Paleo Fear of Potatoes

I really don't get it. Now, if for some reason you must stay low-carb; say, for weight loss, diabetes or other health or well being reasons, then fine. But if not, what's the deal? Potatoes are Real Food. Sure, the various white varieties are a neolithic introduction, but c'mon, so is virtually every fruit and vegetable we consume. Most in no way, shape, form, fiber content, nutrient makeup, or sugar content resemble pre-domesticated versions. So why pick on the white potato?

I got a question in email this morning from reader Benjamin.

I'm traveling Europe for a couple months as a college graduation gift, and I've been doing a lot of walking, some bodyweight and sprint workouts at pubic parks, and my eating has definitely been sporadic, much like intermittent fasting.

My last meal was about 8pm last night, and today around 1pm I went to a "Whole Foods" type market in Amsterdam and ordered a whole rotisserie chicken for 13.50 euros. That's like over $15 in the U.S.! Amsterdam is really expensive. Anyway, the chicken came with either french fries or potatoes. I can't remember the last time I touched either, but since the place seemed to source only organic vegetables, and I'm hoping they only cook using real fats, I decided that I should eat the potatoes. I mean I need to eat something. Yes, I could have just ate the chicken and refrained from the potatoes, but I never "splurge" or "cheat." I noticed that I was pretty full after eating the potatoes and chicken, rather than just the chicken.

Why are potatoes not "Paleo?" Is it because they have a higher glycemic index than other vegetables? Is there a difference between consuming potatoes, rice, quinoa, or do they have the same impact on our immune system? I'm pretty sure I'm right when I say potatoes don't contain gluten.

Nope, no gluten. They're a root vegetable that's low in fructose, high in starch (the best way to get into the moderate carb range) and while having a high GI, have a very low glycemic load (see here). Sure, probably sweet potatoes and yams are better as more truly ancient and paleo, but I just can't get worked up over it. I use both with reasonable regularity; that is, 2-3 times per week, on average.

I highly recommend taking a good read of Don Matesz's 4-part series on Primal Potatoes (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). While Don's emphasis is on the sweet potato and good health, he's certainly not condemning the white potato as far as I can tell.

Now, here's three of my own recent meals (last two dinners & yesterday lunch) which, vary somewhat from normal fair because of my "getting ripped" routine. However, I cannot yet divulge any specifics about the program. But I can tell you it's working -- working fast and working big.

Pot Roast with Onions Carrots Baked Potato
Pot Roast with Onions, Carrots & Baked Potato
Grilled Chicken Breast Baked Potato Smothered in Sauce
Grilled Chicken Breast & Baked Potato Smothered in Sauce
Grilled Taco Burger Mash with Sauce
Grilled "Taco" Burger & Mash with Beef Reduction

The "taco burger" is simply adding a whole lot of taco meat spice to your ground beef. So, given that potatoes and other starchy Real Foods are...uh...Real Foods, the thing to do, simply, is to incorporate them in your diet if you like them, and see how you do.

And I don't see much of a concern about carbage. On average, I'm still under 100g per day. Just, but still under 100.

4/22/10: I have a follow-up to this posted here.

Comments

  1. You just lost your paleo badge. No spear throwing HG would hunt a potato. I’m sending De Vany after you on his paleo…motorcycle.

    I keed, I keed. One of the local food trailers (really) has a “Pork Loin + half quail over pureed sweet potato” that was incredible, like “tie off and inject the pureed sweetness” incredible. If sweet potatoes, or any potato, is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  2. Dave C. says:

    After you ask the question: is it going to cause illness? – I think the next question is: is it worth the space in your stomach? Sweet potatos are far superior to white potatos in terms of nutrition and glycemic effect.

    • Oh c’mon Dave.

      http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2770/2 (173g serving)

      http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2 (180g serving)

      Other than vitamin A the differences are so minuscule as to be laughable as a serious comparison for advocating one over the other _to trump personal preference_.

      I like white potatoes better, for most applicatioins and I raise my middle finger to any sweet potato eating paleo who believes that’s somehow so superior.

      Incidentally, white potato has 6 times less sugar. In the example above, 2g vs. 12g. Wonder how much is fructose.

      • Dave C. says:

        Sweet potatos contain a lot of glucose, which is why they are used a lot for post workout glycogen restoration.

        I don’t think my original point was invalid. Sweet potatos contain more nutrients, as you have pointed out. Are Vitamin A and glucose irrelevant? Apparently there is a bonus anti-inflammatory factor as well, as opposed to some sort of pro-inflammatory factor in white potatos.

        You obviously like to eat white potatos. Great for you. Having some cognitive dissonance? It’s pretty well established now that the term “Paleo” is being used to describe a wide variety of diets that may or may not have anything to do with food sources in use 30,000 years ago. That’s probably an issue for the community. I suppose more intuitive sub-groups of the evolutionary diet are in order… lol

        Strict Paleo Reeanactment
        Lacto-Pastoral Paleo
        Vegetarian Paleo
        Primal
        etc. etc.

      • “It’s pretty well established now that the term “Paleo” is being used to describe a wide variety of diets that may or may not have anything to do with food sources in use 30,000 years ago. ”

        I believe that has been established from the start. Mimicing the actual diet of “paleo” ancestors is little more than a fetish. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a nutritional choice. The nutritional choice is to use the ancestral diet as a proxy for learning about how various foods will interact with our common genetics, and then refining that to understanding how they will react with our individual genetics.

      • It’s n=1 “all the way down”, Kyle.

      • They contain starch, Dave, as do sweet potatoes, but very little sugar whereas sweet potatoes contain moderate levels. Total carb count is a wash.

        How much of the 12g sugar in a 6oz serving of SP is fructose? Don’t know, but certainly magnitudes less than WPs.

        Here’s what amuses me. Someone like Art — this is not a crtiticism — can show meal after meal with a load of fruit on his plate and nobody bats an eye. Fruit in general is nutritionally empty and sugar filled compared to WP. Carbs are probably roughly a wash gram per gram. But put a potato on your plate and everyone breaks out the holy water & crucifix.

