Low Fat Paleo...

by (987) Updated June 28, 2011 at 6:46 AM 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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9 Replies

17816 · 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.

114 · 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.

3747 · 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.

2088 · 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.

9983 · 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.

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.


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

77348 · 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?)

902 · 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.

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.

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