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post #16 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

very briefly as i'm just about to go coaching.

I'm a Sports Scientist and level 4 coach from the ABCC.

I would not say the medical community is divided (as this to me implies an approximate even split). However, there are a small percentage that advocate it (Atkins).

It is nothing to do with ultimate performance, any exercise that is above ~ 50% VO2max (this is a low effort) requires a substantial contribution from from carbohydrates, and indeed the expression "fat burns in a carbohydrate flame" is true.

The Atkins handbook suggests many things of which being able to exercise normally while on Atkins is one of them. Of course they are trying to sell you a product (Atkins).

Sportspeople can't compete on a low carb diet in endurance exercise unless they want to underperform.

Ric

Quote:
Originally Posted by Labarum
Thanks for your contribution, Ric.

May I ask in what professional capacity you offer the advice?

As a 55 year old senior officer in the British Army I was directed by a Senior Medical Officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps: "Do Atkins," he said, "it works." He has offered the same advice to others I know - where they have done Atkins "by the book" it has been very effective.

One of the nursing staff expressed concern to me about long term high protein intake and stress on the kidneys. The SMO dismissed the nurses concerns.

I am Male 6 ft 3in. 55 years Married 23 years.
208 lb now, down from 260 lb since March 04
Blood Pressure Mar 04 147/94 . Jun 04 121/74 . Dec 04 119/72
All blood measurements now impressively healthy.
Chlorestoral marginally down on a 65% fat diet
- though it was not an issue at the start,
- and many find it falls dramtically.

The Atkins/low fat/carb controversy will continue. The medical and other professions are divided on the issue, but shouting louder (as many do) in defence of orthodoxy really does not contriute to a healthy debate.

I am not suggesting that you have done that, Ric, and I would like to see an intelligent and gracious exchange of informed opinion.

I am picking up that there may be an ultimate performance issue for those on a low carb diet. Some have said to me that while in ketosis you can plod along for hours at a moderate pace, but could run into difficulties when attempting to sprint too long or too often.

That's fine by me - at 55 I have no ambitions to be a boy racer.

On the other hand the Atkins handbook is very clear that ketosis can be maintained at much higher levels of carb input for those who are very active.
Snacking on fruit, dried fruit, or topping up with modest quantities of liquid carb is (I believe) a practice adopted by some low carb sportsmen.

I am truly trying to find a reasonable and practical way forward to enable me to lose that final 15 lbs, get fit and enjoy cycling the lovely lanes around where I live.

Any contribution to the debate would be welcome.

So, Ric, are you against the low carb philosophy in any circumstances, or are you simple saying those who live that way will be denied the best performance measured in both endurance and speed?

Upon what evidence do you base your claims, and with what professional authority?
post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Now here is some chat on the same subject from another forum - I won't link because some board moderators get sniffy about that.

From Badhabit

Labarum, the plan I was first intorduced to is called " The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet", so I'm not overly familiar with the Atkins regime. Essentially with my WOE (Way of eating), I have 2 carb free meals per day, a carb free or low carb snack, and then for dinner I have a balanced meal of pretty much anything I want, as long as I eat it within an hour. This includes dessert of my choice.
I also use Fitday to track my food, and I average about 1900-2100 calories per day. I'm 5'9" on a tall day, and weighed in around 260 when I started. I'm now about 192, which I've been at for almost 6 months now. It took me almost a year to get there, but I couldn't excercise much in the beginning. Before cycling, I ran 4 or 5 mornings a week, heavy weights in the gym 4 days per week, and rode my mtb bike to work. I take the kids swimming one or two days per week, and that takes some work, I tell ya!

Recently I bought a road bike (and loving it) and found a few things on energy, for me anyway. If I'm in ketosis and go on a long ride, I can ride all day. However, if I'm not in ketosis on a day I decide to do a couple of hours riding, I find I burn nitrogen in addition to fat, which I can tell by the smell of ammonia in my sweat. Since I've worked hard to put on a fair bit of muscle over the last year, I'm not keen on losing it as an energy source. Since I can tell when I'm not in ketosis, if I mix 350 ml of gatorade with that much water and drink it during the ride, no ammonia smell. And since I'm not actively trying to lose much weight anymore, I'm just out of ketosis most of the time these days, and having the sugar water gives me a boost for long endurance rides.

Now, if you're in ketosis, you should have no trouble riding a long time using fat as energy. Just remember, a good recovery drink when you're done is important. I use low carb protein shake with a heaping teaspoon of dextrose to help transport the protein into the muscle and restore a bit of muscle glycogen.

Overall, this WOE has been great for me, and provides me with tons of energy. My co-workers are all getting groggy around 2 in the afternoon from their bread lunches, and I'm bouncing off the walls!

