9

votes

Do You Think that Low Carb Has Increased the Paleo Conversion Attrition Rate?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 06, 2011 at 6:17 PM

I've been wondering if the low carb flu itself and, if overcome, the subsequent fat loss plateaus and general malaise have bottlenecked the number of people who have successfully "converted" to a more healthy paleo-ish/ancestral diet. If we uncoupled low-carb from paleo and removed this large hurdle right in the beginning, it seems to me that a greater number of people would move toward a biologically appropriate diet.

For me, I have a minimum target of 150g of carbs a day, and if I restrict that to sweet potato only, it's actually tough to hit it every single day. On days that I lift I increase that target and I have to eat rice in order to do it. There's just no way I could eat that many tubers without displacing other important foods. I bet if we advised people to just stick with tubers and didn't even mention carbs, it would all take care of itself simply due to how bulky they are.

I think it would have been a lot easier for me if it had simply been laid out like this:

"Replace fructose-bearing foods and wheat with starchy tubers
Replace polyunsaturated fat-bearing foods with fat from healthy animals
Make as many of your meals from scratch as possible"

Delving into the minutiae beyond that in the very beginning is going to just result in diminishing returns at best.

Any thoughts?

Edit: I suppose I'm at a disadvantage in some ways for never having been obese, but I figured that it's much harder to go from flabby to lean than from obese to overweight. I may be off base, but it's generally accepted that the difficulty increases as you lose more fat, so my assumption was that the observations that I have made about what has made me lose or gain some fat while being in close proximity to a lean state would definitely work for someone who is obese. I suppose I could be a particularly susceptible individual, but any particular level of adiposity for me has been "supported" in a way by a column of fructose. I can monkey with various macro ratios and exercise, but the amount of fructose tends to be what really makes a difference. If I pull out that column, my fatness decreases proportionally. Controlling for calories, I've noticed differences with 5g of fructose a day.

As a result of this and from some research I've done into how much fructose the average person actually eats a day, (which I think is a mean of around 73g) I was under the impression that there is simply no obesity without at least an initial huge fructose intake. (Please chime in if you got obese without fructose). Paul Jaminet stated that linoleic acid intake tracks pretty well with adiposity in PHD, so presumably a marked decrease in these two things would make the biggest difference for fat loss.

I see a lot of posts where people are increasing or decreasing their "carbs" but using fruit to do it. There is a massive metabolic difference between 50g of carbs from oranges vs. potatoes. VLC will be undermined if it's still kinda high fructose.

I realize that people generally come to paleo as a result of some problem, but usually overweight/obesity. For me, it was reactive hypoglycemia that vanished when I removed fructose. I just think there should be an introductory stage that involves replacing the primary health-damaging components of their current diet with appropriate alternatives. Making Week 1 pure chaos with every variable changing seems unwise.

If the goal of low-carb is to decrease the daily insulin area under the curve, then clearly the first step is to remove as much fructose from the diet as possible. Fructose is notorious for causing insulin resistance, in spite of it's minimal glycemic effect. I'll have to dig up the study, but I was reading one where they explored the effects of 50g of carbs of various types on insulin levels. There were differences, but most caused an elevation for about an hour that basically had the same area under the curve. So, if you correct your insulin resistance and eat 50g of carbs 3 times a day, you have about 3 hours of elevated insulin. The average person has insulin resistance as a result of a heavy fructose intake, but also eats carbs in general throughout the day and continually spikes it. They have a heavy insulin blanket on top of their adipocytes all day, every day, but it's not from eating 150g of carbs. After fructose removal, insulin sensitivity is best increased with weight lifting and other exercise. I just don't see low-carb being necessary for that (though, relative to the average American, 150g is low carb).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 12, 2011
at 09:51 PM

<> Nice distinction, CaveRat.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 08, 2011
at 01:32 PM

@Cave, yeah i think i agree with what youre saying.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 08, 2011
at 07:56 AM

I didn't mean to suggest that everyone should follow my way of eating. I guess I mean, if we are going to have a default, it should not be low-carb. And right now low-carb is pretty much the default, since most people come to paleo from Cordain or Robb Wolf (even though he seems to have backed off from LC a while ago). I think that needs to be corrected a bit. Also, it's clearly true that there is some individual variance in what works for people, but I also kinda feel like this is overemphasized. I doubt low-carb is "optimal" for anything but a relatively small minority of people.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 08, 2011
at 01:52 AM

But the LC people aren't *just* doing LC, with the idea that once they are 'fixed' THEN they'll do paleo. Instead they're doing LC because it solves a particular problem, AND doing paleo because it's a better 'WOE' (or, Way Of *Doing*) - for the same reasons as you. I get that there is a kind if cultural difference between the groups, but that diff isn't about 'Paleo.'

