Low Carb Diet Mistakes - AnabolicMinds.com
    • Low Carb Diet Mistakes



      By Charles Poliquin Iron Magazine

      Cutting your carbohydrate intake in favor of a high-protein, high-fat diet is one of the simplest ways to get lean fast.

      As long as you stick to whole foods and get the right ratio of protein, carbs, and fat, this way of eating will accelerate fat loss and preserve muscle mass so as to optimize body composition.

      Eating more protein and fat is also an efficient way to improve health and decrease risk factors for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. However, there are many mistakes that can be made on reduced-carb diets that have profoundly negative effects.

      Low-carb diets gone wrong can hinder fat loss, cause massive hormone imbalances, produce chronic inflammation, or have other ill effects that lead to higher disease risk and make you feel terrible.

      Troubleshooting a low-carb diet fits into two categories: simple issues and complex issues. The simple issues address the hidden things you may not be aware of, and once you fix them, it’s smooth sailing.

      Complex issues tend to have to do with systemic imbalances that mean your body is not functioning as it should. They’re harder but more important to fix because if you don’t, you may be increasing your disease risk.

      This article will address both types of issues and provide strategies for troubleshooting. For the more complex issues it is recommended that you get a health professional to assist you.

      #1. Your carb intake is too high for fat loss.

      Low-carb, high-protein diets are effective for fat loss. This is a scientific fact. But, low-carb is a vague term.

      If your goal is ketosis such that body runs on fat versus glucose, carb intake needs to be below 50 grams a day to achieve fat loss, according to a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

      Solution: Avoid all refined carbs and get your 50 grams from vegetables and select fruits, such as berries, pomegranate, or kiwi. Eliminate all grains—whole and processed.

      #2. Eating too much protein if your goal is ketosis.

      Higher protein diets are ideal for reducing body because they improve satiety, reduce hunger, and preserve lean body mass when losing weight.

      However, if you go overboard and eat too much protein than the body needs, some of the amino acids in the protein will be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis. This will reduce the body’s ability to burn fat and may hinder fat loss, particularly if your goal is ketosis.

      Solution: Lower your protein intake in favor of low-carb vegetables and fats. Be sure to eat high-quality protein from animal and seafood sources so that you get the greatest amino acid intake per calorie.

      In addition, you can check for ketones with a urine test to get a general sense of where you’re at. Unfortunately, these tests are not very reliable because the level of ketones in the urine doesn’t necessarily reflect the level in the blood. Ketone blood tests are another option but are very expensive.

      #3. Poor gut health due to a diet high in animal protein and low in indigestible fiber.

      Gut bacteria will live off of what you eat. People who eat more animal protein tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and consume less fiber, though this tendency may not be typical in people who follow a Paleo-type diet.

      Low-fiber, higher animal protein diets have been found to increase inflammatory gut bacteria, which is one reason that eating meat is often linked with greater disease risk.

      One example of the dangerous effect of having inflammatory gut bacteria is that these bacteria release a compound called TMAO after you eat animal protein, which increases plaque buildup in the arteries, elevating inflammation.

      Solution: Support gut health by eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, and probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, yogurt, and kefir.

      According to blogger Richard Nikoley, one of the easiest ways to improve gut flora is to consume raw unmodified potato starch because it stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory bacteria in the gut.

      #4. Chronic inflammation from high intake of fat and protein and few fruits and veggies.

      People who eat a lot of protein have repeatedly been found to have greater lean muscle mass and less body fat. For example, simply getting 10 grams of essential amino acids at every meal is associated with low visceral belly fat and leanness.

      But there’s a negative effect to eating more protein and reducing carbs: A recent Tufts University study found that young, healthy people with more lean mass had more oxidative stress and inflammation.

      The scientists think this is caused by low fruit and vegetable intake, which leads to a poor blood antioxidant capacity. Recall that people who eat more animal protein tend to eat fewer plants.

      To get an idea of the degree of deficiency in people when they eating a very low-carb, high-protein diet, one self-reported survey found that subjects averaged 2 to 7 grams of fiber a day, which is a terribly low fruit and vegetable intake.

      Solution: For those on very low-carb diets, the following veggies are packed with antioxidants: broccoli, rainbow and Swiss chard, collards, dandelion and mustard greens, arugula, Brussels sprouts, avocado, and peppers.

