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Ketogenic Diet for Cycling

Knowing ‘Why?’ you do something is the ultimate way to take responsibility for your wellbeing on your way to a low carb/high fat ketogenic diet for cycling

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Part 7: Putting it All Together: Recipes for Successful Cycling

There is pleasure in recognizing old things from a new viewpoint

-Richard P. Feynman

I want to start with a personal story

It was the summer 2003 and I was going to go to college, the name is not important. As a tall kid it was always basketball what I was supposed to be good at, though, getting to think about it, I was tall, and nothing much else. I do not discard that probably my basketball added to the ‘multi-faceted persona’ that admission officers in colleges want to see. As such I was groomed to try out for the Men’s Basketball team in my first year. I received a weight training program which also in retrospect also left a lot to be desired, though I am digressing.

4 days a week I spent ‘pumping iron’  in order to get in shape and bulk up for the basketball trials. After all at barely 85kg (187lbs) on my 2m (6’7″) frame, I was way undersized for the big boys league. When not in the gym, I was eating a LOT; I didn’t know anything about cooking and my parents were busy working so for lunch and during the afternoons I ate significant amount of protein (ie cold cuts) and lots of bread. The week before my flight, I weighed in the heaviest I have been up to date – 98kg (216lbs).

I flunked basketball trials spectacularly and I haven’t touched a basketball ever since. I was the perfect addition to the rowing team, a passion that I followed for 6 years afterwards.

The Freshmen (Negative) Fifteen

The one thing I was scared to death was to get fat in college since a lot of my friends that went to study in the US came back grossly overweight after the first year and it got worse after each time I saw them…much worse. It was if they had caught up a disease… Apparently there was also a term for it – the freshmen 15 (pounds or 7kg gained).

I find it hard to remember how exactly, however, I had gotten it in my head that carbohydrates, bread, pasta and such makes you fat and I should be eating only protein such as eggs, chicken and hamburgers without the bun. The all you can eat dining hall had a humongous pasta bar – what most (of the overweight) people were eating – as such it was to be avoided. Made to order omelets and cream cheese (no bagels) and some fruit were my breakfast, with burgers and/or chicken with cheese being my lunch, I also enjoyed tuna, after all fats were bad. Strangely I drank a lot of whole milk, mainly because the low fat one tasted like water. Sodas and fizzy drinks didn’t quite seem appealing, even though my roommate had a ready supply at all times, so I enjoyed the occasional can of soda as well as a donut on Saturdays. Subsequently at a post rowing practice dinner once, somebody mentioned in a derogatory manner that this was the Atkins Diet and the guy who invented it died with clogged arteries and as such was a quack and as a rower I had to be eating carbs and not wasting my potential with some voodoo.

Among other things my freshmen year I lost 15+ pounds (7+kgs) to the point that people started complementing me and I needed new pants since everything I owned was way too big. I thought it must have been the rowing.

Through one reason or another the food temptations were too good to resist and for the years to come I adopted the all popular “everything in moderation” and as long as I kept myself busy (rowing), I can afford an occasional treat. I learned to cook, bake and I found it a fun endeavour and had my answer why the greatest chefs in the world are men, it’s truly fun.

One thing was constant throughout all these years was my fluctuating weight – it would drop when season picked up in earnest after the winter and it would slowly creep in the fall and winter months. In a season I ranged from 90-96kg (198-211lbs) or 7%. If I were to believe the interwebs, it was normal and that is why the term ‘racing weight’ existed. When I started cycling in 2012, I could go as low as 88kg (194lbs), though, I suspect it was mostly due to losing my rowers upper body.

