4

votes

Gaining unwanted weight on high fat VLC

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 12, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Hello. Last year, after 3 years of paleo, started eating VLC (no dairy) with moderate/low fat intake. This was primarily for digestive reasons, as I wasn't overweight at 5'7" and 123lb. I lost about 10 pounds, though, putting me underweight. After reading some Gary Taubes, I decided to up the fat. I also added some more veggies in, but kept carbs at appx. 50, sometimes 100. I also started IF- generally 16hrs/day. It's also worth mentioning that I had quite a sugar binge over the holidays, but climbed back on the wagon soon afterwards. Since upping the fat, I've gained almost 15 lbs, but it doesn't seem to be muscle. I caught a look at my rear a few days ago and was horrified by cellulite! I feel puffy and would love to get back to 120 or so.

So I guess my question is... Has anyone else experienced fat gain when upping the fat in VLC? Do calories actually matter? Suggestions for losing fat?

(also FYI- my fat sources are primarily fatty meat cuts and coconut oil)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 19, 2011
at 04:35 AM

It has been anectdotaly shared many, many times that people can eat upwards of 5000 cals per day and not gain wait on a high fat diet. Now granted, they won't lose weight, but there is something very interesting going on here that science is not currently explaining.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 19, 2011
at 04:33 AM

I know this is an old post, but where do you find that Brie?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Travis, Chris Kresser also paints that same picture that there is no need to limit fat intake. Personally, I don't limit fat intake at all. I don't quite drink a pint a cream every day, but I do finish a pint in 2-3 days, and good lord I eat my share of butter. Yet I cannot gain weight for the life of me. Maybe it's the strength training that I do? I dunno, but my diet is high fat with no measured limit and I'm slim and muscular. This is why I posed that question about incessant gorging on certian foods. Sometimes I wonder.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on March 12, 2011
at 11:49 PM

I dance and run (both barefoot) and have a very active profession.

9055f14c31610afd4d3068ec48eb6d90

(984)

on March 12, 2011
at 10:44 PM

@SherylB -- What is a "figure competitor's diet"? I mean what are your actually eating?

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on March 12, 2011
at 10:00 PM

You're 5'7 120? I'm 5'7 145 at sub 20% body fat. Do you workout?

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on March 12, 2011
at 09:10 PM

When I started I was at 20 tops, but added in more vegetables when I added more fat- maybe that's it! Now I range daily from 0 to 50, with a rare 100. The only other thing that's changed is that I replaced running outside w dancing inside for the winter.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on March 12, 2011
at 09:05 PM

I don't count calories, but an average day looks like: -no breakfast (although I drink a lot of tea) -lunch is about 7 oz of canned salmon w bones, 1 c. spinach, 2 tbs. Coconut oil, dash of apple cider vinegar, maybe some mustard and a whole avocado. maybe an oz of baking chocolate. -dinner is 1/2 lb. ground venison w 3tbs. Coconut oil On days that I eat breakfast, it's usually identical to dinner, and I'll have a smaller lunch.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 12, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Ambi: Yeah it's not ranting about Taubes but it is pretty much the same question as this one. Dr. K: True. If he tied all of the evidence into it I would be happiest. And he would be most compelling since he is advocating saturated fat with meat at most meals whereas the opposition are advocating high carb diets with polyunsaturated fats. The whole issue is far more tantalizing than just the effects of fatty acids on blood lipids.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:54 PM

Garys main focus is on obesity and carbs. He is a step forward. But most of know he is not banging all the right doors as yet. I hope he keeps it up and goes after heart disease hypothesis next because I bet he will realize his earlier missteps.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:52 PM

that carb binge will effect your muscle and liver leptin sensitivity for two weeks. So the weight gain is not surprising to me at all. It was not the fat.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Maybe you linked to the wrong thread? That one isn't about Taubes.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:07 PM

Good point. I would call that moderate carb.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 12, 2011
at 07:32 PM

Wow, Stabby! Glad to hear you say that. I am reading "Why We Get Fat" right now and some of it is just blowing my mind. I just don't agree with so much of it due to my own experiences!

