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Lui
June 25th, 2009, 04:39 PM
I often check out a forum for bodyweight exercises because I do a lot of bodyweight exercises as part of my dry land training.
Anyway, many people on that board are all into this low carb stuff. I tried it out for 6 months but had the feeling that I don't have enough energy if I don't eat enough complex carbs like grains(pasta, rice, bread etc).

Is it just me or do other swimmers experience the same?
Just wondering...

CreamPuff
June 25th, 2009, 07:25 PM
I often check out a forum for bodyweight exercises because I do a lot of bodyweight exercises as part of my dry land training.
Anyway, many people on that board are all into this low carb stuff. I tried it out for 6 months but had the feeling that I don't have enough energy if I don't eat enough complex carbs like grains(pasta, rice, bread etc).

Is it just me or do other swimmers experience the same?
Just wondering...

The head coaches of some of the best USAS teams in my area have asked their swimmers to NOT do low carb due to lack of energy. They have gone so far as to put their thoughts against low carb in writing in the monthly newsletters. As we speak I'm looking for that particular article. I personally would never do low carb as I don't want to be a cranky slug.

stillwater
June 25th, 2009, 08:35 PM
One season we no-carbed during taper (perhaps just before taper). When we went back to our regular diets the extra energy was profound. I just rember being so darn hungry. I couldn't say if it was worth it.

We did it during polo for one season only. I say once because tensions were so high that we had too many fights, and team mates were injuring each other. Never again.

Lui
June 26th, 2009, 02:54 AM
The head coaches of some of the best USAS teams in my area have asked their swimmers to NOT do low carb due to lack of energy. They have gone so far as to put their thoughts against low carb in writing in the monthly newsletters. As we speak I'm looking for that particular article. I personally would never do low carb as I don't want to be a cranky slug.

It feels good to read this because I was accused of being the only one who claims he had no energy.
I really felt like an empty battery. I did a lot of mountain biking during that period. I always cycled up a steep hill that takes about 45 minutes to reach the top. It is always tough because cycling uphill for a long period always stays tough(carbs or no carbs) but while I tried out low carb it felt like I was cycling up Mt. Everest.
Once I cheated and ate a piece of sugary cake and went cycling after that. I felt like Superman.
The word drained comes to mind if I want to describe how I felt on low carb. As soon as I added whole wheat pasta, bread and brown rice to my meals my energy immediately was back to normal.
I was surprised that many on the other forum said they didn't feel the lack of energy but maybe it depends on the sport you do. I would say for swimming low carb is a definite no-no.

I would really like to read that article about the head coaches against low carb.

(btw, RIP Michael Jackson. I just found out while posting this)

Superfly
June 26th, 2009, 04:08 AM
Hi all!
Ive been running low carb high fat for the last six months.

Results so far:

Positive stuff:
-Fat loss and increased muscle mass (measured by caliper once every month 14%->9% body fat)
-Improved endurance (after 3-4 horrible weeks when I felt I had lactic acid in my body all the time when my body was switching from carb burning machine to fat burning machine)
-Need less sleep - up to 1 hour per day
-No need for sugar and candy anymore

Negative stuff:
-More expensive food account
-Bad breath
-Socially difficult (always have to explain why i dont want to eat carbs...sick and tired of this)

Conclusions:
Very positive effects on training and competition. I broke the WR in 50 breast in March. I dont think it was directly connected to this kind of food, but being lighter and stronger certainly helped.

I think the key is to eat lots of good fat...lika Omega 3. If I dont eat that i feel hungry and fatigued. I eat up to 50-60 grams/day. I also eat small meals every third hour...that way I never get really hungry.

I train and compete in short distance only. 50 and 100 breast mainly. For that this kind of eating is very good I think. If you train longer distances maybe you need a little bit more carbs, even though the theory says that you will increase your endurance in long distance lika marathon with this kind of eating.

