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Could I GAIN WEIGHT from a VERY LOOSELY "paleo" diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 13, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Hello,

I've been trying out the Paleo diet for 4 days now. I'd like to lose about 15 lbs (from 145 to 130) by any healthy means. I'm about 5'7".

Would it help at all to up my fat intake just a bit and to lower my carb intake just a bit (by getting rid of grains and tubers)? Or would not attempting the 65-15-20 fat-protein-carb ratio be somehow detrimental to my health?

I've realized I just do not like the taste of greasy and fatty foods that much and also that my stomach is not very good at digesting them. Even if my stomach adapted, I don't think my taste buds can adapt to support the 65% fatty calories I'd need on Paleo.

Today was the first day I ate rice, bread, and cheese in 4 days. I had major indigestion yesterday and was nauseous at the thought of having to consume more greasy foods. So I had about 6 pieces of kimbap (rice rolls like sushi, w/o raw meat) and 1 medium-sized slice of pizza throughout the day.

What I'm most worried about is that if I don't at least try to follow the suggested calorie ratio that I'll in fact end up GAINING weight because my fat intake has gone up but I still have relatively high carb intake due to veggies, fruit, and about 3/4 a cup of rice (that's how much I want to eat lol). (on this site, 1 cup of cooked sweet white rice has 37g of carbs, 35g if you subtract fiber)

Do you think the slightly raising fats and slightly reducing carbs will be worse than returning to my normal routine of pretty small amounts of lean meat with lots of carbs (from rice, cereal, and breads)?

Thank you so much!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 09, 2012
at 09:33 AM

To answer your question: Yes. Some more fat, and some less carbs is a step in the right direction. But its too early to judge if you can adapt. Cheese is really fatty, but doesnt taste like it. Nuts too. I used to find overly fatty food intimidating, but i adjusted. Your digestion will take awhile to come round too. Be patient, go at a pace you can handle, theres no rush so long as you are generally avoiding wheat, sucrose and vegetable oils and making progress towards a better diet you can live with.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 09, 2012
at 09:29 AM

Also you can track calories in cronometer, as well as micros and macros (its awesome). You dont really need to count calories, but if you shoot way over because of some food, you can moderate that too.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 09, 2012
at 09:27 AM

Sounds like youd still be under 100, even with the rice, which is what sisson says will result in moderate weight loss. Take that 37, add about 20-30 per day for non-starchy veges, and youll still have a little room for some low sugar fruits (boysenberries, raspberries, or a small amount of apple/pears). Track your food on cronometer, and see what your carb amount is. If its under 100 grams, your still good. As for the greasy food, well, youll probably adapt taste wise, and digestion. Its early days.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:42 PM

+1 I like this answer. :)

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Depends on the size of the carbs you ingest, whether from rice or anything else. Off the top of my head Mark Sisson says under 50g/day you'll be in heavy ketosis and will lose a lot of weight. Between 50-100g you'll lose more slowly, but comfortably, 100-150 you'll stay at your weight, about 150 you may gain. But those ranges may vary from person to person.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:31 PM

Not at all, actually. I was so surprised because I always thought I didn't do very well on a lot of meat. I also didn't experience the carb flu at all. Most everyone I know who has started this, with very few exceptions, starts feeling really good immediately and things just keep getting better. There is a "dip" in energy about three or four months in that I have noticed is common, but that is usually from slipping too low carb (for those who don't do well low carb). The only time I have digestive issues now is when I deviate in any way from this diet.

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 07:10 AM

When I was going through carb flu, I always had a little mini box of raisins in my desk. When the symptoms got unbearable, I would eat some raisins and give myself a little insulin spike. It dulled the symptoms almost immediately, to the point where I was referring to them as my "carb flu pills" haha You would be amazed at how few carbs it takes...

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:43 AM

I know exactly how you feel, Star65, and I promise you it gets exponentially easier. I have much more energy than I ever did before, and I hardly ever crave carbs. In fact when I do eat carbs, the sugar crash, bloating, and overall sick felling I get usually deters me. Usually...

