Metabolic Flexibility - Get Real

(Bob M) #80

It’s also possible that your goals aren’t the same as other people’s goals. For instance, if your goal is to gain a lot of muscle mass, maybe some carbs are useful? Not everyone’s goal is that, though. My goal is to work out without getting reinjured.

(Ken) #81

Much of that is extremely ecosystem dependent. And once you throw seasonal effects in, not only growing seasons but animal migrations affected by them it becomes very subjective. So, at times, and in suitable locations, plants were available to be gathered and consumed. Consumption was probably no where near the levels of the agricultural era beginning with the Neolithic, but to say it.didn’t happen at all is incorrect.

(Joey) #82

@Justin_Jordan I enjoyed this post of yours. The snippet (above) made me wonder if a “hedonistic” urge reflects an evolutionary mechanism at work - i.e., something tastes really good for a good reason.

When a food is particularly tasty, there’s a better-than-even chance that we evolved to eat more of it while it’s available.

During those fleeting seasons when honey, berries and other fruits were to be found (before the winter frost) they served as perfect sources for energy and prompted the fat/protein in our diet to get stashed away, bulking us up in advance of the winter. (Contrast this with toxins, many of which make us recoil at the smell or taste.)

Of course, we all know the problem… Given today’s perennial fruit/produce section at the grocery, today most Western eaters are bulking up 12 months a year for the “food winter” that never comes. Ooops.

Don’t get me wrong … I don’t really miss American-style carbs a bit. I’m thoroughly loving my WOE (around 20g/day of net carbs, all of which are extraneous from red wine, veggies, nuts, eggs, etc.).

Still, I’m a fan of moderate hedonism. As such, I won’t rule out incorporating sensible amounts of non-manufactured carbs at some point - even if only to relish the range of flavors. :stuck_out_tongue:

[Don’t knock hedonism until you’ve tried it.]

(Justin Jordan) #83

AND we’ve made food hyperpalatable, too. Particularly processed food, but fruits and veggies as well.


Once I made the determination I achieved “flexibility” and started monitoring things again and noticed my sugars weren’t across the map post “Bad” meal I connected those same two dots!

I got the same problem, I’m direct and to the point and don’t sugar coat, my wife informs me that I’m just an asshole. I like me :grin:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #85

I do not and have never claimed that humans did not eat carbohydrates. What I try to get folks to realize is that the amount of nutrition possible to obtain from Pleistocene flora was so dilute as to be pretty much not worth the effort to find it and eat it. I’m not saying our ancestors didn’t do so regardless.

(Doug) #86

A question for everybody - when we say “physiological insulin resistance” - what are we picturing as happening?

Fabia, prior to this, I’d thought of physiological insulin resistance as when the fat cells are at capacity or very close to it - really full of fat, and they “don’t want” to take in any more. This is opposed to the “non-physical” insulin resistance, which I’d call metabolic/chemical (or something like that; not really sure :smile:).

If muscles are running on ketones, then it makes sense that they don’t need glucose the way they do on a higher-carb diet - thus they will be somewhat resistant to insulin. The brain - I thought most of it runs fine on ketones (actually better than on glucose). There are parts of the brain that have to have glucose - I think it mostly comes down to the cells that don’t have mitochondria - but while I don’t have hard numbers on this I think it’s ~25%.

If a keto diet makes some of our tissues more resistant to insulin, this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me, since overall insulin levels are lower than while eating substantial portions of carbs in the diet. What do you think?

I’ve also got another question about that study - it says that “Switching to the KD (ketogenic diet) was associated with increased cholesterol and inflammatory markers, decreased triglycerides and decreased insulin-mediated anti-lipolysis.”

That last part seems complicated to me. Okay - lipolysis (fat-burning) is what a lot of us are after. So, “anti-lipolysis” would be a bad thing, in that context, and higher levels of insulin are known to reduce fat burning/block off our fat stores. If eating keto decreases the amount that insulin causes anti-lipolysis, then good, right?

Ilana, same question - what do you think is happening at the cellular level, there? Feeling like a ‘walking zombie’ sounds like a low energy level to me - and it makes sense that the cells need more energy, but would they really “reject” glucose in the relative absence of ketones? I’m not disagreeing with your experience, just wondering. Once fat-adapted, it’s easy for me to go to fasting or eating strict keto, and also to eat carbs, going the other way. I can definitely eat myself into a “food coma,” just like the bad old days, but the next day don’t feel bad.