As mentioned before I was watching what I ate, avoiding fats and everything in moderation, even sugar, with ‘the high carb athlete diet,’ to the point friends and colleagues admired my commitment. I was hungry ALL THE TIME and I had ‘kill innocent people urges’ before meals, I guess I had developed a “fast metabolism.” To get down to ‘racing weight’ I tried it all throughout the years:

  • I counted calories. I still have my extremely detailed spreadsheets to show for it (mind you that was before food tracking apps and conveniences like cloud computing and such, it was hard work putting it all in a file and keeping track;I am saying this as somebody who actually spent years working in a data management position) – yes I was that obsessive compulsive to the point I could guesstimate the energy value of a given piece of food and calculate in my head how much I should eat of it – whether it was a sandwich or a piece of cake. I had an app on my phone as well. It wasn’t fun, but it’s part of being a committed athlete…I thought.
  • I bought a kitchen scale and weighed all my meals so I could lower the amounts and hence reduce the calories. I can still remember how many grams represent a serving of pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.
  • The kitchen scale thing led me to starve myself with eating lots of raw cabbage to fill up my stomach. I trained before breakfast while hungry as well.

All the methods worked initially, though sooner rather than later I was back to where I started, could be because the of season was time to relax and eat what I wanted. The last one (starving myself….) was the least fun by a a huge margin and the most successful to the point I got to 83kg (183lbs) in the spring of 2015, though any little ‘deviation’ or treat would send me on a path to weight gain and as I said it was not fun at all. Oh yes and bonking and fueling during trainings longer than 2h was a real threat and limiter for me.

Than it all changed as I educated myself.

I have not had such consistently high energy levels, improved bowel function, while keeping a stable weight (83-85kg) for many months as well as not having the urge to eat every 2-3 hours, including during training; all of that WITHOUT counting calories, weighing meals, etc.

We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.

-Albert Einstein

The story above is a fitting continuation and wrap up of the 6 part Cycling Nutrition Series, since in a way it shows that through my early unrealizing Atkins diet experience you can figure things out for yourself, though if you don’t realize why, it is very easy to fall victim to dogmas, fads, “accepted wisdom” and old-wives tales. William Banting is another author, who in his frustrations with his ever increasing weight, tried rowing to no avail until he started what we refer to in the parlance of our times as the low carbohydrate, high fat/ketogenic diet. He detailed his exploits in the famous Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. Before that our ancestors didn’t have fancy scientific terms (ketogenic, high-fat (compared to what???) ), they just knew what was needed to survive since that is what we have been doing as species for a good part of 2.5 million years. (Animal) Fat, fruits and vegetables were a big part of it, flour, corn starch or high fructose syrup and sugar were not. As an illustration – we evolved/were designed as a diesel car and little if anything of that has changed. No matter how cheap or even free, in whatever shiny package, and marketing phrases are out there, gasoline has no place in our engines, our bodies just don’t work like that, PERIOD. Unfortunately that is what has been happening for quite some time with the corresponding problems – getting fat among others more serious such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease.

Though the real question is:

Why Should YOU Consider Changing (Your Diet)?

What it is to feel normal has taken a new definition. Extreme irritation when hungry and/or before meals, constant hunger/cravings, particularly sugar, sleepiness after meals; needing coffee to perk up midday, bloating and intestinal disturbances (diarrhoea and constipation) seem are among the most common symptoms people experience on a daily basis to the point that this is considered NORMAL and taking medication for it every day is OK, after all everybody is having the same problem as you. You are just treating the symptom, not the cause. Today on my way back from riding, on a city bus I saw an advertisement promoting an anti-constipation over the counter product. Ad men know their audiences, as such I am sure there is a reason why that product was there. When was the last time you felt ‘normal?’

Unfortunately as well cooking has fallen into oblivion.

And yet at the same time we’re talking about cooking more—and watching cooking, and reading about cooking, and going to restaurants designed so that we can watch the work performed live. We live in an age when professional cooks are household names, some of them as famous as athletes or movie stars. The very same activity that many people regard as a form of drudgery has somehow been elevated to a popular spectator sport.

-Michael Pollan

Though the bigger problem is not that people don’t cook, however, that to one degree or another the responsibility for things as simple as daily meals has been given to others – notably the diet and processed food industries who are making many BILLIONS as of the time of this post. It’s not the billions that is the problem, but the fact that your health is rarely the agenda.  It is time to retake that responsibility back. Sure having that sugary treat will certainly not kill you, however, it will be an informed and conscious choice. In the end you have your best interest at hand.