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:39 AM

When you eat some rice, you're refilling your tank with glycogen. That stops gluconeogenesis, and your body goes back to carbs for fuel. You have to bring the tank all the way back to empty to start burning fat again. That's why the Atkins induction phase is SO low carb. It's forcing your body into gluconeogenesis.

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:39 AM

When you're eating carbs, it gets converted into glycogen. You can think of your glycogen stores as being like the fuel tank on a car. The only difference is when your glycogen tank goes to empty, your body says "huh, I'm going to have to figure something else out." It then goes through a process called gluconeogenesis where it turns to non-carb sources and converts it to glycogen. The most abundant form of this is usually, you guessed it, fat.

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:27 AM

Perhaps my standards for calling something "greasy and fatty" is different from those of others. I consider avocados (which seem to be a staple in the paleo community unless people have problems with FODMAPs) fatty and greasy. Also I don't enjoy the grease that comes from things like rib-eye steak, and can't cook my 2 scrambled eggs in tablespoons of butter like some on this site. How should I "clean up" my cooking?

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:21 AM

did you have any digestive issues when you transitioned cold turkey to paleo? digestive issues separate from symptoms of the common "carb flu".

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:19 AM

than you for your input. the only reason I'm thinking of tweaking things so early on is that I've heard mixed opinions on whether to start Paleo "cold turkey" or not. I tend to have digestive issues when I'm stressed out and during the last few weeks, my stress has been at an all-time high. when I started paleo cold turkey a few days ago, it shocked my system with different symptoms than the usual "carb flu". just straight up digestive issues.

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:15 AM

thank you for your time in responding~ the reason I brought up adding rice back into my diet is that if I eat, say, 1/2 a cup of cooked rice per day and no other grains, that's still significantly reducing my grain and carb intake. (I would usually eat a portion of rice 3 times a day or replace some of the portions with something like pasta or bread). bc my body will burn through the amt of dietary carbs in my body more quickly than before (since there's a reduced amount), won't my body naturally turn to my fat source? although it won't burn as much fat as if I cut out grains entirely?

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:03 AM

thank you for spending the time to write out this response. I know that the Paleo "diet" is more for health than weight loss, but am attempting it for weight loss b/c I've heard of some great success stories. I understand that adding any sort of grains is absolutely not paleo. my question in its simplest form is in regards to weight loss more than Paleo. even if I eat a small amount of rice, since for me that is a already a huge decrease in grain intake, would I still reap the benefit of my body using dietary fat as it's energy after working through the smaller amount of carbs present?

C1b0403aa869c6a2bb08e27654d8c972

(0)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:32 AM

This is the best explanation I've ever read! I need to memorize this so I can explain it to others... well, and to myself as well, since I'm solidly in the lethargy phase! Your post reminds me to keep going. Eventually a new me will emerge, but for now I gotta let the body catch up.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 13, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Rin This article may be helpful with regard to your difficulty in digesting fat: http://www.westonaprice.org/metabolic-disorders/copper-zinc-imbalance

E6c14efded576a0bea38a2fe2beced6a

(689)

on August 13, 2012
at 02:16 PM

Maybe you should focus more on your cooking skills and less on your macro-ratios. Can't speak for everyone but I don't personally know a single paleo person who would describe their food as greasy and fatty. Clean up your food and maybe you won't have a problem making this work.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 13, 2012
at 11:52 AM

You can gain weight on a strict paleo diet. Some people do this on purpose. Paleo is for health. For weight loss, you need to restrict something, like carbs or calories. I wouldn't eat a lot of fat, unless you are restricting carbs to 50g/day. Even then, the fat calories add up pretty quick - no need to go crazy. And lastly, we all respond differently - there is no way I can know what will be best for you. Try some different things (give each a couple of weeks at least) and figure out what works for you. Sorry, but you have to do the work yourself - just like a caveman.

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6 Answers

8
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 13, 2012
at 10:21 AM

4 days is of course to small an amount of time to have a paleo diet show any signs of weight loss. You might not lose 15lbs in a month either. Something like 1lbs/week is typical on a very strict, low carb paleo diet.

