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Does Paleo Need a Fork in the Road?

by (39821)
Updated 40 minutes ago
Created December 15, 2011 at 11:36 PM

It seems that most everyone who starts out here is doing LCHF right out of the gates no matter what their background is, but I wonder if there needs to be a fork in the road that we encounter on Day 1 that, in Choose Your Own Adventure style, points people in the right direction based on their realistic activity level.

I read the books/blogs/sites and found the information compelling and did LCHF a few times and each time I got flabbier, felt really cold and got sick. It's a very poor match for me and doesn't work at all for my high activity level. If I had encountered a fork in the road that said, "Seriously, how active are you? Do you lift weights or are you honestly willing to lift weights for real? Do you walk around a lot? When nobody is around and you're in a moment of self-examination, do you really consider to be an active person? If so, then you should do high tuber, low-fat (except EFAs)." I would have said "Yes!" and saved a damn year of spinning my wheels.

The converse would point people who are honestly never going to exercise toward LCHF. Relatively speaking, they can improve a lot of health markers doing this vs. doing nothing. I just wish this distinction were more clearly articulated and I'm convinced that it would massively reduce the amount of frustration that many encounter. What insane world do we live in where people are doing CrossFit while VLC? This could be avoided easily.

Edit: I realize I've done a piss-poor job of painting a picture of the individuals about whom I speak (who would take the road less traveled when reaching that fork). These are people for whom "not obese" is not a feather in their cap. They set a goal, without compromise, and decide that they haven't achieved anything until they get there. They don't do 80/20, 90/10 or 99/1, they do 100/0 until they get there because "cheats" are only going to cheat them out of reaching their goal. You can call these people "obsessed" or "narcissistic" or whatever makes you feel better, but they probably have the same ultimate goals as you do, only none of the compromises. They like paleo because it makes sense and is clearly the healthiest route in general, but they don't see why they shouldn't look and perform like wild humans as well. In order to do that most are going to need to eat less fat than those wild humans eat to maintain, while possibly doing more activity. Once they arrive, they'd let their fat intake swing up, perhaps their activity level swing down and then just coast. I say high carb, but only in this swirling low carb vortex would it be considered high carb. Probably around 200-something grams per day.

These are people whose attitude toward food is perhaps radically different from your own. They don't fetishize food and require X number of squares of chocolate or Y number of pieces of bacon to reward themselves every day. Rewarding experiences for them don't come in food form. They don't need to balance out a huge restriction of one type with hedonism of another. Food for them is a source of energy and raw materials, not enjoyment and affirmation. Bacon and eggs that blocks them from their goal turns into ashes in their mouths.

These people just need better information, and the tidal wave of high fat recommendations is only going to set them adrift and push them from their goals. The point of this post isn't to get those who aren't this type of person to become them, because I, quite frankly, don't give a damn about that and it doesn't affect me in any way. The point is to articulate another path for this type of person (who may only be 10 or even 5% of the people here) so that they don't get trapped in the Paleo Twilight Zone as I did.

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583 · November 18, 2013 at 10:31 PM

I came from a relatively healthy CW diet (though never a low-fat one) to Paleo not to lose weight but to feel better. And it worked - but only after I started to incorporate copious starches, mostly from tubers and squashes but even fruits and some honey, etc... The key for me was the elimination of no-no's like refined sugars, excessive PUFA's, grains, and beans. I work at a desk job and exercise just a little each week, though now that I "feel better" I'm more inclined to exercise. I started LCHF like most, but never to lose weight, and I eat carbs, but not for athleticism.

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2297 · December 18, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Third time's the charm.

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11111 · December 17, 2011 at 10:40 PM

@Travis - hard to be 100% certain but being paleo is the biggest factor and I am just naturally attuned to being low to no carb if I eat a lot of carbs it just drains me and I feel 'off' not sick anymore just not myself.

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 5:03 PM

the last bit of flab and really get down to low levels of BF% you cannot eat high fat. Are you saying you eat high fat and have very low body fat?

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Not to be rude Andy, but may I ask you what your BF% is? I know that is not very important and is not necessarily a marker of overall health but Travis's questions and my comment are directed towards people who want to be especially lean and not just at a normal BMI. We were both looking to tighten up and not have any flab and we got lost looking for that in High Fat paleo. We have both since found success leaning out with lower fat and moderate carbs. My BF% is 8-10%. I am not saying everyone should be this way but I think we are arguing two different things. I am only saying in order to lose

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2231 · December 17, 2011 at 4:46 PM

add me to the freeeeeakkkkkks

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8879 · December 17, 2011 at 3:52 PM

OK shah78 ... what is YOUR definition of paleo then? That was my point. If someone told me a year ago that they were paleo, I could be pretty confident presuming the person ate VLC, no dairy, veg oils, fatty meats, etc. Despite the fact that at the time Cordain's version of the diet was lean meats and canola oil, the "prevailing wisdom" was more what I described. Now? Lots of high carb paleos (nothing wrong with that), lacto-paleos, PHD-style exceptions to paleo etc.etc. When someone says paleo these days it's not clear there's any sort of concensus on what that means.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

That's not all he's saying at all. He's saying that dietary fat causes bodyfat because they are both jiggly. He's saying you have to eat moderate carbs to not look flabby. He's saying that the fat-dominant metabolism is only partially effective because most people lack the discipline required to eat an optimal diet. He's also severely confused and uniformed about all of it.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM

It's all relative. If you gained bodyfat then you overate by definition. Did you lose strength as well as muscle mass? Lowering your fat intake would make sense, as you would be eating less. Can you propose a single mechanism by which a straight switch of calories from fat to carb would realise ultimate bf% goals? (Assuming the goal is a lower rather than higher than their present state)

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78407 · December 17, 2011 at 1:59 PM

I take Travis' plan beyond the subset of the "ubermensch" to the average and the so called "untouchables" of Paleo the "metabolically dysfunctional", a group to which I proudly belong.I have an adrenal gland that is about a "functional as a Type I diabetis' pancreas. Thus it limits quanity of excercise as well as quality of excercise. Big deal. Eating the correct balance of macronutrients TRUMPS exercise. This "underclass" of Paleo is always selling itself short ,and "Paleo nutrition" short. TWEEK THE DIET is all Travis saying.Don't cling to the high fat or high carb high status quo.

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78407 · December 17, 2011 at 1:24 PM

You do not have to spend lots of time in the gym to lean out. And yes you have to learn how to work out to do this. But it does not mean work out more! Let's call it "workout finesse". But it is always coupled with "nutritional perfection". You can't "finesse" the nutrition. and yes, "perfection" is based on individual macronutrient experimentation. I should add, I enjoy your answers 99 % of the time. It's just that Travis has really "cut close to some bone " on this issue.

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 1:24 PM

bodybuilders will go keto before bodybuilding competitions but I've never heard a bodybuilder going high fat. When I was high fat low carbs I lost muscle mass and gained body fat (I actually went down in overall weight though) but I looked flabbier. I did not overeat. And I don't think people are doomed to be unhealthy but people may get stuck in their weightloss progress or never see their ultimate bf% goal if they do not lower their fat intake.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Eating too much will prevent you from being at your (self-image's) healthiest BF% and weight. Wow, who'd've thought it? You know all those papers you've read where people draw conclusions despite the experiments not being done anywhere near right to prove or disprove the hypothesis? There are reasons people went for higher-carb, low-fat in the first place. It's not paleo though. Believing that 95% of people are doomed to be unhealthy because they don't have the discipline to avoid eating fat is, for me, missing the whole point of the lifestyle.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 10:58 AM

You do realise this isn't magic voodoo right? We know muscles *look* bigger when you eat carbs. For the most part, getting rid of that last bit of fat is difficult without working out, and many people don't learn how to exercise in such a way that they don't have to start piling on carbs just so they can burn them by spending too much time at the gym. 200g carbs with 'lower' fat is just caloric restriction. There's plenty of bodybuilders who go keto pre-contest for that final push, with a bit of glycogen pumping just the day before.

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105 · December 17, 2011 at 4:40 AM

Nobody dies from eating carbs once.

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11986 · December 17, 2011 at 1:47 AM

No, Aravind, you are the most splendid of dummies; not ignorant in the least.

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18671 · December 17, 2011 at 1:39 AM

Many of us are freaks. Figuring out what makes you feel great without denying the experience of others is good.

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78407 · December 17, 2011 at 1:10 AM

I don't see any confusion. I am not confused at all. I may change my mind before the weekend is out, but I not confused. In fact ,I'd love to find something new to change my mind and eating habits asap.But confused no.I feel so good to have any doubts or confusion.

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10161 · December 17, 2011 at 12:52 AM

Wha? Conventional wisdom! That's the ticket! Milk is for baby cows! Carbs are non-essential nutrients! Grizzly Adams didn't have a beard!

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13692 · December 17, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Rose - No need to refer to me as ignorant. I prefer the term dummy

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 9:27 PM

I"m not going to review my history with you again, Travis. It stands in direct refutation of your contemptuous and incorrect certainty. We must each be satisfied with the rewards we've accrued for ourselves. For me, a (finally) normal BMI, and good health. I'm not sure what yours is, and I don't care, but I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Brad, no need to feel like a heretic. Lots of people report your experience, and lots (like me) report the opposite. We don't know everything yet, is all. Well, the smartest among us don't know everything. The most ignorant seem quite certain of themselves, but that's always the way, isn't it?

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 8:55 PM

For some reason this clip seems apropos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d682xV0n1YY

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1982 · December 16, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I was HFLC for four months, in ketosis according to the stix. I didn't lose any weight, though I need to, and I felt like crap the entire time, with barely enough energy for a basic full-body workout, and weird-looking BM's to boot. Now I eat more carbs, some even in the form of non-gluten grains, and I feel like a heretic.

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2949 · December 16, 2011 at 8:14 PM

So what exactly are you asking? Also, explain your abbreviations, had to google LCHF. And no, not "everyone" is doing LCHF, I'm not.

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24523 · December 16, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Me neither. The Kia Optima runs on gasoline. (sorry, can't help myself no matter how stupid the comment is that comes out)

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Yes, also my own exercise almost entirely involves me swimming in extremely cold water, which anyone who does open-water triathlons will tell you is an experience of its own compared to running/biking. I wouldn't be surprised if the optima fuel is quite different.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Sorry, this one isn't as clear as when you're just lobbing insults. Are you now graduating beyond "look, fat you eat is all wobbly and so eating it makes you all wobbly" and moving on to "well if more people believe this than that, this must be correct"? I don't dismiss experience based even a small part on collective mass. In fact I think it was only yesterday I was telling people not to disregard the conventional wisdom of traditional diets. There are nevertheless strong arguments both for my view, and for why others disagree. Not engaging with those suggests you never really got it.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:31 PM

You can't dismiss our experiences based purely on our collective mass. Divided out by # of people, it makes them worth more if one's goal is to get lean.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Seriously, again? You're coming here to call people you know nothing about fat? I sure need to get me some of that zen-like high-carb mental powers you got going.

