Thumbnail avatar
0

Runner scared of Ketosis... Are you for/against Ketosis?

by (0)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created May 08, 2014 at 3:39 AM

I'VE LITERALLY WRITTEN THIS QUESTION 3 TIMES AND IT ALWAYS ERASES. So, I'm gonna type it ONE MORE TIME. Here goes :|

I'm wondering about this mythical, magical Ketosis unicorn.

I'm a female collegiate cross country runner. I'm not looking for advice telling me I'm a member of the chronic cardio club and to stop running and exercising so much. Racing is my world.

What I am looking for is advice on this creature of Ketosis. I've never experienced it, always been a little scared. Heard of people really messing themselves up dabbling in these waters. Is that even a possibility? Like, does the age-old adage of good / evil apply to Ketosis? Can I do it wrong?

Basically, since this is my 4th time writing this over again, here???s a terrible nutshell of my background:

Lifelong runner. Kicked my ass back in shape in college to join XC team, got underweight being a vegetarian,also got amenorrhea for 2 years, just recently got the rivers again this January (never been so happy looking in the toilet before) after going paleo for the past 1+ year (while also overeating and not being super strict..) gaining ~30 pounds up to 155lb. for a 5???8/5???9??? girl. So I???m now definitely over my racing weight. Besides cutting the crap and being strict paleo, I???ve dabbled with the idea of Ketosis to catalyze weight loss and get back on track. But I???m kind of afraid???

Questions for all you beautiful people:

Anyone out there a real runner (not talking about momma piddlin??? a 4 mile jog) and have experience with Ketosis? Is it??? good??? or??? the Freddy Kruger of paleo? Can you do it wrong? Can I severely mess my body up traveling into the carbonyl cosmos, running on low-carb? Does low-carb + ???chronic cardio??? type of training = doom?

If I do attempt it, how do I know how many non-carbs to eat? How do I know if I???m eating enough fat? I have IBS and eating lots of fat makes me feel sluggish and heavy when it comes to XC practice time. How do I know if I???ve arrived at carbonyl county? How long does this drag-period I???ve heard so much about last for? So some people never get out of the slump, and if so, how am I supposed to keep training if that happens - I can???t just take a few days off and who knows if I could push through the feeling of damaging my body on low-carb + high exercise.

Basically:

-Is severe low-carb bad for endurance athletes

-Will this catalyze my weight-loss back to racing weight, or are there better ways?

-Are there potential negatives / permanent damage that can result?

-Will it derail my training? I???m afraid I???ll just be stuck in the ???crap phase.???

Thanks everyone for your help. I think that???s all my questions o___o

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · May 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Love Attia's work. He's not wrong (Although his AT Threshold result is suspect), but he's also not dealing with this poster's issue. She is looking to achieve elite status. Attia's loss of VO2 max is the equivelabnt differnce seen in very good ( but not elite -- which is generally considered above 70) athletes to above average athletes. If she wants to run at a collegient level she needs to be elite. Any reduction in VO2 Max is a ticket off the team.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I don't disagree that your exercise & eating regime worked for you & your students. I was never a runner (football, rowing, ruby, tennis) but I remember all the carb loading procedures of my friends.

Perhaps you could take a look Attia's work and comment from endurance athletes POV. I look at his diet & his data and it makes sense to me (as a fellow geek & engineer).

Are his results wrong?

http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-carb-diet-affected-my-athletic-performance

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 24, 2014 at 7:05 PM

@thhq

Visit Attia's personal & take a look at his experimental results you might call into question the conventional wisdom that long distance running (are the energy output levels that dissimilar to distance biking or swimming?) must be fueled by carb loading.

>>>Aerobic exercise is preferentially fueled by glucose/glycogen over fat. Long distance runners (10-20K) I knew in college would carbo load the night before a race to increase their glycogen stores and improve their performance.

http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-carb-diet-affected-my-athletic-performance

Thumbnail avatar
0 · May 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Going Peter Attia style, I can knock out 7 miles trail running easily while 24-hours fasted while maintaining the same pace as while fully glycogen loaded. This is of course after having been in nutritional ketosis (1.5-3.00mmol/L) for weeks at a time and so had been fully keto-adapted before the run. Even if you come out of ketosis for weeks and go back in, you retain your "metabolic machinery" for a good state of ketosis.

