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On and off paleo- more harm than good?

Commented on January 19, 2014
Created October 20, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Hello:)

I first tried the paleo diet last summer and kept to it for about 5 or so months. At the time I was also meditating regularly and doing regular cycling and pilates. The initial reason was severe tiredness and frequent low mood, things I've had trouble with for a long time. The results were amazing, my energy and mood basically soared. I also lost quite a bit of weight. Unfortunately my living and work situation changed and I was unable to maintain the diet and exercise.

Another 6 months passed and at this point I went back onto a paleo diet. It has now been about 6 months on, and the results haven't been nearly as dramatic. My energy and mood are improved but not to the extent that I can attribute it to diet. I think my resolve may not be as high as it was before, and there have been quite a few times when I've flopped and eaten relatively lots of carbs. And also I may have been eating habitually a bit too much 85% chocolate.

Basically what I'm wondering is, if I am on a paleo diet, but have frequent failures of resolve in which i don't exactly binge but eat relatively a lot of carbs, will this do more damage than if i were to have a similar but evenly spread carb intake? If my body gets used to the lack of carbs, and then i eat a big dose of carbohydrate, will this cause my blood sugar to spike and stay high longer as body has kind of forgotten how to process carbs, or something, and will this cause me to gain weight, despite the fact that the actual amount of carb i'm eating is still a lot lower than it was pre-paleo?

Any light shed on this would be appreciated... thanks:)

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 06:08 PM

>>>For a healthy person not so important,<<< I disagree. I assume that all T2's were, at one point, a healhy person. Thus, by not being mindful of what we eat & its effects many (all?) drift towards T2, some faster than others.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 25, 2013
at 04:05 PM

Glycemic response = blood sugar post prandial. For a healthy person not so important, but critical for a hyperglycemic diabetic like I was. I've never been a big fresh fruit eater. However back in the day when I was doing blood glucose strips, I remember two specific things that sent bg to 200+: a bowl of sticky rice, and a piece of rhubarb pie. I doubt that the rhubarb itself was the cause of the spike though.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 25, 2013
at 01:48 PM

Everybody's different ;) My body feels so much better on fruit and milk than a meat based diet.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 05:41 AM

You can call fast carb & GI nonsense but it works me....

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 05:41 AM

you can call fast carb & GI nonsense but it works me....

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 05:40 AM

You can poo poo GI all you want, but for my n=1 it has served me well.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 05:38 AM

Additionally, most people run their lives quite far away from anything resembling "optimizing athletic performance". Yeah, even a couch potato can "optimize" their performance... but seriously, how "peaky" is their curve? Not so much.

Akin to a recreational swimmer saving down or buying a bodysuit... fun to pretend but not real.

RIce is probably the least troublesome grain, and for someone really earning their carbs most likely not a problem. I don't earn my carbs so I avoid them.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 05:36 AM

I tend to agree with Graeme's pov since it mirrors my experience. I further believe that "topping of glycogen stores" is pretty much unnecessary for vast majority as they are typically topped off already.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 25, 2013
at 05:36 AM

I tend to agree with Graeme's pov since it mirrors my experience. I further believe that "topping of glycogen stores" is pretty much unnecessary for vast majority as they are typically topped off already. Additionally, most people run their lives quite far away from anything resembling "optimizing athletic performance". Yeah, even a couch potato can "optimize" their performance... but seriously, how "peaky" is their curve? Not so much.

Akin to a recreational swimmer shaving down or buying a bodysuit... fun to pretend but not real.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 24, 2013
at 08:15 PM

Yeah I agree, starches can be very problematic for diabetics but I dont think thats related to the GI. How did you react to fruit?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 07:57 PM

@Bukowski, GI was valuable to me in the context of controlling my blood sugar as a former T2 diabetic. I would get the same blood glucose spiking from rice as from sugary foods. I only brought GI in to confront the nonsense about "fast carbs".

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 24, 2013
at 06:22 PM

Eating fruit and milk is not SAD, it is HAPPY.