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24523 · December 16, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Dudebros-- don't skip over AndyM's statement, three entries above this. Our experiences on low carb are all probably all quite a bit different with respect to mix of anaerobic/aerobic work. Don't forget different micronutrition. Altogether, it's great to get people's individual stories, but very confusing to compare them.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Yup, you are a god among mortals. That's Damascus for you. Nothing like a long walk down a dusty road. Nice and paleo too that.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Yeah, I guess my experience would be fairly narrow compared to your vast, undulating experience.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Ah, you've finally gotten it Rose, well done.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:13 PM

I'm happy for him to fork himself is that's what he feels is needed. No reason to fork other people though, particularly when he knows so little about them.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I don't experience noticeable insulin swings from paleo carbohydrates. Does that help? Why would you assume I'm only ever talking about me? Is it because you have trouble seeing beyond your own narrow experience when trying to fit things into your unassailably correct and complete understand of human biology?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Colpo's one of the few people telling the truth out there. Shame he's not more popular here. His near-apoplectic rages make perfect sense to me now. I think tact is fat-soluble and purged when people get lean.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM

For you to experience noticeable insulin swings from paleo carbohydrates, you must not be active.

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Andy, Travis's special plan is for the uebermensch; the select one or two who can wear the superhero underoos and the cape in bed. Don't trouble your unmanly, undisciplined, untermensch self over this, er, fork. It's a fork that I must admit he wears well.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Yep, all science is opinion, and all opinion is dogmatic, and it's really worthwhile going to the websites supporting ideas you disagree with to evangelise and demonstrate your incredible discipline and self-restraint.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

I'm not advocating anything for you, I clearly articulated to whom this is aimed. I also didn't say that this is currently an important fork for paleo, which is precisely the problem.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:58 PM

It's also dogmatic to dismiss wisdom merely because it's conventional. Pale(br)o science is no better.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM

You really think I'm not active?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Couple months of that ought to cancel out a lifetime of the opposite right quick, eh?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Ah. It is known.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Carbs where his saviour, very few people round here talk about banishing them, and dismissing other people's experiences and the scientific basis in an attempt to overgeneralise is much more the preserve of the dogmatic CWers.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:54 PM

This is the right time of year for you to be jolly. Do you have a beard?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:53 PM

I'm perfectly relaxed, but you seem to be really agitated. Have some carbs, son.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:52 PM

High long-chain fat when trying to lose fat is clearly stupid, no matter how many grams of carbohydrates you're eating.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:51 PM

You really think you have the same glucose tolerance as someone who is active?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Keep reward high and find foods for which less is more.

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1074 · December 16, 2011 at 6:25 PM

i agree with Travis, carbs are not a savior but not to be banished either. btw this is for sedentary ppl. going low carb as an athlete who requires high amounts of activity is plain stupidity and only dogmatic paleo low-carbers would advocate such.

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 6:20 PM

+1 for non-sciency! Some of us still speak like ordinary humans while pursuing our extraordinary lifestyles.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Oh, and (since you were naturally looking for info on athletes, being such a specimen yourself), those numbers from Paleo for Athletes were 50% carbs, 30% fat in the off-season, rising to 60% carbs and 20% fat during pre-season and competition. I'm not sure you can really claim the info doesn't exist. I think it even stranger that you subscribe to a theory which you do not believe exists in Paleo, yet consider it to be an important fork of paleo.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:55 PM

So what are you advocating, 10%?

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Black box? (1) You don't understand the scientific process. Of course we aim to understand the underlying mechanisms of everything. That is the final goal. But observation trumps any theory. That's why we test our hypotheses. If there is no good explanation for what we see, we don't then say the observation is wrong, we look for a better hypothesis. (2) It's not the case that we don't have an understanding of the mechanisms behind LC. (3) Every person has their own tolerances. How is suggesting higher fat worse advice than trying higher carb? How is that more of a black box approach?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:34 PM

" Those insulin swings you speak of don't occur for those whose mitochondria haven't atrophied. " You don't release insulin every time you eat? Or do you mean that your super mitochondria mean that you maintain high insulin levels constantly? Oh, and if you thought losing the last 20 pounds would be easy compared to someone losing 50 pounds when obese then you really didn't do any kind of homework at all.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:33 PM

He put it at 28-47% fat in 2002.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:32 PM

It's not a black box, it's just beyond your understanding. So we try and keep it simple for you. You have complete control over your hands and mouth, but you couldn't get the rest of your body to perform on fat, or rather eat enough fat to have sufficient FAs available to fuel your mitochondria. You are undoutably some kind of, erm, ninja.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

You should reread Cordain. He advocated low saturated fat, but not low-fat.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:28 PM

"I think with the lower adipocyte transmembrane flux at that BF% I didn't have enough FAs floating around to fuel my mitochondria or something." LOL

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

"I think with the lower adipocyte transmembrane flux at that BF% I didn't have enough FAs floating around to fuel my mitochondria or something."

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Why not do the most obvious thing and start with activity, wit LC coming later? The paleo community goes for dietary emulation first, whereas the most important difference is in social behavior. Shedding modern urban behavior is more important than changing a grocery list.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

That's a really strange argument. Why not just relax a little instead of telling everyone how wrong they are with your superior mental control?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

The "lovely black box" perspective of LC is exactly what's wrong with it and why the advice given here when someone stalls out is so poor. Your equation is stalled? Add fat and see what happens. LC's efficacy for treating the obese (going from obese to just overweight) is unquestionable, but considerations like "sustainability" do not apply to me. I can eat whatever diet for however long because I control what my hands and mouth do with pretty good precision.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

For anyone intersted google Vince Gironda. the "iron guru" Died penniless in 1997! He never sold out. But his diet is the Paleo diet about which Tavis speaks. Easy & simple.I chuckle every time I think that I'm eating like Steve Reeves and Vince in the fifties. All 160 ,adrenal impaired, lbs. of me.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Seriously? Cordain is infamously low-fat and lean meats. Paleo diet for Athletes is all about carbs and protein with nutrient density over caloric density during recovery. And pretty much every source references that there are reasons why bodybuilders looked as they did, and also that there are reasons HGs didn't look like bodybuilders. You bought a biochem textbook and now you're able to correct Robb Wolf on the subject? You don't think that it's possible that it's you that's still underinformed?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

That's actually pretty good for high-fat. Getting to that point with carb restriction made me feel pretty bad. I think with the lower adipocyte transmembrane flux at that BF% I didn't have enough FAs floating around to fuel my mitochondria or something.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM

You can talk about mechanism until you are blue in the face. If it doesn't match what happens to actual people under LC conditions, it's garbage. Are you now denying that LC has been found clinically, repeatedly, to be the most effective weight loss strategy on average? At the very least a proposed mechanism should explain the observations.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I really do think that that's the difference. I have piles upon piles of discipline that's going to waste if I try something else. It's not for everyone but for people like me, it's ideal.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:14 PM

It doesn't appear to be very obvious to you that for some (many many many) people, they can more than eat enough to afford the energy penalty to store carbs. They have to. If they binge with full glycogen stores then, however much of it they may burn off just for fun, they can't burn it fast enough and need to store it at least temporarily. You need to be more responsible with your context and caveats if you want people to understand what you're trying to say. And be better able to correct you.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Dan: One of the things that snared me was all of the glowing reviews and X# of pounds lost quoted by so many. What I never asked was what weight they started out at and what weight they eventually stalled out at. Suddenly the 50 pound loss makes a lot more sense. If I only had 20-30 to lose, I'd assume that it'd be easy compared to the 50, but I didn't realize that their stalling point is at a fatter point than my starting point.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Those insulin swings you speak of don't occur for those whose mitochondria haven't atrophied. That's the huge difference being missed.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:07 PM

And I'm really not sure how you can think that you are in the vast majority if you take LCHF to mean greater intake of calories from fat than carbs. Now it's possible you misunderstood some part of what you were listening to, or that the information was flawed, or that you implemented it incorrectly, or that your biological functions are wildly different from other people. I wouldn't assume too much though.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:05 PM

The information that I needed to receive simply doesn't exist in Paleo. Not even 1st Edition Cordain is telling people that the basic structure of what so many thousands upon thousands of recreational bodybuilders have been doing for so many decades with great success can work very well. High fat is a sacred cow that is never questioned. It was only when I bought a second-hand biochem textbook and spent a lot of time reading scientific papers that I realized that basic biochemistry is totally mischaracterized in the paleo community.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

"Why not start out Paleo mod/high carb and then after a while adjust down if necessary?" Well since you ask, many people find the regular eating cycle of high-carb diets and the constant insulin fluctuations to make it difficult to control or cope with gradual reduction. Which is why success has more often been found with breaking the habit, getting over the transition, firing up the long-dormant fat metabolism pathways and then increasing carbs based on a more reliable indicator of need/desire.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:47 PM

I'm guessing that the volume of food you're eating is very small and thus the nutrient density is less than it is for me eating the same amount of energy. These healthy fats overall have a poor nutrient density compared to either meat or tubers. Sure there are some fat solubles, but I never drop below 3 pastured yolks a day anyway.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

It doesn't appear to be very obvious to you that carbohydrates are very rarely converted into fat via DNL (with about a 23% energy penalty to do so). The thermic effect alone is about 15%. Fat is 3% at best and is sent via chylomicrons right to the adipocytes. By inducing a carb-starved state, you can burn a lot of fat, but it gets matched by that which is stored. Brief PSMFs make so much more sense than prolonged carb restriction. Fat makes good fuel, but bodyfat makes the best fuel when you're fatter than you want to be.

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495 · December 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM

proverbial "High 5"!

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Obviously, Travis. Healthy protein intake doesn't have a large variance, so what you take away from carb intake must come from fat. Fat makes good fuel.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Are you suggesting that there's something unhealthy about fat now?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

The problem is that nearly all of the people advocating whatever carbohydrate intake are also advocating a high intake of "healthy fats."

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20411 · December 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Okay, that was funny.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Excellent points, Aaron. Within the last year, the Paleo Zeitgeist has turned significantly away from LC. It was much more dominant before that. But as of right now, anyone who looks here is going to find a strong safe-starch contingent, and anyone who doesn't find that needs spoon feeding, which is not the purpose of this site.

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3443 · December 16, 2011 at 11:27 AM

@Travis-cont'd-In the end I think the higher discipline required for a HCLF diet will always be a limiting factor and will always tie Paleo to LC for many. In my CW days my mantra was, "life's a marathon not a sprint" as I ran mile after mile and lifted for several hours each week in order to create a caloric deficit. The only way I can (easily) control caloric intake-in the absence of the satiation provided by a higher fat diet-is through sheer will power, which is also a prerequisite of most exercise regimens I guess.