The Revolution

It is simple (paraphrasing Banting directly)

“Foods to be avoided:
1. Bread, and everything else made with flour…
2. Cereals, including breakfast cereals and milk puddings
3. Potatoes and all other white root vegetables
4. Foods containing much sugar
5. All sweets…

You can eat as much as you like of the following foods:
1. Meat, fish, birds
2. All green vegetables
3. Eggs, dried or fresh
4. Cheese
5. Fruit (unsweetened and non dried), except bananas and grapes.

Though when William Banting wrote his exploits in dieting, the processed food industry and/or cooking channels were not of the scale they are today therefore I have to add that you should be eating real foods and since this is becoming harder and harder to define these days, the best definition I have found to date is

Real food is something that was alive quite recently

Prof Tim Noakes

Raw nuts (ie not sugar roasted) are a perfect snack and when chopped can be a replacement for the morning cereal combined with whole milk and some cinnamon. Meat with the fat still on when roasted can be  the perfect lunch, add to that a creamy mushroom sauce with melted butter, or some grilled sausages with real egg mayonnaise on the side. Almost all that makes food tasty and deliciously smelling is fat soluble for a reason (essential oils are another non-food example).

Now is the time for what you are probably waiting as you are going through this article – specific recipes. I am starting a whole new Recipe section of the website where I will be posting coupe of recipes of the week that I have personally tested since just pasting my cookbook notes would make for a boring post that would be difficult to search and or bookmark. In the meantime at the end of this post, are some brilliant recipe books to get you started and most importantly point you in the right direction of what to look for in a meal.

Thought the more interesting aspect is that exploring why something can fail is more important that just putting a generic list of ‘tips and tricks.’

Why Can YOU Fail and Monkey Wrench Your Best Food Interests

“But I Have NEVER cooked!!!”

I am starting to develop a serious vintage Mercedes-Benz car addiction. One thing that all old cars need is fixing, and probably the main reason why people are selling them. Well the real cause is that maintenance is “complicated/requires special tools/takes lots of time” and ultimately costs the equivalent of body parts at the local garage where the quality of work is abysmal…at best, on a good day… I myself was amazed that with couple hundred dollars/euros (often times much much less) worth of tools and a service manual (also not expensive) or YouTube/Google search it is possible to do almost all routine work on any vehicle, even major repairs. Same goes with (to name a few I had to learn forced by need or by own desire) – computers (hardware and software), smartphones, plumbing, bicycle wheel building, light fixtures, TIG welding, vacuum tube amplifiers, electornics, etc.

Certification from one source or another seems to be the most important thing to people all over the world. A piece of paper from a school that says you’re smart, a pat on the head from your parents that says you’re good or some reinforcement from your peers that makes you think what you’re doing is worthwhile. People are just waiting around to get certified

-Frank Zappa

It is actually really embarrassing how easy and quick most things are once you educate yourself a bit and stop treating yourself as beig incapable and/or stupid!!! After all limitations exists only in our minds…

Cooking is no exception. Just as nobody was born an Olympic champion, every Michelin star restaurant chef started with chopping vegetables and burning the occasional meal at some point. A kitchen and couple of pans and utensils is ALL you need.

Taking control is your strongest weapon 

Ketogenic diet Fresh Produce Cycling
Taking Responsibility for Your Food

Missing the Point and Obsessions

We all know that vegan, paleo, etc. Joe/Josephine that makes sure *everybody* at work/the party is aware they – Joe/Josephine cannot eat gluten/dairy/etc for one reason or another. It makes for an awkward situation for all sides present. The point I am trying to make is that taking control of your food is a way to personal well being, HOWEVER, obsessing about it is stressful. Stressing about what you can’t change is pointless and harmful. So when your friends, significant other are going out for pizza, you are missing the point that it is not the pizza, but the going out part to have fun. If you are not a celiac disease sufferer, every once and a while a sandwich will not kill you, though in most restaurants you can safely navigate the menu. Going out daily because you are scared to cook is another story. I went to Japan while in my fist months of low carb living – not trying sushi in the country that invented it was going to be pure lunacy. Major part of travelling is new experiences which are positive for your brain and personal happiness.

