wow, seems like a paleo civil war has broken out with scattered fighting in the comment sections on different blogs.
i'm sympathetic to the lc and vlc adherants- i used to be one of them. as i stated in another thread, i do believe going lc or vlc is a VERY useful tool in healing many metabolic functions. it was a useful tool in the first phase of healing my lifelong obesity. i just no longer see it as necessary for people to stay there. i think there are some questions that need to answered and i have n=1 and some other anecdotal evidence but i haven't seen a full-blown clinical study that answers them.
*in talking about obesity, i'm not referring to people with leptin deficiency, prader-willi or any other rare deficiencies which cause them to put on weight. i'm speaking about run of the mill metabolic syndrome induced obsesity.
can someone be so metabolically damaged that even after regaining leptin sensitivity, they can't intake clean starchy carbs at least moderately(`100g/day)?
is it possible that after the optimal healing of metabolic pathways using lc and vlc(i know that i'm making broad assumptions but they're from my experiences and a good amount of observation) that perpetually eating lc and vlc becomes detrimental to the metabolic pathways by making it intolerable to even benign starchy carbs?
i'd like to hear opinions from both sides. though the questions are a big leading and i have my own views on this, i'm open to being convinced otherwise...
This is a great question LB. Something I've been wondering, since I went straight cold turkey VLC from probably 300-400 carbs per day on SAD. I was able to get very cut and fit, but like Travis spoke of in another thread, some other oddball acute issues have arisen and I have wondered if it is due to the fact that I was VLC/LC for almost 6 months.
Also, my brother, who is 6'1", has weighed about 255-260 for several years. He's got a big gut, and some extra flab under his chin. A few months ago, he began asking me some questions about how I stay so fit. He's switched to a whole foods proper diet, and was losing very slowly and got down to about 250 or so and stalled. So I told him to drop the starch. He says he is VLC right now and he has lost 21 pounds in 2 months. His goal is 210 lbs or maybe 200 lbs if he feels he needs to go further when he reaches 210.
I told him to just keep doing what he's doing and after getting his metabolism 'corrected', we can start looking at re-introducing safe carbs and it likely won't make him gain.
So it's basically exactly what you said here. VLC/LC for weight loss and other therapeutic benefits, and then re-introduction once everything is working better.
It seems to work for many people, but I have also heard that some people have a bear of a time with the re-introduction attempts.
I keep my carbs to about 15g/meal. I am not overweight. I use my glucometer to tell me what I can and cannot eat. I think that many years of elevated postprandial blood glucose damaged my beta cells. Will they regenerate? I don't know. I have been LC/paleo for 2 years to keep my blood glucose from spiking. Ten years ago my doctors were not concerned that my OGGT jumped to 202 because my fasting level was 85. Too bad I did not know then what I do know now.
There should not be an war between those of us who are paleo and low carb and those who are able to process more carbs. Finding the optimal diet has got to be based on how our individual bodies react and we do not all react the same.
I know I'll get dinged for using the benefit of hindsight (because I have been before) and I'll be accused of ageism for wielding such a weapon (because I have been before), but votes, in my view, are no referendum on truth or my own personal experience. Hence, this might provide some insight into why some might perceive this to be a civil war between the VLC/LC faction and the opposing group. I turned 65 last week, thank you, but I'll go ahead and flaunt my own empirical evidence once more, much to my reputation's demise, in order to possibly provide some perspective to any who might be willing to listen. This obviously will be meaningless to those who are dead set in their views.
