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Old 12-21-2008, 10:53 PM   #1
Will Moore
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Smile Report: Week 6 of My High-Carb (after Paleo) Diet

As indicated in my prior post, I abandoned a low-carb Paleo diet because it was just not providing the energy for my workouts (or my brain for that matter) or producing strength gains for resistance training. It's been over 6 weeks now since I made the swith....it wasn't a gradual transition either, it was an abrupt change. My diet basically looks like this: Very low-fat, no meat (all protein comes from powdered egg, milk, and whey protein supplements), large quantities of vegetables, whole wheat breads (traditional type, not commercial), and as many hard pretzels as I can choke down (whole wheat and regular, ingredients: flour, yeast, salt). An important footnote here is that I eat IF style (always have) where I do not eat anything till after 10pm at night, at which time I pig out for close to 3 hours...takes a lot of time to chew the huge salads I make.
Anyway, the net result is that I have lost 3 pounds of fat, even though my weight is exactly the same as my last day of low-carb Paleo. I know this because you don't retain water of low-carb...since my weight on the scale is the same and I know I'm holding much more water now, I know I have lost fat somewhere. And no, its not because I have lost muscle. My strength is improving now and I actually have some glycogen in the muscles. For cardio, I walk 5 to 6 miles per day, 6 days per week, with a heavy 65 pound backpack, going as fast as I can over varied terrain. Towards the end of my low-carb experiment, I was dying as I neared the finish each time....now, I feel like I'm flying and I don't feel like a dead man when I finish.
So why is it that I seem to thrive on very low-fat, high carb diet? And carbs aren't the only issue here, its also true that my current diet is heavy on the dreaded white flour products, supposedly the bane of civilization as we know it and the root of all health problems. Its basically the anti-paleo diet: No Meat = bad; Grain = bad; Low-fat = bad.
I would like to get feedback from a living example of someone who practices what he preaches about Paleo, is athletic, and thrives on the diet. I want to know what the formula for success is because I really want to eat that way if I could only make it work. Many of you claim to be Paleo but then shed light on the fact that you eat beer and pizza on the weekend. The idea being that 90% of the time is ok....I'm sorry, but I don't buy that. You either believe in something or you don't. If you can't live without your weekly departure for junk food, you either lack discipline or the diet is not giving you enough energy and you just don't want to admit it.
Ok, you can all attack me now.....
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:24 AM   #2
Steven Low
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You have the genetics that handle processed high carbs. That's great for you. Stick with it. The greatest thing about our bodies is that we all react different to different things so you have to find out what works FOR YOU. Looks like you did. Paleo, clearly, may not be the best thing for you.

As for 90/10 or 80/20 rule... are you seriously saying that people don't have "the right" to kick back and enjoy things once in a while? Hey, I know TV is a waste of time when I could be doing better things, but I still go ahead and watch it occasionally. If alcohol did that for me maybe I'd drink some on the weekend as well.. but it doesn't at least for me.

In the end though if you're not enjoying life or what you're doing then what's the point? I'm sure most of us don't want to restrict our calories to 75% just to live an extra 10 years (over the age of like 80) even though calorie restriction has been proven to increase lifespan in mammals. In fact, why wouldn't you do this now that you know?

I don't buy your false dichotomy.
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:06 AM   #3
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Steven, listen to what you are saying......"the right to enjoy life...". Does this mean that a Paleo style diet is painful and unenjoyable, therefore I need to relax the standards and have my weekly junk food? When I am following a Paleo style diet, I very much enjoy the foods I eat...especially all the nuts and seeds I cannot consume with a high-carb/low-fat diet. I simply do not perform well on the Paleo diet. I stand by what I said: You either don't really believe in the diet, its not really working for you, or your simply undisciplined if you feel the need to "cheat".

Many people who follow a low-carb Paleo diet (I'm referring to Bodybuilder, Powerlifters, etc.) employ weekly carb refeeds, as in the Anabolic Diet which I am sure you are all familiar with. Why do they do it? Simple...because low-carb, Paleo or not, simply doesn't fuel machine adequately enough to produce results. That brings me back to the question: Why doesn't it? The theory, if you will, behind the Paleo diet is that man is biologically suited for a diet of meat and plants which by its very nature is going to be low in carbohydrate content....unless you really pile on the fruit but thats unrealistic. Fruit has always been seasonal and in some colder climates, may not have been available at all. So, if I'm eating the diet that nature intended for me, it should produce optimal health results in all aspects, athletic or otherwise. However, this doesn't appear to be the case..and no, I'm not saying in MY case, but in most cases, otherwise all the carb refeeds, cheats, or however you label them, would be unecessarry.