Not Taking Control

Yes junk and processed food are everywhere, though what guarantee do you have what is in the ‘home cooked restaurant meal?’ You have no idea, therefore as I mentioned earlier, your kitchen, your meals and your home is what you CAN control. You are also able to educate yourself so you don’t just take any statement (including this article) at face value and avoid….

Cookbook and Cooking Channel Mesmerization

Going back to the Einstein quote above, as much as I have respect for the creativity of a lot of big name chefs, no mater how visually appealing, sweet smelling, taste bud arousing and food orgasm inducing that chocolate cake is, it is still a humongous sugar bomb…among other things. The fact that it is on TV or social media with the whole world waxing poetic how tasty it is, it doesn’t make it any better. As such a good number of recipes out there have no place in anybody’s kitchen, million or billion YouTube followers doesn’t make it ok either. Gluten free muffin is still a muffin and by cutting out sugar you don’t go putting artificial sweeteners as a substitute. You can’t solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them.

Force Feeding

We have a perfect system in place to tell us how much to eat based on daily activity, etc. (Refined) carbohydrates can wreak havoc on it (middle of the article), though once you cut them out, you should eat only when hungry and not force feed yourself when you are full. Your brain knows best; trust it.

The Organic Whole Foods Traps

Fads come and go and (bio)organic foods is one of them. Though the movement started by people who wanted to be more in touch with the earth, big corporations also needed a piece of the pie. Organic sugar blessed with a virgin’s tears under full moon and approved by the Dalai Lama is still sugar (yes brown sugar is just as bad white one). In addition the ‘organic’ certification criteria have been so watered down by industry lobbying that actually almost anything can fit into that category and your local farmer can’t meet the requirements (an idea for another future post maybe). Buy the best raw ingredients you can afford.

Fear of Fat

Though I am a bit late to the party, I am glad I joined. Fats are (albeit slowly) starting to get the needed positive attention. By removing some of the ‘staples’ of the Western diet such as flour and sugar, that leaves a huge gap into the daily calorie need. That energy needs to come from somewhere and as much as you think you are onboard with the idea of eating fats, you still go for tuna and chicken and/or eat steak for breakfast lunch and dinner – we are not pumas.

Though still keep an eye for the seed oils (see my article on fats for full details).

Don’t have fear of fat.

Conclusion

Knowing  ‘Why?’ you do something is the ultimate way to take responsibility for your wellbeing, that includes what food you put in your body. With the first instalment of the cycling nutrition series, I hope to have given you a good start.

Please share your experiences and  like TheTallCyclist on Facebook and Subscribe via RSS or Email for future updates as well as  check the ever-increasing Reading List and the Cycling nutrition series below.

Cycling Nutrition Series

Taking Charge

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Home » Education » Ketogenic Diet for Cycling

14 replies on “Ketogenic Diet for Cycling”

This is interesting, and I’ve enjoyed reading your website over the last couple of years.

I’m not sure i’m on board with everything presented in this series though – what exactly is wrong with potatoes? or bananas? Bananas form the basis of much of my on-bike nutrition, mostly to avoid horrible energy gels.

That said, keep it up – it’s certainly food for thought (and I agree whole-heartedly about the fats – though, much like yourself, I didn’t always think that way)

Hi Gregor,
Thank you for your comment. The idea behind this site is exactly what you say – to give food for thought since there is a lot of information that for one reason or another (mostly media, advertising, etc.) doesn’t get the needed attention that it should and we as athletes have to sometimes suffer ill effects.

On to your questions: It is not the bananas and potatoes per se, but what happens in the body when we digest them. Let me explain.
Potatoes contain a lot of carbohydrates in the form of starch, bananas have it in the form of amylopectin. Both forms are long chain of glucose molecules that humans can readily digest and as that happens it leads to the rise in blood glucose and release of insulin from the pancreas. As mentioned in the carbohydrate article, insulin is the energy storage hormone (making fat) and as such the fat burning program is inhibited – ie we cannot tap into the 40,000+ kcal we have as fat and have to rely on the limited glycogen storage ~2000kcal. From an endurance point of view this is a significant limiter and why you have to eat when training with or without the rotten gut feeling that a lot of runners/cyclists, myself included had experienced at one point or another (gels do that quite well as you mentioned). Glucose can be used by all living cells in nature so no real problem there.