      • Yes I know starch goes straight to glucose, but we know there’s a distict metabolic difference between the two. Fructose in abundance is way worse than glucose in abundance.

      • Dave C. says:

        I get yah. I imagine this post is the result of you taking flak from “paleo purists” due to your fondness of potatos. Of course you and others like Art get held up to a higher standard of sorts because you are banner holders for this evolutionary health movement. There will always be fundamentalist types in every type of interest, I don’t suppose there is much you can do about that.

        I’m enjoying a steak with sweet potato on the side as we speak. Going to wash it down with almond milk mixed with heavy cream. I guess that would be half paleo, half awesome.

      • Alright Dave. Sounds like a decent meeting of minds to me.

        Let’s go forth and enjoy real food.

        One thing about my “push” I’ve not mentioned is that I have not eaten out once, where before it was prob half dozen times per week. I have to count right now, so eating in is best and I feel the diff.

      • “Someone like Art — this is not a crtiticism — can show meal after meal with a load of fruit on his plate and nobody bats an eye. Fruit in general is nutritionally empty and sugar filled compared to WP. Carbs are probably roughly a wash gram per gram. But put a potato on your plate and everyone breaks out the holy water & crucifix.”

        LOL, preach it, brother. Not a big fan of potatoes after eating them seven days a week, 365 days a year while growing up, but their bland starchiness makes them ideal for mopping up tasty fats like butter or bacon grease or clearing hot spices out of the mouth.

      • LeonRover says:

        Mashed, with onions, loads of butter and maybe some cheese, glorious, GLORIOUS potato is a veritable ambrosia, a food of the gods.

        I remember that the potato of my youth in Ireland came served in a dish with the dry starch peeping through the smiling skins.

      • Vitamin A, no (although there are certainly lots of other sources, like servings of liver, that are far superior — I doubt Richard is deficient in A), but come on.

        Is there some minimum requirement of dietary glucose paleo dieters have to get each day?

        Is glucose of some value for endurance athletes? Yeah, sure. And it’s energy. It wards off starvation.

        But you are SO grasping at straws including glucose, of all things, as one of the reasons sweet potatoes deserves more of a place in the average person’s diet than potatoes.

        I mean, they’re both mostly carb and they both even have glucose.

        It’s not like the average person is TRYING to get as much dietary glucose as possible. Whatever for

        You can tell me all the wonders of glucose. And I won’t argue an extra 10g is going to make that much of a difference one way or the other to someone who’s already eating tubers. But to say, “Oh no!” to a food essentially the same but missing some glucose grounds… really?

        Why not eat potatoes and glucose gel or take an IV if it’s so important?

        Well, because it isn’t.

        Yes — this was an overly long comment. I was just looking at your comment and a bit shocked (about the glucose part; the A part was sensible)you were serious.

      • * “grounds”

  3. I love to eat my potatoes, unless they’ve been cooked in frankenfat. It’s a damn shame how they ruin the potato at most hamburger joints.

  4. tell me about it – potatos chopped with onion and fried in tallow/lard have become my favorite treat

    I still have too much bodyfat to warrant such carbs on a frequent basis, but a nice 1 to 2 times a week treat, with eggs and bacon on the side of course :)

  5. Potatoes of all varieties are great in my books and on my table (and in my stomach). Just had a whack of sweet potato last night and plan on polishing the rest off tonight with my steak.

  6. I don’t consider myself Paleo, but I have adopted quite a few “rules” of it. When I first discovered your blog (and Paleo), Richard, I immediately turned to Google to find out which foods qualified as Paleo and came across this page: http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html

    The part about certain foods being toxic to eat unless they’re cooked really stuck in my mind. Anyone can eat them if they like, but I’ve really cut back (mostly because they’re carbs) and am happy seeing pound after pound slowly drop off.

    I still enjoy a well-cooked, well-flavoured potato dish (except in a bag of chips) once in awhile.

    • The “needs to be cooked” argument does have a certain logic and appeal I think. That argument applies to paleo sweet potatoes as well.

      On the other hand, cooking goes way back, well enough back to be adapted to it and the product of it. All plants have some degree of toxins and certian preparation methods, including cooking, mitigate those issues. It’s a tradeoff. Some toxicity in trade for dense nutrition, variety in the diet, texture, color, etc.

      So in the end, while appealing in the context of an argument, I think it’s overly cautious and unecessarily restrictive.

      Real Food. Find what works best that you like.

      • I don’t think it’s a case of us needing to adapt to cooking, it’s a case of cooking doesn’t remove all toxins to which we’re poorly adapted. Coooking removes enough to toxins/antinutrients to prevent acute bouts of severe illness, but not enough to prevent long-term damage/”disease”.
        I think there’s paleo and and then there’s pseudopaleo or neopaleo, which includes cherry-picked exceptions, characterized by statements like….
        “Im just not afraid of grain/potatoes.”
        “Hey, I like ‘em.”
        “I need dietary carbs. My body can’t make it’s own.”
        “How else can I fuel my workouts?”
        “If grains/potatoes aren’t paleo, then why did my 96 year old grandmother eat them?” lol
        etc…
        Let’s leave “paleo” to mean just that. It’s currently a popular and marketable term, so I can see why grain-eaters, potato buffs and other starch fans might want to co-opt it, but redefining it to include naturally toxic neolithic, starchy pseudofoods only reduces the contrast between SAD and paleo.

      • Well said James. Because of this thread I removed my link to FreeTheAnimal. While Richard finds potatoes to be more nutritious than fruit, in contrast to the toxins in potatoes fruit evolved to encourage consumption by animals in order for the seed to pass through the digestive system and get deposited elsewhere. You can’t get more paleo than fruit, even if it was smaller and less sweet than what is available today.