Just think of the meat eating animals...like the big cats. They dont eat many carbs, but are still very explosive and muscular :)

my 2 cents
cheers
/Per

Chris Stevenson
June 26th, 2009, 07:25 AM
It feels good to read this because I was accused of being the only one who claims he had no energy.
I really felt like an empty battery. I did a lot of mountain biking during that period. I always cycled up a steep hill that takes about 45 minutes to reach the top. It is always tough because cycling uphill for a long period always stays tough(carbs or no carbs) but while I tried out low carb it felt like I was cycling up Mt. Everest.
Once I cheated and ate a piece of sugary cake and went cycling after that. I felt like Superman.
The word drained comes to mind if I want to describe how I felt on low carb. As soon as I added whole wheat pasta, bread and brown rice to my meals my energy immediately was back to normal.
I was surprised that many on the other forum said they didn't feel the lack of energy but maybe it depends on the sport you do. I would say for swimming low carb is a definite no-no.

My experience matches yours. When I was on low-carb, the first hard hill would knock me flat and my legs were toast for the rest of the ride. Swim practices felt like I was completely broken down, even though I knew I wasn't. I was also often dizzy during the day, and cranky.

It was an awful experience, one that I will never repeat again. I can't look at V8 juice the same way.

The problem is that your muscle glycogen is very very low b/c it isn't being replenished after workouts on a low-carb diet. It is interesting to hear about Superfly's more positive results; perhaps I didn't stick with it long enough for my body to get more efficient at metabolizing fat to replace muscle glycogen. But since I've had success with alternative diets I haven't been motivated to try.

As an aside, the concept that fat intake is good while carbs are bad makes me think I'm trapped in the Woody Allen movie "Sleeper."

Generally I think balance/moderation is good in these things: protein, carbs, fat. I will distrust any diet that says one of these should be virtually eliminated.

SolarEnergy
June 26th, 2009, 09:59 AM
what do I think of low carb?

Now... What do I think about low performance level which is likely to happen due to low level of muscle glycogen?

knelson
June 26th, 2009, 10:26 AM
There's been a lot of discussion on another board I read about the Paleo Diet. The basic premise is to eat what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate rather than lots of farmed foods such as grains and dairy. This effectively limits carbs. Although I do think there are some good things about it, to me it seems very faddy and based on some pretty questionable assumptions. But, if you're interested in trying a low carb diet it's probably worth researching a little.

ehoch
June 26th, 2009, 12:15 PM
I am sorry - but why would anybody train without getting the proper energy to refuel ??? Carbs are basically your energy source - what are you trying to accomplish by limiting that source ?

juszczec
June 26th, 2009, 12:29 PM
The whole reason I like swimming is its enough exercise such that I can eat whatever the heck I want and get away with it.

The only reason I'd go on a low car diet is if my dr could give me good (factual, backed up with lab tests) reasons why I should.

Other than that, pass the bagels.

And speaking of the Paleo diet - that's wonderful, eat the same thing our hunter/gatherer ancestors did. But know that life expectancy was much much shorter then as compared to now. They didn't experience any negative effects of their diets because something ate them before they got old enough to feel any negative effects of their diets.

I also heard that one of the main proponents of the Paleo diet (I saw him on TV cooking up 2 lbs of bacon for his breakfast) died of a heart attack.

I may be wrong on that last.

knelson
June 26th, 2009, 12:52 PM
I also heard that one of the main proponents of the Paleo diet (I saw him on TV cooking up 2 lbs of bacon for his breakfast) died of a heart attack.

Unless the bacon was from a wild boar it doesn't seem like he was adhering to the diet very well!

Superfly
June 26th, 2009, 01:17 PM
Here is one small movie on this topic worth watching I think:

YouTube - Big Fat Lies

cheers
/Per

Lui
June 26th, 2009, 01:58 PM
I was also often dizzy during the day, and cranky.

It was an awful experience, one that I will never repeat again. I can't look at V8 juice the same way.

The problem is that your muscle glycogen is very very low b/c it isn't being replenished after workouts on a low-carb diet. It is interesting to hear about Superfly's more positive results; perhaps I didn't stick with it long enough for my body to get more efficient at metabolizing fat to replace muscle glycogen.

I know what you mean with feeling dizzy and cranky. I tried out low carb for 7 months, so I guess that is long enough to get used to it but even after 7 months I felt totally drained.

Btw, low carb promoters always blame carbs like grains for fat gain but the actual reason people gain fat is: A) they eat too much in general and B) they eat too much junk and processed food. Most overweight people should go on a low JUNK diet. In China the average person used to eat mainly rice and veggies(carbs). They were famous for being a lean society. Now in China more and more people can afford meat. They also eat much more junk food and obesity is starting to become a problem.
I would actually like to meet ONE obese person who got overweight from eating too much brown rice and fresh vegetables. I bet that person doesn't exist. Grains and complex carbs aren't the problem but if you eat processed grains transformed into a Twinkie or potatoes in form of potato chips that's a different story.