Thumbnail avatar
0 · May 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM

A key point that Peter Attia points out is that as you become fully keto-adapted, your respiratory quotient shifts down towards .7 across the energy output curve. Therefore, while in ketosis, at any given heart rate, you'll burn more fat than glucose. Even though glycogen reserves generally start out lower at the beginning of the run while in ketosis, the total end result is very good for endurance running even if you are occasionally hitting peak efforts up to 100% max HR.

Peter Attia's data on this and other points is exceptionally helpful.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 10, 2014 at 3:25 AM

Good point.. unless people "following Taubes / embracing his approach" really do it correctly, they're just adding his stuff on top of SAD ...cherry picking. They'll be doing additional harm....

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 10, 2014 at 3:19 AM

If you're a chemist with enough of any understanding of bio-chem / organic chem, I think you'll get a ton of useful info from Attia's personal blog, see my answer below.

I'm not a huge fan of over training / over exercising... hard on the body, physically (esp if you;re a guy approaching 200lbs) & metabolically.

But we all do things "for fun" that may not be the best for us. YMMV

Thumbnail avatar
10161 · May 09, 2014 at 9:48 PM

What's scary about Taubes is that he writes in NYT to everyone. While he is Atkins Junior his audience isn't. Someone with CVD eating lots of processed and restaurant food needs that kind of advice like a hole in the head. Paleos avoid processed food and hence run on the low side for sodium, and more is needed.

E24390f6d880f9144cdf7ab13220a84a
15 · May 09, 2014 at 7:10 PM

The sodium losses due to diuretic effects of low carb diets far exceed losses through sweat. Two liters of sweat only contains one gram of sodium. Yet in Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek's book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living", they have a section around page 150 that discusses the research that found the diet alone requires 5 grams of sodium per day.

That much sodium gives me loose bowels, so it looks like wrong dose for me.

Based on testing, I think a much lower dose controls my sodium loss, yet I still have the persistent fatigue.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 09, 2014 at 5:40 PM

On VLC and paleo, in general, our salt intake is WAY lower than on a processed SAD diet. I NEVER used to salt my food but since going paleo and not eating canned / packaged foods I have a couple times of muscle cramps (just daily actitity no workouts) until I started using salt. I really don't need or use a lot... a shake here & there but I dont avoid it like I used to

Sisson writes about how easily the body can clear salt.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 09, 2014 at 5:05 PM

A lot of websites have crappy text entering protocol.... cut & paste can be 'iffy', control Z & control ? may do odd things AND sometimes an errant keystroke will "blow your whole entry". :(

I often compose in gmail or Word so I can save as I go.....YMMV

Thumbnail avatar
10161 · May 09, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Very interesting. I've never heard about supplementing 5g sodium a day. Taubes wrote a piece a few years ago about eating lots of salt and not worrying about it. I thought at the time that it was another wacked out attack on conventional medicine, but maybe it had to do with the necessity for electrolyte replacement on VLC. It's still one of the most misleading and potentially dangerous things he's churned out. To stringbeany's point, it sounds tricky at the least for competitive running. Both sweat and diuretic effect have to be compensated for.

Thumbnail avatar
10161 · May 08, 2014 at 8:07 PM

The emergency carb supply is what I was taught when I was type 2 diabetic, but I always forgot to carry them. Dumb.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57
1005 · May 08, 2014 at 7:47 AM

Hard to answer this one without telling you to quit doing that to your body.

Surely there are negatives to your diet / exercise plan, regardless of the macro percentages.

If you want to know how many carbs / fat to eat, grab a glucose / ketone meter and a scale and eat to keep the numbers where you want.

Thumbnail avatar
0 · May 08, 2014 at 3:44 AM

What I meant by "non-carbs" is how many carbs am I supposed to NOT eat? Where is the line drawn?

And also... Ketones are a type of carbonyl in organic chem. Sorry if that's confusing. I'm a chemist.

Total Views
1.3K

Recent Activity
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

Last Activity
129D AGO

Followers
10

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

13 Answers

Medium avatar
0
0 · May 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Just through my own personal experience as a paleo runner, I was in ketosis and fasted for 14 hours prior to a 10 mile race and ran it with a greater gain than the past two years. I hurt my knee, which was my fault as I didn't train for the race, but I otherwise faired well. I too was concerned about not having enough glycogen stores to get me through. i found no issues. Again, this is just my own personal experience. I'm sure that if you plan on running longer distances, you may need a bosost of carbs at some point. bring along some honey.

D371623b5671d11fa678b201ff23442b
0
0 · May 10, 2014 at 12:15 AM

-Is severe low-carb bad for endurance athletes: No, as long as you eat enough fat to meet your energy demands.