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3443 · December 16, 2011 at 11:16 AM

@Travis- for what it's worth I think you make some good points. I'd agree that many people, Paleos included, could do with higher levels of activity. I also think that a significant proportion of people would fit, to some degree, into the two options you've suggested. I also think that there are a lot of exceptions. I feel like I'm one myself, on ZC/VLC I can still maintain ridiculous activity levels and it's the only time I can lose weight without resorting to calories-in vs. calories-out, I don't feel ravenous on LC. Whereas more carbs means more discipline regardless of activty level.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 10:40 AM

"Travis, and many others, obviously does well with higher carb, and lower fat" Self-reported

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3443 · December 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I can relate, except in my case it's guys 1/2 my size, not age, that I've outlasted/outworked and while in a fasted state (doing LCHF + IF at the time). However in reference to Travis' comment, I'd attribute it to being well adapted ketogenically and the fact that my strength level means that even in very strenuous work, I rarely experience maximum intensity compared to most people. In my case the lower carbs don't come into play as I don't think that I exhaust muscle glycogen stores for the most part.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Whoops that was supposed to be *lower-back fat. Upper-back would be an odd place to store the bulk of my remaining fat.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Basically reached it. I'm not ripped or anything, but I can see my abs, or my upper abs. Still have a little upper-back fat, but not much; I look good in a bathing suit. I'm sure that if I went on a fastidious regimen of calorie reduction plus daily IFing plus low reward then I could get ripped. But I doubt I would bother ... And by the way if I did it I would do it high-fat -- just to get your goat! Ha ha, just teasing. But I *would* do it high-fat and it would be a good experiment. If I end up doing it I will definitely keep track of all the details and put them up on my blog or something.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:09 AM

I've heard this tale of woe told many a time 'round these parts. Good to see that a necromancer resurrected you.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Alternative hypothesis to what? The carb-insulin hypothesis for obesity? Sure, I have one. Fueling yourself like an athlete while doing fuck-all. Add some MSG and aspartame in there to damage the leptin receptors of the hypothalamus' arcuate nucleus and you have a recipe for an epidemic.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:05 AM

I would agree if it turns out that there is a genetic predisposition toward a sedentary lifestyle, if you consider being sedentary an acquired imbalance and if you agree with me that being sedentary is a disease state. If you think sitting around eating bacon is evolutionarily consistent or "paleo," well....

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:03 AM

Did you have an ultimate goal for pants-size or weight or something when you started paleo? Did you reach it?

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 6:37 AM

I don't know, whatever your typical vegetarian-leaning "healthy" eater eats. (I ate chicken and fish but no red meat.) So whatever fat that would be: lots of PUFAs, lots of olive oil. I always wanted heartier food but had trouble getting it within my restrictions. Of course what I was desperate for was saturated fat. When I finally got it I was happy.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:10 AM

And I'd be inclined to think you're reading selectively. As I said in my original answer, I think there's a lack of balance and also a tendency for people to grab hold of overly-simplified concepts that don't account for the whole picture. But it seems you've gone too far the other way, neglecting that there are reasons why this 'myth' of low-carb has propagated. I don't believe you have a viable alternative hypothesis, but feel free to reference it.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:57 AM

There's plenty of evidence; just look at PH every day and see all of the people who are wondering why oh why they aren't lean when they dutifully eat their butter and bacon. I just remembered, I ate an orange last week, is that why? I shook hands with someone who touched a sandwich, is that why I gained 5lbs on this diet? If you have eaten this magical high fat diet and got to exactly the level of body fat that you really, with no compromises, want to carry, then I applaud you. I just don't think you're in the majority.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:49 AM

How much fat did you eat during the running period?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:49 AM

Do you have more energy because you eat paleo or because you have lower carbs?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:19 AM

And there we go you see, caveats abound! As you say, there is a real risk in trying to reduce it all to one simple formula.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 5:07 AM

Perhaps I was a little too generous and loose with that statement. Ranges is a much better way of putting it. The one caveat I would add is that if you are consuming body fat, you can probably count that as part of your diet, thus eating what looks like high-protein diet, but is actually a high fat one.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 4:57 AM

My only concern with making it 'macro-nutrient-agnostic' is that the issue is already framed by CW. For most people, less than 50% calories from carbs is 'low-carb', more than 30% from fat is 'high-fat' and more than 20% from protein is 'high-protein'. That's why I think there has to be some value in emphasising that not only is the viable range of ratios larger than people think, but that the mean values are different to what people would expect. It's affirmative action by the protein and fat lobby, but it's arguably necessary in the majority of cases.

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5477 · December 16, 2011 at 4:54 AM

+1 - Beautifully stated.

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 4:38 AM

"For the well-disciplined, plain starch + lean meat + activity has always been and will always be the best route." What a load of halo-hunting horseshit. I'll bet on the self-discipline of an obese, chronic dieter who eats less than a thousand calories a day for months, and goes to the gym despite swollen painful joints and contemptuous stares, over the vapid self-congratulatory "discipline" of someone who naturally excels at athletics any day. The average fat person endures daily life under conditions most naturally lean people can't even imagine.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 4:31 AM

I'm not sure your survey of the 'vast majority' tallies with how other people perceive the situation. And trying to retrofit various partial theories to support your new conclusions based on your limited personal experience doesn't really contend with the depth of structure in the ideas you're seemingly railing against.

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424 · December 16, 2011 at 4:15 AM

Travis: I downvoted your question, not because it guides people to try high-carb, but because it makes broad assertions without accompanying evidence, and it denigrates the honesty of that class of people whose experience contradicts it.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:14 AM

Those who lack good information as I did but do not lack discipline should know that there's another way. Just take any random bodybuilder's diet and workout and paleo-ify it and you'll get to where you want to be. I really wish someone had told me that in the beginning.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:12 AM

There are many like me who reach paleo in a "kinda flabby" state, read the massive slant toward high fat diets and assume that it's the golden ticket. The turning point for me was when I realized that not only do the vast majority of people who go from where I was to where I wanted to go do so with lean meat and about 200g of plain starch, but that the vast majority of the people advocating high fat diets are themselves fatter not only than I wanted to be, but than I was right before I started. I felt duped, and still do.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 3:52 AM

"What's going on today? Is everyone intentionally reversing the memes of paleo as a big practical joke?" LOL, exactly my thought. I thought paleo was the Occam's razor to the anti-carb AND pro-carb forces, because neither really makes sense in light of the myriad of healthy, genetically diverse cultures who do well on either diet.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 3:31 AM

"Travis thinks laziness leads to carb intolerence." Maybe from this post: http://paleohacks.com/questions/76290/how-much-of-the-metabolic-derangement-we-hear-about-is-due-to-a-sedentary-lifes

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 3:30 AM

Shah, I was led to LC for weight reasons, but I stay on it for health reasons.

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 3:26 AM

Inactivity does promote hunger too - that's why I think the exercise is partly a distraction. The time of the gnawing hunger was when I was steadily losing 2 pounds a week, headed towards 25 BMI. I've maintained weight there for over 4 years, partly because I don't relish doing it again. I also know what I'm in for if I try to lose another 10 pounds.

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8979 · December 16, 2011 at 3:01 AM

You don't want a fork in the road. You just want to widen the path that leads the people who do well on LC right into the ditch.-1

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 2:59 AM

I think some people overstate the idea that paleo means eat whatever you think works for you. Still, we're missing a lot of definition of what 'very low carb' is, as well as the context, and other foods in the diet etc. We're really no less vulnerable to being misled than the masses who still adhere to CW. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 2:54 AM

There seems to be an assmuption on the "anti travis" team and maybe even with Travis himself, Travis? that Travis thinks laziness leads to carb intolerence. As I said above, I will gladly be called lazy for the sake of argument( and compared to Travis's activity level, I am), but I can handle more carbs than most on PH and also be unable to go very low carb. People can live in either world,and also live in both. Does this make any sense?

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 2:38 AM

I do very little excercise.,but I am not lazy in the least.I've just figured out the minimun dose of activity to get the health results.I don't mind being called lazy. I'll wear it as a badge, to prove the power of the diet, our diet. Our shared Paleo diet. The diet with unlimited options, basd on our own experiencesand motives.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 2:29 AM

"In time you will see that carbs are essential for those aiming to be truly healthy. You can stay alive without them, but you cannot be truly healthy." What's going on today? Is everyone intentionally reversing the memes of paleo as a big practical joke?

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 2:26 AM

We just had the "health or mirror" question. We're on the health side and you all are on the mirror side. Neither side is actually wrong. Both sides are correct, based on their own experience and/or motives. Perhaps ! ??? This post may not look as good in the morning.:)

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 2:21 AM

Just because some people do better with more carbs does not imply that those who need to LC wouldn't need to if they just exercised more. That's what I'm objecting to.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 2:19 AM

Now you are saying that those who are active should be by default directed to a higher carb diet, and only those who are "honestly aren't going to" exercise to restrict carbs, since that is better than "doing nothing" for your health. This amounts to blaming carb intolerance on laziness, and it is wrong and rude.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 2:19 AM

He is explaining a phenomenon, which we both have experienced.He knows he is right, becuase he has experienced it.Travis with an average liver and high energy expenditure, and me with a damged liver and less,but more than"paleo" sufficient , energy level. We both feel this wall we hit with less than optimum carb levels. The wall is the liver. QED!

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 2:17 AM

Travis, I'm not taking your post personally. I'm objecting to the fact that you are dismissing a well-represented group's experience as falsehood. You have asserted that if only people would exercise enough, they wouldn't have to lower carbohydrates. This is simply untrue for many people.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 2:09 AM

Me, and my "less than robust liver", still stand with Travis.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 2:05 AM

You're problem here is that you are isolating discipline from food intake. They are significantly entangled. Saying it's the best method for the well-disciplined is an argument for saying it isn't functional or healthy.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 2:05 AM

There's also Bjorn Ferry who won gold in the biathlon at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Anthony Colpo gives some very tendentious but possibly accurate discussion of both Ferry and Colting here: http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=1535

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 2:02 AM

In time you will see that carbs are essential for those aiming to be truly healthy. You can stay alive without them, but you cannot be truly healthy.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 2:01 AM

Fasting affects liver glycogen, which affects replenishment during (and after) exercise. I'm able to keep going, and work out again, because I'm not heavily reliant on glycogen to fuel the activity. My aerobic capacity is pretty high.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:58 AM

How about just eating normally like Jonas? Some fat, some carbs, some protein, not LC or LF, just moderate.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:57 AM

I think, with real foods, it's not difficult at all to maintain weight. The body can adapt to a wide range of conditions and keep homeostasis. It takes chronic abuse to move things in either direction.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:57 AM

I've tried rice and potato too. I think much of it is food volume for me. I am very small, my stomach is very small. To get enough calories from low-fat starch, I have to eat a lot.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:55 AM

"We need X number of grams of EFAs per day and the rest is working against us if we have some flab we'd like to burn off." As is eating ANY carbs at all, as none of them are essential. Except it's not that simple is it? If you stop consuming calories, you struggle to maintain the same level of activity. Consuming fat allows you to maintain energy levels while effortlessly sliding from dietary fat to bodyfat. Eating additional carbs purely to burn them with additional exercise seems entirely redundant as a fat loss approach.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Do you actually get bloated on potato or rice? Sweet potato bloats me like nothing else but rice and potato are totally fine. I'm guessing it's the raffinose, not the starch.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Fasting only really affects liver glycogen, so it shouldn't negatively impact performance + an empty stomach probably helps.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:44 AM

I really don't care if it's the whole site against me and this thread is down-voted into oblivion, so long as 1 well-disciplined person avoids the frustration of eating low-carb/high-fat due to its many accolades with no appreciable reduction in body fat.

