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  1. #1
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    Anybody here ever do an Atkins or Keto diet?

    A friend of mine has been doing a cyclic ketogenic diet for about three months and has lost a good bit of weight. It is one of the diets similar to an Atkins diet where you take in a lot of fats and proteins and avoid carbs.

    I'm not a huge fan of fad diets, but my friend had lost around 25lbs in three months. He suggested I give it a try.

    I moderately moved into the diet about two weeks ago, and started cutting carbs. I did not realize how many carbs were in just about every kind of food. I started increasing my fat intake and drinking plenty of water. On the weekends, for one day, you can kind of eat what you want including carbs.

    The results are not that great. My freind told me that it would take a good three weeks for my body to adjust to being in keto, and that I would then start seeing results. I have continued to follow this, but some things started to show their bad side that I wasn't aware of:

    1. I am very moody, lightheaded, and just generally feel like crap when I am in keto through the week.

    2. according to him, I will be 10-20% weaker on keto and have less endurance.

    I know I am probably going to give up at this point, but I cannot deal with not having any energy and not being able to ride well. I have ridden three times since I started, and every time I felt like I was pulling a ton of weaight behind my bike. I have not lost any weight, and am just getting discouraged. I average about 25 minutes for a section of 4 miles of single track at my local trail. The last three rides have averaged 32 minutes.

    I did not trust my friends advice entirely..I did read up on it and get some tips and tricks from other sources. I just don't think this is for me. I have had better luck just watching what I eat and using portion control. Not having any energy while riding makes me not even want to go, and that is never good.

    Anybody else ever try any of these diets?

  2. #2
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    The true test of any fad diet is simple:

    Is it a diet that you can make a lifestyle for sustained weight loss?

    The answer to fad diets like Atkins is simple, no.

    Ketoacidosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Ketoacidosis is actually a toxic state for your body to be in and is one of the big life threatening factors of a diabetic that is out of control. Why would anyone think this is a healthy way to lose weight?

    Weight loss is a simple formula that doesn't take pills, so called "diets," or anything magical. Use more calories than you take in. Keep a food log of how you eat REGULARLY (if you lie to the log, you are only lieing to yourself) for a week or so (including weekends) and schedule a visit with a REAL registered/licensed dietitian (see: not a "nutritionist") and discuss your goals with them. They will help you out on planing changes that you can actually make and hold to in your diet that will produce better results, won't leave you cranky/hungry/weak and you should lose weight.

    Any diet that leaves you feeling bad will not last across a lifetime. Weight loss is not a temporary thing, it is a lifetime event.

    Second thing. If there are reasons why you have eaten badly over the past, and I am talking PSYCHOLOGICAL reasons why you self medicate or cope using food, go to a psychologist (not psychiatrist) and start dealing with those problems. The healthiest diet in the world won't help you over the long run if there are problems you haven't dealt with from your past. Just like a drug addict, you have to address the CAUSE of the poor coping and self medicating behaviors.



    DISCLAIMER: My wife is a registered/licensed dietician and I have my foundations/degree in psychology. My recommendations come from personal experience that is supported by scientific study.
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  3. #3
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    And yes, the disclaimer would mean that I am biased.... but biased with backing. I will also say tha in the last 2.5 weeks I have lost 5 pounds.... and i have actually had fried chicken tenders eating lunch with my bosses each week during that time.... No magic bullet.... no restrictive diet... just eating a little less and riding more.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz View Post
    I just don't think this is for me. I have had better luck just watching what I eat and using portion control. Not having any energy while riding makes me not even want to go, and that is never good.

    Anybody else ever try any of these diets?
    If you are going to do Atkins, make sure you read the book and follow all the suggestions, not just cutting carbs. Sounds like you've given it a try, and it's not working for you. Even in the induction phase I've only felt the way you describe during the first 24 hours or so. I've ridden in Ketosis and surprisingly ran about the same times as I normally do. I didn't hit the wall or feel bad either. I did sometimes "cheat" and drink 8oz of Gatoraid over the last half of the ride, as I usually do that when I'm losing lots of fluid from sweating.

    If I felt that bad weeks into a diet, I've drop it and find something else.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight511 View Post

    Ketoacidosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Ketoacidosis is actually a toxic state for your body to be in and is one of the big life threatening factors of a diabetic that is out of control. Why would anyone think this is a healthy way to lose weight?
    I think you might be confusing Ketosis with Ketoacidosis. Are you saying that an otherwise healthy individual will experience Ketoacidosis by going on a low-carb diet?

