I just listened to Jack Spirko’s podcast on the paleo diet, and I thought you guys might find it interesting as well. Here’s a link to the blog post: My Thoughts on The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
Jack lost 70 pounds eating “like a human” as paleo folks like to say. In 18 months he went from 281 down to 210. He ate meats, nuts, fruits, veggies and good fats. Basically, if you can find it in nature and it tastes good raw, it’s okay to eat. That doesn’t mean you have to eat it raw, but it does mean that things like white potatoes and rice are off the list. Sounds like he started off by reducing grains and starches and then eventually banished them altogether. Robb Wolf says that many people will start out this way. They’ll start with some level of compliance, start seeing the results they want and then get all the way on board (all the way on board means 90-95% compliance).
So anyway, he’s yet another person who has had great success with the paleo system. He brought up something interesting in the podcast, though, which I thought I should share with you. He didn’t count calories, as a rule. That’s one of the beauties of the paleo system. But why don’t you need to count them? Shouldn’t it still be about calories in vs calories out? Yes, fats and proteins have a higher satiety response than grains do, and yes, all the masses of veggies you’re eating should help fill up your stomach with pure bulky fiber. Still. How can people (seemingly all of them) who follow this plan lose weight without counting their calories? It just doesn’t seem right. I know I can overeat, based on this morning’s fiasco. What prevents those extra calories from depositing themselves on my very own personal buttcheeks?
Science! This is how this all works. Savvy? Chronic high insulin levels screw you up bad. Excess calories, specifically excess carb calories, get converted to fat and stored. What about excess protein and fat calories? Protein can be turned into glucose if your body needs to, and then it could be converted into fat to be stored, but that’s a lot of work. Excess fat can be broken down into fatty acids and stored, too. I’m not sure which hormones are responsible for telling you to store excess fat as fat, though. I’ll have to look that up. Anyway, your body is in the storage mode because of spiked insulin. A little bit is good, and gets the glucose to the cells that need it. Too much is bad, and makes you fat and sick. But what if you eat a diet that keeps your insulin consistent and one the normal side? Seems like you’d be less likely to store excess calories as fat, right? The limited number of carbs you’re eating would be broken into glucose and sent to your cells.
Poop! Also pee. Your body has ways of getting rid of things it doesn’t need. If you eat too much of certain micronutrients, they pass through your system and into the toilet. You can see this happening when your multivitamin makes your pee fluorescent yellow. Diabetics also pass sugar in their urine, because they’re not producing enough insulin to handle the quantities they’re eating. Why wouldn’t a healthy person, with a low insulin level, also pass excess sugar into the urine as a means of getting rid of it? The body obviously has that pathway as an option, insulin just normally snags the glucose before it can get away and turns it into fat. I’m tempted to do some tests on pee. Correction, I’m tempted to read some tests on pee. i want to see if someone on a high-carb diet has less sugar in their urine than someone on a low carb diet. Or something. basically, I want to see if a consistently low insulin level means that your body’s natural mechanisms for ditching excess calories would open back up and you’d just pass them on down the line.
I bring this up because Jack said he calculated his calories for a week, and came out at a significant surplus, but still lost weight. He ate an average of 3100 calories per day for a week, with a maintenance level around 2500 (iirc), and lost two pounds. Calories in vs calories out says that should be an impossibility, right? He should have gained a pound of muscle if nothing else. We treat our bodies as closed systems. Anything you eat stays in your body until you burn it, right? I don’t think so. I think our bodies, when they’re operating properly, know how to get rid of excess calories. Do I have any studies to back me up? Not yet. But it makes sense. More sense than your body jealously hoarding every calorie you eat when your fat stores are already through the roof.
Just my thoughts, anyway. Let me know what you think.