High Carb Vs Keto Diet: Which Is Best For Cycling?

okay we've all heard about the ketogenic diet and how much different it is than our traditional daily eating habits but only eating fat won't you die of a heart attack but you might or you might not know that the ketone has been described by many as the fourth macronutrient fat carbohydrate protein and yes ketones now our body naturally makes ketones from our liver when there isn't enough sugar on board it burns fat and it produces ketones instead now as cyclists we're trained to carve up rice pasta pastries everything is fair game when you're riding hard but what happens to your power sleep endurance body weight when you switch out those high carb foods for fats like bacon avocados coconuts butter welcome to high carb versus keto [Music] today's video is not going to be a deep dive into all the technical aspects of ketosis in the ketogenic diet my good friend oliver bridgewood actually already did that video here on dcn and he did it really well today's video is going to be more of what happened to me when i went from 500 grams of carbohydrates doing super hard intervals five and 20 minutes and then what happened when i went to super low carb completely ketogenic state five 20-minute efforts and basically my entire journey over the last couple of weeks of the good the bad and the ugly now for anybody that doesn't know about the ketogenic diet very simply it's a super low carbohydrate diet it involves your body producing a chemical called a ketone now to get there basically you don't need any carbohydrate or sugar and you stick to a very strict diet which we're going to talk all about but first we're going to eat a regular carbohydrate-laden lunch and then we're going to go out and tear up some five and 20-minute efforts fully carved up to see what we can do all right so we're waiting for lunch to be done today's lunch is a frozen burrito that i'm warming up delicious burrito no meat for lunch just go with the carbohydrates it's done i'm going to add a couple tortilla chips some salsa some avocado maybe a little greens next to it you know regular just life delicious so let's get into this so we're just finishing up our warm-up before we head out for this first five-minute effort fully carved up you guys saw what i had for breakfast and now it's time to do the work after that i'm gonna do a 20-minute effort again all carved up hopefully it is warm out today 94 degrees right now pretty high humidity but legs feel good heart rate's reactive so fingers crossed here we go five minutes [Applause] [Applause] 30 seconds three two four seven is it me or does it smell like bacon so that was a good good five minute rip uh we got now coming up this big 20 minute er right here in town same time that i used for the uh ftp test seven ftp tests in a row all right guys 20 minutes let's go [Music] [Applause] [Music] oh my gosh it was painful that 20 minutes i just had nothing i think it was just the heat and everything i was just i was totally empty at the end of that so best i could do on the day let's see what happens when we do it in keto life low carb and loving it this is the first breakfast that we've got here avocado with a little bit of olive oil salt pepper some egg scrambled eggs and bacon i'm definitely hungry all right so update first day of low carb and uh you guys saw breakfast that was uh eggs avocados bacon super easy but now i'm going for lunch i've had just a little bit of apple but my goal today isn't to go fully ketogenic to go under what i would consider to be ketogenic being like less than probably 40 grams of carbohydrates for me i'm going to shoot more for like 150 today um it's not a ton of carbohydrate and it's going to be a significant change from what i normally do but i'm prepping lunch right now and i just don't want to go through the whole people talk about the the keto flu where if you go completely no carbohydrate on the first day boom like that you don't feel great at least the last time that i tried doing this i really didn't so today i've got here um to show you guys i've just got some stuff kind of made up here which is gonna be some spinach that i'm gonna cook down one little tortilla i'm gonna put some cheese on there and then i'm gonna have a little bit of apple and a bunch of other fats to go on top of it so some probably some more avocado some other stuff as well so all right gcn crew let's see what we weigh in at today i was about 1 59 when i started this so let's see what she says here [Music] 154 so i've lost over 5 pounds of water weight since i started doing this we're getting pretty close to keto life so basically first thing when i wake up fasted ride this should get the the ketone bodies moving and i should be feeling like pretty good by the end of this especially if i don't eat anything in my body yeah everything goes to plan fingers crossed that i i blow into full blown ketosis today after about five days of trying now all right so i've just gone over the first couple of climbs uh to get out on my ride and yeah the legs they don't feel great on zero carbohydrates started my day out uh fasted did a couple work uh emails and meetings and now i'm on the bike to ride for i think about 90 minutes or so just to try to get into a fully ketogenic state today it's monday the sun's shining