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    RReznik's Avatar
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    Science behind the primal diet

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    I was talking with my brother who is an RN this weekend about The Primal Blueprint diet plan. He mentioned that the problem with the Atkins diet and similiar diets is that when you cut out all carbohydrates and grains and eat alot more protein that it can harm your liver and have other harmful side effects.

    I wanted to get the forums take on this and other misinformation. Has anyone ever had any bad side effects or problems arise from cutting out carbs, grains from your diet?

    I am pretty new to the whole paleo\primal diet thing and just trying to weed out a lot of the misinformation out there.

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    john_e_turner_ii's Avatar
    john_e_turner_ii is offline Senior Member
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    Google low carb diets and Atkins. There are tons of articles about the myths and science that debunk them.

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    A good start would be to ask her for actual evidence of her claims.

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    To start, Primal Blueprint doesn't cut out ALL carbs.

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    An extremely high protein diet will damage the liver and kidneys. It is called rabbit sickness. You simply need to make sure that you get plenty of fat. No Fat/No Carb/All Protein can kill you but it is difficult to achieve that mix of macros.
    Check out my primal blog: http://primalroar.posterous.com/

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RReznik View Post
    I was talking with my brother who is an RN this weekend about The Primal Blueprint diet plan. He mentioned that the problem with the Atkins diet and similiar diets is that when you cut out all carbohydrates and grains and eat alot more protein that it can harm your liver and have other harmful side effects.
    Interestingly enough, Professor Cordain seems not to want the Paleo Diet to be defined as "low-carb". I don't know whether he's looking to put plenty of clear blue water between the Atkins Diet and his recommendations -- on account perhaps that Atkins has an image problem -- but whatever the reason that's how he's positioning it in the public space now. IIRC, the first edition of The Paleo Diet did refer to it as "low carb". However, the current edition refers to low-carb diets only with the (rather rhetorical) phrase "fad low carb diets" and describes the Paleo Diet as a "high protein, low glycemic index diet". (In truth, I think he's exaggerating the difference: he also seems to have tweaked the figures from what were quoted in his famous earlier paper, so as not to make the macronutrient percentages for his diet overlap with those of Atkins, which they otherwise would.)

    Ironically, Atkins is not particularly high-protein -- somewhat higher than the standard diet, but not greatly so. It's actually high fat. Official Paleo la Cordain would be rather higher in protein than Atkins but also rather higher in carbohydrate. IIRC, Cordain recommends up to 30% carbohydrate, which is in line with his people's analysis of data from current hunter-gatherer populations.

    Can your brother cite any papers that indicate that what he's claiming about high (in the case of Atkins actually not so high) levels of protein. I'll bet not.

    I wanted to get the forums take on this and other misinformation. Has anyone ever had any bad side effects or problems arise from cutting out carbs, grains from your diet?
    Well, you don't cut out carbohydrate. You can't really, anyway, as it's a constituent of food. There are no bad effects I know of from cutting out cereal grains. And I can't imagine what they'd be, since they don't supply any nutrients that you couldn't get in some other food, and aren't particularly good sources of any nutrient. Critics of the Paleo Diet usually just limit themselves to saying you "can't cut out a food group" which is an irrelevant comment -- because who says you need to split food in any particular set of groups? -- or more vaguely say that it's "not balanced". They can make no more coherent attack, because there is none to make. Cereals are a cheap, easily grown food, and have some (second-class) protein in and therefore make cheap fillers for settled and numerous populations. Professor Cordain dislikes them perhaps less for the fact that they're high in carbohydrate (or even that they have a high glycemic index -- remember he prefers to talk in those terms) than for the fact that they cause huge range of pretty bad auto-immune problems for many, many people. The one document that you might want to read on the Paleo Diet before reading any other is this paper, which goes into that issue in impressive detail:

    http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/Evoluti...al%20Sword.pdf

    That's mostly what it's about rather than just avoiding excessive carbs -- important as that is. And if you need a few more carbs in your diet, there are always starchy roots and tubers, like sweet potatoes and squashes and there's fruit.

    EDIT:

    Sorry I'd just looked at another post on this board and had "Paleo" in my mind. You actually said "Primal". I guess you could call Primal a variant on Paleo (to which you'l find more references online). It's essentially Paleo, but I guess Mark leans a bit more towards lower carb than official Paleo, and is a little more "permissive" with regards to some foods. See his 101 for more details:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/prima...#axzz1vWk6px7B
    Last edited by Lewis; 05-21-2012 at 10:43 AM.

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    Moochy's Avatar
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    Primal/Paleo is not for everyone, it's for those who have committed to understand.
    READ THE BOOK! ...as Robb Wolf says: "Trying to convince people to save their own ass will burn you out."

    Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for -- the pure enjoyment of food. Anthony Bourdain

    and yes, calories DO count my little piggies

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    Quote Originally Posted by RReznik View Post
    Has anyone ever had any bad side effects or problems arise from cutting out carbs, grains from your diet?
    First of all, the Primal Blueprint is not the Atkins diet. Mark recommends, I think, 50-150 grams of carbohydrate each day for "effortless weightloss". When you are not eating grains, 100 grams of carbohydrate is quite a lot of tubers and can be difficult to achieve without fruit. A whole sweet potato is 26 grams of carbohydrate. I manage to eat a half a sweet potato most days. And the rest of my carbohydrates come from the half-and-half in my coffee, the various vegetables I eat, fruit and sometimes dried fruit and chocolate.

    As for side-effects of cutting out grains from my diet: Only the best damn health, mental clarity and total optimistic happiness I have ever felt in my entire life. I feel absolutely fantastic. I used to feel way back in my 20s that living life felt like swimming through molasses. I have so much energy and strength now. I feel great. I'm happier, I'm nicer, I'm not half asleep. I'm also not hungry all the time. I'm not two hours from the next round of hypglycemic hunger. I'm no longer sitting around in shame with a belief I am a weak-willed, fat pig because I can't control myself. I can cook now. I clean the house after work now when before I just laid under a blanket and waited until I could go to bed. I can do 2 real man pushups. I stand up straight.

    Ask your nurse friend what pills I'd have to take to get all that.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Heaviest squat: 180 x 2. Heaviest Deadlift: 230 x 2

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    tfarny's Avatar
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    This diet is not all that high in protein. Athletes have been eating high protein diets for decades and decades, anyhow. If all you ate was lean meat, that might not be healthy, but I know a guy who ate only raw fatty meat for years (Note: THATS NOT PRIMAL) and he appeared to be extremely healthy.
    It's also not super low carb. It's not the same as atkins. You should read the Primal Blueprint, it's a nice book.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Quote Originally Posted by RReznik View Post
    I wanted to get the forums take on this and other misinformation. Has anyone ever had any bad side effects or problems arise from cutting out carbs, grains from your diet?
    Yeah, I started losing body fat. My gums got healthier. The psoriasis on my elbows went away. Joint pains in my fingers went away. I don't fall asleep after meals. It's all horrible.

    Quote Originally Posted by RReznik View Post
    I am pretty new to the whole paleo\primal diet thing and just trying to weed out a lot of the misinformation out there.
    The "science" behind the paleo diet is called evolution.
    The Paleo Diet Explained - YouTube

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