7 Things About Low Carb Diets Everyone Should Know
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7 Things Everyone Should Know about Low-Carb Diets

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My staff nutritionist Laura Schoenfeld wrote a guest post for my blog called “Is a Low-Carb Diet Ruining Your Health”. Perhaps not surprisingly, it caused quite a stir. For reasons I don’t fully understand, some people identify so strongly with how many carbohydrates they eat that they take offense when a suggestion is made that low-carb diets may not be appropriate for everyone, in all circumstances

In these circles low-carb diets have become dogma (i.e. a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true). Followers of this strange religious sect insist that everyone should be on low-carb or even ketogenic diets; that all carbohydrates, regardless of their source, are “toxic”; that most traditional hunter-gatherer (e.g. Paleolithic) societies followed a low-carb diet; and, similarly, that nutritional ketosis—which is only achievable with a very high-fat, low-carb, and low-protein diet—is our default and optimal physiological state. 

Cut through the confusion and hype and learn what research can tell us about low-carb diets.

On the other hand, I’ve also observed somewhat of a backlash against low-carb diets occurring in the blogosphere of late. While I agree with many of the potential issues that have been raised about low-carb diets, and think it’s important to discuss them, I also feel it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that low-carb diets can be very effective therapeutic tools for certain conditions and in certain situations. 

With this in mind, here are 7 things I think everyone should know about low-carb diets.

#1: Paleo Does Not Equal Low-Carb, and Very Low-Carb/Ketogenic Diets Are Not Our “Default” Nutritional State, as Some Have Claimed.

Some low-carb advocates have claimed that most traditional hunter-gatherer societies consumed diets that were very low in carbohydrates. I’ve even seem some suggestions that nutritional ketosis was “the norm” for these cultures.

These claims are false.

The majority of studies have shown that traditional hunter-gatherer (HG) societies typically consume between 30–40% of their total calories from carbohydrate, though the range can vary between 3–50% depending on the population studied and the latitude at which they live. (2, 3) The only HG societies observed to eat fewer than 20% of calories as carbohydrate were those living at latitudes quite distant from the equator, often in marginalized environments where fruits, vegetables, starches, and honey were not readily available.

Yet even these cultures—such as the traditional Inuit—often made an effort to obtain carbohydrates from berries, corms, nuts, seaweed, and tubers whenever they could, as Richard Nikoley has recently detailed on his blogWhat’s more, contrary to popular claims, studies have shown that it’s unlikely the Inuit spent much time—if any—in nutritional ketosis. Their high protein intake would have prevented ketosis from occurring. (5)

So, while ancestral diets were certainly lower in carbohydrate than the diet currently recommended by the USDA (45–65% of calories), they were not typically “very low” in carbohydrate (<15% of calories). With virtually no historical examples of human beings following ketogenic diets for any significant length of time, and few examples of very low-carb diets, it’s difficult to imagine how these diets could be considered our “default” nutritional state or the optimal approach for most people.

#2: Low-Carb Diets Are Incredibly Effective in Certain Situations

Lest low-carb advocates think that I am anti-low-carb, I’d like to reiterate that both the research and my clinical experience suggest that low-carb diets can be incredibly effective therapeutic tools for certain conditions.

These conditions include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Overweight and obesity
  • High blood sugar, metabolic syndrome, diabetes (both type 1 & type 2)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other neurological conditions
  • PCOS

I have personally witnessed some remarkable transformations using ketogenic diets therapeutically in my practice. I recall an 84 year-old woman who came to see me complaining of dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s. She was losing her memory and cognitive abilities at an alarming rate. After just two weeks on a ketogenic diet, this progression not only halted, it reversed: her memory returned, her mind was sharper, and she was far less confused and disoriented. Her family (and her doctor) were stunned, and could hardly believe the changes they were seeing.

Yet as impressive as very low-carb (VLC) and ketogenic diets can be in certain situations, that does not mean that these diets may not have some undesirable side effects over the long term—some of which we’re only beginning to understand. For example, as I discussed with Jeff Leach from the American Gut project in a recent podcast, some preliminary research suggests that long-term ketogenic/VLC diets may cause adverse changes to the gut microbiota. (6) In addition, a new paper soon to be published in the journal Cell by two Stanford microbiologists indicates that diets low in “microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs)” contribute to modern, inflammatory disease. (7)

The phrase “microbiota-accessible carbohydrates” refers to the various fibers found in fruits, vegetables, starchy plants, nuts, seeds, legumes, and other foods that are poorly absorbed by us, but can be utilized as a food source by our intestinal bacteria. It’s worth noting that many of these fibers are found in foods with moderate to high carbohydrate content—foods that would typically be excluded on very low-carb diets. 

It’s important to note, however, that the beneficial bacteria-starving effects of ketogenic/VLC diets can be at least partially offset by consuming non-digestible, fermentable fibers like resistant starch and non-starch polysaccharides that don’t count toward daily carbohydrate intake. This is something I recommend to all of my patients following low-carb diets)

#3: The Fact That Ketogenic/Vlc Diets Work Therapeutically for Certain Conditions Does Not Make Them Appropriate in All Circumstances, for All People

This assumption is a basic failure of logic, but it’s remarkable to see how often it happens. A person has a life-changing experience with a VLC diet, so they assume that their friend will have a similar experience. Or a clinician that works primarily with people suffering from neurological conditions has great success with ketogenic diets, and then makes the assumption that all people (regardless of their health complaints) will benefit from them. 

This is akin to saying that since people with hemochromatosis (a genetic condition that causes iron overload) need to limit their iron intake, everyone should consume foods that are low in iron. 

The belief that “everyone” will benefit from one particular dietary approach—no matter what it is—ignores the important differences that determine what is optimal for each person. These include variations in genes, gene expression, the microbiome, health status, activity levels, geography (e.g. latitude and climate), and more.

When it comes to diet, there is no one-size-fits-all approach

#4: Some People Do Better with Low-Carb Diets Than Others

If you understand #3 above, then this should not come as a surprise. 

Some people may thrive on a long-term, low-carb diet. I have patients and even a family member in this category. And maybe you’re one of them too. But that doesn’t mean everyone will have this experience. If you talk to practicing clinicians who work with patients on a daily basis, or spend any amount of time in internet forums or the comments sections of nutrition blogs, you’ll find numerous reports from people who either experienced no benefit from or were even harmed by following a low-carb diet.

