1

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Examples of weight loss without low-carb OR calorie counting?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 07, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I've been following with great interest Kurt Harris' recents posts on macronutrients, low-carb, and ketosis. He seems to have shifted his position away from advocating very-low-carb (though he claims he was never doing that, and that makes sense, but at any rate many folks took a cue from him). In a recent post on his blog, Gary Taubes slips in that carb "quality" may be what really matters. Overall, my reading of the big paleo luminaries leads me to believe that the consensus is shifting away from a blanket advocating of low-carb and the carbohydrate hypothesis.

A lot of paleos maintain, however, that low-carb is still effective for weight-loss and dealing with metabolic syndrome/diabeties. I have no knowledge or, nor experience with, diabetes, but in my experience it certainly seems possible to achieve considerable weight loss without being very-low-carb. On the other hand, since going paleo I have certainly been lowER carb than I was before, so I think my experience doesn't prove much one way or the other.

I wonder whether individual experiences and scientific experiments with low-carb are conflating low-carb with gluten-free and/or low-fructose. After all, there seems to be pretty strong evidence implicating gluten and excess fructose as major culprits of the diseases of civilization.

So I'm very curious if there are any of you who achieved significant weight loss and/or restoration of a healthy metabolism without a significant decrease in carb consumption, or at least while still being relatively high-carb, say, around 20% or more of total calories.

I think this is important, because right now a lot of people are still taking paleo to necessarily mean low-carb, and if we could get people to significantly improve their health without having to so drastically alter their food habits (not to mention increasing their grocery bills), then that would obviously be the right way to go.

I don't mean to dismiss the experience of those who benefit from low- or very-low carb. I think n-1 self-experimentation counts for a lot, and we should always leave ourselves open to new and different ideas. But this seems to be an area where we could really clear things up and potentially reach many more people.

109c50779c3875f1864635d8ffc328c3

on October 24, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Do you mean carbs in general which includes broccoli or just starch?

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on February 08, 2011
at 08:15 AM

Yes, but the point of my question is that it seems possible to be not-low-carb, while not restricting calories, and still lose weight. This may be because low-carbers are conflating ALL carbs with fructose and/or gluten grains. So it seems possible that the carb hypothesis may be false, despite this observation.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on February 08, 2011
at 08:12 AM

Travis- this is exactly the kind of example I was looking for! Thanks!

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on February 08, 2011
at 08:11 AM

Aaron, I feel the same way. I think some people get something out of counting and tracking, and some people clearly do not. When I think about having to track carbs or something like Leangains, where you have track how much a meal is of your daily calories, my head hurts.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 08, 2011
at 05:37 AM

Hmm, might be an interesting experiment. Cut out all fruit and replace with a bit of potato. Get on scale. See what happens.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 08, 2011
at 05:35 AM

Yep, I've noticed this too. Cutting the carbs after lunch seems very effective.

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on February 08, 2011
at 05:26 AM

Taubes says something similar in his latest blog post.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 07, 2011
at 08:58 PM

Less than 5 g fructose, more than 100 g other carbs, and getting leaner ... that's a fascinating observation!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 07, 2011
at 08:57 PM

That's a very interesting observation.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 07, 2011
at 06:51 PM

I agree that counting is distasteful. I just want to point out that you can still do a very low carb diet in the same manner, just by considering "good to eat" only those foods that you could eat to satisfaction without ever eating significant carbohydrate. So for example, instead of having counted amounts of moderate-carb food like "up to 2 oz of nuts" or some such thing, only eat foods that an unlimited amount of is low carb. That's what I do.

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5 Answers

3
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on February 07, 2011
at 01:03 PM

Hey. Nothing scientific here - just anecdotal.

I've been paleo for about a year, and my wife joined the fun about 6 months ago. We're both roughly 30 pounds below where we started. Not counting the weight loss, I'm in a much healthier condition overall than when I started - disappearing headaches and heartburn, better skin, more energy, a desire for physical activity that leads me to run places I would have driven before, etc.

We have NEVER counted ANYTHING we've eaten. Part of the appeal of paleo (at least how I'm doing it) is the natural ease of it. If something is not good to eat, I don't eat it. If something is good I eat as much of it as I want, as often as I want. I couldn't tell you how many carbs, calories, or grams of anything I have eaten. I'm sure my overall carb levels have probably dropped due to the elimination of breads and such.

