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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Oct-23-17, 21:08
FatBGone17 FatBGone17 is offline
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Plan: Atkins / South Beach
Stats: 265/246/185 Male 71 inhes
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Default Carb cycling

I keep coming across various articles on carb cycling. In general, followers eat a low carb diet with periodic increases in carbohydrate intake. We're not talking about going high carb, but adding in some starchy vegetables, whole grains and fruits for a short time. The interval, duration, and carb intake levels during the moderate carb period varies but nobody is advocating binging on pasta, white bread and donuts.

What say you? Is there any valid reason to periodically allow increased carbs or is it just a glorified excuse to cheat?
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  #2   ^
Old Mon, Oct-23-17, 21:16
minniesoda's Avatar
minniesoda minniesoda is offline
 
Plan: aitkinish
Stats: 172/127/120 Female 5'3
BF:
Progress: 87%
Location: Minnesota
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The only "valid" reason I can see, would be upon entering maintenance. As a test to see how your body reacts to an increase in carbs.
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  #3   ^
Old Tue, Oct-24-17, 05:22
JLx's Avatar
JLx JLx is offline
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Plan: IF
Stats: 210/204/165 Female 66
BF:High wt, 276, 255
Progress: 13%
Location: Michigan U.P., USA
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Quote:
Is there any valid reason to periodically allow increased carbs or is it just a glorified excuse to cheat?


Atkins came out in 1972, and while it was not my first diet (that was a thousand calorie ADA diet) it became my preferred way to lose weight. Obviously, I never stuck with it in all these decades. Why should this time be the magical time? I've always had the "either/or" mentality, where I was succeeding or failing. It hasn't served me well. And I would generally burn out after a period of time.

Well, this time, I decided to ease up a bit. If I'm really in this for life, then I have to acknowledge that I'm not going to do it "right" all the time. Trying to do so has obviously proved to be counterproductive.

So basically, I've been "carb cycling" though not in a systematic manner. It's a little nerve-wracking because it's different, but I've lost as much weight as I ever did, which is about 10 lbs a month. I do abstain from sugar, but fruit, starchy vegetables, even a little, very little, bread sometimes; and yes, combined with fasting is beginning to feel doable to me long term. We'll see.

Regarding "cheating", I just happened to read this conversation between Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf recently and it really resonated with me:


Quote:
Why the concept of “cheating” is harmful

Chris: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I mean, there’s often a myopic focus on food and the particulars around food, without looking at the things that influence food intake that are non-food related. And this kind of reminds me of this whole notion—that became really popular in the Paleo world, but also, any other world that is kind of based on the idea of a strict diet rather than just eating what you should eat that’s good for you—of cheating. I just absolutely hate this kind of concept of being on this really super-strict diet and then you cheat.

Robb: Right.

Chris: To me that’s just a setup for failure. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Robb: Oh, man. Again, this is one of those things that when I talk about this people get really angry at me. It kind of flies in the face of what’s generally being recommended but—

Chris: [Crosstalk] … safe space, Robb.

Robb: Perfect. I am happy with that.

Chris: Not that you’re not going to get some email after this. But here and now, I’m not going to get them out of you.

Robb: Perfect. Okay. That’s all I need for right now. This was again something that I would kind of experience in working with people. I’d sit down and start working with somebody. We’re building a relationship, and maybe about 30 seconds into a conversation, the person is like, “So, what do I get to cheat on? Like, what are my cheats?” And initially, I was kind of like, “Okay this is a reasonable question.” I’m kind of suggesting this Paleo-type shtick, and so this person is wondering, will I ever in my life get to eat a chocolate chip cookie again. So, this is a pretty reasonable question. But over the course of time again, I slowly, empirically … this is an observational story … but I’ve noticed, these people that really lead with this cheating idea, they were a handful. There was a lot going on with these people....

<snip>

But, when we look at the word “cheat,” the Webster’s definition of the word cheat is “to take unfair advantage of someone, particularly at their expense.” So, you knew all about that and you’re like, okay, take unfair advantage—ha! Whatever way you want to eat, whether it’s Paleo, vegan, macrobiotic, or what have you, if you go off the rails from that plan, are you taking an unfair advantage of someone? Is someone suffering because of your choice? No, not at all. It’s absolutely ridiculous. But if we attach this terminology of cheating to a process that really isn’t emotional, really isn’t victimizing somebody, we still feel the emotional content, the emotional blow of feeling like we cheated on our peer group, that we did something really profoundly bad, and so, we’re taking one element of our kind of primate evolutionary history. We’re grafting on this inappropriate terminology of cheating and it guarantees that if we do anything other than absolute perfect adherence to a specific plan, that we’re now a cheater and we’re a failure and we’ve let down the peer group, we’ve let down ourselves, and so instead of saying, “Well, the next meal, I’ll be back on track,” it’s like, “Oh, screw it. It’s all hookers and cocaine now y’all. I’m going to Krispy Kreme and shutting the place down.”

