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Old 01-25-2013, 02:44 AM   #1
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keto-adaptation?

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keep your dietary carbohydrates low. The worst scenario is to eat some every few days -- you will set yourself back, and be in perpetual limbo. Now is not the time to experiment with your carbohydrate tolerance, or eat foods you aren't sure about the content of. Commit to a very low level of carbohydrate intake, and stay with it consistently for at least long enough to get ketone production in full force.
In laymans? Is it basically one getting used to ketosis. Reading about its usually in week 5 or 6 right?

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Old 01-25-2013, 03:54 AM   #2
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In layman's terms, keto-adaption is when your BODY (as opposed to the "you" that is able to think) becomes adapted to burning ketones (instead of glucose) as a primary source of fuel.

Ketone PRODUCTION (what's being referred to in the quote) means you're MAKING ketone bodies. Keto-ADAPTION means your body -- muscles, nerves, brain, etc -- is accustomed to burning ketone bodies, instead of looking desperately around for free glucose to burn.

How long the second one takes is hard to predict, and to at least some extent depends on how bad (carb-wise) your previous diet was, and how LONG it was bad. Basically, how long it's taking your body to overcome the insulin resistance it had developed in response to all those carbs.
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I haven't found anywhere else to track this, and am not sure how accurate my scale is, but Body fat:
10/26/2012: 39.0% 10/27/2012: 39.2%
10/28/2012: 39.3% 10/30/2012: 38.5%
10/31/2012: 38.6% 11/02/2012: 36.5%
11/03/2012: 39.1% 11/04/2012: 39.3%
11/05/2012: 39.3% 11/07/2012: 38.5%
11/10/2012: 38.9%
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:53 AM   #3
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Thanks LiterateGriffin
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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In layman's terms, keto-adaption is when your BODY (as opposed to the "you" that is able to think) becomes adapted to burning ketones (instead of glucose) as a primary source of fuel.

Ketone PRODUCTION (what's being referred to in the quote) means you're MAKING ketone bodies. Keto-ADAPTION means your body -- muscles, nerves, brain, etc -- is accustomed to burning ketone bodies, instead of looking desperately around for free glucose to burn.

How long the second one takes is hard to predict, and to at least some extent depends on how bad (carb-wise) your previous diet was, and how LONG it was bad. Basically, how long it's taking your body to overcome the insulin resistance it had developed in response to all those carbs.
The word is kind of misleading, but "keto-adaptation" is actually the point where your cell mitochondria become able to directly burn fatty acids as fuel. It isn't actually about burning ketones, although the word suggests that it is. Most of your body's cells will be able to burn either ketones or glucose from the very beginning of a low-carb diet -- most people produce and burn a small amount of ketones while they sleep at night or during sustained endurance exercise, even when their glycogen stores are relatively well-stocked. Ketones are a by-product of fat metabolism, and the human body is always processing some dietary fat or bodyfat as it does its daily work and this work produces ketones that get used by the body.

Studies of keto-adaptation show that the conversion process takes between 2-4 weeks for the average person. When carbohydrates are initially restricted, the cells are still programmed to burn glucose so the body converts about 58% of dietary protein and about 10% of dietary fat into glucose to fuel the body. During this period, the cells can and will also use ketones as fuel -- ketones are an adaptable fuel source that can be used no matter what the body's primary fuel source is.

As carbohydrate restriction continues, the cells are reprogrammed to directly burn fatty acids as fuel instead of glucose -- the fatty acids can come from dietary fat or they can come from released bodyfat. The conversion process to keto-adaptation is progressive -- each day that the dietary carbohydrate restriction continues, more cells in the body become able to directly burn fatty acids. Eventually, all of the skeletal muscle will preferentially burn fatty acids directly as fuel, while up to 75% of the brain will be fueled directly by ketones. The brain can never be fueled directly by fatty acids because fatty acids can't cross the "blood-brain barrier," but ketones can. So, in a keto-adapted fat-burning body, ketones become the primary fuel source for the brain.

A keto-adapted body actually produces fewer ketones because most of the dietary fat and bodyfat that is being used as fuel is being burned directly in its fatty acid form rather than being converted by the liver into ketones. Also notable, at least 25% of the brain can only be fueled by glucose, so the body will continue to convert a small amount of dietary protein into glucose, to feed portions of the brain, while dietary carbohydrates are restricted.

The entire conversion process to keto-adaptation typically takes 2-4 weeks, but it can take longer in bodies that are particularly insulin-resistant. In fact, in many people, some cells in the body have been metabolically damaged but other cells have not, so some cells may not become keto-adaptated until long after the rest of the body has converted.

It takes the average body at least 2-4 weeks to convert from burning glucose to directly burning fatty acids -- and there is no shortcut. However, the body can immediately convert back to primarily burning glucose from burning fatty acids, whenever the body is given enough dietary carbohydrates to put a significant amount of glucose into circulation. Plentiful glucose and raised insulin signal the body to immediately reconvert the cells, and they will again become programmed to rely on glucose as fuel. The amount of glucose it will take an individual body to end keto-adaptation depends on the metabolism of that individual body. And the process of converting back to keto-adaptation always takes at least another 2-4 weeks, every time the conversion process is halted or keto-adaptation is ended.

