View Full Version : Question for all those advocating Protein Diets
10-09-2003, 05:25 PM
One of the biggest doubts i've had about all these protein heavy diets is the question of energy. My Nutrition instructor at American River College said of protein diets, "show me an athlete on a protein diet and I'll show you someone who has a hard time with cardiovascular intense activities."
I've always been told that carbohydrates provide us with the quickly accesible energy we need to operate daily. I've known people who were on a protein diet and complained of feeling sick and tired all the time.
Do those on this forum who follow a protein diet find that energy lacking if they do not consume a chunk of carbs? Myself, i've felt a definite drop in energy if all I consume is protein. Is this something that goes away after the body adapts? Do those who participate in BJJ ect consume a big load of carbs before competing?
10-10-2003, 04:56 AM
i have changed to protein+fat diet and most of the time eat only few carbs. I feel great and also have energy to train, carbs make me tired. It took me too long to understand that i'll do better this way.
You don't need take carb loads if you use fat for energy. I'll let the master speak, check out
Still i would say it's very individual thing and if you're doing fine with carbs, good for you and don't change it just for the sake of changing or hype.
But you're right, your body needs time to adapt if you change your diet.
10-10-2003, 07:29 AM
Look at Steve Maxwell. He has been on this type of diet for 8yrs or so and I doubt he has any problems with Cardio endurance.
I've been on this type of diet for about 16 months, a few times I felt weak or like I couldnt keep going but it was after intense KB followed by intense MA then a BW conditioning. After drinking a protein shake designed for post workout I felt better after about 15mins.
I still eat carbs occasionally, Macroni Grill has the best bread!!! but I eat the ribeye, no pasta..... Pizza but no crust or a little part of one. Once in a while a few pancakes......
BW has stayed the same but fat % has gone done and muscle has gone up due in part to diet and part to KB and CB
10-10-2003, 12:48 PM
Look at Steve Maxwell. He has been on this type of diet for 8yrs or so and I doubt he has any problems with Cardio endurance.
When a friend of mine looked at Steve Maxwell's picture in the De-sissified Burpee article, his torso was described as being like that of a greek god. His wife is beautiful and athletic as well, they are definitely a good testimonial for protein diets.
I know Maxwell has spoken about his diet before(though I missed the article), where he mentions that he works with Dr. Ellis personally. It would seem as you say that he does not have any trouble with energy, but he is also a badass and therefor has other things going for him.
Steve Mahler is a vegan(!) and he's damn strong, so obviously as has been said before, different diets work for different people.
Heh, another problem with protein diets(in my situation)is that meat is generally expensive. I'm lucky at this point in my life as I have access to cheap(1.99 to 2.99/lb)mostly organic grass-fed, free range beef, but that's because I live in Humboldt County.
With something like this that would directly affect my health, I like to gather as much information as I can, so please fellow knuckledraggers, weigh in with your opinions and knowledge.
The diet of choice for the Crossfit folks is either a paleo type diet or the Zone. Neither of which is high in carbs.
From personal experience, I've found no decrease in performance playing a full season of rugby on a cyclic ketogenic diet (DiPasquale's Anabolic Diet), in fact, my fitness test numbers were some of the highest I'd ever put up. The cardiorespiratory demands of rugby are high, to say the least.
The one thing I did notice was that aerobic and anaerobic conditioning "hurt" more when on a low carb diet. That doesn't mean I couldn't do the conditioning at the levels I wanted too, it simply meant that I had to get tougher mentally.
That season of rugby took me from a 240 to a 198 in ~12 weeks.
10-12-2003, 09:11 PM
I'll walk softly on this because i'm convinced that dietary needs are unique to every individual based on, work load, environment, somato-type, constitution, etc.
For me I find the energy from carbs to be very fleeting, leaving me much lower than I started not long after eating them. Protien provides me with a very sustainable energy with the added benefit of preventing muscle tissue breakdown during endurance training, and because protien requires more work to digest than carbs I'm actually burning fat in the process of digestion. This is important because not only do I tend to grow a pound of muscle just from picking up my Bruiser, I also tend to gain an inch on my waist by simply thinking about a donut.
So I eat primarily Protien, Fiber, Fat, in that order. The only real cheat carbs I eat comes in form of Guinness, and yes I do mean "eat".
As a side note, there is definately a 1-2 week adaptation period where my energy levels are pretty wrecked if I go off this diet for any length.
10-14-2003, 08:50 AM
There is beef is great, yes expensive, buy in bulk and it saves you. Worth it, you will never go back to eating beef in supermarkets again..
10-14-2003, 08:59 AM
Or you can move to the Pacific NW where the Co-op Groceries stock organic-fed free-range beef (and other healthy meats) at very reasonable rates. :wink:
10-14-2003, 01:59 PM
Of course, Coach Szolek is absolutely correct in reminding us that everyone is different. Even in the original version of 'The Zone', Barry Sears points out that 25% of the population is genetically suited to do well (at least in the short term) on a high carb/low fat diet. It's the rest of us, who try to follow their example but don't have the cellular receptors for it, who need to do something else for best results.
You can burn fat as your primary energy source IF there are no carbs around to burn first. It's the transition that is tough for most people. There is a simple requirement: during the transition period, be SURE you are getting at LEAST 10-12 hours of sleep (I mean real sleep, in a darkened bedroom with no lights, TV, nothing) for several weeks, starting at around 9 pm and going straight thru until morning. I tried this at the suggestion of Dan John's training web pages, based on his experiences with implementing the diet and lifestyle changes in an overlooked book titled "Light Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival". It works like a charm.