  6. #6
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    I have a business partner who swears by low carb / atkins type diet. It is a great diet for somebody who isn't very physically active. But even Atkins himself says in his book that if you are active you are going to have to add in more carbs. I tried it for a few weeks and was very strict about it. I felt fine during the day but I just couldn't enjoy my rides at night. I was totally gassed on every ride. The first ride after I added carbs back in I felt like I had rocket legs.

    I think there are better life-long diet plans for a physically active person. If you want to lose weight you are going to have to eat a loss less carbs than Americans in general, but you don't have to go to the Atkins extreme.

    Also ketosis does not equal ketoacidosis.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurkinite View Post
    I have a business partner who swears by low carb / atkins type diet. It is a great diet for somebody who isn't very physically active. But even Atkins himself says in his book that if you are active you are going to have to add in more carbs. I tried it for a few weeks and was very strict about it. I felt fine during the day but I just couldn't enjoy my rides at night. I was totally gassed on every ride. The first ride after I added carbs back in I felt like I had rocket legs.

    I think there are better life-long diet plans for a physically active person. If you want to lose weight you are going to have to eat a loss less carbs than Americans in general, but you don't have to go to the Atkins extreme.

    Also ketosis does not equal ketoacidosis.
    This is what I was looking for..Someone with a similar experience. I feel better about it now. I think I will drop the diet and move on to just watching what I eat and busting it to try and lose weight.

  8. #8
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    I did the Atkins diet back in 2005. I read and followed the book religiously and it worked for me . within 4 months I dropped 39 pounds. The induction phase is pretty restrictive but over the weeks you slowly increase your carb intakeuntil you find the amount of carb intake that is right for you.
    I find people that dismiss this diet as a fad really don't know what it consists of. The carbs you add are healthy carbs and Atkins stresses regular exercise and lots of fresh food and veggies throughout all phases. When you are on the diet (especially the first part of the induction phase), your riding will suffer, but you are burning pure fat. When you are on Atkins and riding your bike, I felt that even the smallest hills felt like mountains but it was mostly in the first couple of weeks. I also found that the pounds just melted away.
    Atkins is about a lifestyle change, and finding the balance between carbs and fat & protein that works for you.
    I found a balance of about 100 gms of carbs work well for me and I'm riding as fast as ever & have placed well every season in racing. I've also kept the weight off for seven years.
    "Prollyisnotprobably"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hurkinite View Post
    Also ketosis does not equal ketoacidosis.
    This. It's amazing to me in 2012 that there are people still touting the all carbs, all the time and "ooh, dietary fat is scary!" mantras. All that got us was vast numbers of type 2 diabetics and record numbers of overweight folks.
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  10. #10
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    edit
    Last edited by Knight511; 09-29-2012 at 08:35 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Edit: First, I apologize if I cam across as kind of an ass. My writing technique reads that way sometimes and that really isn't the fuel behind a post. That being said....

    Thought about my reply last night and thought it may have sounded a bit ass-like. To answer a question, I know there is a difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. I also know there are several studies that point to potential long term damage to major organs for a person that hangs out in ketosis for long periods. The studies were still pending last time I really dug into them, so that might have changed too.

    My point originally must have got lost. Fad diets (and Atkins has all the markers of being a fad diet), don't work long term. I am not talking 6 months or even a year.... I am talking over the span of your life time. Changing the foundation of how you think about food, how you think about what is good food and addressing the obstacles that are in your way to sustainable and healthy weight loss over the span of your life will be more beneficial than shedding some weight really quick under any fad diet.

    Most people that I have met and talk to about dieting and food that REALLY need to lose weight have underlying issues (IMO mostly psychological) as to why they have problems with food. Unless those issues are addressed, any diet will be nothing more than temporary. I try to get people to really think about what food means to them and why it does. If a person has used food to cope, as an addiction or as a means to hide from a painful reality, no diet will fix what is truly wrong.

    I think most people would be better served by spending their money on visits with dieticians and/or psychologists than on the top 10 selling diet books. That is my $0.02.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    This. It's amazing to me in 2012 that there are people still touting the all carbs, all the time and "ooh, dietary fat is scary!" mantras. All that got us was vast numbers of type 2 diabetics and record numbers of overweight folks.
    It is amazing to me that in 2012 people are still chasing fad diets instead of eating right and just reducing the amount of food they shove in their face.