      If you’re allowing a few more carbs in, go for the dark-colored fruit powerhouses: blueberries, tart cherries, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranates, kiwi, and grapes.

      Whey protein, green tea, and coffee are other antioxidant-rich foods to include as you go high in fat and protein.

      #5. The “if some is good, more must be better” belief: Drinking high-saturated fat foods such as butter or coconut oil may not be a good idea.

      Saturated fat and cholesterol have been vindicated from being a primary cause of heart disease in recent studies.

      In addition, eating reasonable amounts of saturated fat as part of a diet that de-emphasizes carbohydrates (below 130 grams a day for example) can enhance the immune system and provide vitamins A, D, E, and K in a form that is easily absorbed by the body.

      However, humans are notorious for thinking that if some is good, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE IS BETTER. Take a step back, and we all know that this is not the case.

      Anecdotal reports suggest that having a high intake of fat can elevate blood lipids that increase heart disease risk. If your apolipoprotein B and LDL particle numbers are elevated, this is a valid indicator that you may have higher levels of cardiovascular inflammation.

      Solution: Eveyone will benefit from getting an advanced lipid panel (not a basic panel) that tests for C-reactive protein, LDL particles, and apolipoprotein B. It is a necessity if you have a high saturated fat intake.

      Be cautious about how much fat your eating—track your diet and analyze it regularly.

      #6. Going overboard with “beneficial” fats: Mega dosing fish oil.

      Fish oil is another amazing fat, but that doesn’t mean you should take extremely large quantities of it. Ever wonder where this idea came from?

      The reason for taking a lot of fish oil was to counter high intake of omega-6 fats that is very common in the Western diet. The goal was to reduce omega-6 to omega-3 ratio to closer to between 4:1 and 2:1 from the more common ratio of 25:1 that Westerners are eating.

      Because people were eating huge amounts of omega-6 fats, it was thought that the best solution was to balance it with a high intake of omega-3-filled fish oil. However, recent evidence indicates that this is not the best practice.

      A better solution is to reduce your omega-6 fat intake by avoiding vegetable and seed oils and all refined foods. Opt for animal fats, which are low in omega-6s, when cooking because they aren’t easily oxidized. Boost omega-3 intake by eating a variety of seafood.

      A related caution: a 2013 review by Fenton expresses the concern that people may inadvertently get too many omega-3s in their diet if they eat fatty fish a few times a week, take fish oil, and eat multiple servings of omega-3 enriched foods (eggs, bread, butter, oil, orange juice are just a few of the foods being fortified with omega-3s).

      Whether hypersupplementation is intentional or accidental, it appears to cause a dysfunctional immune response that leaves the body vulnerable to infection and disease.

      If the omega-3 fats being consumed have been oxidized, which often occurs with poor quality fish oil because omega-3 fats have a lot of fragile carbon double bonds, they can damage tissue and DNA, and may increase disease risk.

      Solution: Try to radically lower omega-6 fat intake by limiting vegetable fats to well below 10 grams a day. Then balance that number with omega-3 fats from a variety of sources including fatty fish, pastured meat, and high-quality, stabilized fish oil.

      #7. Out of whack blood sugar abnormalities despite low-carb intake.

      Low-carb diets can significantly improve blood sugar tolerance and insulin health in people with insulin resistance and diabetes.

      As you probably know if you’ve researched low-carb diets, in the long-term, very low-carb eating can cause the metabolic hormones, insulin and leptin to get out of balance. The absence of insulin release due to massive, chronic carb restriction leads to no leptin release, and leptin is the hormone that blunts hunger.

      This is the reason that some form of carbohydrate cycling can be beneficial: Eating carbs every so often (such as every 5 to 7 days) keeps the cells sensitive to insulin and the brain responsive to leptin so that you don’t experience deranged hunger.

      Problems arise when cheat meals get out of hand. For example, have you wondered what happens to your body if you eat a high-carb, high-fat cheat meal or, simply have a standard high-fat, low-carb dinner but top it off with a higher carb treat (wine or chocolate)?

      Any excess glucose in the bloodstream will attach itself to available protein in a process called glycation. Glycated protein causes oxidative stress, and over time, increases disease risk. One of the proteins that often gets glycated is LDL cholesterol.

