I swear, it's annoying. I go to Wolf's site, read cordain, Mark's primal, KGH's PaNu, and it seems as though there's no clear consensus on how much fat (percentage-wise) I'm supposed to be taking in daily. Some say copius amounts of fat (PaNu, Paleolifesyle.com). Some say lean meats and small amounts of good fat (Wolff, Cordain). I'm supplementing daily fat to 75-80% of daily calores, using cream, butter, meat drippings, but then I find a source that says I'm NOT supposed to be doing that. Which is it? And then lots of fruits and veges or very little?
What I'd like is a easy reference site that'll allow me to compare and contrast the differences in intake of macronutients calorie/percentage wise.
PLEASE! Someone clear the mud for me! Thanks!
The "Paleosphere" is a highly active and rapidly evolving world of information. Much of what has currently been figured to be the healthiest way to eat has been established and many of us are doing well with the information available, but it's always good to continue to seek and ask. Right now, there are enough people with a veracious enough appetite for the real truth, and that keeps things fresh and in check.
You seem to know of the good sources, so that's great. As others here have mentioned, there is no 'one source' that has all perfect answers in a connect-the-dot format for the masses. That's impossible. But by sourcing those that have risen to 'the top' of the stack with respect to the current leaders of the real food movement, you should be able to keep abreast with everything real time at least until you feel comfortable enough with your daily diet (not like fad diet... lifestyle diet) that you can sorta settle in to what works best specifically for you. That's the key.
Some do very well with dairy. Others here avoid it altogether for various reasons. Some use primarily coconut oil to cook with. Others use beef tallow or ghee. Some eat a fair amount of starch. Others are VLC. Bottom line... don't go too heavy with one thing or another. I'd make sure that you are getting adequate nutrition all the way around, with real food dominating your caloric intake.
Poke around here a bit. Peruse. And welcome to PaleoHacks.
No one is going to clear the mud for you. Sorry.
Everyone has their own ideas and everyone is experimenting and updating.
Find what works best for you and continue to keep an open mind.
Please check out this thread here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/30108/paleo-fatigue-no-im-not-talking-about-eating/30118#30118
Same basic thing, too much information available and lots of different views.
Bottom line. YOU have to decide what works for you.
Basics of Paleo: No grains, no legumes, no sugar, no PUFA oils
The rest, the grams, the percentages, is up to you to figure out what works for you. Self experimentation is key.
Relax. This type of diet is not like the low-fat, calorie-counting drudgery you are used to. part of the reason so many of us enjoy this type of diet is that we eat lots of fat and meat and some veg and if we feel good, we are good. For some people it takes a few weeks or months of experimenting to find the right balance, as we are all different, with different needs and goals.
Take a deep breath, keep your carbs low and your meat and fats as clean as possible, and you will be fine.
The most important thing is for you to decide what your goals are. If your goal is to get leaner, then a huge amount of fat is going to be tricky. You can safely assume that nearly all of the fat you eat is stored as fat in your body. If you eat the fat in such a way that you get a lot of satiety and therefore eat fewer calories in general, then that can be a successful method of fat loss. It's really easy to overshoot that threshold and gain fat, especially with a mixed diet. Keep in mind that by weight about 20% of meat is protein and 20% of tubers are carbs, but butter is something like 85% fat by weight. So, not only is it more than twice the caloric density, but our fat sources tend to be more than 4x the macro density.
The reason this is important is that if you're making vegetables or mashed potatoes or something, you can make a ton of calories disappear into it by adding butter if you're not careful. Same goes for drinking a lot of coffee with heavy cream. A pint of cream has about 1600 calories. When you ingest fat, the chylomicrons send it to your adipocytes. Obviously those adipocytes are constantly in flux and are releasing the fat rapidly as well, but if you constantly flood them, you can have a net gain in body fat easily. A highly active primitive culture constantly exposed to the elements can make better use of the energy density in fat than relatively sedentary westerners. The take home point is that if someone tells you to eat a lot of fat and it causes you to gain weight or at least to not lose fat, it's not that you're cursed, it's that you've simply overshot the threshold.