I know it's really *weird* that the keto-adaptation takes a long time, while the reverse process can happen instantly. But there are decades of studies of the keto-adaptation process in starving bodies, and the data consistently shows that fat storage is a higher priority in the human body than fat release.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:52 AM   #5
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Thanks Trillex. So what's is your opinion on Carb cycling? Is it useless, if you want your body to burn mostly fat. Why do so many bodybuilders do carb cycling?
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:05 AM   #6
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keto-adaptation?

My brain hurts.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:58 AM   #7
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It takes the average body at least 2-4 weeks to convert from burning glucose to directly burning fatty acids -- and there is no shortcut. However, the body can immediately convert back to primarily burning glucose from burning fatty acids, whenever the body is given enough dietary carbohydrates to put a significant amount of glucose into circulation. Plentiful glucose and raised insulin signal the body to immediately reconvert the cells, and they will again become programmed to rely on glucose as fuel. The amount of glucose it will take an individual body to end keto-adaptation depends on the metabolism of that individual body. And the process of converting back to keto-adaptation always takes at least another 2-4 weeks, every time the conversion process is halted or keto-adaptation is ended
Well therein lies the dilemma for me. Our bodies clearly prefer glucose. I guess if I'm 100% honest with myself and with you, I often wonder "what if they're right?" of those who say ketosis is dangerous when I see data like this. We have to be so very careful to stay in ketosis, watching every berry and orange yet if we eat easily from our environment like our ancestors, including fruits, all veggies and so on, we snap right back out of ketosis. Seems to me, our bodies (especially brains) have evolved to prefer glucose. What if laboriously and systematically changing that is dangerous over a very long period of time? Now my doubt is for completely keto-adaptation with little to no carbs only. I have no doubt what so ever that the current recommended American diet is horrible and we should ingest little to no wheat and processed sugar, bread and so on.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:02 AM   #8
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Thanks Trillex. So what's is your opinion on Carb cycling? Is it useless, if you want your body to burn mostly fat. Why do so many bodybuilders do carb cycling?
It's so funny that you've mentioned bodybuilders! Both of my brothers and a lot of my social circle are bodybuilders, so I am surrounded by that culture.

Bodybuilders have different goals than people who are *primarily* concerned with losing excess bodyfat -- bodybuilders need to build and maintain significant amounts of muscle while they cut fat, and they start dieting with unusually low levels of bodyfat. So there are a lot of reasons why they choose to cycle carbs while cutting bodyfat.

Number one, most of them believe they get more muscle power in the gym while they're fueled by carbohydrates. This is debatable -- the book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance makes a research-based argument that strength athletes, like bodybuilders, can be well-fueled by fat while keto-adapted. But most of the current generation of bodybuilders *feel* stronger and better able to do heavy lifting while fueled by carbs. So they include high-carb re-feeds before weight training, even while they're on a low-carb ketogenic fat-cutting diet.

But there is also the issue of down-regulation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which can negatively affect both fat cutting and muscle building in people, like bodybuilders, who have extremely low levels of bodyfat. SNS down-regulation is not a significant factor in people who have average-to-high amounts of bodyfat, but it's a frustrating stumbling block for men who are below 10-12% bodyfat and women who are below 16-20%.

Mauro di Pasquale -- a bodybuilder, bodybuilding consultant, physician, and researcher -- discovered back in the 1970s that metabolic down-regulation of SNS, which can happen as a result of heavy training or calorie restriction, can also happen during periods of carbohydrate restriction. The oldest of the old-school bodybuilding diets was a low-carb diet called "fish and water." It meant, basically, eating only low-fat tuna and drinking lots of water. It was a very effective way of cutting bodyfat but the results would stop or dramatically slow down after a couple of weeks, so it was typically only used immediately before competition. Which meant bodybuilders couldn't use it for sustained bodyfat cutting. Di Pasquale found that bodybuilders could avoid the metabolic slowdown of calorie-and-carbohydrate restriction if they cycled high amounts of carbohydrates every few days. Re-feeding carbohydrates seemed to stimulate SNS operation and, as an added benefit, up-regulate thyroid function.

Carb cycling became one of the most effective training techniques the bodybuilding world had ever seen. Bodybuilders had tried, for years, to use drugs to stop thyroid and SNS down-regulation. But drugs were never *genuinely* effective at correcting or reversing the metabolic slowdown -- the best that drugs could do was "mask" some of the negative effects, testosterone could prevent the body from catabolizing muscle tissue and supplemental T3 could prevent the metabolic rate from completely stopping fat loss. But they had no way of actually correcting the underlying problems, until they found out that *food* could fix a problem that drugs couldn't fix. So carb cycling became incredibly popular, the champions used it, and it became the default solution for bodybuilding bodyfat cutting.

Di Pasquale's program was kind of flawed in some ways, and it wasn't well coordinated with weight training regimes, so his program was tweaked by bodybuilding consultants like Dan Duchaine and Lyle McDonald to better support weight training. Now, there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of variations on carb cycling. And I think it has continued to be popular mostly because every bodybuilder knows a champion -- who has an amazing body -- who has used the technique to win competitions. Bodybuilding culture tends to be obsessed with following *proven* results, so they tend to conservatively stick with what they *know* works. This attitude, in my opinion, will make it very difficult for anyone to convince them to give up carb cycling for keto-adaptation.

Jeff Volek, who co-wrote The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance which makes a strong case for the athletic performance advantages of keto-adaptation, is a bodybuilder but I haven't been able to find any information on whether or not he actually stays keto-adapted during his bodybuilding growth cycles. And Volek co-wrote books which focus on muscle building that are, essentially, carb cycling plans, The TNT Diet and The Testosterone Advantage. So it's really difficult to find a bodybuilder who doesn't use carb cycling to some extent.