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 1:44 AM

@thhq Hmmm. Exercise kills my appetite. I get hungry a few hours later, but less hungry than usual not more. I'm hungriest on days I don't do anything.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:43 AM

Yeah, at Movnat we did A LOT of stuff fasted.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Colting, like me, is relatively low-carb. I've tried all kinds of starches. Sweet potatoes, yams, plaintains, yucca, etc. And I've tried them without very much or any fat in my diet. They are are fine, but I seem to have a ceiling for % of my diet and above that they start to cause problems. My ceiling for sweet fruit is a bit higher.

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Like AndyM, my best performance has always come fasted. Afterward, rest and normal eating were fine--today's carb feeding before or after just puzzle me.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 1:41 AM

This is good. It may get even better. Three on one! Good luck Travis. "that robust liver theory" is very good. For now , I'll side with you!

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Having a robust liver like that would be awesome, it's just that I don't have such a liver, and you may not either. The high fat thing boggles my mind more than the low carb thing. We need X number of grams of EFAs per day and the rest is working against us if we have some flab we'd like to burn off.

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11683 · December 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Andy, I guess you're right - I was losing because my total calories just went down. I've never done the full meta-analysis of my cals, fat grams, etc. I just eat meat, veg, starch and fat at every meal. My point is that I'm sedentary and I don't need VLC to maintain weight. But I do keep my total calories in check - I don't overeat or eat when I'm not hungry etc.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM

What starch did you use that resulted in bloating? Is Colting really low-carb? http://www.marksdailyapple.com/jonas-colting/#axzz1ga7162Pk

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:32 AM

I feel like some of my best performances come when well fasted. In reality, though I haven't played with it much, I think the optimal approach would be to supercharge my muscles with carbs for a special occasion, but otherwise gaining that edge isn't effective if I do it all the time in training and it compromises the other pathways.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:28 AM

But what's respectable? And over what timeframe? And just how depleted are they getting in the first place? And what's wrong with having a robust liver? If you're looking to exceed the body's natural limits I can see the argument for increasing carbs, but not for reducing fat simultaneously.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:21 AM

Colting doesn't sound VLC at all btw and specically tries to not deplete glycogen overly much during training.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:17 AM

It takes a massively robust liver to be able to achieve sufficient gluconeogenesis for glycogen repletion without a respectable carbohydrate intake. They are doing these things in spite of their diets, not because of them.

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32518 · December 16, 2011 at 1:13 AM

Hmmm...I'm remembering a blog post or two on Archevore about Kurt Harris' brother-in-law who was massively active on LC: http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2009/12/25/panu-eating-and-high-intensity-training.html From other LC/VLC stories on MDA, I really don't buy the high activity = high carb for everyone.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:11 AM

That's just more about total caloric intake though surely? Perhaps you need to be more specific about what you consider high and low carb and fat. I don't think burning carbs as your primary metabolism is good for anyone.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:08 AM

It's a very binary way to see things. I've known plenty of legit athletes who are LC and do awesome and don't do so well with carbs, like Jonas Colting.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Once again you take posts that have nothing to do with you personally. The only thing that's unbelievable is that the low carb misinformation hasn't been relegated to the dingy corners of the paleo movement and still entraps new people every day.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Depending on the definition of healthy as well. There's plenty of testimonials from people who swear they need the SAD to thrive. We really don't have rigorous data to work from, only reason.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Well yeah, I'm talking about people who want to get leaner since most people in general want to be leaner and most people who arrive at paleo want to get leaner. The LC route is for the ultra-sedentary obese who aren't realistically going to exercise. They could snap out of it and get as lean as they want, but I'm trying to be realistic here. There are of course many who needn't be all that active to tolerate carbs. The fork is for the flabby masses yearning to be lean.

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 1:03 AM

The hunger is my observation, and one size doesn't fit all. I didn't see it during exercise, which was distracting or supressing it. It came later, usually hours after a meal. The weight loss continued at the same steady rate for the final 35 lbs, but being hungry was now part of the experience. At the start it was so easy, in the end it was perseverance.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 1:01 AM

That's a low blow, Travis. Unbelievable.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:58 AM

See, the thing you're showing is that every corner of paleo is shouting "High Fat!" while some are saying that + starch occasionally. For the well-disciplined, plain starch + lean meat + activity has always been and will always be the best route. Most people saying high fat are actually pretty flabby. Some of us don't want to be flabby.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:57 AM

Self-reported very active people.

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78 · December 16, 2011 at 12:55 AM

@thhq - when I first started to lose, I used South Beach, 10 yrs ago. There was no transition back to grains. Now, we know for those who are adding back starchy veggies (never grains) that we add 5 grams a day until the scale/tape measure/Levi's say, whoa!

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 12:52 AM

From reading posts here, it seems a lot of people have come to paleo with specific food sensitivities, which I think may also be a factor in how it's presented with the emphasis on 'strict' paleo and starting with full elimination. While there is some sense to that, I would expect for the vast majority that while it would be a useful exercise, they really aren't suffering if they stick with dairy and tomatoes as part of their diet. I think the flexible approach, where one understands the basic principles and avoids compromises becoming routine, is desirable.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 12:49 AM

Not sure about that, if anything some good exercise and fresh air reduces any hunger I might be perceiving when I'm on a solid, fat-dominant diet.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 12:48 AM

I don't understand how you can even ask this, when you got several testimonials from very active people who didn't get healthy until they dropped the carbs, the last few times you brought this up. Are you just dismissing them?

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 12:41 AM

You both make great points.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 12:12 AM

I think it's important enough that we should aim to arm people with the knowledge to work it out themselves, rather than have rules and targets etc. I appreciate for the vast majority they prefer to be told exactly what to do. And that's not impossible one-on-one with pretty good results. But in general I think we should be focusing more on why we eat what we do rather than what specifically we're eating.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:06 AM

There aren't really any people aside from outright diabetics where I would say they should drop below 60g. What I'm saying is that the really active should have not only an unrestricted carb intake, but they should be trying to figure out ways to get around the bulky nature of paleo carbs vs. the limited stomach space they have. You end up having to eat when not hungry and, provided that your fat intake is low, you still lose fat.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:04 AM

There's a guy with no legs who pedals a modified recumbent bike by my office all the time through all kinds of inclement weather. I want to throttle people and say "This guy has no fucking legs, what the fuck is your excuse?!?!" but some people just aren't going to do it. They'd rather take the hit health-wise. Realistically, they need to probably cut back on carbs and relatively speaking they'll be better off.

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2861 · December 15, 2011 at 11:58 PM

I think it is always going to be way more complicated than what people want to make it. I wasn’t very active at all at the time but VLCHF still kicked my ass when I tried it. The fork wouldn’t have really mattered in my case. The main thing is for people to get in touch with how there body is working, and if something doesn’t work, then experiment and find something that does. There is nothing wrong with trying VLC; the problem is people getting locked into the Insulin Hypothesis kool-aid and refusing to adapt if it doesn’t work.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 4:50 AM

It sounds like you feel that the Paleo community misled you. You didn't feel well on a VLC diet, and it took a long time for you to realize what the problem was, because many Paleo dieters are also LC dieters.

Since the revelation that you felt better with higher carb intake, you have tried to figure out what makes you different from the people who do well low carb, those who thrive on it, those who fare poorly on higher carb levels.

One path in the search came from thinking about how highly active people sometimes (but not always!) do better with a higher carb intake. And it turns out that these people seem to burn it all off before it adversely affects them. Also, it happens that insulin sensitivity is increased to some degree through exercise. All this leads quite naturally to the hypothesis that LC is a remedy for a lack of exercise, a measure that is only necessary if one refuses the healthy practice of activity. It's a fine hypothesis as far as it goes, and your experience fits neatly into it.

The next step is to see if there are people who are very active who still have glucose metabolism issues. The answer is a resounding yes! Unfortunately, therefore, that hypothesis must be rejected. Or you could reject the observations, but that doesn't seem particularly wise.

In any case, it has often been lamented that the Paleo diet is conflated with a LC diet. It is only natural, however, since they hold some common values (for example the heretical notion that fat, even saturated fat, is healthy), and they also attract many of the same people -- people not satisfied with their health who realize that even a so-called healthy diet, such as that promoted by the AHA, is not serving them.

I don't think what is needed is so much a fork. The one you have suggested will be wrong in both directions for different people. It is simply misguided. But as long it is made clear that Paleo is macro-nutrient-agnostic, fewer people will have the problem you did; the problem of continuing to try something that isn't working because that was the prevailing wisdom.

The bottom line is that everyone is faced with their own set of problems, from genetic predispositions, to acquired imbalances, to specific disease states. Only the very lucky will get it right the first time, and even then they will have to feel around to discover what their limits are. I don't think we can make it simpler than that without also making it false.

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11986 · December 17, 2011 at 1:47 AM

No, Aravind, you are the most splendid of dummies; not ignorant in the least.

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13692 · December 17, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Rose - No need to refer to me as ignorant. I prefer the term dummy

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Brad, no need to feel like a heretic. Lots of people report your experience, and lots (like me) report the opposite. We don't know everything yet, is all. Well, the smartest among us don't know everything. The most ignorant seem quite certain of themselves, but that's always the way, isn't it?

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1982 · December 16, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I was HFLC for four months, in ketosis according to the stix. I didn't lose any weight, though I need to, and I felt like crap the entire time, with barely enough energy for a basic full-body workout, and weird-looking BM's to boot. Now I eat more carbs, some even in the form of non-gluten grains, and I feel like a heretic.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:53 PM

I'm perfectly relaxed, but you seem to be really agitated. Have some carbs, son.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

That's a really strange argument. Why not just relax a little instead of telling everyone how wrong they are with your superior mental control?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:15 PM

I really do think that that's the difference. I have piles upon piles of discipline that's going to waste if I try something else. It's not for everyone but for people like me, it's ideal.

