1

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Are carbs really bad on paleo, and could this be effecting my weight loss?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 27, 2012 at 6:05 AM

I have been on the paleo diet for close to 5 months. I am pretty strict but give myself one day off paleo so I can treat myself. I do CrossFit 3-4 times as well as walk my dogs and keep active. I have been tracking my calorie intake using an app on my iPhone but even though I try and eat a lot of protein at the end of each day, my carbs and fat are a higher percent than my protein intake. I lost a lot of weight at the start, and now I am just maintaining it. Any suggestions or am I doing something wrong??

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:14 AM

Protein Sparing Modified Fast will definitely put someone in ketosis. No, I was talking about those zero fat protein powder diets people used to do in the '80's, where people would essentially give themselves rabbit starvation from protein overload and end up in the emergency room.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 17, 2012
at 11:47 PM

If you are talking about the PSMF it isn't primarily protein it's primarily fat, but all of it is from your body fat stores. At 800kcal a day, even if it were all protein (and it isn't) you'll be in ketosis

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 17, 2012
at 10:54 PM

I think a lot of people start there and it helps get over the sugar crazies but for every dedicated low-carber there is at least 1 person who bonked or stalled on low carb, myself included. Once you are off wheat and sugar I just don't find people stall on yams and blueberries.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 17, 2012
at 10:45 PM

Wow! Congats! Impressive stuff there. I'm curious though why you think that "for the majority it really doesn't help with weightloss..."? Most of the big losers on this site did it with some serious carb restriction. I'm just curious why you believe the opposite to be true?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 27, 2012
at 01:56 PM

How frequent does the "one day off Paleo" occur? That could be your problem.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 27, 2012
at 01:50 PM

Any diet that reduces carbohydrate will lower T3, because one of the functions of T3 is metabolizing blood glucose. Lower T3 from a low-carb diet could exacerbate a pre-existing thyroid condition, but there isn't a shred of evidence that a low-carb diet causes any symptom of hypothyroidism in an otherwise healthy person, or that anyone needs to add high-carb meals to keep their "thyroid hormones in gear".

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6 Answers

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 17, 2012
at 10:21 PM

I haven't been posting in a while but I'm up to about 175lbs of weightloss on paleo and have tried all the variations...

1 - VLC is absolutely perfect for some people but for the majority it really doesn't help with weightloss beyond getting you past sugar cravings. 2 - Fruit, for me, will slightly slow down weightloss but only in combination with fat. For instance....I will maintain my weight on an apple and some coffee and cream as a snack or I will lose weight on two apples or just coffee and cream. This is equa-caloric(sp)... 3 - I've been finding that protein cycling seems to be good for me, though not on weightloss so much. So my normal protein range is about 180-190g. If I aim for 210 and then 1 day a week go 0 protein (or at least 0 meat) it seems to rev my metabolism a bit. I might experiment with alternating Protein but for now... 4 - Coffee and chocolate (even 90% dark) can be rough for some people. I seem to respond negatively to both. 5 - Do not fear carrots, peas, yams, and other starchy veggies. They are not going to be the cause of stalled weightloss in my experience.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 17, 2012
at 10:54 PM

I think a lot of people start there and it helps get over the sugar crazies but for every dedicated low-carber there is at least 1 person who bonked or stalled on low carb, myself included. Once you are off wheat and sugar I just don't find people stall on yams and blueberries.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 17, 2012
at 10:45 PM

Wow! Congats! Impressive stuff there. I'm curious though why you think that "for the majority it really doesn't help with weightloss..."? Most of the big losers on this site did it with some serious carb restriction. I'm just curious why you believe the opposite to be true?

1
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on June 27, 2012
at 10:30 AM

It's hard to say without a bit more detail on what you're actually eating - a typical day's menu would help greatly. Snacking may be interfering, as may any of a dozen food items or simply poor sleep. Not that any of these things are necessarily bad but they are inappropriate in the long term and having got to the state you're in, you're looking for a period of restriction to allow your body to use the fat it's stored. Which means your body has to be functioning properly.