    There is nothing "magical" or "secret" to weight loss. If energy consumed > calories consumed, you lose weight.

    FWIW, I tried the Atkins ~8 years ago. Lasted all of 2.5 weeks because I felt like complete crap. Cranky, irritable and just out of energy. That was the first and last fad diet I would try. The folks formerly known as the ADA (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics The world's largest organization of food and nutrition professinals -Eatright.org) may actually know a thing or two about what they are doing after all.... all that "balanced diet" crap... yeah... it actually works.

    And finally, yes, you will lose weight on a fad diet. The same equation above applies to Atkins or any low carb diet.... if you don't operate in that equation, you won't lose weight.

    Fad diets:
    5 Ways to Spot a Fad Diet
    Fad Diets
    4 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Fad Diets / Fitness / Weight Loss
    http://www.uaex.edu/depts/FCS/EFNEP/...ct_fallacy.pdf

    And the funniest out of the quick search:
    Make Your Own Fad Diet

    Nicely written:
    Can Fad Diets Work?
    Last edited by Knight511; 09-29-2012 at 08:43 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Knight511, although I disagree with some (not all) of the things you've stated, I didn't challenge your entire post #2, but just the statement regarding ketoacidosis that in my opinion is very misleading. And now you've sort of clarified it...I think what you are saying now is that some studies may indicate that there is a danger of organ damage for people that stay in ketosis for long periods. That is a different statement. I'm still skeptical even of that statement, but I'm open to seeing more information on it. It may not apply to Atkins anyway - his books indicate that in maintenance you are out of ketosis most or all of the time. For anyone that doubts that is true or is worried about it, you can test your urine for excessive ketones with lypolysis testing strips.

    By the way, I actually clicked on your Teen Health "5 ways to spot a fad diet" link (ugh), and the Atkins Diet does not qualify for any of the 5 markers. Anyway, it was presented by Dr. Atkins as a lifestyle, but it's up to the individual as to whether it works for them and they want to follow it for life.

  13. #13
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    Doing a Keto diet here. Lost 50lbs so far, and my times in this race season are hugely improving (I've improved 15-20 min, I'm about 2 min behind first place now). Started around 275, now I'm 225, and I have normal blood pressure now too. Some people will say its because I'm biking, but I've been riding the same for over 2 years now (we have a 3 times-a-week group ride) and only in the last 5 months after starting keto that I have had these huge improvements.

    It took me about 4 weeks until I could ride back at my "normal rate" those first weeks are super rough. But now that I'm fully keto adapted its awesome. I never bonk anymore too which is an awesome bonus.

    Good info:
    LCHF for beginners | DietDoctor.com
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...UYM/edit?pli=1

    Also this talk on low carbs is a bit controversial and people argue but it has helped me greatly and if anyone wants to chat about it, or wants some tips you can PM me too.
    RideSAMBA.com Mountain Biking in South Alabama.

  14. #14
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    I've done the Atkins diet twice, losing about 50 pounds each time, in roughly 5 months. Most of the weight was lost in the first 2 months.

    I wasn't really following the Atkins plan though. I did cut out almost all carbs. I didn't really hold back on tuna (in water), egg whites or baked chicken breasts as I believed it was virtually impossible to get fat off lean protein no matter how much was consumed. I cut daily intake to roughly 900 calories. This mean very little fat was allowed. Every calorie was counted. I usually packed lunch, which was a great deterrent to cheating. My meal plans were very basic so I could accurately count calories, but since it was tedious to come up with meal plans, there were few of them. I think getting tired of these foods probably helped with weight loss as I sick of eating what I permitted myself to eat. I worked out for 2-3 hours per day, with running straight out of bed, and weight lifting after work.

    I believe Atkins primarily differs from my diet in that it's more forgiving of fat. To me, fat calories still count.

    I didn't gain weight after Atkins because of getting off Atkins. I actually found it easy to keep the weight off because I enjoyed my new body, and shared it as much as possible, which often meant more exercise and fewer opportunities to eat heartily. I gained weight back years later because I purposely tried to gain weight, and it got out of hand.

    I might try Atkins again as I once again let weight gain get out of control, but my life isn't currently structured in a way that will allow me to avoid cheating like it was in the past. This time I might just try losing weight by exercising a LOT. I know I can't possibly eat enough to maintain weight while doing long distance hikes. I lose about 1/2 pound per day over weeks and months. Now I would like to try swap some backpacking with bike touring. Hopefully the weight loss is the same. I need to lose at least 60 pounds, and preferably 75 pounds unless I find I have much more muscle mass than I think I have.