On a different note: the famous Dr. Atkins(who invented low carb) had a heart attack a couple of years before he died being severely overweight.

DPC
June 26th, 2009, 02:20 PM
A few years back I tried the low carb fad - South Beach style stuff - I ended up yo-yoing and ended up over 250, not good. Went back to basics. Balanced diet - good carbs, more grains and beans, low fat (but the good fat), healthy amounts of protien, lots of water - and a steady diet of chlorinated goodness.

trout
June 26th, 2009, 02:33 PM
Here's one.
My weight increased from about 170 to 215 while eating a "so-called healthy" low-fat diet. I ate lots of brown rice, fruits, and other carbohydrates, just like the "experts" recommended. An exercise schedule including 3-5 swim workouts per week wasn't enough to keep me from gaining weight until I also made dramatic changes in my diet.

A sensible low-carb diet with lots of vegetables, fats, and meats helped me to get back down to around 180, and maintain the weight loss for over 3 years. My overall health improved dramatically including a decrease in blood triglycerides, and an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol).

My swimming performance improved while on low-carb, especially once I got my weight down below 190 lbs. In particular, I noticed that I no longer struggled through the first 5-10 minutes of warmup before I started feeling good. I think that my body was more effectively using fat as a fuel, and not relying on the glycogen for that first 10 minutes. I should note that I am much better at long distances. For sprinting, it may be important to have the muscles loaded with glycogen. But, for me, a high fat/low carb diet is the way to achieve maximum swimming performance.

Your mileage may vary. I don't think that there is any single dietary strategy that works well for all people. In my case, I am very sensitive to carbohydrates. I have to keep the carbs down in order to continue to maintain a healthy weight and swim well.

Others are fortunate enough to be able to eat a high carbohydrate diet without gaining weight. But, there's a lot more to weight loss than just eating less and exercising more. The video makes a lot of good points.

Lui
June 26th, 2009, 03:22 PM
Here's one.
My weight increased from about 170 to 215 while eating a "so-called healthy" low-fat diet. I ate lots of brown rice, fruits, and other carbohydrates, just like the "experts" recommended. An exercise schedule including 3-5 swim workouts per week wasn't enough to keep me from gaining weight until I also made dramatic changes in my diet.


Maybe you just ate TOO MUCH food.
There is a Harvard Study that says it is not important WHAT you eat but HOW MUCH you eat: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2009/02.26/11-calorie.html

If it's true that some people are "sensitive" to carbs and immediately gain enormous weight even though they eat moderate portions how come there weren't any overweight Olympic swimmers in the Seventies when athletes knew nothing about low carb and were all put on a high carb diet?:confused:

Ripple
June 26th, 2009, 03:43 PM
The glycemic index of a carb may determine whether it contributes to weight gain. There was a study of obese people done at Children's Hospital Boston in which a group of overweight people were tested for their insulin reaction to glucose. (Unfortunately, I've lost the link to it.)
Some had an immediate and massive flood of insulin, some barely any spike in insulin at all, presumably most were in the middle somewhere. When these people were put on different types of weight loss diets, the ones who had very little insulin reaction could lose weight easily on any kind of diet, but the insulin "flooders" could only lose on a low-glycemic index diet. This could explain why some people gain more weight with carbohydrates than others. It may also explain those annoying people who can eat like draft horses, never exercise, and not gain weight.

Lui
June 26th, 2009, 05:28 PM
Just think of the meat eating animals...like the big cats. They dont eat many carbs, but are still very explosive and muscular :)



Yeah, but they also sleep 23 hours of the day:D

Chimpanzees are our closest relatives who eat mainly plant food and almost no meat but are extremely muscular and powerful. They are about 7 times stronger than humans.
Gorillas aren't exactly wimps either. Their only protein source is plant protein and a bunch of insects.

trout
June 26th, 2009, 05:47 PM
Maybe you just ate TOO MUCH food.
There is a Harvard Study that says it is not important WHAT you eat but HOW MUCH you eat: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2009/02.26/11-calorie.html

If it's true that some people are "sensitive" to carbs and immediately gain enormous weight even though they eat moderate portions how come there weren't any overweight Olympic swimmers in the Seventies when athletes knew nothing about low carb and were all put on a high carb diet?:confused:

Undoubtedly I ate too much food during that period because on low-fat I was always starving. Now that I eat low-carb, I am rarely hungry between meals. But, there's more to it than just the caloric intake.