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 12, 2011
at 07:13 PM

Do you count calories ? If so, how much do you eat ? If not, try writing up a days menu with amount. From n=1 experiment eating tubes of mascarpone (cream cheese) makes you gain weight, "carbs or no carbs".

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 12, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Do you count calories ?

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6 Answers

8
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 12, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Grr, to hell with Taubes. I like how he dismantled the lipid hypothesis in GCBC but he is a menace to good health. MDA forums has an active thread on this where I enumerate the billion things Gary Taubes is ignorant of. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread25609.html

Not that I'm against fat, it is my "favorite" macronutrient, but it is about more than just keeping carbs low.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 12, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Ambi: Yeah it's not ranting about Taubes but it is pretty much the same question as this one. Dr. K: True. If he tied all of the evidence into it I would be happiest. And he would be most compelling since he is advocating saturated fat with meat at most meals whereas the opposition are advocating high carb diets with polyunsaturated fats. The whole issue is far more tantalizing than just the effects of fatty acids on blood lipids.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 12, 2011
at 07:32 PM

Wow, Stabby! Glad to hear you say that. I am reading "Why We Get Fat" right now and some of it is just blowing my mind. I just don't agree with so much of it due to my own experiences!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Maybe you linked to the wrong thread? That one isn't about Taubes.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:54 PM

Garys main focus is on obesity and carbs. He is a step forward. But most of know he is not banging all the right doors as yet. I hope he keeps it up and goes after heart disease hypothesis next because I bet he will realize his earlier missteps.

4
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on March 14, 2011
at 09:16 PM

If you were eating very low carb and moderate/low fat before and have now added more fat and more carbs, then I think it's only to be expected that you might gain weight, whatever theory of fat accumulation you hold to.

Do calories actually matter?

Yes, absolutely. I've not read anything by Taubes that suggests otherwise. Also, from a paleo perspective, it would be incredibly awkward if you couldn't maintain or add to fat stores in the absence of carbohydrate. If, after felling some huge wild animal, everybody could only spill any calories consumed after ~2500 into the ether, it would be highly unfortunate. Let's assume that when eating no carbohydrates your body is a perfectly efficient fat-burning machine, so it happily burns through x calories of fat every day. It is not unreasonable to think that if you consume substantially more than x calories of fat, then the body can (and very possibly, will) accumulate more fat. Two of the prime reasons why people don't gain fat in such a state is because they spontaneously don't eat x+ calories and because if they do eat x+ calories one day, leptin ensures that they eat commensurately less calories the next day. Now there are assorted over-feeding studies that show that some people, when stuffing themselves with as many calories as they can still can't gain substantial amounts of weight and there are various ways that the body can respond to an excess of calories (in addition to reducing future calorie intake), but leaving aside these complexities, it's clearly not impossible to increase fat levels by consuming more fat than you'd usually burn.

Of course, if you also added extra carbs to your diet at the same time then, it's even more plausible that you might gain weight. I gained about a stone just from increasing my carbs up to around 40g a day, without any other conscious change in my diet. Also I would bear in mind that the effects of the holiday sugar binge could be impeding your progress even now, since no matter how low carb you're eating, a large amount of carbs will have restocked your supplies of glycogen (and added water and so on). I didn't know about Dr K's point that it would reduce leptin sensitivity, but it will certainly impact insulin sensitivity (because the muscles/liver are no longer empty to soak up glucose).

Your described daily meals above sound very low in calories, so I can't see any obvious changes to make. I don't see where you'd be getting up to 100g of carbs from since the spinach and avocado together equal about 8g/25g net/total carbs.