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3443 · December 16, 2011 at 11:27 AM

@Travis-cont'd-In the end I think the higher discipline required for a HCLF diet will always be a limiting factor and will always tie Paleo to LC for many. In my CW days my mantra was, "life's a marathon not a sprint" as I ran mile after mile and lifted for several hours each week in order to create a caloric deficit. The only way I can (easily) control caloric intake-in the absence of the satiation provided by a higher fat diet-is through sheer will power, which is also a prerequisite of most exercise regimens I guess.

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3443 · December 16, 2011 at 11:16 AM

@Travis- for what it's worth I think you make some good points. I'd agree that many people, Paleos included, could do with higher levels of activity. I also think that a significant proportion of people would fit, to some degree, into the two options you've suggested. I also think that there are a lot of exceptions. I feel like I'm one myself, on ZC/VLC I can still maintain ridiculous activity levels and it's the only time I can lose weight without resorting to calories-in vs. calories-out, I don't feel ravenous on LC. Whereas more carbs means more discipline regardless of activty level.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:05 AM

I would agree if it turns out that there is a genetic predisposition toward a sedentary lifestyle, if you consider being sedentary an acquired imbalance and if you agree with me that being sedentary is a disease state. If you think sitting around eating bacon is evolutionarily consistent or "paleo," well....

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:19 AM

And there we go you see, caveats abound! As you say, there is a real risk in trying to reduce it all to one simple formula.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 5:07 AM

Perhaps I was a little too generous and loose with that statement. Ranges is a much better way of putting it. The one caveat I would add is that if you are consuming body fat, you can probably count that as part of your diet, thus eating what looks like high-protein diet, but is actually a high fat one.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 4:57 AM

My only concern with making it 'macro-nutrient-agnostic' is that the issue is already framed by CW. For most people, less than 50% calories from carbs is 'low-carb', more than 30% from fat is 'high-fat' and more than 20% from protein is 'high-protein'. That's why I think there has to be some value in emphasising that not only is the viable range of ratios larger than people think, but that the mean values are different to what people would expect. It's affirmative action by the protein and fat lobby, but it's arguably necessary in the majority of cases.

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5477 · December 16, 2011 at 4:54 AM

+1 - Beautifully stated.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 3:16 AM

Just one more example to add to the discussion: I have always been very athletic, both with weights and with cardio/sports. Nevertheless I started putting on fat in my midsection as I went into my late twenties. I tried to get it off by eating less of the same things I was eating, while jogging more. I failed. Over and over. I then switched to low-carb pseudo-paleo (20-50g total carbohydrate) and the midsection fat melted off, effortlessly, in two months.

My exercise level did not change and I lost weight.

And I ate that low level of carbohydrate for a year and a half. I now eat anywhere from 50g to 125g of glucose (almost never fructose) on most days. Obviously this feels somewhat better to me or I wouldn't do it. But it would most certainly be an exaggeration to say that in my LC/VLC days I was "insane." I was doing just fine, lifting weights while fasted, eating once or twice a day, happily and gratefully liberated from my glucose roller coaster.

I'm totally open of course to people who want to eat a higher-glucose form of paleo, and even if they're not crossfitters. I hope that's obvious. Just trying to give an accurate representation of one person's experience.

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 8:55 PM

For some reason this clip seems apropos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d682xV0n1YY

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:54 PM

This is the right time of year for you to be jolly. Do you have a beard?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:28 PM

"I think with the lower adipocyte transmembrane flux at that BF% I didn't have enough FAs floating around to fuel my mitochondria or something." LOL

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

"I think with the lower adipocyte transmembrane flux at that BF% I didn't have enough FAs floating around to fuel my mitochondria or something."

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

That's actually pretty good for high-fat. Getting to that point with carb restriction made me feel pretty bad. I think with the lower adipocyte transmembrane flux at that BF% I didn't have enough FAs floating around to fuel my mitochondria or something.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Whoops that was supposed to be *lower-back fat. Upper-back would be an odd place to store the bulk of my remaining fat.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Basically reached it. I'm not ripped or anything, but I can see my abs, or my upper abs. Still have a little upper-back fat, but not much; I look good in a bathing suit. I'm sure that if I went on a fastidious regimen of calorie reduction plus daily IFing plus low reward then I could get ripped. But I doubt I would bother ... And by the way if I did it I would do it high-fat -- just to get your goat! Ha ha, just teasing. But I *would* do it high-fat and it would be a good experiment. If I end up doing it I will definitely keep track of all the details and put them up on my blog or something.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:03 AM

Did you have an ultimate goal for pants-size or weight or something when you started paleo? Did you reach it?

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 6:37 AM

I don't know, whatever your typical vegetarian-leaning "healthy" eater eats. (I ate chicken and fish but no red meat.) So whatever fat that would be: lots of PUFAs, lots of olive oil. I always wanted heartier food but had trouble getting it within my restrictions. Of course what I was desperate for was saturated fat. When I finally got it I was happy.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:49 AM

How much fat did you eat during the running period?

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11111 · December 16, 2011 at 2:57 AM

I have been LC-VLC for almost 5 years - I work 10-12 hours a day outside in a physically demanding job and I do just fine with very little carb or no carb. I have more energy and out work most guys 1/2 my age.

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11111 · December 17, 2011 at 10:40 PM

@Travis - hard to be 100% certain but being paleo is the biggest factor and I am just naturally attuned to being low to no carb if I eat a lot of carbs it just drains me and I feel 'off' not sick anymore just not myself.

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3443 · December 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I can relate, except in my case it's guys 1/2 my size, not age, that I've outlasted/outworked and while in a fasted state (doing LCHF + IF at the time). However in reference to Travis' comment, I'd attribute it to being well adapted ketogenically and the fact that my strength level means that even in very strenuous work, I rarely experience maximum intensity compared to most people. In my case the lower carbs don't come into play as I don't think that I exhaust muscle glycogen stores for the most part.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:49 AM

Do you have more energy because you eat paleo or because you have lower carbs?

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:20 AM

Honestly, when I'm athletic I do pretty badly on either LCHF and HCLF. It amazes me that you could do well on that diet as an athlete, but it just goes to show we are both sort of limited by our personal biases. I did a lean meat + starch last time I was surfing in Florida because I didn't have access to good fatty meat and to be honest my performance was poor because I felt bloated all the time. To contrast that, when I did Movnat, the diet was pretty high in both carbs and fat and I felt very very good and my performance was great (MCMF). I think for athletes, what's important is getting enough calories + eating what you digest well, which differs for every person. You all know I am not a fan of the equation of low carb with paleo, but I think low-carb paleo is going to work best for certain people, even athletes like Jonas Colting. And it's not going to be easy on an individual level to find out what works for you. It's not going to come down to a flow chart, but to self experimentation. I think for the vast majority of people, medium amounts of carbs and fats works well.

This is so relevant: does-paleo-need-a-fork-in-the-road?

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24523 · December 16, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Me neither. The Kia Optima runs on gasoline. (sorry, can't help myself no matter how stupid the comment is that comes out)

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Yes, also my own exercise almost entirely involves me swimming in extremely cold water, which anyone who does open-water triathlons will tell you is an experience of its own compared to running/biking. I wouldn't be surprised if the optima fuel is quite different.

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24523 · December 16, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Dudebros-- don't skip over AndyM's statement, three entries above this. Our experiences on low carb are all probably all quite a bit different with respect to mix of anaerobic/aerobic work. Don't forget different micronutrition. Altogether, it's great to get people's individual stories, but very confusing to compare them.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Yup, you are a god among mortals. That's Damascus for you. Nothing like a long walk down a dusty road. Nice and paleo too that.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Colpo's one of the few people telling the truth out there. Shame he's not more popular here. His near-apoplectic rages make perfect sense to me now. I think tact is fat-soluble and purged when people get lean.

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9647 · December 16, 2011 at 2:05 AM

There's also Bjorn Ferry who won gold in the biathlon at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Anthony Colpo gives some very tendentious but possibly accurate discussion of both Ferry and Colting here: http://anthonycolpo.com/?p=1535

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 2:01 AM

Fasting affects liver glycogen, which affects replenishment during (and after) exercise. I'm able to keep going, and work out again, because I'm not heavily reliant on glycogen to fuel the activity. My aerobic capacity is pretty high.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:57 AM

I've tried rice and potato too. I think much of it is food volume for me. I am very small, my stomach is very small. To get enough calories from low-fat starch, I have to eat a lot.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Do you actually get bloated on potato or rice? Sweet potato bloats me like nothing else but rice and potato are totally fine. I'm guessing it's the raffinose, not the starch.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Fasting only really affects liver glycogen, so it shouldn't negatively impact performance + an empty stomach probably helps.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:43 AM

Yeah, at Movnat we did A LOT of stuff fasted.

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56596 · December 16, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Colting, like me, is relatively low-carb. I've tried all kinds of starches. Sweet potatoes, yams, plaintains, yucca, etc. And I've tried them without very much or any fat in my diet. They are are fine, but I seem to have a ceiling for % of my diet and above that they start to cause problems. My ceiling for sweet fruit is a bit higher.

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Like AndyM, my best performance has always come fasted. Afterward, rest and normal eating were fine--today's carb feeding before or after just puzzle me.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM

What starch did you use that resulted in bloating? Is Colting really low-carb? http://www.marksdailyapple.com/jonas-colting/#axzz1ga7162Pk

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:32 AM

I feel like some of my best performances come when well fasted. In reality, though I haven't played with it much, I think the optimal approach would be to supercharge my muscles with carbs for a special occasion, but otherwise gaining that edge isn't effective if I do it all the time in training and it compromises the other pathways.

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3914 · December 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I haven't been here as long as you have, but I don't get the impression this is a LCHF-dedicated forum at all. Yes, many people here are LC or VLC, but many others extol the virtues of starch. There are a few dozen posts on sweet potatoes alone. Go to any dedicated low-carb forum, and you won't find people talking about the value of the potato or white rice versus brown. The LC posters are in the majority here, and there appears to be a sizable group of people in the 100-200 g/day range -- too many to be on any low-carb plan, but much less than the USDA recommendations -- and then there's a smaller group that eats lots of starch without worrying about it. All these groups have people capable of presenting a good argument for the way they eat, so if you spend a half-hour browsing through a few threads on the subject, you'll see the range of opinions, even if LC gets the most play. If you come away from this site thinking paleo == LC, then you didn't look very hard, especially if you were looking specifically for opinions on a diet to go with heavy exercise.

Not only are there multiple approaches on the LC-HC continuum, but there are differing opinions on the amount of protein people should eat, so it's not as simple as LCHF versus HCLF, either. Some go LC by adding protein and/or letting their calories drop; others do it by eating a pound of bacon every day. So even within LC you have to do your homework to see what makes sense for you.

