It seems in the Paleo community people are starting to come around and not demonize any specific macronutrient, but is low carb still the best way to go for the more metabolically deranged?
asked byThe_hacker_formerly_knownasron (1353)
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on August 17, 2011
at 01:04 AM
initially, yes. that has been my experience and observation. if for no other reason, it lets people slip into ketosis which naturally curbs the appetite which is key for obese people who need metabolic healing.
on August 17, 2011
at 01:17 AM
Those people you speak of will still tell you that low carb can be and probably is the best way to lose weight for most people and most assuredly for someone who is "metabolically deranged" (I HATE that term!) The new claim is that carbs don't make you fat but once you are cutting them to next to nothing will undoubtedly help you lose the fat. I don't buy that argument but that's their claim. Either way for some of us this particular macronutrient must remain a demon.
on August 17, 2011
at 05:11 PM
There have been many controlled experiments of fat people trying to lose weight by following different diets. The results show that a lowish-carb diet is better than the mainstream low-fat/low-calorie approach. See the review paper by Hession et al. published in 2008 in Obesity Reviews, entitled "Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities".
However, the results do not show that the lowish-carb diets were all that great. They were moderately effective for fat people to lose weight. A typical obese person on a low-fat/low-cal diet will lose around 10 or 15 pounds in the first six months and then regain some of it in the next six months, ending up only a few pounds lighter at the end of twelve months than they started. A typical obese person on the lowish-carb diets in these experiments followed a similar pattern but a little better, losing maybe 20 pounds in the first six months, but then regaining some of it so they ended up merely a couple of pounds lighter than their friends on the low-fat/low-cal diet. Disappointing!
So according to these results, while you shouldn't get your hopes up too much about following a lowish-carb diet, you should be even less enthusiastic about following a low-fat/low-cal diet. These results also show something interesting: the lowish-carbers consistently lost more excess body fat than the low-fat/low-cal'ers, even though they were (in most cases) allowed to eat as many calories as they liked.
The lowish-carbers also generally had better improvements in their blood lipid profiles, which is consistent with everything we think in paleo and/or low-carb theory and inconsistent with what they think in the (rapidly fading) mainstream theory.
Now here is where I depart from the hard experimental evidence and give you my own guesses and intuition.
I suspect that there were a host of issues which undermined the lowish-carb dieters in these experiments. If, when embarking on your own personal journey, you avoid these problems, I suspect you will have much better results than the average test subject did.
Many of the test diets asked the lowish-carb diets to add carbs back in (after a certain time, or after they had lost some of the excess weight that they intended to lose). In my opinion if you have a problem with obesity and you are serious about fixing it, you should plan to stay on your new diet for at least a couple of years, if not for the rest of your life. You should at least give a major change like going to very-low-carb four or six months just to see how it works.
Many of the test diets asked the participants to aim for fewer than 30 grams/day, and some even higher than that. I would advise a fat person to try "as few carbs as possible" for as long as it seems to be working for you. I would definitely suggest that you target less than 20 grams of carb per day, and the "zero-carb" approach seems excellent. In my opinion, many fat people are a lot like alcoholics, but with carbs and/or sugar instead of alcohol. (I certainly was!) If an alcoholic goes on a "moderate alcohol" diet, in which they limit themselves to one drink per day, they are going to be a hell of a lot worse off 12 months later than if they go on a "zero alcohol" diet.
(And by the way, I think people who find themselves feeling well and doing well on a relatively high-carb diet should be a little bit careful about recommending the same indiscriminately to others. By way of analogy, you may do great with a moderate intake of alcohol, but if the person you are talking to is a recovering alcoholic then you may do them harm by persuading them that a little alcohol is a fine and healthy thing.)
These test subjects were given specific instructions, which were designed to test a hypothesis, and they were discouraged from doing anything else. You will, of course, experiment on yourself, do more of what seems to work well and less of what doesn't. You'll also feel free to combine multiple kinds of dietary changes and other forms of self-improvement.
I would assume that most of the test subjects kept eating the low-carb industrial-era foods such as seed oils even while they reduced the high-carb industrial-era foods. I would encourage a dieter to explore the gamut of "paleo diet" principles in concert with low-carb.
Similarly, I suspect that a lot of people who try low-carb are still under the impression that animal fat is unhealthy and so they avoid fatty animal meats even while avoiding carbs. We have plenty of evidence now that this is a big mistake, making the diet less healthy, less effective for weight loss, and probably inducing problems like constipation and tiredness. Eat plenty of fatty animal meat!
In general, the test subjects may have been under the impression that low-carb was an inherently unhealthy and unnatural diet which they should use as sparingly and briefly as possible while still achieving their weight loss goals. Certainly many of the researchers who organized the studies believed that, and they may have given that impression to their test subjects. This misapprehension makes it harder to eat right, be happy, and live well. I would advise you that the low-carb diet you are about to start is???as far as science has been able to determine so far???a perfectly healthy and sustainable lifestyle. It offers numerous benefits apart from just losing weight. Embark on your new life with joy and enthusiasm, not with worry!
Okay, that's my answer. I suspect that most fat people can experience wonderful improvements on a diet which is very low in carb, and is also healthy in other ways, and which you intend to monitor and adapt, but also to remain committed for the long term, and which you approach with an attitude of anticipation and joy.
If you re-read this answer, notice the break between what I know from hard evidence???repeated experiment???and what I believe from various other kinds of evidence.
on August 17, 2011
at 01:16 AM
Paleo adherants are being more friendly to higher carb because we're all no longer glucose addicted, and are instead ACTIVE and FIT, so we can reintroduce more carbs into our diet without issue. But in order to get to this point, we all needed to start off as low carb!
Paleo is definitely low carb and should always remain that way.
on August 17, 2011
at 01:24 AM
During the period of my metabolic derangement (8 A1C and 200 fasting blood glucose) I restricted all carbs. I eliminated the high glycemics completely - white rice and the dry breakfast cereals of any kind were the worst. The ultimate solution to recovering insulin sensitivity was getting my weight down, but that took months. Eliminating high GI carbs got blood glucose down in less than a week.