-Will this catalyze my weight-loss back to racing weight, or are there better ways?: Ketosis is hands down the best method of losing weight besides fasting/starvation.

-Are there potential negatives / permanent damage that can result?: You will never taste sugar quite the same way.

-Will it derail my training? I’m afraid I’ll just be stuck in the “crap phase.”: If you can get over the low carb flu/1 week hump/glycolysis->ketosis shift, you'll feel great.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
0
690 · May 09, 2014 at 5:34 PM

As @MiMintzer points out Peter Attia has tons of info on ketosis & serious athletic pursuits.

Short answer: Dont fear ketosis.

If you REALLY want to learn about athletics & ketosis read Attias work.

To give you background on Attia....

He is an MD (Standford Med, Johns Hopkins residency) BUT he's also an avid / serious athlete.

Due to a back injury he switched to swimming & biking and true to his tendency to 'overdo', he got into open ocean swimming. He's done the SoCal to Catalina Island swim (both way, but different days) and the Maui / Lanai round trip.

Despite be very active in his 30's, he was strong & conditioned but "kinda fat" and his blood work results 'were not great'. He had metabolic syndrome! :( This called into question all he thought he knew about nutrition. He turned his attention to his own diet & started to research and experiment.

His undergrad is in mechanical engineering so he know how to design & execute an experiment. He does tons of self experiments and he shares the results on his person blog.

His his point of view & results mirror the crappy / disorganized self experiments I have done via an eBay blood sugar meter and haphazard data recording.

He diddle his diet over time... even keeping himself in ketosis for quite a while for 'intellectual couriosity'... he has his own equipment so he can easily do is own lab work plus he has the contacts to do VOmax work

He was interested, at first, in fat loss & reducing his CVD risk

http://eatingacademy.com/why-i-decided-to-lose-weight

http://eatingacademy.com/how-i-lost-weight

http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-carb-diet-affected-my-athletic-performance

A lot of his writing borders on 'geeky', well actually, most of it. If you don't health science, science or engineering background it can be very hard to digest. I have an engineering background but most of the biochem stuff is very hard for me. He also has simple stuff...like how to obtain 80%+ benefits of a good diet via a few simple changes.

Thumbnail avatar
0 · May 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Going Peter Attia style, I can knock out 7 miles trail running easily while 24-hours fasted while maintaining the same pace as while fully glycogen loaded. This is of course after having been in nutritional ketosis (1.5-3.00mmol/L) for weeks at a time and so had been fully keto-adapted before the run. Even if you come out of ketosis for weeks and go back in, you retain your "metabolic machinery" for a good state of ketosis.

Thumbnail avatar
0 · May 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM

A key point that Peter Attia points out is that as you become fully keto-adapted, your respiratory quotient shifts down towards .7 across the energy output curve. Therefore, while in ketosis, at any given heart rate, you'll burn more fat than glucose. Even though glycogen reserves generally start out lower at the beginning of the run while in ketosis, the total end result is very good for endurance running even if you are occasionally hitting peak efforts up to 100% max HR.

Peter Attia's data on this and other points is exceptionally helpful.

E24390f6d880f9144cdf7ab13220a84a
0
15 · May 09, 2014 at 8:16 AM

So, first, yes you have been in ketosis many times. You just didn't know it. Here is how to get into ketosis fast. Wake up and take two tablespoons of MCT Oil. Don't eat anything but fats and moderate protein. 15% protein. The goal is to keep sugar after the meal low. You have to keep protein strictly controlled because excess protein converts to glucose. Go for a short training session. Come back and have another two tablespoons of MCT. Measure with a ketone meter and not ketone urine strips before and after the training session, and then an hour after the MCT that you have after the training session. Ketones before you train are probably around 0.2. After you get back from the run, ketones will probably be around 0.6 to 0.9. Your body will already be converting over to fat burning. An hour after the MCT oil after the run, Ketones will be climbing north of 1.5. You will be deep in ketosis.

Ketosis feels great. Nothing bad about ketosis, perse.

Ketosis will reward the long distance runner by optimizing you to burn fat and freeing you from a need to constantly replenish glucose. But it would be a poor state for distances up to a mile or so. Sprinters definitely live on glycogen, never fat.

The problem isn't ketosis. The problem is ketogenic diets as a permanent and long-term state. Having been turned into a virtual invalid by ultra-low-carb, I am coming to realize that these are technically very difficult diets to implement. They require professional supervision and coaching, and the truth is there are almost no resources available. One doctor in 500 might have enough experience with Ketosis to be helpful.

