By now you have all heard our instructors and members tout the benefits of the Paleo Diet, you’ve seen the results in the weight loss, physique and performance found throughout CFW. I’ve heard some chatter that Paleo just isn’t working for some people so I want to take some time to dispel a few commonly held misconceptions that I’ve heard floating around the gym.
First, lets lay some groundwork, many Americans suffer from hyperinsulinemia, brought on mostly by a diet chronically high in carbohydrates and low in fats and proteins, mostly processed junk food you can get every day at the grocery store. Your body produces insulin when you ingest carbohydrates to remove carbs from the blood and convert them into glycogen for energy. Over time, if the body is exposed to chronically high insulin levels, cells become resistant to the insulin and it takes more insulin to break down the same amount of carbohydrates. The Paleo diet minimizes insulin spikes by reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat, highly processed or otherwise, and prevents hyperinsulinemia because there isn’t excess insulin floating around in the blood all the time. I say that to say this: desserts are not paleo, they should not be a main part of your diet. No matter how you label them, most desserts are still high carbohydrate foods that you want to stay away from. Let’s take a look at a “paleo dessert recipe” easily found on the internet. The second recipe on the page for cookies calls for 1 1/4 CUP of honey and some dried fruit. The honey alone has 349g of carbs! Add about 20-30 additional grams of carbs for the dried fruit and you are hitting around 375 carbs for an entire batch. And the dedicated Paleo baker says: “But the cookies don’t have flour and honey is all natural isn’t it?” Yes honey is natural, but it is still 100% sugar. For the amount of sugar found in a dessert like that, you’re better off not eating it, definitely don’t try to pass them off as Paleo, and don’t overeat on them or call them “healthy.”
Next, let’s dispel the myth that eating six meals throughout the day is better than eating three. Calories are calories folks, to lose weight you need a net caloric intake less than caloric expenditure, it is highly unlikely that you will eat fewer calories on six meals as opposed to three or four. For example, I believe T. has used this one before, if you eat 6 meals at 400 calories per meal that’s 2400 calories per day. If you eat 3 meals at 700 calories per day that’s only 2100 calories per day. Trust me when I say it is very difficult to make a 700 calorie meal if you are eating lean meats and veggies; on the other hand, 400 calories is quite easy to eat – that’s 5 eggs, or 3 eggs and a handful of almonds- not much food when you look at it on a plate. You probably don’t eat many meals fewer than 400 calories without being hungry soon after.
Calories do count folks, a man in Kansas lost weight eating only Little Debbies, keeping his calories consumed less than expended. I am by no means supporting that diet; I’m certain he is deficient in probably every vitamin and
has no muscle to speak of. I know crossfitters love heavy cream in their coffee because “it’s paleo and full of fat.” True, sort of, but if you’re putting 3 ounces or more in a coffee once or twice per day, at 100 calories per ounce, that stuff adds up- don’t lose track of it.
If you are having trouble losing the weight you want to lose, take a look at your diet and be honest with yourself. Are you eating mostly what we advise, or are you daily eating desserts and breads wrapped in the Paleo guise to make yourself feel better about it? It is quite possible to over-eat, even eating Paleo. Instead of finding new and improved ways to cheat the system and make paleo desserts, paleo breads and paleo candy, stick to what works. Eat lean meats, veggies (preferably green ones), fruits that end in -berry, nuts, seeds and good oils. ZERO sugar and processed carbohydrates including bread, oats, honey, molasses and maple syrup. Think about the ingredients that you are adding to these so-called healthy treats. Mixing together bananas, pineapples and other sugar-laden fruits is no better than eating a piece of cake. Paleo works because you eat a healthy combination of protein and fats. You will get an ample supply of vitamins if you are eating good fruits and veggies. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to talk to myself, Josh or any of our trainers and we will be happy to answer them for you.