What blows my mind is that the “low-carb zealots” seem completely incapable of accepting these reports at face value. Instead, they’ll argue that anyone who doesn’t succeed with low-carb is either doing it wrong, cheating, or somehow imagining their symptoms.

What’s the more likely explanation here? That everyone who gets worse with a low-carb diet is either incapable of following directions, weak-willed, or delusional? Or that a low-carb diet simply does not work for everyone? You be the judge. 

#5: If a Low-Carb Diet Works as a Therapy in a Given Condition, That Doesn’t Mean Too Many Carbs Caused That Condition in the First Place

This is another error of logic that is often made. Here’s an example:

“A low-carb diet is effective for treating type 2 diabetes. Therefore, eating too many carbohydrates led to this condition in the first place.”

This is like saying:

  • Restricting iron is helpful in hemochromatosis patients. Therefore, consuming too much iron is what caused hemochromatosis in the first place.
  • A low-FODMAP diet helps patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Therefore, eating FODMAPs caused IBS in the first place.
  • A low-histamine diet alleviates the symptoms of histamine intolerance. Therefore, histamine intolerance is caused by eating too many histamine containing foods.

Or, more ridiculously, since wearing a cast on your arm will help the broken bone heal, the reason you broke your arm in the first place is because you weren’t wearing a cast. 

It’s true that VLC/ketogenic diets are effective for improving the metabolic markers associated with type 2 diabetes. But that doesn’t mean that eating too many carbohydrates led to the condition in the first place. It is certainly possible (and indeed likely) that eating too many refined and processed carbohydrates, in the form of flour and sugar, contributes to diabetes. But I have not seen a single study suggesting that eating whole-food carbohydrates (e.g. fruit or starchy plants) leads to diabetes or other metabolic problems. On the contrary, reviews of prospective studies looking at the relationship between fruit intake and diabetes have found that those with the highest intake of fruit had the lowest incidence of diabetes. (8, 9)

It is also worth pointing out that virtually all studies performed so far showing benefits of the Paleo diet in conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity have used moderate carbohydrate (not low or very-low carb) versions of the Paleo diet.

#6: If a Low-Carb Diet Is an Effective Therapy for a Condition, That Doesn’t Mean It’s the Only Therapy for That Condition

There’s little doubt, as I said above in #2, that low-carb diets can be remarkably effective in certain situations. For example, there are numerous studies showing that low-carb and ketogenic diets can help with weight loss and metabolic problems. (10

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to lose weight and reset your metabolism through other means. Studies have also shown that calorie-restricted diets, protein-sparing modified fasts, and even low-fat diets can also be effective treatments. (11, 12, 13)  

This means that it’s not necessarily true, for example, that everyone with type 2 diabetes should be on a low-carb diet. They may be able to reverse their condition by following a high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-fat diet (such as the Paleo diet with 32% of calories from carbohydrate in this study), or any of the methods I just mentioned. 

#7: Whole-Food Carbohydrates Do Not Affect the Body in the Same Way as Processed and Refined Carbohydrates

This should be obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of nutrition and human physiology, so I’m amazed at how often I see experts talk about all carbohydrates as if they’re the same. 

In #1 above, I referenced studies indicating that most hunter-gatherer societies consumed about 30–40% of calories from carbohydrate. These carbohydrates came from starchy tubers and plants, whole fruit, and in some cases, honey. We also have evidence of specific ancestral populations—such as the Kitava, traditional Okinawans, and Tukisenta—that consumed between 70–95% of calories from whole-food carbohydrate. (14

Yet despite this liberal consumption of carbohydrates, these people were remarkably lean, fit, and free of chronic, inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological conditions. (15) If carbohydrates cause these conditions, regardless of their source, why don’t we see such conditions in these groups?

What we do see is that these cultures acquire modern disease when they adopt a modern diet and lifestyle, complete with the highly processed and refined foods that characterize it. 

When it comes to macronutrients, quality is much more important than quantity for most people. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this helps to clarify some of the confusion that has surrounded this issue. Low-carb diets are an effective therapeutic tool in certain situations, and one that I (and many other clinicians) use in my clinical practice. That said, it’s equally true that low-carb—and especially VLC and ketogenic—diets are not appropriate in all circumstances, and they are certainly not our “default” or optimal nutritional state. 

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to matter how much scientific evidence, clinical experience, and common sense is brought to bear on this question: those who preach and follow low-carb dogma will not be swayed. Ah, well. As they say: “You can’t fight faith with facts.”

Did You Know?

Glycemic index is a measurement of a food’s carb content based on its effect on blood sugar levels after a meal. While glycemic index has gained a lot of attention in public knowledge, there’s another concept that’s much better suited to evaluating a food’s carb quality: cellular vs. acellular carbohydrates.

Cellular carbohydrates are:

  • Found in the cells of plants
  • Able to remain intact during cooking
  • Common in functional foods our ancestors would have eaten, like tubers and fruits

By contrast, acellular carbs are:

  • Highly processed
  • Found in foods like refined sugar and flour
  • Often consumed in much greater density

For someone who’s considering a low-carb diet, understanding concepts like cellular vs. acellular carbs can make a major difference in their success. That’s why, as part of the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program, our expert faculty dive into Functional Health topics like macronutrients, diet variations, and which carb levels are appropriate for specific health goals.

Health coaches offer support to people who are making lifestyle changes. That support can be even more empowering when it comes from a place of understanding—whether that’s understanding a client’s personal experience or understanding why a practitioner recommended a certain treatment plan.

Want to learn more about what we teach in the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program? Click here

457 Comments

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  1. Thanks for clarifying. One group that stands out from the rest on this topic is diabetics. Since the diabetes is characterised by impaired ability to regulate blood sugar, which is directly impacted by dietary carbohydrate, it stands to reason that a low carb diet can offer a clear therapeutic benefit for diabetics. I have personally had great success in “reversing” my diabetes this way. On the other hand, my overweight partner tried low carb, initially lost a significant amount of weight, but lost interest in the diet and put all the weight back on. He tried a second time to no avail. Somehow with low carb, the weight loss only works the first time. So unfortunately it is not a magic bullet for him.

    • Anna – If your diabetes is truly reversed you’ll be able to eat like a “normal person” and not have high BS. If, on the other hand, you have to keep your carbs low in order to have normal BS then your diabetes is not actually reversed. IMHO.