I'm not a bodybuilder -- I'm being trained 5 days per week by a bodybuilder and I'm being *advised* by my brothers and a dozen other good friends who are all bodybuilders -- but given my high level of bodyfat, none of these bodybuilders have said that I should consider carb cycling at this point. In fact, my trainer is the person who initially suggested the 2002 version of the Atkins diet to me. These guys are all dedicated carb cyclers, but they also realize that my body and goals are different enough from theirs to require a different nutritional approach. It seems to me that carb cycling and keto-adaptation are tools for which context is vitally important.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:21 AM   #9
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Well therein lies the dilemma for me. Our bodies clearly prefer glucose. I guess if I'm 100% honest with myself and with you, I often wonder "what if they're right?" of those who say ketosis is dangerous when I see data like this. We have to be so very careful to stay in ketosis, watching every berry and orange yet if we eat easily from our environment like our ancestors, including fruits, all veggies and so on, we snap right back out of ketosis. Seems to me, our bodies (especially brains) have evolved to prefer glucose. What if laboriously and systematically changing that is dangerous over a very long period of time? Now my doubt is for completely keto-adaptation with little to no carbs only. I have no doubt what so ever that the current recommended American diet is horrible and we should ingest little to no wheat and processed sugar, bread and so on.
I'm clearly not an expert in this field and I have no medical credentials -- I've just read a few books and, you know, I may not be the best person to interpret medical research data since my only legitimate research experience is in literature. But I haven't seen anything which suggests that sustained keto-adaptation is actually dangerous.

The data definitely suggests that the body *wants* to store fat. And preferentially burning glucose creates a hormonal and metabolic environment in which fat storage is *easier* -- because dietary carbohydrates can be used as fuel, while dietary fat can be reserved as storage. But storing too much bodyfat is clearly a medical threat -- hundreds of thousands of people each year, in America alone, die of obesity-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease and complications related to diabetes. So the body's willingness to store fat may be natural, but it may not necessarily be the best approach to long-term good health.

And I tend to agree with you that just eliminating processed foods might be enough to achieve better health outcomes and even lose some bodyfat. My dad has several friends -- who are sedentary middle-aged men who have given up processed foods without going on a specific diet -- and they've lost weight and improved all of their major health markers for chronic disease. To me, it seems like the best approach for each individual is to find out what they are willing to do with regard to their long-term eating and what they want to achieve with regard to their diets. But that's just my opinion, it's not really founded on anything more concrete that my personal observations.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:26 AM   #10
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Well therein lies the dilemma for me. Our bodies clearly prefer glucose. I guess if I'm 100% honest with myself and with you, I often wonder "what if they're right?" of those who say ketosis is dangerous when I see data like this. We have to be so very careful to stay in ketosis, watching every berry and orange yet if we eat easily from our environment like our ancestors, including fruits, all veggies and so on, we snap right back out of ketosis. Seems to me, our bodies (especially brains) have evolved to prefer glucose. What if laboriously and systematically changing that is dangerous over a very long period of time? Now my doubt is for completely keto-adaptation with little to no carbs only. I have no doubt what so ever that the current recommended American diet is horrible and we should ingest little to no wheat and processed sugar, bread and so on.
I don't think we evolved away from ketones to glucose - they were always mutually available energy sources.

The science is clear that ketosis is safe for everyone without a health condition - that is, normal healthy people are not endangered by ketosis.

Our ancestors didn't have Tom Thumb. Or modern agri-biz. Or modern fruit that are usually just colorful sugar bombs.

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Old 01-25-2013, 12:06 PM   #11
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Wow, do you ever know a lot! But just curious, about the carb cycling. So the three days when you are on the low carb days, you are switching to ketosis, but not "keto-adapted" because that takes 2-4 weeks for your body. But then when BBers do a refeed the body then switches to burning glucose for fuel. Is the idea to "trick" the body into thinking it is getting enough fuel so it doesn't need to go into SNS downregulation? Is that the idea behind it. Because is you go into a "keto-adapted" state, I am assuming your body think its starving and therefore doesn't want to give up its fat stores. Is that what is meant by "starvation mode?" Does switching to the glucose mode help prevent this?
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abby! View Post
Well therein lies the dilemma for me. Our bodies clearly prefer glucose. I guess if I'm 100% honest with myself and with you, I often wonder "what if they're right?" of those who say ketosis is dangerous when I see data like this. We have to be so very careful to stay in ketosis, watching every berry and orange yet if we eat easily from our environment like our ancestors, including fruits, all veggies and so on, we snap right back out of ketosis. Seems to me, our bodies (especially brains) have evolved to prefer glucose. What if laboriously and systematically changing that is dangerous over a very long period of time? Now my doubt is for completely keto-adaptation with little to no carbs only. I have no doubt what so ever that the current recommended American diet is horrible and we should ingest little to no wheat and processed sugar, bread and so on.
Actually, Taubes explains this pretty simply, but in a way that kinda casts some light on things.

Too much glucose is toxic in the bloodstream. This is why an untreated Type 1 diabetic will DIE without insulin.

So the body's "preferential" metabolism of glucose can be accurately viewed as the body trying to keep glucose from reaching toxic concentrations.

