T Nation

Carbs = Clear Thinking?


#1

I've been trying to diet down a bit recently and I'm having some trouble keeping myself clear headed. I thought the issue was calorie related, ie. I get dizzy and/or "fuzzy headed" because I'm calorie deprived. But recently I've noticed that even when I seem to have enough calories I've found myself foggy-minded.

On Tuesday of this week I went "carb-less" and found myself "fuzzy." I tried increasing my calories, I had a P+F meal ahead of schedule, but with little effect. So I'm wondering if it's not the lack of carbs then that's doing it...or perhaps a "double effect" that comes from both a calorie-lack and a carb-lack. Today again I was carb-less and found myself dizzy. Actually I felt like I was hung over, only without the benifit of having a wild night out the night before (i.e. I haven't touched alcohol for a week now). So it got me thinking about posting this.

Anyway, I'm thinking about trying Berardi's "don't diet" with 2 or three carb meals rather than the anabolic diet (that I tried last semester, but often found myself unable to think clearly) or the T-dawg2.0 (which I tried a year+ ago).

But will this help?

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to stay clear minded throughout the day/week?

I've been following the "7 habits" pretty well for awhile now, and I'm pretty good at managing my macro-nutrient intake. I've been able to cut and to grow at different periods...but I've yet to find a cut that doesn't involve me being dizzy from time to time and fuzzy minded. I've also been unable to maintain leanness (the anabolic diet got me quite lean...but coming off of it brought back on some fat...FFB and all).

Honestly I'm at the point where I'm wondering if I should just focus on a Berardi/Thibs style "bulk" and then just do an intense diet for a month at the end of this semester. I'll fall too far behind if I keep having these days where I'm unable to function at work and/or study.

Thanks in advance for any/all advice.


#2

My thoughts on this are
lack of good fat = Foggy Brain
Try super dosing with fish oil and maybe get a protein shake with some olive oil. I’m on the anabolic diet and I am super dosing the fish oil while I do it. I thought I would have clarity issues like the v-diet but I am sharp as a tack! Give it a shot!


#3

If you are interspersing carbless days with carb days, I would imaginge you are a little foggy. It will do that to you. I would try, like you say, a carb cycling diet that has a “low carb” day not a “no carb day”. Until I adapted to the AD I felt similar. Still do occasionally on a Friday afternoon.

cueball


#4

[quote]CrvtWanabe wrote:
My thoughts on this are
lack of good fat = Foggy Brain
Try super dosing with fish oil and maybe get a protein shake with some olive oil. I’m on the anabolic diet and I am super dosing the fish oil while I do it. I thought I would have clarity issues like the V-Diet but I am sharp as a tack! Give it a shot![/quote]

What is superdosing?


#5

[quote]Jay-B wrote:
CrvtWanabe wrote:
My thoughts on this are
lack of good fat = Foggy Brain
Try super dosing with fish oil and maybe get a protein shake with some olive oil. I’m on the anabolic diet and I am super dosing the fish oil while I do it. I thought I would have clarity issues like the V-Diet but I am sharp as a tack! Give it a shot!

What is superdosing?[/quote]

It’s more usually referred to as megadosing. There’s no real figure, but generally speaking, it’s when you take over 10g of fish oil per day. People go as far as 30-40g.


#6

more DHA + EPA

you brain gets foggy while on its way into ketosis, once you enter ketosis its fine though


#7

[quote]lixy wrote:
Jay-B wrote:
CrvtWanabe wrote:
My thoughts on this are
lack of good fat = Foggy Brain
Try super dosing with fish oil and maybe get a protein shake with some olive oil. I’m on the anabolic diet and I am super dosing the fish oil while I do it. I thought I would have clarity issues like the v-diet but I am sharp as a tack! Give it a shot!

What is superdosing?

It’s more usually referred to as megadosing. There’s no real figure, but generally speaking, it’s when you take over 10g of fish oil per day. People go as far as 30-40g.[/quote]

Very good, thank you


#8

If low carb is affecting you this much…why keep doing it? I did low carb for a while to try to cut down and hated it. I just switched up to a high carb lower fat plan, and its working. I still eat plenty of fish, nuts, seeds and oils, but not in excess. The macro breakdown is 45/35/20 carb/protein/fat. Its worked fine for me. So if you arent enjoying low carb, you could always switch it up.


#9

Cheers everyone. Yeah, I think I’m probably going to give a different dieting approach a shot. The reason I stuck with various low-carb diets was because they worked well for fat loss despite there negative effects.

I’ll probably just deal with my weight gain for the winter, try to put on some good size and then deal with weight loss in a few months.

I do appreciate hearing everyone’s stories though. Seems like I should have tried upping my Flameout #s when I was doing the anabolic diet…I might give that a shot sometime in the future too.

Cheers


#10

[quote]CanadianLM wrote:
If low carb is affecting you this much…why keep doing it? I did low carb for a while to try to cut down and hated it. I just switched up to a high carb lower fat plan, and its working. I still eat plenty of fish, nuts, seeds and oils, but not in excess. The macro breakdown is 45/35/20 carb/protein/fat. Its worked fine for me. So if you arent enjoying low carb, you could always switch it up.[/quote]

Wait, are you suggesting he try different things and see what works for him? That’s just crazy.


