- Lose Weight
- Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
- Improve Performance
- Have nearly unlimited energy stores
- Basically never bonk again during an endurance including an ultra marathon or Ironman
- Build lean muscle
- Have better mental focus
- Eliminate hunger and cravings
- And More
Well it's not new, it's been around for a really long time. It's just something I have NEVER considered before. A low carbohydrate/sugar and high fat diet. Think Atkins - I guess. I never really read that much about the Atkins diet, but I imagine it's similar. It is known at the Ketogenic diet. You restrict carbs to around 20 to 30 a day and get the majority of your calories from fats - including olive oil, avocados, and coconut oils and butters just to name a few. It does allow for moderate fruit and most vegetables besides starchy or root vegetables like potatoes and corn. By restricting the carbohydrate intake you induce nutritional ketosis - where your body starts using it's fat stores (basically unlimited) instead of glycogen stores for fuel.
As an endurance athlete I have been programmed to believe that carbs are good. Carbs are required to maintain glycogen stores. Once you run out of glycogen you bonk right? So you keep ingesting carbs all throughout an event, which often leads to stomach upset and other problems.
Anyway, I'm not here to sell anyone on this. Frankly, I am not sure I am sold on it. But I am intrigued, very intrigued and I am willing to give it a try for a month to see what it's all about. So, I just thought I'd share what I was learning with you. I am always intrigued by the science of our bodies.
I have always believed in a diet of moderation. I eat mostly whole foods with lots of fruits, veggies, lean means and slow release carbs like quinoa, steel cut oats and brown rice, etc. I allow myself treats too. Unfortunately my "treats" have been far too frequent lately. And my diet is not on the right track right now. I've been eating a lot of sugar and carbs...way too much. I did to break the cycle.
So I knew I needed to start cutting back on them. So about a month ago, I did low carb for a week kind of hoping to break the sugar/carb cycle and then slowly let them back in - I let them back in the minute I was done. In the meantime, I have been reading a lot about the connection between sugar and carbs and cancer. Did you know that many cancers actually feed on sugar? That's what they give cancer cells in lab tests to get them to grow - glucose. Scary.
I also found out about a friend of mine who was moving to this low carb/high fat diet. Why was she doing it? She has breast cancer. She is foregoing traditional chemotherapy and radiation and treating her condition with diet. She is under the care of a doctor. It is believed that without glucose in the system for cancer cells to feed on you can basically "starve" the cancer and therefore eliminate it.
There is tons of information out there on this, but here is on article if you are interested. I also just finished reading "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" which basically talks about how/why low carb can be used effectively for endurance athletes (available on Amazon). It was a super quick read - a bit technical, but I thought it had some really good information.
If I try to share everything with you here this will end up being very lengthy, so I will just start with this and share more with you during my journey. I have decided to give this a try for the next four weeks. It takes your body approximately 2 to 3 weeks to "adapt" and get into what is known as nutritional ketosis. I'm not sure this will be a complete lifestyle change for me forever, but I am hoping it will help me eliminate the unnecessary sugars and carbs from my diet in the future. But who knows, this could be the one thing that works for me. I do believe every body is different.
Has anyone out there ever done the low carbohydrate thing for any real length of time while also training/racing? I'd love to hear feedback from people.
Until then, I'll keep you posted! Today is day 1!