  2. I follow the Paleo lifestyle and have found your book to be the perfect resource. At 53, with NCGS, SIBO and problems with FODMAPS, I limit my carbs to tubers at breakfast and dinner. This has helped my hypothyroid get under control and keep the yeast at bay. Interestingly fermented foods caused my SIBO. Finding my Paleo code has been a journey with a winding road. As my intestines heal from antibiotics perscribed for teenage acne and years of un diagnosed gluten sensitivity I will be continuing to adapt the code. I started on this journey three years ago and I can’t even list all the positive physical and mental changes I have experienced. My health was failing and I was desperate. Thank you for sharing all your research and the knowledge you have acquired.

  3. My experience with VLC and LC for weight loss:

    I went from South Beach diet to eating real food (Weston Price) then to the low carb end of Paleo.

    I hated being on a low carb diet, but I was desperate to lose weight.

    Well, it worked for a while, then my weight loss stalled and some health issues that had previously disappeared in the early days of low carbing returned.

    I’m now eating according to Perfect Health Diet plan. Hoping to feel better and lose weight.

    Low carb may work for some, but I know several people who have acquired thyroid and GI issues on low carb diets.

    Everyone has to do what is right for them.

    • I’m in a similar situation as you. I did great on low-carb paleo, lost weight and skin cleared up. But after a year the weight loss stalled and I felt very deprived and cranky on VLC Paleo plus my TSH numbers were going in the wrong direction so I started following PHD (eating starchy carbs and fruit).

      As I result, I gained 20 pounds in 6 weeks! 🙁 I’m guessing I over did it on the starchy carbs (or was too low carb for too long). I feel more sane and satiated having starch but, really don’t like going up two sizes.

      Waiting on lab work to see if my thyroid has improved or not.

      Confused as to what to do next.

    • I fixed my thyroid and GI issue with a ketogenic protocol, which I am still thriving on after 2 years.

  4. I don’t count my carbs but I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, bananas and many other real foods. I rarely get migraines now and when I do, it is from eating something I knew I should not have. I have lost around 20 pounds (and my belly) since changing to real foods and I was not big to begin with. My HDL was tested at >100 last week. 🙂 Since reading “Your Personal Paleo Code”, I have made a personal commitment to eliminate processed foods. I have bought 3 copies of the book for other people. My son’s asthma has improved since changing the groceries I buy. His numbers (breathing tests) have dramatically improved and his asthma medication has been lowered and one of his medications eliminated. Some of my friends call it the “placebo effect” but I am a believer.

  5. I lost 100lbs on low-carb. It was an extremely effective weight loss tool for me. About 20lbs from my goal, the weight loss stopped, I started feeling really tired and irritable, and I couldn’t make gains in the gym. Increasing my carbs helped all of those things (thanks for the advice Chris!). I still go low-carb and fast regularly, and even my “high carb” days are pretty low compared to most people. Experimentation and self-awareness are key.

  6. I need to lose weight for my sciatica issue so I tried low carb which worked v well for short time but it made my adrenal fatigue worse. I’m not fat but being lean is less painful. 🙁

  7. Thanks for this article! I joined the paleo-bandwagon several years back. I initially ate a fairly low carb diet (I was doing a lot of cross fit so I ended up adding in sweet potatoes, but little else). The diet worked so well – I went from a 10/12 to a 4/6, I felt great, I had so much energy, and my brain was on super drive. I got pregnant and maintained a lower carb diet, but then after having a baby everything went haywire. I tried to maintain my low carb diet (have to lose that baby weight!!) and I was just miserable and starving all the time (breasfeeding is a lot of work!). I actually started eating a lot of sugar because I was depressed and hungry and couldn’t get my appetite and mood under control. Then I recognized that I needed a source of carb with my meals to achieve satiety. I have realized that as a nursing mom, I need a lot more carbs than I did as a non-mom. And now, as I’m tapering off nursing (2 years later 😉 I am needing fewer carbs again. Chris really gets the point that you have to tailor your diet to your body’s needs. I appreciate his accommodating approach to diet in a world of paleo “experts” who doom everyone to hell who eats slightly differently.

  8. All very reasonable points, well made too. Pandering to addicts was the criticism from the LCHF crowd. There’s too much evangelism in this field. I can understand ex fatties getting excited about what works for them, but some go too far and clearly they forget the mistakes they made getting ‘broken’ in the first place. No one has all the answers, but even if someone did know it all they don’t have to be dicks about it.

    • I love it!

      “No one has all the answers, but even if someone did know it all they don’t have to be dicks about it.”

      Can’t tell you how many times that same thought has crossed my mind. There are so many people out there that have a little intelligence, but are so cocky and arrogant, which in my opinion automatically makes them stupid!

  9. Excellent points – the “low carb zealots” are difficult for me to deal with and understand, too.

    I’m a 30 year-old female, and undertook an experimental ketogenic diet recently to try to deal with some digestive and brain fog issues I was having. I have never felt worse in my life! The first two weeks were amazing – my brain fog cleared – but then came back with a vengeance as my energy levels tanked. Both my thyroid and progesterone levels plummeted as well, and I lost my period for the first time in my life. I stayed quite low carb (but not ketogenic) for a period of time before and after my keto experiment, but am finally realizing that I feel better on a more moderate carb approach – and my body fat percentage is lower when I do, too.

  10. It’s possible that someone who has Insulin Resistance, Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Type 2 Diabetes believes that their condition is permanent and can only be managed by a low-carb, or very-low-carb diet.

    This is incorrect. If the above conditions are caused by “A”, or “B”, or “C”, or “D”, … and the cause is rectified before permanent damage is done, the above conditions can be permanently reversed and a relatively “normal” diet can be resumed.

    • It’s also possible for T2D to be reversed without a VLC diet, as I pointed out in the article. PSMF, restricted calorie diet, even low-fat diets have been shown to work (though the latter are not as effective as low-carb diets).

      • Prof. Roy Taylor’s PSMF reverses T2DM in 8 weeks. A PSMF is the quickest way to deplete liver glycogen AND ectopic liver fat.

        That said, Walter Kempner’s mind-boggling rice, fruit, fruit juice & white sugar diet (2,200-2,400kcals/day at 94%E carbs, 4%E protein, 2%E fat) also reversed T2DM!

        • Well keep in mind PSMF (essentially, a fast) IS a low-carb diet. Fasting works really well.

          Fasting does the same thing as low-carb because it keeps your blood sugar stable (low) so insulin stays out of the way and you move into ketosis and burn fat instead of depositing fat. To the extent it reverses pre-diabetes it is doing it the same way low carb high fat is doing it — by keeping blood sugar low.

