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Jane Michel
01-17-2009, 03:47 AM
Cordain's latest newsletter talks a bit about fat + carbs:


Because it was relatively rare for our hunter-gatherer ancestors to consume carbohydrates and fats together for millions of years, our species may have became genetically dependent upon certain nutritional combinations.

The separation of macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) would have been a frequent feeding pattern for prehistoric humans because there is little evidence that they stored goods or food.1 When an animal was killed, it was entirely consumed within a 24-hour period similar to the behavior of modern-day hunter-gatherers.2 Except for a very small amount of glycogen stored in the liver and muscles, there is virtually no carbohydrate in food derived from animal sources. Carbohydrate sources came primarily from uncultivated fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts and seeds, and these tended to be consumed while they were gathered.2 Consequently, carbohydrates generally were consumed separately from protein and fat, while protein and fat tended to be consumed together.

There is indeed data showing that the ubiquitous high-fat/high-carb meal of Western societies worsens elements of the post-prandial blood lipid profile more than simple high-fat meals.3, 4 Thus it may be that the separation of macronutrients that is similar to our evolutionary experience is an effective dietary method to prevent health shortcomings of the traditional high-fat/high-carb meal.

In the 1930's in the US, there was a series of popular diet books that advocated exactly this eating pattern.5,6 Clearly, the separation of fat from carbohydrate has many evolutionary clues pointing in its direction for improving health, but to date there have been no clinical trials evaluating this concept. But there are reasons to believe that avoiding fat in combination with carbohydrates may have powerful health benefits.

References are available at http://www.ThePaleoDiet.com/v5n3.shtml.


I didn't think there would be much, if any, of a benefit separating fat from carbs when eating Paleo. Has anyone here separated fats from carbs for more than two weeks? Did you notice anything?

Mike ODonnell
01-17-2009, 05:53 AM
High fat + High carb meals is NEVER a good idea when you talk about weight loss or staying lean. High FFAs in a high insulin environment is not going to be good. When carbs go up, fats should go down....and visa versa.

Jane Michel
01-17-2009, 06:53 AM
MOD, how high do you mean when you say "high carb"?

The article says that "Carbohydrate sources came primarily from uncultivated fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts and seeds". Can carb levels be considered high even when they are from these sources and on the assumption that the hunter-gatherers didn't stuff themselves silly with tubers?

My carbs come mostly from veg, and every now and then nuts, seeds, fruit and tubers. I suppose what I'm wondering is whether at this level of carbs there is any noticeable benefit from separating carbs from fat or whether there is no benefit or whether the benefit is negligible.

Garrett Smith
01-17-2009, 07:21 AM
Awesome. Makes sense to me, and my patients results would seem to confirm it.

For improved digestion, separating protein and carbs.

For decreased insulin/bodyfat, separating fat and carbs.

Works like a charm.

Biggest thing for me when I do Paleo was separating animal protein from fruit--but then again, I don't tend to eat that many tubers anyway.

Low-carb veggies aren't included as "carbs" in this approach.

Mike ODonnell
01-17-2009, 09:40 AM
MOD, how high do you mean when you say "high carb"?

The article says that "Carbohydrate sources came primarily from uncultivated fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts and seeds". Can carb levels be considered high even when they are from these sources and on the assumption that the hunter-gatherers didn't stuff themselves silly with tubers?

My carbs come mostly from veg, and every now and then nuts, seeds, fruit and tubers. I suppose what I'm wondering is whether at this level of carbs there is any noticeable benefit from separating carbs from fat or whether there is no benefit or whether the benefit is negligible.

If you are eating "Paleo" carbs, don't sweat it too badly unless you plan on doing more starches with a meal...then just tone down the fats. It's the people who eat more "mainstream" like doing pasta with heavy cream sauce that are not helping themselves. Much like a pwo meal that is higher in carbs should also be smaller and leaner proteins, and less (if no) fat (all portions in comparison to what you eat at other times during the day or other non-workout days). Otherwise fat and protein compliment themselves nicely at any other time when carbs (starchy or grain based) are low.

George Mounce
01-17-2009, 12:39 PM
This makes sense. You ate fruit and such on your way to kill the animal, once you killed it you ate just the animal.

Although in today's world, I'm not giving up eating my sweet potato with my steak. They just go too well together.

Chris Salvato
01-17-2009, 07:05 PM
Makes sense but it leaves room for more thought.

This sounds very Anti-Zone....but the zone works, primarily, for reducing insulin and carbs all together. I guess this approach would allow for higher insulin spikes with the absence of fats making the storage of carbs to glycogen stores being primary -- storage of fat being secondary.

Would women benefit differently from men? We see that women's reactions to IF, for example, can be much harder on them than their male counterparts (hormonally speaking, that is).

If we are going to use evolution as a justification to this eating habit, then I think it may need to be examined more from this perspective since hunter-gatherer societies usually had women that took care of the camp and children...

Neill Smith
01-17-2009, 07:22 PM
I suspect it's more nuanced than just separating carbohydrates and fats, though that's a good heuristic. Nuts are mostly fat and have a decent amount of carbohydrate, and hunter-gatherers were probably eating nuts with fruit.