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Oops ignore the screwy italics!

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Oh I totally agree! But I'm not the only one and any 'standard' diet must accommodate a reasonable range of people - and while my body isn't 'the' standard it's not an outlier either. I think my point is that an Official Paleo Diet could include the words "moderate amounts of starchy tubers *in those who can tolerate the carbs*" without diminishing any paleo purity. Personally carbs were the thing to *avoid*, but that leaves a kind of dietary vacuum that needs to be filled with something, and paleo is *perfect*

776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

(1069)

on June 07, 2011
at 03:12 PM

Yes. My understanding of the original "Paleo" moniker is that it focused more on lean meat than the higher fat Primal/Panu guidelines. I was being very, very specific in referring to what I think of as being the first thing described as Paleo, in "The Paleo Solution." I personally do not agree that low fat, lean meats is the best way to go. But I would concede that Loren Cordain / Robb Wolff's methodology is the first to use "Paleo" as a moniker in a major publication.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 07, 2011
at 02:54 PM

Oh and I was on and off predisone at the time, great drug, saved my life, but gave me the hunger of a hobbit

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I eat about twice as many calories now on Paleo than I did on SAD. 1000-1200 (with an hour of chronic cardio a day) versus 2200-2300 calories. It still freaks me out that I eat so much, but I am 22 pounds less, so it doesn't matter.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:20 PM

Yes, I've read GCBC. Not only that, I eat way more calories now than I did before I went VLC. I had to drop calories to around 500 a day to lose weight on a "standard" low-fat diet, but on ZC I average around 1800 a day. And I weigh 75 pounds less. It blows my mind that people still think of calories as the whole, or even most of the, story. Humans are not straightforward combustion chambers. A lot happens between the "calories in" and the "calories out" ends of the equation.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:11 PM

I'm 175 lbs and I eat right about 250 grams of starch per day. Spread it out and its not that hard at all. Couple glasses of coconut water in the morning, big ol sweet potato with lunch, bunch of white potatoes with dinner, and one afternoon snack of some squash or something and you can easily hit it. Oh, i eat yogurt now and theres more carbohydrate in there than people realize, too

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:09 PM

holy hell, you've summed up all the paragraphs i wanted to write very nicely. cheers.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:08 PM

@lucky, you actually point out the exact point that LC-refuters make to Taubes in his book GCBC: that going lowcarb only "works" because people automatically eat less over all calories. IE, not because there is some magic in the carbohydrate-containing calories. Anyone else read GCBC? Taubes goes some way in arguing against your very point.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:05 PM

In the very beginning I experimented with a ton of LC and VLC, from reading this site, too. It "worked" i suppose, as far as i felt oK, didnt die, etc. My performance went down, libido down, energy and wellbeing down. Enter starch. Everything back to aces.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Primal anabolic sounds interesting. At least your advising people to calculate, and actually do math. I continue to be shocked by the numbers of people in paleo, LC, whatever that refuse to acknowledge that counting one's macros and calories is incredibly sensible and effective for WHATEVER goal one has. It makes no sense to ignore the reality that what foods you eat, and in what amount you eat them, controls your body comp, health, etc. The only way to know is to track track track. You can then look back and see what intake has brought about what change.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:03 PM

Yes, I see Paleo as an even healthier LC! My cousin was doing Atkins and eating all the fake low carb chemical filled crap and I talked him into Paleo and he's doing awesome. It just seemed like a natural transition to me. Why do Atkins when Paleo is so much better?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 12:59 PM

@caverat, this is a difficult point to make without sounding like a jerk, but when you say that "some tubers, a few grapes" etc lead for you to straight finishing off something in the fridge, the issue there is not with paleo, carbohydrate, or anything else. The issue lies with the person raiding the fridge. No macronutrient make that happen. Carbs, for those with metabolic issues (perhaps, insulin, leptin, grehlin, etc), are indeed more likely to make one binge but that again lies with the user, not with the food.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:10 AM

I'm wasting an entire comment to fix a minor typo: I meant to say "VLC is the only option that *works* - FOR ME. Period." Subtle but important distinction :-)

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:08 AM

The key point that gets lost is that *people are different*. The 'mod-carb' might be perfect for those who don't have problems with nascent obesity and loss of self control, and are perhaps already healthy looking for ways to increase health or strength. In my case it was easy to tell what would work and wouldn't: I used a blood glucose tester. That healthy tuber? It would send me into a huge blood sugar spike with insulin trying desperately to keep up, for an hour or two. VLC is the only option that *works*. Period.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:02 AM