          Fasting is great and, like low-carb, has really been vindicated by recent science. Just 10 years ago people would tell you fasting was unhealthy and you were ruining your body. Now we know intermittent fasting (in a controlled medically sound way of course) is good for almost everybody.

          For people like me, low-carb and intermittent fasting work really well together because if you’re keto-adapted, you don’t get ravenously hungry on fast days.

          As for Kempner’s rice diet, first of all people were NOT losing weight and reversing T2DM on 2,400 calories of 94% carbs. That was not happening unless people were somehow burning 2,400 calories, which requires a heck of a lot of exercise.

          The Kempner rice diet is like like any other calorie restricted carbohydrate-based diet. They definitely work for weight loss but people go crazy from hunger and the blood sugar roller coaster, which is why they generally don’t work.

          Low carb diets inevitably do better in studies when run against calorie-restricted low-fat diets. It’s probably in excess of 20 studies that have demonstrated this.

          (BTW the Kempner foundation at Duke University folded up a couple of years ago. Not that it wasn’t valid science, not that it can’t work, but it just wasn’t as effective as other approaches.)

          • when i was 38, and thats over a decade ago, boys and girls, i lost 15lbs quite rapidly by fasting completely (water only) for 3 days and then almost fasting for a few wks. i then lost 25lbs in a month by eating very little fat, no protein to speak of and everything i did eat was raw. raw corn on the cob is delish! i would eat no more than 1/2 pc of fruit at a time. i ate whenever i was hungry, which was all day just about. but it was almost all vlc veggies. i was lifting some at the time too and walking 4 mi daily so i didnt get any hanging skin problems.
            seeing the wgt pour off me was THRILLING. i had been obese for more than a decade, easy. nothing had worked. i then got in a bad relationship with a sociopath. wgt loss stopped but i maintained, even thru a pregnancy and ended up at 6wks postpartum, down 20lbs from where i’d started–hyperemesis gravidarum, baby! i did gain back during the pg, almost all i lost puking but after the pregnancy, lost it quick as I always do…isnt THAT interesting???
            BUT i started gaining again (WHILE NURSING COMPLETELY) a few mos later and by 1.5yrs postpartum was nearing obesity again. my body is the most screwed up mess ive ever seen. it makes no sense.
            but damn, i wish i could eat unknowingly put myself in ketosis again, albeit starvation ketosis, and lose some friggin wgt that STAYS off now. i lose, i gain.
            if i eat carbs, blammo–cravings, wgt gain, carbo-belly etc.
            metformin did nothing for my wgt either. T3 did zip for me anywhere.
            but i think about ketosis.
            longingly.

            • my longwinded point was that fasting works REMARKABLY well.
              hi fat just isnt necessary to go into ketosis. i bet my urine and breath were FULL of ketones. i wasnt tired tho nor foggy like u would think due to a) starvation and b) such low calories…Fitday was tabulating my food intake at 600-800 cal a day LOL
              AND I WAS EATING CORN sometimes (it was summer) and rare small bowl oatmeal (cooked), no milk or sweetener but still a grain. i didnt eat any tubers (yuck raw) but did try grated swt potatoes once–not bad. i didnt use hardly any salt, nor potassium. but I was chowing veggies down. hmmmmm, a lesson here? lol

  11. I was able to lose 120 lbs 9 yrs ago by learning how to control my carb intake and staying around 80-100 grams a day. I have kept this weight off for 9 yrs and counting by continuing to eat the same way I did as I lost the weight. I never did go vlc or ketogenic. It worked better for me this way.

    • Out of curiosity, how did you find your carb “sweet spot”? Did you do like Dr. Atkins suggested, which is to go VLC and add 5g per week until you stop losing, and then go back down? How did you do it? I have issues losing weight, tried VLC, lost a bit, but then crashed my adrenals. Now I’m not sure how to eat carbs at all. I’d love to know how you figured it out.

      • I forgot to mention- I had gestational diabetes a year and a half ago and have had mild glucose intolerance since. If anyone can tell me how to figure out what carbs/ how many carbs to add back in I’d appreciate it.

      • Jaminet, author of the Perfect Health Diet, suggests that we eat 30% of our calories from starch. That might be a good percentage to start with. Personally, I’d do a poor man’s post-meal blood sugar response test when trying to determine how many and what type of carbs to eat, though.

        Buy a cheap glucometer that comes with some test strips. Cook a batch of the starch you intend to eat (white rice is easy). Take your blood glucose reading before you eat 1/4 C of rice, 1 hour after, and 2 hours after. If your adrenals are normal, your BG will peak at or below 140 at the 1-hour point, then drop significantly at the 2-hour point. If your results are worse than that, eat less than 30% starch to begin worth, and test yourself periodically to see if your insulin sensitivity improves.

        • Thanks, Jake. I do still test occasionally with the meter I had from the pregnancy. When I have eaten something like a white potato and feel awful afterwards I test, and I usually end up in the 180-200 range 1-2 hrs post meal. Never higher than that though, even on the one occasion I splurged for a kid’s birthday party and had chocolate cake. I’ve been thinking my best bet might be to not count grams or even percentages, and just stick to whole foods that are non-grain, non-legume, and no higher than moderate glycemic load (apples, peaches, etc.) Does that make sense?

    • I’ve been ketogenic and carb cycling (carb nite solutions) for a while now (6 mos) and haven’t lost any weight. I keep hanging in thinking it will eventually work but after reading this wondering if I should up my carbs. on a daily basis. I have thyroid and adrenal problems (take meds for both).

  12. OK, having trouble getting past this:

    “#1: Paleo does not equal low-carb”

    Kenniwick man: “But the teeth were cavity-free (signaling a diet low in sugar and starch) and worn down to the roots—a combination characteristic of prehistoric teeth.”

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/kennewick-man-finally-freed-share-his-secrets-180952462/?no-ist

    Cavity-free due to a low-carb diet is in fact the defining trait of Paleolithic teeth. The only Paleolithic group we see that ate a high-carb diet of acorns and snails also had rotten teeth.

    How to explain this? It seems that one of the defining traits of the food eaten by those in the Paleolithic was that their diet did not include enough carbs to promote tooth decay…

    Are we sticking with the scientific knowledge of what constitutes a paleo diet, or the marketing definition?

    • It’s not very surprising, since Kennewick man was believed to be a seal hunter whose diet was low in sugar and starch.

