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S&C UnderGround >> Atkins diet- ketosis vs. calorie restriction?


1/24/13 6:05 AM
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kikenyoy
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I have been eating a very low carb diet for the past month with the exception of 3 cheat days in a row about mid-month when family was visiting. I went from 250 to 237 by eating tons of chicken and beef, some pork, about 12 scrambled eggs per week, and various vegetables. I'm happy with my progress but I really miss eating fruit.

How much of the weight loss on Atkins is due to the ketosis effect and how much of it is just calorie restriction? I don't know how many calories per day I'm eating, but I'm wondering if I ate 200 less calories per day from meat and ate 200 calories of fruit would my weight loss be about the same or would the fact that I'm no longer in ketosis mean I would lose less?

I can stay on the above diet with one or two cheat days per month until I hit my goal weight or add in fruit which will make it much more tolerable, but I can wait if it will significantly slow my progress.

My plan is to stay on a restricted diet until I get to my goal weight of about 185-190 then eat a more balanced diet and go back on the diet if I ever get above 200 again.

Thanks for any advice and sorry for the frat.
1/24/13 7:57 AM
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Wiggy
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Here's my general thoughts on the success most people have on Atkins and other similar dies.  Not saying this necessarily pertains to you, but something to keep in mind.

Personally, I think these diets benefit hugely from elements that drastically lead to not only weight loss, but inches lost, and most of all, increase in motivation, that have *nothing* to do with ketosis.

First of all, many people (or at least a good number of the ones I've seen) use such a diet are grossly overweight - like 50 pounds or more.  They don't exercise much (if at all), and their diet really sucks.  They generally consume ENTIRELY too many carbs.

So they start Atkins or some other diet plan that massively restricts carb intake.  The first thing that happens is that they lose up to 8-10 pounds in the first week, purely in water weight.  At the same time, b/c they're losing all this water weight, they generally become a lot less bloated, so as a result, they lose a few inches around the body as well, meaning that clothes usually fit a little better, too.

Couple these two together, and motivation is sky high - this keeps them on the diet and being strict.

Meanwhile, they're consuming a diet that is centered around meat and maybe a few veggies.  Meat is very volume-dense, as gree veggies contain very little calories.  When compared to their previous diet that was likely full of very calorie-dense, high-carb foods, their daily caloric intake usually drops quite a bit.  Given that the person is so overweight, they're not consuming a daily level that is radically under what the maintenance level is for their bodyweight.  

This means the weight loss continues - usually at a pretty decent rate.  This keeps motivation high to stick with the plan.

Fast forward several weeks, a few months, or whatever.  The person is generally still overweight, but has still lost a shitload.  However, the weight loss has stalled, and they can't figure out why.  They're eating the same way they always have, and can't figure out why ketosis isn't working anymore.

The thing they don't realize is that their weight has now dropped down to the point that their daily maintenance level has finally reached roughly the daily intake level they have been or are consuming.  So now everything is roughly level, and weight loss stalls.  Yet, they can't figure out why, and get frustrated.

Thus pointing out, IMO, the general loopholes in the diet plan in the first place - you had people convinced and relying on principles that weren't the main cause of their weight loss in the first place.

How much of that do you feel might apply to you?

Wiggy - http://www.workingclassfitness.com

1/24/13 8:19 AM
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kikenyoy
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Great post Wiggy, and one that confirms a lot of my suspicions. Thanks and voted up.

The biggest benefit to me is that I avoid the blood sugar spikes and crashes. I have a huge sweet tooth and once I start eating sugary foods it's hard to stop. I can eat a huge high carb meal to the point where I'm ready to puke and a few hours later I'll be looking for the sweetest thing I can find...dessert stuff if it's available and if not then several pieces of fruit. There's no way I'm hungry because my stomach is still full.

Eating like this, after my first meal which might be a pound or more of beef or chicken and some veggies, maybe 7 or 8 hours later I'll be ready to eat again but feel like I could easily wait another few hours if I had to. I typically eat 2 big meals per day and maybe snack a little bit after the 2nd one.

One thing that I'm considering is to remain on the diet until my weight loss slows then add in fruit and see what difference it makes. On the other hand, if I can eat it now without it having a negative impact then I'd love to. I live in Thailand so I can buy fresh fruit very cheaply and I see venders selling it every few hundred yards so there's temptation everywhere.
1/24/13 1:40 PM
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Badmonkey
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I've been on less than 10% carbs for the better part of a year. I look, feel and am performing better than i have in a while...

The bottom line is still that if i eat too much i get fat, but i feel it's a lot easier for me to keep things in check.

Wiggy makes great points. I feel Dr. Greg Ellis has addressed many of the issues/problems with many versions of low carb diets.