So, this cheating concept, as what I’ve seen is, it’s really dangerous. It’s dangerous from the perspective that it ties a really powerful emotional trigger to a process that is really a non-issue. If you are generally eating pretty well and let’s say we eat three meals a day, seven days a week, that’s 21 meals, let’s say, 18 or 19 of those meals are generally pretty on point two or three of those meals a week kick your heels up, do whatever you want to do, and so long as that “kick your heels up time” doesn’t lead into three or four days of the, you know, wacky eating, over-the-top eating, so long as you’re not someone like me who has serious gluten issues and, like, you decide to do a gluten binge and you’re sick for a week afterwards, we have some caveats with that. But generally, if we’re on point and then we “deviate off the norm,” it just doesn’t matter. You made this point at the UCSF medical gig just a couple of days ago.

Our goal should be to be as resilient as possible. Ideally, we’re like a cockroach. We’re almost impossible to kill, and that’s a really good place to be, and it’s not to say that then you want to adopt horrible eating habits, but it would be really nice to just be as resilient as possible, and the more you play within some certain lines, that help support that resiliency. But then, when we decide to go a little bit outside the norm, it’s not cheating. It’s just living. But again, we make, we make some decisions. We understand that there are consequences. If I decide to have a couple of extra NorCal margaritas, I try to have a little earlier in the evening instead of later because I know it disorders my sleep, but sometimes I’m hanging out with friends and that’s just this what’s going to go down, and I may not feel quite as hundred percent the next day. But that’s okay within the bigger context. And so, it’s a long, convoluted treatment of my ideas on cheating, and again, it’s a pretty hot-button topic for a lot of folks. It really gets them fired up, but I think if people can think through that whole story and then kind of decouple the emotionality from the reality that, “Hey, you don’t need to be perfect all the time.” But at the same time, if you go off the rails, you’re just one meal away from being back on. Let’s not even get into this cheating discussion or any of that. https://chriskresser.com/why-we-gai...with-robb-wolf/
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  #4   ^
Old Tue, Oct-24-17, 08:22
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/128/135 Female 62
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I find that for me scrupulous adherence works better than anything else. I think it all depends on goals, lifestyles, priorities, physiological flexibility (some of us just aren't too flexible physiologically when it comes to carbs). I don't like the word "cheat" but self-honesty is important. Is what you are doing letting you achieve your goals? If not change it and recognize the difference between reasonable flexibility in your eating choices and giving yourself excuses.

Jean
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  #5   ^
Old Tue, Oct-24-17, 11:29
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Ambulo Ambulo is offline
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Plan: No GPS/OMAD (23:1)
Stats: 150/124/120 Female 64 inches
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cotonpal
I find that for me scrupulous adherence works better than anything else. I think it all depends on goals, lifestyles, priorities, physiological flexibility (some of us just aren't too flexible physiologically when it comes to carbs). I don't like the word "cheat" but self-honesty is important. Is what you are doing letting you achieve your goals? If not change it and recognize the difference between reasonable flexibility in your eating choices and giving yourself excuses.

Jean


My sentiments exactly. I confess I find some of the most annoying people are those who sign up to a forum or Facebook group for a WOE - doesn't matter much which one - and their very first post is "Do you guys ever cheat?" like they are looking to join up with the naughtiest kids in the playground. It is so disrespectful to those who are still settling in, trying to follow the rules and battling temptation.

To address the original point, I suppose carb cycling has its own rules and boundaries, but I don't play with fire. If you can walk on the edge and not fall off, and experience benefits, then all well and good.
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  #6   ^
Old Tue, Oct-24-17, 13:00
teaser's Avatar
teaser teaser is online now
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Plan: ketosis/IF
Stats: 190/158/154 Male 67inches
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Location: Ontario
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If I carb up at Christmas, I'm more likely to binge over the following week, the extra food on the day might not be enough to do much damage, but I'll probably gain weight for the week. I can afford to do this on holidays, although I enjoy them more if there are low carb options I can stick to. What good is enjoying cookies etc. if between cookies you feel cruddy?

Quote:
The interval, duration, and carb intake levels during the moderate carb period varies but nobody is advocating binging on pasta, white bread and donuts.