For me it's the ONLY sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off. If I allow myself to shift toward a 'non-low-carb' diet I go straight to that cliff-edge of loss of control. Eating some tubers? A few grapes? I know from experience that leads - for me - straight to finishing off all the cheese in the fridge, moving on to the potato chips then the bag of raisins we keep on the fridge, then to the ice cream... Meanwhile there's a horrified "me" somewhere in utter panic yet unable to do anything at all.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 07, 2011
at 05:18 AM

But Nico, the fact that you were able to lose 40 pounds without being very low-carb doesn't mean others can. I appreciate the balanced way you're making your point, but folks who lose on mod-carb, or even high-carb, seem to assume they've found some magic that will work for everyone else, too. I don't think there should be a standard version of paleo, whether LC or not. I like Kurt Harris too, and think "avoid grains, sugars & legumes" is a great rule of thumb. But telling everyone to keep their starches high -- or low-- will set people up to fail. Carbs are really individual.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on June 07, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Travis I also eat around 150g/day, more on hard workout days etc. I've been having trouble finding a balance though. If I eat too many carbs I think my sleep suffers, too little and I lose weight and have depleted glycogen.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 07, 2011
at 04:35 AM

But Nico, the fact that you were able to lose 40 pounds without being very low-carb doesn't mean others can. I appreciate the balanced way you're making your point, but folks who lose on mod-carb, or even high-carb, seem to assume they've found some "magic" that will work for everyone else, too. I don't think there should be a "standard" version of paleo, whether LC or not. I like Kurt Harris too, and think "avoid grains, sugars & legumes" is a great rule of thumb. But telling *everyone* to keep their starches high -- or low-- will set people up to fail. Carbs are really individual.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 06, 2011
at 11:16 PM

Years ago I was recruited to be part of a study on insulin resistance. Went in for the intake which included a glucose test. Doc asked me to come back the next day and retake it because something had gone wrong. Went back the next day for another glucose test. At the end of the day the doc came out and said he needed to exclude me from the study because my insulin numbers were so high, higher than he had ever seen in his career, that I was too much an anomaly to be included. That ended up being one of the best days of my life. That day I knew it was my body and not ME that had caused this

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 06, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Antidepressants and steroids. Seriously. That packed on 100 lbs in less than a year. I think the better question for the super obese is not what were you eating but why? And not emotional mumbo jumbo stuff. Why did your body produce so much fat? Most normal weight people could never, ever get as large as I got eating as I did which was relatively healthy. Super obese bodies are different. They just are. I don't believe that any diet, no matter how good, will fix us. My body is certainly not fixed. I still have to fight it every single day. I will until the day I die.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on June 06, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Right, that's two or three *hour period.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on June 06, 2011
at 10:20 PM

Also if you spread out your carb consumption you can get a lot more in, by allowing your stomach to gradually make some room. I remember sitting down in front of the TV and eating an immense amount of pretzels over a two or three period. (Especially common when drunk.) So it's not exactly one "sitting" as Jack puts it -- although of course I was *sitting* in one place the whole time ....

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 09:59 PM

So what were you eating that got you over 300lbs?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 06, 2011
at 09:08 PM

I don't think so. I never ingested much fructose to begin with. Not my drug of choice at the time or now. Look I fully endorse people eating as many carbs as they can to achieve their goals. If just cutting out fructose gets you there that's fantastic. I don't think anyone should go VLC or ZC just for the heck of it but because the body demands it in order to release the fat or reach any other goal that's set. I happen to believe the most obese and all super obese must limit carbs in order to normalize the body. All others it's trial and error and personal responsibility and decisions.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:53 PM

@Jack I have never been 200 lbs much less 300. I was capable of eating quite a lot and had been from the time I was small. 5 pound of potatoes, mashed is a lot of food but not more than I could eat even now if I tried hard.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Well, I feel and perform better with the glycogen tanks topped off.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Is it possible that lowering carbs was incidental and that it was actually lowering fructose that resulted in your weight loss? Fructose intake for me determines how fat I am over all other factors. It's not the only factor, but nothing is more potent.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:07 PM

Travis, I am sure you are right about that happening to some people. I am not obese and I have lost 22 pounds on VLC. I don't think it's all water weight. Again, I think women are different than men in this respect. I only dream of being able to eat the amount of carbs my husband shoves down his throat just to maintain his weight.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:01 PM

Oh, Jack. If that amazes you, the things I did in my binging days would ASTOUND you.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:57 PM

I think that most (not all) men have a very different experience on Paleo than most (not all) women do.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:32 PM

you eat 5 lbs of potatoes in one sitting? are you a 300+ pound person? am I the only one here that thinks that kind of weight in a total meal seems completely ludicrous? let alone from potatoes only? I have never heard of someone eating 5 to 8 lbs of potatoes in one sitting. That must sit in your belly like a brick.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:21 PM

I am fascinated by the different experiences people have with carbs. For me, zero-carb -- 5g and under per day -- is the only way I can maintain not just a good weight, but relief from RA pain and other therapeutic benefits. I'm well aware of others who lose nothing, even on ZC, and who even benefit from starches (I've tried, believe me). I think we simply don't understand enough about how metabolic "ecologies" vary from person to person, and we all ought to curb our reflexive tendency to think, "It worked for me, so if it doesn't for you, you're doing it wrong."