In total I run about 25k per week, ride about 100k, lift weights 4 days per week, hike or mtb bike on the week-ends with the family, go swimming, and walk the dog 7 days per week. I have no shortage of fuel for doing all the things I want to do, and I don't have that bogged down feeling I used to have when I was heavy and full of carbs!

Any questions, feel free to ask. I know this isn't a popualr topic here, but by the number of views, there does seem to be some interest in the subject, so let's keep it inthe public forum until the lynch mob is in sight

From nbf

I think the whole idea of whether you can ride without carbs gets confused by the issue of intensity. If you go on 50% of max HR you can go all day since your in fat burning mode, but go 80% for any continued length of time and yopu will need sugar feeding, and will propably run into problems if your not starting with filled deposits. So when we talk carbs and cycling we need to mention intensity in the same breath.

From badhabit

nbf, absolutely. Right now I can go out with the shop ride and ride aggressively for about 1.5 hours, which is the length of the ride we do. I keep up to everyone else within my range of experience (the guys that have been riding for years are much stronger). Unfortunately I have no before/after comparison, but I know it's my lungs restricting me, not my legs.
I'm also not saying that world class pros could do this and perform the way they do (maybe they could, don't think they ever tried), but for the rider that is riding for fitness and to lose some weight, it is a viable option.
People that are racing bikes probably aren't real over-weight to begin with, and the whole premise of low carb eating is to lose weight (and keep it off). The racer guys that keep trying to defend carbs don't need to worry about whether low carb is good or bad, because obviously they don't need to eat that way! :-)

Now, the chunky people that do need to eat that way, might find this the path to getting into good enough condition to start racing.

Again, this is just one of many choices people can make in their lives, some will be for it, others against it and some won't care either way.
post #18 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Hi,

As a fellow fitness professional I thought I would weigh in on this friendly banter.

First of all, I do not think that this is, as some of you have suggested, a debate between orthadoxy and progressivism. It ought to simply be a discussion about what works best for our sport, or, rather, what is healthy for our sport.

Simply, if you go for a ride having taken in no carbohydrates it is possible that you will experience similar effects as someone who may ride before eating breakfast. In short, yes, your body will burn some fat as fuel, but it will also burn muscle and use it for fuel. As any well researched book on cycling nutrition will tell you, and as ric pointed out earlier, during endurance exercise the body functions mainly with the support of carbohydrates. Many studies have also shown that the addage "fat burns in a carbohydrate flame", is, as ric also pointed out, very true.

Cycling nutrition, in essence, is about developing a single eating pattern that will support many nutritional and developmental goals.

My basic philosophy on nutrition for fitness is that NO diet is good which alienates a complete section of a person's diet. So, for the purpose of a recreational cyclist who is looking to incorporate the sport into their fitness regimine, it is absolutely not advisable to disclude the primary source of energy for endurance sports. I am not saying that it is necisarry for a recreational cyclist to adapt the same eating strategies as a professional cyclist, as this would not be beneficial given the recreational cyclists goals, but there are many things that can be learned by using the ideas which guide cycling nutrition.

Also, on a general note, people who subscribe to the atkins diet need to realize that they are in the same danger as vegetarians and vegans in that they need to be extra diligent about making sure that their nutrient intake is sufficient. Also, people who follow the atkins plan need to monitor their fat intake. I could go into the detriments of a high-fat diet, but i'm sure you are all aware of its effects.

Also, I hear many atkinites throwing around the word "ketosis". I also know that atkins himself described the state of ketosis as a "metabolic advantage". It is important to note that the state of ketosis is the result of dangerously low blood-sugar, similar to that experienced by diabetics. Perhaps you should be careful in the future about throwing this word around, as it has many implications which are not discussed in the atkins books.

I suppose that is all for now. happy riding.
post #19 of 34
Thread Starter 

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Ah, well I am not a professional - but I know informed folk who would challenge you:

From the Atkins FAQ

"There is nothing harmful, abnormal or dangerous about ketosis. Some of the confusion comes from the word ketoacidosis, which is completely different from ketosis. Ketoacidosis is a potentially dangerous condition seen in Type I diabetics . . . " or more fully:

Isn't ketosis a dangerous state for your body to be in?

The body uses two fuels for energy: fat and glucose (blood sugar). Carbohydrates break down in the body as glucose. So when you cut back on carbs, you effectively take away most of one of the body's fuels and the body turns to fat-burning, the metabolic process called lipolysis and the secondary process of ketosis. So long as you have extra body fat, ketosis is safe and natural – and it's the secret weapon of weight loss. A person in ketosis is getting energy from burning ketones, which are carbon fragments that are created by the burning of the body's fat stores.