The Harvard Study you refer to was rather severely flawed in that their lowest carbohydrate diet still contained 35% of calories from carbs. On a 1200 calorie diet, that's over 100 grams of carbs. That intake is well above what is recommended for weight loss by most low-carb plans, and more than I'm able to consume and still maintain my weight. Since the researchers neglected to include a true low-carb treatment group it's impossible to conclude much from that study. Overall, the results of dietary comparisons are a mixed bag, although low-carb looks pretty good in numerous recent studies.

The lack of severely overweight olympic swimmers in the 70's (or today for that matter) is probably just that any athlete is unlikely to reach an elite level of competition if they are on a diet that doesn't work for them. I don't think I claimed to gain "enormous weight immediately" with moderate portions of carbs, but it doesn't take much for the pounds to start creeping back. If I had continued down the low-fat path, I'd probably be over 300 lbs now, and unable to swim competitively.

I'm satisfied that I've found a dietary regime that keeps me healthy and helps me to accomplish my (modest) swimming goals. I don't claim that a low carb diet will work for everyone, but please keep an open mind. Blanket recommendations that "athletes shouldn't eat low-carb" are a disservice to many individuals who could benefit their health and swimming performance by eating a lower carb diet.

Oh- and the "Dr Atkins was obese and died of a heart attack" just isn't true.

sanwin
June 26th, 2009, 07:18 PM
I had the same problem with low carb. I have an hour commute home from work and I could hardly manage to drive home. I find I have plenty of energy, and I feel great just eating a well balanced diet. I eat lean protein,salads,and lot of fruit.

JoeBob
June 26th, 2009, 07:34 PM
.
Oh- and the "Dr Atkins was obese and died of a heart attack" just isn't true.

Not sure how he died but he was clinically obese and had a history of heart trouble.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1453912/Atkins-diet-founder-was-obese.html

Lui
June 27th, 2009, 03:42 AM
I don't claim that a low carb diet will work for everyone, but please keep an open mind. Blanket recommendations that "athletes shouldn't eat low-carb" are a disservice to many individuals who could benefit their health and swimming performance by eating a lower carb diet.

Oh- and the "Dr Atkins was obese and died of a heart attack" just isn't true.


If I didn't have an open eye I wouldn't have tried out LC for 7 months(I wanted to know what all the fuss was about) even though my well balanced diet that I eat now and ate before always worked for me. When I included grains and other complex carbs in my diet I was always lean, never sick and felt great.

I didn't say that Atkins died of a heart attack. I said he had a heart attack a couple of years before he died. His weight at the time of his death was 258 lbs.

Allen Stark
June 27th, 2009, 10:15 AM
There was a recent article in one of the swim coaches magazines about nutrition.It recommended swimmers get 50 % of there calories from carbs.Also that you eat carbs soon after workout as that is the best time to replenish muscle glycogen.Low carb diets are great for weight loss,but unless you replenish muscle glycogen with carbs you will tire more easily.

~Wren~
June 27th, 2009, 06:47 PM
If I find myself eating too much processed junk, I'll do a week or so of South Beach Phase I (aka - no carbs) just to kill the cravings, and then I add the good carbs back in. It gets me back to healthier eating and off the sugar and junk. It also forces me to get a bit more creative with my meal planning which usually benefits the family too (get us out of a rut). That said, I do ease my workouts back a bit when I'm doing it, and could never maintain it long term.

mermaid
June 28th, 2009, 07:59 AM
I want all the natural fat and all the calories I can find!

I don't mean McDonalds -- I want my foods whole, natural, and un-processed. I don't consume anything that is "low-fat", "low-carb", "decaf", etc. Just give me the real stuff!

nkfrench
June 28th, 2009, 01:11 PM
My understanding is ...

Fat metabolism is too slow to supply all the energy required for anaerobic efforts. And "fat burns in a carbohydrate flame" is one of my favorite lines.