For what it's worth, my own N=1 experience has been that I only have the energy to be really active after I've been LC for a while. The first time it happened, I didn't even know what a carb was; I was eating burgers without the bun because my chiropractor told me I was allergic to "white" foods like flour and sugar. After eating burgers and green beans for a while, I suddenly decided to start riding my bike a few miles every day. That's how it's always worked for me. Perhaps if I'd gone more hard-core with heavy weight lifting, I would have needed more carbs. Or perhaps not. I don't know, but it's certainly not clear that carbs are necessary or even beneficial to physical activity for everyone, or even most people.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Ah. It is known.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:52 PM

High long-chain fat when trying to lose fat is clearly stupid, no matter how many grams of carbohydrates you're eating.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Black box? (1) You don't understand the scientific process. Of course we aim to understand the underlying mechanisms of everything. That is the final goal. But observation trumps any theory. That's why we test our hypotheses. If there is no good explanation for what we see, we don't then say the observation is wrong, we look for a better hypothesis. (2) It's not the case that we don't have an understanding of the mechanisms behind LC. (3) Every person has their own tolerances. How is suggesting higher fat worse advice than trying higher carb? How is that more of a black box approach?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:32 PM

It's not a black box, it's just beyond your understanding. So we try and keep it simple for you. You have complete control over your hands and mouth, but you couldn't get the rest of your body to perform on fat, or rather eat enough fat to have sufficient FAs available to fuel your mitochondria. You are undoutably some kind of, erm, ninja.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

The "lovely black box" perspective of LC is exactly what's wrong with it and why the advice given here when someone stalls out is so poor. Your equation is stalled? Add fat and see what happens. LC's efficacy for treating the obese (going from obese to just overweight) is unquestionable, but considerations like "sustainability" do not apply to me. I can eat whatever diet for however long because I control what my hands and mouth do with pretty good precision.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM

You can talk about mechanism until you are blue in the face. If it doesn't match what happens to actual people under LC conditions, it's garbage. Are you now denying that LC has been found clinically, repeatedly, to be the most effective weight loss strategy on average? At the very least a proposed mechanism should explain the observations.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:14 PM

It doesn't appear to be very obvious to you that for some (many many many) people, they can more than eat enough to afford the energy penalty to store carbs. They have to. If they binge with full glycogen stores then, however much of it they may burn off just for fun, they can't burn it fast enough and need to store it at least temporarily. You need to be more responsible with your context and caveats if you want people to understand what you're trying to say. And be better able to correct you.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:47 PM

I'm guessing that the volume of food you're eating is very small and thus the nutrient density is less than it is for me eating the same amount of energy. These healthy fats overall have a poor nutrient density compared to either meat or tubers. Sure there are some fat solubles, but I never drop below 3 pastured yolks a day anyway.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

It doesn't appear to be very obvious to you that carbohydrates are very rarely converted into fat via DNL (with about a 23% energy penalty to do so). The thermic effect alone is about 15%. Fat is 3% at best and is sent via chylomicrons right to the adipocytes. By inducing a carb-starved state, you can burn a lot of fat, but it gets matched by that which is stored. Brief PSMFs make so much more sense than prolonged carb restriction. Fat makes good fuel, but bodyfat makes the best fuel when you're fatter than you want to be.

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Obviously, Travis. Healthy protein intake doesn't have a large variance, so what you take away from carb intake must come from fat. Fat makes good fuel.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Are you suggesting that there's something unhealthy about fat now?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

The problem is that nearly all of the people advocating whatever carbohydrate intake are also advocating a high intake of "healthy fats."

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18671 · December 16, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Excellent points, Aaron. Within the last year, the Paleo Zeitgeist has turned significantly away from LC. It was much more dominant before that. But as of right now, anyone who looks here is going to find a strong safe-starch contingent, and anyone who doesn't find that needs spoon feeding, which is not the purpose of this site.

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37177 · December 15, 2011 at 11:47 PM

With respect, Travis, you would classify me as one step above a cadaver yet I require moderate carbs to thrive and gradually lose weight. Low carb makes me crazy with cravings and almost ensures a binge. Unless you're saying that 60-100g per day qualifies as LCHF.

Honestly, I don't think activity level alone is going to create clean columns. You'll need at least one more question that works to straighten the lines.

UPDATE: We are now about a day into this conversation and I need to change my answer as follows: "We don't need a fork in the road because we don't HAVE a road! What we have is a plowed field with many, many separate furrows. Anyone have a harrow?"

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 12:41 AM

You both make great points.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 12:12 AM

I think it's important enough that we should aim to arm people with the knowledge to work it out themselves, rather than have rules and targets etc. I appreciate for the vast majority they prefer to be told exactly what to do. And that's not impossible one-on-one with pretty good results. But in general I think we should be focusing more on why we eat what we do rather than what specifically we're eating.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:06 AM

There aren't really any people aside from outright diabetics where I would say they should drop below 60g. What I'm saying is that the really active should have not only an unrestricted carb intake, but they should be trying to figure out ways to get around the bulky nature of paleo carbs vs. the limited stomach space they have. You end up having to eat when not hungry and, provided that your fat intake is low, you still lose fat.

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78 · December 16, 2011 at 6:01 AM

I ate a carb once and I almost died.

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2297 · December 18, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Third time's the charm.

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105 · December 17, 2011 at 4:40 AM

Nobody dies from eating carbs once.

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10161 · December 17, 2011 at 12:52 AM

Wha? Conventional wisdom! That's the ticket! Milk is for baby cows! Carbs are non-essential nutrients! Grizzly Adams didn't have a beard!

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20411 · December 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Okay, that was funny.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:09 AM

I've heard this tale of woe told many a time 'round these parts. Good to see that a necromancer resurrected you.

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11683 · December 16, 2011 at 12:36 AM

I'm not sure I agree with this. First of all, it kind of assumes everyone needs or wants to lose weight or is turning to Paleo as a weight-management tool. I started off LC, but within a week I was feeling maybe a couple pounds skinnier which was not the goal, so I started incorporating starches with every meal. My weight has stayed the same ever since. I'm very slim and not super active - desk job. We all have different metabolisms.

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583 · November 18, 2013 at 10:31 PM

I came from a relatively healthy CW diet (though never a low-fat one) to Paleo not to lose weight but to feel better. And it worked - but only after I started to incorporate copious starches, mostly from tubers and squashes but even fruits and some honey, etc... The key for me was the elimination of no-no's like refined sugars, excessive PUFA's, grains, and beans. I work at a desk job and exercise just a little each week, though now that I "feel better" I'm more inclined to exercise. I started LCHF like most, but never to lose weight, and I eat carbs, but not for athleticism.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:57 AM

I think, with real foods, it's not difficult at all to maintain weight. The body can adapt to a wide range of conditions and keep homeostasis. It takes chronic abuse to move things in either direction.

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11683 · December 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Andy, I guess you're right - I was losing because my total calories just went down. I've never done the full meta-analysis of my cals, fat grams, etc. I just eat meat, veg, starch and fat at every meal. My point is that I'm sedentary and I don't need VLC to maintain weight. But I do keep my total calories in check - I don't overeat or eat when I'm not hungry etc.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 1:11 AM

That's just more about total caloric intake though surely? Perhaps you need to be more specific about what you consider high and low carb and fat. I don't think burning carbs as your primary metabolism is good for anyone.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Well yeah, I'm talking about people who want to get leaner since most people in general want to be leaner and most people who arrive at paleo want to get leaner. The LC route is for the ultra-sedentary obese who aren't realistically going to exercise. They could snap out of it and get as lean as they want, but I'm trying to be realistic here. There are of course many who needn't be all that active to tolerate carbs. The fork is for the flabby masses yearning to be lean.

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5332 · December 15, 2011 at 11:48 PM

The converse would point people who are honestly never going to exercise toward LCHF. Relatively speaking, they can improve a lot of health markers doing this vs. doing nothing.

While I agree with this, I'd rather hold out for introducing it as a lifestyle in which this would be irrelevant as the presumption would be a good level of activity. But yes, the message that gets out regarding removing grains is that of reducing carbs, though compared to SAD carbs are a significantly lower even for athletes. And the baseline diet does seem to be geared more towards weight loss, which is what many are looking for when they investigate diets online after all. Most sources I've seen are fairly responsible in talking about how paleo should be applied and the meal plans are pretty well balanced, but that does require a more detailed viewing to grasp the details, and many don't get that far.

If there was a single place to define the diet, then I'd be for establishing the typical diet as that required for desired activity level, and have the lower activity approach as one of the modifications. It might require people to take more responsibility themselves and actually understand the choices, but none of this is easy when you're trying to mass-educate.

Also, low-carb is an appropriate starting point for fixing metabolic damage and fast-tracking the fat-metabolism.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:04 AM

There's a guy with no legs who pedals a modified recumbent bike by my office all the time through all kinds of inclement weather. I want to throttle people and say "This guy has no fucking legs, what the fuck is your excuse?!?!" but some people just aren't going to do it. They'd rather take the hit health-wise. Realistically, they need to probably cut back on carbs and relatively speaking they'll be better off.

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7967 · December 16, 2011 at 11:54 PM

LCHF surely does not give everyone the results they want, and I'm sick of the knee-jerk CARBS ARE EVIL posts. But I don't know that LFHC is the answer. I didn't even know you ate that way Travis, and most people 'round here who eat 200+g carbs daily don't seem to eat low in total fat. Though many do keep an eye on their calories.

I can't participate in this discussion based on my personal experience, because I'm a freak and I have to do it wrong according to all camps in order to feel great.

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2231 · December 17, 2011 at 4:46 PM

add me to the freeeeeakkkkkks

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18671 · December 17, 2011 at 1:39 AM

Many of us are freaks. Figuring out what makes you feel great without denying the experience of others is good.

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2297 · December 16, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Apparently there's a carb war going on.

Regardless, we should realize that there's probably not a certain macro ratio that's going to work for everyone. Travis, and many others, obviously does well with higher carb, and lower fat, whereas others do better with lower carbs (myself included).

Essentially, people should enter "Paleo" knowing that there's not a predefined way for them to eat, and that they should know it's going to take some time to figure out what/how to eat. It's going to take time, paleo shouldn't be advertised as something were one can reach the end goal (whatever that is) within a month or two. It's just not that easy.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 10:40 AM

"Travis, and many others, obviously does well with higher carb, and lower fat" Self-reported

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8879 · December 16, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Travis, I agree with you that a lot of IR is related to activity level, but just slight chronic positive energy balance plays a role as well, IMO, regardless of activity.

Rather than a fork in the road ... perhaps just a definition at this point of what PALEO means any more!

