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Low Fat Paleo...

by (987)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created April 28, 2011 at 1:28 AM

I've been trying to do the whole high fat, low carb paleo thing for a while. It never seems to work out for me. I usually feel pretty miserable. And here I am, still almost 30 pounds over weight. So, I'm trying the opposite. I'm going to restrict calories and eat high protein, moderate carb (around 100 grams), and low fat. I figure the high protein will help preserve (maybe grow) my muscles, the moderate carb will fuel all my workouts, and without fat, my body will be forced to burn my bodyfat for energy. Seems pretty simple. But, I've been reading so much about how great fat is for so long, I feel like a heretic.

I'll let you know how it turns out... Anyone else ditch the high fat diet for a low fat diet and see good results?

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15966 · June 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM

@Grok, nice. i tend to agree that the emphasis on unnecessarily large fat-intake in our community here prolly makes it a bit more difficult than need be for people to simply affect a slight caloric-restriction.

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736 · June 28, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Glad to see this posted. I almost never got any purple on a ketostick ZC, VLC, or LC over the course of a year. This must mean I was "fat adapted." All those carb demonizing diets were still lame.

Cc93847bfa820f0f2da654060b401fa5
736 · June 28, 2011 at 6:53 AM

Fat is way overrated. Might not need to restrict much if any if you replace the fat cals with carbs.

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1008 · May 27, 2011 at 3:42 PM

I'm with you - high fat did NOT work for me. I have to count my calories, I have to reduce my fat intake, and lots of protein is the only way to lose weight without going mad from hunger.

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12417 · May 27, 2011 at 1:57 PM

nicole, 2 weeks ago i went psmf by paleo-izing the lyle mcdonald protocol for rapid fat loss. the results in body comp in that short period of time were pretty impressive. so impressive that i'm going to do it another 2-4 weeks but i may tweak it just a bit to get a little more fat in there. however, it'll def be below traditional paleo levels of fat. for me, it all depends on what your immediate to short-term goals are. i'm not planning on doing it for longer than another month to see if i can force my bodyfat setpoint down just a bit more...

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2119 · May 27, 2011 at 1:28 PM

I also put on fat if I do 3-days-on-1-day-off Crossfit and a VLC diet. My weight is stable, but the BIA scale says that I have more fat. That's definitely not what I"m going for!

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3162 · May 27, 2011 at 1:06 PM

If you are gaining fat on a high fat diet/low carb diet, I don't know how you can conclude that you are not getting enough fat.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
18701 · May 27, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Nicole! I've missed you! Happy to see you! I do best with higher protein too, I feel tired without it.

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284 · May 05, 2011 at 8:28 PM

That is how i try to eat and i think that is how paleo was intended to be.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1
15385 · May 05, 2011 at 2:05 PM

The easy solution to this is to just not eat anything that comes out of a carton. I have become highly skeptical of the quality/contents of ALL processed foods (even those available at Whole Foods and whatnot), and note that the labels are just estimates anyway. To me, "Paleo" eating is all about eating meats, fruits, and vegetables where you start with the raw product so that it hasn't been processed.

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17949 · April 28, 2011 at 4:30 PM

I meant in the mitochondria, sorry. I need to work on being more clear

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19220 · April 28, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Hey Melissa, you can't go letting inconvenient facts get in the way of diet dogma :)

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · April 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Hey Melissa, you can't go letting inconvenient facts like that get in the way of diet dogma :)

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18701 · April 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Sometimes y'all make me feel like a freak of nature, seriously. I lost a lot of weight restricting calories and doing cardio. It took me 5 years to lose about 100lbs, but that's how I did it.

Acfd35c9e350bb4c0c17810af4decd95
483 · April 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM

It ain't "paleo" if it's low fat. Restricting your calories is the surest way to fail in the long run.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705
18701 · April 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM

I lost most of my weight doing high protein (for me about 75/100grams), moderate carb (less than 50% of calories) and not watching fat at all. I just made sure the protein and carb numbers were where I needed them and the fat just kind of didn't matter. I also restricted calories to 1200, but that is pretty low for most people. It worked though.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · April 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

I don't think it is correct to say say that you burn either sugar or fat. Both are always burned, but in different proportions based on blood sugar and insulin levels.

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552 · April 28, 2011 at 2:48 AM

Then you may need to go higher carb. No big deal. Just eat more carbs until you find the right level for you. That will also depend on your activity level. I don't see why fat would be the problem, though. Avocados and coconut products are great sources of fat, too.

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3891 · April 28, 2011 at 2:04 AM

100 net grams daily from vegetables, tubers, and fruits isn't too high for some of us. It's best for each person to find his or her limit of grams of carbs per day. Remember, while we have principles to adhere to in eating this way, there's individualized fine tuning that goes with it. I do agree with you that learning to read labels is important, but I would guess most of us are staying away from the center ailes of the store in the first place, especially after doing this for a while.

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552 · April 28, 2011 at 1:54 AM

What's "a while"? It takes time to become fat-adapted.