it's hot so got some sunscreen on i want to say the legs but they don't they just don't all right it was like 90-ish minutes fasted even a little more i'm super parched i'm really hungry i haven't eaten like almost 15 hours so definitely ready to eat something ready to get some fluids and me some electrolytes and looking forward to feeling a little bit better hopefully these uh this this ride this fasted ride this big fasted session from last night up to today now will give me uh give me that bump to get me over the hump get my body producing some ketones and starting to utilize them for some energy all right so i came back from the ride i had to hop into a meeting that went an hour long so i'm really brewing now and i know that i'm producing some amount of ketones because i haven't eaten in like 18 hours i'm starving i'm truly cannot wait to make lunch after this or whatever we'll call it but i have this ketone meter here it checks both glucose and ketones so i'm going to do this now i'll essentially i'm going to prick my finger get a little sample of blood i'll put it on a little one of these little sticks and it will give me a number and then we'll know where we're at [Music] okay so we are at point four officially i've been having a super hard time getting into full-blown ketosis i'm definitely not doing something right something's just not working so i started to think about some friends that know about food could potentially give me some moral support and one person that came to mind was my good friend seamus mullen and sheamus is a cyclist he's a chef he's an author he's written two books hero food and real food hills and they're all about how to use food to feel better and he's done the ketogenic thing on and off for a super long time and we've had a lot of conversations about it so i figured i'd get him up on the line and hopefully he'd give me some tips and pointers on how to maybe make this go a little bit smoother jameis i'm in a pinch i need your advice as always on food things tell me what you know about the keto stuff so what's what's probably happening and this is a common pitfall for folks when they when they first experiment with keto is that it's hard to actually get your fat levels high enough to get you into deep nutritional ketosis and by having those higher levels of protein you actually are kicking yourself out of ketosis so you're you're going through something called um gluconeogenesis where you're actually converting the protein into into glucose um and so we really want to make sure and that's one of the hard things about when you do half-ass keto you actually don't benefit from keto as much as actually going into a deep dive of ketosis the fasted bike rides in the morning are great that's a that's a great start i mean that's what i do every day you know i am sometimes i cheat a little bit and i do have some ketone esters in the morning before i ride um but you know that anything we're up to like a two and a half hour three hour bike ride in the morning i do in a fasted state and i feel so much better when i do that yeah and what do you think about just adding like oil on top of things whether it's olive oil or avocado oil because that's where i feel like if i'm gonna up stuff because i don't feel like i can eat any more than i'm eating like i feel honestly i feel very satiated and i think like you said my spidey sense is that my protein was too high and then the gluconeogenesis thing is real for me now the the thing again to be careful is that if you are uh protein heavy and you're just adding more fat then you're going to create this surplus of calories because think about how much you know how how many calories are in uh two tablespoons of olive oil it's not you know it's not insignificant you're adding 40 50 calories as you go and that's that's going to add up so you know for an athlete it's not such a big deal but if you're really trying to trim down and lose weight then it is a big deal because you're not going to get the um you're not going to access the white fat and start burning your own white fat um so yes add that fat in but make sure you're doing it so that you're you're not topping off your total you know your total caloric intake too high got it got it okay then yeah i definitely think now having uh just chatted it out i think for sure the protein's too high because i was eating you know the other day i just had like a i had a steak i had eggs in them you know eggs in the morning a steak i had a lots of nuts and stuff like that um so you're right the protein's way too high without enough fat and i need to add in oil it's just it is a little hard to get over the hump i have to say that for me i think is the thing is it's like you go from so many carbohydrates and so many weird different things and you do shrink that the foods that you can't eat way down and then now all of a sudden you know i'm i'm eating just a lot more fat really yeah it's a hard thing that to be sustainable because i think for a lot of people well there's one thing called dirty keto which is what is the easiest way to jump into it and that's just eating a ton of cheese you know eating butter on everything slathering fat everywhere and it's not really keto isn't carb blanched to just eat bad fat the quality of the fat is really really important