Bad breath on low-carb can be a sign of ketosis from burning protein to provide energy especially given a lack of carbohydrates.

I've had a few people who tell me that they adhere to a low-carb diet to lose weight and they feel great doing exercise. Call me a skeptic, but I doubt the diet makes that much difference for one or two 20-minute bouts of aerobic effort but it will for 90 minutes to two hours of effort involving several bouts of more intense effort.

I've run out of fuel where I didn't have the energy to ride DOWN a hill on my bike less than a mile from home after a high school swim workout. I wasn't sure I'd be able to balance the bike and use the handbrakes to make the stop sign at the bottom (blind corner). I sat on the curb crying for a while and had to walk my bike on that hill and to climb the next. Certainly I had plenty of stored fat available for energy but was unable to use it.

Ripple
June 29th, 2009, 10:10 AM
I want all the natural fat and all the calories I can find!

I don't mean McDonalds -- I want my foods whole, natural, and un-processed. I don't consume anything that is "low-fat", "low-carb", "decaf", etc. Just give me the real stuff!
Hear hear! :applaud: Real food all the way!
Well, except for the decaf... after age 50 I'm more sensitive to caffeine... and don't seem to burn as many calories doing the same amounts of exercise as I used to... :cane:

art_z
July 2nd, 2009, 04:08 PM
On a different note: the famous Dr. Atkins(who invented low carb) had a heart attack a couple of years before he died being severely overweight.

nonsense.

Lui
July 2nd, 2009, 04:31 PM
nonsense.

What is nonsense? The fact that he had a heart attack several years before his death or the fact that his weight was 258 pounds at the time of his death?

Chris Stevenson
July 2nd, 2009, 05:26 PM
Not about athletic performance, but I thought this was interesting...

http://news.tufts.edu/releases/release.php?id=68

qbrain
July 2nd, 2009, 07:30 PM
Bad breath on low-carb can be a sign of ketosis from burning protein to provide energy especially given a lack of carbohydrates.


Ketosis is a result of burning fat for energy in an environment that lacks sugar. The bad breath is a result of acetone, which is produced as a by product of burning fat without sugar.

As you might imagine, getting your body in the state is probably not fun, but if your goal is to burn fat, being in ketosis is the pinnacle of fat burning.

mbell48170
July 4th, 2009, 12:16 AM
In my opinion, Very bad idea, short term weight loss - with long term serious health risks (heart disease and cancer). Some resources for additional information about health risks of low carb/high protien "Atkins-like" diets:

www.NutritionMD.org (http://www.NutritionMD.org) and the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (www.PCRM.org (http://www.PCRM.org)) as well as the www.thecancerproject.org (http://www.thecancerproject.org) have much information on it, see http://www.nutritionmd.org/consumers/general_nutrition/low_carb_advisory.html

Dr John McDougall is another good resource on fad diet information, his site is www.drmcdougall.com (http://www.drmcdougall.com) and starting point on this topic would be his fad diet page http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_hot_highprotein.html

Dr Joel Furhman is another good site at www.drfurhman.com (http://www.drfurhman.com) and his article on the Atkins Diet and it's link to increased cancer risks is particularly well done at http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article2.aspx

Hope this helps.

Ken Cooper
July 4th, 2009, 08:00 AM
On a different note: the famous Dr. Atkins(who invented low carb) had a heart attack a couple of years before he died being severely overweight.

Dr. Adkins slipped and fell, hitting his head, landing him in the hospital. He gained weight while being feed hospital food, and not exercising. I would too.

Carbs are essential for providing energy. There are good carbs (natural) and bad carbs (processed). Eating smaller meals spread out during the day seems to be best for stabilizing the metabolism. Exercising more, and eating less is what I strive for. Although eating more and exercising less is so much easier. :afraid:

Lui
July 4th, 2009, 11:45 AM
Dr. Adkins slipped and fell, hitting his head, landing him in the hospital. He gained weight while being feed hospital food, and not exercising. I would too.



To blame his weight on the hospital food is a new twist. Do all people come out of a hospital severely obese:D
After he slipped and hit his head, he was unconscious until he died two weeks later. I doubt that he could eat much being unconscious or did they stuff him with liquid donuts?

Chris Stevenson
July 4th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Here is Snopes about Atkins' death. Seems unresolved enough that anyone can believe what they want to believe.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/doctor/atkins.asp