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:04 PM

travis vlc automatically lowers your calorie intake significantly in most cases and deep ketosis helps people with cravings and hunger. it was great for my first 3-4 months of paleo for learning to control appetite and get some insulin sensitivity back. it's a good default for many obese people to start from and go back to if they slip up...

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I've seen tons of posts here and on other paleo forums where people have lost water weight initially with VLC due to glycogen depletion and then nothing after that. I'm sure there's a way to properly do it, but it's not easy or necessary for fat loss.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:34 PM

Did you mean to say low fat in this sentience "Paleo to me will always be Loren Cordain / Robb Wolff low fat, high protein plus veggies and no fruit."?

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:34 PM

travis, i've eaten ~10 a week during the winter- all on workout days. even throw in some rice with that... but i also weigh 227 and powerlift 2-3x a week. before going paleo, me and potatoes/rice were mortal enemies. now i don't even think twice about eating them... and the potatoes are very large russets.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:33 PM

travis, i've eaten ~10 a week during the winter- all on workout days. even throw in some rice with that... but i also weigh 227 and powerlift 2-3x a week. before going paleo, me and potatoes/rice were mortal enemies. now i don't even think twice about eating them...

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:33 PM

I have eaten 5 lbs in a sitting. Then there are breakfast hash browns and .... Probably 8, I could do 5 on a regular basis.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:28 PM

It's only about 20% carbs by weight, though. 3 large russet potatoes will only yield about 150g a day, which should replete how much glycogen you've burned through in a day. How many potatoes do you think you would actually eat in a week?

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13 Answers

7
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on June 06, 2011
at 06:23 PM

the tricky aspect of this is the fact that many people come to paleo as a way to lose weight. i'm not convinced that someone who comes to paleo overweight with a broken metabolism needs to be eating 150g of tubers a day until they can reset their insulin sensitivity by going low carb or even vlc for a time and then smartly reintroducing carbs in a cyclical ketogenic or targeted ketogenic fashion to "teach" themselves how to properly use glucose. i had great success doing it that way and i know quite a few others.

having said that, if someone isn't in that boat, i think uncoupling low carb from paleo is smart. getting a person to start eating whole foods who is not metabolically compromised has a tremendous upside for their health and i really can't see a downside. i think education on macronutrients should be encouraged but i wouldn't recommend a ratio. kind of let them tinker and see what their body tells them.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:09 PM

holy hell, you've summed up all the paragraphs i wanted to write very nicely. cheers.

6
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:11 PM

Yes I do but it is paleo fault. People who do low carb paleo are doing it predominantly to lose weight. People who are fit and looking to increase body comp have to do their version differently. Our community needs to do a better job of answering questions like these in context of how they were asked. I have seen some of our posters do just that. Most however dont.

We need to help one and another

6
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on June 06, 2011
at 07:54 PM

If I "uncoupled low-carb from paleo" I may be eating a biologically appropriate diet but I would still weigh over 300 lbs. This I know for sure.

I don't understand why we continue to want to divide ourselves into low carb/high carb factions? There is a need and a place for both...and everything in between. Why does it have to be either or?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 06, 2011
at 09:08 PM

I don't think so. I never ingested much fructose to begin with. Not my drug of choice at the time or now. Look I fully endorse people eating as many carbs as they can to achieve their goals. If just cutting out fructose gets you there that's fantastic. I don't think anyone should go VLC or ZC just for the heck of it but because the body demands it in order to release the fat or reach any other goal that's set. I happen to believe the most obese and all super obese must limit carbs in order to normalize the body. All others it's trial and error and personal responsibility and decisions.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 06, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Antidepressants and steroids. Seriously. That packed on 100 lbs in less than a year. I think the better question for the super obese is not what were you eating but why? And not emotional mumbo jumbo stuff. Why did your body produce so much fat? Most normal weight people could never, ever get as large as I got eating as I did which was relatively healthy. Super obese bodies are different. They just are. I don't believe that any diet, no matter how good, will fix us. My body is certainly not fixed. I still have to fight it every single day. I will until the day I die.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 06, 2011
at 11:16 PM

Years ago I was recruited to be part of a study on insulin resistance. Went in for the intake which included a glucose test. Doc asked me to come back the next day and retake it because something had gone wrong. Went back the next day for another glucose test. At the end of the day the doc came out and said he needed to exclude me from the study because my insulin numbers were so high, higher than he had ever seen in his career, that I was too much an anomaly to be included. That ended up being one of the best days of my life. That day I knew it was my body and not ME that had caused this

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Is it possible that lowering carbs was incidental and that it was actually lowering fructose that resulted in your weight loss? Fructose intake for me determines how fat I am over all other factors. It's not the only factor, but nothing is more potent.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 09:59 PM

So what were you eating that got you over 300lbs?

