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  1. #1
    mettleman is offline Banned
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    Default Why do carbs make you feel bloated after eating low-carb?

    Anyone know why I seem to have less tolerance for carbs after eating low-carb for a few years? If I have a few too many for a number of days I feel really bloated but can easily get rid of the extra water in 3-4 days of eating low-carb again. Before ever eating low-carb I never had a problem with eating a lot of carbs – so what is the difference now? I’ve never really heard anything about this topic.

    Thanks,
    MM

  2. #2
    Spikeman1444 is offline Senior Member
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    My guess is your body possibly has to relearn how to tolerate it? I'm sure your stomach isn't used to it. Low carb is the way to go for most of the time in my opinion. What were your carb sources?

  3. #3
    mettleman is offline Banned
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    Default Carbs

    I completely agree that low-carb is the way to go and don’t plan on changing from that for the foreseeable future. As far as what kinds of carbs I ate – it was mostly the “bad” stuff – starchy and or refined for the most part – but I still ate them in moderation.

    I just find it to be a nuisance. The specific example in this case was going to South America to hang out by the pool and on the beach with some friends I have down there. I’m in super good shape but I was a bit embarrassed at my friends calling me Gordito (endearing term meaning Little Fatty) I’m about 175 and maybe 12% bodyfat and pretty damn strong, but I had an uncomfortably puffed up belly most of the time from eating rice, corn flour, and some beer, etc. Usually the only carbs I eat come from veggies.

    I do believe that I have a certain amount of intolerance to carbs now – I just didn’t know the cause. Perhaps increased insulin sensitivity or just a reaction in my unaccustomed gut? I’ve just never heard an explaination for this but know many other low-carbers who have had similar, and annoying experiences.

  4. #4
    Spikeman1444 is offline Senior Member
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    Don't listen to them dude. At 12% I'm sure you're not a Gordito. I'm sure if you started your stomach off with low glycemic carbs like blueberries or other low GI fruits your stomach would react better, but i would start slowly and in small amounts. This is my opinion by the way.

  5. #5
    forth is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mettleman View Post
    Anyone know why I seem to have less tolerance for carbs after eating low-carb for a few years? If I have a few too many for a number of days I feel really bloated but can easily get rid of the extra water in 3-4 days of eating low-carb again. Before ever eating low-carb I never had a problem with eating a lot of carbs – so what is the difference now? I’ve never really heard anything about this topic.

    Thanks,
    MM
    If you're eating low-carb normally then chances are that all of your glycogen stores in your muscles, and also in the liver, are empty. When you go up to more carbs they will be refilled. And each gram of glycogen is stored with quite some grams of water. If that is the bloating you mean then it is nothing strange going on at all. And you wouldn't notice it when eating a non-low-carb diet because you're always filled up on glycogen. Has nothing to do with tolerance. And no, your body does not need to "relearn" what to do with carbs.

  6. #6
    Spikeman1444 is offline Senior Member
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    please disregard my comment MM. Forth has far more knowledge than me in this area

  7. #7
    mettleman is offline Banned
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    Default Thanks

    Thank you Forth,
    I like your reasoning. I know that you train people in preparing for martial arts and respect your opinions. I thought that what you wrote was interesting because it brings up another question that I've had for some time: I practice BJJ/MMA and have always adopted a pretty strict diet - I usually eat meat and veggies almost exclusively, outside of getting good fats from extra virgin coconut oil and grass-fed cultured butter. I try to keep to about 60-80 grams of carbs per day (less on non-workout days) and only eat them after my workout (all veggies and very few of them starchy). I guess that what I'm saying is that I don't restrict carbs but certainly eat less that most, and try to time them well. I feel that the carbs help me with recovery for my sport and for lifting, but try to moderate them to stay lean.

    As you mention, I've heard that eating low-carb can deplete the reserves of glycogen in the muscle and liver and ultimately reduce performance in anaerobic events (such as MMA/BJJ). What are your thoughts on this? I don't feel like I've ever lost any performance. And although I would not say that I am elite, I can usually outmatch my opponents in strength-endurance on the mat. How much credence do you give to the argument that low-carb = lowered performance?

