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Calling all primal starch eaters, GTFIH

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  • Calling all primal starch eaters, GTFIH

    I'm a male college student, my diet consists of 100% primal on weekdays, and nonprimal on weekends (more practical as a college kid) Besides, just by being privy to this lifestyle, I'm already eating healthier than 95% of my campus despite lax weekends.

    Anyway, I have a very low% bodyfat, probably sub-10%, and its been this way my whole life, even on the SAD. This is why when I eat primal, I include a good number of carbs, from white rice and potatoes, bananas, yams, etc. The problem is, although I understand that saturated fat or fats in general do not cause high cholesterol or heart problems, and its actually the carbs that cause cardiovascular disease, isn't it true that carbs on their own cannot cause these problems, and must be in the company of dietary fat? My understanding is that excessive insulin causes these cardiovascular problems, but it's the dietary fat in the presence of this excess that then starts clogging arteries or promoting inflammation. If I eat a meal high in carbs without the fat, wouldn't the damage be mitigated?

    In a nutshell. my question is this: If you eat primally, is it still important to eat carbs and fats in separate meals? So for example a meal should be either high in carbs + protein, or fat + protein, but not carbs + fat since that is when insulin is high, but dietary fat is also being absorbed in the bloodstream, which leads to all the nasty problems.
    Last edited by colejames; 09-19-2011, 07:31 PM.

  • #2
    Yes, try to limit fat in your carb heavy meals and vice versa. Not only for the reasons that you stated, but also in the fact that fat slows digestion and your insulin will stay up longer. It doesn't make that big of a difference in the near term, but it can over the long term. Think insulin resistance, as you have longer periods of insulin in the bloodstream if they sugars are slowly digested. Yes, fat will blunt the glycemic load, but it doesn't change the overall insulin secretion by much, if any.
    People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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    • #3
      I loves me some 'taters. And I do the Warrior Diet thing of one big meal a day. So here's hoping it all balances out.
      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
        I loves me some 'taters. And I do the Warrior Diet thing of one big meal a day. So here's hoping it all balances out.
        I have been doing this as well most days. I guess I should elaborate that if you are eating multiple meals per day (which it sounds like colejames is doing that), then what I said would apply. If you are only eating once, then that advice goes right out the window. LOL.

        After training I still take in a PWO shake (100g carbs/50g protein/0g fat).
        People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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        • #5
          i don't have much to add, i'm here cause you said gtfih

          ok, say my starch is a sweet potater. i put butter and sour cream on it. am i gon' die from a myocardial infarction?
          beautiful
          yeah you are

          Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
          lol

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          • #6
            Precisely what I want to find out. If i think about it, I feel like in nature, fats and carbs are always separated. When our ancestors went looking for food it usually came in one of these forms:

            Anything with legs (protein + saturated fat)
            Fruits (Carbs)
            Vegetables (Carbs)
            Seeds and nuts (Fat + Protein, low carb)

            Notice how you never really find natural food sources with high fat and carbs, so perhaps they were meant to be eaten separately.

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            • #7
              Perhaps, but you wouldn't also add butter/fat on any thing you eat in the wild (and yet we have Primals here who do EXACTLY that). You wouldn't also fried your foods in fat (and yet we have Primals here who do EXACTLY that). If we shouldn't add fat to starch foods, or that we should eat them separate because we wouldn't have them together in nature, then the same logic needs to be applied to other areas of the Primal lifestyle (no frying your eggs in bacon fat, no adding butter in vegetables, etc, don't eat meat with extra fat, a meal should only contain meat or vegetables but never together, etc). Try to find a Primal or Paleo who follow that regime. Trust me, you would have a hard time! Besides, a mother's breast milk has BOTH fat and carbs (not to mention protein), so nature can provide a single source with all three components.

