's not for everybody and also agree that liver and kidney function play a vital role. but i only play a doctor on the interwebs.

    Comment on cutting out grains etc was related to reducing inflamation not going VLC.
    I agree there is a certain % that just do it all wrong, you can see a whole lot of newbies ATM who just want everything now and that is a recipe for disaster, your head can get it all, but it takes a while for your body to adapt and change modes, I think most individuals have some degree of metabolic damage that needs to be rectified before VLC.
    Liver, kidneys, and the rest, there are likely numerous things that need to be rectified.

    Quote Originally Posted by BestBetter View Post
    I don't know about this one...in all of the bloodwork I had in my lifetime, my fasting blood glucose was always perfect. I also had bloodwork done after going VLC paleo, and my blood glucose was unchanged. So, no indication of any type of pre-diabetes, and I'm someone who doesn't thrive on low carb.

    I also don't know about the leptin thing, either. When i was eating low carb, I never had satiety/hunger issues at all, ever. I just had crippling fatigue, depression, IBS, and hypothyroid issues. I don't know how to tell for sure, but I don't think any of that was related to leptin, since hunger signals were just fine.

    Just to toss out my own possibly crackpot theory, when I was trying to figure out why I wasn't thriving, one thing I came up with was that I suspected my adrenaline receptors were downregulated (I don't have adrenalinic responses to situations that should provoke it, such as losing control of my car on ice, etc). As we know, adrenaline is needed to convert stored fat into usable energy, so maybe if this function is impaired for some people, they can't get adequate energy from that pathway.



    I was (and still do) eating liver every week, in addition to a VERY nutrient dense diet that far exceeded the RDA in everything.
    Your Blood glucose may well be perfect, but that doesn't mean you don't have an issue with glucose metabolism, that was part of the initial point, thyroid and even adrenals may interact to reduce demands just so blood glucose does remain consistant, Leptin levels can be way out before there is any obvious impact on Insulin or Glucose levels.
    Leptin works in many different areas and also in concert with other hormones, so again, just because you felt your hunger signals were fine does not rule out Leptin resistance.
    Adrenals may well have been affected, but I see the adrenals much the same as thyroid, they are acting in response to other underlying problems and yes they may well get fatigued through overuse and may need specific care, but the underlying issues need to be addressed. Downregulated adrenal receptors, could also be termed adrenal resistance, just a case of overuse possibly, I don't believe adrenalin is always required to release fatty acids, just in emergency situations the adrenalin is like a turbo to boost supply temporarily, and it may well be if your normal systems FFA release systems are down, then your body reverts to the Adrenals just to get through and if extended over a period this would result in Adrenal fatigue. Thanks for sharing your experience, adds plenty more to my considerations.


    Quote Originally Posted by codered5 View Post
    I believe you made a similar thread once and i responded that you prob had an adrenal axis issue and most people who do poorly on LC prob do to some degree. Its your body, not the way of eating thats the problem. The reason your blood glucose was unchanged is bc the hormones produced by your adrenals, cortisol, norepinephrine,etc help prop blood sugar up. Once you remove carbs, you are asking your adrenals to do more in terms of stabilizing blood sugar. This causes Hypothalamus, thyroid and/or adrenal issues which is why you had fatigue, depression, etc. Once again, its not that anyone doesnt thrive on relatively low carb, its that carbs for you help your adrenal axis handle the load you place on it. And in recovery, the body tends to get worse before it gets better.
    As I mentioned above, my feeling is the Adrenals, thyroid etc just respond to an underlying metabolic problem that causes the body to fail in the glucose metabolism, Diabetes or prediabetic conditions have strong corrolations with a variety of chronic diseases, for me this suggests that glucose metabolism may be a key factor in precipitating a variety of conditions and the variation in individuals merely defines the particular condition expressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by krsn89 View Post
    Keto or VLC as a gateway... I never thought of it this way but this makes sense! I thrived on VLC/keto for months. I had boundless energy, didn't need that much sleep, I was never hungry, and I was feeling great all the time. But then I stopped thriving. I slowly noticed IBS symptoms becoming more pronounced, hair loss and other hypothyroid symptoms coming to light. I thought it was something that would just pass, or maybe I was doing something wrong or not eating something I should have been. After everything I had read, I believed that VLC/keto/ZC made the most absolute sense and that I whatever I was experiencing was something that would just pass. The IBS just got so debilitating after a certain point that I had to change something. Like canuck416, I'm also following the recommendations of the PHD and have noticed quite an improvement in how I'm feeling. I still engage in daily fasting (16/8, sometimes more) but the addition of starches has really changed a lot for me, in a good way. So maybe I was thriving on keto while I was more "damaged," but stopped thriving after that point.
    My feeling is you were most likely borderline with your conditions and going VLC was just "The straw that broke the camels back" and hence precipitated a cascade of symptoms. Not sure I buy into the Gateway theory, VLC will definately speed up Fat Adaptation and this is fine if you are in reasonable health, but if your health is borderline, then it just may be the final stressor that precipitates a variety of conditions.
    Personally I think it would be better for nearly everyone to just do a good 12 months straight Primal/Paleo before they consider IF or Ketosis, fine if you just drift into it, but if you are forcing it there is something wrong with that in my eyes.

  6. #6
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    Interesting. I was thinking it might have something to do with thyroid, and was eating seaweed like daily, and it still did not help
    There is also the good old 'stuck in the fight or flight' mode hypothesis, when there is too much cortisol, and carb/sweet cravings are physiological need to deal with the omnipresent stress.
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    i have been eating vlc over 3 years. just had bloodwork done in february. my non-fasting glucose was 70 and all my thyroid numbers read great. b/p, etc. all good. i feel good too, so disagree with your position. however, i do realize everybody is different.

    eta: plenty of on-line info that long-term ketogenic diets can be beneficial too, but others can use their own google-fu.
    Last edited by noodletoy; 03-18-2013 at 07:36 AM.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodletoy View Post
    i have been eating vlc over 3 years. just had bloodwork done in february. my non-fasting glucose was 70 and all my thyroid numbers read great. b/p, etc. all good. i feel good too, so disagree with your position. however, i do realize everybody is different.

    eta: plenty of on-line info that long-term ketogenic diets can be beneficial too, but others can use their own google-fu.
    Question for you, what are your activities like? Clicking off crossfit met-cons? Or low and slow steady state? It makes a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noodletoy View Post
    i have been eating vlc over 3 years. just had bloodwork done in february. my non-fasting glucose was 70 and all my thyroid numbers read great. b/p, etc. all good. i feel good too, so disagree with your position. however, i do realize everybody is different.

    eta: plenty of on-line info that long-term ketogenic diets can be beneficial too, but others can use their own google-fu.
    There are different effects of low carb diets on different persons. I, for example, do poorly in the gym and I am always sleepy on a very low carbohydrate diet (meaning under 100 grams of carbs), so I always try to get over 100 grams of carbs and I instantly feel better.

    I guess that it all depends on the person.

    One diet could be optimal for a person while detrimental for another
    I am not a bodybuilding/fat loss/strength training "guru" BUT I achieved a lean state with ease after learning the correct way to train and eat and I want to HELP YOU achieve the same.

    Getting fit is also about managing your mindset:
    http://getfitmindset.com

  10. #10
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    Noodletoy, did you ever do poorly on the VLC though? As in had lived in the 'under water' state, felt lethargic, depressed, insatiably hungry, gained weight and stuff? There is absolutely no doubt that the VLC just clicks for a lot of people. The question is why not for everybody and what causes severe problems.
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