To sum his advice up:

lower carbs gradually and over time; it can take a couple weeks to as long as several months for your body to become fat adapted and create the enzymatic environment ideal for using fat as a primary fuel source: a drastic reduction of what your body has become accustom to using for fuel - carbs - will lead to all the negative things you've heard associated with low carb eating. Make the transition over several weeks lowering daily carb intake each week until you're under 20%.

Keep your protein at roughly 30% of your calories and don't be afraid to replace those carb reductions with healthy fats. One of the big mistakes people make when reducing carbs is that they keep the fat phobia mentality and end up eating too much protein and too little fat which can lead to the same metabolic problems a low fat high carb eating plan led to in the first place only worse given that now the body is breaking down proteins as a primary source of energy and has not adapted to do so efficiently = major crash.

Calories matter. After a few months transitioning to this way of eating i looked better and was feeling and performing fantastically, but i was(and still am) hovering between 12-15% body fat... turns out i'm eating way too many calories and don't feel like stopping anytime soon - the good news is that if i were eating 2/3 this many calories on a high carb diet as i was a couple years ago i'd still be walking around 15lbs heavier than i am right now. When Spring starts i'll keep a food journal and cut back on portions a bit...

Dr. Ellis states/ references studies that show you can get the metabolic benefits of the low carb diet at roughly 20% carbs, so your fresh fruit can have a place in your eating plan; i've found i prefer to eat dark chocolate... just eat 3/4lb of meat instead of 1 lb, add some fruit to the meal and see how you look feel over a few weeks.

Sorry if i went FRAT with too much info...


1/24/13 2:05 PM
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kikenyoy
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badmonkey,

I'm not too worried about calories right now because at my size combined with my increased activity levels it would be very hard for me to reach my maintenance calories level eating only meat and vegetables. As I slim down and my weight loss slows I'll need to address it.

I'd never heard about tapering down on the carbs before. I went from eating obscene amounts to less than 20 grams per day and didn't experience any ill effect. The only problem with the diet is after a few weeks I really bored of eating the same things.

I really want to get more and different opinions on this so don't worry about frats. Voted up.
1/24/13 2:43 PM
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Taku
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Edited: 01/24/13 2:43 PM
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Hey BadMonkey (and everyone else)...

Lot's of good info on my blog:

http://tinyurl.com/by3qwyy

http://tinyurl.com/bk3gxxp

http://tinyurl.com/b37tb86

TAKU

1/24/13 2:50 PM
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Taku
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Here is a taper-in that works well for many of my clients:

 

In order for the transition to this eating plan to be smooth and relatively discomfort free, a lead-in period of gradual simple, "carb" reduction is suggested. This is a fairly simple process, as follows:
 
Week 1. P.E.P. only on Tuesday & Thursday.
Week 2. P.E.P. on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
Week 3. P.E.P. every day except Wednesday.
Week 4. P.E.P. Monday thru Friday.
 
This should see you make a smooth, pain free transition into the amazing world of fat burning. 
 
TAKU
 
P.E.P. = Personal Eating Plan
1/24/13 3:23 PM
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comeacrossclean
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Wow! Thank you to all who've posted to this thread. It's very informative.
1/24/13 10:41 PM
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kikenyoy
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Thanks for the links, Taku.
1/25/13 9:08 AM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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There's nothing wrong with fruit. Anyone who says that is absolutely clueless...I can write 10,000 words on this subject but to keep this short and concise...eat functionally. If you're going to work out or run, you need carbohydrates, even the wannabe Paleo CrossFit-ers do this before their games (they even eat shit like cookies) as do virtually all endurance athletes and triathletes.

This however doesn't mean eat fruits breakfast, lunch and dinner. With most overweight people I work with (I more often than not work with athletes) we don't limit fruit because it's satiating, full of vitamins and FIBER. We also recommend it as a tool for snacks over pop tarts and ice cream.

If you're eating an apple a day and you're not getting the gains you want, your problem lies elsewhere :)

1/25/13 10:36 AM
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Jorx
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+1 @ Wiggy!
1/25/13 11:01 AM
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kikenyoy
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Thanks for the reply Arthur.

I know there is nothing "wrong" with fruit which is why I want to add it back into my diet, but I was worried about the whole ketosis thing. If limiting my carbs to less than 20 grams per day would cause significantly faster fat loss than calorie restriction alone then I'm willing to go through it. I'm out of shape and don't work out super hard (yet), but I don't notice much performance difference between eating low carb vs. my diet before.

If left up to me I'd probably eat about 3-5 servings of fruit per day with occasional days of maybe 6-8. Before I started the low carb diet I was drinking a green smoothie at least 3 or 4 times per week since I don't eat nearly enough veggies but I have to add 2 or 3 pieces of fruit to it to make it tolerable so I gave them up for now even though they were probably the healthiest thing I eat/drink.
1/25/13 12:28 PM
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Taku
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For the record...I never said there was anything wrong with fruit. I just offered some info on the subject matter in question.