              BTW, while it is true that having high carb + high fat diet cause health problems, I find zero evidence to suggest that eating a sweet potato with fat/protein will cause ANY health problems (keep in mind I am talking about a person who follows the PB and keep his or her carbs below 150 grams per day).

              Last edited by Zed; 09-20-2011, 04:48 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bloodorchid View Post
                i don't have much to add, i'm here cause you said gtfih

                ok, say my starch is a sweet potater. i put butter and sour cream on it. am i gon' die from a myocardial infarction?
                Haha, I really don't think so. A typical sweet potato has like 30-ish grams of carbs. I don't think that's enough to worry about.

                Also, I believe that is it a good idea to keep high-carb andd high-fat separate. I follow Leangains and eat a high-carb, high-protein meal postworkout and a lower-carb, higher-fat meal a few hours after that.

                Dietary fat (well, palmitic acid) causes (short-term, normal and necessary for survival) insulin resistance (see this blog post: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.c...tance-and.html). This is actually a good thing in the context of a low-carb diet as you'd become hypoglycemic if your muscles were hogging all the glucose that your brain and RBCs need. However, it's a bad idea to chow down on carbs while you are in an insulin-resistant state (see diabetes). This is the main reason that I believe that high-fat + high-carb = bad.
                Last edited by yodiewan; 09-20-2011, 04:50 AM.

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                • #9
                  Oh, now I'm really confused. So a smoothie made with banana and coconut milk would be out? Or rice with coconut oil? These combinations raise insulin longer? Or is the problem just when the fat is saturated, ie. sweet potato and a steak?

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                  • #10
                    The real answer to your question is "maybe".

                    Generally, most body builders do not advocate mixing fat and carbs. Most body builders eat a low fat, high protein, cyclical carbohydrate diet. On their low carb days, they'll eat a moderate amount of fat to make up the difference, but it's still low fat compared to Primal, where people eat as high as 70% daily calories from fat. IMO, you probably won't be able to get ripped eating 70% calories from fat. Dietary fat, with the exception of MCT's, pretty much goes directly into fat storage. When you get lean, it's actually easier to get ripped eating lower fat and higher carbohydrate because you can use glycogen depletion to your advantage, something you can't do on a higher fat diet. Again, this is the general case.

                    The fact is, different people need different diets. For the overweight with damaged metabolisms on this website, a high fat, low carbohydrate diet is advantageous. This is because they're insulin resistant and they've wrecked their bodies, so carbs are out for them in the short term. For people with issues with insulin, 50-70% calories from fat would probably do them a lot of good. For them, most of the weight loss is going to come from insulin reduction regardless of caloric intake.

                    Then, there are the very lean. People like yourself probably have a predisposition to partitioning carbohydrate in muscles instead of fat cells. Even if your glycogen stores are depleted, you're still going to store some carbs as fat. It's not a perfect system. Some people just naturally tend to partition carbohydrate into fat storage no matter what, and these people would perform better on higher fat. Guys like you probably tend to partition carbohydrate to muscle, which is the case for all the skinny diabetics out there. Hey, there are tons of them! You may actually put on body fat eating a high fat diet, but I could easily be wrong. Maybe you're just one of those genetic freaks that just doesn't effectively store body fat. If so, you're a lucky man.

                    The diet you're describing is "isocaloric" - a roughly even spread between fat, protein and carbohydrate. Think 33%/33%/33% calories from fat/protein/carbohydrate. This is what "The Zone" is. It can be beneficial for some because the regular carbohydrate intake is enough to keep their leptin levels high, but low enough that their bodies can burn fat efficiently - something that the high carb American diet bordering on 60% calories from carbs doesn't do. I ate isocaloric above maintenance calories all last week while taking the whole week off from the gym and could swear I lost a little body fat. I felt great with a 33/33/33 spread, and it allowed every kind of meat, fruit, vegetable and tuber on the plate for me to eat, which was liberating. I was eating 2 sweet potatoes and 2 bananas with green cabbage fried in coconut oil with every meal and it was incredible.