3
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:54 AM

Maybe. Could work the other way as well, with people who need LC and just don't see the results otherwise. Also, the whole LC movement has been the Paleo entry point for many people. With some of the LC voices finally being heard in the mainstream, it's a much shorter leap for people to make.

Some people see Paleo as a refinement of LC. Either a refinement that allows similar benefits with a higher carb intake, or simply see LC Paleo as an even healthier LC diet.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:03 PM

Yes, I see Paleo as an even healthier LC! My cousin was doing Atkins and eating all the fake low carb chemical filled crap and I talked him into Paleo and he's doing awesome. It just seemed like a natural transition to me. Why do Atkins when Paleo is so much better?

3
6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I think that for people who want to lose weight as a primary motivating factor for joining Paleo, unless they go VLC, they could be very disappointed and give it up all together. Especially for women who want to lose weight, not emphasizing VLC can set us up for failure. When I first converted to Paleo, I was expecting great things as far as losing weight; after all, I was a carb-loading vegan. Great things did not materialize, however. Instead, my husband lost weight he didn't need to lose, and my weight stayed the same. I came very close to quiting out of frustration until I remembered that years ago on Atkins, 20 net carbs or less worked for me. That's when I went VLC (before Paleohacks).

Maybe it would be best to make a clear distinction between people who want/need to lose weight and those who don't.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I've seen tons of posts here and on other paleo forums where people have lost water weight initially with VLC due to glycogen depletion and then nothing after that. I'm sure there's a way to properly do it, but it's not easy or necessary for fat loss.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:57 PM

I think that most (not all) men have a very different experience on Paleo than most (not all) women do.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:08 PM

@lucky, you actually point out the exact point that LC-refuters make to Taubes in his book GCBC: that going lowcarb only "works" because people automatically eat less over all calories. IE, not because there is some magic in the carbohydrate-containing calories. Anyone else read GCBC? Taubes goes some way in arguing against your very point.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:20 PM

Yes, I've read GCBC. Not only that, I eat way more calories now than I did before I went VLC. I had to drop calories to around 500 a day to lose weight on a "standard" low-fat diet, but on ZC I average around 1800 a day. And I weigh 75 pounds less. It blows my mind that people still think of calories as the whole, or even most of the, story. Humans are not straightforward combustion chambers. A lot happens between the "calories in" and the "calories out" ends of the equation.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:21 PM

I am fascinated by the different experiences people have with carbs. For me, zero-carb -- 5g and under per day -- is the only way I can maintain not just a good weight, but relief from RA pain and other therapeutic benefits. I'm well aware of others who lose nothing, even on ZC, and who even benefit from starches (I've tried, believe me). I think we simply don't understand enough about how metabolic "ecologies" vary from person to person, and we all ought to curb our reflexive tendency to think, "It worked for me, so if it doesn't for you, you're doing it wrong."

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:04 PM

travis vlc automatically lowers your calorie intake significantly in most cases and deep ketosis helps people with cravings and hunger. it was great for my first 3-4 months of paleo for learning to control appetite and get some insulin sensitivity back. it's a good default for many obese people to start from and go back to if they slip up...

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I eat about twice as many calories now on Paleo than I did on SAD. 1000-1200 (with an hour of chronic cardio a day) versus 2200-2300 calories. It still freaks me out that I eat so much, but I am 22 pounds less, so it doesn't matter.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:07 PM

Travis, I am sure you are right about that happening to some people. I am not obese and I have lost 22 pounds on VLC. I don't think it's all water weight. Again, I think women are different than men in this respect. I only dream of being able to eat the amount of carbs my husband shoves down his throat just to maintain his weight.

2
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:22 PM

You don't seem to understand the sheer volume of mashed potatoes I used to be able to eat. And gnocchi. I assure you I could easily overdo it on crabs if my only guidance was starchy tubers- constant snacking on jiccma matchsticks comes to mind.

I am not a fan of low carb for me, but I do think that you have to be more specific about potatoes for many of us out there in TV land.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:33 PM

travis, i've eaten ~10 a week during the winter- all on workout days. even throw in some rice with that... but i also weigh 227 and powerlift 2-3x a week. before going paleo, me and potatoes/rice were mortal enemies. now i don't even think twice about eating them...

