By Rob Archangel
Happy Monday everyone. Just a quick little update:?12 Paleo Myths: Eat Better Than a Caveman is available now in paperback HERE.
Not only does it address some of the most common, off-base paleo ideas floating around, like the idea that we haven’t adapted in any meaningful way since the birth of agriculture, or that hunter-gatherers had sexy bodies, but it also tackles some of the dumb low carb ideas that are frequently aligned with paleo/primal eating. ?Like the idea that burning fat for fuel is superior. It’s not. Or that low carb diets guarantee you low blood glucose and insulin levels. They don’t. ?Plus it’s got dozens of testimonials from folks who failed on the paleo diet. ?It’s a nice counter-balance to all the success stories we usually here about this or that diet.
So if you, or someone you know, is dealing with the Wheaties Effect, having seen some ripped to shreds dude or lady who went paleo and seemed to have fixed everything in their life because of it, pick up a copy. It might at least slow you down from running full throttle into the problems that lots of other people just like you have run into. Get it here:?12 Paleo Myths: Eat Better Than A Caveman
Is there any situation where paleo can be beneficial…say heartburn? Why do carbs seem to be the culprit? Or is that an illusion?
Here’s a section from the book that touches on this:
Gastroparesis/Delayed Stomach Emptying
This is a very common problem in the low-carb/Paleo world, and the healthy eating industry as a whole. Basically food just feels like it sits in your stomach like a rock, and the stomach does not empty its contents out into the intestines for way too long. Presumably this delayed time, as well as the delayed time in the intestines that often accompanies it (increased transit time), are an active attempt to squeeze out more energy from the food being ingested.
Get things moving again with a big surge in metabolism (carbs are almost always essential in a case of gastroparesis that develops during carbohydrate restriction, but calories are a greater factor in those who developed the disorder for other reasons, such as reduced calorie density of the diet), and the condition usually improves.
This is probably related to gastroparesis/delayed stomach emptying more than anything. But it may also have something to do with reduced gastrin secretion when metabolism is below normal. Gastrin is a hormone that triggers important gastric secretions vital for the proper digestion of food. Acid reflux was something that I suffered from on several different ?healthy? diets, worsened the most by excessive hiking because hiking downregulates metabolism (think 2 degree drop in body temperature), but it cleared in just a few days when I raised metabolism via the elimination of macronutrient restriction with increased calorie intake and exercise minimization.
So yeah, generally heartburn is one of the many symptoms of a reduced metabolism, and carbs are helpful in the long term for getting out of that state, even if they seem to exacerbate the issue in the short term.
Which isn’t to say that a paleo diet is always and everywhere wrong. There might be some individuals and some cases where it makes sense. But as a general prescription for the average person, it frequently runs into problems.
Thanks for sharing Rob! It makes some sense. I will try eating a lot of calories for a few days, are there any foods in particular that I should eat that will create some changes in a few days, like Matt wrote?
Well, the most metabolically stimulating foods tend to include the 4 S’s- salt, sugar, starch and saturated fat. So incorporating meals that include those, and monitoring your fluid intake so that you don’t end up feeling ‘washed out’ might help. Here’s a recent interview talking about fluids: http://180degreehealth.com/2013/07/pee-pee And a post which talks about the anti-stress S’s: http://180degreehealth.com/2012/08/thyroid-rehab-the-diet-and-lifestyle-approach
The key Matt described there was unrestrained eating, particularly of food that sounded appealing. Eating well and abundantly can help turn the corner on something like heartburn if it’s due to being in a low metabolic state. Often when we’re in a depleted state, the foods that sound tastiest to us provide the fastest routes to recovery. So things like ice cream, pizza, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, that sort of thing.
Thanks! The thing is though I’ve been eating less over the last few months, I don’t feel depleted. It’s summer so I’m naturally less hungry. However, I am waiting for the results of a test for H. Pylori. Maybe that could enhance the problem. I will definitely try the eating abundantly approach, since I’ve been restricting certain food groups like dairy. Again, thank you for your support.