However, the real issue starts due to the fact that we all exist on a continuum between insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance and it is genetically determined. Ie there is only a certain amount of carbohydrates that our bodies can utilize per day (50-200g) before overcoming the pancreas’s capacity (more details in the beginning in my article on Sugar). What happens in that case is that as the body attempts to lower the blood glucose to normal levels more and more insulin is secreted to the point the cells cannot respond to it (take up the glucose) so it gets converted to fat and in the end we become insulin resistant/carbohydrate intolerant. It takes some time (10-20yrs) though insulin resistance is the main cause of metabolic syndrome (obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, etc.). We all become more insulin resistant as we get older. Exercise gives the glucose somewhere to be burned as well as it builds muscle that can utilize more glucose rather than it being converted to fat.

Therefore it is the huge blood glucose/insulin spike coupled with the the degree of insulin resistance/carbohydrate intolerance that is the problem. Bananas and potatoes are particularly notorious for such spikes (though the small bananas are not according to Dr. Maffetone, though I have only ever seen them in one supermarket). Insulin = no fat burning and no nutritional ketosis. Also as I already mentioned, the nutritional ketosis is a state that humans evolved to thrive in and after adaptation (<50g carbs/day) high endurance performance can be sustained among many other health benefits of not having the insulin spikes and dips (the most recent studies can be found here).

Good luck with your cycling endeavours and if you have further questions you can post them in the comments section.

Best,

-Nikola

I’ve enjoyed this series, and your writing lines up very carefully with my own reading, particularly Noakes, Volek and Phinney. A couple questions:

1) When did you make a formal switch over to low carbohydrate performance, was it at some point during the life of this blog?

2) At some point did you go through the painful process of acclimatizing yourself to low carbohydrate exercise?

3) What’s your own idea of low carb eating – how many grams per day of net carbohydrates?

Hi Dave,

Good to hear from you again!

To answer your questions:
1) I switched cold turkey right around mid September 2015 just at the time I discovered Dr. Phil Maffetone’s Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing (more details on my Maffetone training post here). It wasn’t a good season for a variety of reasons so I needed to change something and from Dr. Maffetone’s work and doing my own research I got to Drs. Noakes, Phinney, Volek as well as to Gary Taubes and Dr. Robert Lustig. It all made sense to me and I was a convert. So my experience is quite recent and in the lifetime of this blog. I am thinking of bringing back some weekly summary of sorts to the blog to post udpates like my switch in diet, since these articles still are quite popular; though I plan to include recipes and functional mobility workouts; I am still brainstorming.=) As such I have experiences a number of very positive changes so I am planning on writing my experience with Dr. Maffetone’s methods (low carb diet is a big part of it) around February/mid March when racing starts around here and I am finished with my ‘aerobic base period.’

2) Since Maffetone training is among other things heavy focused on developing a solid aerobic base, high intensity(anaerobic work) is not part of the first periods, if you can call them that, so I didn’t really have any painful process of acclimatizing since I had to train very slow anyway in order to stay within my Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) heartrate zone of 150bpm. I did notice that I was craving pickles, which is probably in line with Dr Volek and Phinney’s recommendations that low carb diet causes the kidneys to lose salt and as such we need to get some extra from dietary sources (they recommend broth). No Atkins flu etc, though I was off sugar before the summer and weening off sugar can have some effects such as headaches/cravings.

3) My idea is more or less in line with Prof. Noakes’s list in The Real Meal Revolution, so I (try to) stay under 50g of carbs a day in order to go into ketosis. How successful it is numberswise – I have no idea. There is a monitor for diabetics to measure the blood levels of ketones using a finger prick, though it is too expensive for what it is in my opinion, especially the testing strips. My indication is that I am not craving sugar/carbs and have stable energy levels throughout the day and I can ride 3+h with just water and when coming home afterwards I am not craving food at all.