      Here’s just some of the “scientific knowledge” you’ve conveniently ignored:

      There is good evidence that Paleo Indians consumed starch. In fact, starch granules were found all over their harvesting tools at the Sandy Hill site (9,000 B.P.) in Mashantucket, Connecticut.[1]

      Furthermore, five recent studies examining carbon isotopes in fossilized tooth enamel from scores of human ancestors and baboons in Africa show that human ancestors expanded their menu 3.5 million years ago, adding C4 tropical grasses and sedges to an ape-like diet.[2][3][4][5][6][7] This is especially relevant as this past January, Oxford University researchers found that baboons today eat large quantities of starchy C4 tiger nut tubers and the wear patterns on their tooth enamel, from these sedge tubers, are a perfect match with the wear patterns on the enamel of Paranthropus boisei (‘Nutcracker Man’)—a hominid, with a high C4 isotopic signature, who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million and 1.4 million years ago.[8] The Oxford University study therefore concluded that P. boisei survived mainly on a diet of starchy tiger nut tubers.[9]

      Dr Gabriele Macho, the lead researcher on the Oxford University study said, “I believe that the theory—that ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on large amounts of tiger nuts—helps settle the debate about what our early human ancestor ate. On the basis of recent isotope results, these hominins appear to have survived on a diet of C4 foods, which suggests grasses and sedges. Yet these are not high quality foods. What this research tells us is that hominins were selective about the part of the grass that they ate, choosing the grass bulbs at the base of the grass blade as the mainstay of their diet.” [10]

      Starchy tiger nut tubers were among the earliest plants cultivated by the Ancient Egyptians [11] and Paleo-Indians [12].

      Starch granules were even found on 22,000 year old grindstone, which dates back to the ice age—the peak of the last glacial maximum.[13].

      Finally, most modern humans have many copies of the AMY1 gene for starch digestion—suggesting that the ability to digest starch is what makes us human.

      Keep in mind that as a hungry hominid, you would have to be a complete moron to avoid the most energy positive plants when trying to survive in the wild. Tiger nuts are literally nutrient-dense invasive weeds in Africa. And they taste sweet, like candy — perhaps explaining our innate penchant for sweets.

      While most primates forage for up to 8 hours per day (it’s their full-time job), humans needed sufficient free time to invent new technologies. Tiger nuts are actually more nutrient-dense than red meat [14] and the Oxford University researchers estimated that based on the conservative harvesting habits of modern baboons, an early hominid could have harvested 80% of his caloric needs with no more than 3 hours of foraging. [15]

      Searching for “Underground Storage Organs” (USOs) on pubmed and Google Scholar turns up literally hundreds of studies postulating their role in the early hominid diet. You would have to be extremely biased to ignore all the literature about USOs in human evolution — particularly given the fact that most African wild game is extraordinarily lean and no existing African hunter-gatherers rely heavily on meat. (And in case you were wondering, the Masai are “pastoralists” and they drink milk, eat tons of honey, and trade their meats for sweet potatoes and bananas).

      • “It’s not very surprising, since Kennewick man was believed to be a seal hunter whose diet was low in sugar and starch.”

        Now you’re getting the point.

        You’ve got an amazing ability for bias reinforcement, DD. This, “the ability to digest starch is what makes us human.” is most certainly not true. Hunting down USO’s does not require running, or a big brain.

        • Tuck, most (if any) anthropologists don’t subscribe to a VLC or ketogenic paleolithic diet these days. It’s just not supported by the scientific literature anymore.

          It takes a special kind of VLC bias to invent such wild theories while ignore all the compounding evidence for starch consumption.

          In fact, the latest issue of National Geographic—you know, the magazine that spends each issue examining the latest research on cultures and ancient anthropology—ridiculed the notion of a highly-carnivorous Paleolithic Diet.

          http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/evolution-of-diet/

          ——-
          National Geographic (Sept 2014): The Evolution of Diet

          The real Paleolithic diet, though, wasn’t all meat and marrow. It’s true that hunter-gatherers around the world crave meat more than any other food and usually get around 30 percent of their annual calories from animals. But most also endure lean times when they eat less than a handful of meat each week. New studies suggest that more than a reliance on meat in ancient human diets fueled the brain’s expansion.

          Year-round observations confirm that hunter-gatherers often have dismal success as hunters. The Hadza and Kung bushmen of Africa, for example, fail to get meat more than half the time when they venture forth with bows and arrows. This suggests it was even harder for our ancestors who didn’t have these weapons. “Everybody thinks you wander out into the savanna and there are antelopes everywhere, just waiting for you to bonk them on the head,” says paleoanthropologist Alison Brooks of George Washington University, an expert on the Dobe Kung of Botswana. No one eats meat all that often, except in the Arctic, where Inuit and other groups traditionally got as much as 99 percent of their calories from seals, narwhals, and fish.

          So how do hunter-gatherers get energy when there’s no meat? It turns out that “man the hunter” is backed up by “woman the forager,” who, with some help from children, provides more calories during difficult times. When meat, fruit, or honey is scarce, foragers depend on “fallback foods,” says Brooks. The Hadza get almost 70 percent of their calories from plants. The Kung traditionally rely on tubers and mongongo nuts, the Aka and Baka Pygmies of the Congo River Basin on yams, the Tsimane and Yanomami Indians of the Amazon on plantains and manioc, the Australian Aboriginals on nut grass and water chestnuts.

          “There’s been a consistent story about hunting defining us and that meat made us human,” says Amanda Henry, a paleobiologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. “Frankly, I think that misses half of the story. They want meat, sure. But what they actually live on is plant foods.” What’s more, she found starch granules from plants on fossil teeth and stone tools, which suggests humans may have been eating grains, as well as tubers, for at least 100,000 years—long enough to have evolved the ability to tolerate them.

          The notion that we stopped evolving in the Paleolithic period simply isn’t true. Our teeth, jaws, and faces have gotten smaller, and our DNA has changed since the invention of agriculture. “Are humans still evolving? Yes!” says geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania.
          ——

          They call them hunter-“gatherers” for a reason.

          Honestly, Tuck. I don’t know how you still believe in such fairy tales given what anthropologists now know.

          • That article was full of factual errors:

            • A paleo diet does not diet encourage us to replicate the exact same foods our early ancestors ate. Paleo eating focuses on fresh, nutrient-dense animal products, plants, and fermented foods (yogurt, sauerkraut, kvass, kefir) that have kept people healthy for tens of thousands of years. The paleo diet is a template that recognizes that we are all biochemically similar but have enough differences to justify us customizing what we eat. In fact, most people I know took a while to tweak the specifics of their paleo diet.