Could it be that there is no best dietary model to follow? Should a food be rejected as health because it is "processed" or "man-made"? After all, man has been using his superior brain for eons to shape the world around him, to dominate this planet. Could we not use our superior brain to "create" foods from the raw materials nature provides that are equally, if not more nutritious than the animals and plants found in a Paleo diet?
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:48 AM   #4
Allen Yeh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Moore View Post

Could it be that there is no best dietary model to follow? Should a food be rejected as health because it is "processed" or "man-made"? After all, man has been using his superior brain for eons to shape the world around him, to dominate this planet. Could we not use our superior brain to "create" foods from the raw materials nature provides that are equally, if not more nutritious than the animals and plants found in a Paleo diet?
I got this from the Michael Pollan book "In Defense of Food" this is somewhat paraphrased as I can't remember his exact quote:

"With all the advances made in nutrition and food science people have still not been able to duplicate breast milk....formula has always been deficient in comparison, no matter what they add or take away from it."

From what I know about parenting and reading all those books and my wife...I'm pretty sure this is true, if you can breast feed, do it is what they say.

Later in the book he basically makes the point about at what point is stuff still considered food and at what point is it some type of Frankenstein food stuff. Maybe someday we could use our bran to create foods that are better but right now we haven't. I could get to you on a plate the equivalent in calories of protein, carbs and fats of what goes into a Big Mac from "real" foods. Have a group of people eat those for 10 years while the other group can eat Big Mac's. Who do you think will come out better?
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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I had a nice long rant...but the forum is not about that....so my $0.02 is that people need to find what works for them and then go with it. I don't think low carb is right for me all the time, but doesn't mean others can't find success with it. It also doesn't mean that I don't have low and high carb days and play around to see how my body responds depending on training or recovery needs. My way is not the only way....and there never is just one way. Much like IF...people can make their own way or maybe not at all...it's their choice. To each his own....and if you don't believe 90% paleo lifestyle is healthy or even should be called paleo-like by the unviersal paleo standards of the world....well then get over it, and move on with your own life eating what works for you. None of us need to be right.....we just need to be healthy....and that can come from many different approaches.
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Last edited by Mike ODonnell : 12-22-2008 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Second thoughts
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:26 AM   #6
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Mike, well said and I concur with what you are saying....but I would still like someone to shed some light on why some people seem to thrive on a grain based diet and do poorly on a Paleo or low-carb approach to diet. This should not be the case if as a species, our genes are 99.99% identical, or whatever the exact figure is. For example, I have read many of your posts where you were drawn into an argument by those making a case for plant foods and carbohydrates...you point out that the Inuit as a whole, are healthy and thrive on their diet. Given time, any group of people should be able to do the same. But, I bet if you take an Egyptian, who's healthy as a horse and has been eating bread as a staple his entire life, put him on an Inuit diet for a while and he will feel worse than a dead man...no matter how long he stays on it and tries to adapt...ditto for somone Asian is descent. Many references are made to Stephenson's adoption of the Inuit diet, and the healthy status he acheived from it. But one must keep in mind that he was of Scandinavian descent, a group that seems to do well on high protein, low-carb diets in general for whatever reason.

Anyway Mike, I like your laid back approach to life and your healthy attitude towards these issues in general. I wish I could be more like that....I have a type A personality and I'm a prisoner in my own world of rigid standards I have created for myself. I've just always been that way. Ever since I discovered the world of diet and fitness in the early 80's, I've imposed these standards upon myself. If I can't see my abs in full definition at any given time, I get angry with myself...when in reality, who gives a shit? Life isn't a 24/7 physique contest.