It was like a lightbulb went off. lol (Mind you, I've never once worried about the safety of ketosis. But that explained things in a light I hadn't considered before.)
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:12 PM   #13
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Another way to look at it is, that our bodies clearly want to 'deal' with glucose (i.e. move it out of our system) in much the same way, it deals with alcohol. It will preferentially deal with that before carbohydrates or ketones. I think it could be a case of what is more harmful.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abby! View Post
Well therein lies the dilemma for me. Our bodies clearly prefer glucose. I guess if I'm 100% honest with myself and with you, I often wonder "what if they're right?" of those who say ketosis is dangerous when I see data like this. We have to be so very careful to stay in ketosis, watching every berry and orange yet if we eat easily from our environment like our ancestors, including fruits, all veggies and so on, we snap right back out of ketosis. Seems to me, our bodies (especially brains) have evolved to prefer glucose. What if laboriously and systematically changing that is dangerous over a very long period of time? Now my doubt is for completely keto-adaptation with little to no carbs only. I have no doubt what so ever that the current recommended American diet is horrible and we should ingest little to no wheat and processed sugar, bread and so on.
The environment that our ancestors ate from--in terms of the human species--made fruit available only for a few months of the year, before winter hit (and when it made sense for our bodies to store fat for the coming cold weather and limited food supply). The fruit that we eat today is shipped in from South America and California and all over the world, is available year round, and has been bred to be much sweeter than wild fruits and berries.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:07 PM   #15
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Wow, do you ever know a lot! But just curious, about the carb cycling. So the three days when you are on the low carb days, you are switching to ketosis, but not "keto-adapted" because that takes 2-4 weeks for your body. But then when BBers do a refeed the body then switches to burning glucose for fuel. Is the idea to "trick" the body into thinking it is getting enough fuel so it doesn't need to go into SNS downregulation? Is that the idea behind it. Because is you go into a "keto-adapted" state, I am assuming your body think its starving and therefore doesn't want to give up its fat stores. Is that what is meant by "starvation mode?" Does switching to the glucose mode help prevent this?
I'm glad you're interested in this because I am SO fascinated by this stuff! I didn't fully appreciate the complex beauty of the human body until I started reading about metabolism -- we are all amazing instruments of life, every one of us is just incredible inside. I know that sounds kind of touchy-feely, but it's true!

There are two *main* schools of bodybuilding carb cycling.

"Cyclical ketogenic diets" (CKD), in which bodybuilders eat very low-carb most days of the week (some CKDs don't even allow vegetables on low-carb days, trying to keep the carb count as close to zero as possible), they "re-feed" carbs the day before the following weight-training workout day in order to re-fill the glycogen stores. Some programs have very specific re-feed formulas, based on lean body mass, while others are less precise. But the goal of the carb re-feed is to give the body glycogen to use during weight training and, by raising the body's insulin level, to create an "anabolic" (muscle growing) environment that the weight training can take advantage of. Insulin is one of the hormones that feeds nutrients into muscle cells, so most bodybuilders believe it is an essential anabolic hormone for premium muscle protein synthesis and growth.

Also, the goal of the CKD weight training workout -- which is typically a full-body circuit that works each muscle group in the body to exhaustion -- is to deplete the stored muscle glycogen that was fed into the system during the re-feed so that, when they return to ketogenic eating following the "depletion" workout, glycogen will be largely depleted and the body will quickly re-enter ketosis. So, on a CKD, the body is in ketosis *most* days of the week -- there are typically two workouts per week and two re-feed days that precede the workouts -- but the cyclical nature of the diet doesn't allow the body enough time to become keto-adapted, in that the cells don't have enough time to be re-programmed to directly burn fatty acids.

The other main bodybuilding carb cycling approach is the "targeted ketogenic diet" (TKD), in which most of each day is very low-carb but on workout days -- and only on workout days -- the first meal of the day is high in carbohydrates, to re-feed glycogen into muscle storage before training, and the bodybuilder will typically take a high-carb protein shake directly before the workout. The reasons for this are pretty much the same as for a CKD -- to give the muscles glycogen stores to use during the workout and to create an anabolic hormonal environment for muscle protein synthesis and growth.

Unlike CKDs, TKDs don't have full-day carb re-feeds. And TKD workout regimes are not necessarily full-body glycogen depletion workouts, and they may allow weight-training workouts as many as 3-4 times per week. This approach is often called "nutrient timing," because the macronutrient class of carbohydrates is "timed" to be fed into the body at specific points in order to support a specific training goal. But the main nutritional goal is to keep blood glucose levels and insulin levels low throughout most of each day.

The re-feeds -- whether from CKD or TKD approaches -- stop SNS and thyroid hormone down-regulation in bodybuilders. This has been proven by bodybuilding practice since the 1970s and is supported by clinical research. But the actual mechanism behind the up-regulation action of carb re-feeds is unclear and has been difficult to prove because so many metabolic sub-systems and disparate hormones are involved.

SNS down-regulation *seems* to be more closely related to the body's hormone receptors than to a direct protection mechanism against starvation. The "catecholamine" hormones -- particularly epinephrine and nor-epinephrine -- stimulate the metabolism and support SNS operation, and the systemic level of these hormones is actually a lot *higher* during low-carbohydrate/low-insulin periods HOWEVER, after a few days or weeks depending on the individual metabolism, low-fat bodies appear to adapt and down-regulate SNS and thyroid hormone function despite the initially stimulating effect of the catecholamines. Obesity studies don't show this happening, to any significant degree, in bodies that have normal-to-large amounts of bodyfat. But when the body has extremely low levels of bodyfat at the start of a diet, these low-fat human bodies very *efficiently* down-regulate SNS and thyroid hormone function and preserve stored bodyfat.

