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Low Carb Diet Issues
Old 07-19-2011, 07:25 PM   #1
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Low Carb Diet Issues

I started a new thread because this is not just Gary Taubes, and not just diabetes or metabolic syndrome, but all low carb dieting for whatever purpose.

Does anyone try to stay in ketosis, and use strips to check on that? I bought some today, and found that I am in "moderate ketosis" (with essentially normal blood sugar.) For the past week I have been eating very low carb, much lower than before, and I am surprised to only be in moderate ketosis.

Incidentally, Walgreens sells both their Walgreen brand, and also Ketostix for what seem to be very reasonable prices.

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Old 07-19-2011, 07:47 PM   #2
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I'm far from an expert on this, but I think moderate ketosis is the most you are going to get unless you are doing yourself damage. If you go into extreme ketosis there are fairly serious adverse effects. Also, I suspect it would take longer than a week before you could move your body that far along. What are you trying to accomplish, since you've already got good BS control (pun intended)?
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:57 PM   #3
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I'm far from an expert on this, but I think moderate ketosis is the most you are going to get unless you are doing yourself damage. If you go into extreme ketosis there are fairly serious adverse effects. Also, I suspect it would take longer than a week before you could move your body that far along. What are you trying to accomplish, since you've already got good BS control (pun intended)?
I may be just giving in to my compulsive side. But OTOH, I suppose that I might have more energy if I just stay keto-adapted. I got the idea from the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, where they talk about how when one first goes low carb and is not yet fully keto-adapted, hard physical work can pretty well knock you out.

Also, I do not know what part aging plays here, because my kids always called me the Energizer Bunny since I never wanted to quiet playing tennis, or bike riding, or whatever. I'll experiment a while longer, and see my numbers and lipids, etc.

I feel basically wiped after 60-80 minutes of weights, and maybe I can get more used to this also.

Ha
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:28 PM   #4
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When I did Atkins before, I stayed in the Induction Phase for way too long. It is also possible, that I was not eating enough protein. As most people who have tried it know, the first few days are tough, then when ketosis kicks in, it becomes much easier and I seemed to have more energy. The longer I stayed very low carb, however, the less energy I had. Again, that could have been due to the length of my very low carb regimen (20gm/day more or less). I lost 55 or so pounds, but as I got closer to the goal weight, I did not do well re-introducing carbs, i.e., I may not have followed Atkins plan the best I could have. But I kept low carbing for a couple of years, until I had to be away for 7 weeks for a megacorp sponsored educational program. The food provided at this program was definitely not low carb and frankly if I had tried to stay low carb while there I literally would have starved. So I ate what they had. too much.

Looking back, I believe I had more at the beginning of the Atkins program, and when I was back to a more "normal" carb intake level (still not as high as the FDA would recommend, but not really low carb). When I was floundering in-between, I think I had less energy.

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Old 07-20-2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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I don't understand why you all want to do this stuff. Just eat a balanced diet!
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:12 AM   #6
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I started a low carb, high fat diet around the beginning of May, and was keto-adapted within about ten days. Since then, I have rarely gone above 50-60 carbs per day.

I have absolutely no problem with my energy; in fact I feel as if I have more energy than I did on my old "normal" diet. Last week I did a nine mile run with no problem at all.

The one thing I think is sort of a key to it all is that ketoadaptation puts your kidneys into the mode of excreting way more sodium than I was used to. Once I realized that this was my difficulty (mainly seen in a lightheaded feeling when standing up suddenly), I increased my salt intake dramatically. Since I started eating more salt, I can honestly say there is no longer the slightest problem.

I haven't done any testing, but I remember when I did the Atkins diet a number of years ago, I never got past moderate with the test strips even by the end of the induction phase.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:13 AM   #7
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I don't understand why you all want to do this stuff. Just eat a balanced diet!
Perhaps you could share what you consider a balanced diet, and what the results have been for you.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:15 AM   #8
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Ha-
To answer your question specifically - yes. I've read various theories proposing that the proper fuel for a body is fat, not carbs and a certain level of ketosis is genetically normal. I don't have links to studies, but I found the arguments compelling. Simple carbs are easier to digest and thus faster energy, but are unhealthy for reasons that I know you are already aware. I don't consider my diet low carb because I eat tons of vegetables - even sweet potatoes on occasion. However, I am typically in moderate ketosis even when consuming veggie carbs - the only time I drop out is with alcohol consumption. I've found I have an improved ability to burn fat for sustained energy (e.g., no energy issues for a recent 11 mile hike with large elevation changes in <4.5 hours).