particularly when you're looking at animal protein so if you're looking at animal fats and proteins you want to make sure they're coming from really really good sources there's a big difference between eating grass-fed beef and eating conventional grain-fed beef and that's going to in fact affect actually how your how your body processes the the fats how do you feel though when you do get those moments of of dipping into ketosis do you feel a little different on the bike what's your what is your performance like i honestly feel awesome i do i feel super energetic i feel almost like really sprightly and uh excited to go about my day and i feel like a great boost of of what feels like serotonin you know what i mean like it feels like my brain is just really firing on all cylinders and i can conquer seemingly anything and i never am frustrated i never like looking for a word to find i really do enjoy when i get those little those little moments and uh i've been checking my ketones on on a little meter that i have here um just to see what they come in at and i've been as high as like yeah close to one which does obviously is not full blown but even when i'm close to one i feel like wow this is awesome so i definitely i've had moments but i keep you know i keep kicking myself out when i wake up i'm not in it's when i come back from my ride and after so it's it's very clearly my my hump i'm almost certain now is the is the protein and i'm not i'm not doing the dirty stuff i'm i think the fats that i'm choosing are yeah unfortunately they're too high quality right like i'm going for more protein that i am fat and so yeah finding finding the right type of fat is is going to be my key and so that yeah hearing what you're saying is is what i absolutely need to do and to answer your earlier question about how it's affected my cycling performance um you're right i went through uh three or four days of really i would call hell um it was hard you know what i mean yeah i went i i teared myself down from 500 400 300 grams of carbohydrate a day you know to basically like slicing that to 50 grams a day which has been really hard on my body and some really poor nights of sleep i just yeah but now like i said i'm getting closer i can see the the light at the end of the tunnel but um but it felt like my legs were were like yeah the worst legs i've ever had my entire life the last five days i've never felt them be so um depleted and dead and yeah useless like i just i was pedaling squares it didn't even nothing felt good well that's actually a good thing to experience because now you know your body's starting to rebuild and reprogram and so when you reprogram and you you learn how you know you sort of treat your metabolism how to access this ketogenic system then you can become sort of work on two different fuel systems you know it's almost like being a hybrid car where you can work on you know you can be a car burner but you can also be a fat burner i'm gonna i'm gonna crush this now i feel like i feel like i've got your energy i feel like i just see it i feel it now and i think i've got my i think i've got my bearings under me i uh i yeah i want to thank you for your time and it's always good to see you um but yeah i'll let you know i'll keep you on the loop on how i do this whole carbohydrate versus keto thing um it's super interesting thank you man all right take care all right everyone so i just got back from a two hour ride and it is finally been almost over a week a week in a day and today is the first day that i'm in what we would call like a good well a mild state of ketosis but basically my uh ketones that my body is producing i'm able to measure and it's just come out at one so i'm going to show you guys here give myself a prick get some some of this blood going i'm just going to stick it onto this strip like i showed you guys before then it will bring it down here see what she's at now i've had a couple snacks [Music] point seven so i was at one uh when i came in from my rod but i'm now at point seven so my body's fully starting to produce ketones now that it needs them i'm really happy about that because now i can start the 5 and 20 minute tests over the weekend and get this video finished out with some cool findings and yeah i'm gonna have my lunch because i'm starving but i was really excited to share the news with you that we've broken that .04 threshold we've made it to 1.0 i'm super excited about that upward and onward from here all right everyone the moment of truth today's the day that i'm gonna go out and give it as hard as i can in a completely ketogenic state so basically i haven't eaten carbohydrates in almost about nine or ten days now so today i'm going to go out and i'm going to do that five minute in that 20 minute effort one of the things that hasn't been great for me is my sleep has not been awesome in ketosis i haven't really been able to nail that down although i'm hoping over the coming days and weeks i'm able to figure out exactly what's going on with that and let me get back in a little bit better all right so five minutes all out keto here we go [Music] [Music] all right here we go 20 minutes all out to the top let's see what we can do keto here we go [Music] yeah heart rate's 173 for about eight minutes in [Music] 17 and a half minutes 179 hurry 346.