There's a limit to how much protein you can eat, most of your food will still be fat and carbs. What may help is to focus on the protein by having it first - lots of protein and breakfast, and eat it first and then eat the rest of the meal based on how you feel. A lot of people find that relying on fat more helps them eat less, in particular it's more conducive to intermittent fasting. After a lifetime of bad diets it can be hard to control hunger when still eating carbs so yes it may help to avoid those however if you do that it's important to look at some of the other answers here - in particular regarding salt intake. In general the approach seems to work very well for weight loss but some people struggle with the transition if the diet is unbalanced.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 27, 2012
at 08:11 AM

Well give it a try, sounds like you answered your own question. I lost weight and generally felt better eating 25-50g of carbs per day for a couple of months. A banana has about 20-25g so that isn't much. This "reset" my system and after a while I increased my carbs, but my metabolism was much better.

Low carb isn't for everyone (you can read some posts here) but I find that carbs pack on the weight and give me an energy roller coaster. I am also doing crossfit and find that I need more carbs now but still not more than 50g or so a day.

1
E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on June 27, 2012
at 07:25 AM

You're not necessarily doing anything wrong in general, but obviously you personally need to make a change to see further fat loss. The Paleo diet is after all just a grocery list, not a framework.

Sounds like you would probably benefit from going ultra-low-carb (i.e. 30g or less per day) for a period of 10 days or so. Doing so would get your body to convert to burning fatty acids preferentially, and downregulate the glycolytic cycle (i.e. the usage of glucose).

During this time, it would be unwise to try to keep up the crossfit activity. You could instead do some yoga, rock climbing, walking, and/or weight lifting. All of these activities are well-supplied by fatty acids, whereas really intense aerobic training such as crossfit (and P90X and the like) will have you crashing out, hard -- not to mention generating excess cortisol (stress hormone) which will impede your fat loss.

Abstaining from overt carbs (keeping net carbs / usable carbs under 30g per day) for at least 10 days will cause favorable metabolic shifts including increases in overall insulin sensitivity. You can have 2-3 really high carb meals on that 10th day to keep your thyroid hormones in gear (long-term keto dieting always causes decreased T3). Then go back to the ultra-low-carb diet for another 6-7 days, with 2-3 high carb meals on the evening of that last day. Repeat as you lose fat (and actually gain muscle, if you are training).

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 27, 2012
at 01:50 PM

Any diet that reduces carbohydrate will lower T3, because one of the functions of T3 is metabolizing blood glucose. Lower T3 from a low-carb diet could exacerbate a pre-existing thyroid condition, but there isn't a shred of evidence that a low-carb diet causes any symptom of hypothyroidism in an otherwise healthy person, or that anyone needs to add high-carb meals to keep their "thyroid hormones in gear".

0
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:33 AM

Advice?

Change it up.

Tweak your diet. Cycle your macros/calories. Undertake a completely different exercise. Do different activities.

Your body will respond and depending what combos, you may actually perform BETTER at the things you like and enjoy doing consistently.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 17, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Across the board looking at diets from around the world, I believe protein usually stays steady at 10-25%, and is never the dominant macro, but fat and carbohydrate can fluctuate up and down quite a bit. I would advise against making protein your primary macro for any extended period of time. Bodybuilders sometimes do it for a while to build up muscle, and some people do it for crash diets (some of which have resulted in death when no other macros were taken in), but long term it is hard on your body, and can even be turned into glucose and possibly bring you out of ketosis.

If the cheats are keeping you from losing weight, I don't think I would blame it on carbohydrate per se, I'm guessing cheat day isn't plain potatoes and bananas, but more on restaurant food with all the crazy oils, refined flours, high fructose corn syrup, and chemicals that get cooked into it. And if you happen to have a sensitivity to any of those ingredients or additives, having them weekly could certainly stall weight loss. I made the mistake of reading all the ingredients on the back of containers at Cash N Carry once (a restuarant supply store), and I wouldn't set foot in a restaurant for months afterwards. Corn and/or soy are in practically EVERYTHING.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:14 AM

Protein Sparing Modified Fast will definitely put someone in ketosis. No, I was talking about those zero fat protein powder diets people used to do in the '80's, where people would essentially give themselves rabbit starvation from protein overload and end up in the emergency room.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 17, 2012
at 11:47 PM

If you are talking about the PSMF it isn't primarily protein it's primarily fat, but all of it is from your body fat stores. At 800kcal a day, even if it were all protein (and it isn't) you'll be in ketosis

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