Pleistocene flora in North America or Europe?

Europe has an abundance of wild edible nuts and seafood.

I haven’t seen a single piece of neuroscience that indicates that eating land animals increases neurogenesis. Eating their brains perhaps?

People on this forum needing magnesium supplements indicates that meat lacks magnesium but I am open to any research which indicates wild meat contains magnesium comparable to seafood and nuts.

(mole person) #88

Phinney distinguishes between two types of insulin resistance. One that is bad, the one related to full fat cells he calls ‘pathologic insulin resistance’. This is a serious medical condition.

However, when people on a keto diet become fat adapted part of the adaptation is that the cells in their body that don’t need the glucose (which is now far less available) start to reject it so as to preserve it for the cells that do need it. This is ‘physiological insulin resistance’. It’s not a bad thing, it’s an adaptation to a low glucose environment and is important. But it has consequences for short term metabolic flexibility.

Apparently it takes several days for the cells to return to their faster glucose uptake. This doesn’t only mean that you feel terrible though, it also means that the blood glucose spikes are much steeper and we know that those are unhealthy. There is no problem however as long as you don’t go from deeply fat adapted to ice cream and cake. I think reintroducing carbohydrates in a deeply fat adapted person just needs to be done gradually over a few days to avoid any issues.

It definitely doesn’t hit everyone the same. My husband gets none of the big highs or lows that I get on keto. When I’m deeply ketotic I’m so happy and full of energy that it’s basically better than any drug I’ve ever taken. My husband feels nothing different on the same diet. But when I eat ice cream for a couple of days in a row I will become a walking zombie. My husband has complete flexibility and goes in and out without a single issue.

(mole person) #89

I don’t think meat is the issue. For the two years that I was on a regular ketogenic diet with plenty of plant foods I supplemented magnesium, potassium, and sodium. If I didn’t I got leg cramps, restless leg, bouts of nausea, and feelings of weakness. For the last year I have been on strict carnivore and I don’t seem to require any of it anymore. I still salt my meat, but I don’t take any extra.


Interesting. Does your spinal cord ever feel like a steel rod on your carnivore diet?

Out of curiosity. Which plants were you eating?

(mole person) #91

No, I feel great actually.

Avocado, lettuce greens, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, that sort of stuff. Basically I like all vegetables and ate plenty of the more keto friendly ones.

(PJ) #92

Before I went low-carb, I had a lot of medical conditions. Severe asthma, allergies, acid reflux, and a ton of smaller but constant things. But I did not attribute them to my eating at all. They were just health issues.

I went lowcarb and keto (for induction that I kept on for a long time), and lost all my medical symptoms like some kind of miracle.

Then when I would eat offplan, things I had not eaten because they’re carby (mostly any kind of grain-based food), suddenly shazam, I have asthma again (for example). Some time later, another special meal out on a birthday and shazam, there’s the asthma again. Eventually I realized, hey: wheat gives me asthma. If I was 100% off it for awhile, and ate some canned chili that had gluten in it, I’d wake up miserably bloated inflamed and with a little bit of asthma. If I ate a lot and continued doing so daily, it became a LOT of asthma. ‘Severe’ according to diagnosis. Like I could hardly breathe sometimes. Like chronic bronchitis.

I was only able to begin to understand how my body reacted to certain foods because I’d cleaned up my diet so well that finally, asthma could be tracked down to a ‘food reaction’ and not just to some health issue that fell on me out of the stars (and cost me a fortune in inhalers every month).

I suppose an onlooker could say gee, not until she started eating lowcarb did she “discover” food intolerances (my response to rice is horrible too, though a little different). This would be true, I did not discover it until then. That wasn’t because it was not present until then.

It was because I never realized how chronically suckey I felt all the time until I finally was eating well enough, long enough, to feel good.

And then I started to realize, now that I was paying attention to my food finally, and to how I felt, the “connection” between a given food and my body.

I suspect our whole population has a lot more food reactions than we realize. Force them to really pay attention to their food, and only eat ‘real food,’ and it will start to become more clear to them.

