Sunday, October 9, 2016

Why the Paleo diet made me fat (and didn't help my fibroids)

Over the past few years, in pursuit of better health and fertility I have been trying to follow a Paleo diet. And having been to a lecture by Sally Fallon in 2016 that was very impressive, and Chris Kresser having been my physician before he got ultra-famous, have been influenced by Weston Price ideas as well. Both Paleo and Weston Price are higher fat than the diet I had been eating prior to that, with Paleo emphasizing a lot of red meat and coconut, and Weston Price recommending full fat dairy, liver pate, and lots of butter.

Unfortunately during this time I have gained about 15 pounds. Thus time period also coincides with my meeting and getting married to my husband, otherwise known as "The Diet Destroyer", who loves to eat in large quantities, and is always looking for the next place to get ice cream, but doesn't seem to gain weight. And also moving to California, where I spend too much time in my car and thus don't get enough exercise. Plus some fertility treatments that led to weight gain (for example when you do IVF they put you on the Pill so they can more easily schedule your procedure, ugh! Still can't get rid of the immediate 4 pound weight gain from just that.)

But that doesn't seem to be the entire explanation, and I just got some new information that has unlocked one of the keys to the mystery of my having trouble losing weight. I just got an email from the genetic testing company 23andMe, whose genetic test I had done last year. They released a new genetic test result (something they do periodically) and this one was about whether one has the gene that means theywill gain more weight than other people on a high saturated fat diet. And of course, I have that gene!

The information provided shows that people with this gene will tend to weigh 6 percent more when eating a high fat diet than those without the gene. So that would account for just over half the difference between my current weight and my ideal weight. 

Now of course we've been seeing a lot in the media lately about how low fat diets are not all that they are cracked up to be, and that saturated fat is necessary for good health. But if you have the gene variation that I do, too much is going to make you fat. So be careful! And don't forget, for those who are trying to shrink their fibroids, fat tissue makes estrogen so it's not helpful to be overweight.

Fortunately, the Rise coach that I am working with is a stickler for avoiding saturated fat. At first it was annoying and I was going to send her some links to the Weston Price site, but now that I have this DNA test result I am thinking it's a good thing. (You can try Rise for a week for free with this code: P75R21)

I will also mention here another reason that Paleo as it is commonly practiced can be problematic - the heavy reliance on dates as a sweetener. So many Paleo bars and dessert recipes make heavy use of dates. However they are a very concentrated sweetener and it is highly unlikely that our Paleo ancestors ate them in such significant quantities. And of course with so much sugar in them, that means calories and the potential for weight gain!

Finally, I'm waiting for results of hair analysis that confirms this, but I suspect that I may have copper issues. Many Paleo products and recipes are high on nuts, especially almonds which have particularly high copper content. So it's possible that by eating Paleo style I may have been exacerbating this problem -- aargh!

That all being said, I am still eating as few grains as possible, and avoid dairy and soy and beans for the most part, so for want of a better term I call my way of eating Paleo. But I'm being careful to watch my sugars and saturated fat. (Specific Carbohydrate Diet might be a better name, but it doesn't have the name recognition of Paleo...)

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