I’ve been refeeding for about 4 months now, coming off years of low-carb and paleo. In the past 3 weeks I’ve been getting serious acid reflux that is triggered by processed foods especially wheat products, pasta, breads, crackers, cookies etc. and coffee. Eating more makes it worse, not better and I’m at a point of having trouble getting enough calories in from non-carb sources. Can having low stomach acid or not enough digestive enzymes be the culprit, or perhaps I have a wheat/gluten intolerance. I’ve been looking for more specific info on this site and elseware to get to the root of this problem, but have not found anything that helps me. Anyone else with a similar problem?
How are potatoes and white rice?
Short version: Had it last year. Don’t have it now. Digestive enzymes (Raw Enzymes) and HCl were a useful crutch to help you eat but didn’t provide the miraculous symptom-free-ness for me that some had. Some bitters I tried at a community herbalism workshop (coincidence!) also helped. Ginger tea with meals helped.
As much as it takes the pleasure out of food and makes you want to eat less, *try to eat* and wean yourself back onto starches. Eating more will make it worse on a meal-by-meal basis in the short term, because it’s more food to sit there and indigest itself. But long term, it’s probably the only way out. (Coffee might be a different animal from starches, some are particularly sensitive to caffeine.) I had to crawl back by baby steps, to mix my baby-metaphors. I eat everything now, no problem. Only get reflux if I chug water … I think overhydration was a factor all along.
Both low stomach acid AND insufficient enzyme production are can be due to low metabolism (which can be translated for many as subclinical hypothyroid). Personally, I didn’t have a specific wheat problem (ALL foods were bad for me during this time), but wheat and other intolerances (especially if developed in adulthood, not inborn allergies) can be provoked by the general low-metabolic state, or so people like Matt believe, and it sounds plausible to me.
Long version, I wrote on this thread: http://180degreehealth.com/180forums/topic/naturopathic-doctors
charlotte60 if you lack digestive enzymes.. Try to eat fresh pineapple, mango or kiwi before “troublesome” meals.. It saved me! these fruit are high natures digestive aid :) they may be hard for people who do not tolerate citrus fruits but for me, who could not eat any form of dairy for years! Can now eat even ice cream and cheese!.. without any troublesome results.. in my experience, it also helps with bloating and indigestion when consuming difficult food.
For me, caffeine is the culprit. I guess it depends on the person.
Lately my reflux has been up and down. Paleo eating seemed to do wonders for it but eventually the other issues overshadowed the blessings of reduced reflux. Now it seems like my reflux kicks up about two to three hours after eating. So as long as I keep shoving food in there it’s alright.
Interesting, JDubs… so you’re saying that EATING calms the reflux down? I.e., you experience a symptom 2-3 hours after eating, and then you eat again and “it’s alright,” ie symptoms go away?
If so, that would really support the metabolism theory … “crashing” 2-3 hours after eating slows the system down, creates the reflux.
Yes, I can only guess that the possibly gasses created by the digestive process are a cause. I have a slight bit of hiatal hernia and it seems like stomach gas and bloat causes pressure on it and forces the acid up. At first nothing but time would solve this but now that I feel my metabolism is getting better I don’t get the hardcore bloat right after eating. Now it seems like I get gassy and reflux about two or three hours later. Maybe my stomach stops emptying or something and adding more food not only gives it something to work on as well as allowing the emptying process to start back up. All I know is I can now eat things that would have killed me a few months ago and feel little to no problem.
people don’t need to live with hiatal hernia. after a bad coughing cold or vomiting i always need to do some of those heel drops for a while and then everything is all good.
the only time i really suffered was when pregnant.
i’ve also read a chiro can help.
this should have said: the only time that i really suffered from heart burn was during preg. (it may have been both physical and hormonal) nowadays if i feel a little heart burn i know that hiatal is up again.
Heartburn during pregnancy is a common complaint. I can see why :) talk about hiatal hernia.