I realize the opening question started out not being about cookies, donuts etc. See some of John Kiefer's early stuff, he's backed off somewhat, but his original carb ups were things like cherry danishes, jelly donuts.

If it's higher quality carbs we're talking about--the micronutrition gets better. But some of the sciencey rationales for carb-ups don't really sit well with me. You can increase leptin levels with a carb up. Ookay. A carb up increases leptin. So would injecting insulin. How do you get leptin levels lower? Increase net lipolysis in fat cells. How do you get them higher? Decrease net lipolysis. Leptin doesn't go up when you've corrected a carb deficiency, it goes up when your fat cells are getting fatter. Seems a bit counterproductive. But I'm just disputing the mechanism, if somebody tries the approach, and they lose weight or even better get healthier, good for them.

I actually don't have a problem with people eating an intermittently low carb diet, much of the time it's a lot better than no low carb diet at all. Lots of people say this is easier for them to stick to than straight low carb--for their personal case, obviously they're in a better position than I am to say.
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  #7   ^
Old Tue, Oct-24-17, 20:56
FatBGone17 FatBGone17 is offline
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Posts: 34
 
Plan: Atkins / South Beach
Stats: 265/246/185 Male 71 inhes
BF:
Progress: 24%
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Thanks for the answers. Let me be clear, I'm not looking for a reason to increase my carb intake, just asking if there is a valid healthful reason to periodically do so.

Cookies and other baked sweets are my crack and I'd just as soon avoid them forever, but if eating a few sweet potatoes or beets, maybe a small bowl of coarse rolled or steel cut oats for breakfast, for say a weekend once a month actually had benefit, I'd consider it. I've found lots of anecdotal "evidence" and opinions on carb cycling, but not much hard science.
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  #8   ^
Old Tue, Oct-24-17, 21:24
Meme#1's Avatar
Meme#1 Meme#1 is offline
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Plan: Atkins DANDR
Stats: 210/183/160 Female 5'4"
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Like some others said, it depends on what stage you're in. If you want to loose much faster at a nice clip which gives incentive to continue, I think, I would totally avoid Oats being a starchy grain. I would wait until further down the line for beets and sweet potatoes.
There is really no difference in eating Oats or cereal out of a box or a piece of bread, it's all the same pure starchy carbs it will interfere with your weight loss and many people say it will take days to regain the momentum of weight loss.
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  #9   ^
Old Wed, Oct-25-17, 08:52
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic (LCHFKD)
Stats: 227/186/185 Male 6' 0"
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Good responses to the original question. The first objective in starting this WOE is to understand yourself. Many variables about you play a role in developing an approach to eating and nutrition whether it's age, current health status, types of food consumed over time, family history, attitude, and initial purpose for starting low carb. In other words, you must develop the approach that works for you. If I started low carb when I was 20, I would have been able to have been much more flexible with deviating from strict low carb than I am today in my 60s. I can still be flexible today if I want, but I know that I must avoid all grains and other foods that I could have consumed occasionally years ago. One thing you'll see a lot on this forum and that many of us believe in strongly is that no one dietary approach fits all. Many don't want to hear that, because they want written directions to health and simplicity. Many also want a change in eating to be temporary and then go back to what caused them to start the dietary change in the first place. Temporary doesn't work. This is an opportunity of discovery where you'll take many pieces of information learned here and other places and employ them to your advantage. Taking a risk by deviating a bit is a good idea sometimes, but make sure you are fully aware of the deviation in order to do a specific course correction if it doesn't work. It's a journey of self discovery that should be followed intently, adjusted when necessary, and enjoyed always.
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  #10   ^
Old Wed, Oct-25-17, 20:05
FatBGone17 FatBGone17 is offline
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Plan: Atkins / South Beach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRB5111
Taking a risk by deviating a bit is a good idea sometimes, but make sure you are fully aware of the deviation in order to do a specific course correction if it doesn't work. It's a journey of self discovery that should be followed intently, adjusted when necessary, and enjoyed always.


Sage advice
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  #11   ^
Old Wed, Oct-25-17, 20:57
dcc0455 dcc0455 is offline
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Plan: LC / IF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBGone17
Thanks for the answers. Let me be clear, I'm not looking for a reason to increase my carb intake, just asking if there is a valid healthful reason to periodically do so.

Cookies and other baked sweets are my crack and I'd just as soon avoid them forever, but if eating a few sweet potatoes or beets, maybe a small bowl of coarse rolled or steel cut oats for breakfast, for say a weekend once a month actually had benefit, I'd consider it. I've found lots of anecdotal "evidence" and opinions on carb cycling, but not much hard science.