I've mentioned in other posts that I have come full circle starting with essentially full paleo in the early 1970s with Atkins (twice) with the same result of losing 20 pounds in 6 weeks each, then going vegetarian with unhappy results similar to Robb Wolf's (even opened a vegetarian restaurant), and then followed a "natural foods" low protein, low fat, high carb, whole foods regimen for the next 20 years where I slowly put on 35 pounds with triglycerides through the roof, and other numbers swinging mildly in out of range. Then in the mid-90s the Zone lost me the 35 pounds, dropped my triglycerides almost 400 points and restored all my numbers to happy balances. I did this for the next 15 years and as anyone familiar with the Zone knows, you can have carbs, starch or whatever, as long as they are kept in proportion to protein and fat, with an eye towards lower glycemic values. Everything stayed in range as much as I stayed tight with it and they wandered if I wandered so I'd tighten up again.
But over time the weight started to creep back up but the numbers were all good until one lab result showed my blood sugar just on the wrong side of the (arbitrary) limit, but too high nonetheless at 105. This freaked me and the Zone didn't seem to restore it. I bought a blood sugar test kit and started monitoring it myself and it verified what the lab test had shown, and what was worse it that it was starting to move higher. The postprandial numbers were fine so that was a relief but I was still disturbed. I read in one of Chris Kressers papers that this could be normal for some people under certain circumstances but that didn't mean that it applied to me.
So I eventually started the Quilt's leptin prescription, got the carbs down under 50 getting rid of any starch or fruits. After more than a month, the blood sugar has crept back down to the (arbitrary) limit and the weight is coming off, with some more to go. So thank you, Quilt!
My assumption is, and I'm hoping that anyone can provide some insight here, is that my continued higher carb use over the years eventually led to some insulin resistance. Please enlighten me.
But, still, when I see some low mileage paleos who have been at it "for two years" or several years, or months, all delighted with the latest research or paper, declaring that starch or high carb is a mighty fine thing, my only thought is, lets see how that's working out for you when you get to be an ageist.
So go ahead, take me down to zero.
Nice question. Speaking from personal experience as well, now that I am in full-blown Paleo mode, it seems no amount of carbs can make me fat. When I carb load, I just have more energy to burn and seem to find a way to burn it whether through longer walks with my dog, reduced use of my vehicle (more walking), longer workouts in the gym or more weight on the rack. I suspect once the body is metabolically right, it makes efficient use of carbs. There is a specific mode that must be achieved. Perhaps VLC or LC gets you into there but once you're there you remain there as long as you have eliminated neolithic agents of diseases and disorder. Carbs are my friend right now. I'm literally a bastard without them and I feel they enhance my endurance, strength and stamina physically. Mentally, I just feel better on carbs. But I'm strict paleo...100%. Cheats are few and far between.
Huh? A war?
What is with people and seeking conflict all the sudden? Your views change as you get more information, or at least they should if you have a healthy mind. As far as I can tell, no one credible in Paleo-land has suggested that you HAVE to be LC or VLC for quite a long time now. And even those suggestions, when made, tended to be nuanced rather than zealous dictats.
None of this suggests a "civil war", and I wish people would stop with the battle metaphors. It seems that as soon as someone hits a year or two on the diet and realizes that reality is nuanced, they suddenly freak out and either decide to be Jesus in bringing this realization to everyone else in Paleo (seen this a couple times here recently) or start fearing some sort of community-destroying conflict over dietary dogma.
Nuance, shades of gray, parameters not specifics. Maybe I'm the idiot for thinking that's what it was always about, but really, that's what it's about. Not some one size fits all generalization.
Diet is meant to vary. In my case I have been LC to VLC for years, I can eat carbs and experience no ill effects, I just naturally do better as LC. I was a T2 diabetic, but now if I eat carbs my blood glucose is as normal as normal gets.
Well, there's really no sense in arguing against "I feel great all the time and I lost all of the fat that I wanted to." I don't believe that, short of some constant drug-induced stupor, such a state can be unhealthily maintained. That being said, I think it's prudent for those going down the VLC path to pursue supplemental sources of things like vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, potassium etc. and to of course eat liver.