The glycemic index hypothesis is pretty much BS.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.de/2009/03/its-time-to-let-go-of-glycemic-index.html

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 06:10 PM

Some paleo is better than no paleo, because it displaces processed foods. If this concerns you, eat more carbs, all the time. Paleo doesn't mean Atkins induction diet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 06:06 PM

There are a lot of people that eat dry breakfast cereal daily and don't have diabetes. I was not so lucky. By overeating cereal in relation to my low level of activity, I made myself fat and diabetic. I'm 100% certain I could repeat the experiment and get the same results, but ONLY if I became inactive and obese again. I have not been able to recreate the high A1C and uncontrolled blood sugar at healthy weight and activity, despite occasional carb gorging.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 05:57 PM

Not eat "fast carbs"? Graeme is recommending eating "earned" carbs as cooked rice by the cupful. Rice is a grain with a glycemic index as high as straight glucose. I also dispute the concept of eating carbs only after exercise, since pre-loading glycogen stores is effective for optimizing athletic performance.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 24, 2013
at 11:18 AM

hey if you don't mind me asking, about how long did it take for you to experience problems?

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 24, 2013
at 11:16 AM

thanks... :)

this is about a hypocaloric diet, which is also low carb. Anything about low carb, normal amount of calories?

D325fa9c28c17f61182c82b9126e9224

(0)

on October 23, 2013
at 11:58 PM

“Remember that prolonged low-carb dieting (including ‘this one’) tends to shut down thyroid function. This is usually not a problem with the thyroid gland but with the liver, which fails to convert T4 into the more active thyroid principle, T3. The diagnosis is made on clinical grounds with the presence of fatigue, sluggishness, dry skin, coarse or falling hair, an elevation in cholesterol, or a low body temperature.” - Dr. Robert Atkins

Low-carb was never meant to be a long-term diet

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 23, 2013
at 10:15 PM

Link to hypothyroidism here:

http://www.amjmed.com/article/0002-9343%2886%2990264-0/abstract

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 23, 2013
at 04:24 PM

does anyone know where i can find a clear and detailed explanation of the ketogenic process, quantities of carbohydrate needed to stay out of it, its link to hypothyroidism etc?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 23, 2013
at 12:03 PM

Agreed, confusing, purposefully or not, low carb and ketogenic does nobody favors. I would say the majority of paleo folks are not ketogenic, there is a sizable ketogenic segment (it's probably helpful for much of that group). Do that many folks do metabolic damage while going ketogenic? I don't think so.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on October 23, 2013
at 11:53 AM

I agree that carbophobia is one of the biggest pitfalls / myths that's popular in the paleo world.

However ... I think you mean "very low carb" or "no carb" when you use the term "low carb" above. Depending on who you ask, "low carb" might start at 250g per day (which is batshit crazy to me), although most sources now say it starts around 130-150g/day. This is *much* lower than the average US consumption per day, but it's not "develop chronic hypothyroidism"-low. When people start talking <50g/day, I then begin to question what their goals actually are.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 22, 2013
at 04:14 PM

great thankyou, that website seems like it'll be useful :)

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 20, 2013
at 10:51 PM

overconsuming is pretty much bad by definition. higher carb may be another story, but in general paleo views this as you can have as many carbs as you Earn. the less active you are the less carbs you should be eating in general, the problem with carbs is really the glycemic load/blood sugar. if you are constantly eating carbs your probably going to be on a blood sugar roller coaster and working your way towards insulin resistance.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 10:30 PM

Yeah I agree with the evening out. But I disagree in the notion that overconsuming carbs is bad per se.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 10:28 PM

Nice links, thanks!

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 20, 2013
at 08:47 PM

and IMO, the carb deficiency is a function of the LC and their activity level. The level of LC that is ok for one might not be ok for another. :(

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 20, 2013
at 08:42 PM

I would agree with @Bukowski on the differences between how some groups of people handle carbs vs fats

Here is stuff to read about fat vs carbs

http://graemethomasonline.com/low-carb-or-low-fat-let-science-settle-the-debate/

http://graemethomasonline.com/carbohydrate-restriction-the-numbers-dont-lie/

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 20, 2013
at 08:29 PM

i think your confusing low carb with ketosis, you dont have to go ketogenic to lower the amount of your carbs. either way it seems like your coming to the same conclusion i am.(evening out his carb load)

.....even if we disagree about everything else.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 20, 2013
at 08:18 PM

In this question & in some of the responses so far there are too many relative / subjective adjectives / descriptions.

eaten relatively lots of carbs. a bit too much 85% chocolate. frequent failures of resolve. relatively a lot of carbs. Low carb paleo. episodes of high carb. doing regular cycling and pilates

.. to have a substantive discuss and successfully 'hack' your situtation, accurate descriptions & numbers are needed.