Paleo used to be synonymous with VLC/VHF. This appears to have changed so fast that nobody knows anymore. Then you have the 80% Sisson Primals. Which is not to say that concessions to dairy and such are the worst thing, but when does it stop? I like the idea of a template, but even then, is there one? Or at least one that the majority of those advocating this lifestyle ascribe to?

There just seems to be so much confusion out there.

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8879 · December 17, 2011 at 3:52 PM

OK shah78 ... what is YOUR definition of paleo then? That was my point. If someone told me a year ago that they were paleo, I could be pretty confident presuming the person ate VLC, no dairy, veg oils, fatty meats, etc. Despite the fact that at the time Cordain's version of the diet was lean meats and canola oil, the "prevailing wisdom" was more what I described. Now? Lots of high carb paleos (nothing wrong with that), lacto-paleos, PHD-style exceptions to paleo etc.etc. When someone says paleo these days it's not clear there's any sort of concensus on what that means.

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78407 · December 17, 2011 at 1:10 AM

I don't see any confusion. I am not confused at all. I may change my mind before the weekend is out, but I not confused. In fact ,I'd love to find something new to change my mind and eating habits asap.But confused no.I feel so good to have any doubts or confusion.

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363 · December 16, 2011 at 4:52 PM

How Dare you Travis! Despite being hidden in very well written responses its pretty clear the Low carb high fat paleo bias is alive and well! Low carb screwed me up and i'm still recovering. Am i bias against low carb? yup. Do i think Low carb has a place in "Paleo" eating? Yes but for a small fraction of people. The default starting point is LCHF I don't care what anyone says. Forget fork in the road maybe we should just have a mod/high carb version of Paleohacks. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me for over 2 years. After listening to all of R. Wolf's podcasts, listening to lots of Jimmy's pods i was convinced Low carb should be the default starting place. Why not start out Paleo mod/high carb and then after a while adjust down if necessary? I realize my response will get voted down and probably ripped apart. I don't care. Great question Travis.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Sorry, this one isn't as clear as when you're just lobbing insults. Are you now graduating beyond "look, fat you eat is all wobbly and so eating it makes you all wobbly" and moving on to "well if more people believe this than that, this must be correct"? I don't dismiss experience based even a small part on collective mass. In fact I think it was only yesterday I was telling people not to disregard the conventional wisdom of traditional diets. There are nevertheless strong arguments both for my view, and for why others disagree. Not engaging with those suggests you never really got it.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:31 PM

You can't dismiss our experiences based purely on our collective mass. Divided out by # of people, it makes them worth more if one's goal is to get lean.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Seriously, again? You're coming here to call people you know nothing about fat? I sure need to get me some of that zen-like high-carb mental powers you got going.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Yeah, I guess my experience would be fairly narrow compared to your vast, undulating experience.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I don't experience noticeable insulin swings from paleo carbohydrates. Does that help? Why would you assume I'm only ever talking about me? Is it because you have trouble seeing beyond your own narrow experience when trying to fit things into your unassailably correct and complete understand of human biology?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM

For you to experience noticeable insulin swings from paleo carbohydrates, you must not be active.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM

You really think I'm not active?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:51 PM

You really think you have the same glucose tolerance as someone who is active?

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:34 PM

" Those insulin swings you speak of don't occur for those whose mitochondria haven't atrophied. " You don't release insulin every time you eat? Or do you mean that your super mitochondria mean that you maintain high insulin levels constantly? Oh, and if you thought losing the last 20 pounds would be easy compared to someone losing 50 pounds when obese then you really didn't do any kind of homework at all.

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Why not do the most obvious thing and start with activity, wit LC coming later? The paleo community goes for dietary emulation first, whereas the most important difference is in social behavior. Shedding modern urban behavior is more important than changing a grocery list.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Dan: One of the things that snared me was all of the glowing reviews and X# of pounds lost quoted by so many. What I never asked was what weight they started out at and what weight they eventually stalled out at. Suddenly the 50 pound loss makes a lot more sense. If I only had 20-30 to lose, I'd assume that it'd be easy compared to the 50, but I didn't realize that their stalling point is at a fatter point than my starting point.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Those insulin swings you speak of don't occur for those whose mitochondria haven't atrophied. That's the huge difference being missed.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:07 PM

And I'm really not sure how you can think that you are in the vast majority if you take LCHF to mean greater intake of calories from fat than carbs. Now it's possible you misunderstood some part of what you were listening to, or that the information was flawed, or that you implemented it incorrectly, or that your biological functions are wildly different from other people. I wouldn't assume too much though.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

"Why not start out Paleo mod/high carb and then after a while adjust down if necessary?" Well since you ask, many people find the regular eating cycle of high-carb diets and the constant insulin fluctuations to make it difficult to control or cope with gradual reduction. Which is why success has more often been found with breaking the habit, getting over the transition, firing up the long-dormant fat metabolism pathways and then increasing carbs based on a more reliable indicator of need/desire.

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78 · December 16, 2011 at 12:39 AM

I don't think we need a fork in the road. I think what we do need to do is personally examine the main branches of Paleo which are neatly written up and contrasted in Robb's blog. Since I do not want to buy access to Art Devany I cannot speak to that branch, but as for the other four (Orginal Cordain, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson and Paul Jaminet) I can take what I need from each one and make it work for me. And that changes from week to week. I cannot always get high fat grass fed beef, so I guess when I have to buy CAFO I eat the leanest I can find and eat higher fat in nuts, avocados and olive oil. Some people cannot tolerate FODMAPS, but I eat pears and apples in season, but never white rice. And I think from a fork in the road standpoint, for me, I would get fat on Jaminet because that amount of carb, albeit fructose free, makes me hungry. Some weeks I cut way back, almost to an induction like pattern.

Personally, I think that a good starting place for anyone who wants to lose weight is to take a look at the diet spelled out in the back of Why We Get Fat. It's essentially the new Atkins as published by Westman, Phinney and Volek and it works. It can be as paleo as you want. Just pick the non-neo foods and stick with it.

From a registered nursing point of view, as one who worked 20 yrs with cardiac and diabetic patients, in clinical settings, in research settings and post operative rehab, I am well aware of a good start off for weight-loss. As a starting point, this is perfect, and a lot of our patients got off insulin injections once they lost weight, cut back on a lot of their drugs, avoided second heart attacks, etc. We cannot throw out the baby with the bath water just because it makes some people feel less than top of their game. What we can do is tweak it till they are comfortable with their changes.

We always started out with the first principle set forth in PaNu / Archevore, long before it was written and that is before we will try to fix your metabolic issues you need to deal with your addictions. Sometimes, those are the hardest first steps for anyone.

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 9:27 PM

I"m not going to review my history with you again, Travis. It stands in direct refutation of your contemptuous and incorrect certainty. We must each be satisfied with the rewards we've accrued for ourselves. For me, a (finally) normal BMI, and good health. I'm not sure what yours is, and I don't care, but I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Couple months of that ought to cancel out a lifetime of the opposite right quick, eh?

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 4:38 AM

"For the well-disciplined, plain starch + lean meat + activity has always been and will always be the best route." What a load of halo-hunting horseshit. I'll bet on the self-discipline of an obese, chronic dieter who eats less than a thousand calories a day for months, and goes to the gym despite swollen painful joints and contemptuous stares, over the vapid self-congratulatory "discipline" of someone who naturally excels at athletics any day. The average fat person endures daily life under conditions most naturally lean people can't even imagine.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 2:05 AM

You're problem here is that you are isolating discipline from food intake. They are significantly entangled. Saying it's the best method for the well-disciplined is an argument for saying it isn't functional or healthy.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 12:58 AM

See, the thing you're showing is that every corner of paleo is shouting "High Fat!" while some are saying that + starch occasionally. For the well-disciplined, plain starch + lean meat + activity has always been and will always be the best route. Most people saying high fat are actually pretty flabby. Some of us don't want to be flabby.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 12:52 AM

From reading posts here, it seems a lot of people have come to paleo with specific food sensitivities, which I think may also be a factor in how it's presented with the emphasis on 'strict' paleo and starting with full elimination. While there is some sense to that, I would expect for the vast majority that while it would be a useful exercise, they really aren't suffering if they stick with dairy and tomatoes as part of their diet. I think the flexible approach, where one understands the basic principles and avoids compromises becoming routine, is desirable.

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1968 · December 16, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Everyone should exercise and be active (to the extent they can, obviously). That doesn't mean everyone who exercises and is active should eat tons of tubers. At the moment, HFLC seems to work great for me. I'm active, no question, and was pretty lean when I started HFLC and am becoming leaner. That might change dramatically, and I'm totally prepared to change when it does.

Like everyone else said, everyone's different, etc etc. I think an important thing that we can do is to really try and discourage the "transitionally feeling crappy" issue. I've never had low carb flu. When I don't eat carbs, I crave carbs, which can be bad, but that's it. That leads me to think that I do better LC than other people for whom the "low carb flu" appears to last months.

I think that if eating a certain way makes you less active and less able to exercise, that's a de facto bad thing. I get all the science around how it's an addiction, and you get withdrawal, and I'm sure that's true. But pushing people to do things that makes them feel bad results in Travis-type experiences, where people ignore their own bodies because they're convinced that one way of eating is best. If people cut out toxic foods and eat all the carbs they want, they'll be better off, period.

So, instead of saying "if you're an exercise buff like me, eat lots of tubers," we can just say "everyone should walk around a bunch and do at least some resistance training, and then measure what works for them by whether they become more/less able to walk around a bunch and do at least some resistance training."

I'm probably oversimplifying a ton here and ignoring a lot of important things, but that's my gut reaction. Generally I try to stay out of the macronutrient fights because I'm not nearly as sciency as many on PH, so there's a giant caveat for you.

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 6:20 PM

+1 for non-sciency! Some of us still speak like ordinary humans while pursuing our extraordinary lifestyles.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM

In response to the edit, I think it's really a matter of persepctive. There is no central authority, no definitive path, no vault of knowledge which we can point to. People gather bits of knowledge from a multitude of sources. You evidently felt you didn't get the best information for your particular situation. Many others would feel the same, but mroe still I would think have found helpful information. What's more, I think many would be confused at your suggestion that 200g of carbs for a highly active human is somehow counter-paleo. But on another thread you were dismissing me when I questioned people advocating 700g+ of carbs a day. There's a lot of imperfection in how we pass on information, how we learn, how we implement concepts and ideas. That's part of being human too and the discussions should help. But it's still very easy to miss the point entirely and get stuck talking at crossed purposes.