I've seen studies that argue both ways, but I know what works for me. I eat unprocessed food without ingredient lists and avoid all grains. My diets is meat, vegetables, saturated fats, berries, with no higher sugar fruits (melon, grapes, etc.).

Good luck with your diet.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
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I decided that the Ketostix are fun, but not really that useful. People vary a lot as to how many ketone bodies they dump into their urine. I would almost always be in the moderate range, while Lena would be in the light or none range, although we'd eat the same things. There would be a lot of variability in the readings.

There's a lot of discussion of this over at the LowCarbFriends.com forum, along with reports of no color change with very low carbs, and color changes even with very high carb consumption.

We've been below 20 g carb/day for over a year now.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:26 PM   #10
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I use the Ketosis strips and I use scissors to cut them in half lengthwise so I hope that does not effect the readings but I never get above the 60-70 mg/dl range. Which is somewhere between Moderate and Large on my brand of test strip. Actually purchased at Walgreens on the corner of 3rd and Pike about a year ago.

The only time I hit really dark, dark purple was a day when I ate some really tasty German sausages for lunch and then had a small ribeye for dinner. Evidently the amount of fat in those two really produced some ketones. Otherwise, never above moderate.

Recently I have added Joseph's Reduced Carb Pita to my menu. Only 5 net carbs. And it has flax, oat bran and lots of fiber. Oh, and tastes good.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the feedback. I think I do want to stay at least in the moderate ketosis territory, so I might have to look into my wine supply if I seem to be losing color. I have noticed that evena small glass of wine seems to kill muscle strength for the rest of the day

Probably no big deal, if muslims can do it so can I.

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Old 07-20-2011, 02:06 PM   #12
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I don't understand why you all want to do this stuff. Just eat a balanced diet!
Glo, I think you'll get a better understanding of this from the diabetes thread that is running now.

Diabetes

Some of these people need to monitor their blood sugar, and they find they have to keep the carb input low to keep their blood sugar in check. It could have a major effect on their quality of life to allow their blood sugar to go too high for too long.

Since they appear to be well informed on this, and measure themselves, and care more about their own health than anyone else, it sounds like the effort is indeed warranted.

Whether that applies to general dieting, for the general public, I think is less clear (and personally, with no apparent diabetes risk,, I just try to limit refined carbs, and just eat a mix of other foods) . But I think that that diabetes thread has given me a better insight into what these people are up against.

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Old 07-20-2011, 02:08 PM   #13
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Glo, I think you'll get a better understanding of this from the diabetes thread that is running now.

Diabetes

Some of these people need to monitor their blood sugar, and they find they have to keep the carb input low to keep their blood sugar in check. It could have a major effect on their quality of life to allow their blood sugar to go too high for too long.

Since they appear to be well informed on this, and measure themselves, and care more about their own health than anyone else, it sounds like the effort is indeed warranted.

Whether that applies to general dieting, for the general public, I think is less clear (and personally, with no apparent diabetes risk,, I just try to limit refined carbs, and just eat a mix of other foods) . But I think that that diabetes thread has given me a better insight into what these people are up against.

-ERD50
Great answer, ERD.
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:56 PM   #14
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Last ten days and 9 lbs less - sort of following Aktins Induction diet - I ran between trace and small maybe once moderate using Reli On brand Ketone Test Strips. Felt great but - diuretic effect upped my water consumption and my pharts smelled horrible - even considered taking Beano.

heh heh heh - going off the diet next two weeks(New England vacation) and will try to curb the junk food and refined, white carbs and portion sizes. My killer is when I get lazy and don't exercise. Luckily my health issues are weight, BP and chloresterol. I think I'm going back to my 25% fat, low salt diet more or less.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:04 PM   #15
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Felt great but - diuretic effect upped my water consumption and my pharts smelled horrible - even considered taking Beano.
Glad U R on the net, rather than IRL ...