            The fact that paleolithic and early neolithic peoples (and modern HGs) eat a subtantial amount of starch doesn’t change the fact that animal protein is more nutrient dense.

            • The information on Neu5Gc is misleading by omission. The studies on this glycan were done on knockout mice that lacked the Neu5Gc enzyme. I’ll never forget the message I once sent to you asking if a mouse study was significant. You replied “You are not a mouse.” It’s still true.

            • “We have gotten so good at processing foods that for the first time in human evolution, many humans are getting more calories than they burn in a day.” The question is — how do you measure expenditure in a biological system like the human body over the course of a day? The laws of classical thermodynamics apply only to inorganic systems, not living ones. Weight regulation is a complex interplay between the feedback loops that regulate internal hormonal environment, the foods eaten that influence that hormonal milieu, the way a person reacts to stress (and the resultant cortisol levels), and other external factors too numerous to mention.

            • There isn’t and never was a “Mediterranean diet.” Next time you’re online, pull up a map of all the countries that have a Mediterranean coastline. They include Portugal and Spain on the East, and Egypt and Libya on the West. Is it credible to believe that they all have (or had) the same diet? The two Greek and Italian researchers who spearheaded the research into this concept never even agreed on what a Mediterranean diet actually was. And both of them disagreed vigorously with the recommendations that Harvard researchers made for the “Mediterranean diet” in the special supplement of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1993, which not-so-incidentally, the publication of which was funded entirely by the olive oil industry.

            I could literally go on for pages explaining the mistakes, explicit and implicit, in this Nat. Geo piece, but I think you get the idea.

            • Oops — the comment about the Neu5Gc implications were from a personal email. The statement should have read “I’ll never forget the message I once sent to my uncle, a cancer specialist, asking if a mouse study was significant. He replied, “You are not a mouse.” It’s still true.

            • Your comment [“The laws of classical thermodynamics apply only to inorganic systems, not living ones.”] is as wrong a statement about physical reality as a person can make. It absolutely applies to organic systems. But organic systems are so complex that understanding them from the perspective of physics is too complicated a task. That’s why disciplines representing different levels of understanding evolved. I agree totally when you stated [“Weight regulation is a complex interplay between the feedback loops that regulate internal hormonal environment, the foods eaten that influence that hormonal milieu, the way a person reacts to stress (and the resultant cortisol levels), and other external factors too numerous to mention.”]. But it’s not because thermodynamics doesn’t apply to these systems. All organic systems owe their very existence to fundamental physical reality. And thermodynamics is about as fundamental as one can get. But as an analytical tool for extremely complex systems it’s often out of reach for contemporary research in the biological sciences.

      • Duck, On a technical note, the tigernuts our African hominid ancestors ate are not “literally an invasive weed” in Africa, as they are indigenous to Africa, whereas invasive weeds by definition are not indigenous to the area they are growing in. I think what you mean is that they are quite pervasive and easily acquired in marshy areas of southern and northeastern Africa, which were also the habitats of ancient humans and ancestral pre-human primates.

    • Well, cavities aren’t a recent phenomenon. Australopithecines was said to have caries over 1 million years ago.

      Here’s a study exploring the very long timeline of cavities in the fossil record:

      http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/32161.pdf

      “Caries is a very old disease and it is not exclusive of the human species. Evidences of dental lesions compatible with caries have been observed in creatures as old as Paleozoic fishes (570-250 million years), Mesozoic herbivores dinosaurs (245-65 million years), pre- hominines of the Eocene (60-25 million years), and Miocenic (25-5 million years), Pliocenic (5-1.6 million years), and Pleistocenic animals (1.6-0.01 million years – Clement, 1958; Kear, 2001; Kemp, 2003; Sala et al., 2004). Caries has also been detected in bears and other wild animals (Pinto & Exteberria, 2001; Palamra et al., 1981), and it is common in domestic animals (Gorrel, 2006; Shklair, 1981; Wiggs & Lobprise, 1997)…

      …Paleodietary reconstructions have provided a high amount of data on the presence of caries in ancestral lineages. An approximal groove located in the cementum- enamel junction (CEJ) of bicuspids and molars has been noticed in several lineages of fossil hominines like Paranthropus robustus, Homo habilis, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis (Bermúdez de Castro et al., 1997; Frayer, 1991; Milner & Larsen, 1991; Ungar et al., 2001). Although some scholars have reported that lesion as caries (Clement, 1956; Grine et al., 1990; Robinson, 1952), more recent analyses done in an specimen of Homo erectus from Olduvai Gorge (1.84 million years BP4) suggest that it could be an erosion produced by the habitual (possibly therapeutic) use of tooth-picks (Ungar et al., 2001)…

      …The unquestionable oldest evidence of caries comes from a fossil found in 1921 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) during the exploration of a zinc mine. The specimen denominated Broken Hill 1, a Homo rhodesiensis cranium (African version of the Homo heidelberguensis 650,000-160,000 BP) shows extensive dental caries and coronal destruction. Except for five teeth, all the rest is affected by rampant caries and several crowns are almost completely destroyed.
      “[1]

      It’s also possible that the invention of cooking made cavities more prevalent, but the study seems to get confused by Homo erectus not really getting cavities after the control of fire. The author seems to not be aware that Homo erectus apparently didn’t use fire for cooking. So, cooking might still explain the increase in cavities.

      • From your link:

        “Nevertheless, it is supposed that H. erectus, a hunter-gatherer, obtained approximately 50% of its calories from carbohydrates (Wrangham, 2009) and under the hypothesis of cooking (that obviously included meat and vegetables), caries should have been present much earlier in the fossil record. However, caries appears clearly much later. So, the data on oral does not support the idea of a cariogenic diet based on cooked vegetables from the earliest periods. Maybe, in
        the beginning, fire was employed only for cooking meat.”

        I’ll agree with that.

        • Tuck said: Maybe, in
          the beginning, fire was employed only for cooking meat.” I’ll agree with that.”

          Again, most researchers do not believe that H. erectus cooked his food. And it should be noted that the most carnivorous cultures did not cook their meat. They ate it raw.

      • “The author seems to not be aware that Homo erectus apparently didn’t use fire for cooking. So, cooking might still explain the increase in cavities.”

        Duck Dodger seems not to be aware that Wikipedia is not the sum of all human knowledge.

        “Humans and our apelike ancestors have lived in Wonderwerk Cave for 2 million years — most recently in the early 1900s, when a farm couple and their 14 children called it home. Wonderwerk holds another distinction as well: The cave contains the earliest solid evidence that our ancient human forebears (probably Homo erectus) were using fire.”

        http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/09-archaeologists-find-earliest-evidence-of-humans-cooking-with-fire

        • Unlike you, Tuck, I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong. Good find!

