The Primal diet is different from the Paleo diet in that Primal encourages eating high fat.
Many, perhaps most, Paleo eaters often focus on lean meats. Not Primal. I’ve eaten Primally for five years. Being Primally-aligned means eating low carbohydrate, moderate (enough) protein, and high fat. Why? Because fat is the best macronutrient for fueling our bodies:
- our bodies evolved to prioritize fat for fuel
- fat causes the least hormone stress and inflammatory damage as we utilize it
- every cell in our bodies needs fat (saturated fat!)
- fat has 9 calories of energy and doesn’t raise our insulin level like carbohydrates do, so, yes, you’ll get more calories but less body fat when you switch from carb-heavy to fat-heavy way of eating. You have to quit believing the marketing and lobbyist-driven government recommendations.
- fat helps us sleep better
- fat helps us avoid constipation (yes, your high-fiber diet is making it worse)
- fat clears up acne and other skin ailments
Fat beats lethargy. Fat beats hunger. Fat beats fat. Fat beats chronic autoimmune diseases. Fat also beats cancer. So, while I advocate a Primal lifestyle, I also support those who choose to transition to a ketogenic lifestyle. Here’s why.
Is Fat Healthy for Me?
(Jim McCarter, MD, PhD, professor of genetics, from The Quantified Self community.)
What is Keto?
A ketogenic diet (“keto”) can be defined a few ways. The biomarker for ketosis is when your ketones are elevated, and secondarily, when insulin is suppressed as a result. In order to be fully keto-adapted and to start burning stored body fat for fuel, ketone levels must be between 0.5 to 3.0 millimolar. You can usually get there when you’re eating 50g or less of carbohydrates, moderating protein, eating 75-85% of your calories from fat, and exercising.
The three primary factors impacting blood ketone production are carbohydrates, protein, and exercise. Some people need to restrict calories when they start keto and some others may need to supplement with ketones to start. Also, you should be getting just enough protein to support your lean body mass and no more, since much of the protein we consume is converted to glucose in the liver. Exercise can start keto right away, only if you do NOT consume carbs or alanine afterward.
Eating high fat and low carbohydrate means your body begins to make more ketones. You create ketones from ingested fat or stored fat. Ketones then become your body’s primary source of fuel. (For those of you new to this subject, be clear that ketosis and ketoacidosis are not the same thing.)
Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Panel
(From Ancestral Health Symposium 14, 2014, with Colin Champ, MD, Dawn Lemanne, MD, Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, Ellen Davis, Rachel Albert, Miriam Kalamian, EdM,MS,CNS, Jimmy Moore) This is a long video and has a great deal of information.
Insulin and glucose drive cancer metabolism. Cancer rates are very rare in cultures that don’t consume processed foods (grain and sugar). You’ve never heard of that? Hmm.
Research and success-stories are showing that cancer is a metabolic disease. By eliminating the pathways through which cancer cells feed, you kill them. They aren’t resilient like other cells. One caveat mentioned at the symposium: we have clinical data only for animal studies so far. No human has been cured of cancer through only keto. Most often, keto is used in conjunction with chemotherapy to show better outcomes than chemotherapy alone.
I Am Keto
I was Paleo/Primal for 5 years. I’m keto pretty consistently now. I drop out occasionally, because I’m not a purist or fanatical about anything. In other words, I eat what I want, when I want, as much as I want. Dogma is anathema to me. That means beer sometimes and cake for birthdays and dark chocolate. Still, I can’t even seem to finish a whole 16 oz beer anymore! I’ll discuss my steps from Paleo to Primal to intermittent fasting and keto in a later post.
However, if you’re hot to get started on feeling better or recovering from metabolic issues, read read read. Don’t rely on what you grew up hearing. It’s all bullshit.
Join the quantified self movement. Get a ketone meter. Get a glucose meter. Watch what levels do as you vary your diet and record how you feel.
A terrific resource for how keto beats chronic autoimmune disease can be found in the The Wahls Protocol. This is the book that got me started on keto.