Great summary.Its to keep the diet in context. A "bit" of sugar, "some" fruit, "a" sweet potato.....all within the confines of the carb curve will assure that you are still getting a variety of good nutrition AND good fats from other sources. So some schmuck cant come on here and be like "hey bananas are primal right? .....just eat thirty of those a day and your still primal!"
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Well to be honest, once I converted into a mostly-fat burner and was primal for a while, I *do* tend to handle carbs a little better than in the past. For example, I recover from cheats more easily. In fact, if I'm extra carb-strict for a while and then get frustrated and carb cheat, that tends to cause a pound of weight loss -- maybe like a carb refeed. I think it's simply because the hormones are in better shape. However, this does NOT mean I'm going to eat a pound of starches or do a potato hack or whatever. If I keep doing that, I'll risk turning back into sugar burner. It think pure primal is simply more sustainable.
5'0" female, 44 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 111 on sugar cheat. Currently fighting off sugar/candy cravings with bulletproof cocoa and a little rice.
I (try to) follow by-the-book primal as advocated by Mark Sisson, except for whey powder and a bit of cream. I advocate a two-month strict adjustment for newbies. But everybody is different and should tweak Primal to their own needs.
From my standpoint, the OP answered the question with the title of the thread. He already acknowledges that both are bad. Personally, I cut out ALL grains, and ALL sugar, and its working for me (extremely well!).
I think some of the confusion on these threads comes down to the fact that there are "outs" built into the Primal Blueprint, 80/20 being the biggest one. 20% is a pretty big loophole Loopholes or not, my thoughts were to aim for 100% for a month, and then re-introduce items one by one if I felt I was missing them.
After 25 days eating this way, I can't think of anything I would like to add back in anyway.