Michael On Everything Else

To Paleo Or Not To Paleo

Since discovering I was sensitive to gluten, I’ve managed to drastically reduce the amount of carbs I eat. This resulted in reducing my normal, comfortable weight by around ten pounds and it has stayed that way for several years now.

And in the last two-and-a-half years I’ve been focusing more on decreasing fat and increasing muscle and bone mass, which means a focus on heavier protein consumption.

What I just described is basically the paleo diet, or a hunter-gatherer diet.

The Inuit population has, by necessity, utilized a low-carbohydrate diet for millennia. Their traditional diet contains a significant amount of protein (approximately 377g of protein per day), equating to around 47% of the daily calories, with 46% coming from fat, and carbohydrate providing a mere 7% of calories.2 Aboriginal diets in Australia have also been extensively studied, are similarly low in carbohydrate, and promote the maintenance of lean body weights and minimized insulin resistance. (BreakingMuscle.com)

What is recommended by the author of that article, and what fits with my world-view is that there is no golden formula that fits everybody. Instead, what works best is determined by one’s individual lifestyle, their genetics, their goals, etc. Whether you follow a strict and defined diet or not is up to you. But at the end of the day, moderating carb-intake should be a part of your daily routine.

Perhaps the best diet for most people, most of the time, is one that is between around 3% and 50% carbohydrate, with the large variation accounted for by genetic (ethnic) predisposition and activity. In other words, eat an appropriate amount of carbohydrate for your ethnic (and therefore genetic) background and according to your energy requirements (i.e., the more you move, and the higher the intensity of that movement, the more carbohydrate you are likely to tolerate and benefit from).

As I write this I’m on an off-week + vacation and that means that my activity level is greatly reduced. It’s been difficult, but I’ve managed to keep my carb-intake pretty low to compensate (most of my carb-intake has been alcohol). It’s tough and less fun, but at the end of the vacation, I won’t be looking in the mirror regretting poor choices at the table!