In my personal experience the macro ratios that are most effective for fat loss tend to resemble those employed by bodybuilders when they're cutting. This is a group of people who are greatly invested in rapidly losing fat and thus they're really not going to do things that don't work, though they generally have, uh, exogenous assistance. Most of their strategies are lowish in carbs and fat and high in protein. It produces a lot of satiety without too many calories.
For me personally, after experimenting with a lot of different dietary compositions, the one that results in an ideal intersection point between feeling the best, losing the most fat, performing the best in my workouts etc. is about 100g of carbs from sweet potatoes (a bit more on workout days) a lot of eggs and meat and some fat here and there where it's appropriate.
What that ends up actually looking like is a 250g sweet potato for breakfast with a bit of butter, and as many eggs as I can fit in my stomach on top of that, usually about 3. Another sweet potato like that for lunch and as much lamb as I can eat on top of it. Then for dinner I mostly eat meat. Breakfast and lunch end up yielding about 5 hours of satiety and of course dinner takes me to breakfast the next day. The carbs just replete glycogen stores without interfering with fat oxidation and the protein is sufficient for repair and satiety. If you want to accelerate fat loss, find some resistance training that you enjoy doing and do it a few times a week. Additionally, walking as much as possible is really effective.
How do you feel? If you feel fine - I'd say you're doing ok. If you're feeling oddly, you could reduce it down to 60% or so and do more protein. Do what feels good. If you feel ok, then you're OK!
By the way, welcome to PaleoHacks!
We are all unique snowflakes - just like everybody else. It really depends a lot on your situation and goals. Are you obese, diabetic, epileptic or having other brain or metabolic dysfunction? Then maybe really high fat, perhaps even ketogenic would be best. Are you lean and athletic? More protein and carbs.
In any case protein should probably be in a range of 10%-30%, so maybe shooting for 20% is a safe average. Carbs anywhere from 5-30%, depending on goals, most people are around 10-15%. And the rest is fat - 50-85% or so. I probably hit 70-75% most of the time, when I actually track it, which is almost never...
"Paleo" isn't a specific diet, like Atkins or Ornish, with ratios and limits. It's a general concept of eating (and living), that says we'll probably be healthiest if we stick to eating A) foods that humans have been eating for ages, allowing us plenty of time to become adapted to them, and B) foods that may not have been around that long, but are similar in content to those long-time foods. Even within that vague a definition, there is still disagreement, with some people rejecting foods in the second category like dairy. The only foods absolutely rejected by all paleos would be those that are completely new and unlike anything we ate before, like artificial sweeteners and refined grains. No specific foods are required in the sense that, say, fruit is required on a fruitarian diet. Paleo man certainly ate animal organs, but you don't have to -- as long as you get that nutrition somewhere else.
That leaves a lot of latitude for authors writing books or blogs about "their" paleo diets. You can make your personal paleo diet low-fat or high-fat, low-carb or high-carb, or even low-fat and low-carb (also known as rabbit starvation). I suspect that if you're writing a paleo diet book and hoping to sell a lot of copies, you're better off making yours low-fat. That has to improve your chances of getting promoted by the Oprah gang, for starters.
So if you're looking for a specific diet plan to tell you exactly what to eat, pick one of the books and follow it. If you want to know what's going on and tailor a paleo diet to your needs and circumstances, you'll have to read various sources (Kurt Harris's Archevore blog is a great place to start for the basics) and make a plan of your own.
Maybe think of Paleo as helping you decide what not to eat, vs. how much of what you should eat. In general, avoid excess poly-unsaturated fats (industrially extracted vegetable oils), excess fructose (don't sweat it about fruits), and grains in general. That's the big chunk of it. Some will tell you to go further and avoid dairy, legumes, nightshades... start with the basics, then self-experiment with the details.
I think that Dr. Harris answered this question quite well in a brilliant post recently on his PaNu Blog. He refers to paleo as a Chimera... read and you'll get it. Very interesting.
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