Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Zealand Student Asks What Your Low-Carb Experience Is With Sleep, Energy

Joel Bell has a rather interesting question to ask low-carbers

After my recent encounter with a snobby high school science teacher wanting my help with a student project on low-carb last week, it was a refreshing change to receive a very pleasant e-mail from a college student from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand this week who is doing an e-mail research project on a specific area of low-carb dieting.

The student's name is Joel Bell and here's what he wants to know:

"Do people who go on low carbohydrate or reduced carbohydrate diets experience less need for sleep and also feel like their energy levels improve?"

It's an interesting question that is at the center of debate even among various people who have been on a low-carb diet. Joel would like to know what YOU think by sharing your answer to that question with him via e-mail. Send him your answer along with your name and where you live to as soon as possible.

I will be sending Joel my own personal experience with this and he will compile all the responses to "formulate a conclusion on how people respond to low carbohydrate diets." This is only a student-led research project, but it will be interesting to see what realization he comes to based on the anecdotal evidence he receives.

As most of us low-carbers will attest, livin' la vida low-carb is a real bear early on as your body adjusts to the carb withdrawals. But once you get past that initial lack of energy, there's a sudden BURST of energy that comes shining through and propels you to feel better than you ever have before. I STILL feel this way!

Joel explained to me why he is interested in this subject matter.

"I became intrigued by the idea that diets can effect need for sleep and energy levels after reading certain testimonials saying that they slept less after following certain diets (particularly raw fruit and vegetable diets as well as reduced carb diets). However the result doesn't seem to be widely talked about."

That's true, so it's nice to see a student take this on. He cited several examples of people who have proven this theory in their own life, including:

- Dean Karnazes (the ultra marathon man) who now sleeps 4 hours a night and has improved energy levels from removing sugar and processed carbohydrate from his diet.

- Stu Mittleman (another runner and author of Slow Burn) who writes about a client who is living on simple carbohydrates who now sleeps 6 hours a night (compared to 8) while having more energy.

- Dr. Barry Sears (The Zone Diet) writes about a sleep paradox that occurs when you reduce carbohydrates because the insulin released reduces growth hormones needed to help repair the body.

Joel also cites a passage from The Warrior Diet where the author recommends eating MORE carbohydrate to help you fall asleep. The more carbs you eat, the more sleep you need. Ergo, the less carbs you eat, the less sleep you need.

As a personal trainer prior to his educational experience at the University of Canterbury, Joel had read up on this subject about how carbohydrates release another hormone that leads to sleepiness while protein releases a hormone that stimulates brain and body activity.

It sounds like he may be on to something that would make for an excellent thesis and/or future book for Joel Bell! Let's help him out by sharing our personal experiences with sleep and energy while livin' la vida low-carb by e-mailing him at THANKS!

7-12-07 UPDATE: Joel e-mailed me today to let me know his local newspaper down in New Zealand picked up the story about his school project after reading this blog entry about it. COOL!

Here's what he wrote:

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for all your help. I ended up in my city's newspaper the other day because of this study. The journalist saw your post on the common voice site and thought it would make a good story. Here is the link!

Have a great day,

Joel Bell

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Blogger BellFitCoach said...

Hi Jimmy, Joel here. Thanks for the post, it has been a real help. Also thanks to those people who have emailed me about your experiences and ideas!

7/08/2007 12:08 AM  
Blogger Meryl said...

Jimmy, I'm a big fan of Fred Hahn's Slow Burn, so I wanted to point out that you've incorrectly cited Stu Mittleman as the author.

Interesting post!

7/08/2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger CB said...

Hey Jimmy,

I emailed Joel with my experiences (as I'm sure several others have done, as well); hopefully it will be helpful!

Just a caveat (that I'm sure Joel understands): being that all respondents to this sort of anecdotal epidemiological survey are self-selected, the useful value of the data will be pretty minimal; interesting, to be sure - but probably mostly useful only to evaluate whether a bona fide clinical study might be worth pursuing.

That said, I would love to hear the results of his survey!

7/08/2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for the correction, Meryl. But Joel was the one who made the attribution. I appreciate you catching that for him. :)

7/08/2007 1:03 PM  
Blogger mrfritznyc said...

hey, I am another fan of Fred Hahn's- I go to his gym once a week! Anyway, no error was made they both have books out with Slow Burn in the title... interestingly enough, their approaches to exercise couldn't be more different - Stu promotes long slow cardio, Fred promotes strength training without any cardio...

7/08/2007 3:15 PM  
Blogger BellFitCoach said...

mr fritz is correct about the book title. stu's book is called slow burn-slow down, burn fat. must check out the other slow burn book though. the results will be anecdotal and biased but the assignment is more about personal opinions and experiences than an actual scientific study. it is also about forming a question that hasn't been asked before that could end up sparking some thought and be a catalyst for further research to answer the question. cheers!

7/09/2007 12:59 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

ketosis totally screws with my sleep. I didn't sleep last night at all. I haven't slept tonight and I have to work in a few hours. That'll pass, I was a little sleepy today and I will sleep probably sometime tomorrow, in pieces. But when I am not in ketosis I sleep a lot more. Of course, that's also because I am fuzzy and exhausted for the most part. Ketosis clears my head and increases my energy greatly. I think because I am so significantly obese (368 as of yesterday), that my degree of ketosis may be stronger than that of many, and maybe that is why I seem to get stronger effects from it. The first time I ever lowcarbed, I could feel and taste ketosis, in the pit of my stomach, in my breath and urine and sweat. Now for some reason, I don't feel it, I don't taste it, and if weight weren't falling off and my carbs weren't low I might suspect I wasn't even in it -- but I have the side effects, including greatly reduced appetite (to the point that I have trouble eating nearly enough, or often enough, every day), increased energy, increased mental clarity, and lack of interest in sleep.

In fact not wanting to sleep or eat both seem to be a side effect for me. But I don't think they are for everybody. I know lots of people on lowcarb who report none of this.


7/10/2007 5:51 AM  
Blogger Joel Bell said...

Got an 'A'! You found my blog! Indeed it should be researched further, going to do my undergraduate work in bio, then do post grad in nutrition so hopefully I can spark some more academic interest. Just out of interest...I've become a regular reader of your blog now, can you write a post on how different you feel since changing your diet?

8/09/2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Congratulations, Joel! You have done a great service and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

THANKS for checking out more of my blog, too! I've written about 2,000 columns on all kinds of topics, including the changes in ME that have happened as a result of livin' la vida low-carb. That's what this blog is all about.

Take care, buddy, and stay in touch! I'd love to have your take on the subjects we discuss here.

8/10/2007 8:10 AM  

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