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eating too much fat while eating paleo?

by (5)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:55 PM
Created September 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

i started paleo eating a few weeks ago and i just have a question - how much fat is too much?

i allow myself 2 full-fat greek yogurts a week, but besides that it's all meat, nuts, veggies, and fruits for me.

a normal day's consumption usually has 2-4 eggs, 2TBSP raw almond butter, a half avocado OR sweet potato, 2 chicken breasts and some lean ground beef (plus a bunch of fruits and veggies). i've been calorie-tracking just to see and i usually get about 1800-2100 calories a day with about 90-110g of fat. i'm 5'7, 120lb, female.

since starting paleo i haven't noticed a distinct weight change - which is good! that's what i wanted! - but i have been noticing more muscle definition everywhere except my lower abdomen, i constantly feel bloated and look a little too, especially since my upper abs are getting really defined. should i eat less fat and more veggies? when i do that, i feel really fatigued because i'm not getting enough intake calorically. and i'm active - i crossfit 5x/week and am a waitress as well as do yoga and lift on my own a few times a week.

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50 · October 09, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Curious why you can't do just meat (fish and fowl) and veggies for a time and then add back in the dairy, fruit and nuts to see if you can find the culprit.

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4266 · September 28, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Plus 1 on the cortisol and overtraining. Also, girl, eat some dang real fat and real meat/fish with Omega 3 fats in it. You're probably full of inflammation.

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78417 · September 28, 2012 at 3:39 AM

Sure you can. I get that you might not want to but that isn't the same as "can't"

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5 · September 27, 2012 at 9:11 PM

i really couldn't just do meat and vegetables, though. my entire lower abdomen was firmer and less "bloated" looking a few weeks ago when i was eating, essentially, mostly carbs and dairy.

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5 · September 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

oh, i do! i have one completely off day a week (no work/working out). and that's on average, i only do yoga twice a week and it's hatha and i'm really inflexible, so - really mild stuff.

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50 · September 27, 2012 at 8:33 PM

To increase your low fat intake, try creamed coconut (available in cheap little boxes), it's delicious with a spoon! (it's basically coconut milk without the water content) Also put butter on everything, including meat! Chicken breasts are far too lean to eat without additional fat. If you have trouble digesting fat, use a digestive enzyme with lipase.

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8004 · September 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Thanks for the upvotes, whoever gave them. The more I think about this, the more I think overtraining *is* a factor here. (Maybe not the *only* one, but it could be a biggie.)

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8004 · September 27, 2012 at 7:13 PM

"I crossfit 5x/week and am a waitress as well as do yoga and lift on my own a few times a week." Please tell me you take a rest day every now and then, girl! If not, there's a decent chance the belly bloat is cortisol related. Your body is telling you to take a break once in a while!

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8004 · September 27, 2012 at 7:12 PM

"I crossfit 5x/week and am a waitress as well as do yoga and lift on my own a few times a week." Please tell me you take a rest day every now and then, girl!

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24528 · September 27, 2012 at 6:52 PM

I think Melissa McEwan does a pretty nifty job of explaining this, in her talk from last year. http://www.huntgatherlove.com/content/ancestral-health-symposium-talk

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5 · September 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM

oh, whoops - i meant grams! yeah, 90-110g of fat. i never thought of it as the veggies thing. i've obviously been upping my raw fruit and vegetable intake since starting paleo and i guess that could very well be it.

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5 Answers

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50 · September 27, 2012 at 8:25 PM

If I were you, I would try eliminating dairy fruit and nuts completely and then see if the bloating stops.

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50 · October 09, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Curious why you can't do just meat (fish and fowl) and veggies for a time and then add back in the dairy, fruit and nuts to see if you can find the culprit.

85026a0abe715229761956fbbee1cba0
78417 · September 28, 2012 at 3:39 AM

Sure you can. I get that you might not want to but that isn't the same as "can't"

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5 · September 27, 2012 at 9:11 PM

i really couldn't just do meat and vegetables, though. my entire lower abdomen was firmer and less "bloated" looking a few weeks ago when i was eating, essentially, mostly carbs and dairy.

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11478 · September 27, 2012 at 6:22 PM

I eat about 80% of my calories from fat and less than 5% from carbs. I've lost nearly 70lbs doing this for the last 18 months. No such thing as "too much fat", although my weight loss is much slower if I eat lots of dairy.

As someone else noted, the bloat is due to digestion. Your metabolism can cope with burning fat (which will happen anyway if you are at a calorie defecit).

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24528 · September 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM

If you mean calories and not grams of fat that is crazy low.

If that is correct, that is about 5% fat intake.

If you meant 90 grams of fat, that is still only 25%, many aim for 50-80%

Belly bloat is caused more by trying to digest hard to digest vegetables than fat consumption.

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24528 · September 27, 2012 at 6:52 PM

I think Melissa McEwan does a pretty nifty job of explaining this, in her talk from last year. http://www.huntgatherlove.com/content/ancestral-health-symposium-talk

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5 · September 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM

oh, whoops - i meant grams! yeah, 90-110g of fat. i never thought of it as the veggies thing. i've obviously been upping my raw fruit and vegetable intake since starting paleo and i guess that could very well be it.

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150 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

If you're getting 50-70% of your cals from healthy fats you're not only going to be fine, you're going to be less hungry while supporting your diet with a baseline to begin experimenting and adapting to different foods.

If you're only a few weeks in you can expect that your body can take months to fully adapt. You simply can't undo a lifetime of behavior and adaptation in weeks. Who knows what's going on in your gut flora. Unfortunately everyone is different and there are so many factors that can play a role that there's no fast answer. Just be vigilant in knowing you're doing the right thing.

Fat, particularly grass-fed butter, coconut, and meat-fat should be of no problem. If the butter is, it may be the dairy. Switch to ghee if it is.

Commit to a 90 day experiment. Don't eat for variety or pleasure but to dial in what works for you. Find a baseline diet and eat repetitively. Then introduce something new. Give it a week and see how you adapt. By zeroing in on foods that definitively cause problems you then have the insight needed to work with supplements or adaptive introduction.

Personally for me it took 2 years to be able to eat Brazil nuts. I could eat pounds of almonds and coconut, but Brazil nuts were like eating a laxative. Crushed me. For 90 days I just ate one Brazil nut per day. Then moved up to 2. Then 3. Now I can eat a whole 500 calorie cupful...but it took two years and the patience to work my way into it.

Bottom line is you're absolutely doing the right thing by making the diet switch, reaching out for insights and help. Patience and your ability to experiment is the key. But as long as you're keeping your carb low, you get to drown everything in butter!

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