What is low carb for me might be considered ultra VLC for someone else.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 20, 2013
at 05:13 PM

ok thanks...this gives me a lot to think about!

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 04:30 PM

As a second possibility, there may be genetic differences in how people respond to certain diets. While some people may thrive on low carb, maybe because their body is very efficient in metabolizing fat and producing ketone bodies, other people require carbohydrates to maintain adequate liver and thyroid function.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 04:29 PM

If you read on this site and other forums long enough, you will find a significant amount of reports where people did better on paleo intially but after several months got consistently worse with chronic fatigue and other weird health conditions. I think the immediate benefits are rather attributed from coming of SAD and starting a nutrient rich diet. The chronic problems due to the carbohydrate-deficiency occur later on.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 20, 2013
at 04:25 PM

Hello there,thanks for your answer. i'm assuming you mean my interpretation of the body getting worse at processing carbs. if my interpretation which was definitely just a complete guess is completely wrong, do you have another interpretation of what is going on biologically?

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 20, 2013
at 04:21 PM

Hi Bukowski, thanks for your answer, i'm a little confused by it though. if low carb paleo leads to hypothyroidism, why does it seem to help people feel more energetic? From what I understand of hypothyroidism, its characterised by low energy, depression etc., which for me previously got a lot better when on a low carb paleo diet.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 03:12 PM

Disagree.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 03:06 PM

It's rather the other way around. The low carb paleo could cause permanent metabolic damage i.e. by leading to hypothyroidism, and the short episodes of high carb are not enough to recover from it. Over time the effect adds up. Read more about the backgrounds here. Carbphobia is one of the main pitfalls of the paleo diet.

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5 Answers

0
Ff94d69f2b9b94b76818a89171064122

on October 23, 2013
at 11:12 AM

What really caught my attention was you're expressing the reason why you initially started paleo, to combat "tiredness and mood swings (something you have dealt with for a long time)."

Keep in mind that, yes, what we put into our bodies does affect us however with your initial statement I would say you're looking for the "euphoria" you first had, are you going through another bout with tiredness/mood swings? Finding your balance and gaining control of those things that propel all of us at one time or another takes more than just food. Consider having a blood panel done, check your levels, many times low vitamin D, B, and others leads to depression and a sluggish metabolism.

Most importantly, don't overthink it, don't beat yourself up for having gone off for 6 months, that'll make things worse for you, do your best and look for answers that work for you! Best wishes!

Piper

www.the4amchef.com

0
A640b846cffc0ccdf5bf542cd02db44f

on October 23, 2013
at 02:50 AM

No. I love Paleo. I will be living this way for the rest of my life and inviting others to change their lives too. This is the lifestyle I have been looking for for years.

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on October 20, 2013
at 08:32 PM

I would tend to concur with @wtfgod. Paleo yo-yo, while not great, it is still better than perpetual high carb / grain heavy SAD.

Optimum? A steady paleo version that works for you.

I've recommended paleo of a number of active people, they liked the food & the results but they abandoned it because they felt they're weren't getting enough to eat. They should have made adjustments rather than just return to "eating as usual"

I highly recommend

http://graemethomasonline.com/carbohydrate-daily-requirements/

If you "earn your carbs" by all means eat them but stay away from the "fast carbs"....grains, sugar, more than two servings of fruit per day.

You've got to tailor the fuel stream to the energy output.

