Metabolic Flexibility - Get Real


Ya but then you water everything down and get too much blood in your alcohol system!

(Murphy Kismet) #203

These numbers have always gotten to me, in this way: Trigs are composed of 3 parts fatty acids and 1 part glycerol. So 75% FFA, and 25% glucose (what glycerol becomes…?) And 75% of the brain functions best on ketones, and the rest, or 25%, functions best on glucose.
Funny how our trigs feed can our brain perfectly.

(Butter Withaspoon) #204

Most people on a keto forum are not going to be metabolically flexible, and it doesn’t make sense for the few who are flexible to recommend that everyone eats their way. You have to find your own tolerance to carbs by an assessment of your metabolic health followed by some experimentation.

I really like this video where Rob Wolff explains the delay in switching between glucose and fat metabolism, and the mitochondrial limitations for some people.

(Ken) #205

One of the major reasons for doing Keto is to eliminate not only the excess fat, but to also eliminate all the detrimental resistance issues and regain your Metabolic Flexibility.

(bulkbiker) #206

I’d say “metabolic health” rather than "flexibility’.
I have no interest in testing my “flexibility” by eating the high carb diet that got me into this mess in the first place. It’s simply illogical.

(Ken) #207

Nobody has said anything about or advocated a " High Carb Diet". To suggest that is intentional obfuscation or misunderstanding of what has actually been said. It appears some people seem to think that anything that deviates from the <20g Dogma is somehow recommending a return to the NAD, which is of course incorrect. Occasional higher carb intake is only periodic, and never to the point of Glycogen Recompensation, followed by an immediate return to lipolytic (Keto) consumption levels.

(bulkbiker) #208

The very term “metabolic flexibilty” surely demands that you could “eat anything” and your metabolism could cope with it?
Otherwise what does it mean?

(Ken) #209

Yes, of course. Once someone attains, or regains it, they can eat about anything. I’m in that category. As long as it is not a specific food that causes a specific Evolutionary Discordance reaction. Even then it’s usually a matter of Types, Amounts, and Frequency, all kept low enough to insure there is no detrimental adaptation or readaptation

(bulkbiker) #210

So why is it beneficial in any way?
You can eat anything,… great for you.
I choose what I eat carefully so don’t need “flexibility” because I don’t eat stuff that might make me ill. Why would I even want to. It’s completely illogical.

(Ken) #211

Hmmm, one person’s “Logic” is to someone else mere Dogma. The point about Metabolic Flexibility is not to have any detrimental Adaptive States in either direction, so as to have Optimum Health.

But hey, eat however you want, it’s your choice.

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #212

Paul, I see and understand your logic but don’t put the plant foods I eat, or did eat in the same category as alcohol. I know some people have serious problems with any food not from animals and strict carnivore helps them. I’ve not had symptoms of autoimmune diseases or oxalate building up in my system. Of course I could have some issues with plant foods that I an unaware of.

I never went carnivore in Feb or March but am close now. I’ve remained strict Keto and even on a “bad” day I might get to 30 grams. Bad days don’t happen often.

I do eat fermented foods for gut health daily (sauerkraut, fermented pickles, yogurt, blue cheese) and animal foods (meat, dairy, eggs, fish).

I do eat avocado, or olives some days but just a little because I like them. And less frequently other low carb plant foods.

Now I’m wondering why I care to explain all of this.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #213

The point was to illustrate that the statements I re-wrote carry an implicit assumption that plants are benign. The proposition that plant foods are benign may be justified, but then again, it may not be, so it needs to be explicitly acknowledged and demonstrated, not simply allowed to pass unexamined. There is sufficient archaeological evidence showing that agriculture caused a decline in the health of the cultures that adopted it to require us to examine the proposition that eating plants is beneficial. If true, its truth needs to be demonstrated, not taken for granted.

And I chose the example I chose, precisely because I have known alcoholics who said things startlingly similar to my wording, and that way of thinking was a real detriment to their sobriety.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #214

Metabolic flexibility occurs or not at the cellular level. Eating more than incidental carbs interferes with lipolysis and thus inhibits metabolic flexibility by shutting down both ketosis and gluconeogenesis. Your mileage may very, but that’s the way it works.

(Doug) #215

Great mention, Helen - there is a LOT of good stuff in there to think about. :slightly_smiling_face:

Michael, I agree that “it all boils down to our cells at work,” so to speak. Wolf’s video does have some pretty good explanations why things may vary from person to person, or even within the experience of one person.

There’s an often frustrating non-linearity about a lot of this dietary stuff that many people come up against. There are weight-loss stalls, periods of ‘keto flu’ that have to be gone through - even though one is eating the same way as later on when they feel great, etc.