Also, eating any form of bread is not paleo at all.

Things to avoid: all grains (wheat, oats, barley, rye, brown rice). All legumes (all beans including soy, and including peanuts.) Processed bagged/boxed foods. All dairy at first, especially actual milk. All sources of sugar, and especially artificial sweeteners. All industrially produced oils.

Eat only good quality meats, fish, eggs, and vegetables.

We avoid grains and legumes because they contain anti-nutrients and because they cause damage to our gut lining, which in turn can cause a whole slew of auto-immune diseases.

Consuming grains from any source, bread and pizza included, will continue to cause damage to your gut lining and prevent it from healing. You'll need at least 30 days without any grain sources whatsoever to have it heal, and even after that you will need to stay away from it.

This is independent of the carb aspect of grains, and has to do with healing your intestines so that you can properly absorb nutrients, and also prevent the possibility of auto-immune diseases, which grains (and legumes can cause.) You're absolutely not doing a paleo diet if you ingest grains. Sorry.

Some people do fine with fermented dairy, but it's a good idea to take it out - at least in the beginning. They may stall your fat loss, and also you may have issues with dairy that you might not be aware of. It's best to reintroduce them after some time. (But you should at all costs avoid grains and legumes.)

On the fat loss side of the equation, carbs matter. Raising good fats and lowering carb sources (yes, even from fruits and veggies) will help you lose fat. Entering ketosis is a good idea, but may be very difficult if you're addicted to carbs.

The reason you want to avoid carbs is that carbs, especially sugar and processed foods, all get converted into glucose one they're digested. Yes, even the so called "healthy" grains, which are actually detrimental. Whether you eat a bowl of pasta, rice, cereal, or sugar, the overall effect on your blood sugar will be the same. When glucose, (blood sugar) gets too high, this causes insulin to rise.

Insulin is a signal to fat and muscle and liver tissue to absorb all the fat, glucose, and protein in your blood because glucose is too high and there's a danger of glucose causing damage to various tissues such as nerves, and eyes. However, when fat cells are full, they get insulin resistant and can't absorb any more, so after your pancreas has to make increasing amounts, and after a while we get insulin resistant, and then we start to get diabetes.

Insulin also stops us from burning fat. So we can get leaner by avoiding things that cause a rise in insulin.

So eat good quality meats, preferably from grassfed sources. If you can't get these, eat lean meats and lots of seafood, as well as whole eggs. Make sure that you do eat some fat along with it if you have no choice but to eat lean meats and also take plenty of good quality fish oil with it.

Good fats include: avocado, ghee (or butter if you do tolerate dairy), extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil (or better yet, red palm oil as it has special forms of vitamin E that you can't get elsewhere), and even bacon.

Bad fats include anything modern: soy, canola, corn, "vegetable", safflower, sunflower, margarine, crisco, fake butters, trans fats, etc. Because of the ways these are produced, they're full of transfats that are harmful to us, that is they're really rancid, oxidized oils that have been damaged, but they're bleached so we see them as pretty looking clear oils and they're deodorized so they don't smell rancid. They're absolutely health destroying, so avoid them.

You want your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio to be as close to 1:1 as possible, so make a lot of your meals fish or seafood (or again, use a good quality fish oil supplement.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you eat too much protein, your body will convert the excess protein into glucose, and will prevent fat loss. So eat based on your ideal lean weight - that is 0.8-1gram of protein for every lbs of ideal lean weight every day. (Higher if you're trying to gain muscle, 1.5g if you're not trying to lose fat.) Note that this isn't 1gram of meat, it's 1 gram of protein. Most meat is 25%-33% protein, so multiply this by 3 or 4. So for 130lbs you'd want 130 x 1 x 4 = 520grams of meat/day or about 18oz (1.14lbs).

Too much protein will also cause an insulin response (but it will cause another hormone cause glucagon to be released which lowers insulin.) So if you do eat too much protein, you will gain weight. Also, avoid protein shakes as whey does cause a large insulin response.