Early clinical studies, from the 1980s, that tried to isolate the mechanisms behind SNS down-regulation and up-regulation actually found hormone receptors that no one knew existed before this research. These studies, in obese bodies, used drugs that "blocked" the known adrenergic receptors and kept the catecholamines from attaching to their sympathetic receptors -- expecting the related metabolic systems to quickly down-regulate as a result -- but they found additional receptors, called "beta-3" receptors, that the drugs didn't/wouldn't block.

These beta-3 adrenergic receptors are mainly located in fatty tissue, so it is believed that people who have large stores of bodyfat have more of these adrenergic receptors so they are less likely to suffer SNS down-regulation because the beta-3 receptors are not prone to down-regulation the way that other beta adrenergic receptors are. So high levels of the catecholamines in circulation during ketosis, or even while the body is completely fasted and deprived of food, appear to be enough to keep the metabolism operating at essentially normal levels in obese bodies. Blood tests also show that other hormone systems -- including the prostaglandins, cAMP, adenosine, g-proteins, and adenalyte cyclase -- were stimulated and increased by some underlying mechanism even when the primary adrenergic receptors were blocked -- but there are so many different systems involved that it's difficult to pinpoint *why* this happens, although research shows that it *does* happen. But this hormonal adaptation doesn't seem to happen in low-fat bodies, such as in bodybuilders who are trying to cut from low levels of bodyfat (around 10% bodyfat) to competition-levels of bodyfat (around 3%). Less bodyfat seems to correlate with fewer beta-3 receptors.

There is a class of drugs called "beta adrenergic agonists" that *can* stimulate SNS function, but they haven't been proven to be as effective in low-fat bodies as a simple carbohydrate re-feed. The most effective form of these drugs was a compound of ephedrine and caffeine, which was a "non-selective agonist" that could stimulate all of the adrenergic receptors, but that compound had side effects that led to potentially dangerous complications related to blood pressure regulation so the drug has been banned for use in weight loss formulas in most developed nations, including the US.

With regard to starvation, almost all of the early keto-adaptation studies actually come from medical research into starvation -- researchers completely deprived the study participants of all food sources and then studied the metabolic changes that occurred. Starvation research provided the initial information on the process and time-period of keto-adaptation, showing how and when the body becomes adapted to preferentially burning fats as fuel instead of glucose.

Because these starvation study participants were completely deprived of all food sources, the period before keto-adaptation broke down significant amounts of muscle protein and converted it to glucose to be burned as fuel, until the skeletal muscles were re-programmed to directly and preferentially burn fatty acids. This is one of the reasons people die of starvation even when their bodies have substantial stores of bodyfat -- muscle protein, including muscle tissue from the heart and other organs, is broken down to produce glucose during the period before the body becomes keto-adapted. Not only is this loss of muscle tissue dangerous, especially muscle protein breakdown in the organs, but the body's potassium levels can be dangerously depleted when muscle protein is broken down, and the related loss of potassium can lead to dangerously irregular heart function.

This starvation research is directly applicable to ketogenic dieting because ketogenic diets that eliminate dietary carbohydrates as the body's primary fuel source *mimic* the hormonal and metabolic adaptations to fasting, in which the cells are reprogrammed to burn fat instead of glucose -- BUT the body receives enough fuel in the form of protein and fat on a ketogenic diet to significantly avoid the muscle wasting effects of complete starvation and also to avoid the dangerous depletion of potassium.

There is no evidence, though, that the body activates "starvation protocol" during the carbohydrate restriction of a ketogenic diet -- especially in obese bodies. It simply takes an adjustment period for the body to re-program the cells to burn a different source of fuel. The human body specifically stores bodyfat to burn during sustained periods of fuel deprivation, so the body is inherently programmed to be fed by stored bodyfat. It's just that, as other posters have already pointed out, the body will preferentially burn dietary carbohydrates as fuel when carbohydrates are fed to the body.

The hormonal adaptations and metabolic down-regulation that bodybuilders -- and anyone who tries to cut below an already very-low level of bodyfat -- *is* clearly related to the human body's physical protections against death by starvation, so low-fat individuals definitely have to use metabolic *tricks* to force the body to release its minimal stores of bodyfat. The carb re-feeds and the related workouts are a *tricky* technique to cut bodyfat and build muscle mass in the same way that bodybuilding supplementation with thyroid hormones or testosterone are tricky techniques to achieve specific physical outcomes. But the complicated systems that are involved in the body's metabolic adjustments make it difficult to determine exactly *why* carb re-feeds are an effective tool to reverse SNS and thyroid hormone down-regulation. It's relatively easy to see why supplements and drugs help bodybuilders achieve certain physical outcomes -- because research can isolate the pathways that drugs take and can identify the mechanisms that they activate. But *food* affects so many complicated and disparate systems, it's difficult to simplify the process and identify the underlying mechanisms.

The available evidence suggests that people who want to cut *excess* bodyfat don't need carb re-feeds to cut bodyfat because they don't seem to suffer from the same metabolic down-regulation problems that are experienced by dieters who have low starting rates of bodyfat. But Chris Powell -- who is a trainer who has spent years specializing in helping super-obese individuals lose their excess bodyfat and achieve *healthy* levels of bodyfat -- recommends a type of carb cycling that he claims helps obese bodies lose fat more quickly and effectively.