If you want to be successful with paleo, in the long run, I would suggest a gradual transition from SAD to paleo. First, no grains, no juice, no sugar, no soda. Then dial back on the fruit. Then dial back / eliminate dairy. There are few hard & fast rules....you gotta see what works for you. If you make a ton of changes at once you're bound to cause difficulties. Take small steps, it took me nearly 6 months to go from 100% SAD to nearly 100% paleo.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 07:57 PM

@Bukowski, GI was valuable to me in the context of controlling my blood sugar as a former T2 diabetic. I would get the same blood glucose spiking from rice as from sugary foods. I only brought GI in to confront the nonsense about "fast carbs".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 25, 2013
at 04:05 PM

Glycemic response = blood sugar post prandial. For a healthy person not so important, but critical for a hyperglycemic diabetic like I was. I've never been a big fresh fruit eater. However back in the day when I was doing blood glucose strips, I remember two specific things that sent bg to 200+: a bowl of sticky rice, and a piece of rhubarb pie. I doubt that the rhubarb itself was the cause of the spike though.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 05:57 PM

Not eat "fast carbs"? Graeme is recommending eating "earned" carbs as cooked rice by the cupful. Rice is a grain with a glycemic index as high as straight glucose. I also dispute the concept of eating carbs only after exercise, since pre-loading glycogen stores is effective for optimizing athletic performance.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 22, 2013
at 04:14 PM

great thankyou, that website seems like it'll be useful :)

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 24, 2013
at 06:22 PM

Eating fruit and milk is not SAD, it is HAPPY.

The glycemic index hypothesis is pretty much BS.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.de/2009/03/its-time-to-let-go-of-glycemic-index.html

0
Medium avatar

on October 20, 2013
at 03:10 PM

It's rather the other way around. Low carb paleo can cause permanent metabolic damage i.e. by leading to chronic hypothyroidism, and the short episodes of high carb are not enough to recover from it. Doing repeatedly the effect adds up. The body doesn't like rollercoasters and will eventually go into an unhealthy famine-binge mode with high stress hormones.

Because a stressed hypothyroid organism will gain weight when exposed to carbohydrates, people erroneously start to become afraid from carbs. However, the real cause was the chronic dieting done before that.

Read more about that here.

Carbphobia is one of the main pitfalls of the paleo diet.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 23, 2013
at 04:24 PM

does anyone know where i can find a clear and detailed explanation of the ketogenic process, quantities of carbohydrate needed to stay out of it, its link to hypothyroidism etc?

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 20, 2013
at 04:21 PM

Hi Bukowski, thanks for your answer, i'm a little confused by it though. if low carb paleo leads to hypothyroidism, why does it seem to help people feel more energetic? From what I understand of hypothyroidism, its characterised by low energy, depression etc., which for me previously got a lot better when on a low carb paleo diet.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on October 23, 2013
at 11:53 AM

I agree that carbophobia is one of the biggest pitfalls / myths that's popular in the paleo world.

However ... I think you mean "very low carb" or "no carb" when you use the term "low carb" above. Depending on who you ask, "low carb" might start at 250g per day (which is batshit crazy to me), although most sources now say it starts around 130-150g/day. This is *much* lower than the average US consumption per day, but it's not "develop chronic hypothyroidism"-low. When people start talking <50g/day, I then begin to question what their goals actually are.

0
7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 20, 2013
at 01:53 PM

from what i understand your interpretation is 100% not correct.

on a second note, if your having trouble maintaining a paleo lifestyle because you limit your carbs too dramatically causing you to 'fall of the wagon' then maybe you should up your carb intake in general to mitigate the need to go on carb sprees. relatively higher carb diets are ok in paleo if you live an active lifestyle, if your sedate they may be a bit harder to justify.

on a damage to the body, im pretty sure most would agree that chronically over consuming carbs is far far worse than over consuming on certain occasions...as the former will probably lead to diabetes.

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 20, 2013
at 03:12 PM

Disagree.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 24, 2013
at 06:06 PM

There are a lot of people that eat dry breakfast cereal daily and don't have diabetes. I was not so lucky. By overeating cereal in relation to my low level of activity, I made myself fat and diabetic. I'm 100% certain I could repeat the experiment and get the same results, but ONLY if I became inactive and obese again. I have not been able to recreate the high A1C and uncontrolled blood sugar at healthy weight and activity, despite occasional carb gorging.

B9946f2e67d038d719e2fde26f84138d

(0)

on October 20, 2013
at 04:25 PM

Hello there,thanks for your answer. i'm assuming you mean my interpretation of the body getting worse at processing carbs. if my interpretation which was definitely just a complete guess is completely wrong, do you have another interpretation of what is going on biologically?

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