I get frustrated too by people quoting 80/20 as if that 'rule' itself were actually paleo, rather than a compromise. Revelling in the healthier indulgence of bacon and dark chocolate rather than standard candy and doughnuts is still compromising their overall long-term health for some short-term pleasure, and they could do with greater self-awareness sometimes sure, but it's not for us to judge them for that decision. Personally, I think eating more than 200g carbs to fuel continuous high-level activity and atheleticism is also a compromise. It was compromises that brought us the whole of civilisation, not just its diseases.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

That's not all he's saying at all. He's saying that dietary fat causes bodyfat because they are both jiggly. He's saying you have to eat moderate carbs to not look flabby. He's saying that the fat-dominant metabolism is only partially effective because most people lack the discipline required to eat an optimal diet. He's also severely confused and uniformed about all of it.

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78407 · December 17, 2011 at 1:59 PM

I take Travis' plan beyond the subset of the "ubermensch" to the average and the so called "untouchables" of Paleo the "metabolically dysfunctional", a group to which I proudly belong.I have an adrenal gland that is about a "functional as a Type I diabetis' pancreas. Thus it limits quanity of excercise as well as quality of excercise. Big deal. Eating the correct balance of macronutrients TRUMPS exercise. This "underclass" of Paleo is always selling itself short ,and "Paleo nutrition" short. TWEEK THE DIET is all Travis saying.Don't cling to the high fat or high carb high status quo.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Ah, you've finally gotten it Rose, well done.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 7:13 PM

I'm happy for him to fork himself is that's what he feels is needed. No reason to fork other people though, particularly when he knows so little about them.

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11986 · December 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Andy, Travis's special plan is for the uebermensch; the select one or two who can wear the superhero underoos and the cape in bed. Don't trouble your unmanly, undisciplined, untermensch self over this, er, fork. It's a fork that I must admit he wears well.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

I'm not advocating anything for you, I clearly articulated to whom this is aimed. I also didn't say that this is currently an important fork for paleo, which is precisely the problem.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Oh, and (since you were naturally looking for info on athletes, being such a specimen yourself), those numbers from Paleo for Athletes were 50% carbs, 30% fat in the off-season, rising to 60% carbs and 20% fat during pre-season and competition. I'm not sure you can really claim the info doesn't exist. I think it even stranger that you subscribe to a theory which you do not believe exists in Paleo, yet consider it to be an important fork of paleo.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:55 PM

So what are you advocating, 10%?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:33 PM

He put it at 28-47% fat in 2002.

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

You should reread Cordain. He advocated low saturated fat, but not low-fat.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 5:23 PM

For anyone intersted google Vince Gironda. the "iron guru" Died penniless in 1997! He never sold out. But his diet is the Paleo diet about which Tavis speaks. Easy & simple.I chuckle every time I think that I'm eating like Steve Reeves and Vince in the fifties. All 160 ,adrenal impaired, lbs. of me.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Seriously? Cordain is infamously low-fat and lean meats. Paleo diet for Athletes is all about carbs and protein with nutrient density over caloric density during recovery. And pretty much every source references that there are reasons why bodybuilders looked as they did, and also that there are reasons HGs didn't look like bodybuilders. You bought a biochem textbook and now you're able to correct Robb Wolf on the subject? You don't think that it's possible that it's you that's still underinformed?

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39821 · December 16, 2011 at 5:05 PM

The information that I needed to receive simply doesn't exist in Paleo. Not even 1st Edition Cordain is telling people that the basic structure of what so many thousands upon thousands of recreational bodybuilders have been doing for so many decades with great success can work very well. High fat is a sacred cow that is never questioned. It was only when I bought a second-hand biochem textbook and spent a lot of time reading scientific papers that I realized that basic biochemistry is totally mischaracterized in the paleo community.

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78407 · December 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

"Fetishizing chocholate squares" Most excellent! Maybe it's got something to do with the moon. You have a moon on the West Coast as well? I've been way too feisty for the Paleo hacks 80/20 crowd lately as well. Maybe a new PH spinoff. 100/0 paleohacks. I yelled at poor Dave S. for whinning about not being able to eat junk food, I pissed off Sara S for claiming to cure my "mental illness" with saturated fat. Maybe it's a Xmas thing. Nonetheless, I applaud your enthusiasm. As mentioned yesterday ,I don't have a dog in this HF/LF/HC?LC "hunt". I am comfortable with all paleo" groups". What always gets me is that the high/low group identification is merely a well rehearsed philosophical patina for wanting to eat some NAD fetish-food from childhood. Let the boos begin! :) Eat meat and prosper!

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 3:39 AM

I love to see this post on here. Thank you Travis!

I was always lean. I tried LCHF and lost some muscle tone and never quite looked as lean while I was eating HF. Not that I felt unhealthy, but I just was not as lean. Once I decided to add back safe starches. I have seen great results. I am now eating a Paleo version of the bodybuilders diet, as Travis refers to it, with a little more fat though. (I am trying to maintain now rather than get any leaner).

I think LCHF is great for starting the weight loss process and getting obese people down to overweight and then only slightly overweight. You can lose a whole lot of weight on LCHF and its great for helping people overcome addiction to carbs.

However,once your down to a normal BMI if you want to get leaner and you have the discipline, a Medium Carb (Travis says 200 grams) and Lower to Medium fat intake is necessary.

Honestly, not to be mean, but I have yet to see anyone on this site who is eating very HF that has great muscle tone and bf%. Maybe commenters will prove me wrong...

Realizing I needed carbs and needed to reduce fat was huge for me. Coming from WAPF and then to Paleo I believed fat was the answer. These movements have taught me that fat is not unhealthy but I have also learned that eating too much of it will prevent you from being your healthiest BF% and weight.

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 5:03 PM

the last bit of flab and really get down to low levels of BF% you cannot eat high fat. Are you saying you eat high fat and have very low body fat?

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Not to be rude Andy, but may I ask you what your BF% is? I know that is not very important and is not necessarily a marker of overall health but Travis's questions and my comment are directed towards people who want to be especially lean and not just at a normal BMI. We were both looking to tighten up and not have any flab and we got lost looking for that in High Fat paleo. We have both since found success leaning out with lower fat and moderate carbs. My BF% is 8-10%. I am not saying everyone should be this way but I think we are arguing two different things. I am only saying in order to lose

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM

It's all relative. If you gained bodyfat then you overate by definition. Did you lose strength as well as muscle mass? Lowering your fat intake would make sense, as you would be eating less. Can you propose a single mechanism by which a straight switch of calories from fat to carb would realise ultimate bf% goals? (Assuming the goal is a lower rather than higher than their present state)

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78407 · December 17, 2011 at 1:24 PM

You do not have to spend lots of time in the gym to lean out. And yes you have to learn how to work out to do this. But it does not mean work out more! Let's call it "workout finesse". But it is always coupled with "nutritional perfection". You can't "finesse" the nutrition. and yes, "perfection" is based on individual macronutrient experimentation. I should add, I enjoy your answers 99 % of the time. It's just that Travis has really "cut close to some bone " on this issue.

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682 · December 17, 2011 at 1:24 PM

bodybuilders will go keto before bodybuilding competitions but I've never heard a bodybuilder going high fat. When I was high fat low carbs I lost muscle mass and gained body fat (I actually went down in overall weight though) but I looked flabbier. I did not overeat. And I don't think people are doomed to be unhealthy but people may get stuck in their weightloss progress or never see their ultimate bf% goal if they do not lower their fat intake.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Eating too much will prevent you from being at your (self-image's) healthiest BF% and weight. Wow, who'd've thought it? You know all those papers you've read where people draw conclusions despite the experiments not being done anywhere near right to prove or disprove the hypothesis? There are reasons people went for higher-carb, low-fat in the first place. It's not paleo though. Believing that 95% of people are doomed to be unhealthy because they don't have the discipline to avoid eating fat is, for me, missing the whole point of the lifestyle.

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5332 · December 17, 2011 at 10:58 AM

You do realise this isn't magic voodoo right? We know muscles *look* bigger when you eat carbs. For the most part, getting rid of that last bit of fat is difficult without working out, and many people don't learn how to exercise in such a way that they don't have to start piling on carbs just so they can burn them by spending too much time at the gym. 200g carbs with 'lower' fat is just caloric restriction. There's plenty of bodybuilders who go keto pre-contest for that final push, with a bit of glycogen pumping just the day before.

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3125 · December 16, 2011 at 7:55 PM

i think we are all adults here and we read the logic behind the paleo diet and we eat the very same foods we used to eat and eliminate the ones that were killing us. then some of us will add paleo foods we would normally never tried and discover a taste we cant live without. if you are eating paleo for a different reason thats fine too i guess.

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1074 · December 16, 2011 at 6:10 PM

i eat about 40% carbs but im young, maybe my glucose sensitivity is still in tact. I believe the best diet for the relatively sedentary is still Paul Jaminet's Perfect Health Diet of 65% fat, 15% protein and 20% starches excluding vegs. More starch if you're more active. Best fitness method is HIIT + Lean Gains method of strength training + IF. Overall, following Paul's recommendations, the elephant in the room for me is Guyenet's food reward theory. Keep reward low and carbs won't make you fat in particular. it's just that most starches are prepared in a hyperpalatable way.

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Keep reward high and find foods for which less is more.

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 12:43 AM

A lot of people look at paleo as The Caveman Diet, no different than any other fad diet. The low carb aspect works well for fast weight loss without a lot of hunger, especially starting out obese. It's hard to sustain that initial rate of loss though, which brings in activity as a means to increase metabolism for continued loss. Then the hunger returns, with a vengeance. For immediate satisfaction and energy nothing beats carbs, but it's not easy to readapt from LC without weight regain. What was easy and effective at the start of a weight loss program becomes tricky and discouraging for a lot of people expecting an endless crash diet effect.

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 3:26 AM

Inactivity does promote hunger too - that's why I think the exercise is partly a distraction. The time of the gnawing hunger was when I was steadily losing 2 pounds a week, headed towards 25 BMI. I've maintained weight there for over 4 years, partly because I don't relish doing it again. I also know what I'm in for if I try to lose another 10 pounds.

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37177 · December 16, 2011 at 1:44 AM

@thhq Hmmm. Exercise kills my appetite. I get hungry a few hours later, but less hungry than usual not more. I'm hungriest on days I don't do anything.

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10161 · December 16, 2011 at 1:03 AM

The hunger is my observation, and one size doesn't fit all. I didn't see it during exercise, which was distracting or supressing it. It came later, usually hours after a meal. The weight loss continued at the same steady rate for the final 35 lbs, but being hungry was now part of the experience. At the start it was so easy, in the end it was perseverance.

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78 · December 16, 2011 at 12:55 AM

@thhq - when I first started to lose, I used South Beach, 10 yrs ago. There was no transition back to grains. Now, we know for those who are adding back starchy veggies (never grains) that we add 5 grams a day until the scale/tape measure/Levi's say, whoa!

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5332 · December 16, 2011 at 12:49 AM

Not sure about that, if anything some good exercise and fresh air reduces any hunger I might be perceiving when I'm on a solid, fat-dominant diet.

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