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:33 PM

I have eaten 5 lbs in a sitting. Then there are breakfast hash browns and .... Probably 8, I could do 5 on a regular basis.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 07, 2011
at 02:54 PM

Oh and I was on and off predisone at the time, great drug, saved my life, but gave me the hunger of a hobbit

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:28 PM

It's only about 20% carbs by weight, though. 3 large russet potatoes will only yield about 150g a day, which should replete how much glycogen you've burned through in a day. How many potatoes do you think you would actually eat in a week?

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:53 PM

@Jack I have never been 200 lbs much less 300. I was capable of eating quite a lot and had been from the time I was small. 5 pound of potatoes, mashed is a lot of food but not more than I could eat even now if I tried hard.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on June 06, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Right, that's two or three *hour period.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:01 PM

Oh, Jack. If that amazes you, the things I did in my binging days would ASTOUND you.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on June 06, 2011
at 10:20 PM

Also if you spread out your carb consumption you can get a lot more in, by allowing your stomach to gradually make some room. I remember sitting down in front of the TV and eating an immense amount of pretzels over a two or three period. (Especially common when drunk.) So it's not exactly one "sitting" as Jack puts it -- although of course I was *sitting* in one place the whole time ....

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:34 PM

travis, i've eaten ~10 a week during the winter- all on workout days. even throw in some rice with that... but i also weigh 227 and powerlift 2-3x a week. before going paleo, me and potatoes/rice were mortal enemies. now i don't even think twice about eating them... and the potatoes are very large russets.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:11 PM

I'm 175 lbs and I eat right about 250 grams of starch per day. Spread it out and its not that hard at all. Couple glasses of coconut water in the morning, big ol sweet potato with lunch, bunch of white potatoes with dinner, and one afternoon snack of some squash or something and you can easily hit it. Oh, i eat yogurt now and theres more carbohydrate in there than people realize, too

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 06, 2011
at 07:32 PM

you eat 5 lbs of potatoes in one sitting? are you a 300+ pound person? am I the only one here that thinks that kind of weight in a total meal seems completely ludicrous? let alone from potatoes only? I have never heard of someone eating 5 to 8 lbs of potatoes in one sitting. That must sit in your belly like a brick.

1
149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

on June 07, 2011
at 05:12 PM

All carbohydrates are only 2 things. Fiber and sugar. Whatever is not fiber will be turned to glucose. I prefer to look at a low carb diet as a low sugar diet. This puts it in perspective for me. This tells me that whatever my condition...why would I want to go out of my way to eat more sugar? I can't think of 1 disease that will be eliminated or helped by increasing my sugar intake. I can think of all diseases that would benefit from sugar reduction. "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down"- Mary Poppins.

"The more sugar you eat, the more medicine you must take. The more medicine you take, the more sugar you must to eat with it to get the medicine down"- Mary Poppin's diabetic father.

1
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Hmm. Fruit is fructose-bearing. So is honey. So maybe a derivitive of your layout would be more appropriate. I don't think fructose is bad. I think overconsumption of it from any source is, and especially from sources intentionally concentrated by man.

I'm not against low-carb necessarily. In fact, I first went VLC, which then led to Lacto-Paleo. But I think many people who try to eat low carb and especially VLC might not be eating a very balanced or even very healthy diet. Many people on low carb just eat a bunch of meat and eggs and cheese and bacon. (emphasis on many, not all)

Travis if you find yourself struggling to eat that much starch, then why do you feel the need to strive to hit it? Maybe 150g is not a correct target for you.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Well, I feel and perform better with the glycogen tanks topped off.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on June 07, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Travis I also eat around 150g/day, more on hard workout days etc. I've been having trouble finding a balance though. If I eat too many carbs I think my sleep suffers, too little and I lose weight and have depleted glycogen.

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:38 PM

my goals three months ago were to eliminate grains and dairy. eliminating legumes and going low carb were not part of my plan initially. a little reading led me to paleo and eliminating legumes was a no brainer.

i got swept up into the VLC way of eating once i started reading all the posts on this site. after three weeks of strict adherence it clearly did not work for me.

i think you have hit on an important point. covering the basics and being successful at that initially would have been a better introduction for me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:05 PM

In the very beginning I experimented with a ton of LC and VLC, from reading this site, too. It "worked" i suppose, as far as i felt oK, didnt die, etc. My performance went down, libido down, energy and wellbeing down. Enter starch. Everything back to aces.

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 12:52 PM

Yes i think if paleo and LC were uncoupled, as you put it, it'd be for the best. The paleo scene is indeed interesting, and unique i'd say, because it attracts (or attracted, in the beginning at least) both athletic people looking to either improve overall health and/or performance, and then also people who are not at all athletic but rather simply trying to lose weight, regain health, etc.