I don't know if it is valid or bunk, but there are a lot of youtube videos that promote carb cycling to restore hormones that are diminished when eating low carb. It might make sense to me to do it every 3 or 6 months, but it seems inefficient to go in and out of ketosis every couple weeks, when it can take up to a week or longer to get back in.
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  #12   ^
Old Wed, Oct-25-17, 22:03
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Liz53 Liz53 is offline
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Plan: Mostly Fung/IDM
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Location: Washington state
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The minimum daily requirement of sugar and starch is zero. Is there some particular nutrient you feel you can not get from meat and low carb vegetables?

Give LC a chance and you will realize you probably feel *better* eating no sugar and starch.
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  #13   ^
Old Thu, Oct-26-17, 07:28
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teaser teaser is online now
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Plan: ketosis/IF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcc0455
I don't know if it is valid or bunk, but there are a lot of youtube videos that promote carb cycling to restore hormones that are diminished when eating low carb. It might make sense to me to do it every 3 or 6 months, but it seems inefficient to go in and out of ketosis every couple weeks, when it can take up to a week or longer to get back in.


"carb cycling to restore hormones."


There's a problem with stuff like this. Everybody's going along just fine. Then somebody measures people's thyroid. There's a predictable difference between people on low carb and high carb, people on high carb with normal thyroid function, fed low carb, will get thyroid numbers that would have been abnormal if they'd gotten them while eating high carb. Somebody suggests that this must be bad, and this idea gets at least equal weight against the observations of people like Dr. Westman that contradict it.

Do we worry that the lower insulin levels somebody gets while eating low carb will cause hyperglycemia? Why should we worry that a hormone like leptin, that basically amounts to a shout-out from fat cells that they don't want to get any fatter, goes down when we eat a diet that doesn't threaten our fat cells with getting fatter?

Quote:
The mean serum leptin concentration was much higher in the healthy obese and non-obese women (64.4 ng/mL and 8.7 ng/mL respectively) than in men of both categories (40.4 ng/mL and 5.5 ng/mL respectively). Age had no significant relation with serum leptin level (p = 0.416).


In obese and overweight people, reduced leptin is a good thing, hyperleptinemia is no more desirable than hyperinsulinism. If you're not overweight--so by definition don't need to lose weight--sorry, but you might have trouble getting your hormonal system to cooperate with getting leaner, the body's resistance to six-pack abs is largely appropriate. Hypothyroidism and hypoleptinemia at lean body weights isn't hormonal dysregulation, it's an appropriate strategy for survival.

edited "hypo" to "hyper."

Last edited by teaser : Thu, Oct-26-17 at 07:48.
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  #14   ^
Old Thu, Oct-26-17, 07:31
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/128/135 Female 62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teaser
"carb cycling to restore hormones."


There's a problem with stuff like this. Everybody's going along just fine. Then somebody measures people's thyroid. There's a predictable difference between people on low carb and high carb, people on high carb with normal thyroid function, fed low carb, will get thyroid numbers that would have been abnormal if they'd gotten them while eating high carb. Somebody suggests that this must be bad, and this idea gets at least equal weight against the observations of people like Dr. Westman that contradict it.

Do we worry that the lower insulin levels somebody gets while eating low carb will cause hypoglycemia? Why should we worry that a hormone like leptin, that basically amounts to a shout-out from fat cells that they don't want to get any fatter, goes down when we eat a diet that doesn't threaten our fat cells with getting fatter?



In obese and overweight people, reduced leptin is a good thing, hyperleptinemia is no more desirable than hyperinsulinism. If you're not overweight--so by definition don't need to lose weight--sorry, but you might have trouble getting your hormonal system to cooperate with getting leaner, the body's resistance to six-pack abs is largely appropriate. Hypothyroidism and hypoleptinemia at lean body weights isn't hormonal dysregulation, it's an appropriate strategy for survival.


Great explanation Teaser. Thanks.

Jean
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  #15   ^
Old Thu, Oct-26-17, 09:34
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thud123 thud123 is offline
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Plan: ~25NC/IF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBGone17
What say you? Is there any valid reason to periodically allow increased carbs or is it just a glorified excuse to cheat?

I'm experimenting with it and documenting. It's interesting to see the affects especially on breath acetone as measured by Ketonix meter. I'm developing some theory's and WAGs. You'll be able to view my results at the beginning of next month. See first page of my journal for link to recorded data.

So far the experimentation seems to have no particularly positive result but is interesting for sure, not for the faint of heart

If I was you, and I'm not, I'd wait till you find a stable weight and consistent blood numbers before you start "carb cycling" LCHF will get you to that destination just fine, no radical intervention required in my opinion
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