My current series of experiments have me doing a lot of carbs. I was shooting to average around 150-180g a day. But now I’m up to around 280g a day (roughly 8-9x what I was under keto). I’ll have more on that as the results of the experiments role out. (Or — shameless plug — you can watch them as they happen from my Patreon vlogs)
I’m trying to keep the carbs isolated to grain-based as much as possible and avoiding fructose (and thus sucrose). This entire experience has been interesting, to say the least. Here’s the good, the mixed, and the bad so far.
The Good Stuff
- Less eating out stress. Without question, it’s a lot nicer to eat off the menu without giving the waiter a lot of instruction on what to subtract (buns, wraps, etc) and feeling like everyone else instead of “that guy” who stands out for appearing like the neurotic health nut.
- Better manual energy boosting. I’ll cop to appreciating how I could just boost some carbs to fight off tiredness when battling a deadline. You know, the intentional sugar high, for which there’s not really a fat-based substitute at that degree. But yes, yes, I know this comes with a price to be paid soon after with the proverbial sugar crash. Note I’m not using anything with fructose (and thus no HFCS or sucrose), this is just aftermath of good ol’ grain-based carb rushes.
- Low fasting glucose*. Yes, it looks like a typo, but it isn’t. And in fact, it’s what I was expecting per all the previous discussion on glucose sparing I do on twitter, I’m not at all surprised on a 2000 calorie, carb-centric diet that I’d see lower fasting glucose.
* Technically, this is really only a good thing insofar as that it looks better on a blood test. The net effect of morning energy levels, metabolism, etc. are likely negligible.
- Running start is better, running middle and end worse. Unsurprisingly, as I’ve been doing some distance run training for the upcoming half marathon, I find my bursty beginnings feel a bit better since going carby. But after about the 2.5-3 mile range, I start to get a little slower and the experience is much less enjoyable relative to being fat-adapted. My hope is that this too will improve with more conditioning from the training.
The Bad Ju Ju
- GI Stress. Long before this way of life, I would mention having on-again off-again stomach and gas pains in my lower abdomen. Most doctors said it was IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and gave varying vague advice on how to solve it. I eventually found out about Fructose Malabsorption and sure enough had a lot of improvement when cutting out high fructose corn syrup. But it was practically eliminated when I went keto… until now. Welcome back, pain. yay.
- Dry scalp. I had forgotten this was a thing in the ‘ol pre-keto days.
- Postprandial drowsiness. Okay, this I was fully expecting. But it’s still lame. 🙁
- Broken circadian rhythm. While I’ve always had trouble with sleep schedules both before and during keto, I’ve definitely had a stronger routine with the latter. Now my sleep timing is much more erratic again. But I’m hoping this will level off more the longer I’m on the carb side of the fence.
- Acne. Booooo!
- Weight gain (see below).
Cheating on the Cheating
Humorously, I’ve actually had a tough time sticking to carbs with every meal because I just don’t enjoy them like I once did. Or maybe I just enjoy fatty meats and cheese so much more when keto. While at Gold Coast, I kept having “cheat meals” of high-fat, low-carb selections — like a juicy steak with loads of butter on the last night there.
Gaining Fat Easily
Since closely tracking my weight while researching for the last two years, I’ve found it extremely difficult to gain weight on keto — even when I’m trying. My 5000 calorie experiments would get me 2 or 3lb above the baseline of 180lb, but only after five days. But hey, with the magic of simple carbs via bread, I’ve found a way to break through that ceiling and ramp my weight up to a brand new 189lb. Depending on the next experiments, it might be going higher still… and I don’t think it will be lean muscle
Raphael Sirtoli of Break Nutrition called me the “Christian Bale of nutrition” and I think I’m definitely demonstrating that right now. Certainly, I didn’t think I’d be going through all this along with bringing on extra body fat for the sake of science. But then, I didn’t think that with the 82 blood draws (and counting) either.
Just for the Record
If it weren’t for my research, I’d just be back full throttle on keto right now. Before starting this phase, I thought there might be a risk I’d become re-addicted to simple carbs. Honestly, I think I’m more ready to break it off than ever. Like seeing an ex-significant other that your older, more mature self can recognize as a terrible match. “What did I ever see in them?!?”
I had this post in draft form for the last several days without too much changing. But this morning I had one more possible negative to add, although I’ll need to see it a few more times to be sure. I was doing a training run and on around the fourth mile, I had a bit of a progressively worse cough to the point where I had to slow to walking. This was a nearly identical effect to the one I had when training in ’09 long before keto. At the time, doctors I talked to thought it might be “exercise-induced asthma” — which seemed odd to me given it only showed up with the distance running, not biking, lifting or really anything else.
Fast forward to the last couple years and I had actually forgotten all about it as I hadn’t had an “episode” in a long time. Then lo and behold, I get that very familiar effect this morning and it gets me wondering. I’d want to see more than one of these events to be sure it isn’t an isolated incident. But don’t mistake my curiosity for hope!