The whole paleo myth is kind of romantic. I think that’s what draws people in. I have always been a sucker for the ideal of a rustic more simplified lifestyle. All of the paleo stuff makes perfect sense too if you think about it a little. The trouble is when you think about it deeper, or worse yet, live it for a while, the cracks start to appear.Since my introduction into it last year I have learned a very valuable lesson, don’t believe everything you think! Don’t get me wrong , there are tidbits of philosophy I picked up on the paleo path that make sense. Things such as not having an abject fear of fat in your diet, recognizing the harm intense exercise can cause, simplifying your life etc. Although you probably won’t catch me running around in five finger shoes, I do try to spend lots of time out doors and I do sprints from time to time as well as occasional pull ups on an opportune tree branch. I also think there is a lot of common sense to going to bed when it gets dark and rising with the sun ( although I don’t do either that much these days ). Cutting down on electrical and media stimulation is also a good idea. I can do all of these things though and am still not living anything remotely like people forty thousand years ago. Hell, the more I think about it I don’t want to live like someone from a hundred years ago. At this point I’m even sick of the word paleo. To me it’s just another marketing term and unfortunately I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
Thank you. You get it. Paleo is not the be all end all but it does have some major benefits. The “movement” seems to be moving in the direction of “hey, it’s not the carbs!” I believe in real food but there is no need to stress about being perfect. Context matters. And I love my potatoes; all colors including white.
“don’t believe everything you think” is an incredibly important life lesson. your mind’s job is to make up stories to help you interpret the world. they aren’t all golden. “the work” by byron katie gets into this more. don’t think of her as a guru though, another mistake. her “work” is just a tool.
sometimes i don’t think we are really of this world and that is why paleo didn’t work, lol! as someone who can’t hardly walk outside in summer without getting burned–it doesn’t seem likely my genes evolved here! look at the poor guy on “naked and afraid” laid out for days with sunburn.
the corollary to “don’t believe everything you think” is:
“stop trying to be the boss of you”
that is my newest mantra.
I’m trying to figure out how to let it all go while keeping it together.
Since I started paleo eating two years ago my bodyfat has plummeted, my energy has increased in a more sustained way, my skin has cleared, and my gastrointestinal problems are a thing of the past. Other than that I see no difference.
would you have come up with paleo on your own? i mean, maybe you NEED it and your body WANTS it? did you not have a desire to eat starches and sweets and dairy and legumes? or do you still fight urges for these foods?
i wasn’t paleo per se, but for about 10 years i have been “lowish” carb. like have had one donut in 10 years. dessert maybe once a week. gluten free. pretty much avoided baked goods. but found that often times i was actually DREAMING about things like bread, bagels…
i’ve been “eating the food” since winter and have lost a bit of weight (5%) my energy is good, sleeping good, skin has not been bad (and that is one of my weaknesses) and gut is good.
bringing back starches and sweets has been…well… fine! and no more longing. now i eat whatever makes my mouth water. sometimes it is meat. sometimes it is bread. sometimes it is milk.
Cool! Glad it’s working for you, Matt. This book is for those who it stopped working for, or for whom it never did.
Maybe we just need to pay attention to the body itself to see what helps us thrive or die. I do best with some sugars (real white sugar) rather than most stone fruits (go figure.) I do well with some potatoes but not so much anything with a dough conditioner in it (took me a while to figure that out.) If I don’t get enough fats I gain weight, if I don’t get enough carbs, I gain weight, if I don’t get enough exercise, I feel depressed, if I don’t get enough protein, my energy plummets. Maybe, its just about a balanced diet. . .and letting the stress go.
I believe it. Same thing happened to me. My skin cleared up, I had more energy, I deloped a four pack. ( never made it to a six pack ;) ) I would never be so bold as to say something doesn’t work for others. For those around here for whom it hasn’t worked, I see lots of similarities in the stories and symptoms. I am inclined to believe that people with certain stomach and digestive issues, hormone issues, stress issues, as well as even certain personality types, seem to not do well with low carb. If you can do it without feeling the urge to go nuts on a plate of brownies or dream of bagels your probably doing alright. If you can eat lots of raw veggies and tons meat then you probably don’t have low stomach acid and screwed up stomach flora. At this point even if I thought I could exist on a low carb, paleo type diet, I am at the end of my rope as far as restricting things and making the process of eating an expensive time consuming pain in the ass.
The Paleo movement lacks a cohesive theory of health. it’s a rather arbitrary exclusion diet based on a romantic notion in the past that there is little evidence for. What people ate depended on where they lived and what season it was. No one was eating grilled steaks and salads. Paleo people ignore the fact that civilization as we know it was created under the influence of neolithic foods, and in fact, some would argue that neolithic foods (steady glucose supply) gave humans the brain power to create the modern world that we live in. Certainly 50 or 100 years ago, no one was questioning the inherent goodness of grains, or – if you lived in Europe or America – dairy, as these foods have been mainstays for a very long long time.