What do I substitute the missing carbs with? I have always been a huge cheese fan so I eat a lot of full fat dairy, as well as eggs, avocados and nuts. I use olive oil, butter and coconut oil for cooking. I eat vegetables as well. I love fruits so keeping that under control required some adjusting though it is not bad and when summer comes we’ll see how I manage. I did give up bananas completely though. I do eat meat every once and a while, especially with eggs for breakfast (bacon). For the rest I scour cooking blogs and shows for low carb recipes (I avoid most low carb/paleo specific blogs since they use a lot of artificial sweeteners etc.) and usually you can slightly modify recipes while still making them taste the same. That takes time so if i find smt good I cook it (maybe too) often. I am already partly done with the first installment of the weekly recipe post so that you can get an insight of what I cook.

So that is my take on your questions, if you have further ones, post them below.=)

Best,

Nikola

I also just received Low Carb Revolution – after trying to buy it for a long time – and i’m working roughly along those guidelines, as I think they’ve got it right – Omega 3/6 balance, little or no artificial sweeteners, and not completely ruling out the higher carb veggies like onions and peppers. I enjoy the South African twists on cooking as well. I’ve been making a batch of seed crackers weekly now.

Most sources say to not use the urine strips for testing ketones, as you’re getting a delayed reading of blood ketones. There is the Ketonix product that measures breath acetone, but I’ve never the trusted the results I got from mine. Checking the website, I just see that there’s a trade-in offer for a new 2015 model, I may try that.

Hi Dave,

It is very nice to see others having similar experiences with the Low Carb/High fat diet! I am going to explore more of the recipes in their book since I am starting to get a but bored with my current array of things to cook. Of the higher carb veggies, potatoes as well as white root ones are the ones to avoid.

From what the data suggests, blood ketone measurement is currently the most reliable. Breath tests are in their infancy as Drs. Phinney and Volek mention in their book, though if you have the option to upgrade it is worth a try.

Best,

-Nikola

In your description of food to take as much as you want, 3 out of 5 will promote chronic disease and cancer (1,3,4). Please look up how much protein per day you really need, its way less then you think. Please be aware of animal products vs plants: something you did not look up since you still promote animal products. In all forms plant based diets are way more beneficial for your health. You can go on a low carb vegan diet as well if you are afraid of too much energy all day if you eat more carbs. And the biggest one is that way you don’t support the ridiculous animal factory farming and suffering and promoting your own health in the process. What can be better then that?

Hi Jeroen,
Thank you for the comment. I am not aware of any conclusive (emphasis on conclusive) studies on how meat/fish/birds, eggs and cheese (dairy) cause cancer; that includes the recent WHO study about red meat. I mention this many times that association studies are just that, association – they do NOT imply causation between two events that occur in parallel (ie meat and cancer). Most information out there is media/diet fad. Also this article is culmination of the nutrition series where i put a very high priority on the importance of eating (animal) fats (see my article here) just as I mention that ‘fear of fat’ is a way to fail when trying to eat more in tune with your body’s healthy needs.

I do agree that dairy

    might

be a bit more offensive to our bodies due to the fact how animals are (mis)treated and fed which ultimately reflects in the quality and fatty acid profile of their meat and milk, however, that is not dairy’s fault per se.

Therefore this brings me to your vegan/vegetarian comments. As much as I respect vegans/vegetarians who do it out of ethical reason the truth is that everything in biology only makes sense in the context of evolution. Life feeds on other life. Conclusive fossil evidence shows that our brains increased tremendously in size and we evolved significantly towards what we are today, when we started eating more animal based diet – ie more fats. Hence ~2.5million years ago is when our metabolism and food needs evolved and little of that has changed. This is a physiological fact, the problem is that a whole industry coupled with media has emerged only in the last 200years telling us to put into our bodies processed food (refined carbohydrates, sugar, vegetable/seed oils etc.). It is this food that is killing us (metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer, etc.) and NOT animal products. I agree that factory farming is a travesty and it must stop, however, you can easily do that by supporting local farmers who use sustainable practices, etc. rather than completely avoiding animal based products.