        People that encourage non-paleo foods often argue that they feel fine eating them. But what about the long term consequences? Maybe eating nightshades three times a day for decades will cause arthritis? If it does, you will suffer, and you can’t go back and reverse what you ate.

        The way you and I define paleo is what could be called orthodox. I don’t want to see the term diluted. Could and did the paleo people eat it or not? That is the way I have it here: http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm

      • Dave C. says:

        I doubt you need to be so dramatic.

        Anyway, I think a great way to delineate the differences and exemptions people include in the diet (including some dairy, or including heavy starches) would be to describe paleo + neo as “primal” via Mark Sisson, and leave Paleo to the strict paleo reenactors.

        I agree that the terminology should not be made ambiguous, though that may already be too late. Either way, I think referring to your diet as Paleo when one obviously eats neolithic foods is a little confusing. I consume quite a bit of heavy cream, so this issue is very relevant to me as well.

      • “Because of this thread I removed my link to FreeTheAnimal.”

        Oh, my. Guess I’ve been excommunicated, then. That’s fine, Don. Actually, it was because of this that I discovered my oversight of not having your reference pages in my blogroll, an oversight I intend to correct, since this…

        http://freetheanimal.com/2010/04/real-results-austin-from-singapore.html

        …is infinitely more important than orthodoxy I wouldn’t want newbees to miss out on good information on account of disagreements that at best, constitute only 10% of entire dietary makeup.

        Don’t know how much of a cop you want to be in all this, but I think I’m in pretty good company with others listed on your pages.

        Dr Stephan:

        “I eat a lot of potatoes. I agree with commenter Aaron in the last post, they seem like a “clean” fuel. Rapidly absorbed, low anti-nutrients, some fiber but not excessive, plenty of vitamin C. Plus the protein quality is quite high, so you don’t have to complement it with other protein sources to make good use of it. It also contains a surprising amount of protein (roughly 10% of calories). I also like that they’re cheap and totally unprocessed.”

        http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2009/09/primal-potatoes-part-2.html?showComment=1252011858291#c8434935660841784309

        Don Matesz:

        “I think any potato fits the picture, but I prefer sweet potatoes.”

        http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2009/09/primal-potatoes-part-3.html?showComment=1253664482265#c1788961586438678148

        “On the other hand, I know from experience that people can lose fat while eating 100-200 g carbs daily and including bananas and sweet or white potatoes. I consider them primal foods since they appear in H-G diets.”

        http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2009/09/primal-potatoes-part-4.html?showComment=1253812150298#c7189461695965930096

        And by the way, I am not “encouraging” anything, but I do discourage potatoes for those trying to lose significant weight still, diabetics, or those who feel bad eating them.

        Onward.

  7. Laurie D. says:

    I eat fingerling potatoes from time to time that I have grown in my garden. Potatoes grown in rich soil built from compost and which never see a pesticide have to be good for you. The difference between home grown potato taste and store-bought is astounding. I don’t grow many and I don’t use them often, but a good potato with butter is almost better than chocolate, which I also don’t plan on giving up. And, I have convinced myself that fingerlings are a lot closer to the ancient potato ancestor ;)

  8. Fingerling potatoes. Hmm, Laurie, I’ll have to try planting some, myself.
    Thanks for the tip.

  9. Oh, I didn’t recognize that as a trading question. Some service or something? I used very few tools. Never found anything reliable for long. Bollinger bands are probably among the best. Strangely, fibonacci retracements can sometimes be uncannily accurate. But in both cases, I’ve always considered kind of self fulfilling prophecy territory. If most traders are using the same tools then they’re making the same basic decisios at the same points in time.

    • Well v treasuries in general are the safest investment, “full faith & credit” & all that. Plus, I think there are some tax advatages.

      But, I’ve never invested in them and don’t know much about specifics. I trades options primarily on the SPX.

  10. I have loved your potato recipes. You gave me an easy way to cook them for breakfast. So, thanks for that. http://fwd4.me/Lqa

    Here in Korea, sweet potatoes for breakfast are a staple. I have been sucked into the culture in this regard, as sweet potato mash for breakfast hits my table every now and again.

    Q: Why do I crave potatoes in the morning and not so much any other time of day?

    • off-topic question: where in Korea are you? I lived in Seoul for several years. I don’t recall sweet potatoes being a breakfast staple. I do recall eating them roasted plain or griddled and sweetened with honey as a street snack.

      • Songai: I am in Seoul – The ladies in our office eat sweet potatoes for breakfast nearly every morning. They cook them at home wrap them in foil and eat them at their desks. I actually haven’t seen them as street food though. I will have to look more carefully. Cheers!

  11. Lute Nikoley says:

    I have loved potatoes all my life. I was practiclly raised on them until age 14, when I Immigrated to the USA from Germany in 1952. My grandmother, whose main diet was 1. potatoes, 2. vegetables and 3. meat. In that order. She lived to a ripe old age of 96 (my goal)

    • Any Root vegetables are Good for you. High fiber, lots of vitiams, antioxidents etc. Parsnips, turnups, sweet potatoes, there are so many. I eat White potatoes on average maybe once a week. I use the others in place of them. I use brown basmati rice in place of bread crumbs in my turkey or beek meat loaf. It is usually only 1/4 cup. That is for the entire lb. of meat.

  12. OOPs I meant BEEF

  13. Eat your potato starch like there’s no tomorrow, Richard, but please don’t tell everyone nature has programmed you to remain a little on the pudgy side when you don’t get lean. You’re trying to burn fat while ignoring the effects of insulin.
    Potatoes have a lower GL than grains, but do not have a low GL in relation to blood sugar by any stretch of the imagination.
    Yellow summer squash has a low GL. Potatoes, not so much, unless you compare them to a non-food, like grain.
    Insulin is not your friend if you’re looking to lean up.

    • LOL, James.

      You assume way too much about me, boy.

      Guess it foes with the territory.