Some of the main problems with long-term ketosis:

1) It can mess up your electrolytes, and managing the electrolytes can be non trivial. Standard advice in the blogosphere is to supplement five grams of sodium per day. For me that was just bad advice and had side effects. I think it is very much an individual thing, can change day to day, and requires you to have someone who is very good at reading your electrolyte panels to advise you. Too much sodium is as dangerous as too little. There are four key electrolytes that must stay in balance, and doing that while taking in large amounts of sodium isn't something that a lay person should be doing on their own (in my opinion).

2) Even when my electrolytes and hydration test as normal, I feel enormous thirst, have unbearable fatigue, and sometimes moderate exercise will cause me to have abnormal breathing patterns. All of this happens while my electrolytes are in balance. The other day after moderate exercise, I lost four pounds of weight overnight without ever making a trip to the bathroom. Effectively I lost two liters of water through my breathing in nine hours!!! And before and after that whole process I test on blood chemistry panels as not dehydrated.

So - for some of us - we have very serious and very very nasty side effects. This doesn't happen to everyone. But read around and it is clear it is happening to a lot of people who try these diets. I have been trying to pull out of this downward spiral for *MONTHS* and I am at the point where I am going to just start adding carbs north of 100 grams per day until I get back to some kind of normality.

There is a class of person for whom low carb or ketogenic diets are fantastic. If you are 400 pounds and have huge amounts of excess retained body fluid, the diuretic effects of the ketogenic diet are a miracle. No doubt it will suppress your appetite, lower your blood sugar, make you lose weight, and make you feel better as well. For the rest of us, it is trickier.

So here is my advice to you: rather than converting over to a ketogenic diet permanently, instead try to become an expert in putting yourself into ketosis, learning to MEASURE this state with a keton meter, and experiment for four to six hour periods with staying in that state and training in that state. Then for the rest of the day go back to a moderate carb diet, 120 to 150 grams of carbs should be pretty safe. That will drop you out of ketosis rapidly, but I think the goal for you should be to learn how to quickly get into ketosis and to train in ketosis. If you like the results, then you can start to compete in ketosis as well. I don't think you have to endure the hardship of a ketogenic diet in order to learn about ketosis.

Thumbnail avatar
10161 · May 09, 2014 at 9:48 PM

What's scary about Taubes is that he writes in NYT to everyone. While he is Atkins Junior his audience isn't. Someone with CVD eating lots of processed and restaurant food needs that kind of advice like a hole in the head. Paleos avoid processed food and hence run on the low side for sodium, and more is needed.

Thumbnail avatar
10161 · May 09, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Very interesting. I've never heard about supplementing 5g sodium a day. Taubes wrote a piece a few years ago about eating lots of salt and not worrying about it. I thought at the time that it was another wacked out attack on conventional medicine, but maybe it had to do with the necessity for electrolyte replacement on VLC. It's still one of the most misleading and potentially dangerous things he's churned out. To stringbeany's point, it sounds tricky at the least for competitive running. Both sweat and diuretic effect have to be compensated for.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e
0
5201 · May 08, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Not a runner but Peter Attia over at The Eating Academy has loads of info on nutritional ketosis.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e
0
5201 · May 08, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Not a runner but Peter Attia over at The Eating Academy has loads of info on nutritional ketosis.

8f287a2d8d018df7990c8cc4c39e9cb2
0
0 · May 08, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Follow up on your specific questions:

-Is severe low-carb bad for endurance athletes - no, but you need to transition to that status, you cannot cold-turkey to a low-carb endurance athlete

-Will this catalyze my weight-loss back to racing weight, or are there better ways? -yes, you will drop serious weight from ketosis and metabolize a lot of fat, but you must slowly come back out of it and stay off the simple carbs or you will gain it back

-Are there potential negatives / permanent damage that can result? Don't stay in it too long and don't do it too often, and no. If that were the case, any human who was lost without food for 10 days would die, and they don't (watch Survivor Man, he's in ketosis by the end of 7 days with protein only)

-Will it derail my training? I’m afraid I’ll just be stuck in the “crap phase.” Yes, you will not train well during ketosis, but after you reset your body, you will feel great - assuming you keep to clean, complex carbs at a low amount, based off your training (add more for big

Days)

8f287a2d8d018df7990c8cc4c39e9cb2
0
0 · May 08, 2014 at 7:31 PM

I've been in ketosis a handful of times - on my own choice (non-diabetic). I do know about ketosis as I have my Biology degree, live with a type-1 diabetic, and have my EMT license.