Keep carbs to under 150g/day, fix protein at what your ideal weight is, and the rest of the calories you need should come from fat. So you'd be eating very little carbs, medium protein, and high fat until you're satisfied. You can do something like bulletproof coffee (or just use coconut oil).

You should eat some carbs, if you go zero carb for too long, you'll spike cortisol production as your body uses this to signal gluconeogenesis - that is it will catabolize protein in muscles (including your heart tissue!) to make glucose to keep your red blood cells alive. This will raise your stress levels and prevent fat loss. So the trick is to eat some carbs that don't spike your blood sugar, avoiding an insulin spike.

After you're at the fat level you want, you can eat fruits and starchy veggies. You can have a small handful of berries while you're trying to lose weight, but limit these to after an hour or two of exercising.

Speaking of exercise, don't do cardio. If you must run, do short intense bursts of running (i.e. sprints), don't do slow, long runs at the same rate. Favor lifting weights instead.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:41 PM

Depends on the size of the carbs you ingest, whether from rice or anything else. Off the top of my head Mark Sisson says under 50g/day you'll be in heavy ketosis and will lose a lot of weight. Between 50-100g you'll lose more slowly, but comfortably, 100-150 you'll stay at your weight, about 150 you may gain. But those ranges may vary from person to person.

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:03 AM

thank you for spending the time to write out this response. I know that the Paleo "diet" is more for health than weight loss, but am attempting it for weight loss b/c I've heard of some great success stories. I understand that adding any sort of grains is absolutely not paleo. my question in its simplest form is in regards to weight loss more than Paleo. even if I eat a small amount of rice, since for me that is a already a huge decrease in grain intake, would I still reap the benefit of my body using dietary fat as it's energy after working through the smaller amount of carbs present?

3
E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

on August 13, 2012
at 10:19 AM

Low carb diets are effective because they change your body's source of fuel. Right now you are being fueled by carbs, so you'll crave them and be tired and lethargic without them. When you reduce your carbs enough, your body will become fat adapted and rely on dietary fat for the energy you need. This is the way our bodies are evolved to operate, which is why we store fat instead of carbs on our bodies as a backup energy source. Once you become fat adapted, your body will feel comfortable burning your excess fat as fuel, instead of saving it. In order to become fat adapted, you have to put yourself in a position where your body has no choice but to find an alternate fuel source. You do this by limiting carbs enough to put your body into an energy imbalance (which is why you'll feel tired and lethargic when you first start eating this way) Once that happens, your body will need fats for energy in the same way that you need carbs now. I recommend reducing your carbs as much as possible right off the bat. Give it a few weeks, and let your body adapt to the new energy source. Once it does, you'll find yourself craving carbs less, and fats more. You'll NEED fat in order to keep your body going. I think you'll find that your weight loss will be directly related to how low your carbs are. If you reduce them a little bit, you'll lose a little bit of fat. If you reduce them dramatically, your body will become fat adapted and you will lose a lot of fat.

Best of luck!

C1b0403aa869c6a2bb08e27654d8c972

(0)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:32 AM

This is the best explanation I've ever read! I need to memorize this so I can explain it to others... well, and to myself as well, since I'm solidly in the lethargy phase! Your post reminds me to keep going. Eventually a new me will emerge, but for now I gotta let the body catch up.

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:43 AM

I know exactly how you feel, Star65, and I promise you it gets exponentially easier. I have much more energy than I ever did before, and I hardly ever crave carbs. In fact when I do eat carbs, the sugar crash, bloating, and overall sick felling I get usually deters me. Usually...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:42 PM

+1 I like this answer. :)

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:39 AM

When you eat some rice, you're refilling your tank with glycogen. That stops gluconeogenesis, and your body goes back to carbs for fuel. You have to bring the tank all the way back to empty to start burning fat again. That's why the Atkins induction phase is SO low carb. It's forcing your body into gluconeogenesis.

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:15 AM

thank you for your time in responding~ the reason I brought up adding rice back into my diet is that if I eat, say, 1/2 a cup of cooked rice per day and no other grains, that's still significantly reducing my grain and carb intake. (I would usually eat a portion of rice 3 times a day or replace some of the portions with something like pasta or bread). bc my body will burn through the amt of dietary carbs in my body more quickly than before (since there's a reduced amount), won't my body naturally turn to my fat source? although it won't burn as much fat as if I cut out grains entirely?