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17949 · April 28, 2011 at 1:52 AM

I agree. I favor that carb range with periodic glycogen depletion (IFing basically). There are many people who just can't swing a low carb diet. If glucose is just really hard to come by for our bodies we will probably store the glycogen in our livers and brains and not the muscles, even if it is a substantial amount of carbohydrate, then we'll use it for whatever we need it for the most. That's one of those insanely complicated metabolic formulas that could have only evolved over millions of years of natural selection, it's hard to say for sure. I hope someone chimes in on that issue.

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987 · April 28, 2011 at 1:48 AM

My carbs will probably be around 25%, maybe even less...but that seems like a lot to me right now! I think I've been warped. So maybe my plan isn't as radical as it seemed to me. I was eating mainly saturated fat from grassfed animals. I was turning ketostix deep purple - but I felt miserable. Is it true that you cannot burn both fat and carbs at the same time? I did not know that...

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7324 · April 28, 2011 at 1:40 AM

But if he/she depletes glycogen period, carbs go towards replenishing that, right? So by eating carbs, you're not necessarily running on carbs, particularly after a workout. We do need some glucose (our bodies, not our diets), so 100-150 grams seems perfectly fine, and probably even healthier than lower carb. But +1 for a good answer.

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9 Answers

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
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17949 · April 28, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Must we think in false dichotomies? If low carb doesn't work for you try like 25% of calories as carbs, it will probably be better.

Also what kind of fats are you eating? It is imperative to keep omega 6 fats to a reasonable range, especially if a lot of your calories are from fat.

And yes you are a heretic and fat is awesome; at least you acknowledge it. That is not really how metabolism works, by the way. Running on carbs means that we stop running on fats, when we run on less carbs we burn more fats. You can only burn one at a time so it doesn't matter which you are burning.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · April 28, 2011 at 4:30 PM

I meant in the mitochondria, sorry. I need to work on being more clear

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · April 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

I don't think it is correct to say say that you burn either sugar or fat. Both are always burned, but in different proportions based on blood sugar and insulin levels.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d
17949 · April 28, 2011 at 1:52 AM

I agree. I favor that carb range with periodic glycogen depletion (IFing basically). There are many people who just can't swing a low carb diet. If glucose is just really hard to come by for our bodies we will probably store the glycogen in our livers and brains and not the muscles, even if it is a substantial amount of carbohydrate, then we'll use it for whatever we need it for the most. That's one of those insanely complicated metabolic formulas that could have only evolved over millions of years of natural selection, it's hard to say for sure. I hope someone chimes in on that issue.

6da7ce6a4a250c46a6e78b5b4e22da83
987 · April 28, 2011 at 1:48 AM

My carbs will probably be around 25%, maybe even less...but that seems like a lot to me right now! I think I've been warped. So maybe my plan isn't as radical as it seemed to me. I was eating mainly saturated fat from grassfed animals. I was turning ketostix deep purple - but I felt miserable. Is it true that you cannot burn both fat and carbs at the same time? I did not know that...

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1
7324 · April 28, 2011 at 1:40 AM

But if he/she depletes glycogen period, carbs go towards replenishing that, right? So by eating carbs, you're not necessarily running on carbs, particularly after a workout. We do need some glucose (our bodies, not our diets), so 100-150 grams seems perfectly fine, and probably even healthier than lower carb. But +1 for a good answer.

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134 · May 05, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I can tell you my experience as active athlete working out every day, weightlifting, running, cycling etc. I was struggling with high fat paleo for almost 2 years. After initial weightloss everything changed, my workouts were pain in the ass....but I was still hypnotised by paleo high fat approach and kept going with VLC. I was chewing massive amonuts of saturated fat every day with moderate amounts of protein and almost no carbs. And guess what...my workouts got even worse performance wise, constantly sluggish, more prone to injuries and inflammations, and bingo - putting on fat. For active people there isn't such a thing like 'fat adaptation', it's just paleo community BS and I'm not convinced at all that most HG eat high fat. It's more likely their staples were lean meats (lots of protein, not fat), roots, tubers, bulbs and seasonal fruits, some nuts. So it is high protein, moderate carb and low-moderate healthy fats. Now my diet is massive amounts of lean chicken and fish + potatoes and lots of green veggies + fish oil. It is extremly high protein + moderate resistant starch + some heatlhy fats. I never feel hungry, my workouts getting better and better, feel awesome. With diet like this I can easily be at caloric deficit and constantly slimming down.

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2119 · May 27, 2011 at 1:28 PM

I also put on fat if I do 3-days-on-1-day-off Crossfit and a VLC diet. My weight is stable, but the BIA scale says that I have more fat. That's definitely not what I"m going for!

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284 · May 05, 2011 at 8:28 PM

That is how i try to eat and i think that is how paleo was intended to be.

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3756 · April 28, 2011 at 2:21 AM

I dealt with something similar. I found that I was eating too much protein and it was irritating my gut. I also raised my carbs. You really have to play with Paleo to optimize for yourself. VLC doesn't work for everybody.

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2119 · May 27, 2011 at 12:59 PM

I can't lose weight on a low-carb high-fat diet whether it's paleo or not unless I restrict calories severely...and then I'm hungry and miserable.