                    You basically need to experiment and find out what you best react to. Note - barring some kind of extreme sensitivity, you're not going to get unhealthy eating carbohydrate from Primal whole food sources. You need not fear bananas, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, squashes, white rice and the like. These aren't the things causing the health concerns. I personally believe that insulin resistance is largely caused by the huge omega 3 : omega 6 imbalance in this country. We take in far too much n6 and not nearly enough n3. Actually, I think we take in too many PUFA's in general. Studies have shown that grain consumption was higher 100 years ago, yet we have heart disease now and not 100 years ago. I believe it's mostly the industrial seed oils causing it, then the grain consumption compounds the issue because the PUFA's make our cell membranes weak and susceptible to damage from free radicals. Saturated fat, on the other hand, strengthens our cell membranes and keeps the free radicals out, and since saturated fat is demonized, you have people walking around with low defenses to the natural toxins in grains, legumes, nuts, etc. That's my personal theory and I'm sticking with it.

                    Experiment and don't fear carbohydrate from Primal sources. Stay away from wheat, corn, brown rice, legumes most of the time and ESPECIALLY vegetable oils and you'll be so far ahead of the game the last thing you have to worry about is starch. That being said, IMO, you should try and push your starches on the days you work out with heavy weights and eat lower carb on off days or cardio days while upping your fat a bit to make up your calories. Protein should be pretty constant at 1-1.5g/lb of body weight. This is my recommendation.
                    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 09-20-2011, 10:19 PM.
                    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Goldstar View Post
                      Oh, now I'm really confused. So a smoothie made with banana and coconut milk would be out? Or rice with coconut oil? These combinations raise insulin longer? Or is the problem just when the fat is saturated, ie. sweet potato and a steak?
                      No. Raising insulin isn't necessarily a bad thing. You're going to meet resistance from a lot of people around here that think insulin is evil. It's only evil because they were constantly grazing (snacking), drinking fruit juices and sodas, choking down donuts and bags of sugar every day. Insulin is their enemy because they destroyed their metabolisms from decades of poor dieting. For you, a young, healthy, insulin sensitive person, to demonize insulin would be a huge mistake. Without insulin, you cannot get bigger and stronger. Insulin is your body's big anabolic hormone, so if you're looking for muscles, abs, strong bones and speed, you won't get there without insulin. The problem is PROLONGED raised insulin. Think about it - the average American eats breakfast at 7am, a snack at 10am, lunch at 12pm, they crack open a soda or pop an energy drink at the 3pm slump, then eat dinner at 6pm. That means from waking up to going to bed, their insulin is raised. IT NEVER SETTLES! This is why I adopted a 16/8 hour fast/eat window. I eat two meals - about noon and at 8pm. This means that for 75% of my day, my insulin is at normal circulating levels. I strongly doubt I will become diabetic or insulin resistant from spiking my insulin twice a day, even if I shove down 2 pounds of potatoes in each sitting. Plan your meals, time them properly and enjoy the carbohydrate on your workout days. There is NOTHING wrong with a coconut and banana smoothie. It's only an issue if you're sipping on them constantly throughout the day. Drink it over 15 minutes and go a few hours without food so your blood sugar drops back to normal levels. Problem solved.

                      Besides, there's so much freaking fat in coconut milk, your insulin is barely going to budge from the lousy 25g of carbohydrate in a banana. Puh-leez. Coconut fat is 90% saturated btw, with 50-65% of it being from medium-chain triglycerides, or as I call them, the best fats in the world.
                      Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                      • #12
                        choco, thanks for that description overview - a lot of it seems very intuitive and what I have been thinking for a while now. I think there is something to this whole phenomena where extremely lean people actually need more carbs in order to stay that way. Earlier last year, I tried a stint of near zero carb just to see what it was like and especially because I had just finished "good calories bad calories" and was brainwashed into thinking literally all carbs were bad and unessential for human nutrition. I only ate meat, eggs, fats, and some vegetables. I actually gained some weight doing this and felt like shit the whole time, so I dropped it like a cheap hooker.