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:39 AM

When you're eating carbs, it gets converted into glycogen. You can think of your glycogen stores as being like the fuel tank on a car. The only difference is when your glycogen tank goes to empty, your body says "huh, I'm going to have to figure something else out." It then goes through a process called gluconeogenesis where it turns to non-carb sources and converts it to glycogen. The most abundant form of this is usually, you guessed it, fat.

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 09, 2012
at 10:07 AM

Who knows? Very loosely paleo sounds like "not paleo" to me. Lots of Americans (and Europeans) successfully gain lots of weight on a "not paleo" diet, so eating bread, rice and pizza will probably work wonders at increasing your belly size too.

0
Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

on August 13, 2012
at 11:49 PM

Are you of the mindset that if you eat fat alone you will be okay, but adding in carbohydrates somehow traps the fat and makes you fat? I used to think that way and it isn't true.

I would highly (HIGHLY) recommend educating yourself on paleo before you start. Gather all the info you can and if you are still interested, then do a whole 30. Don't tweak things or cheat until you have a good handle on how you feel after 30 days.

Once you have a good handle on eating Paleo, then you can start to work on the weight loss. I wouldn't worry about ratios at all. Go to myfitnesspal.com or something similar and track your food. Only look at calories, don't worry about fat (you'll be way over) or carbs (you'll be way low). You will most likely start to see the weight drop. I just wouldn't do it without getting a handle on the basics. Paleo isn't really a weight loss plan and if you want to eat grains and cheese, you might as well do weight watchers or something (not to say that's bad, necessarily, just different and if your goal is simply weight loss and not health, you'll probably lose with a plan like that).

Good luck to you!

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:19 AM

than you for your input. the only reason I'm thinking of tweaking things so early on is that I've heard mixed opinions on whether to start Paleo "cold turkey" or not. I tend to have digestive issues when I'm stressed out and during the last few weeks, my stress has been at an all-time high. when I started paleo cold turkey a few days ago, it shocked my system with different symptoms than the usual "carb flu". just straight up digestive issues.

E3474e4efbcc6c1deab28e268ad6eb01

(341)

on August 14, 2012
at 07:10 AM

When I was going through carb flu, I always had a little mini box of raisins in my desk. When the symptoms got unbearable, I would eat some raisins and give myself a little insulin spike. It dulled the symptoms almost immediately, to the point where I was referring to them as my "carb flu pills" haha You would be amazed at how few carbs it takes...

0
A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on August 13, 2012
at 01:13 PM

How about trying some digestive enzymes for a few days when you consume meat to see if that helps kick start your digestion? Regarding your aversion to "greasy" food: I also thought I would have trouble on this diet because fatty food always made me feel very sick - I was probably the only kid in the world who hated fish sticks, fried chicken, etc. Turns out that it was just the vegetable oil that made me feel so ill. Healthy fats never make me feel this way.

Give the full paleo diet a try for about 30 days!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on August 14, 2012
at 01:31 PM

Not at all, actually. I was so surprised because I always thought I didn't do very well on a lot of meat. I also didn't experience the carb flu at all. Most everyone I know who has started this, with very few exceptions, starts feeling really good immediately and things just keep getting better. There is a "dip" in energy about three or four months in that I have noticed is common, but that is usually from slipping too low carb (for those who don't do well low carb). The only time I have digestive issues now is when I deviate in any way from this diet.

6c01107b5da2055d0e375e4e675794de

(8)

on August 14, 2012
at 05:21 AM

did you have any digestive issues when you transitioned cold turkey to paleo? digestive issues separate from symptoms of the common "carb flu".

-2
D353a65469cdc91c27a9ba0c65aa1ab9

on October 09, 2012
at 09:04 AM

Proper diet and the physical exercise will make you to reduce the weight;more don't eat the food in large quantity divide the food in smaller diet and eat them.some nature Pills will reduce the weight with out any side effects!

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