Almost Paleo Diet Possible?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I've been wondering if its possible to be almost paleo. What I mean by Almost Paleo is letting go every once and a while and enjoying some nice Italian food, pizza, cake, ice cream etc.

Its not that I miss those things, I'm completely sold on the idea of Paleo dieting but does it kill us to let go once a month or once in a great while? For instant Tim Ferris says you should let go once a week to remind your body that you are not dying and to boost your metabolism. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/

Especially since I am an perfectly normal shape right now, some call me too skinny, I switched to paleo for the health benefits and it jelled with a lot of my ideas(After reading Born To Run, Gary Taubes etc).

Is it going to set me back or get me of Ketosis if I splurge from time to time?



on January 18, 2011
at 04:04 AM

I think Tim Ferris's plan has more to do with weight loss/mass gain than with general good health (hence his use of legumes and cheat days). If you're sensitive to gluten or want to really change body comp, then eating pizza/cake could seriously derail you. But if you don't have any health problems or specific goals in mind...then I'd say don't let perfect be the enemy of good...if having pizza night once a month is what it takes to make paleo livable, go for it. You'll still be far healthier than you would be on SAD. But if you have any health problems I would be strict.



on January 18, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Nice answer Dave!

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on January 18, 2011
at 03:19 AM

The short answer is no. You can cheat sometimes without significant consequences or setbacks. Now there are a few things to keep mind.

First of all, you are damaging your body every time you do so, and I'm not sure about the validity of Tim Ferris's concept of "reminding your body that you are not dying". Is it supported by science? The way I see it, if you want to do that (the same way a vaccine gives you a small dose of the poison) doing it with very small quantities would do the job. No need to go all out for a full day.

Next, once you're body is settled on paleo, if you have those cheat days, you'll generally feel like s*** the next day or so. Will the cheat day be worth it? It's up to you.

Also, it depends on your goals? Are you looking to gain muscle or get fit quickly, achieve top health, etc.? Cheat days will set you back from achieving these goals, you can definitely work with the 80/20 rule, but if you're looking for perfection 99/1 is the way to go.

Finally, I've found that people early in the transition from their previous diet to paleo are more likely to let themselves go out of control once they start to deviate from strict paleo. So if you think you are more likely to lose the dedication to follow paleo, I don't recommend cheat days, at least not during the first 2 months.



on January 18, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Nice answer Dave!



on January 18, 2011
at 03:46 AM

I think some people can do it and some can't. Certainly, there are those who can handle an occasional cheat both physically and as a matter of not back sliding. And there are those who can't. I'll bet, though, that at least half of paleo eaters are not 100% all of the time. You will still get many benefits and being healthier as long as you eat paleo most of the time. And as for ketosis, first of all, it's not required for paleo eating. It's just often useful for weight loss. If you don't need to lose weight, it's debatable if you need to maintain ketosis for health purposes. There are people on both sides of the fence on that one. HOwever, if you eat some carbs and fall out of ketosis, you will soon be back into ketosis after those carbs have digested. A healthy balanced body can easily swing in and out of ketosis as needed according to recent carb intake or lack thereof. It's just that many have been on the mostly carb diet for so long that for those people, can be slow to make the ketosis switch over at first. Also, for those who are diehard lowcarb ketosis paleo eaters, I would not recommend that by cheating you mean, pounding a huge load of sugar all at once. That kind of thing can definitely be hard on the body and it's likely you will feel sick for a day or two if you violently swing between extremes. So I think overall, how your body handles cheating will depend on how extreme your cheating is, how often you do it, and also on personal genetics. Everyone is different.


on January 18, 2011
at 03:18 AM

If you have read Loren Cordain's The Paleo Diet, he clearly states that if you eat Paleo 85% of the time, then you have 15% to play with. That is your pizza once a week or your non-Paleo snack. But you will feel the drain of energy and the ill effects. Tom Ferris was refering to that.

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