27 Oct Paleo Carbs Part II: forbidden foods
Well if you read last week’s post then you saw all the carbs that are technically allowed on the paleo plan, which are only fruits and veggies (1). Today we discuss other carbs that can be used based on modifications we make with clients. How did we determine this? Through our background in dietetics, functional medicine, personal experience and the fact we see well over 200 clients a week working on their nutrition measuring bodyfat and progress weekly for the past several years. We also use lab work to test nutrient deficiencies, metabolic (thyroid) function and food sensitivity tests. Alot of people who argue paleo do none of the previously mentioned.
Paleo at times, in case you haven’t noticed, can be quite restrictive. It makes blanket statements that all people should avoid certain foods. Through lab testing you can determine what you should and shouldn’t be eating. This is the only true way to individualize a plan. We have some people who have no problems with certain foods that are paleo forbidden (again really just talking rice, quinoa, potatoes and butter) and we let them have then in moderation based on activity and bodyfat. But the paleo foundation is a great place to start and you can slowly reintroduce foods over time and see how you feel (butter, potatoes, rice, quinoa, etc). This is actually part of an elimination diet we run with clients in the beginning. Very simple to find what foods you tolerate without doing lab testing. Now onto this week…
So as we discussed earlier carb choices are where the Paleo crowd really starts to separate for various reasons. We have mentioned in earlier posts why grains, legumes and starches are omitted here in the Paleo plan, it is mainly because of certain nutrients’ absorption being prevented by eating certain foods.
But the tides at least in some Paleo circles are beginning to change. On some recipe sites and various blogs you are starting to see sweet potatoes, quinoa and rice additions. But again read the Paleo Diet Book (1) and those are forbidden. We modify and use those items because they are gluten free, non-processed starches and serve certain purposes. Based on your activity level and insulin sensitivity (which is established by bodyfat testing and lab work), some people need and can handle these starches quite well. Eaten at the right time can actually assist people in getting even leaner while staying healthy. And if a person doesn’t have a food sensitivity and his / her blood values are fine in certain nutrients, then there are no reason to avoid the ones we mentioned.
We start making different modifications based off hormonal responses. For example (and have discussed this before) someone could have hormonal resistance issues. In this case we are talking about catecholamine resistance which is characterized by when you cannot fall asleep because your mind is racing. An easy fix for this is 5 to 6 bites of rice or sweet potato before bed. From personal experience and research, fruit can’t help this hormonal resistance problem but these starches can.
The other thing to look at would be thyroid health. Over time restricted carb intake even if your diet is ample in fruits and veggies can worsen thyroid function and slow down T4 to T3 conversion (4). One reason this can happens is from reverse T3. One of the major draw backs of reverse T3 is that it purposely slows down metabolic rate, making it impossible to lose weight. It does this because it thinks your body is starving and its a protective mechanism. We include one to two servings of starch a day in someones diet at the right time to help prevent this. We add these foods because they are more calorie dense. Why not just add more protein, fruits or veggies? Well for starters protein is an appetite suppressant, so keep pounding protein and you won’t be hungry making it more difficult to get your calories in. Secondly, fruits and veggies while very nutrient dense, are not calorie dense. Meaning you would have to eat a tremendous amount of them to make up for the potential caloric short coming. This can be very hard because of fiber content, which if you have compromised intestinal function (like most people) this can actually be quite painful. This is a long subject, so suffice to say this is an easy fix simply by adding a couple servings of either rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes to get calories to a sufficient level, still losing fat, but not so low calorie someone has thyroid issues.
Another modification we use despite it being forbidden on paleo is butter. By this we mean grass fed, organic butter. Organic dairy and grass fed organic meats contains CLA which has been shown to aid in abdominal fat loss, and increase natural killer t cells which can help kill cancer cells (3). Its a great fatty acid our diets are often very low in. And its a great saturated fat to have in your diet, which despite the misinformation you hear, saturated fat is good for you and will not cause you to have a heart attack. (2)
Most of the forbidden foods we really agree with, the only real exceptions are rice, quinoa, potatoes and butter. The other thing to mention is if your diet is low carb (which is completely subjective but for argument sake lets say less then 100 a day) you should NOT be limiting salt intake. While we do not advocate eating salty processed meats you should however be focusing on adding either pink salt or sea salt to every meal very generously. When you first go on a lower carb approach you can easily drop 5 to 6 pounds in the first week, this is all water. The kidneys, when carbs are lowered or removed, while dump 5 to 6 pounds of water right away (5). Now your sodium, not potassium levels are very low, which can lead to feeling weak, shaky and fatigue, this is NOT a glucose issue. For research and ample studies on this subject read, “The Art and Science of Low Carb Living” found here. Amazing book on physiology behind being on a carb reduced lifestyle.
The thing to understand every single person is different and nutrition requires customization. These are just some of the many different modifications we use with clients. Its a process not a protocol.
1. The Paleo Diet Book. Cordain
2. The Great Cholesterol Myth. Bowden & Sinatra
3. The Anti- Estrogenic Diet. Hofmekler & Osborn
4. Thyroid Balance. Rothfeld & Romaine
5. The Art and Science of Low Carb Living. Phinney & Volek
Below is a list of forbidden foods from the Paleo Diet Book (1)
|all processed foods made with||all beans||sugar snap peans|
|dairy products||black eyed peas||soy beans and all soybean products|
|cheese||low fat milk||lentils|
|cream||non fat dairy creamer||peas|
|dairy spreads||powdered milk||peanut butter|
|frozen yogurt||skim milk||peanuts|
|ice cream||whole milk||snow peas|
|Cereal Grains||Starchy Vegetables|
|oats||all potatoes and potato products|
|Cereal like seeds||Salt – Containing foods|
|amaranth||all commerical salad dressings and condiments|
|breakfast sausage||pickled foods|
|chicken and turkey skin||pork rinds|
|chicken wings||processed meats|
|fatty lamp & pork chops||salted nuts|
|salami||virtually all canned meats and fish|