I don’t think it can be attributed to some fad or social psychology that just because people start eating keto, they start imagining (and/or actually experiencing, perhaps due to defects in the diet) more problems. :smiley:

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #93

I agree 100%. I haven’t had a cold, virus, sinus infection or chest infection since strict keto. I used to get them 4 or more times a year. I might start to display cold symptoms and them a few hours later all better.

(mole person) #94

@daddyoh Actually this is another area that I’ve noticed an effect of metabolic inflexibility. Before keto I had a pretty strong immune system. One or zero colds a year was fairly typical with the occasional year where I’d get two. When I went keto this seemed to improve even more. I went two full years without get sick once. But in the last year I’ve learned that I can almost guarantee getting sick just by eating a bunch of carbs. It seems to tank my immunity.

It’s crazy how frequently it happens too. More than half the time that I begin to indulge in dessert for two or more days I catch cold and they are real colds too. Not just a bit of sore throat from some inflammation but an illness that has me messed up for a week to two. Anyhow, more than anything it’s this impact that has got me to stop all the cheats. It’s just too shitty a repercussion.

(PJ) #95

I was just telling my (adult) daughter recently that I can’t even remember the last time I was sick. I grant, now and then I think my body’s trying to get something, but I make sure I’m drinking water and sleep, worst case take a dropper of Lomatium in water (read amazon reviews for why) and nope.

I long ago proved to myself that if I had even the slightest sense of tinge or pressure around my throat/neck, and was stupid enough to eat carbs, I’d be sick very shortly. I think it just blitzes my immunity.

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #96

I hear you.

Everyday I hear from others and my own experience enough to keep me from cheating. Cheating for me is a diet coke (1/month). I even calculate do I want that pickle (sour / kosher) or green olives.

What with what I’m learning on several threads here about Body By Science and Blow Flow Restriction training and in this and similar threads about the metabolic flexibility, I feel like I’m about to take a new leap in progress with my body. I hope others are finding this useful. Seems we are taking it to a whole new level.

Also I find some podcasts helpful.

(PJ) #97

Every year, Thanksgiving (or 11/21 if that’s sooner) to day after Christmas, I am off keto. Then at 12/27 I am back to keto. It normally takes until 1/14-21 for me to feel like I have “shifted back to keto” and have energy again and so on. But not this year. I’ve been raving about it! It’s been ten days and it’s like finally, FINALLY my body has healed enough that when I stopped eating carbs abruptly, my body just started using fat.

I haven’t had a single day of low-energy, of carb-craving, nothing. Yet I’m dropping water rapidly so clearly my body’s perceiving that change. I have to call it metabolic flexibility. That’s how it’s supposed to work. It just never has for me before.

Things I did differently last year than ever before:
1 - Fasted more often
2 - Have had a ‘carb up’ day every 7-10 days (<100g/ecc).
3 - Often was low-carb at 30-50ecc/day instead of keto <20, but it mostly just varied all over the place unpredictably

I’m pretty happy about it.

(PJ) #98

Hmmn. I think I disagree with this. It seems to me that you are defining the entirety of what a human being needs in their diet by what their biology might appear to require according to current research.

“We” as distinct identities that need to stay on an eating plan are a lot more than that. Psychology is a huge part of enjoying your life, let alone staying on any given eating plan. I know people who can eat stuff they don’t even like all the time. “Food is nutrition, not entertainment!” they say. But I think that is a huge variable with the individual. Food is a big part of people’s lives for many reasons.

Many people want to eat more carbs, not because they are addicted (most of us eventually get past that), but because it is enjoyable, plus it allows a much greater range of foods (which is both enjoyable and also more practical). And sometimes as much or more importantly, because for some people, ‘eventually’, the sense of depriving oneself has limits before there is clear reaction in the psychology and usually follow-on in the eating. Some people do not feel deprived at all, ever, even when eating the same four things for weeks, months, years. Some people would feel miserable doing that for even a month. But let them make lowcarb meals and they’re perfectly happy. They can’t benefit from a diet they can’t or won’t stay on.

The fact that research says the body “does not need carbohydrates” does not mean that everyone can just go zero carb and be satisfied with that.

