Processed carbs play havoc with most people's metabolism but processed fats (e.g. olive oil) or processed protein (e.g. whey) do not seem to be detrimental.
Is this the case for you and why do you think this is so?
asked bypaleohacks (78467)
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on November 16, 2012
at 01:28 PM
Just because they both use the word "processed" does not mean that they are similar.
Whey is a natural by product of cheese making -- "Processed" whey is just extracting the natural whey protein that is left over after the milk turns into curds. Are there crappy whey protein shakes out there that have all sorts of junk in them -- yes. But that does not mean that whey protein itself is bad.
Olive oil is similar. Fresh raw olives are ground into a paste and then the natural oils are extracted off the top. Is it better to get your fat from eating fresh olives themselves? Maybe, but the olives start to go rancid and become extremely acidic after they are picked, which is why most are sold in a brine of some sort.
Both of these processes are less "processed" than say, bone broth -- which requires heat to extract nutrients. But the point is both olive oil and whey come from natural sources of which the originating source is healthy for consumption (not going to argue dairy in this post). Wheat and other grains, on the other hand, may not be as healthy (again, this argument is off topic, but there are 100s of posts here to discuss). Additionally much of the processed carbs are then add to other things that are not healthy (like sugar) to make end products (like bread) which further reduces any potential benefit from the raw product.
However, not all processed proteins and fats are healthy. Soy Proteins and Trans Fats, for example, may not be as healthy.
on November 16, 2012
at 03:09 PM
Actually processed fats can be very bad, if they are the vulnerable type (eg.PUFA).
Processed carbs usually means grains, which are problematic because of the compounds in them. Processed meat usually just means meat with added preservatives. Preservatives may or may not cause problems, but I think the proteins and fats are left intact.
The other kind of processed protein that comes to mind is protein powders. Many would argue that proteins extracted from plants are harmful, but as far as I know, protein powder made from milk, egg, or beef may be fine.
So it may be a matter of processed plants vs. processed animals. This makes sense when you think about the fact that plants use chemical defences, whereas animals fight or run away. Many people can handle plant toxins in doses that come in a whole plant, but not once it becomes concentrated by "processing". Others can't handle plant toxins well at all. See Are vegetables good for you? for more on that.
A final conjecture is simply that many people have low carb tolerance, so carbs, processed or not are going to be less healthy for them than protein or fat, processed or not.
on November 16, 2012
at 01:27 PM
It's probably an n=1 thing more than a science thing. Some people do really well eating processed protein powders (which I agree are definitely not paleo or optimal.) I personally have stopped using added refined fats because I think it increases palatability to much and have never used processed protein powders. There is some evidence that adding fats to otherwise lowfat vegetables increases mineral absorption but I can't imagine why butter or olive oil would be better than just eating your greens with an untrimmed steak.
There's also a law of diminishing returns when it comes to dietary strictness. For those of us with weight to lose or disordered overeating, probably the less processed and blander your food remains the better but for a person struggling to get enough calories because of a heavy workout schedule or an autoimmune issues, increasing the flavor profile may be helpful. There are some paleo followers who eat nothing but raw vegetables and raw meat. Probably the least processed diet you could possibly find. Cooking is a form of processing...Do you agree that it just may be beneficial? Raw paleo and raw vegans would disagree. There's definetely some evidence that the AGE's in fried or grilled food may be detrimental but slow cooking may be a way around that issue. Perhaps it's the same thing with olive oil. Cold pressing, while a form of processing is gentle enough that it preserves the good qualities of the oil and doesn't create "bad" compounds.