  15. #15
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    I did the Atkins diet in 2005 about 6 months before my wedding. I had been working out of town for 18 months and got up to 267 lbs and wanted to be back to my normal weight of 225 lbs for the wedding, which I did. Shortly after, Katrina hit and I was working on the recovery project in New Orleans eating like crap again and about 25 lbs came right back on.

    Atkins can be good, but lifestyle change is really the key. Because of Atkins and my Type 1 diabetes, I do eat less carbs and lower glycemic index carbs these days, which helps. But by far the biggest help in losing weight and keeping it off is riding my bike 4-5 days a week.

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    On any low carb diet like Adkins or Ideal Protein, you are really not supposed to exercise anything more strenuous than walking. Once you go into ketosis (and that involves not just lowering carbs, but completely cutting all sugars from your diet as well, including fruits. If you exercise while in ketosis, then your body will consume muscle mass rather than just stored fat. Yes you may end up feeling like crap initially, but it is proven to work for most people. Where people fail on this diet is when they transition from weight loss to maintenance phases and fall back into bad habits. My fiance lost over 50 lbs on this diet year before last.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy View Post
    Where people fail on this diet is when they transition from weight loss to maintenance phases and fall back into bad habits. My fiance lost over 50 lbs on this diet year before last.
    This is not unique to low-carb diets. It's not rocket science. If a person goes back to the habits that got them fat in the first place they WILL get fat again. I think it's odd that this is so often used as a criticism of low-carb diets when EVERY person I know who has followed a diet (any diet), lost, then regained has regained for that very reason...regardless of which "plan" they followed to lose in the first place.
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  18. #18
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    He's a simple way to lose weight. Give up anything with sugar in it, stay away from foods you know are not good for you. Limit alcohol to one day a week if you drink. Go for a 20 minute walk every day. And finally don't get all stressed out about it. Keep on the cool side. Do this for a month and report back.

  19. #19
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    I've been doing Paleo/Primal for a couple months. While not atkins/keto, it shares some elements, primarily the low carb aspect.

    The one thing I have found with respect to these low carb diets, is that you really need to separate your dietary eating from your ride exercise eating. So while you're strictly avoiding simple sugars, and even more complex carbs like grains, because of what they do to your metabolism, when you're on the bike the rules change. A Gu or a powerbar after you've spent 45 minutes depleting muscle glucose and have another 45 minutes of high output burn to go, is not really a part of your "diet"; the bad things that you're trying to avoid by avoiding carbs are really not in play. The insulin surge and crash are not factors, you'll burn every last calorie and then some. The carbs are really just a tool that lets you maximize value of your workout by letting you work your muscles more deeply, and with a greater level of positive reinforcement since its not this empty-tank slog.

  20. #20
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    All diets are doomed to fail if they are a viewed as a quick fix (Atkins, Paleo, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, tape worms, leeches, pixie sticks, gene therapy...wait I think a couple of those aren't diets...). Permanent and consistent changes to lifestyle and approach to nutrition are what really make the difference.

    A ketogenic diet is as valid an approach to weight loss as caloric restriction because those who feel they need to diet vary as much as the diets they choose. What works for Pedro may not work for Juan or Mary.

    Of all the diets I have tried Atkins has the most direct visible results when considering the pain of nutritional discipline. However when you finally lose your mind because salads and steak all start to taste the same (that can and does happen) the 34 donuts and 3 big gulps you consume your first night "off" are likely to erase some of those short term gains.

    For now I am down 35 lbs on Atkins and 60 miles a week on my trainer and 2 riding days on the MTB.

    Good luck and I hope you achieve the goal you set for yourself.
    I see you rolled your way into the Semi's...Dios Mio Man...

  21. #21
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    I am doing Atkins. I just started so I cant report on its impact on my riding. I will let you know in a few weeks.

    I did Atkins years ago and lost a ton of weight.

    Atkins is NOT a Fad Diet. It really upsets me that people still believe this. A large part of our population is carb sensitive. Its a big reason why we have such problems with obesity. I am carb sensitive. Carbs have a huge impact on my blood sugar, any carb, in any amount. Basically if I eat carbs my body wants to lay down and take a nap for an hour.

    Atkins is about losing weight by staying off sugars and simple carbs, and then adding them BACK into your diet until you find the "sweet spot" of cab vs. protein that allows your body to function normally.

