Types of Exercise and Glycogen

I have been trying to tease out the limits of low carb performance. Here is a key paper (Metabolism. 1983 Aug;32(8):769-76. The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydrate oxidation. Phinney SD, Bistrian BR, Evans WJ, Gervino E, Blackburn GL).  Buried within the paper is:

In agreement with this were a three-fold drop in glucose oxidation (from 15.1 to 5.1 mg/kg/min, P less than 0.05) and a four-fold reduction in muscle glycogen use (0.61 to 0.13 mmol/kg/min, P less than 0.01).

This seems buried because of the units used. Another site (September 13, 2017. Why Am I Getting Low Ketone Readings on a Ketogenic Diet? By Mark Sisson) translates these units as:

During the high-carb arm, the group began the workout with 150 grams of glycogen and ended it with 50 grams. While eating ketogenic, the group began the workout with 75 grams and also ended it with 50 grams.

The time of this test was approx 150 minutes.


Low Carb and Athletic Performance

Lots of people complain that their athletic performance is reduced with a Low Carbohydrate diet. Dr Volek contends that these issues are due to various reasons:

  1. Insufficient adaption time – it can take between weeks to months to fully adapt to the ketogenic diet. That is because the body is fueled by ketones rather than glucose.
  2. Electrolyte Imbalances – The ketogenic diet causes a shift in the body’s electrolytes and requires supplementation. This is even more the case with athletes who sweat a lot.
  3. Incorrect Amount of Protein – Too little or too much is a problem (between 15% and 25% of calories per day from Protein seems optimal).

See also, the book “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance“.

Note that this may be limited to endurance activities rather than higher intensity activities.

…one caveat that anaerobic (ie, weight lifting or sprint) performance is limited by the low muscle glycogen levels induced by a ketogenic diet, and this would strongly discourage its use under most conditions of competitive athletics.


Wacky Macros

I got booted out of a Ketogenic Facebook group for espousing macros supposedly out of line with their stated numbers.

I looked up their macros on their Macro Calculator.

The group macro calculator says:

I suggested that my goal weight is 220 lbs and that would make my numbers 110 grams of carbs and that I am only at 120g of Protein so I am within less than 10% of the stated macro. Hardly too much Protein.

I was told that was too much Protein. Men, she said, should not eat more than 80 g of Protein in a day. So I did the math with their own macro calculator. That would say that men should not weigh more than 160 lbs (80 grams of Protein corresponds to a goal weight of 160 lbs per their calculator).

How dare they say that men, regardless of their condition, should never weigh more than 160 lbs.

One of the moderators then posted a link to a Ketogenic Diets page. The page gave an example:

Below is an example of how you could calculate the protein needs of a 180-pound lifter who has 15 percent body fat:
180 lbs. x 0.15 = 27 lbs. of fat
180 lbs. – 27lbs. = 153 lbs. lean mass
153 lbs. x 0.6 g = 91.8 g
153 lbs. x 1.0g = 153 g
Protein range = ~ 92-150 g per day

So by the link that she posted I am well within the limits since I am eating 118 grams of Protein per day. I am on the lower end of the bodybuilder scale. At that point they turned off comments.
So I moved over a slanderous comment on the page:
My response was to quote the pinned post and the response of the moderator was to accuse me of fighting.
Apparently truth is at a premium in some Keto Groups.

Body Recomposition – Part 4

What Does My Scale Say Now (at the start)?

My fancy lying scale tells me:

  • Weight: 202.8 lbs
  • BMI: 27.8
  • Body Fat: 32%
  • Body Water percentage?: 36.9%
  • Muscle Mass percentage: 27.6%
  • Calories max to hold weight: 2238

I set the scale for extreme sedentary when I purchased it.

I am skeptical of the Body Fat percentage number because if it is right, my LBM is 202.8 times (1-0.32) = 138 lbs. That doesn’t match the numbers from the Navy Calculator. But it could very well be right. I am going to track these numbers daily too.


Blood Sugar Levels During an Extended Fast

Here are some observations based on data of my Blood Sugar levels during a 25-day Extended Fast.

  • Blood Sugars go up significantly during the first few days of a fast. [2017-12-06: See (Fasting induces a form of autonomic synaptic plasticity that prevents hypoglycemia)].

    Although there are redundant control mechanisms that maintain glucose homeostasis, a rise in circulating epinephrine is a key event in the response to food deprivation. This effect involves epinephrine release from the adrenal medulla, which increases hepatic glucose production, inhibits insulin release from pancreatic β-cells, and stimulates glucagon release from pancreatic α-cells. Taken together, these findings support the idea that the NPY-dependent rise in circulating epinephrine contributes to the increase in glucose production that is needed to maintain euglycemia during food deprivation.

  • The Blood Sugar “high” level is still nowhere near a dangerous level.
  • Blood Sugar peaks at 3-4 days into the fast and then drops rapidly.

  • Blood Sugars drop into the range considered low by the meter and stay that way through the rest of the fast.

  • The two high values are related to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training Exercise). See my Cori Cycle BLOG post for more details.
  • After the fast my blood sugars are better than they were before the fast but I have added an exercise component to my routine.


Has It Really Been One Year?

Yes, it has been a year. Looking back where have I come? Lost somewhere around 75 lbs. At my college weight. Waist size of my pants went from 42 to a loose 34. Every suitcoat I have bought fits and most of them are really, really loose. All of my 18-1/2″ collar shirts are really, really loose. All of the 3X shirts in my closet are really, really loose. Trips to Goodwill to buy clothes to fill the gaps. Down to tee Large Shirts. Unsubscribed from all the Big and Tall clothing email lists.

But that’s not why I started any of this. I started this with the purpose of Hacking My Type 2 Diabetes. How has that worked out? Fantastically! My blood sugar meter shows my 90 day average at 110. I took a blood test on Friday so I will have to see what my HbA1C number is but it should be good. No longer on Insulin. The Medtronics Insulin Pump is gathering dust in a plastic shoebox somewhere. Thousands of dollars of insurance costs.

No longer on Metformin.I stayed on it until a couple of months ago and then decided to stop. Yes, my Blood Sugar is 10-15 points higher, but I am not on ANY meds for diabetes.

Right now I am fighting a nasty case of poison ivy and my blood sugars are “sky high” at 140. I’d be worried but I remember what it was like when I was on Diabetes drugs. My numbers would be in the 200’s with this sort of poison ivy case. So even with the stress of a pretty big infection I am doing pretty well.

In the past year I have done four ten day fasts. My last fast started after a weekend where the previous fast had just ended before the weekend (10 ten day fasts separated by 3 days). I also did several three and four day fasts until I discovered that day 3 is the “tough day”. It really is true.

What was an experiment a year ago is now a way of life.