George Mounce
01-18-2009, 05:54 AM
Makes sense but it leaves room for more thought.

This sounds very Anti-Zone....but the zone works, primarily, for reducing insulin and carbs all together. I guess this approach would allow for higher insulin spikes with the absence of fats making the storage of carbs to glycogen stores being primary -- storage of fat being secondary.

Would women benefit differently from men? We see that women's reactions to IF, for example, can be much harder on them than their male counterparts (hormonally speaking, that is).

If we are going to use evolution as a justification to this eating habit, then I think it may need to be examined more from this perspective since hunter-gatherer societies usually had women that took care of the camp and children...

The Zone works because it changes quality and quantity of calories, and yes insulin has a lot to do with it. I have my own real-world test subject (my mother who is a Type I diabetic) and she has been tracking for over a year on a Paleo diet the reduction in weight and needed insulin and the results are astounding. 30 pound weight loss, and an over 3/4 reduction in total insulin needed each day. She did not add any exercise; it was strictly a change in diet. The Zone isn't magical for insulin reduction, and I personally wish it would go the way of the dodo. Our bodies are a lot smarter than our conscious thoughts.

The women ate when the men got something. They didn't eat when nothing was found.

Evolution has nothing to do with how societies decided to use division of labor, because not all societies decided to leave the women back at camp. Nomadic tribes moved constantly.

Chris Salvato
01-18-2009, 07:10 AM
The Zone works because it changes quality and quantity of calories, and yes insulin has a lot to do with it.

The zone mostly works because of quantity reduction, not quality improvements. IF you read through the Zone books, Sears often says that you can eat candy bars as much as you like, just be aware that you will be eating a smaller quantity of candy than you would vegetables. I'll give you page numbers, if need be.

The Zone works because 1) the strict diet plan is extremely calorically restrictive and 2) the constant buffering of carb uptake causes less insulin spikes.

Quality of food has little to do with the equation which is why I never tell someone to get on the Zone without first improving their quality of food. Quality of food improvements, in my opinion, always trump any sort of "ratio planning" one can do.


The women ate when the men got something. They didn't eat when nothing was found.

Evolution has nothing to do with how societies decided to use division of labor, because not all societies decided to leave the women back at camp. Nomadic tribes moved constantly.

We can only speculate here. There are plenty of tribal societies where the women stood at camp and raised the children....constant availability to food that was foraged and horded. I don't think you can ignore the evolutionary implications of IF while trying to find evolutionary implications of Paleo.

You can't say "Oh, well, women may not respond better to IF because throughout history they were always with consistent access to food" and then ignore this statement when you say "Well women have access to the same foods as men all the time in these hunter-gatherer societies"

I am not drawing any conclusions - I am just saying it is food for thought and investigation.

George Mounce
01-18-2009, 04:30 PM
Quality of food has little to do with the equation which is why I never tell someone to get on the Zone without first improving their quality of food.


Uh.....

So quality has nothing to do with it, so you tell people to improve their quality of food?

You are right there skewing your results. The Zone works regardless according to your previous statement based on amounts, not on the types. I agree that quality trumps quantity any day. The Zone doesn't work regardless though. You do a diet of potatoes, crisco, and slim jims, I guaruntee you won't get the results.

You said EVOLUTION. Evolution has absolutely nothing to do with division of labor in a society. It has everything to do with micro-mutations in an organism to help them survive. Women didn't evolve to sit in a camp with children, I'm sorry but that has never been so.

Men hunted because they were generally stronger, and didn't have babies in bellies. That's not evolution, that is division of labor based on sex, and survival as a community. Why humans do this, who knows. Some of the world's best predators are females, not males. It is not so in every culture, nor in every species. To bring up evolution as the crux of your previous argument does little.

Chris Salvato
01-18-2009, 05:00 PM
George,

What I am saying is that quality of food IS important -- the zone, however, IGNORES quality of food. At the heart of the zone, it always did ignore food quality always will. By saying zone dieting increases food quality is nonsense:

The Zone works because it changes quality and quantity of calories, and yes insulin has a lot to do with it.

Bullocks. It changes quantity, frequency and ratio...not quality. The lack of addressing food quality is (and always will be) an inherent problem with zone dieting.

Paleo increases food quality. The zone does not by nature - though in practice most people pick the higher quality foods. Hell, they are dieting, so they may as well make the BEST choices from Sears' list for their STRICT dieting plan that is calorically restrictive.

Coupling Zone with quality food is not in line with the ideology.
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Regarding your thoughts on evolution - asians are more carb tolerant and more predisposed to lactose intolerance. A few thousand years of women sitting in camps while men killed mammoths may have just as much of a drastic effect on the female population as a whole.

When you examine the fact that many societies had women that had long term access to varied food sources then you can realize that there is a POTENTIAL (not a definite) reason to believe that women may have evolved differently than men in this case.

Division of labor can CAUSE evolutionary differences if the division of labor is constant for thousands of years (or even much less...). If organism A always has access to varied food sources and organism B has limited access to food on more regular occasions then it is PROBABLE not GUARANTEED that Organism A's descendants will adapt differently than Organism B's descendants - even if they are the same species.