The question is, why do so many people have “issues” with neolithic foods now? It is a symptoms of a much larger problem, namely the degeneration of humanity across the last few generations. This is ultimately a metabolic issues, but not always a metabolic issue due to calorie deprivation, as tends to be emphasized on 180degree. Some of the things – rather than grains and dairy – that have changed in the last – say – 75 years, are:
1. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, soy oil, canola oil, etc etc
2. High-fructose corn syrup
4. Atmospheric radiation exposure – nuclear fallout. Above-ground testing in the 50s and 60s exposed Americans to a lot of fallout, but especially since Fukushima.
5. Chemical and pesticide exposures, but especially fluoride and chlorine (and bromine) in the water supply which have anti-thyroid effects.
6. Non-ionizing radiation exposure from radio waves, microwaves, etc from ubiquitous, exposure to technologies like WiFi, cellular phones, computers, etc, etc
7. Anti-biotic use; dysbiotic gut flora passed on from mother to child = weakening of immunity across generations.
What we see is that at least 5 of these are very specific anti-metabolic, anti-thyroid in their effects. If “get” that when metabolism and the thyroid is impaired, digestion and assimilation and immunity are impaired, we can start to see, perhaps, the origins of all of these chronic gut problems that get blamed on grains and dairy. The “paleo” mind set is simple and reductionistic; a bandwagon that many have jumped on to make a name for themselves. become diet gurus, and lead others down a trail that might work for a minority, but won’t work for the majority because it doesn’t get to the root of the issue.
Again, I find it ironic that the Paleo “thinkers” – grunt, grunt – seem to find it easy to ignore the 7 items that *have* changed in our recent human experience as I listed above (well they do bash PUFA, thanks to, no doubt, Ray Peat, but I remember wincing when Cordain originally suggested grilling steaks with flax oil!!!!), but dump heaps o’ blame on poor grains and dairy.
I like to remember that the Roman legions and Gladiators ate more than their share of wheat, as did the Spartans, and it didn’t seem to impair their robustness, from what I can tell…
Again, if degenerative diseases are getting out of control, which they are, you need to look at recent influences. Grains and dairy might be recent, from an evolutionary perspective, but antibiotics, fluoride, chlorine, bromine, nuclear fallout, GMOs, PUFA oils, and EMFs are all much newer, not at all well understood, and combine to form a pernicious influence that is hard to grasp in that people always look for a single bullet rather than looking at the big picture. We are dealing with a big picture problem here, and food probably has much less to do with it than we imagine, all of us, apparently fixated on food (that’s why we’re here!). Grok was dealing with any of this shit either…
Great comments, Sean. All of these new factors equal a metric shit-ton of stress on our bodies, most of it happening beneath our conscious awareness.
I agree that those are the biggest changes, and there are a few more factors are purely societal such as:
1. Going out and drinking until late at night
2. Staying awake, on the computer, until 12:00am or later
3. Getting low-quality, interrupted sleep due to 1&2
4. Being dependent on caffeine to get going due to constant experience of 1-3
In my entire adult life, I never went to sleep before 11pm, and that was early for me. I am now working on stopping computer related stimulation by 9pm, going to bed by 10pm, waking up earlier, eliminating caffeine and reducing alcohol consumption to a couple glasses of wine a couple times a week.
It’s too early to tell any major changes, but I am already seeing that my quality of sleep is improving.
As for the items in your list, I have also taken measures to eliminate or mitigate those issues. Ionizing radiation is hard to eliminate, but zeolite seems to be an effective mitigatory agent.
Paleo Myths (i read it a year ago) really helped me break from 10-yrs of lower carb paleo. I tried for years to cut carbs but i constantly wanted them – even after multple attempts to get threw the “carb flu” and eating tons of saturated fat. Personally, i think Paleo is awesome if you just add some more carbs. The focus on low PUFAs, higher saturated fat, real food diet with limited exercise and a big focus on de-stressing is great advice. You can even be almost-paleo and get lots of carbs from fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Add in a little honey (which Mark Sissons has acknowledged is actually a real food as oppposed to refined sugar) and some dairy if tolerated, follow Mark Sisson’s 80% rule and I bet you could have a nice Venn diagram with a lot of overlap between Paleo and 180. There are still some key differences like the amount of carbs in the diet, grains, etc – but they are not that far apart. I think the key difference is that most Paleo’s believe high amounts of carbs are stress adn 180 fans believe they help de-stress.