                        Once I re-introduced carbs, I felt much better, happier outlook, went back to sub 10% bodyfat again. Of course, now I know from further education that this zero carb episode probably caused my ill mood and weight gain due to low leptin and low serotonin due to lack of carbs.

                        So in essence, I'll just continue eating the way I am so long as I stay primal. Try to keep fats and carbs separate but don't go out of my way and don't fret if I eat them together as long as I stick primal, stay away from PUFA, grains etc.

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                        • #13
                          You're too thin for constant low carb my friend. Without the insulin spikes from the carbohydrate, your leptin stays too low. Circulating leptin increases with body fat, so if you're thin and lean, your leptin is very low. Without leptin, you don't release stored fat. Eating a high fat/low carb diet with low levels of leptin may mean that you're storing more fat than you're releasing since leptin is the master hormone that creates fat release. Regular high carbohydrate days are probably responsible for keeping you lean. Just watch your sources. Stay away from refined carbohydrate like sugars, flours, pretty much anything in a box or a bag...you get the picture. Whole foods only, and don't eat high carb every day. Think 3 days high, 4 days low. If you're like me, make your Fri-Sun high carb so you can have fun, throw your tough workouts on those days, then put your easy exercises Mon-Thurs and keep carbs low and fats moderate. Or maybe that's too much and you need 2 days high and 5 days low. Or maybe you're very lean and need 4 high and 3 low. Or maybe every other high/low/high/low. Who knows. It's your job to try them all!

                          If you want more information, you can read the two threads in my signature on carb refeeds and my carb refeed experiment. It's about 100 pages of reading, but it may be worth it to you to learn through my mistakes. When I first joined this site and embraced the lifestyle, I was around 15% body fat. I believed that carbohydrate was the enemy and I went over 3 months on the perfect Primal 60/30/10 fat/protein/carb ratios. I felt a ton better from giving up the grains and sugars, but I didn't lose any body fat. Only until I started cycling my starches did I lose body fat. Now I'm under 12% and I'm getting dangerously close to having abs. In a mirror from far away, I actually have them, which is thrilling. I dropped from 145 lbs to 133 lbs while upping my deadlifts by 100 lbs, my squats by 80 lbs and my benchpress by 15 lbs, all while raising my HDL's to 95 and my trigs sit pretty at 40. You tell me carbohydrates are evil from those results. It's not the carbohydrate that's the enemy, it's the source. 40g of carbohydrate from a sweet potato is totally different than 40g of carbohydrate from pancakes and corn syrup.

                          Experiment. Try everything. I've spent my the last 6-7 months of my life trying all kinds of combinations and I still have a lot to learn. The worst thing you can do is just read the forum and decide based on other people's experiences. You have to figure out what works for you because what gets me ripped may get you fat. We're all different.
                          Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 09-20-2011, 10:31 PM.
                          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the clarification Choco. When I said high-carb + high-fat = bad, I meant like Standard American Diet, 150g carb in a shot, coupled with lots of fat. Like cake or most other desserts. I don't think a reasonable portion of carbs with fat is bad at all. And I agree about the iso-caloric macronutrient split. I've been tracking my intake the past few days and have come very close to 1/3 of calories from each macronutrient and I feel pretty dang good.

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                            • #15
                              Choco, I have indeed read a good majority of your carb refeed thread. It reminds me a lot of the ketogenic diet on bodybuilding forums, which I have followed in the past. The only problem with ketogenic diets are that the guys there don't follow primal, so on their "carb-up" days they'lll eat cereal, pancakes, bread, etc. If you haven't looked at their forums, you should read it. The science is solid. In fact, all I really need to do to make it fit is to eat primal while following protocol. You're probably already familiar with it anyway, though.

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