TAKU

1/25/13 3:17 PM
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Wiggy
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Thanks Jorx! ;-)

And VTFU to Badmonkey - awesome post.
1/25/13 5:48 PM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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kikenyoy - Thanks for the reply Arthur.

I know there is nothing "wrong" with fruit which is why I want to add it back into my diet, but I was worried about the whole ketosis thing. If limiting my carbs to less than 20 grams per day would cause significantly faster fat loss than calorie restriction alone then I'm willing to go through it. I'm out of shape and don't work out super hard (yet), but I don't notice much performance difference between eating low carb vs. my diet before.

If left up to me I'd probably eat about 3-5 servings of fruit per day with occasional days of maybe 6-8. Before I started the low carb diet I was drinking a green smoothie at least 3 or 4 times per week since I don't eat nearly enough veggies but I have to add 2 or 3 pieces of fruit to it to make it tolerable so I gave them up for now even though they were probably the healthiest thing I eat/drink.

Most people who do CRON (calorie restriction WITH optimal nutrition) do it for longevity and long term purposes so they don't care about body fat loss TODAY, y'know? 

3-5 fruits is a bit overboard unless you're getting gains with it. Also there's a difference between low sugar fruit and high sugar fruit, goes without saying. 

I suggest stick with the juicing as that's the easiest way of obtaining nutrients and add some cacao or maca or lucuma to make it yummy. 

 

1/25/13 5:50 PM
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ArthurKnoqOut
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Taku - 

For the record...I never said there was anything wrong with fruit. I just offered some info on the subject matter in question.

TAKU


don't lie. we all know your diet is revolving around raw milk and raw venison....and vegan lasgna 

1/26/13 10:39 PM
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Badmonkey
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My main issue with too much fruit - since the subject of whether anything is "wrong" with eating fruit has been brought up:

Refined sugar(glucose) and fructose are metabolized differently; fruit(depending on the kind - but lets think tree fruits) is primarily fructose which needs to be metabolized by the liver. Glucose is processed in one’s bloodstream to facilitate the release of insulin.

When there’s too much fructose, the liver rejects some of it and releases the excess sugar into the bloodstream: the excess fructose is converted into triglycerides. An abundance of triglycerides may cause heart disease. That’s why one’s fructose intake should be regulated.

I personally avoid both glucose and fructose if possible as both lead to glycation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycation) the bonding of a protein or lipid molecule with a sugar molecule... which is not a good thing if you're looking out for your long term health IMHO.
2/12/13 11:59 PM
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BigTedBear
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Low carb diets really seem to work for me only problem I see with some diets is making sure there is enough fibre and cholesterol levels are OK. Some people go nuts eating loads of fried meats on these diets. As a side note I find eating low G.I diet and staying away from gluten feels a lot easier. Phone Post
2/13/13 2:33 PM
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Taku
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Mmmmmmmmmmm...vegan lasgna.

TAKU

P.S. I had salmon lasgna, and even aligator lasgna once...

2/15/13 3:27 PM
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BetJits
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I have been trying the low carb (Ketosis) for about a month and a half know. I am down from around 160 to about 152. I am really liking it and feel great. I am going to back to carbs out a bit more and buy some strips to make sure I am in ketosis. I believe that I am getting around 40 grams of carbs/day. If anything I need to do a food journal to make sure I am getting the right ratios of fat/protein/carbs. I just found the thread and it has some good info so thanks.
2/19/13 9:53 PM
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JSho
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Hyperlinks for Taku

http://tinyurl.com/by3qwyy

http://tinyurl.com/bk3gxxp

http://tinyurl.com/b37tb86

2/20/13 3:56 PM
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PrettyBoyBrett
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Listen to badmonkey. Ellis is eccentric but he is the only guy who actually has a serious biochem background and applies it to diet. I have followed his advice and my energy levels were crazy, my mind was sharp, and I felt fantastic.

The only reason I don't do it now is because meat is expensive and I tend to not get enough calories and I can't put on muscle. If I had more money I would stay on this diet year round.

Ellis does a great job of clearing up confusion and explaining certain symptoms and concerns of the diet. It should be required research for anyone looking to lose weight.
2/21/13 5:22 PM
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SHUTD0WN
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. Phone Post
2/21/13 7:10 PM
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comeacrossclean
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ketosis will lead to greater fat burning than caloric restriction, imo.
2/22/13 5:37 PM
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Muay Tired
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I disagree with Wiggy. I lost 12 lbs in one week on a low carb diet and it had little to do with calorie restriction. I was eating bun-less cheeseburgers, pork chops, steak, hard-boiled eggs, cheese-sticks, etc. Not only that, but my blood-work while on Weight Watchers indicated my cholesterol level was 215. During low carb dieting, it dropped to 160. Hence, I'm a believer in Adkins and other low carb diets.

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