After reading through Jack Kronk's question regarding his cholesterol numbers I got to wondering whether high fat is only healthy in the absence of high carb and vice versa. Grok pointed out in Jack's thread someone who consumed a ton of fruit but still maintained trigs low, so obviously it's not the fruit or the carbohydrate on it's own that raises trigs, but if that's the case then what does? Is it the pairing of carbohydrate with fat that does a number on our cardiovascular health? Think hamburgers, pizza, french fries drenched in ranch; typical high-reward foods seem to be the most dangerous. We don't know whether our ancestors were high fat or high carb, but we do know they were either one or the other. If they ate tubers daily I can assure you they didn't drown them in fat. Could high carb and high fat be a lethal combination, even if both sources of starch and fat are coming from generally healthy foods, such as sweet potato and coconut oil?
It seems to be intuitive- and I say that knowing that intuition can lead you astray- that you should try to have energy balance. If you're using fat for fuel then a huge amount of carbs may be energy overload and throw something out of balance. Likewise, if you're primarily using carbs for fuel than consuming a lot of fat may do the same. Lately I've been eating both in moderation and feeling pretty good on that. I only feel "off" if I consciously increase either- tinkering a bit too much.
High glycemic carbs like flour and sugar are what cause cholesterol problems. If you cut those out and get your carbs from veggies and a small amount of fruit it just kind of becomes low carb by default, and, if you keep your protein consumption the same, then fat consumption goes up. And, no, it's not necessarily carbs that are the problem. It's the high glycemic carbs found in highly processed foods. They drive insulin up and chronic high levels of insulin do all sorts of damage. Fat in the diet isn't the culprit at all.
So we don't know whether they did high carb or high fat but we know they didn't do both? How does that even make sense, how can we have no idea about what people did but know for sure they didn't do something. Carbs and fat exists both in somewhat large amounts in the environment if your smart like a human.
The reality is unless you're walking 13 miles a day you're not paleo. The type of conditioning you'd be subjected to in the wild from birth would turn you into an athlete. Athletes burn more fat and store more carbs. Macronutrient ratios aren't an issue to someone trying to get enough food.
Our problem in modern society is you can buy a bag of sweet potatoes and a jar of coconut oil and go to town without having to harvest food which takes a lot of physical labor. HG work like 15-20 hrs of week. That work is a full body conditioning program. They are basically athletes.
I have seen blood test results of low carb and high carb people showing high trigs. I don't think macronutrient ratios have anything to do with it.
I don't have an answer for you from a paleo perspective but from a low carb weight loss perspective I can tell you without a doubt that when you raise carbs you lower fat or you get fat. It is well known in the LC weight loss community that this should occur and my personal experience was very much in line with this understanding. I have always attributed this phenomenon to some sort of innate knowledge on the part of the body that high carb/high fat are some sort of disaster for the body and should be avoided with the first physical signs of impending doom being the extra fat accumulation on the body.
It seems to happen rather naturally for most so it's not something that seems to receives a lot of attention or discussion. When people start to transition from weight loss phase of Atkins to pre-maintenance and maintenance they are asked to start raising carbs to prepare their bodies to live with the highest possible carb intake that maintains their weight loss. We see people almost without consciousness increasing intake of fruit and veggies, including some starch, holding protein fairly constant and decreasing fat intake. So protein remains the constant and carbohydrate and fat rise and fall in inverse proportion.
Now some interpret the need to lower fat while increasing carbs as "I must count calories" or even "restrict calories", which may in fact be the real factor at play (I honestly don't know.) What appears to take place is they start increasing carb intake notice weight loss stops or they even gain a bit, freak out occurs, then they zero in on lowering calories and the way to do that that is glaringly obvious is to use a little less butter , replace heavy cream with half and half or almond milk, etc in order to lower calories.
I most definitely live this way. I see my food life as a choice of fat or carbs. I can't maintain weight loss, and I assume good health, with both being high. At times I may increase carb intake because of more intense activity or just because I feel the need I definitely cut fat. Not low fat per se but I definitely cut back to maybe a 35-40% intake of calories from fat. If I do not I will gain weight. I tend to interpret weight gain as a sign that the body is out of balance which may mean other negative affects may also betaking place.
It doesn't matter which proportions as long as you adhere to the correct foods. But when you use oils and fatty meats, it's super-easy to overdo because they are condensed calories in a small amount of food. Similar thing with dried fruit, honey, sugar... And that's what screws up the lipid panel. Also keep in mind that you need to get your glucose from somewhere to stave off cortisol(which will also ruin it), so if carbs are too low(under 100g) you'll need to bump up the protein. I say just get the most micronutrient-dense foods(lean meat, seafood, sauteed vegetables, egg yolks, tubers/bulbs, liver) and make them the 80-90% staples of your diet. You can't go wrong with that no matter the proportions and your numbers will be golden. But start pouring oils, getting fatty meats, sweets, fruit and it'll bite you back. Fructose and polyunsaturated fats will easily bury any effort.
My take on it is you don't want to combine the two. It should be one or the other. The reason is Insulin. It's the fat storage hormone. You get high insulin levels (from the carbs) while digesting a high fat, it goes directly to storage.
I'm not sure where I fit in here. I'm eating 2 meals per day--one is protein/fat and the other is fruit. Lots of fruit (typically 2 grapefruit, a banana, 3 dates per day and sometimes more.) So, do I fit the high fat, high carb slot? I probably do, but I feel lousy if I try to shrink either meal. So far, I'm still losing weight without counting calories or worrying about portions but I still have lots to lose so that could change. So far, though, I really think it's grain and sugar that are my problem and fruit is fine for me.
I would think the key to this input/output equation hinges on your muscle weight/total weight ratio. A high muscle weight/total weight ratio reflects active muscles that rely on high carbohydrates. If you do strength training or resistance exercises, you will need glucose stored as glyocogen in your muscle cells. You will need to access this energy.
In somebody with lower muscle proportion, glucose is not as crucial to consume for fuel thus surpluses will be stored for use at a later date.
Someone like Jack who weighs 155 and benches nearly double his total body weight probably needs a combination of high fats for basal metabolism and high carbs for muscle building activities.
I can consume high carbs/high fats and maintain weight while remaining in peak physical/mental condition. My weight hardly fluctuates at all.
In my experience, pick one, or the other. Better yet, alternate on different days a la Leangains. Eat carbs and fat together and you'll be inclined to store bodyfat.
An exception I've experienced is during 8-10hr, high vertical gain, grueling mountain climbs with a pack. Heartrate stays in the midrange where both can be burned, and the sheer calorie need takes care of the above confliction.
Personally on such multi day bouts, I use copious amounts of starch and coconut oil.
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