#11

[quote]swordthrower wrote:

Wait, are you suggesting he try different things and see what works for him? That’s just crazy.[/quote]

Wait, what are you contributing to this thread other than sarcasm?


#12

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:
swordthrower wrote:

Wait, are you suggesting he try different things and see what works for him? That’s just crazy.

Wait, what are you contributing to this thread other than sarcasm?

[/quote]

Sorry, moment of weakness. I was just seconding his recommendation that you try different approaches, monitor your progress, and figure out what works best for you. Good luck, and don’t forget the fats. Cook with butter or coconut oil, take fish oil, etc.


#13

[quote]swordthrower wrote:

Sorry, moment of weakness. I was just seconding his recommendation that you try different approaches, monitor your progress, and figure out what works best for you. Good luck, and don’t forget the fats. Cook with butter or coconut oil, take fish oil, etc.[/quote]

Cheers. Maybe I did write the OP poorly. Basically I should have said, “Hey guys, I’m in the midst of trying some different approaches. I’ve been monitoring my progress and I’ve noticed these things (see original OP). I was wondering what your experiences were with what I’ve noticed. Does anyone with more experience than I do have any advice?”

Actually that is pretty close to what I did write in my OP now that I look back.


#14

Gambit_Lost, from my own experience I have learned that I must have carbs regularly for decent mental function and mood. With low carbs, I have no energy, can’t think clearly, and am in a frighteningly bad mood all the time.

I feel the best by far when I have carbs each meal. I’m not talking a salad or some green beans, either; I mean whole grain bread, rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, and beans. I can do OK skipping the carbs at dinner time, but I must have them during the other meals of the day. I am very careful with my serving sizes, and I look for carb sources that are at least 15% fiber. The fiber has also solved a whole bunch of digestive issues for me as well.

Clearly, people’s experiences with carbs vary. My spouse felt great on T-Dawg, whereas I wanted to end it all after a couple weeks.

Fortunately, this is the kind of thing that is very easy to experiment with to hit the sweet spot for yourself.


#15

[quote]andersons wrote:
Gambit_Lost, from my own experience I have learned that I must have carbs regularly for decent mental function and mood. With low carbs, I have no energy, can’t think clearly, and am in a frighteningly bad mood all the time.

I feel the best by far when I have carbs each meal. I’m not talking a salad or some green beans, either; I mean whole grain bread, rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, and beans. I can do OK skipping the carbs at dinner time, but I must have them during the other meals of the day.

I am very careful with my serving sizes, and I look for carb sources that are at least 15% fiber. The fiber has also solved a whole bunch of digestive issues for me as well.

Clearly, people’s experiences with carbs vary. My spouse felt great on T-Dawg, whereas I wanted to end it all after a couple weeks.

Fortunately, this is the kind of thing that is very easy to experiment with to hit the sweet spot for yourself.[/quote]

Hey andersons,

Thanks for this post. I actually didn’t notice it until now. I’m dieting again and experiencing the same problems as I did 6 months ago. I think I’ll give the “carbs every meal” approach a shot and see what happens.


#16

IMO: a new diet (low car, high fat or whatever) takes a little getting used to; sometimes a few weeks.

I’ve done high carb bulking and keto-cutting; both sucked at first; and i had the foggy mind for both at first.

good luck!


#17

[quote]lixy wrote:
Jay-B wrote:
CrvtWanabe wrote:
My thoughts on this are
lack of good fat = Foggy Brain
Try super dosing with fish oil and maybe get a protein shake with some olive oil. I’m on the anabolic diet and I am super dosing the fish oil while I do it. I thought I would have clarity issues like the V-Diet but I am sharp as a tack! Give it a shot!

What is superdosing?

It’s more usually referred to as megadosing. There’s no real figure, but generally speaking, it’s when you take over 10g of fish oil per day. People go as far as 30-40g.[/quote]

If I could take 50+ grams of Fish Oil a day I would, if I could afford it. But yes, the Fish Oil should help very much in terms of focus.

Isn’t Creatine suppose to help with the general mental fog when it comes to dieting down like this?


#18

A few months ago I had cut 25 lbs manipulating alot of different variables…cardio, lifting, calories and carbs. I am in a situation where I depend heavily on thinking clearly throughout the day and also found that going too low in carbs made me less focused mentally.

What I did was on non workout days I had slow digesting carbs until the point that I was about ready to go into robot mode for the rest of the day ( around the time I left school for home) and that helped me stay focused when I really needed it.

So maybe just try timing your carb intake around when you really need to be presentable or on-point, and adjust around that.

Oh, and the brain utilizes glucose preferentially over any other energy source so that contributes to the clear thinking you are speaking of.


#19

Thanks for the help everyone. I’ll be upping my carb intake and trying to eat at least a little bit of carbs at every meal (save perhaps the last) and see how it goes. After I formalize my diet, I’ll post it here.