Also, I would like to respond to the other gentleman's remark about the "man made" foods. Yes, we have the power to use raw materials into palatable, nutritous foodstuff but will never be able to truly duplicate what nature provides. Also, people will jump on one body of research, accept it as gospel, and create new foods based on that before everything is known and the consequences are considered. Case in point: Everybody accepted the theory "Cholesteral = bad" so they invented margarine. Even though common sense should tell you that chemically altering a vegetable fat to solidify it at room temperature will certainly not positively impact health, they did it anyway and the government endorsed it. Now, they have to admit they were wrong and remove the trans-fats from foods. Well, its too damn late for everybody that had a heart attack from eating what the government told them was healthy. If they just kept real butter and good old fashion lard, maybe we wouldn't see the heart disease we have today. However, the nutritionists still can't see the forest for the trees....although they admit that hydrogenated vegetable fats are bad, they are trying to replace them with new manufactured solid fats composed of canola and other oils in order to "keep the saturated fats at a minimum". They just don't get it...saturated fats are not, and were not, ever the problem.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:30 AM   #7
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Let's put it this way.

Seeing as how we know the negative effects of long distance training effect on the body such as joints are worn down faster, chronic problems in the legs, higher prevalence of cancer (probably due to oxidative damage), etc.

Would you say that people don't have "the right" to do endurance training because it's negative effects on the body?
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:12 PM   #8
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If you hike 5-6 miles a day with 65# on your back at a good pace, there is no way you can maintain energy on a low-carb diet, Paleo or not.

Paleo did not fail you, you chose the wrong Paleo approach (low carb instead of high carb) for your chosen workout demands. You're also still choosing to confuse "low carb" with "Paleo". They are completely different approaches and focus on restricting different things. While they can converge and often do, they do not have to.

Your late-night eating pattern also causes you to crave more carbs, it may also be causing your body to need more carbs to function well. That eating/sleeping pattern will not serve your health well in the long-term.

Endurance-type athletes do well on higher levels of processed carbs. Your "cardio" puts you in that category. I know that processed carbs are not beneficial to health in the long term, your short term performance may benefit from them though.

Humans are not wired for self-discipline, it is a learned trait. "Cheating" with dense sources of carbs (and fat) is actually an instinctual behavior--the key is limiting it.

On a whole other topic, if you think we've "dominated" this planet, not only are you mistaken, but you may want to pay more attention to where that is leading us...
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:01 PM   #9
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Garrett beat me to it, Paleo doesn't mean low carb, low carb means low carb. I've never eaten low carb, but I have upped my protein and fats substantially when I switched to Paleo.

Insects and the myriad of viruses and bacteria that roam the earth have us very outnumbered and outwitted.
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Moore View Post
but I would still like someone to shed some light on why some people seem to thrive on a grain based diet and do poorly on a Paleo or low-carb approach to diet.
Many may have less strenuous based lifestyles that a higher fat/lower carb diet can provide enough steady slower state energy....others who do more higher intensity glycolotic based workloads will do better with more glycogen based fuel (and carb replenishment). For example...I do fine on a high fat/protein diet for a couple days of non-intensity activity....but would perform poorly in an explosive based activity if I didn't restock my muscle glycogen stores at some point.

Quote:
I like your laid back approach to life and your healthy attitude towards these issues in general. I wish I could be more like that....I have a type A personality and I'm a prisoner in my own world of rigid standards I have created for myself.
You said it yourself....it's your own doing, and also can be your own undoing too. I have to keep reminding myself of the 80/20 rule.....focus on the 20% that give 80% of your results...and then just enjoy life....the other perfectionist types spend 80% of their time trying to find the 20%....that provide little and nothing if the basic 20% isn't followed in the first place. Perfection is an illusion. Some where out there is a guy who doesn't have a computer, doesn't read medical research library, doesn't go to a gym, eats real food, keeps active daily, gets fresh air, has a beer and laughs with friends nightly at the local pub and lives to be 100. I envy that person.

Quote:
Yes, we have the power to use raw materials into palatable, nutritous foodstuff but will never be able to truly duplicate what nature provides.
Sometimes I wonder if the answer is as simple as we created all our own problems long ago once we thought nature was not a perfect design and we could do better....and have lead us to where we are today, good and bad.

That being said....I am not going to go live in a cave and hunt dinner....but there can be some flexibility of being as natural as one can nowadays with needing 100% right or wrong with every approach.

Spend less time reading research about living to 100...and more into learning more about yourself (all that zen stuff)...you may find your happy place yet. I used to be in your place long ago....almost drove me nuts....then I started to do more of "nothing"...and it all started to have more clarity.
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Last edited by Mike ODonnell : 12-22-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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