      Glycated cholesterol has a negative charge on the proteins surface so that it is more attracted to the wall of the artery and will cause plaque formation and atherosclerosis.

      The higher the blood sugar, such as after a carbilicious cheat meal of pasta, pizza, bread-laden Italian food, or sweets, the more glycation of LDL takes place and the more damage occurs.

      Solution: First, everyone should test their fasting blood sugar whether they’re eating low-carb or not. Fasting glucose is your window to insulin health, which is your window to inflammation in your body.

      Fasted glucose should be between 70-90 mg/dl, with a goal of below 84 mg/dl.

      Second, be honest and cautious about what you are actually putting into your mouth. Track your diet so that little things don’t slip into your mouth and passed your consciousness.

      Watch out for very high-carb cheat meals from refined foods. Consider carb cycling instead of cheat meals, favoring complex, whole carbs such as sweet potatoes, squash, fruit, and possibly boiled grains.

      Third, get your hemoglobin A1c level tested, which provides an idea of how your body is handling glucose over the past three months. Hemoglobin A1c reflects hemoglobin that has been damaged by glycated glucose. A level below 5.5 percent is indicated and below 5.3 percent is preferable.

      #8. A chronic acid load that degrades lean tissue and increases cancer risk.

      Eating animal protein, dairy, and grains lead to the formation of acid in the body. In contrast, eating fruits and vegetables leads to the production of bicarbonate, which adds alkali to the body, neutralizing acid.

      Healthy people with well-functioning organs who eat decent quantities of fruits and vegetables are generally able to manage the acid load so that it is not dangerous. But with aging, the acid load isn’t handled well due to declining kidney function.

      Or, if your high-protein, high-fat diet is poor in plants relative to protein, as most are, you’ll experience a high acid load. The body responds by trying to neutralize excess acid by breaking down muscle tissue and bone.

      Now, due to inconsistent study outcomes, scientists haven’t come to a conclusion on the benefit of monitoring pH (an indicator of the amount of acid) for disease prevention.

      But, a higher pH does appear to be beneficial for muscle tissue repair and bone building, and the foods you eat to improve your pH are all consistent with those that are recommended for health and longevity—an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and a de-emphasis on grains—so it’s not a bad idea to eat for an alkaline status.

      Solution: Despite the debate about the benefit of monitoring your acid load with pH strips, eating more fresh plants is rarely a bad idea. Realistically, high-protein diets call for at least a few pounds (2 to 3) of veggies a day. If you’re not close, boost your intake and see if you don’t feel better.



      References:

      Fenton, J., et al. Immunomodulation by dietary long chain omega-3 fatty acids and the potential for adverse health outcomes. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids. 2013. 89(6), 379-90.

      Masterjohn, Chris. Where Do Most AGEs Come From? O Glycation, How Thy Name Hast Deceived Me! The Daily Lipid. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2014. http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.c...me-from-o.html

      Lustgarten, M., et al. Serum Predictors of Percent Lean Mass in Young Adults. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013. Published Ahead of Print.

      Jourdan, C., et al. Body Fat Free Mass is Associated with the Serum Metabolite Profile in a Population-Based Study. PLoS One. 2012. 7, e40009.

      Robertson, M., et al. Insulin-sensitizing effects on muscle and adipose tissue after dietary fiber intake in men and women with metabolic syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

      Loennek, J., Wilson, J., et al. Quality of Protein Intake is Inversely Related with Abdominal Fat. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2012. 9(5).

      Nikoley, Richard. Resistant Starch: Now We’re Getting Somewhere. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014. http://freetheanimal.com/2013/06/res...-****-too.html.

      The Truth About Cholesterol. Spencer Nadolsky, Retrieved 29 January 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnXjv9F6CZE.

      Howard, B., et al. Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 2002; 106: 523-527.

      Guldbrand, H., Dizdar, B., et al. In Type 2 Diabetes, Randomization to advice to follow a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Transiently Improves Glycemic Control compared with Advice to Follow a Low-Fat Diet Producing a Similar Weight Loss. Diabetologia. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

      Volek, J., Forsythe, C. The Case for Not Restricting Saturated Fat on a Low Carbohydrate diet. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2005. 2(21).

      LaValle, James, Lundin Yale, Stacy. Cracking the Metabolic Code. 2004. California: Basic Health Publications.