          Although, I will point out that many anthropologists still believe that the “habitual use of fire” did not occur until much later. Though, as your article points out, it’s “possible” that they just haven’t found it yet.

          Makes no difference. There’s still plenty of evidence for USO consumption in early hominids that’s been uncovered in the past few years.

        • As I was saying, good find. But, this is still the current thinking in the anthropology world:

          ——–
          Nature: Million-year-old ash hints at origins of cooking

          “But using fire and mastering it are not the same thing, cautions Wil Roebroeks, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

          “I think it likely that humans were using fire at this site, but I don’t think that this means these hominins were regular fire users. For a claim like that to be made, we would need to see hearths and fire places, and we do not,” he says. “If we were to discover many more fire sites at this time in history and find that natural cave fires look distinctly different, that would support an early-cooking hypothesis, but we are not there yet.”

          The earliest unequivocal evidence for regular human cooking dates back 400,000 years”
          ——–

          So, again. Earliest evidence of fire and “habitual use of fire” are two different things. But, still interesting nevertheless!

    • ….and Kenniwick man was ONE MAN….hardly a large enough sample to base across the board assumptions on????
      What other influences were there in his life? What did he eat, when, glut & starvation patterns? Was his general health good/bad COMPARATIVE to his peers etc? We don’t know.

    • Tuck, your assumption that carbohydrate ingestion cause cavities is a flawed one (and I write this with politeness). There are many primitive groups who ate large amounts of carbohydrates and had excellent dental and periodontal health. For example, look at California natives (while still living on their traditional diets). As much as 50% of their calories came from the fruit of the oak tree (the acorn), and some peoples were eating members of the white oak group (which could have upwards of 70 or 80% carbohydrates, depending on the species). And that doesn’t include all the other carbohydrates they consumed in other foods (including berries, leaves/shoots, other nuts, tubers, achenes, etc.). High carbohydrate does not equal dental carries. Considering that pathogenic bacteria need more than just fermentable food, they also (for example) need to adhere to teeth and not be presented with antimicrobial compounds (anti-adhesion and antimicrobial compounds are abundant in wild plant foods–much more so than cultivated foods). We could discuss other groups as well.

      Of course, you can state these aren’t paleolithic people and, therefore, they don’t count. But we aren’t exploring human evolution with your statement, only whether or not high carbohydrate consumption implies the presence of dental carries (it does not). If you have read about the paleolithic group from northern Africa (Grotte des Pigeons) that had extensive dental carries with a diet rich in acorns, that is a perfect example of the need for proper processing (the paleolithic people ate a food with phytic acid and tannins intact, the California natives learned how to prepare the foods to eliminate such antinutrients, which would inhibit re-mineralization of teeth).

      Also, Homo erectus almost certainly did use fire for cooking. The anatomical evidence is compelling. Decreased jaw muscles (softer food from cooking), decreased size of teeth (softer food from cooking), reduced rib cage size (shorter digestive tract, foods predigested from heat), increased brain size (fewer neural resources needed for the reduced digestive system, due to cooked food, which could be then allocated to the brain), changes in shoulders (not sleeping in arboreal settings with fire keeping large predators at bay), and so on. Keep in mind the oldest physical evidence of controlled fire use dates back ca. 1,000,000 years (amazingly enough). It will be very difficult to find physical evidence that dates back to the time period around the emergence of this hominid (Homo erectus) given the kind of artifact we are seeking (i.e., highly biodegradable).

      My comments here aren’t to attack all your writing, just to suggest there may be some items you haven’t fully immersed yourself in enough yet to draw strong conclusions. Best wishes to you.

  13. The zealotry reminds me a lot of when I was vegan. People would swear left and right that if someone ate so much as an egg or piece of cheese they’d die of heart disease. And you’d be blamed for “doing it wrong” if being vegan (or vegetarian) didn’t work out well.

    I tried low-carb paleo for a while, but my anxiety went through the roof, my already-iffy thyroid was off, and my fasting blood glucose went up. It wasn’t high, but the increase was significant enough to concern me. I personally feel loads better eating a moderate carb diet. I actually eat some gluten-free grains now as well, for budget reasons, and because I am very sensitive to many FODMAPS foods. That cauliflower rice was killing my stomach!

    Thanks to you and Laura for being a voice of reason with carbohydrate intake. I know for some people low carb is necessary, but is tiresome to hear that everyone would be 100% healthier if they just went low carb!

    • Thanks for sharing your story. My fasting glucose has gone up on a low carb ketogenic diet too. I was flabbergasted! I am now heading back up with the carbs to soothe my thyroid and adrenals.

  14. Lots of sense here – thanks! I’m weary of the Paleo Police who like to stand on their soapboxes and say that you shouldn’t eat carbs unless you’re a cross-fitter or a high-endurance athlete. I’m neither — I’m a 40-something average woman who tries to be as active as possible. I do moderate exercise 5 or 6 times a week. After being low-carb for quite a while, I realized I didn’t feel as great as I wanted to feel, and I was also struggling with adrenal issues. I started adding back some healthy, unprocessed carbs (along with supplements for adrenal support) and low and behold — I started feeling better! More energy, better sleep, improved moods, quicker recovery from exercise. I will continue to eat a moderate-carb diet because it works for me.

    • Hi MamaDub, I’ve also experienced adrenal problems on very low carb diets and I’m in the process of trying to repair it. Can you let me know what supplements you used to facilitate your recovery? Any pointers here would be greatly appreciated.

    • This comment is spot on. Listening to one’s body is crucial to wellness. I personally do not track macros, but am likely pretty low-carb. This is a great way of eating for me, but if I am feeling the urge for some tubers, honey, I know my body is on the right track.

  15. Thanks for this! So very important to keep in mind the difference between processed carbs and natural, whole food carbs. I went down the very low carb road for awhile and my body just couldn’t handle it. I think with my activity level, I was doing harm to my metabolism and body by trying to maintain an insanely low carb routine. Now, I eat 55% of my calories from whole food carbs – fruit, starchy veggies, and GASP! occasionally rice. It has made all the difference in my performance and energy levels. Really, it comes down to avoiding food in packages when you’re looking for optimal health.

  16. Another important thing to keep in mind is that men and women might have different adaptations and requirements for carb intake.