Powell recommends a system of "cycling" carbs every other day -- one day of meat and carbohydrates only in the form of Atkins-induction-type fibrous veggies, followed by one day of meat and fibrous veggies along with slow-burning starches like sweet potatoes or brown rice. Powell's work with the super-obese -- some of whom he has helped to lose from 200-300 pounds of excess bodyfat -- he claims has shown him that this form of carb cycling works faster and is more targeted to fat loss than other dietary approaches. In his book, Choose to Lose, Powell says this approach increases the metabolic rate in obese bodies. I'm not sure that there is any clinical research that backs up this claim, but Powell has an excellent track record for helping super-obese individuals quickly lose a lot of bodyfat, and he has professional bodyfat scans of his clients so he has proven that these individuals do lose bodyfat without significantly sacrificing lean muscle tissue.

But, it should be noted, Powell also has his clients do gym workouts that are extremely intense and that involve the type of weight training regimes that bodybuilders use, and that the high-carb days on his program precede weight-training days. So his approach *could* be interpreted as simply putting super-obese individuals onto a bodybuilding cyclical diet, and there's no research evidence which shows that this is a necessary approach. But Powell is an expert on physically training the super-obese to do the extraordinary work of cutting bodyfat from dangerously-high levels of bodyfat down to healthy/normal levels. So future research might prove that he's right about carb cycling as a solution for obese dieters.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:21 PM   #16
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The environment that our ancestors ate from--in terms of the human species--made fruit available only for a few months of the year, before winter hit (and when it made sense for our bodies to store fat for the coming cold weather and limited food supply). The fruit that we eat today is shipped in from South America and California and all over the world, is available year round, and has been bred to be much sweeter than wild fruits and berries.

So going of this our ancestors would have been kicked out of ketosis (keto adaption) during the months of eating fruit and I am pretty sure they also would eat some kind of plants foods (Carbs) cooked up soups etc during the rest of the year which means again they would have been out of ketosis, so wouldn't this basically mean our ancestors would have very unlikely been in ketosis most of the time more likely not going of logic?
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:10 PM   #17
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Another way to look at it is, that our bodies clearly want to 'deal' with glucose... It will preferentially deal with that before carbohydrates or ketones. I think it could be a case of what is more harmful.
Carbohydrates are -- essentially -- glucose. The process of breaking them down into glucose happens very quickly, and starts with saliva. They are effectively the same thing.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:16 PM   #18
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Diego,

In most hunter-gather societies that have survived long enough for their diets to be observed and recorded, produce of any kind makes up a VERY small portion of their diet -- something along the lines of 10-25%, often LESS than that. The rest is animal products (meat, eggs, etc).

It is these societies -- rather than agricultural societies -- that are most likely to represent the way our ancestors ate, simply because agriculture is such a new development in terms of human evolution.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:33 AM   #19
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Just listened to a podcast on Jimmy Moores he done with Mark Sisson someone asked
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Can excess protein at any one meal bring you out of ketosis? If so how much is too much?
They mentioned Dr Stephen Phinney said it takes 2 weeks and more likely 4 to 6 weeks to get back into keto-adaption Mark didn't however agree with this and thought more like a few days since your body is used to being keto-adapted.

Would be interested in low carb members here who have had days where they have eaten extra carbs and how long did it take to get back into keto-adaption do you agree with Dr Phinney or Mark.

Also I have read here getting back into ketosis takes few days only 3-4 but is there a difference between getting back into being keto-adapted and what is the difference between the two?

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:58 AM   #20
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Diego, your last question is the first one answered in this thread?

And the question you quote asks about ketosis, but the only answers given are about keto-adaptation?

You've really got me confused....
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:40 AM   #21
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Thanks so much Trillex. Things are making a lot more sense to me now. So by SNS downregulation, it means basically, the slowing down of ones metabolism. So if the metabolism slows down then the BBer can't build muscle? But they would still be able to burn off body fat wouldn't they as long as they are receiving "food." Am I correct, because you wouldn't go into starvation mode if your body is receiving fuel. Or does this not matter if they are eating below maintenance. I would think the body would just burn off any fat that they would have on them. Even individuals who have low BF would still have fat on them to burn in the case of food shortage. Provided that their bodies know how to convert fat to fuel. Which is the basis behind keto-adaption.

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:43 AM   #22
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Diego, your last question is the first one answered in this thread?

And the question you quote asks about ketosis, but the only answers given are about keto-adaptation?

You've really got me confused....
Yep seen your answer sorry what i was trying to ask is why the difference between the two Mark and Phiney one is saying few days while other is saying 4 to 6 weeks even if you been keto-adapted for a while.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:45 AM   #23
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Carbohydrates are -- essentially -- glucose. The process of breaking them down into glucose happens very quickly, and starts with saliva. They are effectively the same thing.
I guess my post was unclear. What I was saying was the body appears to deal with toxins first (i.e. alcohol) and it may be a case of the body dealing with carbs (glucose) for the same reason. It is attempting to rid itself of toxins and not 'preferring' them as fuel.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:19 AM   #24
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article i read by Dr Jan Kwasniewski regarding ketogenic diets


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Jan Kwasniewski, a Polish physician who has designed a low carb diet which he calls Optimal Nutrition, has written that one should eat enough carbohydrate to avoid heavy ketosis, as it can cause the release of extra cortisol, with then has the unintended effect of causing thyroid issues in converting T4 hormone to T3 hormone. This post at Hyperlipid discusses Kwasniewski and ketosis.