Digression: In my mind I still don't really see them as coupled together anyway, but I suppose I'm living in my own little world and the reality of the understanding for most people who come to Paleo now is that paleo is indeed associated with LC. It is indeed unfortunate in my mind. It certainly doesn't get the paleo message of eating whole natural foods any further with the science/athletic/healthy crowd who are doubtful of paleo, perhaps rightly so.

For my two cents, I feel that LC is simply a tool that metabolically deranged people (probably unfortunately made that way from growing up in a western country in the last 100 years) can use to UNDO the damage that our WOE has inflicted upon them. Once some level of health and fitness is regained I do not see a need for LC and I certainly believe it is not the optimal way to live out your years on this earth.

Once that health and fitness is regained I would say that the general paleo WOE is probably the best manner of living we've figured out this far.

So, in summation I'd say paleo is simply a way of overall eating, while LC is a tool for weightloss/undoing-the-damage.

PS: great thread. very timely. I've been for a while now and I have indeed watched as the pendulum has started to swing.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 08, 2011
at 01:52 AM

But the LC people aren't *just* doing LC, with the idea that once they are 'fixed' THEN they'll do paleo. Instead they're doing LC because it solves a particular problem, AND doing paleo because it's a better 'WOE' (or, Way Of *Doing*) - for the same reasons as you. I get that there is a kind if cultural difference between the groups, but that diff isn't about 'Paleo.'

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 08, 2011
at 01:32 PM

@Cave, yeah i think i agree with what youre saying.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 12, 2011
at 09:51 PM

<> Nice distinction, CaveRat.

0
02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 07, 2011
at 03:46 AM

This is pretty much what Dr. Harris is on to with Paleo 2.0. And I think it makes a lot of sense- as much as I can glean from my understanding of the evidence.

A lot of people are mentioning the importance of low-carb for weight loss. I'm not so sure the evidence is that strong that low-carb is the only sustainable way to lose weight- in fact, a lot of people seem to regain weight at some point doing low-carb, along with experiencing other health problems.

I was able to lose around 40 lbs without being that low-carb, even while eating fairly significant amounts of fruit. I suspect that people are able to tolerate substantial amounts of fructose in fruit form.

I do think we should work to make the "standard" version of paleo non-low-carb. I think too many people are making it unnecessarily difficult for themselves by limiting carbs, and, yes, more people fall off the wagon than would otherwise.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:10 AM

I'm wasting an entire comment to fix a minor typo: I meant to say "VLC is the only option that *works* - FOR ME. Period." Subtle but important distinction :-)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 07, 2011
at 04:35 AM

But Nico, the fact that you were able to lose 40 pounds without being very low-carb doesn't mean others can. I appreciate the balanced way you're making your point, but folks who lose on mod-carb, or even high-carb, seem to assume they've found some "magic" that will work for everyone else, too. I don't think there should be a "standard" version of paleo, whether LC or not. I like Kurt Harris too, and think "avoid grains, sugars & legumes" is a great rule of thumb. But telling *everyone* to keep their starches high -- or low-- will set people up to fail. Carbs are really individual.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 12:59 PM

@caverat, this is a difficult point to make without sounding like a jerk, but when you say that "some tubers, a few grapes" etc lead for you to straight finishing off something in the fridge, the issue there is not with paleo, carbohydrate, or anything else. The issue lies with the person raiding the fridge. No macronutrient make that happen. Carbs, for those with metabolic issues (perhaps, insulin, leptin, grehlin, etc), are indeed more likely to make one binge but that again lies with the user, not with the food.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:08 AM

The key point that gets lost is that *people are different*. The 'mod-carb' might be perfect for those who don't have problems with nascent obesity and loss of self control, and are perhaps already healthy looking for ways to increase health or strength. In my case it was easy to tell what would work and wouldn't: I used a blood glucose tester. That healthy tuber? It would send me into a huge blood sugar spike with insulin trying desperately to keep up, for an hour or two. VLC is the only option that *works*. Period.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:02 AM

For me it's the ONLY sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off. If I allow myself to shift toward a 'non-low-carb' diet I go straight to that cliff-edge of loss of control. Eating some tubers? A few grapes? I know from experience that leads - for me - straight to finishing off all the cheese in the fridge, moving on to the potato chips then the bag of raisins we keep on the fridge, then to the ice cream... Meanwhile there's a horrified "me" somewhere in utter panic yet unable to do anything at all.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Oops ignore the screwy italics!