    • James,

      If insulin is all the matters, like so many paleos are convinced of, how can individuals who have hyperinsulinemia lose fat, especially to the tune of nearly 20lbs in 60 days?:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10022419?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

      Not only did they lose fat, they lost it well. It’s not a data point that can be ignored; insulin matters but getting bent out of shape about a potato is going too far. A few potatoes a week are not going to stop anyone from getting lean, everything else being accounted for.

      • “If insulin is all the matters”
        I never said insulin is all that matters. Why are so many here constructing strawmen and destroying them with such fury?
        One of the first comments I made here referred to how some people nail the paleo composition but miss the bulls eye by a ways on paleo quantity.
        Insulin could have had a little to do with the weight loss in the study.
        “ability of obese individuals to lose weight in response to hypocaloric diets.”
        If you turn down the calories, aren’t you likely turning down the sugar/starch and if you’re turning down the sugar/starch, wouldn’t that likely result in turning down the insulin?

  14. (1) The potato is a stem tuber. All other tubers we eat are root tubers. A stem tuber, lying on the ground, needs to have anti-nutrients to keep it from being eaten and disrupting its reproduction cycle. Potatoes are not edible raw.

    (2) The potato is in the nightshade family. Nightshades are often rich in alkaloids, which can be toxic, especially for people with arthritis/osteoarthritis.

    From looking at the meals you eat, I don’t see any that meet the strict definition of paleo. At least not as I define it here: http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm

    • Don, I’ve found that “paleo” eaters who defend the consumption of potatoes sound just exactly like grain-eaters defending grain. They say the same exact things. lol

      What was it I needed dietary carbohydrate for again?

      • When I look at Richard’s pictures I almost always see potatoes. But I don’t see fruit. Why doesn’t he substitute fruit for those potatoes? I can’t say I never eat potatoes (or rice). But I limit them to when I’m traveling and bicycling say 40 miles a day and it is hard to get enough food. But certainly when eating at home there is no reason not to be strictly paleo.

      • When I look at Richard’s “before” pictures of himself, looks a lot like me in my twenties (tipping the scale at 260 (6’4″) around 23% body fat). I’m now 42 and am 218 lbs and 8% body fat…

        I can’t stay this lean if I’m eating potatoes 2-3 times per week, keeping in mind I have a little more muscle tissue to support than Richard.

      • LeonRover says:

        But what is the reason to be strictly paloe, Don, in contrast to “no reason not to be”?

        Lighten up, Don, in fact Wake up and Smell the Coffee (and the Potato)!

        In the face of olfactory sensations one needs a reason to be “strictly paleo”.

      • I certainly don’t think Richard’s right when he says potatoes have more nutrients than fruit. I mean, there’s also sorts of chemicals in fruit and vegetables that seem to be good for people.

        The idea humans didn’t eat vegetation when we could and are better off on an inland Innuit-type dies it madness.

        Which isn’t what he’s saying. He’s just dissin’ fruit, relatively speaking.

        There’s probably a limit on how much fruit one should eat, but certainly it’s better to eat some than none.

        imho

    • Lute Nikoley says:

      When I was a kid we used to grow our own potatoes, but by damn I never did see them lying on the ground, always had to dig them up. I believe tomatoes are also of the nightshade family.

      • You didn’t see them on the ground as someone in your family piled soil on them. Generally a little is put on every few weeks. If soil wasn’t piled on they would be green.

      • Not true, Don. We also grew them in our garden as a kid. They were planed in the ground, stayed in the ground and had to be dug up. Perhaps there’s a kind that stays above ground, but not the plain vanilla Idahos we were growing.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        Richard, you ate absolutely correct. I know because we planted, cared for and harvested all together. So unless you’ve actually done it you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

      • Could it be that in Paleo times, the potato had not been farmed/buried and in it’s natural state, lies above ground, is green, and contains seriously dangerous levels of antinutrients and toxins? Could it be that when you all were harvesting together, it wasn’t a paleo setup, but a neolithic setup?

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        James, you’re asking a bunch of questions. So you don’t really have the answer do you. I don’t think anybody does. But I am certain of this, if grok would have seen anything laying on the ground or under, he would have eaten it. I think you are confused about the bud that forms from the blossom on the potato plant.

      • Oh, c’mon, Lute, let’s not play that gam. I just asked 2 questions. You’ve turned that into me being confused. Admit it: Regular consumption of potatoes might not be so wise.

      • We’ve already stipulated that white potatoes, just as about every fruit & vegetable you can name are Neolithic inventions.

        But you have little choice but to do with them what you can.

        Between potatoes & equivalent carbs via fruit, I’ll take the potato for its absence of fructose and far higher nutritional value.

      • Well, since white potatoes were the first food to be genetically modified, you’ve got a point, Richard. For me, the potato is more than your run of the mill neolithic invention. Most of the others (non-poisonous fruits, vegetables) were eaten by pre-fire paleo man, so at least we were eating a cousin of what we once ate and not something altogether relatively alien to our biochemistry.
        My question, to you, I guess…is…and this is because I’ve reading and enjoying it here. But didn’t you say recently that you were going to go ahead and finish the leaning-out process? Because it sure seems now you’re into a powerlifting program, which puts strength before body composition.

      • Oh, sorry…I forgot one thing…

        You said a potato has a “far higher nutritional value” than fruit.

        Do you have any proof of this, or are you just saying it?

      • DAMN! Once more thing…

        “We’ve already stipulated that white potatoes, just as about every fruit & vegetable you can name are Neolithic inventions.
        But you have little choice but to do with them what you can.”

        and…

        “We’ve already stipulated that grains, just as about every fruit & vegetable you can name are Neolithic inventions. But you have little choice but to do with them what you can.”

        Are you changing the theme from “paleo” to the “staunch potato starch supporters” ?

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        Ok James, now you’ve got it. Nobody was talking about regular consumption of potatoes. I believe once or twice a week at the most. Got any answers for my grandmothers healthy 96 years of life with the main food consumption were potatoes?