Now, if you don't feel very good as a result of going VLC and/or you haven't lost the amount of weight that you wanted to, then it might be worth it to try another approach. A potential weight-loss pitfall I could envision would be the fact that the amount of ketogenic fats necessary to seamlessly replace glucose would likely come packaged with a large amount of other fats that will just be packaged into adipocytes, causing someone to just chase their tail.
Another potential problem might occur as a result of combining high-intensity anaerobic activity with a VLC diet. The amount of pressure under those circumstances put on the liver to attempt to replete glycogen via gluconeogenesis would be massive and the subsequent flood of ammonia would likely be a stressor of some sort. On the other hand, I could see the transition to VLC for a sedentary person or one who only engages in low intensity exercise fueled by lipolysis to be fairly easy.
But again, if it works perfectly and you feel great, then it's probably fine. A concern I expressed in another thread was that if paleo has a low-carb wall and moat built around it, there would probably be a higher conversion attrition rate of those hitting the low carb flu for example and saying "oh, F this" and then trying some other "diet." The reason I donate my time here is because I enjoy helping people become healthier. As such, I obviously would want the greatest number of people to become the healthiest. If low-carb is a paleo conversion deterrent, then this would be in direct opposition to my goal. At the very least, I think a drawbridge should be lowered with an alternate route articulated.
Just curious, what makes you say there is a civil war brewing? Reading that line I thought you’d be referring to the TaubesGuyanet thing but I see you’re not.
I agree, and I think many authorities in the paleo world openly state, that LC is indeed a useful tool in healing the metabolically damaged people in our modern society. It is indeed useful for taking a huge chunk of weight off rather quickly. Simply stated, living our modern lives most of us simply do not need the amount of carbohydrate we are taking in. I think going LC for most people usually ends up in most likely inadvertent caloric-restriction, to take a page from Taubes’ critics. I see LC as a hatchet rather than a scalpel if you will, to use today’s political world’s terminology.
I think that yes after healing a damaged metabolism, getting rid of a giant chunk of weight, etc that perpetually continuing LC (especially VLC) does indeed result in a metabolism that is less able to do explosive, athletic activities. I think if you work in an office, walk the dog, generally just chill out a lot, then you can continue the LC without a noticeable limit in your daily life so you might be fine with it; but that if that person decided, in that state, to start some glycolytic activities they would most likely find themselves somewhat limited in performance, relative to their comrades fueled with starch. (I am fully aware and experienced with longterm keto-adaptation but I maintain that even in the fully adapted ketogirl she would, relative to her glucose fueled partner, feel less ready for action.)
There is nothing wrong with eating low-carb, but there is not a whole lot of scientific basis for it for the average person. It is not really a war between low-carb adherents and others; it is a conflict about scientific rationale. It is not so much low-carb vs other paleo, it is whether condemning an entire class of macronutrients and all this talk about starch and insulin spikes causing metabolic derangement is the direction that Ancestral Health needs to be going.
Beyond the questionable science, there is a strong inclination among many that instead of lumping together and demonizing an entire class of macronutrients whose individual characteristics can vary wildly (fructose doesn’t even generate much of an insulin spike), we should be looking more precisely and scientifically at investigating the 4 Horsemen and whatever else may come (choline deficiency, etc…).
Taubes is pretty stuck on his “carbs”/insulin is the one and only NAD and has blown-off discussions about other NADs (and did not even include one mention of leptin in WWGF.) It is justifiably debatable whether Taubes insulin mythology should be part of paleo/ancestral health since he outright rejects other major tenets (e.g. NADs) and because his carb/insulin hypothesis has very little support among scientists and scientific paleo bloggers.
The resilient Taubes mythology among many of the rank and file is troublesome for many concerned about scientific rationale, and that is the root of the conflict. Here is KGH’s take on Taubes’ insulin mythology: http://freetheanimal.com/2010/12/weekend-links-quick-hits-gary-taubes-art-de-vany-denise-minger-the-china-study-chris-masterjohn-and-real-results.html#comment-53991