Counting would really turn me off from the whole premise. I don't want to treat my food like I'm an accountant balancing the books. I just wanna eat and enjoy. I think a year of success is a pretty good indicator that it's working for me.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on February 08, 2011
at 08:11 AM

Aaron, I feel the same way. I think some people get something out of counting and tracking, and some people clearly do not. When I think about having to track carbs or something like Leangains, where you have track how much a meal is of your daily calories, my head hurts.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 07, 2011
at 06:51 PM

I agree that counting is distasteful. I just want to point out that you can still do a very low carb diet in the same manner, just by considering "good to eat" only those foods that you could eat to satisfaction without ever eating significant carbohydrate. So for example, instead of having counted amounts of moderate-carb food like "up to 2 oz of nuts" or some such thing, only eat foods that an unlimited amount of is low carb. That's what I do.

2
Medium avatar

on February 07, 2011
at 08:08 PM

I eat a ton of potatoes and continue to get leaner and am thoroughly convinced that my VLF(ructose) diet is the result of the fat loss. Those with ZC and VLC just so happen to have ZF(ructose) and VLF and it's the elimination of this highly lipogenic carbohydrate that makes the biggest difference. If you're eating a bunch of fat, meat, and some vegetables, you just don't have the stomach space to overeat potatoes to the point where you would exceed your brain/organs' glucose consumption.

I estimate my daily fructose intake to be less than 5g a day and carb intake to always be 100+ grams. If I were going from being obese to overweight, I wouldn't think much of my observations, but I'm currently going from fairly lean to even more lean, so we know these are the fat stores that are typically the hardest to lose under any circumstances.

Someone with compromised pancreatic function or insulin resistance may encounter some bumps in the road if my method is employed, but potatoes eaten in every meal should be generally well-tolerated.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 08, 2011
at 05:37 AM

Hmm, might be an interesting experiment. Cut out all fruit and replace with a bit of potato. Get on scale. See what happens.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on February 08, 2011
at 08:12 AM

Travis- this is exactly the kind of example I was looking for! Thanks!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 07, 2011
at 08:57 PM

That's a very interesting observation.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 07, 2011
at 08:58 PM

Less than 5 g fructose, more than 100 g other carbs, and getting leaner ... that's a fascinating observation!

1
Bd6450474c7df5ecc3bbe1369a9a9abe

on February 07, 2011
at 01:32 PM

I'm in the fitness industry, and I started a very 'loose' variation of Paleo eating about six months ago... translation: I cheated a LOT at first. But one thing that I stuck to was no carbs after 3:00. I easily lost 15 lbs. The people around me noticed this change, and this seemed to be a very easy approach into the Paleo world for them, as well. I've seen the changes in my physical appearance and overall health, and have become more of a Paleo advocate. The cheating is minimal now and I look forward to meals that are more natural. oh, and I've lost 5 more lbs :)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 08, 2011
at 05:35 AM

Yep, I've noticed this too. Cutting the carbs after lunch seems very effective.

109c50779c3875f1864635d8ffc328c3

on October 24, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Do you mean carbs in general which includes broccoli or just starch?

0
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on February 07, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I've lost ~30 lbs and I didn't aim for low carb when I started. I started by cutting out processed foods (stuff from a box) and replacing that with real food. That did, however, cut out pasta for me and most other boxed meals have some sort of carb in them. I also started eating sweet potato more than white potatoes, so perhaps a different quality of carb (I still eat plenty of both).

0
E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on February 07, 2011
at 01:48 PM

All Low Calorie Diets Are Low(er) Carb Di by Don Matesz of Primal Wisdom

Continue reading on Examiner.com: All Low Calorie Diets Are Low(er) Carb Diets - Phoenix Low-Carb Lifestyle | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/low-carb-lifestyle-in-phoenix/all-diets-are-low-er-carb-diets#ixzz1DHTeBb00

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on February 08, 2011
at 08:15 AM

Yes, but the point of my question is that it seems possible to be not-low-carb, while not restricting calories, and still lose weight. This may be because low-carbers are conflating ALL carbs with fructose and/or gluten grains. So it seems possible that the carb hypothesis may be false, despite this observation.

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on February 08, 2011
at 05:26 AM

Taubes says something similar in his latest blog post.

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