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 08, 2011
at 07:56 AM

I didn't mean to suggest that everyone should follow my way of eating. I guess I mean, if we are going to have a default, it should not be low-carb. And right now low-carb is pretty much the default, since most people come to paleo from Cordain or Robb Wolf (even though he seems to have backed off from LC a while ago). I think that needs to be corrected a bit. Also, it's clearly true that there is some individual variance in what works for people, but I also kinda feel like this is overemphasized. I doubt low-carb is "optimal" for anything but a relatively small minority of people.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 07, 2011
at 05:18 AM

But Nico, the fact that you were able to lose 40 pounds without being very low-carb doesn't mean others can. I appreciate the balanced way you're making your point, but folks who lose on mod-carb, or even high-carb, seem to assume they've found some magic that will work for everyone else, too. I don't think there should be a standard version of paleo, whether LC or not. I like Kurt Harris too, and think "avoid grains, sugars & legumes" is a great rule of thumb. But telling everyone to keep their starches high -- or low-- will set people up to fail. Carbs are really individual.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Oh I totally agree! But I'm not the only one and any 'standard' diet must accommodate a reasonable range of people - and while my body isn't 'the' standard it's not an outlier either. I think my point is that an Official Paleo Diet could include the words "moderate amounts of starchy tubers *in those who can tolerate the carbs*" without diminishing any paleo purity. Personally carbs were the thing to *avoid*, but that leaves a kind of dietary vacuum that needs to be filled with something, and paleo is *perfect*

0
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:41 PM

I calculate it based on specific goals for myself or my clients at the time. Yeah, I actually do math and tell people what and when to eat as they begin this journey...some into paleo and some into a more primal.

I actually have a Primal Anabolic diet that is about to be published... a little heads up for those of you wanting to eat more carbs... they aren't the devil, but of course too many of them will sabotage fat loss. Try eating your paleo or primal type foods throughout the week, keeping the carbs lower - between 20 and 30 grams per day. Then on the weekends eat a carb loading way and have your fill of starchy foods then, including sweet potatoes, white potatoes, even some legumes. If you really want too...end the day with a totally non primal cheat meal...it's one meal per week... so ya know, over a lifetime of good healthy eating... one bad meal that serves the purposes of a lifter who needs the insulin spikes to grow with...where is the harm? Remember, not all of our nutritional needs are the same.

Side note for anyone not interested in doing that but seeking more carbs. Eat more nuts. Nuts equal protein, carbs, and fat. Dairy too, full fat, whole milk... and before anybody gets all "that's not paleo"... really? How did our ancestors babies survive the first year or two of life. There is no more paleo or primal food than real milk. Although for those with risk of autoimmune disease, diabetes, etc... it should be eliminated or minimized. But again, on the diet I just described where one eats paleo for 5-6 days then 1 to 2 days of "loading"...especially with more paleo or primal carbs whole milk has it's place for some and will do no harm for most of us.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 07, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Primal anabolic sounds interesting. At least your advising people to calculate, and actually do math. I continue to be shocked by the numbers of people in paleo, LC, whatever that refuse to acknowledge that counting one's macros and calories is incredibly sensible and effective for WHATEVER goal one has. It makes no sense to ignore the reality that what foods you eat, and in what amount you eat them, controls your body comp, health, etc. The only way to know is to track track track. You can then look back and see what intake has brought about what change.

0
776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

on June 06, 2011
at 06:31 PM

Personally, I agree with you, in that I am happier on a higher carb diet, while still eating whole foods and avoiding sugar and wheat. But what you suggest is basically WAPF, with the exception of wheat (although the affect of fermentation might mitigate many of the problems). Paleo to me will always be Loren Cordain / Robb Wolff low fat, high protein plus veggies and no fruit. So trying to subvert the name to go along with what you personally think is best is probably not going to happen... the best you can do is start a splinter group, a la Archevore.

I don't know if low attrition is really a problem for paleo/primal/whatever, or how we could know that and collect data on it. If people notice a change from the most important dietary changes, which I would agree include what you stated, along with a lower carb than SAD diet, then they will probably tinker until they find something that works for them. That's what I've done, moving from no grains and no tubers to eating 1-2 cups of rice daily. I still feel like death warmed over when I eat gluten or sugar, but rice works fine for me, and I'm glad that PaleoHacks was here so that I could see that other people had tried that and had good results.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 06, 2011
at 06:34 PM

Did you mean to say low fat in this sentience "Paleo to me will always be Loren Cordain / Robb Wolff low fat, high protein plus veggies and no fruit."?

776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

(1069)

on June 07, 2011
at 03:12 PM

Yes. My understanding of the original "Paleo" moniker is that it focused more on lean meat than the higher fat Primal/Panu guidelines. I was being very, very specific in referring to what I think of as being the first thing described as Paleo, in "The Paleo Solution." I personally do not agree that low fat, lean meats is the best way to go. But I would concede that Loren Cordain / Robb Wolff's methodology is the first to use "Paleo" as a moniker in a major publication.

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