I love a carb-restricted diet, and I have gone down to ketosis and maintained it for 5 to 8 days. I am an avid runner, crossfit, and coach my local paddling club (racing canoes).

You will not make performance gains while in ketosis. In fact, you will like run 1/3 your distance before wanting to pass out - you need to keep emergency carbs on you (I would use coconut water if track running or at the gym, but take Gatorade out in my boat in case I'm miles away from safety). That is a backup in case you are too lightheaded to walk back and you need to drive after practice. You do not want to stay in ketosis, you want to slowly come out by adding clean carbs (complex, non-gluten based) to your diet. How much you add depends on your exercise routine.

I use ketosis as a way to reset my body and my carb digestion - and to really burn my fat off and lean out. Leaning out increases my athletic performance, not training while in ketosis (as you can't train nearly as hard). I also have family (genetic) digestion problems and cutting carbs to less than 20g a day really helps my stomach issues.

If you hit ketosis and stay for a time, but go back to your old carb-heavy diet, you will gain even more weight than when you started as your body thinks you are starving.

You will not die from ketosis (you'll pass out go to the ER first), but you do not want to say in ketosis or go to it often - think if it as a body reset. If you are in it and worried, eat an apple and your out.

That all said, I landed my PR on a 6 mile course 1 day out if a ketosis reset - keep in mind my carbs were good clean, complex carbs (fiber like sweet potatoes and carrots). I did keep Gatorade on hand in case I felt dizzy but did not need it. I have not been to ketosis since 2011, and have not matched that time since, and we so the same course.

Read up on Atkins induction to understand more on ketosis, but do not use their route (heavy cheeses, dairy, and chemical bars).

Above all, listen to your body.

Thumbnail avatar
10161 · May 08, 2014 at 8:07 PM

The emergency carb supply is what I was taught when I was type 2 diabetic, but I always forgot to carry them. Dumb.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
0
26072 · May 08, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Quick answer, you can go lowish carb (75-90g/day) during the off season, this can help make muscle adapatations to burning fat *more* quickly. But during the season you need to carb up before and after runs. Fat cannot be utilized quickly enough to fuel your energy needs.

BTW, Former D1 runner, Former High School XC and Distance Coach

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · May 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Love Attia's work. He's not wrong (Although his AT Threshold result is suspect), but he's also not dealing with this poster's issue. She is looking to achieve elite status. Attia's loss of VO2 max is the equivelabnt differnce seen in very good ( but not elite -- which is generally considered above 70) athletes to above average athletes. If she wants to run at a collegient level she needs to be elite. Any reduction in VO2 Max is a ticket off the team.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I don't disagree that your exercise & eating regime worked for you & your students. I was never a runner (football, rowing, ruby, tennis) but I remember all the carb loading procedures of my friends.

Perhaps you could take a look Attia's work and comment from endurance athletes POV. I look at his diet & his data and it makes sense to me (as a fellow geek & engineer).

Are his results wrong?

http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-carb-diet-affected-my-athletic-performance

Medium avatar
0
10161 · May 08, 2014 at 10:55 AM

I've never tested for ketones but I used to test blood glucose all the time. When I was heavily restricting carbs, I remember being out cc skiing hard and going hypoglycemic - a dizzy, faint, weak feeling. I stopped, rested and slowly trudged back home. It could have been due to underfeeding rather than ketosis but it wasn't exactly optimal for athletic performance.

Subaerobic exercise is effective for fat metabolism, so a heavy fat diet would not affect performance for light activity burning 200-300 cals per hour. Aerobic exercise is preferentially fueled by glucose/glycogen over fat. Long distance runners (10-20K) I knew in college would carbo load the night before a race to increase their glycogen stores and improve their performance. Spaghetti, ice cream, chocolate milk. You could do this with paleo carbs but it wouldn't keep you in ketosis.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc
690 · May 24, 2014 at 7:05 PM

@thhq

Visit Attia's personal & take a look at his experimental results you might call into question the conventional wisdom that long distance running (are the energy output levels that dissimilar to distance biking or swimming?) must be fueled by carb loading.

>>>Aerobic exercise is preferentially fueled by glucose/glycogen over fat. Long distance runners (10-20K) I knew in college would carbo load the night before a race to increase their glycogen stores and improve their performance.

http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-carb-diet-affected-my-athletic-performance

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158
0
519 · May 08, 2014 at 7:59 AM

"I have IBS and eating lots of fat makes me feel sluggish and heavy when it comes to XC practice time."'

Maybe that's your answer right there.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account