Carb Nite Solution Results After 10 Weeks
Here is the 10 week update from my experiment with the Carb Nite Solution (check out my book review), which is essentially a variation on a cyclic ketogenic diet. The basic idea is to eat ultra low carb (less than 30 gm) to induce ketosis which primes your body to burn fat while preserving muscle. Then on one day of the week, during a 6-8 hr window in the evening, load up on a massive amount of high glycemic index carbs. This will incite a large insulin spike which tells the body that there is plenty of food around, preventing the typical down-regulation of metabolism seen in starvation.
You can read about results after 4 weeks here. I’ve also included the initial parameters of this experiment below.
Continue to burn fat while preserving muscle mass.
- Follow the Carb Nite Solution as rigorously as possible
- At the same time, use paleo and primal principles (eating whole foods, avoiding wheat products, legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods etc).
- On Carb Nites, primarily use safe starches such as rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes as my source of carbohydrates.
- Carlson The Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil - My primary source of Omega 3s
- Vital Omegas - My source of Omega 3s when I’m on the road
- Damage Control Master Formula - Good source of micronutrients, vitamins, and other stuff for support.
- Vitamin D – Because I definitely don’t get as much sunshine as I need
- Vitamin C - Extended release capsules
- Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Probiotics
- L-Glutamine - Used post workout and sometimes pre workout.
- Natural Calm Magnesium - Before I sleep on graveyard shifts as a sleep aid
- Upgraded Collagen - Used post workout and before I sleep on graveyard shifts as a sleep aid
- Upgraded Whey Protein - Protein source with colostrum and 0 carbs as a meal on the go or recovery shake
- Upgraded MCT Oil - Good source of saturated fat
- Upgraded Coffee - Mycotoxin free coffee
- Upgraded Coconut Charcoal - When I eat from uncertain sources
**I take some of these daily and some off and on depending on whether or not I’m on the road or working a graveyard shift
- Daily AM Blood Ketones
- Daily AM Fasting Blood Glucose
- Daily AM Weight
- Daily AM Basal Temperature
- Weekly Abdominal Circumference Measurements
- Precision Xtra Blood Ketone Meter and Test Strips
- FreeStyle Lite Blood Glucose Monitoring System
- NewlineNY Step-On Mini Travel Bathroom Scale
- Nexcare 524560 Basal Digital Thermometer
- MyoTape Body Tape Measure
- Crossfit or weight lifting 1-2 times per week
- BJJ 2-3 times per week
- Walking or slow jogging at least 10,000 steps (~5 miles) per day.
CARB NITE SOLUTION RESULTS AFTER 10 WEEKS:
I implemented 3 main changes compared to the start of the exam.
1. Added a Second Carb Nite Every Week
You can see that beginning with week 8, I started doing more than one Carb Nite per week. By this point, the BJJ Cavewife was getting tired of seeing the prurigo pigmentosa keto rash on me, so I decided to mitigate the rash by increasing my exposure to carbs and therefore insulin. It actually worked, but I’ll write about my keto rash observations in a separate post. Now John Kiefer actually recommends that if you consider doing more than one Carb Nite per week, to space them out at least 4 days apart so you can maximize your time in ketosis, therefore optimizing the time you’re burning fat.
This is where I failed at following the Carb Nite Protocol. Week 8 was the week of Thanksgiving and I had already planned to make the Tuesday before my first Carb Nite. Thanksgiving was supposed to be my second and final Carb NIte of the week because I was DEFINITELY going to have a bit of everything on the dining table… especially with multiple helpings of dessert! The third Carb Nite came about because I just fell off the wagon. I went to a friend’s Thanksgiving left over party, fully committed to avoiding all carbs, when someone brought over their famous home baked cookies and BOOM… I fell hard off the wagon and had an impromptu Carb Nite.
During week 9 I actually had two consecutive Carb Nites to see the effects on my prurigo pigmentosa keto rash, which I’ll write about in a separate post.
2. Stopped Taking AM Basal Temperatures
I also stopped taking my AM Basal temperatures because I kept forgetting to do it and when I looked over the data, I saw that it didn’t really vary too much. I concluded that it wasn’t really a worthwhile metric to continue collecting.
3. More Inconsistent Use of Supplements
Since I was on the road a little more during this period, my supplement intake was also much more sporadic compared to the start of the experiment. At times I went full weeks without taking certain supplements.
Again, my weight didn’t vary too much on the days after the Carb Nites. At the beginning of Week 7, I was surprised that my weight didn’t change at all despite everything I ate, and on the morning after Thanksgiving, I couldn’t believe that I actually LOST weight! The most drastic weight gain came at the end of Week 7 when I gained 3.2 lbs, although the following day I lost 3.4 lbs, confirming that it was all water weight.