I lost most of my weight (I'd still like to lose 5-10 lbs) on a protein sparing modified fast that was very low-fat. I ate a lot of protein (bison, skinless chicken, extra-lean ground beef, fish, shellfish, cottage cheese) and green vegetables. I typically had a small apple and some strawberries each day as well.

High protein is the only way I can restrict calories without being constantly hungry. I know that a lot of people find fat to be satiating, but for me, protein works better.

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1008 · May 27, 2011 at 3:42 PM

I'm with you - high fat did NOT work for me. I have to count my calories, I have to reduce my fat intake, and lots of protein is the only way to lose weight without going mad from hunger.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6
12417 · May 27, 2011 at 1:57 PM

nicole, 2 weeks ago i went psmf by paleo-izing the lyle mcdonald protocol for rapid fat loss. the results in body comp in that short period of time were pretty impressive. so impressive that i'm going to do it another 2-4 weeks but i may tweak it just a bit to get a little more fat in there. however, it'll def be below traditional paleo levels of fat. for me, it all depends on what your immediate to short-term goals are. i'm not planning on doing it for longer than another month to see if i can force my bodyfat setpoint down just a bit more...

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18701 · May 27, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Nicole! I've missed you! Happy to see you! I do best with higher protein too, I feel tired without it.

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9948 · April 28, 2011 at 2:13 AM

Low fat paleo is a oxymoron.

Read this posting by Dr Mike Eades about your situation with high fat, mod protein, low carb. http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/lt-frederick-schwatka-and-low-carb-adaptation/

We see it reported on PH all the time. It is just a matter of your body getting used to burning fat instead of sugar for energy. Much of the problem has to do with not eating enough fat for the energy you require.

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3162 · May 27, 2011 at 1:06 PM

If you are gaining fat on a high fat diet/low carb diet, I don't know how you can conclude that you are not getting enough fat.

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78407 · June 28, 2011 at 6:46 AM

indeed: really high fat (more than 50%) seems nothing but a complete nonsense... (and rather aesthetically unappealing - kind of... how should i put it - 'unaristocratic': you cannot get that scary and mean looking 'noble emaciation' appearance by going high fat for a long time - - - and, wasn't the scary and mean looking 'noble emaciation' appearance the whole purpose of paleo? - for me at least - yes!)

fat is a high-calorie 'necessary evil' that lurks in eggs, meat or fish - you don't fight it (it's there for a purpose) but neither add it (and one can get only so much of fat from eating those foods - how much fat is there in organ meats?)

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1012 · April 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM

If your Keto-stix are turning deep purple (as you note in a comment), then:

  • you are in ketosis, in that you are producing ketone bodies
  • but you are not (yet) well keto-adapted, in that you are still excreting ketone bodies rather than burning/retaining them.

After a while, you can be deeply in ketosis but not show anything on the sticks, because you are well adapted and your body doesn't eliminate them as waste. This may take a few months, apparently.

So, one response might be to "stick with it". Another might be that there are other issues going on: cortisol, over-training, some deficiency (Mg seems to be a common recommendation).

That said, some people do seem to do better with moderate carb, particularly in a post-workout meal, or with a cycle of some moderate carbs every few weeks. See what works for you.

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736 · June 28, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Glad to see this posted. I almost never got any purple on a ketostick ZC, VLC, or LC over the course of a year. This must mean I was "fat adapted." All those carb demonizing diets were still lame.

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987 · April 28, 2011 at 2:02 AM

Just to be clear, I tried high fat, low carb for 5-6 weeks. I ate very simply, fatty meat and butter mainly. I'm pretty certain there weren't any hidden carbs. I just felt depressed, low energy, cranky, and I couldn't sleep well.

Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735
552 · April 28, 2011 at 2:48 AM

Then you may need to go higher carb. No big deal. Just eat more carbs until you find the right level for you. That will also depend on your activity level. I don't see why fat would be the problem, though. Avocados and coconut products are great sources of fat, too.

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236 · April 28, 2011 at 1:44 AM

Beware secret sugars. I find they are the number one killer of thinking you're "low-carb."

"Organic vanilla flavoured yogurt is good, right?" No! Do you know how to specifically read labels to determine sugar/fructose content of various foods? If you don't, this is a skill you must master. You may think you're low-carb but you may be the opposite. So a carb + high fat diet could be killing your results.

BEWARE STEALTH CARBS.

100g carbs is too high. Get below 50g.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1
15385 · May 05, 2011 at 2:05 PM

The easy solution to this is to just not eat anything that comes out of a carton. I have become highly skeptical of the quality/contents of ALL processed foods (even those available at Whole Foods and whatnot), and note that the labels are just estimates anyway. To me, "Paleo" eating is all about eating meats, fruits, and vegetables where you start with the raw product so that it hasn't been processed.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6
3891 · April 28, 2011 at 2:04 AM

100 net grams daily from vegetables, tubers, and fruits isn't too high for some of us. It's best for each person to find his or her limit of grams of carbs per day. Remember, while we have principles to adhere to in eating this way, there's individualized fine tuning that goes with it. I do agree with you that learning to read labels is important, but I would guess most of us are staying away from the center ailes of the store in the first place, especially after doing this for a while.

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