Fat, Dumb & Happy Day 11 – No Bonking

March 20, 2014 – 220.8

 On this particular day, I ate nothing until after 8pm. Cream in my coffee was the only thing I had.

This wasn’t intentional. It was a combination of busyness, lack of appetite, and stupidity.

The authors of “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable“, Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff Volek (http://amzn.com/0983490708) discuss ‘bonking’ in the context of athletes, bring up an interesting aspect of living ketogenic low carb.

‘Bonking’ or ‘hitting the wall’ as some long-distance runners call it, is when in an endurance event you run out of glycogens in your body to fuel your 26-mile run or whatever long-duration athletic event. You literally run out of gas and can’t go any farther. This is why there’s all these people lining the marathon route giving the runners Gatorade – and in this context, Gatorade makes perfect sense – you need the glucose as well as the minerals for both energy and to maintain electrolyte balance.

But people who are keto-adapted, having switched over to burning ketones for a month to six weeks have created a body perfectly adapted to running on ketones. You can only store  very small amount of glycogen in your muscles and liver, but you store WAY more fat – and being keto-adapted means your body knows how to efficiently turn that fat into ketones and use it.

Their assertion is that keto-adapted long-distance runners never ‘bonk’ because they realistically will never run out of fuel.

While I’ll let others debate if this is true, it might explain my experience not eating: I was so busy that I forgot to eat. Since ketosis is an appetite suppressant, I wasn’t hungry, and because my body is adapting to living mostly on ketones, there was an abundant fuel supply throughout the day – my own body fat.

While not running a marathon (except metaphorically), I had more than enough energy, my head was clear, and I didn’t experience the shakiness or other symptoms that glycogen-fueled mortals would experience in the same situation.

It’s kind of a neat trick, eh? But – from a weight loss perspective – a dumb one.

I think the whole simplistic ‘eat less and you’ll lose weight’ is a neat, simple and wrong approach.

You have to eat *enough*. Not too much and not too little.

While I don’t believe this harmed me in any way, it might have slowed down weight loss because if the body enters starvation mode it can become very miserly about expending energy.

I don’t think this happened to me. I was energetic all day, then came home and spent 2 hours cleaning the kitchen, still wasn’t tired, and went to bed later than usual.

I did have more Kerry Gold Irish Swiss cheese with roast beef and mayo in the evening, as well as wine and chocolate. Other than cream and coconut oil in my coffee, that was my total eats for the day.

As I occasionally do, a reminder: please remember I’m not giving advice – I’m reporting.

3 thoughts on “Fat, Dumb & Happy Day 11 – No Bonking

  1. Appetite control is an important consideration in weight loss. Another is what the gut microbes are up to. It’s interesting that feed researchers don’t want hogs to get restless between feedings. To keep the animals comfortable they add resistant starch to the diet. Here’s the AllAboutFeed article:

    Feeding pigs more fibre may lead to less aggression and improve gut health while maintaining performance. However, type of fibre and feeding level are important factors influencing these effects.

    According to Wageningen UR researcher Carol Souza da Silva “Fibre gives restricted-fed pigs more satiety, whereas ad libitum-fed growing pigs compensate the lower energy in fibrous diets by increasing intake.”

    Souza da Silva tested different types of fibre in her research, but found that feeding fermentable fibres was best for pigs. “Such as cassava roots or raw potatoes.” The aim of her research was to determine how and which types of fibres influence satiety, to prevent pigs from becoming hungry between meals, thereby improving their welfare. In her research she noticed that pigs fed resistant starch maintained a ‘full’ feeling for up to more than seven hours after their meal. “The pigs were less hungry, which was also reflected in their behaviour. Moreover, resistant starch was found to change gene expression patterns and microbiotica composition in the hind gut, reflecting improved gut health and stabilized glucose levels.”

    Feeding more fibre to sows prevents them feeling hungry, avoiding behavioural problems. More fibre in the ration is also good for fattening pigs, according to the researcher. “Their energy system can, to a large extent, adapt to this reduced energy ration. They compensate this by increasing their intake, consequently growth is then similar to fibre-free rations . In future our research will focus on the body composition after slaughter, which is influenced by fibrous diets.”

    During her research Souza da Silva collaborated with human nutrition researchers. “They have similar questions about satiating effects of fibre and the role in prevention of overweight and obesity. The digestive physiology of pigs and humans is very similar”, she adds. “We supply each other with information and results.”


    1. Unfortunately for pigs, they are a good proxy for humans, meaning they get used in all sorts of experiments that can’t be done on humans – and they taste good, too.

      What seemed contradictory was the statement ‘More fibre in the ration is also good for fattening pigs, according to the researcher’. Oh. Most dieters aren’t looking for a way to feel full and get fat.

      Am I misunderstanding the article?

      1. It’s important to realize that pigs are raised for both meat and fat. As growing, teenage pigs, so to speak, the various elements in the food have differential effects on body composition, which wasn’t discussed in this article.

        In humans, both resistant starch and medium chain saturated fatty acids preserve muscle mass and promote a leaner physique. In contrast, farmers know that skim milk will fatten pigs far more than whole milk. Excerpt:

        “Skim milk has been used as a method of fattening pigs for a very long time. According to a report called Fattening Pigs for Market by Oregon State Agricultural College from 1930, skim milk is ‘not only the very best supplement for growing pigs, but is of almost equal value for fattening purposes.’

        This is also true for children. A study found that kids who drank 1% or skim milk had higher BMI (body mass index = more fat on their bodies) than children who drank whole milk. Word to the wise: do not move your kids to 2%, 1% or skim milk in their growing years. It is detrimental to their health. It is also detrimental for adults to drink low fat and skim milks.” http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/how-to-fatten-pigs-and-people

        Likely, the writer of the AllAboutFeed article doesn’t understand certain aspects of the research he/she was reporting on. So fattening may have been a poor choice of words. Feed researchers are always trying to increase feed efficiency and improve carcass quality. Restless, hungry pigs expend more energy between feedings than calm, satiated pigs.

        What seems contradictory is this:
        “Their energy system can, to a large extent, adapt to this reduced energy ration. They compensate this by increasing their intake, consequently growth is then similar to fibre-free rations.”

        One wonders how pigs on a reduced energy ration can increase their intake. Ration means fixed amount.

        This is not a perfect article. Never-the-less, it accurately reports that resistant starch influences satiety, improves gut health, and stabilizes glucose levels, important considerations for anyone trying to lose or maintain weight and just generally establish and maintain a healthy metabolism.

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