Just a comment to Glo - I would be happy to eat a "balanced diet"; however with my T2 that will never happen (unless I go on meds/insulin, which I do not wish to do).

Diet/exercise are my friends. Food is not my enemy, but I just can't go out and eat in a manner that others (on a balanced diet) would do. That's just the way it is (and yes, I would kill for a pizza )...
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:59 PM   #16
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Whether that applies to general dieting, for the general public, I think is less clear (and personally, with no apparent diabetes risk,, I just try to limit refined carbs, and just eat a mix of other foods) . But I think that that diabetes thread has given me a better insight into what these people are up against.
Agreed, these are great threads, and very informative for me, at least.

I don't know if I have much in the way of risk factors or not, but I have at least some basis for concern.
My father and his mother were both diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but neither of them ever took drugs; they were able to control it with diet alone, until they eventually died of completely unrelated causes. No one else in my family ever had the problem.

Aside from that, there is at least a supposed link between diabetes and Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, and that definitely includes me.

So, when my fasting blood sugar number, which had always been in the 90s, went up to 106 on my last physical, I got very concerned, and that, among other things, prompted me to go on a low carb diet. In the roughly 12 weeks since I started, my fasting glucose reading has gone from 106 down to 91, and my A1C is now just under 5.0. That is more than sufficient evidence for me that I'm doing the right thing.

The unexpected bonus is that I actually enjoy the low carb lifestyle, and I'm continuing to lose weight. I'm now down to a BMI of 23, and when I get to my goal, I'll be back at my college weight.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:07 PM   #17
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I spent 2 weeks of a sort of modified Atkins Induction/South Beach phase 1. What that meant for me was that:

1. I counted net carbs like Atkins (no counting on SB), but I set my level at up to 40 per day (kind of in between Atkins and SB). In practice I found I ate between about 20 and 30 most days.

2. I generally followed Atkins foods but added nuts from SB.

The 2 weeks went well and wasn't hard to follow. I found that I really didn't miss most things but did find it a bit monotonous (I don't eat beef so ate a lot of chicken and fish). However, I was tired, even sleepy, most of the 2 weeks.

4 days ago, I've gone to a new phase of most days up to 50g and occasionally 60g. I do allow one grain serving a day which has been fine. At home I do only whole grains. Dining out one day I did have one refined grain serving but I was still under 60g net carbs for that day. With the option of the grain serving it has been easier and more options although I've been surprised that I've found it easy to keep to that limit. I haven't eaten fruit yet but am going to add in up to 1 serving of berries. The tiredness has gotten better.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:44 PM   #18
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A close relative has T2 diabetes and is very obese (more than twice what they "should" weigh). Is on diabetic medication, sees dr. regularly, tests blood sugar constantly. Doesn't exercise. Claims to be able to "eat around" sweets, fried food and alcohol. (Meaning they do consume some amount of those foods, although I don't think it's in huge amounts). I have been wondering what on earth they could mean by "eating around" something that's bad for them.

Also - my fasting blood sugar is 85 (normal) - is there any reason for me to limit carbohydrates? Should I even give it a thought? Just curious...as others have noted, people on this thread have done way more research than most, so I'd be interested in what they believe.

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Old 07-20-2011, 06:14 PM   #19
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...
Also - my fasting blood sugar is 85 (normal) - is there any reason for me to limit carbohydrates? Should I even give it a thought? Just curious...as others have noted, people on this thread have done way more research than most, so I'd be interested in what they believe.
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Check your Triglyceride / HDL ratio. You want that as low as possible. The max you want to see is 3.5 If that is OK, then no problem.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:16 PM   #20
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.

Also - my fasting blood sugar is 85 (normal) - is there any reason for me to limit carbohydrates? Should I even give it a thought? Just curious...as others have noted, people on this thread have done way more research than most, so I'd be interested in what they believe.

Amethyst
If I could travel back in time and talk to my 25 yr old self, I would suggest that he eat fewer carbs. I just see it as a healthier way to eat, like using the correct fuel for one's car. This would have saved me 30 years of struggling to avoid a beer belly, and avoiding great foods.
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