    Much higher carbohydrate intake among women has been observed in HG groups like the Hadza. And there is a lot of anecdotal evidence showing women just don’t do as well on low carb.

    • Agreed that sex is one of the many factors that can influence what is optimal from a dietary/macronutrient perspective.

      • I read this comment a lot…women don’t do well on low carb. Funny because I do really well on it, much better than when ai try it eat tubers every day and sweet fruits.
        I applaud the insistence that no one diet suits everyone. But this should also include acknowledgement that those who have made ketosis work and love it should not be assumed to be dogmatists by virtue of our personal commitment to ketosis and our desire to let others know that this a possible way of eating that MIGHT suit them if other wholefood ancestral diets are not working for them.

        • Keep track of about 50 blogs having to do with diet. Lost about 55 pounds with combo of VLC, LC and Intermittent Fasting.

          Have heard that some on the VLC diet bandwagon are attacking others for not going VLC. Have not witnessed this…but have witnessed Richard Nikoley and others related to his blog attacking VLC dieters as being dogmatic. Seems like all the fight is coming from one side…too bad because perhaps both sides have something to contribute.

          Some examples of the sorts of attacks I am talking about…
          yet, but I’m gratified to understand that the VLC/Ketogenic are taking it in the shorts to such an extent that panties are bunching.

          Now I understand that arguments sell books and Richard has a book coming…but is that sort of language really required? I condemn that sort of behavior on both sides but haven’t seen it on the VLC side yet.

          • I agree with the comments of both Alison and Pierre. As a woman I have done well on a low-carb diet. On a moderate amount of carbs I experience fatigue, but with low carb I have great energy. And as Pierre observes, the labeling of people tends to be coming from those who want to portray VLC eaters as fanatical and dogmatic, not the other way around.

            However, if the ultimate point of this article is to affirm that there’s no one diet that works for everyone, this is something which with I agree wholeheartedly.

    • I’m in accord with this article. While personally experimenting with low carb – I lost too much weight, some muscle mass, energy( I usually have good energy all day) and my menses stopped. Found my balance with carbs – regained energy, muscle mass and weight, then my cycle, in that order. Women definitely have different requirements, and not all women are the same. Have spoken with many other women who haven’t done well and found their balance or went to functional medicine for hormonal balance etc.

      • Experienced quite the same thing. Going from LCHF and excluding dairy except butter, to autoimmune paleo to heal my leaky gut and gastritis. Can’t eat/digest nuts/seeds and even eggs at the moment. Have been added a lot more of carbs since the transition to paleo but I dont know if its enough, or if I eat enough. Haven’t had my period in one year. I’m 22 years old and doing olympic lifting och heavy workouts several times a week. I’ve just ordered progrestrone cream and will try to get my hormones back on track, because I really dont feel “like myself” mentally all the time. Just wondering how much carbs do you eat right now?? I soo need to let go of counting the carbs, its still hanging in the back of my mind. Guess I need to listen to my body, but it’s hard when having issues with the gut.

        • Have resistent starches: sweet potatoes, rice (preferably cold), potatoes (cold as well), and squash (any).
          My sister had major problems on very low carb Paleo diet after being on it a while and feeling better than she’d felt for 20 plus years. Then insomnia, hair loss, and hair graying, and her hormones got all messed up…amongst other problems…

        • I tried the progesterone cream one day and not sure whether it was that or two other things I took but broke out with about 50 big itchy spots on my back. I am just like you said with these bad things happening to me on low carb. Listen to Ellen’s post below. That is what I have been doing–adding starches and carbs. Hadn’t been able to sleep more than 3 hours in six months, lost hair, felt bad. Got some Valiums from my doctor and the sleep helped remarkably. Have gone from 5 mg to 2-1/2 mg to two nights in a row with none (and got 6 hours sleep without any), and as soon as I get enough good carbs back in to me, I hope I will get back to normal except I don’t eat grains or milk any more. Low carb can really mess up women who do not eat enough in a day. I feel a lot better and stopped taking all vitamins/minerals except fermented cod liver oil. Everything people recommended to get back my sleep only made things worse (magnesium, calcium, etc.) Good luck.

    • Agreed! I tried a VLC diet and it did not help at all! I was already suffering badly wither peri-menopause (P/M) symptoms and taking out the carbs made sleeping worse (and P/M already messes with that! Genetics, gender, activity, body type all makes a difference. I have always been a fast metaboliser, and never ate much junk anyway. I had to add back rice and potatoes (used to only eat sweet potato but even that was not enough!).
      As Chris & so many say…..individualise it! What works for me does not work for others!
      Great post!

  17. Thanks for this. I was fairly low carb and doing great (lost weight, gobs of energy, etc) until I got pregnant. I had to increase my carb intake to keep up my energy. I’ve had people tell me my baby will be fat and ruined for life because of this. It’s not like I mainline sugar. I try to make the healthiest choices that keep me feeling good. And maybe I overdo it sometimes, but who cares. I pay attention, correct myself and keep going. I did the same thing with my first baby (before i knew so many paleo people, especially the judgy ones) and she was 7lb 9oz and remains the healthiest baby ever with regards to every indicator (quantitative and qualitative) available. Even her docs comment on it. Throughout nursing I’ll continue to keep up my carbs and slowly reduce them as I see fit.
    These low-carb zealots remind me of the anti- gluten free zealots. Plus, haven’t we learned that demonizing an entire macro-nutrient (like fat) can lead to disastrous results? Balance is key. Give me a break. Why other people care so much what I personally eat to make me feel well is beyond me. Find info, use what works and let others do the same.

  18. “#7: Whole-food carbohydrates do affect the body in the same way as processed and refined carbohydrates”
    Ooops, missing a “NOT” here?

    • Wow Chris, thank you for posting this. Its really important to acknowledge the differences in human physiology when responding to certain forms of eating. I think the paleo framework as a whole has been really liberating in terms of health for many people yet many shy away because the media at large does slap the label low carb on there any chance they get. I think placing this way of eating and life into a more fluid and changing framework is most beneficial. Boxing it in to be another extreme diet will only turn people away.
      As a female with autoimmune issues low carb did not work for me. It certainly appealed to be based o. What I read but my bodies digestion came unaligned and I felt dizzy and exhausted. The minute I thre w some butternut squash into the mix I was ready to go!
      Its really incredible what low carb can do for even cancer patients but its also important for people who experience the benefits to move into a place of understating we’re not all there. This will hopefully lead to everyone as a whole eating more whole unprocessed foods. Carbs or no carbs

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