I used paleo to recover myself from anorexia.
It ” felt right ” hormonally, mentally and physically , eating healthy but consuming organic meats and plenty of fats- my body just loves to eat fats all its life despite anorexia, during every recovery it felt right for my body to have olive oil butter and back then it was nut butters, but I knew full fat Greek yoghurt sat better for my digestion than fat free. Fast forward and paleo turned into “primal” lots of raw or normal dairy, meats and fats , steaks!! Yoghurt, dark dark chocolate and the occasional rice, inclusions of potatoes and plantains. Still am not menstruating, still low body fat, still skin peels and stomach problems, still have anxiety issues and still do not feel optimal… Yet as a member writes above- I DO crave hummus, pasta, cereals and whole milk!! Cream and jam scones! Toast! Sandwiches and wraps, oatmeal… Yet my fear is so great of them, and every time I include a bite or two or something non “primal” ie gluten or grain containing I feel my energy depleting, get stomach pains even worse and a few days later imagine visceral fat on midriff!! Puffy face!! Fat arms!!- SO- moral of story? Paleo can brainwash an individual like me for life, despite reading all of the go paleo and matt 180 posts, the fear is set and I’m yet to break from it!!
Eating ” normal” foods will make you sick for a while but that will clear up. Like you stated the biggest obstacle is your mind. Once you get past your fear and start eating better you will find that life and your health may still not be perfect. However its damn sure better than living in a mental prison and being afraid that eating one ” wrong” thing is going to ruin your life. And you may just find that your health does get somewhat better while also being able to enjoy that bagel with jelly. It’s worth a shot.
Go kaleo I mean
Pocket Rocket, if you are craving something, that’s a sign. Start with uping your carbs – paleo style – if fear is bothering you. You mention a little rice and some potato and some plaintains, but those are not calorie dense. You may need to try eating a lot of them. I personally believe white potatoes are a good way to branch out. Slice them and fry them in butter and then add salt. They are easy on my digestion. If you are struggling on Paleo with constant carb cravings, half a sweet potato or a few slices of plantain are not going to be enough.
am the father of a 19 year old son who adopted paleo and is now in a life theatening bulimic state that is hell on earth having gone from 165 pounds to 120 pounds on his 5 11 frame ( check that on your BMII chart!). I have taken the time to explore with friends and colleagues with young people and fit conscious partners followng paleo in similar situations and there is an alarming correlation between this diet and eating disorders or disordrerd eating whatever you want to call it . I also read the book that started my son down this crazy path ( WHOLE 30 ) and found it to be highly misleading and no more than psuedoscience with very little statistical support or medical validity behind it . Considering the dangers of dropping grains and carbs, especially for young people, and this alarning corelation, it is deeply disturbing that sites like yours treat this a simply another fad diet rather than exposing it for the insanity that it is, namely, a religion that encourages people to starve themselves to death! I can’t imagine the number of damaaged lives and I am sure lives lost that have fallen victim to this cult like following. I can only pray my son will not be one of them. Shame on you all and I fervently hope that one day the people preaching and profiting from this craze are held accountable.
Brad — I’m sorry to hear your son is having such a terrible experience. As a father, you are right to be worried, and angry. Is he willing to seek psychological support to recover? Is he eating (nonpaleo foods) again?
If you want to read more on this site, you’ll find many people who would agree that there’s nothing trivial about the trouble paleo and other restrictive diets can cause. Many people here have seriously damaged their health on such diets, but many people are also recovering. I’ve read the e-book, and I think you’d find a lot in it to agree with, if you’re looking for that sort of thing. Although paleo IS, in fact, a “fad diet,” you’re right, it can be very dangerous. “Fad diets” ARE dangerous. Any “diet” is dangerous in a small degree, but can become extremely so if the individual has a tendency toward restrictive eating and the willpower to follow though for more than a short while.
For eating disorder recovery specifically, many people who post here have recommended the web site youreatopia.com. That might be a good source of information for you and your son. In the state he’s in, it sounds like he needs medical care, as well. I hope he is able to get free of dieting.
thought you guys might find this ted talk interesting
Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner at TEDxOU