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And now back with more listener question goodness, it's Episode 429, Q&A #22!
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1. In & Out of Ketosis...Harmful? [2:10]
I've been on and off a keto diet for the past five years or so and when in Ketosis feel fantastic. I train muay thai and on days that I train I tend to up my carb intake as I just feel better throughout training, similar to you with jiu jitsu. On Sundays however I do tend to go off the rails a bit and find myself on Monday down around the 0.2 mmol/L level and then by Tuesday night/Wednesday morning back up any where between 1.0-2.4 mmol/L where I stay for the rest of the week. I have in the past gone several months at a time on a 30-50g carb per day diet on multiple occasions, haven't done so the past year and half or so. I've been hearing a lot lately that this quick fluctuation between low carb to moderate/high carb intake can be very bad for you. Can you help shed some light on this, am I doing long term damage to my body by fluctuating?
2. Eating Below My BMR [10:48]
Over the past 7 months, I've had great success following the Keto Masterclass. As far as weight-loss goes, I've lost about 42 lbs, and lowered my BF% from about 28% to about 19%. For the first 12 weeks, I ate at a 20% deficit, without a break. I weighed and measured all my food. I made sure I had my electrolytes dialed in, eating lots of potassium and magnesium rich foods, supplementing Na+ as well as Mg+ too. During that time, I was lifting 4x per week as well as a couple (15-20 min) interval workouts per week. Other than that, I was doing some light walking and playing with my kids.
Towards the end of that initial run, I started to get kind of bitchy (I'm a 45-year old male), and never really experienced the stable energy, or deep, solid sleep that a lot of people mention - two things I was really hoping for.
Recently, I have been alternating 4-week cuts, followed with 2-week "full diet breaks" (a'la Lyle McDonald) at maintenance. During those, carb sources have been clean, paleo foods. Coming off of each of these, I feel better and maintained a stable weight throughout. I was normally back in ketosis 48-72 hours after switching my carb and fat macros back up, and both times (so far) it has restarted weight loss. Still not great sleep, but I attribute that to having young kids (2 & 6).
After a recent DEXA scan, I was recalculating my macros with the Ketogains calculator (I'm 162# and 19% BF), and it dawned on me that the deficit it was recommending (-15%) was put me BELOW my Basal Metabolic Rate by about 105 calories, per day. For reference, I used the "sedentary" activity level and don't add back in workout calories.
So, to my question(s)...
Understanding that the calculator is based off the Katch-McCardle formula, basically giving a statistical norm, but BMR is the calories we need to maintain vital physiological functions, what are your thoughts on recommended deficits putting one below their BMR and what are the longer-term implications of extended diets doing so? Would it be better to just eat AT BMR on rest days and add back in some (all? a portion?) workout calories (protein & fat) on training days, while still being below TDEE?
It seems to me that BMR should be an absolute floor when it comes to caloric intake - I'm wondering if the aggressive deficits created some diet fatigue and hormonal disruption for me.
Love the podcast and anything the Wolf Pack puts out. Thanks for everything!
3. Do Calories Matter? [19:58]
Long time follower and really appreciate the work you're doing. I wish I had known about Keto and Paleo when I was younger; I feel my athletic performance could have propelled me to the next level. Either way, I'm happy to have it in my life today as it keeps me thin and healthy. Your Keto Masterclass has been instrumental in guiding me through my Keto/Paleo journey. Thank you!
I've been very interested in the low carb diet for 10+ years now and it started with Gary Taubes. Gary Taubes is famous for saying that calories don't count and in my anecdotal experience, they don't. I must stress that since it works for me, I'm completely happy with the results. However, when trying to speak intelligently about Keto and low carb, I'm trying to bridge a gap from Gary to Chris Kresser's podcast with Joe Rogan last week. On Joe Rogan Chris said that you *must* run a caloric deficit to lose weight. Now I am really confused!
I'm an engineer and I've taken several thermodynamics courses, so from an energy balance equation I understand that the human body cannot defy thermodynamic principles. But obviously our metabolism is much more complex than an energy in- energy out black box. Furthermore, energy in-energy out does not feel right for a number of reasons such as, for instance, energy expended drinking cold water is not in this equation (that is your body warming the cold water up), energy that is never consumed but rather part of a "defecation event", etc. I have eaten what I perceived to be a major energy surplus on a ketogenic diet and have still lost weight. My caveat there is that I wasn't weighing foods, so I cannot really know.
My apologies if you've already answered this question, but I could not find it on your blog or searching your website. I'm hoping you can point me to a study, a white paper, a text or some reliable information that will answer the question of who's right- Gary Taubes or Chris Kresser.
Thanks Robb, you're a legend.
4. Pre and Post-Surgery Nutrition [31:00]
Hi kids and kitties and Squatchys!
Sooooo, it's been a little while since I have been devouring each and every single podcast episode and I apologize. My own business focus has put me more into the writing podcast genre recently (but I see Tim Grahl on your interviewee list!?). :-)
So, my question: have you guys laid out a protocol for extreme nutrient buildup for before and after a scheduled surgery? This would be for someone who is not really paleo: still eats gluten and mostly just avoids sugar and junky foods. So they are not yet on the "rawr sardines nom nom!" bandwagon, sadly.
But if they have a willingness to make some changes to ensure they are in a better place to prepare to recover from their surgery (jaw replacement, if it matters), what would you 'prescribe' to them? I'm family, so if this guidance comes from an outside authority that could make the critical difference in their enthusiasm.
P.S. Love to all you guys. You're doing the 'chop the wood, carry the water' and have been for SO LONG I bow in respect. Hope to see you again soon at some rando paleo conference.
Andrea in Burbank
5. CrossFit vs 5 by 5 (ketogains) [38:12]
Robb and Nikki thanks for all that you do. You, your books and podcasts have changed my life. I have done two days a week of CrossFit for just over 2 years and in spite of the amount of rest I get I still end up with knee, shoulder, wrist and elbow injuries and pain. I have recently decided to pause my CrossFit subscription and have replaced it with the three days a week 5 by 5 routine recommended by the ketogains guys. I did your keto masterclass and I'm at 7.5% body fat and try to keep my macros on point with the ketogains recommendations. What do you think about just doing the 5x5 home workout alone? I do like the group element of the CrossFit class but at my age (52) I can't seem to go for long without injury or constant pain. I feel like the 5x5 program at home is more manageable as I can control the velocity/intensity without so much emotional effort. What are your thoughts regarding this path?
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