      • “Nobody was talking about regular consumption of potatoes…”

        “I use both with reasonable regularity; that is, 2-3 times per week, on average.”

        That’s what Richard said. That’s what Richard’s photos depict.

        My 96 years of life great grandmother included potatoes *and* obesity. Yours?

      • Nope, not power lifting. Intense strength training is more like it. More weight 2 x 6-8 instead of 3 x 10, with recovery time between sets.

      • I’ll check the nutrition database later. On my way to head out the door for a weekend camping trip.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        Very thin, probably 115-120 all the years I knew her. But never saw her again after 1947. She lived about another 20 years after that. My main diet during and after WWII were potatoes, at times that’s the only thing there was to eat. When I was rejoined with my parents and siblings at the age of 9, due to a separation during the war for about 3 1/2 years. I was stuck in the commie East, while the rest of the family were in the west. The point is this, when I was back with my family I was diagnosed with malnutrition and sent to a home for children to fatten me up.

      • I’m definitely taking them in more than a couple of times per week now. It’s virtually every day. But that’s just a temp measure to replenish glycogen after the workouts. Non workout days are low carb days, but I still find potatoes, for now, the easiest way to get them. I don’t eat hardly any fruit. A piece about every week or two is about it. Very little fructose in my diet.

        Over the space of a week, average total carb is right around 90g per day. Not “high” by any standard. There’s this prevailing mindset that potatos = high carb. Doesn’t have to be.

        Not even close to most of my photos have potatoes. Recently, more, yes, but mostly, when not just other veggies, it’s parsnips, celery root, cauliflower mash & so on.

      • No, grains are a different animal. For one, I can’t tolerate them at all, so they’re out in any case.

        But even if I could, they’re nutritionally empty, so no tradeoff.

      • Another point about the lifting. This also isn’t power lifting for bulk because I’m also running a significant weekly caloric deficit.

        It’s designed specifically to be a fat loss leaning program, preserving lean tissue.

      • Then why in the world would you eat carbs after a workout?

        Robb Wolf often says that post workout carbs are for mass gain and strength, which means gaining some fat at the same time, not LEANING.

        http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=54789

      • Hey Marnee, how about wait & see? I’m experimenting with a pretty big starch load after workouts, and I am far from dissapointed.

        You know, sometimes you’ve got to fuck the “science’” and get out there and take a risk or two.

        Paleos had no science. Science is not paleo, if you want to be pure.

      • Jimbeaux says:

        [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE]
        I agree with Lute.

        I ran with GROK and he eats Yucca (manioc) and has for a very long time – screw wikipedia. It is much better fried in wild hairy boar fat with a side of turtle eggs, a very non-sweet wild pineapple, and washed down with masato. And boy can GROK run… and hunt… and please multiple wives well into his latter years – like me, but I am much fatter ;-)

        just sayin’

      • Jimbeaux says:

        [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE]

        Not sure why that happened???? No worries, moving right along.

      • The toxins are high in the flowers and leaves of nightshades. There is a dangerous toxin called solanine in unripe tomatoes and potatoes that have been damaged and have those little green spots. Eating ripe tomatoes and cutting any green from any potatoes should decrease the toxins to a tolerable level for most. The most damaging element is in the rush of glucose coming from the potato – not a good chemistry for the overweight and the diabetic.

  15. John Campbell says:

    I am still too traumatized by eating instant mashed potatoes as a kid – the horror.

    But I agree with the idea that potatoes are not some evil food (apart from instant! and fries soaked in vegetable oil). For some people, diet is more akin to religion. Can’t we all hug? Kumbaya.

  16. Without disputing any of your points, I would like to emphasize your point about the need for someone to be sure they have a normal insulin response after eating potatoes. If you have spent your life on the SAD you are likely to have some insulin resistance. I’m a diabetic and I have a more normal response to eating sugar than I do to eating a baked potato. If you are overweight or have other health issues that you are trying to correct, you may want to take care of those first before experimenting with adding potatoes to your diet.

    • The reason you have a more “normal” response to baked potato than sugar is because the sugar is sucrose. Sucrose, not being glucose, must first be transported to the liver to be changed into glucose which takes longer than splitting the potato starch into individual units of glucose. The baked potato already is glucose, the sugar is sucrose; not glucose yet.

      • Exactly – and that response is the same whether or not you are a type II diabetic. It is a question of degree, not kind. My response to neither sugar nor potato is normal. I was just emphasizing the importance of knowing if your system can handle eating potatoes before you do so.

      • gallier2 says:

        You’re wrong, sucrose is cleaved in the intestine by the sucrase enzyme giving a glucose and a fructose molecule. The glucose goes in the blood and the fructose is transported to the liver where it is almost completely metabolized to fat. The lower insulin response comes from the fact that there is less glucose in sucrose than in the same amount of starch.

        http://www.medbio.info/Horn/Time%201-2/CarbChem2.htm#Disaccharides
        http://www.medbio.info/

      • You’re right galleir2. I’m used to abbreviating explanations a little to make them easier to understand on a more practical level. Feel free to elaborate the details anytime you like, but try not to confuse so that the info can’t be understood by the layman.

      • gallier2 says:

        You know, I’m a layman too, I only try to be as accurate as possible.

      • Right.
        So it all ends up as glucose in rapid fashion, inducing an insulin surge response, triggering a fattening hormonal chemistry.

      • Not for me. Given other parameters I have put into practice which I’ll talk about later, I have finally begun to shed fat again. 1.5 pounds in the last two days. Given the increase in starch and added strenghth owing to an entirely new workout regime involving the most iron I’ve ever lifted, it would be hard to chalk it up to water loss.

      • John Campbell says:

        Tell us more – I can’t wait!