There is nothing harmful, abnormal or dangerous about ketosis. Some of the confusion comes from the word ketoacidosis, which is completely different from ketosis. Ketoacidosis is a potentially dangerous condition seen in Type I diabetics – people who cannot produce insulin, when their blood sugar levels are out of control – alcoholics and people in a severe state of starvation. Research shows that ketosis does not cause adverse effects to the heart, kidneys, liver or blood cell functions. Nor is bone health compromised.

And see:

http://atkins-uk.com/helpatkins/newf...isKetosis.html
post #20 of 34
post #21 of 34
Thread Starter 

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

I am trying to keep an open mind.

But my own Physician directed me to try Atkins and remains supportive.

I have posted the story here:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...16#post1121216

so after so much sucess, I will not abandon a plan that has worked for me extremely well.

However, having lost 50 lb, I seem unable to lose more, so have determined to increace the excercise rate. Saturday I cycled 20 miles and again on Sunday - today is a Bank Holiday in England - I cycled 18 miles early this morning on an apple and the had a bacon and egg breakfast. After a very good lunch went down I cyled another 12 miles - it has been a very nice day here.

It may be that Atkins has done all it can for me, and now I must change policy, and establish a more normal western diet with increased excercise, which I can do having lost so much weight already.

But I look at the advice you have offered and set it against folk on the independent

http://www.atkinsdietbulletinboard.com/

who tell me the received wisdom you quote has been disproved in their own experience - so where does that leave me?

As a secondary point let me add that the most experienced on the independent Atkins Board are highy critical of Atkins Corps, saying, as you do that they are in it for the money. They point to significant departures from Dr Atkins book in their current advice. The aceptability of sugar alcohols (polyols) is the best example. Dr Atkins forbade them - Atkins Corps say they are OK - because they sell them in their diet products. Only natural unprocessed foods are recommended by Dr Atkins - but there is no money in that.
post #22 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Congratulations on losing the weight, but as a long time fitness consultant I would never recommend the Atkin's diet to anyone.

I have witnessed many people over the past 6 or 7 years go on the Atkin's diet and lose a lot of weight, but they could not cope with the long term program. Each and everyone that I have seen lose the weight put all the weight back on plus some.

Best wishes on your endeavors
post #23 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

I am sorry if anyone has discouraged you. That was not anyone's intentions. We all just, I think, wanted to throw ideas about nutrition around.

congrats on losing the weight and congrats on getting fit. And a very warm welcome to the sport.
post #24 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiscem4
I am sorry if anyone has discouraged you. That was not anyone's intentions. We all just, I think, wanted to throw ideas about nutrition around.

congrats on losing the weight and congrats on getting fit. And a very warm welcome to the sport.
My sentiment as well.
post #25 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felt_Rider
Congratulations on losing the weight, but as a long time fitness consultant I would never recommend the Atkin's diet to anyone.

I have witnessed many people over the past 6 or 7 years go on the Atkin's diet and lose a lot of weight, but they could not cope with the long term program. Each and everyone that I have seen lose the weight put all the weight back on plus some.

Best wishes on your endeavors
I'm going to throw in my two cents here as well. I am not coming from any kind of medical/fitness background, but I do believe that an Atkins/low-carb diet is very good for losing weight, and is something I am dabbling with at the moment.

Here is my profile: I have been biking for a solid three months or so [4-5 times a week, 45 minutes a day], and in the time I have actually gained weight [mostly muscle], but my body fat percentage has stayed approximately the same [about 17-18%]. I have desperately tried to lose some of this extra fat, but have not been able to successfully accomplish my goal. At any rate, I am interested in doing a cyclic low-carb diet in order to make a dent in the amount of fat on my body [basically, maintaining an Atkins-like diet for the period of five days to two weeks].

The theory is that without the intake of carbohydrates, your body will be more apt to burn fat, and hopefully cause weight loss. However, this says nothing of the diet's effectiveness as a performance tool, and I agree with previous posts in that such a diet would be highly unsuccessful in any sort of competitive sense. However, I am hoping it will be a good fat burning tool.

As was also mentioned earlier, a diet such as this one has the noticeable side-affect of burning muscle proteins as well, which can decrease general muscle mass; unfortunately, the only way to combat this effect is to lift weights/bulk up in some manner as to minimize such losses.

So if all goes well, in a month or so with this temporary diet, I'll have decreased my body fat % by several points, and at that point resume a normal, carbohydrate-full diet in which is ideal for cycling.

-Bullseye
post #26 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye_blam
I'm going to throw in my two cents here as well. I am not coming from any kind of medical/fitness background, but I do believe that an Atkins/low-carb diet is very good for losing weight, and is something I am dabbling with at the moment.

So if all goes well, in a month or so with this temporary diet, I'll have decreased my body fat % by several points, and at that point resume a normal, carbohydrate-full diet in which is ideal for cycling.

-Bullseye
That's cool

I believe in people formulating a game plan and experimenting.

