Sunday, August 19, 2012

Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat At The Western States 100

What did other racers eat?

STEVE PHINNEY: We really can’t say. We only got data from 25 athletes out of more than 200 athletes in the race. That’s less than one in 10. We were sort of rushed to get this protocol in place and so we did not recruit people months ahead of time. We were recruiting people the day before the race. They were walking in saying, “I want to be in your study,” and so I do know, that it’s fair to say that among the top 20 males, in addition to the winner, Tim Olson, there were at least a couple other well adapted low-carb runners among the men, and among the top 20 women there were at least two of them who were low-carb runners.

Were some top runners high carb?

STEVE PHINNEY: Absolutely So this speaks quite possibly to the issue of individualization. It may well be that all of us don’t come out of the exact same cookie-cutter in terms of what we look like and what our metabolism looks like. It seems that some people’s metabolism tolerates lots of carbs without much in the way of side effects. That is, the people who tolerate carbs remain highly insulin sensitive even when they eat a high carbohydrate diet, so that fuel they eat is rapidly processed and goes to the tissue and gets burned for fuel and doesn’t get stuck in fat storage. But it also seems that if there is even a hint of insulin resistance in a person’s metabolic makeup, you can make it worse with a high carb feeding. Meanwhile, in that same person, you can make that insulin resistance essentially go away with low-carb eating. So some people are probably are well adapted to be high carb runners and some people are much better adapted to be low-carb runners.

Thanks to Mark Sisson, who may be coming around on this whole Chronic Cardio thing...