LO has an amazing amount of useful, life changing info in it, but it reads as if it was editted with a chainsaw (among other things, it refers to an appendix that never made it to the published edition). The books's central tenet is simple: You aren't hungry...you're TIRED, and you will never be able to resist your craving for sugar and starch until you get enough sleep.
For me, it's as simple as this: when my body fat is starting to creep up, I drop all starches and sugars, start sleeping 10-12 hours a day (no easy task in this day and age, I'll admit), eat nothing but meat, green veggies and berries, throw the kettlebells around a few times a week , and I will be back to where I want to be (or better) within a month. Of course, I have no social life while this is going on...Due to the requirements of my present schedule of work and school, I am currently not able to do this; but my present to myself in six months is going to be just what I recommended above - two solid months of meat, leaves and berries and 10 hours of sleep every night.
Just my opnion based on what seems to work for me.
10-23-2003, 01:10 PM
It would make perfect sense that you feel that you have no energy on a Protein Only Diet. Protein offers little to no energy value, with the exception of starvation. The other options for energy would have to come from either carbs or fats. Carbs offer quick energy, while fats offer a much longer source of energy. People debate about all sorts of combinations among the two. Rather than restoke that fire, why not look at what our body does physiologically. The average person can store approx 400 grams of carbs. After that, the body stores the rest as fat. 400 grams isnt much at all when you look at how much any one carb source offers with the exception of veggies. Ever heard of anyone eating too many veggies? The next argument is that we are not able to access the fat stores quick enough to meet our energy demands. Mauro Di Pasquale explains in his book "The Metabolic Diet", we are able to use fat as energy if the body is trained to do so. If we are creatures of adaptation as many have claimed, then this idea has merit. If you ate an Protein only diet, you cut off both of your fuel choices. It would be up to you as to which you want to use.
10-23-2003, 01:24 PM
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10-23-2003, 03:03 PM
I seem to have my best results limiting but not eliminating my carbs.
Simply put, I keep my proteins and fats separate from my carbs, and try to eat only high quality carbs.
Usually I only eat 2-3 times a day. Some days I'll eat 3 protein meals, examples:
two boneless/skinless chicken thighs with olive oil and seasoning,
three eggs with a bit of cheese.
A few handfuls of mixed nuts.
Other days I'll throw a carb meal in, examples are:
whole wheat toast with fat free cheese slices (faux grilled cheese).
pasta with no olive oil and low fat sauce
I'm doing very hard workouts right now, and do not seem to be suffering thus far.
hope that helps,
10-23-2003, 06:04 PM
To me it seems that on your sample daily diet you are not getting very many calories. About how many are you consuming daily? I'm curious to see because from what you listed it seems like it would be under 1000.
10-23-2003, 06:13 PM
Good question, Aaron.
I really don't know. :shock:
If we average 500 Kcal/meal X 3 meals that's 1500 + some leeway for the extra fat (olive oil with meats, heavy cream with coffee, 2-3 cups/day) we probably get just over 2,000. But that's just an estimate.
The plan is to continue this way as long as I see progress, then zone in more carefully on calorie and macronutrient counts if needed, which it may not be.
Hope that helps,
10-23-2003, 10:13 PM
As long as you're full eating that seems good to me. I eat a little more and have been counting all my calories. I usually eat anywhere between 1200-2000 on any given day. When I add them I always add 200 to the final amount just to be sure I'm not under estimating. I've lost 5 pounds, but weight loss is not my goal, a change in body composition is. I hope to be at 7-8% body fat by Thanksgiving. I'd say I was at 10-12% to start. Hopefully I'll make it. Luckily, I have free access to a place where they measure body composition by attaching electrodes to the skin and sending a magnetic pulse that bounces differently off fat, lean muscle, and water. I'll also have my blood tested for cholestorol levels including HDL/LDL. On a side not, where I am tested is the Framingham Heart Study which is actually mentioned in Ellis's book twice. On page 424 he quotes Dr. Castelli, who has been dropping cans and bottles for me to recycle and make some money off of for as long as I can remember. Anyways, I'll post results at Thanksgiving and I'm always intersted in others results, both positive and negative. Good luck.
10-24-2003, 10:35 AM
I just want to thank the tribe for all the interesting diet discussion, it has been enlightening.
10-24-2003, 12:51 PM
I'm a big follower of smaller portions. Anything in excess is not good,I guess.
10-28-2003, 06:49 AM
For the life of me I cannot remember the man's name. HOWEVER, I saw Dr. Atkins last interview with Phil Donahue and he had a friend who was also a cardiologist and an associate with the Atkins center. In his spare time, he's a triathelete who has competed in the Hawaii Ironman 3 times. And stated his resting heart rate is 48 bpm.
Here is my hypothesis; If the body is used to accessing fats thru beta-oxidation all day, then won't it have an easier time during exercise than waiting for glycogen stores to be depleted?
I add some bicarb in water in the morning of any day I'm going to train, and I really feel the difference. Being in Ketosis is not the same as keto-acidosis, but it is a little too close to pH 7.35 and I have felt the difference with just a little baking soda.
Anyway, that's my $.02
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