Come on [Music] come on [Music] wow that was uh that was crazy you know that was crazy like so the weird thing is that my heart rate's already back at 110 you know only a minute later so let's take a look at some of the data that we were able to collect from doing this experiment so we're going to start out with the high carb day which was july 23rd now i did two different tests if you remember i did a five-minute all-out test and then i did a 20-minute like threshold all-out effort i weighed in at 72.5 kilograms for that and for my five-minute effort i did 407 watts and for my 20-minute effort i did 341 watts for a watts per kilogram of 5.61 for my five-minute effort and 4.7 for my 20-minute effort now let's jump over to the low carb side i did my five minute power at 391 i did my 20 minute power at 347.

now my body weight 69 kilos yes i was much lighter for this in fact it is not insignificant and it's real so when you look at this my 5 minute watts per kilogram is 5.66 and my 20 minute watts per kilo was 5.0 if you guys don't know how the math on that is basically you take your power output you divide it by the amount of kilograms you have and it gives you a number and that's your watts per kilogram so pretty clearly i've gone faster at a higher watts per kilogram on the low carb side not because of uh raw power output because of being lighter and my power to weight ratio being higher so let's talk about a couple of other metrics that i i measured when i was there i used my whoop band again this time and on the high carb day i was actually in the green feeling really good in hrv of 61 and a resting hurry of 44 which for me is almost perfect that's like an ideal day i'm training hard on that day i feel good everything's moving and shaking but on my low carb day i've been having a hard time getting into ketosis and my sleep was kind of going up and down and this was not a good day but i really i'd already planned the day to shoot it and i knew i was going out so even though i was in the red i had no idea what to expect but my resting heart rate was lower at 42 and my hrv was 37 and so all that says is that on my high carb day i was in the green ready to go and on my low carb day i was not in my best state and i still went faster and that showed up too on my uh on the the tools that we used to measure how far i went i actually went further i even broke my record that i set with the seven ftp tests i actually broke that on the low carb day so i know that i did a lot of uh of good work out there i just can't tell you that i was expecting to go so much faster on the on the low carb day than i did on the high carb day i was very much expecting that my five minute high glycolytic you know like sugar burning effort would definitely yield a better result but because of my decrease in body weight and because of my ability to still put out a lot of power um on that day i was able to hang on and go faster in both of those tests in the low-carb day so let's talk about the conclusions of this crazy experiment that we just did first if you're going to consider doing anything like the ketogenic diet you absolutely need to talk to a healthcare pro someone that works in diets a nutritionist somebody like that because you don't want to have any problems like this you don't want to just jump into having 400 grams of fat per day and calling it good because that's what you saw in the show please don't do that that would not be a good look um but let's talk about the high carb stuff for me that is always three things right that's a starch a veggie and a protein on my plate that's how i eat almost through my entire life until my family eats that's how i know that's what we do here now the low carb side completely different it's very restrictive it's there's not a lot of foods that you can eat there's no sugar no carbohydrate it's just totally different and it's a lot of fat yes healthy fats but it is so far on the other end of the spectrum for me it was really fun to be able to do that but like i said i think for some people definitely can get boring there needs to be a certain amount of creativity in the kitchen to keep it interesting and again restrictive that would be my only like negative on that side now the positives i'm not having any sugar there's almost no refined carbohydrate or anything like that in my diet and dare i say that the ketogenic low carb thing could be potentially healthier i don't know but i definitely have personally felt like my gut health which has been something that's been widely talked about as being beneficial on a low carbohydrate diet has increased and gotten much better i'm able to eat certain things without any distress and things like that so that's really great and then my weight of course is down which countless studies have said that being a lighter is definitely has better outcomes for longevity and things like that so um definitely some positives there personally just without doing any research i notice that i have increased mental clarity more energy when i wake up when i come back from a long ride it doesn't take me as long as to recover i can jump right into some household activities and i don't have as much soreness in my body my knees my back things like that have felt a lot better since i've been on a low carb state so i definitely personally learned a lot i hope you guys did as well i hope if you've tried any of these diets let us know down in the comments what your experience has been what's worked for you what hasn't i'm going to stay in a ketogenic state for another week and then i'm gonna do a hundred mile ride in ketosis and then i'm gonna have some more conclusions and another video to follow up on on that soon let us know down in the comments what you guys thought of all this thank you so much for watching and we'll see you guys next time

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