I think it’s a good point about ‘hysteresis’ - that it’s often not a true roll of the dice nor a constant how things will proceed. That the way a system reacts to change is at least partially dependent on its past reactions to change. Wolf mentions “turning off” the ‘glucose-centric genetic memory,’ and that it may take cutting carbs down extremely low to get the body to really switch over to ketosis (and I think to be ‘happy’ about it). Once in that state, there may then be some leeway to increase carbs without turning that switch back on, so it’s not just like a single “On/Off” point. To an extent, with some of this stuff the body has a ‘memory’ - and we have to work with that, or work around it.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #216

You have a good point there about body “memory.” It’s clear that the body is a vast collection of inter-related processes that all affect one another, plus genetic influences that can be turned on and off. I think scientists are still just at the beginning of starting to untangle everything.

One thought that struck me, reading your post, was that back in the days of Lamarck it was believed that somatic changes could be inherited by our offspring. Then, as Mendelian genetics became widely accepted, that idea was pooh-poohed, especially after the discovery of DNA. But now we have plenty of evidence to show that how genotype affects phenotype isn’t as straightforward as we used to think, and that some epigenetic effects actually can be passed on to our offspring.

So we may actually be dealing with “memory” from not only our own behaviour and experiences, but that of our parents, as well.

(Bob M) #217

It’s really hard to know what’s going on. As a scientist, I believe in the Einstein rule: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”. But trying to ascertain that in the real world, with a complex system like the human body, is tough.

When I tried a high sat fat diet, I tried a TKD where I ate starch + high saturated fat the first meal after body weight (+ HIIT sometimes) training. Think ghee + stearic acid plus sweet potato. Not a lot of carbs, but enough to test the protons theory (plenty of saturated fat).

What I found (I think) was that I recuperated better and got stronger and bigger. I then stopped the TKD (gave up on the Protons theory). But then experienced a back ward slide in strength. That could be happenstance (gaining muscle mass/strength – like losing weight – is nowhere near linear).

I’m now back to trying a TKD, using spaghetti squash, this week with spag sauce (a hot variety accidentally bought by my wife – kids won’t eat it).

I believe I have experienced a benefit, perhaps in mood (slightly better?) on the same day, and in the number of pushups I can do. Since I keep track of my workouts, this is verifiable.

What does my ketonix say?

Does this mean I have “metabolic flexibility”? I’m not sure, though after being LC/keto for 7 years, if anyone has metabolic flexibility, I do.

What would happen if I ate more carbs? I’ve seen blood ketones come back very quickly after coming back from vacation or having a holiday. Sometimes, never leaving, even after eating ice cream for someone’s birthday.

To me, the issue is, do we need “metabolic flexibility”? That is, should we be eating periodic carbs solely to get this? I don’t think so.

But, in the real world, there are enough holidays, special occasions, and birthdays, that I’m getting enough carbs to address this.

(Doug) #218

Paul, yeah, for sure - there is a lot to untangle. I think of “metabolic flexibility” and that most of us have a huge reservoir of it, initially, and that as we go through life some of us use it up or defeat it. And maybe we can recover and “get better” by stuff like eating ketogenically. Then - how much can we go back the other way before we get messed up again?

I think you had a good comment about rebuilding tolerance or ‘habituation’ - the pendulum swings, or can swing, back the other way, but here too things won’t necessarily be linear at all, and even with something as simple as “eating some carbs again” it quickly gets possibly complicated because of the associated phytochemicals in plant food (as you also mentioned) and - in the case of processed food - all the other stuff that may be in there.

If this sounds like me throwing up my hands and shrugging my shoulders, that’s pretty accurate. :smile: As individuals, I think we need to do our own trial-and-error, often; it’s just so hard to generalize about a lot of these things.

Often tough indeed, Bob. In the Robb Wolf video that @HelenW linked to, at 28:36 he talks about individuals and how in one case eating a banana made little change in blood sugar while eating cookies made a substantial change, and for another person it was the opposite. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Bob M) #219

@OldDoug That is definitely true. Here’s a study where they gave CGMs to people and found out they experienced wildly varying outcomes:

In the past, I’ve found a different version of the story, where they say the same food given to the same person at two different times is also variable.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #220

My impression, from what I’ve learned that led me to a ketogenic diet, is that with too much carbohydrate we (or at least a lot of us) lose our metabolic flexibility, because the fatty-acid metabolic pathways get disabled from lack of use, and the mitochondria are damaged by glycation and oxidation. I don’t believe, however, that if we regain our fat-adaptation we will lose our ability to metabolise glucose. I don’t think that ever happens. The glycolytic metabolic pathways are just too old, evolutionarily speaking, one the one hand; and the danger of hyperglycaemia is just too great, on the other. I don’t believe it would ever be safe for the body to disable its glycolytic pathways.

My conclusion, therefore, is that we don’t need to work to preserve our ability to metabolise glucose once fat-adapted, because we never lose our ability to metabolise glucose.

(Gregory - You can teach an old dog new tricks.) #221

Indeed … The liver produces glucose in the absence of dietary glucose…