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly wrong with what you're eating, so you can only try reducing the fat and/or reducing the carbs. My own bias suggests cutting back on the 50/100g of carbs first and seeing whether this means you can effortlessly lose weight without conscious calorie restriction. If not, then try reducing the fat (i.e. eating as little as you need to feel satiated). Of course, you could also try eating more protein (which is uncontroversially satiating) and see whether this allows you to reduce carbs/fat.

3
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on March 14, 2011
at 03:49 PM

I don't think 50-100 carbs per day is VLC. Taubes says he gains weight if he eats many carbs at all, and I do, too.

I'm repeating what others here have said, but I've found that it is WAY easy to add too many calories when they're liquid. I had to slash way back on the cream and coconut oil (which is liquid as soon as you swallow it). I've read that our bodies just don't sense liquid calories very well.

I try to go no/very little dairy, but I've found that eating a small piece of very high fat cheese (I found a brie that is 60% milkfat) is much more satiating for me than drinking heavy cream.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 19, 2011
at 04:33 AM

I know this is an old post, but where do you find that Brie?

3
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on March 12, 2011
at 07:25 PM

No idea what's going on, you haven't provided a menu. Been on any new meds? Changed sleep habits? Anything else different in addition to the diet?

How is 50g carb VLC? Atkins Induction is 20g.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on March 12, 2011
at 09:10 PM

When I started I was at 20 tops, but added in more vegetables when I added more fat- maybe that's it! Now I range daily from 0 to 50, with a rare 100. The only other thing that's changed is that I replaced running outside w dancing inside for the winter.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 12, 2011
at 08:07 PM

Good point. I would call that moderate carb.

3
40e972023f7ec97a17b9794ab849df5f

on March 12, 2011
at 07:20 PM

OMG yes, I've been VLC for a few months now. Subscribing to the "cream is diesel" theory. I'm steadily gaining weight. Guess since I'm 30 years older than the last time I LC'd I clearly can't do it anymore. I'm able to lose on a "figure competitor's diet", but hoped for something more real-life!!! My carbs are very low, 30 or less, so it's gotta be the extra fat calories ...darn. The pic of me is when I was 60, so that diet was 4 years ago...

9055f14c31610afd4d3068ec48eb6d90

(984)

on March 12, 2011
at 10:44 PM

@SherylB -- What is a "figure competitor's diet"? I mean what are your actually eating?

1
Medium avatar

on March 14, 2011
at 06:24 PM

Taubes was dead on about how low(er) carb works because it dramatically lowers the insulin levels that are upregulating LPL and downregulating HSL. You end up allowing much more fat to exit the adipocytes and also have the benefit of greater satiety. If you address that problem, you'll likely lose most of your fat. Chylomicrons are transporting digested fat all around the body, but your mucles aren't going to be able to burn all of the fat from a typical paleo meal, and certainly not if you're drinking a pint of cream every day or tons of coconut oil or something.

That fat from every meal gets stored in your fat cells is no problem since it's also constantly leaving them and being consumed for energy. I think in the same way that we ask ourselves if a particular carb intake is evolutionarily appropriate, we should do the same for fat intakes. Taubes, the Jaminets and some others paint this picture where no amount of fat is going to work against you, but it's not quite true.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 15, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Travis, Chris Kresser also paints that same picture that there is no need to limit fat intake. Personally, I don't limit fat intake at all. I don't quite drink a pint a cream every day, but I do finish a pint in 2-3 days, and good lord I eat my share of butter. Yet I cannot gain weight for the life of me. Maybe it's the strength training that I do? I dunno, but my diet is high fat with no measured limit and I'm slim and muscular. This is why I posed that question about incessant gorging on certian foods. Sometimes I wonder.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 19, 2011
at 04:35 AM

It has been anectdotaly shared many, many times that people can eat upwards of 5000 cals per day and not gain wait on a high fat diet. Now granted, they won't lose weight, but there is something very interesting going on here that science is not currently explaining.

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