There are a number of ways to approach fat reduction and restricting carbohydrates is one of them. Atkin's is just not one of my personal approaches. I do use carbohydrate restriction in some cases and as you say in a cycled form for no more than 3 days at a time, but not as an extended way of life. Just long enough to dip slightly into ketosis for a day or so, but then carb up again for a couple of days. Never to stay in ketosis.

The leanest that I have ever achieved for bodybuilding competition was on a higher carbohydrate diet while maintaining greatest amount of muscle mass than compared to previous years of competition.

One of the reason I do not endorse Atkin's (this may not be the fault of Dr. Atkin's) is that I see many of those people eating sausage, bacon, hot dogs and other fatty meats that are also a very poor quality protein source and a higher source of bad cholesterol. That is my main complaint or concern as I have had a number of Atkin's dieters approach me with their daily protein consumption food item list.

If a person were to eat lean beef, skinless chicken, turkey (white meat) or fish I would have less of a problem, but I still believe a person can achieve the same fat loss with a higher carbohydrate intake. It's like discussing religion as I have found out. There are web pages and forums dedicated to the keto diet so I know the diehards will argue that an extended stay in ketosis is just fine, but I don't share the same opinion.

Best wishes on your game plan
post #27 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Labarum
Has anyone experience of cycling on the Atkins diet? I am told "the bonk" is not an issues as those on Atkins are already in fat burning mode - carb load would only impait their performance.
In my youth, I lost close to 50 pounds and played lacrosse while on the Atkins Diet. At the time, I was one of Dr. Atkins' patients.

Now, what you have to remember is that the ultimate goal of the Atkins is for you to find your own personal Critical Carbohydrate Level. You do that by testing for the presence of Keytones in your urine. The more you exercise, the higher your CCL rises and the more carbs you can assimilate. When you get to the level of exerecise that Carmichael talks about, the two eating programs over lap because of the massive need for carbs. When I played lacrosse in high school and then rowed in college (especially at the college level) I could eat anything I wanted.

People who bonk on Atkins generally don't understand the diet or are only following the initial stages which were never meant to be followed for any length of time. Dr. Atkins always spoke about his diet in terms of a pendulum. What he saw was that most people were eating to one extreme. The initial stages of his diet were designed to get the pendulum swinging in the other direction with the desired end result getting your body to an equilibrium.

In terms of the equilibrium... the more you exercise, the more carbs you need.
post #28 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

If you aren't that great at cycling and you cant actually get your body to produce that much power and hence require high amounts of glycogen then I suppose you might not notice that much difference in performance. Its usually fat arses who use this diet so I am not surprised that you dont notice a big difference because you're probably a big fatty anyway who doesn't produce massive amounts of power.

Any good powerful cyclist will notice a big difference when running out of energy.

It reminds me of motorists talking about how their cars handle when I know from my motorsport experience that they dont know how to handle a car anyway. So their opinions on the matter are irrelevant as they have never been able to see how their cars really handle because they dont have the skills to 'really' test the handling at the limit. Just like someone of moderate fitness wont really be able to see how their body reacts to a diet as they cant really push it to the extremes anyway.
post #29 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker2017
In my youth, I lost close to 50 pounds and played lacrosse while on the Atkins Diet. At the time, I was one of Dr. Atkins' patients.

When I played lacrosse in high school and then rowed in college (especially at the college level) I could eat anything I wanted.



In terms of the equilibrium... the more you exercise, the more carbs you need.
If this is the Atkins diet, then it is not what most people trying to follow it understand.
post #30 of 34

Re: Atkins Diet and Cycling endurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker2017
In my youth, I lost close to 50 pounds and played lacrosse while on the Atkins Diet. At the time, I was one of Dr. Atkins' patients.

Now, what you have to remember is that the ultimate goal of the Atkins is for you to find your own personal Critical Carbohydrate Level. You do that by testing for the presence of Keytones in your urine. The more you exercise, the higher your CCL rises and the more carbs you can assimilate. When you get to the level of exerecise that Carmichael talks about, the two eating programs over lap because of the massive need for carbs. When I played lacrosse in high school and then rowed in college (especially at the college level) I could eat anything I wanted.

People who bonk on Atkins generally don't understand the diet or are only following the initial stages which were never meant to be followed for any length of time. Dr. Atkins always spoke about his diet in terms of a pendulum. What he saw was that most people were eating to one extreme. The initial stages of his diet were designed to get the pendulum swinging in the other direction with the desired end result getting your body to an equilibrium.

In terms of the equilibrium... the more you exercise, the more carbs you need.
If The Atkins Diet consists of eating what you want whilest engaging in strenuous competative sports at a College level the I have no problem with it.
Now please make yourself rich by writing a book explaining this to those deluded fools who think that they can get thin by eating lard and watching TV.
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