Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Switches in the Body. The Latest Twist on the Low-Carbo Diet: Fasting Days

The latest twist in the tale of low carbo diets is the "two day fasting" which means only two consecutive days on ultra low carbo - followed in fact by 5 days on a diet without self-indulgence.

Really what science is unveiling is something it already knew: that the body responds to carbohydrates and exercise in balance. However the many years of looking at graphs had blinded them as to the fact that at some point there is a "switch" over to a new prevalent metabolic regime or lasting effect. In the case of the former, after sustained low carbo intake, the same as extended duration exercise, the body switches to burning fat and utilises fat reserves possibly in preference to fat which is under digestion, vascular transport and conversion in the body. On the other hand High Intensity Training with even very, very short bursts of sprint activity also turns a switch in the body.

Back to the latest fad of tangential low carb diet: the two day carbo fasting diet: The clinical "proof" is down to one Phd with 100 women in a blind study, who incidentally is selling a book about it. However it is a single blind study and a statistically significant difference between ordinary dieters, calorie counting that is, and this combined with two days on low carbs.

I am basically doing this on a daily basis, weekend excluded. Dinner around 6pm is a normal, but very healthy meal followed by a small yoghurt and sugar free chocolate as a treat with decaff coffee. Then breakie consists of a light salad, eggs and parma ham. Quick and simple, and about 15g net carbs as against a traditional bread, fruit or cereal based breakfast which could run into several hundred grams with a high proportion of sugars and readily digested starch.

I often walk 40 minutes to work after that.

Lunch is then high fibre : bread, salad, small amounts of fat and actually fruit only once in a while. No sweets usually, just jam and fruit juice to break the usual atkins diet type.

On this then I am in effect, fasting carbo's for about a net of 11 hours given full carbo digestion after dinner. I have lost weight and have the classic ketone-pee quite often.

In combination with this, I have increased the duration of exercise. I can put that down to a good ski season with light early evenings and the use of a head torch! However before in life I was "The Gristle" - well trained but like beefy Botham, chubby. This was down to 1) self indulgence on high sugar, high fat foods 2) snack eating immediately after exercise while actually making dinner 3) eating later into the evening, and thus allowing the body to engage a fairly well desecribed mechanism of laying on fat after late night meals more than those taken 4 hours or more before la-la time.

So for me, the change has been quite marked and I had a benefit immediately by following the Atkins strictly (after one abortive attempt due to travel: it is still impossible to buy a low carbo meal in Airports and you get a roll for breakfast in flight) and instead of going onto the ordinary maintenance phase, instead upping the amount of exercise and then being careful with meals and avoiding mid week snacking. The benefit has been a positive synergy in both loss of weight, and loss of such a gorging appetite, particularly post exercise. If I can nail the munchies with beer, which I only "learned " later in life then I would be a lot better off.

Back to exercise;: I have been conscious in doing much more, forcing myself in particular to walk to work by leaving the car in the company garage so next day, come rain or sleet, I have to walk to work.  In addition, being heavy, any endurance training has a larger calorie use than a man of say 80 kg. Peaking to High Intensity Exercise, HIT kind of comes naturally because on the hills I have to give it all sometimes and on the flat I can give it a bit of sprinting.

Dr Jamie Timmpns, an oddly chubby *wegie who is conducting HIT research as part of a multicentre study. which confirms that the majority of people just doing a very few 30 second super intense sprints per week, have a positive effect on insulin response, thus this represents a training form which can help defend against diabetes. Secondly, for those with a r"responder" gene profile VO2 Max is significantly increased in the course of a few months of this very short duration ype of training.

It seems we are dabling now with different switches in the body which are something than humans actually used in antiquity to have optimum energy use and fitness for the lifestyle as a hunter gatherer.

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