As far as protein, I do point you again towards the whole series of articles, where a good number of them focus on saturated fat and it’s importance and there is no emphasis on protein (i point you towards the end sections of my article on fats). A common mistake is that animal products are immediately labeled as meat – there is far more nutritious parts than that. Prof. Noakes in his book (referenced in this article) and website (The Real Meal Revolution) also mentions that a fist sized portion of animal protein is all you need in a day. Also this list is not hierarchical, the fact that meat is labeled as number one does not mean it should compose the biggest part of the diet.

I also feel that a big part of the misunderstanding when it comes to ‘low carb/high fat diets’ is just in the name. We are currently in a very fat phobic culture with reverence for carbs. So yes eating the way our bodies evolved is indeed low carb, but low carb when compared to the extremely wrong ‘popular wisdom‘ on what makes a healthy diet. It depends on the point of reference…

-Nikola

Its funny that you promote a diet in an extensive way but are not aware of what the foods actually do with you other then the way it burns.

I started my own food journey with the question: whats the healthiest way to eat? conclusion: plant based. The ratio’s between carbs/protein/fat is up to you, but carbs are the best source for the body to increase performance and reduce inflammation. You can do Paleo, high carb or intermittent fasting using a plant based diet. What to pick is another story and is up to what your goals are in life and sports.

Blood cells clot up when you have fat in your arteries. oxygen delivery is blocked, hence no top endurance athlete is on a high fat/protein diet (Cycling, TdF etc). It kills performance. Good luck doing a high intensity road race with a big fatty meal prior.

The most healthiest people on the planet, from the Inca’s to modern day tribes, all lived on a whole food plant based diet. And CARBS as their staple. They had the least amount of chronic diseases.

Here are some video’s for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl2IX94GCI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0IhZ-R1O8g

The only CLINICAL way to cure cancer, diabetes 2 and many more is by a whole food plant based diet. No other diet can do this. So please stop promoting your animal diet with a lot of fat and proteins. Even if you want to go Paleo, go plant based to make chronic disease risk lowest.

If you need protein, get some beans and legumes. 100g of Brocooli has more protein then 100g of steak. WITHOUT the saturated fat and hormones in the beef. Again, there is a better choice to get your proteins.

I appreciate your evolution argument, but yet again humans get sick from eating animal products and will die from heart disease of having to high cholesterol levels. Just as our ancestors did. GO PRIMAL! LOL XD. All the animal products promote an increased acidity in the body, wich promotes cancer. Thats why we have the biggest epidemic in chronic disease going on the last 50 years. This wasn’t caused by eating to much bananas and corn.

Dairy is the worst of all, its ment to feed and grow a baby calf in the quickest time possible. You say its no problem to eat it. It fucking raises IGF-1 levels and cancer growth bigger then any other products.

Let me ask you a question: did you EVER seen somebody who died from a heart attack of eating to many bananas? no. Eating to much animal products? yes.

Carbs are not the problem, animal protein has the same insulin spike as all your animal products.

Your promoted products:

1. Meat, fish, birds –> same spike as white sugar + bad hormones
2. All green vegetables –> no problem
3. Eggs, dried or fresh –> increased cholesterol, increased IGF 1 levels
4. Cheese –> increased cholesterol, increased IGF 1 levels + hormones
5. Fruit (unsweetened and non dried), except bananas and grapes. –> no problem

3 out of 5 foods you promote as healthy are promoting chronic disease and are not healthy.

Wether Fat is a good fuel or not isn’t the problem. Bashing carbs but promoting chronic disease is. So stfu and go plant based at least, it does the least of harm to animals and the environment and keeps you healthier then if you were eating animal products. Best part is that you promote no killing of animals by big corporations and benefit the planet.

Check Conspiracy, Fork over Knifes, Seaspiracy and Earthlings.
Go plant based, it will change your fitness for the better.
Live long and strong…

Hi Jeroen,

It is always good to get an enthusiastic reader, though in your enthusiasm please abstain from expressions like ‘stfu, lol, etc.” I promote a free discussion, though I insist the tone be kept respectful and courteous.