Jane Michel
01-18-2009, 06:57 PM
Awesome. Makes sense to me, and my patients results would seem to confirm it.


Garrett what did your patients' results show?

Garrett Smith
01-19-2009, 07:28 AM
Alicia,
The results have been

Improved digestion by separating high protein and high carbs (ie. meat with non-starchy veggies). This simple step can get rid of a lot of indigestion and bloat.

Reducing bodyfat, "losing weight", by separating high fat and high carbs. Note that nearly all "junk foods" are high-fat and high-carb together.

Jane Michel
01-19-2009, 02:34 PM
Thanks Dr G.

I am now thinking of trying this out for fun and to see if my after-meal bloats will improve but do you think the experiment would work with IF and a 5-hour eating window - if I ate all my veggies within the first hour and ate the protein and fat within the fifth hour?

Garrett Smith
01-19-2009, 02:45 PM
Alicia,
Non-starchy veggies aren't likely part of the problem you are having. It's any fruit or starchy stuff.

If you want to eat carbs that aren't non-starchy veggies, eat them at least a half hour before your meat.

If you're eating carbs with your meat, always eat the meat first (unless it is already mixed with the carbs, like a stir-fry or casserole). No real solution for mixed dishes.

If you have a 5-hour eating window every day, your IF isn't "intermittent" at all. Just a thought.

Jane Michel
01-21-2009, 02:13 AM
Ok Dr G. Sometimes I get really bad bloat and have no idea why (unless it's stress) so I thought I'd try this out. Oh well thanks for the advice on food timing.

Garrett Smith
01-21-2009, 05:09 AM
Stress will do it, as will sugar + protein. Good luck.

Donald Lee
01-21-2009, 11:52 AM
Dr. G, could you explain why fruit and starchy carbs can cause indigestion and bloating? I always thought that indigestion was a result of a lack of stomach acid to digest protein and fat.

Also, are you recommending starchy carbs at least 30-min before protein because the protein takes longer to digest? Intuitively, this approach seems like it may promote fat gain, but I don't really know much about the timing of how the body undergoes digestion and all that.

I just decided to start eating a bit more to gain a little weight, and I experienced some bloating. I usually only eat starchy foods post workout, but now I'm eating starchy foods throughout the day.

Garrett Smith
01-21-2009, 12:55 PM
The simple story is this.

Protein is mainly digested in the stomach, where an acidic environment (ie. HCl) is necessary to break down animal protein.

Carbs are mainly digested in the small intestine, where an alkaline environment is necessary. Note that this is a 180 degree switch from the stomach.

The stomach will take as long as it needs to in order to break down the animal protein, as one of the last things we want in our intestines is partially digested meat sitting at >100 degrees.

Carbs will then sit in the stomach, not digesting, and start to ferment. This produces gases that result in bloating, as well as a feeling of food "just sitting there like a rock". The end result is that neither the protein or carbs is digested as well as it could be.

Carbs are much easier/faster to digest than animal protein, hence they can "stay ahead" of animal protein if they are given a head start (like 30 minutes).

This digestion situation is exactly why so many people feel so bad after eating a decent dinner of mostly meat and veg, only to follow it with some kind of sugary dessert (and the resultant unpleasant digestive symptoms).

Low stomach acid only compounds the problem.

Greg Davis
01-21-2009, 01:12 PM
where would carrots fall in the context of this discussion?

Garrett Smith
01-21-2009, 01:30 PM
I personally haven't come across any issues with carrots, likely due to their relatively low carb content per volume (compared to sweet potatoes, let's say), and the fact that much of their active carb content is potentially bound up in unchewed fiber.

Cooked carrots may be a small issue due to the cooking breaking down some of the fiber and freeing up more carbs (and making them easier to chew).

I've never noticed an issue with cooked carrots, while I do notice issues with sweet potatoes (dose-dependent, of course).

Will Moore
01-27-2009, 12:39 AM
The bottom line is that if you eat large quantities of carbs and fats together, you will get fat. As Mike pointed out earlier, this is not a good idea. Your body will take the easiest route to energy, by using the carbs for fuel....the fat you ate will then become fat on your body. Also, if the total calories you ate exceeded your energy requirements, the extra carbs will also become body fat. This is how most people got fat in the first place. They simply ate large quantities of carbs and fats. Many will then go on a low carb diet and lose weight and then say "Ah, you see it was the carbs that made me fat!". Actually, no it wasn't, it was a massive overload of carbs and fats. If they had been eating a low carb or a very low fat diet to begin with, they probably would have never become obese. Unfortunately, by the time they decide to do something about it, they have no choice but to maintain a low carb eating plan the rest of their lives in order to control their weight/blood sugar. Often, a low fat diet is not a viable alternative anymore because they have become diabetic or highly insulin resistant from years of a high fat, high carb diet.

Robert Johnson
01-27-2009, 03:37 AM
How much are large quantities of carb and fat? Don't some zone people eat say, 150-200g of carb, and then with a fat multiplier, 100-200g of fat?

Won't your body use both routes to energy? I find it difficult to imagine that the body would mess up if the total calories is not too much..