      Stubbs, R., e t al. Carbohydrates, Appetite and feeding Behavior in Humans. The Journal of Nutrition. 2001. 131(10), 277755-27815.

      Fried, S., et al. Regulation of Leptin Production in Humans. The Journal of Nutrition. 2000.130(12), 31275-31315.

      James, Lisa. Deadly Merge. Energy Times. Retrieved 31 January 2014. http://www.energytimes.com/pages/fea...0309/high.html

      Pizzorno, J., et al. Diet-induced acidosis: is it real and clinically relevant? British Journal of Nutrition. 2010. 103. 1185-1194.

      Westman, E., et al. Low-Carbohydrate Nutrition and Metabolism. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007. 86, 276-28

      Source: http://www.ironmagazine.com/2014/dan...low-carb-diet/
      Comments 16 Comments
      1. NattyForLife's Avatar
        NattyForLife -
        Yea drop my protein intake while on keto is a sure fire way of losing a ton of muscle!
      1. Fitness_Freak's Avatar
        Fitness_Freak -
        Originally Posted by NattyForLife View Post
        Yea drop my protein intake while on keto is a sure fire way of losing a ton of muscle!
        Yea, I'll stick to my 250g of protein a day on my low carb diet too lol ...
      1. jamesm11's Avatar
        jamesm11 -
        If you think keeping protein at around 150-175g will make you lose muscle then you are steeped in broscience.

        Keto diets are also muscle sparing. Maybe you should read studies instead of thinking you need over 200g protein.

        Check out Dave Palumbo and see how much muscle he lost using keto. And the dozens of other bodybuilders that use it.
      1. Fitness_Freak's Avatar
        Fitness_Freak -
        Originally Posted by jamesm11 View Post
        If you think keeping protein at around 150-175g will make you lose muscle then you are steeped in broscience.

        Keto diets are also muscle sparing. Maybe you should read studies instead of thinking you need over 200g protein.

        Check out Dave Palumbo and see how much muscle he lost using keto. And the dozens of other bodybuilders that use it.
        But what if it works for me? I enjoy eating that much protein.
      1. ryox82's Avatar
        ryox82 -
        I definitely eat too many carbs to ever be in keto....but does somebody that lifts every other day and does 30 minutes at least on a stairmaster after, and does 30-45 minutes on off days need to go that low to lose fat? Btw...I'm lifting every other day because I am working back up to my old numbers....once I get there, I may incorporate more rest time. As of now my recovery has been great.
      1. jamesm11's Avatar
        jamesm11 -
        Originally Posted by Fitness_Freak View Post
        But what if it works for me? I enjoy eating that much protein.
        That's fine if you like it, but it is a waste and the protein ends up being being useless. You inferred it was to prevent muscle loss, which is isn't.

        You'd have better results on a real keto diet.
      1. Fitness_Freak's Avatar
        Fitness_Freak -
        Originally Posted by jamesm11 View Post

        That's fine if you like it, but it is a waste and the protein ends up being being useless. You inferred it was to prevent muscle loss, which is isn't.

        You'd have better results on a real keto diet.
        Legit question: (not trying to be a dbag) is it still useless if I'm doing cardio eod as well? High intensity of course.
      1. Gutterpump's Avatar
        Gutterpump -
        @ryox82 - this article isn't about whether or not anyone needs to do a low carb diet to lose fat. It is specifically about what it says it is about, low carb diets, so your question (and point) and whole post is moot - adds absolutely nothing to the discussion about low carb diet mistakes.

        You eat lots of carbs, great. You train every other day and do cardio.. super!! *pats on the back* You might incorporate more rest time? That's awesome!! But it's the wrong place to post all this
      1. Fitness_Freak's Avatar
        Fitness_Freak -
        Originally Posted by Gutterpump View Post
        @ryox82 - this article isn't about whether or not anyone needs to do a low carb diet to lose fat. It is specifically about what it says it is about, low carb diets, so your question (and point) and whole post is moot - adds absolutely nothing to the discussion about low carb diet mistakes.

        You eat lots of carbs, great. You train every other day and do cardio.. super!! *pats on the back* You might incorporate more rest time? That's awesome!! But it's the wrong place to post all this
        You having a bad day or something?
      1. ryox82's Avatar
        ryox82 -
        Originally Posted by Gutterpump View Post
        @ryox82 - this article isn't about whether or not anyone needs to do a low carb diet to lose fat. It is specifically about what it says it is about, low carb diets, so your question (and point) and whole post is moot - adds absolutely nothing to the discussion about low carb diet mistakes.