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In my personal experience, I feel the best when my carb intake is between 20-40 carbs. If I get under 15 carbs a day for a few days, I start to feel kind of weak, my blood pressure goes up, and weirdly, I retain water. Once I add in a little carb from green vegetables or a couple of bites of potato, I feel better.

This is a bit confusing to me as many say ketosis is ketosis its all the same little ketosis or heavy ketosis is basically the same thing so going of this write up being in heavy ketosis is not ideal.

Another thing about ketogenic diets is studies show complications of cardiac arrhythmia.

I read some studies on this but im not that educated to understand them so thought i post this write up and see what others have to say here.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:39 AM   #25
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Dr. J. Kwasniewski has a lot of great information but he (and some other low carb practitioners) are not ketogenic but low carb. There is a difference and their work reflects that.

I have not seen any studies that correlate ketosis with cardiac arrhythmia - not saying they don't exist but it is impossible to determine the validity without the study. Perhaps you could provide a link?

It is my understanding that healthy individuals will do very well on a ketoginic diet indefinitely provided they take care to have enough sodium, potassium and eat enough, particularly in the initial phases.

I have also read the assertion that long term ketosis can put undo stress on the adrenals but have yet to see any reliable scientific literature. I think that is a hypothesis at best at this time.

A person can find any # of supportive 'information' on the internet to support anything - anything! What is important is to learn to discern the 'quality' of the information.

Quote:
In my personal experience, I feel the best when my carb intake is between 20-40 carbs. If I get under 15 carbs a day for a few days, I start to feel kind of weak, my blood pressure goes up, and weirdly, I retain water. Once I add in a little carb from green vegetables or a couple of bites of potato, I feel better.
This is a perfect example of someone who is becoming keto adapted but does not have the knowledge to increase sodium (drink bone broth) and 'resolves' it by going out of ketosis rather than allowing the body to convert and feel the benefits of ketosis.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:23 AM   #26
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This is a bit confusing to me as many say ketosis is ketosis its all the same little ketosis or heavy ketosis is basically the same thing so going of this write up being in heavy ketosis is not ideal.
It depends on the context of light/heavy which are misnomers I think.

For an Atkins type LC'r, light and heavy refers to the urine stick and generally speaking if it is reading ketosis then it really doesn't matter if it is dark colored or not because urine excretion of ketones is heavily dependent on other factors like: body's efficient use of ketones, amount of fluid taken in, how much you have been expelling moisture through your breath, eyes and sweat, etc.

So in that context ketosis is ketosis is ketosis.

For an NK'r doing blood testing, light and heavy is a different animal and it actually does have an impact. Dr. Phinney said of the 0.5 to 3.0 range of blood ketones that the higher on the scale the more efficient your body is using fat for fuel. Since testing blood ketones is (apparently) heavily recommended in the Performance book his statement makes a lot of sense when viewed as an athlete that wants maximum performance.

For an NK'r not doing blood testing, like me, ketosis is ketosis is ketosis
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:38 AM   #27
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This is a perfect example of someone who is becoming keto adapted but does not have the knowledge to increase sodium (drink bone broth) and 'resolves' it by going out of ketosis rather than allowing the body to convert and feel the benefits of ketosis.
I thought keto-adaption took place when below 50g a day of carbs. How is keeping your intake between 20 and 40g coming out of ketosis?
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:29 PM   #28
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Thanks so much Trillex. Things are making a lot more sense to me now. So by SNS downregulation, it means basically, the slowing down of ones metabolism. So if the metabolism slows down then the BBer can't build muscle? But they would still be able to burn off body fat wouldn't they as long as they are receiving "food." Am I correct, because you wouldn't go into starvation mode if your body is receiving fuel. Or does this not matter if they are eating below maintenance. I would think the body would just burn off any fat that they would have on them. Even individuals who have low BF would still have fat on them to burn in the case of food shortage. Provided that their bodies know how to convert fat to fuel. Which is the basis behind keto-adaption.
You're totally right! It's just that the situation becomes SUPER complicated by some hormone adjustments that the human body makes in response to additional fat loss in these very low-fat bodies.

Plus, it's very important to note that bodybuilders are trying to do two major things that *normal* human bodies don't do: they're trying to reduce their bodyfat to an *abnormally* low level, and they're trying to increase muscle mass to an *abnormally* large size. The body has internal regulating systems that work against efforts to achieve these *abnormal* levels of fat or muscle mass. The situation is further complicated because bodybuilders try to achieve both of these goals at the same time while they're on "cutting" diets -- but lowering bodyfat and increasing muscle mass, generally, rely on *opposite* hormonal states inside the body.

Bodybuilders have learned, through practice and experimentation, that the body's level of energy expenditure isn't constant so they can't rely on a consistent caloric deficit to produce a consistent rate of fat loss. So, even though low-fat bodybuilders *technically* still have available bodyfat to burn, the body takes measures against burning that remaining fat. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the major reasons is because the majority of the remaining bodyfat on a body that's below 5% is the "insulating" fat that cushions and protects the organs. Reducing this insulating layer of fat is perceived by the body as a threat to the organs.

SNS and thyroid function are part of a larger system of metabolic regulation that can significantly change the way that the entire body uses and expends energy. Thyroid hormones can stimulate muscle cells to produce or require more energy, or they can down-regulate and reduce the amount of energy that the body expends on movement and basic maintenance. As part of this system of metabolic management, thyroid hormones play a role in regulating body temperature so, if this hormonal system signals the body to reserve bodyfat by reducing energy expenditure, the body will down-regulate body temperature and greatly reduce the amount of calories that the body expends on basic maintenance. As a result, the body will require far fewer calories to do the same basic work and the body's stores of fat can be reserved.