    I guess that I'm getting off-topic with my original question, but I'd like to hear your opinion...

    How do you tell your athletes to eat?

    And I'm curious to know if you and your athletes have experienced the same uncomfortable bloating with eating slightly more carbs, and if there is anything to do, outside of avoiding them, to reduce this annoying effect.

    As a note, I will mention that I have noticed that mixing half salt and half potassium, as a replacement for regular table salt, and taking a few grams of taurine per day has helped to alleviate the condition.

    I'd also like to be clear that this is nothing more than a nuisance. It just kind of sucks to eat good and clean for years, go on a vacation where eating strict is difficult, and get all blown out of shape in a matter of hours.

    Anyone feel the same?

    Thank You,
    MM
    Last edited by mettleman; 07-12-2012 at 06:17 PM.

  8. #8
    forth is offline Senior Member
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    I have seen some studies on performance effects of different dietary regimens. Problem is, of course, that what exactly "performance" is varies. But it seems that for most values of the word, and for most people there is somewhat of a performance drop when being glycogen depleted. Some actually do perform the same or better in a ketogenic or glycogen depleted state. Saying it definitely equals "low performance" is taking it a bit far.. but for many it would involve performing at a lower level.

    Some people are enamored with the idea if "training low, competing high", ie. training with low glycogen reserves to somewhat train the body to better utilize other substrates for fuel, and then comes competition day and storing up on glycogen is all where it's at. I'd love to see some research on this because to me it sounds not quite right that you can train your body to better utilize different substrates... it's very very efficient already. In fact there are suggestions that you can actually train your glycogen stores to grow bigger, which seems just fine to me.

    I love carbs myself and being glycogen deficient or in that horrid ketogenic state is absolutely terrible for me. But I am a bit extreme here. As for bloating.. I'm doing Geoff Neuperts Kettlebell Burn Extreme atm (ripped my hand yesterday doing the cleans! yay! low grade kettlebell did it. Can't recommend those!) and it is uh.. quite low on carbs imo. then comes "eating day" and yes.. I get very bloated and swell up quite a bit for a day or two. Feeling terrible and fat today

    Point is that one really needs to try what style of eating works best. 60-80grams sounds enough to fill up your liver glycogen reserve.. But really if it is working nice for you then stick with it. You'll have to live with getting all bloated and watery.

  9. #9
    JeffC is offline Senior Member
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    MM,
    you are not differentiating between different kinds of startchy carbs. Having gone low carb myself for some time, I discovered a low level problem with grains, especially wheat. I used to love eating bulgur wheat (hot with lots of spices or chilled in say tabbouli), couscous, pasta, nice dark rye bread and the like but I always assumed that the gas (sorry to be gross) that came along with it was just my normal state.

    Now being somewhat low carb when I do have too much wheat (say about as much in half a sandwich or a big slice of pizza or two small pieces of pizza) like clockwork about 45 minutes later, bloating and gas.

    Now I don't get the same reaction when I eat sweet potatoes, yams and regular potatoes. I don't eat rice as much so cannot say what that would do. I don't particuarly feel bloated eating potatoes like I do with wheat. Theoretically, since they both have starchy carb sources water retention should be the same with both wheat products and potatoes; however, I do not get the gassy/bloated feeling with potatoes.

    I'm going to try an experiment this weekend and have some oatmeal for breakfast after preparing it a special way, I'm curious to see how that will impact me.

  10. #10
    danfaz is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by forth View Post
    If you're eating low-carb normally then chances are that all of your glycogen stores in your muscles, and also in the liver, are empty. When you go up to more carbs they will be refilled.
    Back in my high school bodybuilding days, this was a common tactic for burning off that last amount of stubborn fat (carb depletion). Then, a day or two before the show, we'd load up on carbs, and you'd get that same "filling up" effect. If timed correctly, your muscles would swell up like mad, but you'd still be at super low BF, so you looked ripped!

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