CrossFit South Rockland

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top 5 Most Common Paleo Weight Loss Mistakes

Paleo is an amazing lifestyle that can help you to regain your natural shape. Primal food plans are elimination diets that lower inflammation by removing irritating foods that will help your body promote it's own healing and weight loss. As a nutritionist I see a lot of people who try do Paleo their own way and sometime they stall in their weight loss efforts. Let me preface by saying that I am assuming you are 100% gluten free. To me there is no 80/20 policy on this issue because one slip up can flare up the immune system and undo much of your progress. Since most people who are going Paleo have health challenges in the first place, gluten is a non-negotiable irritating food that must be eliminated. If you don't believe me read more here about gluten and why it should be avoided. 

1. Eating too many nuts
Most nuts are high in Omega 6. One thing we are trying to do on Paleo is get our ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 in balance. According to Dr. Mercola a 4/1 or even a 2/1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 would be optimal for reducing inflammation and preventing disease.  Inflammation and weight gain go hand in hand, like a chicken or the egg situation. Visceral belly fat even can even make it's own inflammatory chemicals. If you lower inflammation from too much Omega 6 oils (canola, corn, soybean, and too many nuts)  and allergenic foods (wheat, soy, and most dairy) you should lose weight. If you do choose to eat nuts I would recommend the Robb Wolf's way of cracking and shelling them yourself . A serving of nuts is 1/4 cup, which is what I recommend for my weight loss clients to keep omega 6 and portions in check.

2. Eating too much fruit
Fruit has amazing antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients, but it also has a lot of sugar which can make you overeat. The fruit of today also does not resemble the fruit of ancient times. It has been hybridized to be very large and sweet. Think about if you ever saw a berry bush in the woods, does that fruit look anything like the huge overgrown fruit at the supermarket? Also there is the issue of fructose, a controversial topic. It has been shown to exacerbate cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's according in many studies and articles. So when you are choosing to eat fruit keep your portions small such as 1 cup of berries or 1/4 of a melon. It is ideal to eat fruit post workout with a meal. Never eat fruit alone without fat or protein because it will cause too much of a blood sugar spike and make you hungry. 

3. Eating skinless chicken breasts
Thinking back on how many hundreds of shoe leather, hockey puck chicken breasts I have choked down in my life does not give me the warm fuzzies. Those days are over, thanks heavens. I grew up during the 90's when fat free marinara sauce and No Yolks noodles were all the rage. Then after college I was on a high carb, low fat diet for 10 years but thankfully I survived. Now I have learned that saturated fats from meat are crucial for satiety and health. Saturated fats are so important that the body actually turns carbs into fat for energy regulation and hormone production. Which means that if you don't eat fat from meat, you will crave carbs constantly. Many times clients come to me with their food journals and I see white chicken over and over. This misconception comes from Paleo diet books that instruct people to eat lean protein. These diet book are usually assuming the reader is eating conventional factory farmed meat that is full of toxins, hormones, and antibiotics, which means trimming the fat is a good idea. But ideally people are eating grass fed meats which are already leaner than their corn fed counter parts. The CLA in the fat of grass fed animals has been shown in many studies to help people lose weight, so eat up! Also organic animals will be free of antibiotics and pesticides which promote estrogen mimickers that can increase fat storage in humans. If you shop from a farmers market or get to know a local farmer you can also get great discounts. Trader Joe's and Costco have organic and grass fed animals at reasonable prices. So buy pastured and organic animals as much as you can. Then eat the fat and enjoy!

4. Using olive oil as a main source of fat
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat which is a longer chain fat that resembles our own body fat stores. Olive oil is also not safe for heating because it has a low smoke point and can easily oxidize causing free radicals. I would rather see my clients eating Grass Fed butter and coconut oil. Grass Fed butter contains lecithin and Conjugated Linoleic Acid both of which support fat burning and muscle development. Vitamin A in butter is essential for a proper functioning thyroid gland which is a main regulator of body fat. Coconut oil is full of medium chain fatty acids which are used by the body for quick energy and are not stored as adipose tissue. Coconut oil is a very stable fat for cooking that even reduces belly fat. If you want to know more about how coconut oil can help you lose weight click here. 

5. Dairy Delusion
Dairy has good and bad properties. We could argue about this all day long and they did at the recent AHS #11. Pasteurized milk has little benefit and there is more calcium in leafy greens than you will from dead overheated dairy products. In contrast raw milk and cheese have amazing vitamins like Vitamin K2 which may be a missing link to why traditional cultures were so healthy. I do think raw milk is a superfood but what I usually see is people overeating conventional dairy and then wondering why they are not losing weight. Dairy is a common allergen so I think most people should eliminate it for 2 weeks just make sure they don't have any sensitivity (mucus, brain fog, gas, bloating, diarrhea) reactions. One other thing about milk is that it contains a protein called Casomorphin which can have and opioid effect on the brain. If you find that you can't put down the raw cheese or you guzzle a pint of raw milk in one slurp this may mean you are sensitive to milk and should approach it with caution. 


Savor each morsel!
Caitlin Weeks, BA, NASM Certified Trainer, Bauman Certified Nutrition Educator,
Holistic Nutritionist and CHEK HLC 1 practitioner serving San Francisco serving the Bay area and beyond via phone and Skype consultations

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