Food’s a core part of the human experience, far more consistently than even sex. There’s a good reason why “delicious recipes” are the core of every eating plan in books and on the internet. Most people just do not WANT to do a diet without a sense of enjoyment, and variety and even an occasional sense of indulgence is often a huge part of that.

I do know some people who have a nearly zuckerbergian unchangingness in their diet. They could probably eat the same four foods the rest of their life and be perfectly fine with that. Or never touch an extra carb again.

I’m not in that box. I can discipline myself to whatever is needed, including just not eating at all in fasts, but one reason I can do so is because I do NOT consider myself to be “never able to have more than 20 carbs again as long as I live.” That mode of thinking seriously interferes with my discipline. Even too much fasting will do that to me – though that might be as much a nutrient issue as a psyche issue. So I set a date/time plan to eat more carbs than usual for one meal, or even eat with my family the HC stuff, and then I have no issue with the discipline at all. I know I can have it later, which lets me allow not having it for now without complaint.

I admit I only learned this helped me because I began doing it solely for health reasons. I lost so much hair that wasn’t coming back, and had energy issues despite being fat adapted, and then now and then I would eat something carby or even just an extra 25 carbs above keto’s 20, and be so surprised that I felt so much better. Eventually I saw others talking about this online and realized it’s not that uncommon for women espec. in the menopausal age to have this response.

So last year I took up eating more carbs one meal one day a week or week and a half, it varied. Probably averaged about 60 carbs that day (though I allowed up to 100 I don’t think I ever went that high). I didn’t seem to leave using fat for energy soon as that passed. I actually felt better overall, and I think partly because I felt better, I was able to do IF more as a result.

And it was more fun! Every 7-10 days I got to eat something that is normally a little too carby for me to eat. Or more of something I normally have to limit greatly as it’s a bit carbier than other things. I finally took up having a little bit of fibrous fruit blended in kefir – just a tiny bit each day – now that I was less extreme on the carb limits. This allowed me to actually drink kefir (I actually drink a couple gulps of it 4-6 times a day, when I open the fridge for anything else) which I believe has contributed to healing my gut in some fashion. The stuff is vile plain though, so that I drink it at all, is only because I finally was willing to add a few more carbs to my diet to make it possible.

I suppose there’s some perfect-world theory about how it’d be better if I didn’t do that last year, but I felt good and enjoyed it and got healthier. I’m planning to do it more consistently (the low-carb vs. keto, and carb-up-a-bit every 7-10 days) this year, along with more forms of IF.

I know. Every bite of pico de gallo I eat is “unnecessary” but I promise, for my life and my psychology, it really IS necessary. I’m happy to forego 95% of the food supply for my health, but I need as much flexibility on what’s left as I can get.

People aren’t heretics because they want more onions and mushrooms despite they have some unnecessary carbs. :smiley:

(PJ) #99

I have heard, read, and been told, so many stories about this kind of thing with grains and the gut. People are literally in massive pain after eating, they are bleeding in their feces, but after a celiac test comes back negative the doc insists they MUST continue eating grains. It’s horrifying.

I always believed that, and to degree still do – but mostly I have changed my mind. The carb variation that made me feel so much better is what changed this, along with thinking about past experiences, and observation of others.

I think ‘energy’ is both demand-driven and supply-driven. Some people are bouncing off the walls with their energy. Some people seem to have very little. Some people are in the middle, where I’m guessing ‘normal decent health’ is.

Just because my body could benefit from having more energy, and just because my body is capable of burning fat for energy, does not mean that my body chooses to burn all the energy I would like.

Why does it vary for anyone? It might be hormones. It might be micronutrient status. Even those two are ridiculously black box at any given moment. But it does seem to vary.

We are all burning fat. But some people’s bodies are giving them more energy than others’ bodies; or, more energy on some days for themselves, than other days.

So apparently how much energy our body chooses to generate, varies. Our body makes enough energy to keep us alive. Beyond that, it seems to vary immensely.

So how can we ‘assume’ that if we would really benefit from more energy generation, the body would just do it? If that were the case why doesn’t the body do it more for the sedentary and less for the hyper?

I think just because the body can use fat for energy, doesn’t necessarily mean it does so at “the maximum optimal rate or ratio for ideal health.” I suspect there is more going on than merely fat adaptation.