I weighed 186.4 lbs when I began this experiment on 10/8/2013 and at the end of 4 weeks, my weight was 183.4 lbs. At the end of 10 weeks, on the final Carb Nite on 12/14/2013 I weighed 184.0 lbs. I lost a total of 2.4 lbs from the start and gained 0.6 lbs from 4 week mark. At first glance, this isn’t very impressive, but when we look at my abdominal circumference measurements below the benefits become more telling.
AM BLOOD KETONES:
The ability to measure my blood ketones was extremely helpful, especially when trying to time when to do the second Carb Nite. Seeing that my blood ketones are elevated confirms that I’m doing things correctly and actually eating low enough carbs. After 2-3 days of this I can then do my second Carb Nite. When I do happen to eat carbs, whether accidentally (as with Nyquil) or on purpose (Thanksgiving), I can see my ketone levels drop way down, out of the ketogenic range, letting me know that I need to cut my carbs again.
Throughout all 10 weeks, I was pleased to see that I consistently got back into ketosis after 2-3 days, especially after the massive amount of carbs I’d eat. The only week I had a little trouble was during week 6 which was when I was little under the weather and took some liquid Nyquil which I didn’t realize contains about 19 gm of carbs.
I remember when I was doing my original Nutritional Ketosis experiment, I treated ketosis like a very delicate flower. I had to be militant about keeping my carb intake low. I would actually feel guilty when I slipped and ate too many carbs because according to Volek and Phinney in The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, the book that first got me interested in all of this, even one spike of insulin could kick you out of ketosis for up to 2 weeks.
This clearly isn’t the case for me at this point in time. Maybe it’s because I’ve already become ketoadapted for so long that my metabolism has developed the capacity for more ‘wiggle room’ when I actually do eat carbs. Or because this diet calls for consumption of less than 30 gm of carbs while Volek and Phinney recommended eating less than 50 gm. In any case, it’s comforting to know that on days when I fall off the wagon, it doesn’t take me too long to get back on again.
AM FASTING BLOOD GLUCOSE:
These consistently stayed in the low 80s to high 70s when I was in ketosis and would spike up to the 90s and even got to 101 at one point on the days following my Carb Nites. No surprises here.
At the start of this experiment, my abdominal circumference measured 35.5 inches. At the end of 10 weeks, it measured 33.75 inches. This was a loss in 1.75 inches DESPITE only losing a total of 2.4 lbs indicating an overall loss of body fat. My clothes feel much looser now compared to the beginning which confirms this.
After 10 weeks and a loss of 1.75 inches in my abdominal circumference, I can say without a doubt that this method is effective. It is also far easier to adhere to this with built in carb cheat days as opposed to trying to stay in ketosis indefinitely.
I’m actually very used to eating ultra low carb now and actually view it as normal. I remember struggling a lot more with this when I was doing nutritional ketosis before, trying to keep track of every gm of carb I ate and agonizing over hidden carbs and worrying about eating items with no available nutritional info. It’s now second nature to me.
In terms of my appetite, I’ve found that it’s been pretty blunted. Many days I can go a full 16 hours without eating, or only having a bulletproof coffee without any hunger pangs. In fact I’m a little concerned that I may be TOO hypo caloric. I try my best to really go all out on the Carb Nites, but there is only so much I can put down before getting disgustingly full.
Again, as I perviously mentioned… Carb Nites made me gassy! Very very gassy.
I’m definitely interested to see how eating this way affects my thyroid hormone levels. Being in nutritional ketosis for a prolonged period of time suppressed my thyroid hormone production, which then caused an elevation in my LDL cholesterol. The addition of the 1-2 days of carb loading is theoretically supposed to prevent this from happening. Since the company through which I normally order tests through is offering a discount, I went ahead and ordered a full thyroid panel and NMR Lipoprofile amongst other things which I’ll be sure to post about.
With regard to my energy level I noticed that I just felt better during intense workouts on the 1 or 2 days following the Carb Nites when my glycogen stores were replenished. Having more than one Carb Nites in a week really allowed me to get in a couple extra sessions of high intensity activity throughout the week. I definitely didn’t gas out as much when I was sparring in BJJ… whereas when I trained on days I was in ketosis I gassed out much earlier. I didn’t notice this difference during low intensity activity like walking, slow jogging, or light BJJ.
THE END… FOR NOW:
The BJJ Cavewife and I are actually going on vacation for a few weeks to Italy, so at least for now, this experiment will be put on hiatus since we definitely plan on indulging in as much native Italian cuisine as possible while we’re over there.
I do feel confident that this is a diet that I can resume when I return as an effective way to burn fat. Hopefully I can start where I left off and get myself well below 27% body fat!
Here are links to my blood tests after following the Carb Nite Solution for 10 weeks:
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (Carb Nite) and Vitamin D Levels
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (Carb Nite) and Testosterone Levels
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (Carb Nite) and Thyroid Hormone
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (Carb Nite) and Blood Glucose, HbA1c, Fructosamine, and Insulin
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (Carb Nite) and Cholesterol