      • Please understand that a fattening hormonal response happens to every meal. This is what must happen, this is necessary. If you eat 500 calories as fat, they can’t just all hang around in the blood, they must be stored somewhere for future use. This is where ASP does its job. Saying you can’t raise insulin because it makes you put on fat is misleading, that is what will happen anyway no matter what you eat and you would be dead if it didn’t happen.

        http://www.jlr.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/11/1727

      • Johnny,
        See in your link: ” These responses are entirely opposite to those of insulin, which rises sharply but transiently after an oral glucose load but is unchanged after an oral fat load.”

        Insulin is the bodies fat storage hormone and the more insulin in the blood the more body fat you will store/hoard.

        Let’s stick to the truth, here, Johnny. Don’t confuse people by distracting them from the fact that sugars/starches cause a significantly higher insulin response.

        Insulin: If a little is good a lot must be great! Wrong.

      • My point is that when you eat fat, ASP levels rise, which is one of the most potent stimulant of triglyceride synthesis (more potent than insulin, because it says it is the most potent stimulant yet described (1989) and insulin has been known for a long time) according to that link.

        Eat carbs, insulin goes up and fat is stored, eat fat, ASP goes up and fat is stored.

        Think about it, when you eat calories, you MUST store it, you cant have your triglyceride levels skyrocket from the fat you eat. It is a normal response to store fat after a meal, be it by ASP or insulin.

      • The more important reason for a low baseline insulin is fat mobilization. Hence, eating real food, curing incessant hunger, and not eating all the time, dong some IF serves to keep insulin low most of the time so BF can be mobilized.

        Far more important than the irrelevant 30-40g carbs from a meal with potato.

      • It depends on what your definition of IF is, but fat mobilization is a big benefit of maintaining low insulin levels. Are you aware of the effects of high insulin levels on growth hormone? That’s right, high insulin levels suppress growth hormone – even elevated insulin resulting from the consumption of “real food” suppresses growth hormone. Not a great idea if you know much about growth hormone.

      • No, when you think about it, you don’t have to store it. Fat for is used in body’s manufacture of many hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, human growth hormone, T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones). Our brains are made of mostly cholesterol and saturated fat. Cholesterol is also used by the body for healing.
        This is why so much fat just melts off of people who are eating the SAD and suddenly change to a high fat, moderate protein, lower starch/sugar diet. The calories go up, because fat has twice as many calories as starch/sugar, yet the fat melts away, until the benefits of taming their insulin are topped out, then to lose the rest of the weight, they must address the calories or quantity of food they’re eating. To ignore the fattening effects of insulin and the suppression of growth hormone that occurs with elevated insulin is a mistake for most of us who strive to be healthy and/or lean.

      • I’m not sure if any of those hormones are made of fat, rather than cholesterol, iodide and amino acids, but in any case, you are talking about miniscule amounts. Your brain certainly isn’t a dumping station for fat. There is nowhere the fat can go, it has to be stored in adipose tissue for energy use after fat absorption is done.

        There is nothing wrong with storing fat, it is absolutely necessary. It is normal and happens after eating fat via ASP.

      • So Johnny, if ASP is the incredible fat-storage MONSTER you claim it to be, then why do people lose so much damn fat when they go from SAD to a high-fat, zero carb diet? Hint: it’s not because they’re eating fewer calories (a gram of fat has twice the calories of a gram of protein or sugar).

        You are correct about one thing, there’s nothing wrong with storing fat.

        But storing *excess* fat means you’re damaging the skin and decreasing your power-to-weight ratio, which inhibits physical freedom and increases risk for injury; especially to the feet, ankles, knees and hips.

        There is also higher chances of almost all causes of mortality when one is carrying excess bodyfat.

      • People do reduce their calorie intake voluntarily on a low-carb diet. If you have eaten SAD and a low carb diet, I think you know about the effect the latter has on satiety.

        Look at this study for example. The subjects who were assigned to a low carb non-calorie-restricted diet voluntarily reduced their calories on average by 500-600 calories (table 2).

        http://www.nejm.org/action/cookieAbsent

        Fat might contain more calories than protein or carbs, but what matters in the end is how much fat you eat and how much makes you feel full.

      • The study you link to, Johnny, uses 3 groups:
        1. low-fat, restricted-calorie
        2. Mediterranean, restricted-calorie
        3. Low-carbohydrate, non–restricted-calorie. However, the participants in this group were told to choose *vegetarian* sources of fat and protein. They claim this diet is based on the Adkins diet which is bullshit, but this advice would tend to lower calorie count.
        Also, each diet group was assigned a registered dietitian (you trust these people, who are owned by Big Grain/Pharma?) who only met with their groups in weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and thereafter at 6-week intervals – hardly what is usually considered “control groups” by the scientific study definition.

        Insulin – it makes you store and hoard fat.

        If you doubt it, lets have the Potato”Paleo’s”, the Grain”Paleos” and the Paleo’s get together for a pull-up contest. You’ll see more Paleo’s performing higher number of reps because they tend to have much better power-to-weight ratios because they’re not toting around so much bodyfat – because they’re not chronically elevating their blood sugar/insulin levels.

      • Here is another one, low carb group reduced their calories by 300-500:

        It is fairly consistent in studies that low carb diets increase satiety and therefore subjects voluntarily reduce their calorie intake. You can read many stories even on this blog about peoples experience on a low carb diet that testify reduced hunger.

        I agree insulin makes you store fat. But it is necessary to understand storing fat is a natural response to every meal. You have nowhere to put it, you need to store it for future use. This happens exactly the same way in response to eating fat via ASP.

      • Another “ad libitum ” study? Ad libitum studies are useless, sorry.
        You’ve really jumped on this ASP as some kind of magic bullet nugget of trivia, but you’re unaware that insulin increases ASP production 3 fold.

      • gallier2 says:

        ASP stores the fat away? Sowhat? The difference in regard to insulin is not the fact that it stores the fat away it’s that it does not stop lipolysis. This means no change in your metabolism, the same fatty acids provide energy as necessary as FFA or as ketones. On insulin instead, your metabolism switches to glucose burning, slows the use of fatty acids, stops ketone production. When the glucose is used up, you have to switch back to lipolysis and ketones. Not mentioning the blood glucose roller-coaster which is often more problematic with insulin an effect ASP does not have at all.