    For active people who bike, run, etc..that may mean as much as 200g carbs per day or more. For others, 50 - 100g. Everyone is different.
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  22. #22
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    I've lost about 25 lbs in about two months just counting my calories. I'm at 200 lbs and hoping to get to 190 where I should be. I have done keto in the past. I got down to 170 lbs with keto at one point, but my energy levels weren't the same as they are now.

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  23. #23
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    The big reason people fail at weight lose is People tend to over complicate things when it comes to nutrition macros, eating times yada yada yada.

    Simple truth is you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight. I keep most of my carbs in the morning and it gives energy threw out the day.

  24. #24
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    From 464 to 312.2 as of yesterday morning following carb cycling and keto diet. Works for me. I eat low carb (less than 30g) for 2 days, then can get in 40-50g a day for 10 days, then eat a surplus of carbs for 2 days to restore glycogen levels, then back to carb cycling. I'm also a pretty big fan of primal and eating natural whole foods, it's worked wonders for me and helped a ton. My blood work was horrible, now it's better than most peoples I've compared it with. Organic, local grown produce and meat, low carbs, I swear by it, however YMMV.

    It's hard to call something a "fad" diet that's been around since the cavemans days on earth. Atkins is one thing, but keto diet have been around far, FAR longer.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    I am doing Atkins. I just started so I cant report on its impact on my riding. I will let you know in a few weeks.

    I did Atkins years ago and lost a ton of weight.

    Atkins is NOT a Fad Diet. It really upsets me that people still believe this. A large part of our population is carb sensitive. Its a big reason why we have such problems with obesity. I am carb sensitive. Carbs have a huge impact on my blood sugar, any carb, in any amount. Basically if I eat carbs my body wants to lay down and take a nap for an hour.

    Atkins is about losing weight by staying off sugars and simple carbs, and then adding them BACK into your diet until you find the "sweet spot" of cab vs. protein that allows your body to function normally.

    For active people who bike, run, etc..that may mean as much as 200g carbs per day or more. For others, 50 - 100g. Everyone is different.
    Ah yes - the dreaded "food coma" post carb consumption.

    All the best with your nutritional choice changes and the weight loss.

    Atkins used to have a section on their website devoted to athletes and "adjusting" the diet for an athlete - be it endurance, or shorter duration events. Keep in mind, Atkins is not a 'no-carb' diet, but a 'lower-carb' diet. Carbs are still consumed and adjusting the amount for your level of exercise is not too difficult to do.

    The adjustment for athletes is a bit more carb (no simple carbs of course) than those who are on the diet and sedentary or not athletes. I lost 32 pounds using their web page guide for athletes at the Atkins site and XC raced through it all with no loss in performance during the weight loss phase. But I wasn't racing endurance events - just XC racing which usually maxes out at 90 minutes or maybe up to 2 hours. Training on the bike for more than 8-10 hours per week is obviously going to require an adjustment to the amount of carbs compared to somebody who is only spending 4-6 hours (less volume) on the bike.

    It looks like one has to sign up and register for the Atkins website these days as opposed to back in 2004-5 when I cut the weight and used their site. Search around for it though.

    Otherwise, interesting study on endurance cyclists...

    Atkins and Athletes - Atkinsā„¢ Low Carb Diet

    In one study by Dr. Stephen Phinney, elite cyclists consumed a diet equivalent to the Induction phase of Atkins for four weeks while maintaining an intense training regimen. One would predict that these cyclists were burnt out and exhausted, with a serious decrease in performance by the end of four weeks. In fact, the results were not significantly different than when they were consuming their usual high-carb diet. And, by the end of four weeks, they had trained their bodies to burn fat for fuel during exercise, which means they were able to hold on to their reserves of glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates in the body). Another study of elite cyclists published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise also showed that while following a low-carb diet, the cyclists also burned fat as fuel, while preserving glycogen stores. Once again, performance was similar among both the high-carb and low-carb group.

    There are plenty of others ways to consume protein without resorting to eating red meat, pork, bacon, lamb, etc... . And learning the difference between good carbs and bad carbs is key so that one is consuming the best carbs possible for nutrition.

    Truths And Myths - Atkins? Low Carb Diet

    Nutrition and Exercise - Atkins? Low Carb Diet

    Training Peaks is another source that allows you to guage your nutritional needs based on the amount of exercise one is doing.

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