        You eat lots of carbs, great. You train every other day and do cardio.. super!! *pats on the back* You might incorporate more rest time? That's awesome!! But it's the wrong place to post all this
        Not exactly sure why you felt the need to come off that way. I was questioning the stance of the author because to me being on 50 grams a day would do wonders for someone who doesn't move from a couch. I don't eat tons of carbs...just between 100-200 on a given work day....and was looking for others take on it that might be in my situation....because I don't know the answer.
      1. Gutterpump's Avatar
        Gutterpump -
        Originally Posted by Fitness_Freak View Post
        You having a bad day or something?

        Having a great day actually. It's Friday.

        No reason to dispute the author. Low carb diets have been proven through science to work. There is nothing to really dispute. If you don't like low carb diets, then don't do them. No reason to talk about a high(er) carb diet in here or to dispute something already proven and followed by thousands of people. That's all!
      1. Gutterpump's Avatar
        Gutterpump -
        Originally Posted by ryox82 View Post
        Not exactly sure why you felt the need to come off that way. I was questioning the stance of the author because to me being on 50 grams a day would do wonders for someone who doesn't move from a couch. I don't eat tons of carbs...just between 100-200 on a given work day....and was looking for others take on it that might be in my situation....because I don't know the answer.
        I would post up your diet/training questions in the nutrition or exercise science / training forum. But since you aren't following the prescribed diet in this article, this is likely not a great place to get feedback on something that's unrelated. Just pointing that out. I can be a bit sarcastic most of the time. Mostly just joking around ;)
      1. Fitness_Freak's Avatar
        Fitness_Freak -
        Originally Posted by Gutterpump View Post

        Having a great day actually. It's Friday.

        No reason to dispute the author. Low carb diets have been proven through science to work. There is nothing to really dispute. If you don't like low carb diets, then don't do them. No reason to talk about a high(er) carb diet in here or to dispute something already proven and followed by thousands of people. That's all!
        When exactly did I state that?
      1. jamesm11's Avatar
        jamesm11 -
        Originally Posted by Fitness_Freak View Post
        Legit question: (not trying to be a dbag) is it still useless if I'm doing cardio eod as well? High intensity of course.
        I honestly have no idea. Judging from your avatar, whatever you have done is working well for you. I do HIIT and LISS while on Keto for a while and haven't lost any muscle. But I easily put on and keep mass, can't lose fat easily.

        That's just what works well for me and has a lot of science behind it. I played around with everything before I found my best program. If you like the higher protein then go with that.
      1. Gutterpump's Avatar
        Gutterpump -
        Originally Posted by Fitness_Freak View Post
        When exactly did I state that?
        Sorry, I was replying to both of your responses in that post
      1. Gutterpump's Avatar
        Gutterpump -
        Originally Posted by jamesm11 View Post
        I honestly have no idea. Judging from your avatar, whatever you have done is working well for you. I do HIIT and LISS while on Keto for a while and haven't lost any muscle. But I easily put on and keep mass, can't lose fat easily.

        That's just what works well for me and has a lot of science behind it. I played around with everything before I found my best program. If you like the higher protein then go with that.
        I can be a bit of an ass at times, just used to busting balls, so my apologies.
        I've dieted both ways, low carb and with carbs. Both ways can work really well.
        I found that dieting with low carbs works better for myself, because I'm carb sensitive. I put on water easily. I also felt much better on a low carb diet. Lots of energy and felt great, and never had bloating of any kind. My carb ups also felt amazing, muscles like they're bursting - since they're being super-saturated with glycogen. I always use nutrient partitioners like glycobol during carb ups for better effect. My fat intake was high, protein high, carbs very low. Used to take shots of olive oil and scoops of coconut oil a lot.

        If I were to ever diet with carbs again though, I'd likely eat a paleo diet and have sweet potatoes, coconut water and such. Super clean, but you can still add carbs as necessary, around workouts and such. Almost like a TKD. Best way for nutrient partitioning.

        I'm about to do a CKD again, they always works best for me. I haven't dieted in a while and it's time haha

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