On to your comment. I do NOT promote this or that diet, even in this article I emphasise the need for taking charge of your own education when it comes to nutrition. As such the ketogenic diet is the logical conclusion of the nutrition series – there are 6 articles before it that go into detail on how and why and historical data on how a lot of the mostly wrong information came to be. There are at least 3 books after each post for the complete version of the facts. If you are impatient, the authors all have lectures on YouTube that you can view at your convenience (the names i mentioned in my previous reply to you). As such I am not going to repeat information that I have already published, especially about the whole cholesterol and saturated fat debate. Those videos that you sent, literally made me shiver that there is still a widespread belief on the clogging pipe hypothesis and that sugar (sucrose) can be benefial in any way, shape or form.

I already mentioned that artificial hormones are not the fault of the animal products, but our own (monstrous) creation. Same goes with dairy – no argument there.

As far as endurance performance and carbohydrates, there is even more fad and faction than in the field of nutrition, cycling in particular. The fact the “the pros do it” doesn’t make it ok or healthy; they still down fizzy soft drinks as a means of recovery (and one of the first things Team SKY banned in the first years of their continuing domination). Just a year ago probably the most comprehensive study on fat burning for high performance came out (links here) You can look up Zach Bitter as the prime example of what is possible while on a LCHF diet (6:30min/mile for 100miles with almost no external calorie sources). That being said even Team SKY experiment with exogenous sources of ketones and trying to introduce metabolic changes in their athletes (they don’t publicise it a lot, a doctor mentioned it on a podcast, i can look up the name for you if interested) Zach himself varies carbohydrate intake in response to the intensity of trainings etc – there is an art and science to it and there are books by Drs. Jeff Volek and Steven Phinney.

On the whole Paleo debate, I don’t like the word since it is non-descriptve since pretty much nothing today is not “what a cavemen would eat,” you mention primal and I wholeheartedly agree. Mark Sisson is one of the most popular names when it comes to primal living. Here is something that you should definitely check out. If you are impatient to read his books, he appeared on the Joe Rogan Expereince (JRE) podcast JRE#752.
On the same note Joe Rogan had the authors of Cowspiracy (#750) (i think this is a movie you mentioned at the end of your comment) as well as vegans turned hunters, etc. (#765, #760). This is why I respect Joe Rogan a lot since he lets all sides present their points and the podcasts are truly fascinating.

I hope that I have given you enough food for thought and I am looking to know your opinion, though I do not expect it right away since there is a lot of high value content I linked.

With that I conclude my answer with a quote of Aristotle:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Best,

-Nikola

Hi Gareth,

Thanks for the comment. I also glanced over your blog. Nice work!

Best,

Nikola

Just discovered your blog and, in my opinion, it’s spot on. I’m a 60 year old recreational athlete In the US and I’ve been low carb for most of the past 20 years, and keto for the past three. Unlike most of my friends, I weigh about what I weighed 30 years ago and my labs are perfect. I have extremely low fasting insulin, hba1c, etc. while many of my younger friends are already on statins, beta blockers, met for in, etc, I need no prescription drugs. There is so much bad info put out there by the vegan community and I admire your polite responses to claims that meat, etc, cause cancer. I totally agree that evolution is the best teacher. We evolved (and thrived) eating animals. Well done.

Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for the nice words. It is really great when I hear that the positive experiences of others mimic mine and while I am younger than you, I fear the day when I go visit some of my childhood friends and I see the ‘classic’ drugs (metformin, statins, etc) on their tables at home. While Dr. Phil Maffetone’s Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing helped me tremendously in my training and diet choices, the most important idea that it taught me was – ALWAYS look at the big picture and to question everything. Basically if everything I had known (and is largely the accepted common wisdom) about training and nutrition is very very wrong, what else is like this. To my amazement the answer was everything. Therefore trying to see the big picture has improved my life (and not to forget health) tremendously. I do talk briefly about it in a series here (http://www.thetallcyclist.com/2016/05/maffetone-maf-method-and-cycling-part-1/) if you are interested.

Thank you again for the nice words and all the best in your sports and keto pursuits!
-Nikola

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