Bodybuilders have tried to counteract this systemic response by taking supplemental thyroid hormones but supplementing thyroid hormones from an outside source, while the system is actively trying to down-regulate thyroid production, further suppresses the body's natural production of thyroid hormones and actually decreases energy expenditure rather than increasing it. So although supplemental thyroid drugs have always been a popular approach to cutting bodyfat, it isn't the most effective approach for extreme bodyfat cutting in very low-fat bodies. Before the 1970s and 1980s, bodybuilders thought it was impossible -- for people who weren't "metabolically gifted" -- to get to a level below 4-5% bodyfat because the metabolism dramatically shuts down energy expenditure when the body reaches that extreme low-fat level. Carb re-feeding up-regulates both SNS and thyroid function, reversing the metabolic slow down, so bodybuilders became able to "cut" to 3% while cycling -- in the past, a *few* champions had been able to cut that low while using extreme amounts of drugs, but now it's common to cut that low. (To be completely honest, they're still using drugs at championship level. But that's a whole other issue!)

The other side of the equation is muscle maintenance and growth. A substance called "growth hormone" (GH) works with a class of substances called "insulin-like growth factors" (IGF) to synthesize muscle protein and *grow* muscle size. GH levels are typically higher during ketogenic periods because the absence of insulin allows a higher systemic level of GH. *HOWEVER*, IGF levels depend on the presence of insulin so they are typically much lower while insulin levels are low. GH and IGF work together in a "synergistic link" to increase muscle mass, so both hormone groups are necessary to produce an ideal hormonal environment that will support the large amount of muscle growth that bodybuilders are trying to achieve.

Bodybuilding ketogenic diets *preserve* muscle mass. Although bodybuilders who do "cyclical" diets don't reach the point where they become keto-adapted and the skeletal muscle becomes able to directly burn fatty acids in a way that reserves the majority of their protein intake for muscle protein maintenance, most bodybuilding diets use a protein-feeding formula that supplies a sufficient amount of protein for both fuel (which allows some of the protein to be converted to glucose) and for muscle maintenance. So they can actively preserve muscle mass during their ketogenic periods.

But muscle mass *preservation* isn't the same thing as muscle mass *growth*. Ketogenic dieting produces what is essentially a "catabolic" state. "Catabolism" refers to the breakdown of body tissues -- whether those tissues are muscle protein or bodyfat. Bodybuilding ketogenic diets have been proven to largely preserve muscle protein -- this has been studied by testing the "nitrogen excretion" of bodybuilders during ketogenic periods. However, the hormone balance that is produced by the physical changes of a ketogenic diet raise the body's level of catabolic hormones -- which is why bodybuilders use these diets to "cut" bodyfat, because the catabolic hormones very effectively work to breakdown bodyfat -- and the resulting catabolic hormonal environment is not considered an ideal environment for muscle growth.

The "catecholamines" -- primarily epinephrine and norepinephrine -- are raised during ketogenic periods, which has a great effect on fat loss. But the same adrenal action that raises epinephrine and norepinephrine, and that allows higher systemic concentrations of those hormones, also raises the systemic level of cortisol, which is counter-productive to protein synthesis. One of cortisol's main functions in the body is "gluconeogenisis" (the process of breaking down fats and proteins to convert their constituent parts into glucose) and, as a result, high systemic levels of cortisol interfere with the processes of muscle synthesis that promote muscle growth.

So although the ketogenic periods are highly-valued by bodybuilders for their ability to *preserve* muscle mass while cutting fat, they are not considered the ideal environment for *growing* maximum muscle size. The high-carb re-feeds of bodybuilding ketogenic diets reduce the level of "catabolic" hormones and raise the level of "anabolic" hormones. Although, as noted earlier, GH is higher during the ketogenic periods, GH is still present during the anabolic periods and is more effective after the carb re-feed because IGF levels are increased and these two components work together to grow muscle mass.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:22 PM   #29
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I have not seen any studies that correlate ketosis with cardiac arrhythmia - not saying they don't exist but it is impossible to determine the validity without the study. Perhaps you could provide a link? I have also read the assertion that long term ketosis can put undo stress on the adrenals but have yet to see any reliable scientific literature. I think that is a hypothesis at best at this time.
Cardiac complications in pediatric patients on the ketogenic diet


Article abstract Cardiac complications of the ketogenic diet, in the absence of selenium deficiency, have not been reported. Twenty patients on the ketogenic diet at one institution were investigated. Prolonged QT interval (QTc) was found in 3 patients (15%). There was a significant correlation between prolonged QTc and both low serum bicarbonate and high beta-hydroxybutyrate. In addition, three patients had evidence of cardiac chamber enlargement. One patient with severe dilated cardiomyopathy and prolonged QTc normalized when the diet was discontinued.

I don't really understand all these abstracts but if you try Google Scholar some info there.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:49 PM   #30
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I would take pediatric studies with a huge grain of salt. Kids are put on ketogenic diets to control seizures that are otherwise uncontrollable. Until all of those factors are controlled for, they may very well be telling you something considerably different than what it sounds like they are telling you.

(BTW, Trillex, I'm enjoying your posts immensely. Thank you!)
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