Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Ketosis?

  With the onset of Fall and the conclusion of the race season my cycling has begun to wind down from the frantic pace of the Spring and Summer. Come October cycling drops on the depth chart and is usurped by my twice weekly ball hockey. I still hope to commute to/from work into the winter and continue to participate in the Saturday morning club rides but both will be weather dependant. If the road surface is(relatively) dry and the windchill remains moderate I will cycle given the opportunity.

  As a result I have decided that it is time to get firmly aboard the paleo wagon by switching to my winter nutritional routine this week. The demands of competitive cycling this summer did result in me being leniant with the basic premises of paleo nutrition. Whereas I did not gorge on grains, dairy and sugars this summer I did cheat on occasion, especially in terms of recovery foods. Cycling seven days a week meant I was able to maintain my weight loss and still see excellent performance on the bike but have since gained several pounds now that my saddle time has decreased.

  Today was day two of my ultra low carb transition. I have begun to experience some of the symptoms of ketosis, namely headache, thirst and some dizziness. My plan will be to continue ultra low carb for the rest of the week then transition back to my usual paleo regimen less the cheats and high carb fruits. Despite being symptomatic I already am losing my cravings for non paleo foods. Chocolate, peanut butter,beer, granola and "carb heavy" fruits were my weaknesses this past summer.

  Turns out I am positioned well for the transition. Most of my vegetable staples are low carb; spinach(and other greens), mushrooms,radishes,broccoli,celery and cabbage. I will need to limit my fruit to low carb versions, specifically berries, melons and apples. Bananas, kiwi, pineapple,oranges, grapes and mangos will become occasional paleo treats.

   Ketosis? In laymans terms ketosis is when your metabolism switches from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for fuel. Glucose( processed carbs) is required by some brain, blood and kidney functions but your body will compensate by gaining small amounts from metabolizing fats and also from the liver as it converts proteins..Ketones are a by product of this process and will also help power brain function. At least for the short time dietary ketosis is not unhealthy but rather switches your metabolism to one that burns fat for fuel. No studies have been done on long term ketosis on humans but animal studies have shown no ill effects.

   My approach will be to maintain ketosis for a short while but then move into a low(er) carb approach (that may not mean being in ketosis) since I require variety in my diet, want to remain in a good acidic/alkaline balance and gain as many nutrients as possible while adhering to paleo nutrition.That said I will balance it with my goal of acheving a 2011 race weight of 180 pounds by Spring.

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