1

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How Strict is Good? What is the Threshold Point?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 12, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Hi everyone.

Just had a question. I've been eating paleo for about 6 months now, but in order for me to make this a realistic life change, I make a few concessions. For example, I still drink drip coffee in the morning, and I have a little cheese slice on my burger patty. But the real question is, what really begins screwing you up? I mean if I eat pretty darn strict paleo for 6 days per week and then cheat a little on Day 7, is that just totally screwing up my system?

Any thoughts would really be appreciated.

Thanks, Kerry

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on December 19, 2010
at 11:47 PM

Hey, no dissin the bacon.. ;)

F652b96a3bcf646d8dad56cb1d035101

(205)

on September 13, 2010
at 12:55 PM

I can help you with that cheesecake question - it was the Devil for sure .... pure evil temptation ;0)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 12, 2010
at 07:56 PM

Ketosis is a matter of low carbohydrates, not paleo per se. Yes, eating pizza or sweetened chocolate would potentially put you out of ketosis, but it depends on the amount. Ketosis would then be regained if you resumed low carb eating, but again how quickly depends on the amount of carbs.

154bf5c84f7bd9f52b361b45d05dbc3a

(1215)

on September 12, 2010
at 07:23 PM

Although caffeine is an insect repellent.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 12, 2010
at 06:03 PM

Chocolate no, pizza maybe

D1d5ec7d3bc6d13717b175c918bc0c91

(5)

on September 12, 2010
at 05:49 PM

Those are good threads, thanks. But I guess my real question is are you undoing what you've done all week by not eating paleo on one day? I know that if you are on true paleo, your body hits the ketosis point. If I eat part of a Hershey bar for example... or maybe a piece of pizza... does that just throw my entire body's metabolism off? I don't understand what the effect is from a metabolic standpoint. Thanks, Kerry

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on September 12, 2010
at 05:16 PM

Coffee and cheese are both paleo, don't worry about those. It's the sugar & processed part paleo advocates avoiding.

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6 Answers

4
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on September 13, 2010
at 08:10 AM

Honestly, I feel that this is not a question that can easily be answered. There's no discrete threshold point where you slip from being 'good' to 'bad'.

Like anything in life, you have a starting point, and the more you put in from there, the more you get out. The starting point for paleo diet and exercise probably takes into account your age, fitness level, genetics, etc. The the cleaner your diet and the more intelligent your exercise, the further up the curve you go. Most people then find a point of equilibrium where the benefits yielded by extra effort are outweighed by the sacrifices they make to get there.

For example, I'm now reasonably slim, and have a decent level of muscle. But no six pack. Would I like one? Hell yes. But I know I would have to refine my diet and weed out those last few non-paleo items I love so much to get there, and I frankly don't want to do that at this point in my life. As a side note, if anyone knows who invented cheesecake, let me know, I'm going to go and shoot them.

In summary, I think your question is a personal one. You need to decide whether you are happy with where you are, and if not, whether getting slightly more strict, would be worth it to you.

F652b96a3bcf646d8dad56cb1d035101

(205)

on September 13, 2010
at 12:55 PM

I can help you with that cheesecake question - it was the Devil for sure .... pure evil temptation ;0)

2
9f187c931f7ce55d375ed5806e254aaf

(820)

on September 12, 2010
at 05:58 PM

I have to say the only thing that really seems to affect me is gluten. I don't get stomach aches right away but if I eat gluten foods for more than three days in a row (and I mean, just a piece of toast every day) I get crazy eczema! I had mild eczema for years which was getting progressively worse until I went Paleo. Even a nearly lifelong dandruff condition is more manageable without strong medical shampoos. Also, if I eat tons of gluten foods with sugar I'll, without fail, have a powerful migraine the next day. Plain sugar doesn't do this to me! I can have a pint of HaagenDaz straight and have no problems but if I add a waffle cone I'm out for the day with a migraine.

I generally stay away from modern starchy foods like potatoes and rice and all grains and gluten containing products including, but not limited to, corn, wheat, lentils, and beans.

I still eat cheese and eggs and some milk (usually just the cream or half and half) but I'm toying with eliminating or limiting them as well, but I don't seem to have an issue with them.

I'd say a good source on non-paleo dietary info can be found at the Weston A. Price Foundation website. They have info on general primitive agricultural diets which include grains but they are always fermented. Unless you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, like me, grains should almost exclusively be eaten fermented.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 12, 2010
at 07:56 PM

Ketosis is a matter of low carbohydrates, not paleo per se. Yes, eating pizza or sweetened chocolate would potentially put you out of ketosis, but it depends on the amount. Ketosis would then be regained if you resumed low carb eating, but again how quickly depends on the amount of carbs.

D1d5ec7d3bc6d13717b175c918bc0c91

(5)

on September 12, 2010
at 05:49 PM

Those are good threads, thanks. But I guess my real question is are you undoing what you've done all week by not eating paleo on one day? I know that if you are on true paleo, your body hits the ketosis point. If I eat part of a Hershey bar for example... or maybe a piece of pizza... does that just throw my entire body's metabolism off? I don't understand what the effect is from a metabolic standpoint. Thanks, Kerry

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 12, 2010
at 06:03 PM

Chocolate no, pizza maybe

1
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 12, 2010
at 05:28 PM

Grains, especially gluten containing grains. My stomach will hurt for a day. If you can avoid those and then all of the other processed junk there is no reason to cry about cheese and coffee. I personally don't consume those but there are worse things to worry about.

All in all I'm pretty "strict" but that is just because I like to feel my best all of the time and I know if I start eating junk I won't feel as good. I'll eat conventional pork products sometimes, which really aren't very healthy at all, but so long as it isn't a frequent thing there is no reason to be upset about it; quite the contrary.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on December 19, 2010
at 11:47 PM

Hey, no dissin the bacon.. ;)

0
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on December 07, 2010
at 01:55 AM

Do it however strict you want to. It sounds like your way is working fr you, and that's great. I am very strict, my mom, not so much. But we are each doing our own version of paleo.

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 13, 2010
at 12:32 AM

No, I don't think, for most people that aren't totally already damaged by decades of SAD eating, cheating on one day would undo all the good that the other 6 days did. I think for most people, the fact that they can cheat a bit and still feel way way better than they did on SAD is plenty of evidence to that effect. Even in ancient times, I am sure people sometimes accidentally ate something that was bad for them, rancid, rotten, contaminated, etc. A healthy body is not a total wimp. HOwever, I think the main problem is that most of society has gotten to the point where MOST of the food intake is now of things that are bad for you, rancid, rotten, contaminated, etc. Now THAT is a way bigger problem and the end result is the average human body is lacking in many of the basic building blocks it requires to sustain itself efficiently.

Personally, I think that paleo health effects work on a kind of uneven continuum with most of the health benefits for most people coming with some basic changes like giving up most grain, eating more meat and fat, etc. I think additional benefits probably come the more strict you get, but at some point, those health benefits get smaller and smaller. For instance, for most people, the health of a person who eats strict paleo for a whole month is probably not substantially different for the health of a person who does the same except with a few small cheats thrown in.

The big exception to this is probably those who suffer from autoimmune problems like celiac or hypothyroid, in which case, just one cheat could be enough to perpetuate the autoimmune attack cycle for months. For these people, I would say, be strict and don't cheat on anything that might perpetuate the autoimmune attack.

Edited to add: Also good idea to listen to your body as it will often give you a clue as to how much any particular food is throwing it suddenly out of wack.

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