      • gallier2 says:

        Forget about that post, it’s blatantly incorrect. Sorry.

      • You asked why people lost weight on low carb diets. They spontaneously reduce their calorie intake. This is what the studies show. They have ad libitum access to food, yet reduce their calories by 300-500. I am surprised you have not experienced the satiating effects of low carb diets yourself.

        My only point about ASP is that it is secreted in response to an oral fat load, eg eating fat, and it makes you store the fat. This is normal, logical and healthy.

        I will give you an analogy. Lets say you eat one meal a day, dinner, which consists of 2000 calories of which 190 g is fat and rest is protein. You also burn 2000 calories a day. From this meal you have to live until next dinner. You can’t have all the fat floating around in your blood, your triglyceride (or is it chylomicron?) levels will skyrocket. There is nowhere to put it besides storing it in adipose tissue. This is absolutely normal and necessary. This is also why we have ASP (perhaps some other hormones too which I am not aware of), to store fat when there isn’t anything stimulating insulin response.

      • Oops, analogy was the wrong word to use. Should have used “example”.

      • No, I certainly didn’t ask why people lose weight on low carb diets, and ad libitum “studies” are hardly objective or well supervised. Ad libitum “studies” are the equivalent of hearsay.
        The point about ASP you’re trying to ignore is that excess sugar/starch in the diet raises insulin levels, which raises ASP 3-fold.
        The fact is, I have experienced the satiating effects of “low carb” eating myself. This benefit comes from:
        1. No lectin to block my leptin (satiety hormone).
        2. No blood glucose spikes, ie…no blood glucose crash (see insulin).
        3. I get my carbs from non-starchy/sugary vegetables, which have a profoundly higher non-sugar nutrient profile (vitamins, etc…) than grains or potatoes.

        I’ve done the research. The higher the starch/sugar there is in a plant food, the less water/vitamins, the lower the sugar/starch there is in a plant food, the greater the water/vitamins.

        Go ahead and try to prove me wrong so you can learn for yourself.

      • anand srivastava says:

        You don’t understand “A little is good a lot must be great.”

        Potatoes in moderation will give only a little insulin, unless you have high insulin resistance.

        And a little is good. It is better that it comes from Potatoes than Fruits. Like Richard I too prefer potatoes over fruits. Too damn much Fructose in it.

      • Insulin might increase ASP, I don’t have a problem with that. What I am saying is that ASP increases in response to eating fat. From the link you provided before:

        “insulin increases ASP production 3 fold, while the postprandial rise in chylomicrons results in the strongest stimulus for ASP production (150 fold rise) in a dose dependent manner”

        Chylomicrons are the lipoproteins that carry the fat from your digestive track around the body after you absorb them. As you can see from the quote, when you eat fat and it ends up in your lymph and bloodstream, it causes an increase in ASP levels, which makes you store the fat.

        There is nothing wrong with storing fat. It is absolutely necessary, you would be dead without it. You need to store the fat you eat somewhere.

      • Johnny, despite your delusions to the contrary..
        1. We don’t have to store the fat we eat. It can be mobilized. We can burn it. This happens most easily with lower insulin levels.
        2. Insulin is the KING DADDY of all hormones associated with fat storage/hoarding.

        Calories in-calories-out is part of the picture, but ignoring the hormonal influence of insulin will make it very difficult to get “olympian lean”.

        I’m surprised you haven’t noticed the fattening influence of insulin yourself or the lack-thereof when eating “low carb”.

      • OK please read my previous example again. Where does the 190 g of fat go the hypothetical person in my scenario ate at dinner?

      • Some of it will be oxidized, used to produce triglycerides, phospholipids, lipoproteins & cholesterol. Glycerol portions of the fat molecules may be used to make glucose, and the rest….wait for it Johnny…you’re gonna love it…the rest…GETS STORED IN ADIPOSE TISSUE and how much is stored vs. how much is mobilized DEPENDS LARGELY ON INSULIN LEVELS. Your scenario leaves the individual in a fasting state most of the day, which maintains low insulin levels during the majority of each 24 hour period.

      • “Insulin is an indicator of the blood sugar level of the body, as its concentration increases proportionally with blood sugar levels. Thus a large insulin level is associated with the fed state. As one might expect therefore, it increases the rate of storage pathways, such as lipogenesis. Insulin stimulates lipogenesis in three main ways…”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipogenesis
        Read–up, Johnny.

      • You can take advantage of maximum growth hormone, which happens when you refrain from flooding the bloodstream with an *excess* if any and all sugars. I’ll take that over the swimming against the current that is spiking my insulin, which comes with maximum lipogenesis, etc…
        Strong and light is better than weak and light or strong and heavy.

      • So what happens when you eat just 2000 calories worth of fat with nothing else in my hypothetical scenario? Where does the fat go then? No insulin secretion this time.

      • Excess dietary fat in the bloodstream isn’t as alarming to the body as excess sugar in the bloodstream. Excess fat can stay in the bloodstream for a long time, but it would slowly be oxidized depending upon the body’s needs throughout the rest of the day.

        The studies are fairly consistent that not only does insulin amplify one’s fat storage/hoarding, and *regulates the secretion of ASP*. It’s also well established that via these studies, that ASP concentration does not change significantly after a fat load.

        Oh, look…here’s one of those studies now….
        http://atvb.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/atvbaha;21/6/1034

        INSULIN – It makes a body fat.

      • Lute Nikoley says:

        oh crap James, you go the the AHA for studies? That’s like going to the devil for salvation. Who in the hell has got us into this mess of obesity and diabetes?

      • anand srivastava says:

        “However, fat mass regulation is much more complex than just insulin. There’s a dynamic interplay between many different interlacing systems that determine both overall energy intake and expenditure, as well as local availability of nutrients at the tissue level (i.e., how much fat gets into your fat tissue vs. your muscle tissue).”

        A quote from GCBC. You are also in the same error as the Doctors. Things are not as simple as you might think. Insulin is not everything. There is also Leptin. I agree that Insulin is important, but more important is Insulin Resistance. If you have it, you need to stay away from carbs, otherwise it doesn’t matter much. Glucose causes little damage to the Insulin Sensitive. Fructose, refined oils, and lack of nutrients does. Even here there is not a single agent. There are several agent. But a single one like Fructose can cause it. Possibly there are minerals whose deficiency may also cause it.

      • I have no idea how to explain the discrepancy between the studies. The link you provided said chylomicrons increase ASP levels 150-fold, the study I provided showed ASP increased in response to an oral fat load. But this one shows no significant change in ASP levels after an oral fat load.

        But anyway, you can’t have anything close to 100 g of fat circling around in your veins. A human has around 5 L of blood, and if you have 150 mg/dL triglyceride levels, the total is 7.5 g of fat. Obviously you can’t have 100 g of fat in your blood. So there must be something besides insulin making fat cells take up fat.

      • Well there are a myriad of hormones involved in the processes of storing excess sugar, excess dietary fat, fat mobilization, oxidation of fatty acids in various tissues, and much of it remains poorly understood. We do know, however, the two keystone hormones involved are insulin and glucagon.

        My opinion is the “calories-in-calories-out vs. insulin” fight is a false dichotomy. If one ignores either of those 2 issues when trying to get lean, they will have compromised results.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        I do. The study that showed a 150-fold increase in ASP was conducted IN VITRO with cultured adipocytes. The study which showed no significant increase in ASP secretion with an oral fat load was done in living humans. If the first study is the same one I have read previously in full, I believe they ‘added chylomicrons to the culture medium’ and the culture medium already contained both glucose and insulin. So what they really discovered was that, in vitro, if you mix glucose insulin AND fat-containing chlyomicrons with adipocytes you get a 150-fold increase in ASP NOT that the fat alone increases it 150-fold (which was born out by the in vivo study).

        This is the same slip-shod method that leads to conclusions that dietary fat is bad for us due to studies where fat has been fed to subjects with a good deal of carbohydrate included!

        There is no doubt that ASP (and others) allow excess fatty acids to be stored – but not locked – into adipocytes between meals. However, in the absence of excess levels of insulin, at least it can flow out again to meet our cellular energy needs between meals.

      • “There is no doubt that ASP (and others) allow excess fatty acids to be stored – but not locked – into adipocytes between meals. However, in the absence of excess levels of insulin, at least it can flow out again to meet our cellular energy needs between meals.”

        Exactly. The important thing about insulin is one’s baseline level, not spikes from meals. Nothing wrong with allowing insulin to do its job in conjunction with a moderate or even fairly high carb meal, but then when the job is done in a healthy individual, insulin returns to its low baseline level and fat can flow back out.

        It’s how it is supposed to work. I can attest that for me, increasing carb intake rather substantially lately has had zero adverse effect on hunger (sure sign something is wrong) or on fat loss.

      • What do you think about this study?

        http://www.jlr.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/11/1727

        It was done in vivo and they found significantly increased ASP levels in response to an oral fat load but not to a glucose load.

        Looking at the results more carefully, there is a similar trend in the changes of ASP levels both in the lean men of the newer study and the older study. The changes in ASP in the lean men in the newer study didn’t reach statistical significance (p=0.07, n=9). The sample was small and it was very close to significance, and if you compare the charts in the changes of ASP levels they are definitely similar.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        That is a rubbish study! Always read the methods not just the conclusion or data! The oral fat load was a combination of cream, milk protein and GRANULATED SUGAR – sure to create an insulin spike. At least in the other study already mentioned above the oral fat load had no added sugar.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        I broadly agree. With the occasional moderate to high carbohydrate meal there should be no lasting harm. The problem arises when high carbohydrate diet becomes the norm and then insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia gradually rears its ugly head again!

      • Alex Thorn says:

        I should add that the first study used cream+egg yolk and the readings were given in micrograms per litre. The study you have just quoted used cream +instant milk powder+granulated sugar and the readings were given in milligrams per decilitre. To convert mg/dl to micrograms/l you need to multiply the readings in the second study by 10,000! Therefore with the cream/sugar mixture ASP peaked at 110,000 micrograms/l in the second study while, with the cream+egg yolk mixture in the first study, ASP never rose above ~300 micrograms/l for the lean non-diabetic subjects. It just goes to show what adding sugar into the fat mix can do!

        This is not surprising – in the substrate oxidative hierarchy, CHO must be used before fatty acids.

      • Well, the oral fat load had one tablespoon of granulated sugar. They also used a 75 g glucose load, so if you say the ASP increase was caused by the sugar, you have to have an explanation as to why the glucose load didn’t cause a significant change in ASP levels.

        If you check the insulin levels, the glucose load caused a 4-fold increase in insulin levels compared to the fat load, yet it was the fat load that caused the ASP spike. So the sugar and insulin explanation doesn’t explain the data.

        In lean persons in the newer study, the fat load caused a very similar response in ASP levels compared to the older study, but it didn’t reach statistical significance (p=0.07, n=9).

        I do not know what is going on with the units of measurement. There is definitely some discrepancy. I think we should compare the change caused by the meal with baseline levels, rather than absolute levels between the studies.

      • Read this one Johnny:
        “These data do not support an essential requirement of the hypothesis that ASP is produced in response to the intake of fat.”
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15111984

      • Alex Thorn says:

        OK. Let’s clear up a few things. Insulin is secreted in response to carbohydrates (proteins to a degree also, along with some glucagon, but hardly ever in response to fat alone).

        Its function is to clear the glucose out of the blood to maintain serum levels at a tight 5 mmol/l or thereabouts. It does this by up-regulating the translocation of GULT 4 transporters to the surface of cell membranes that transport the glucose into the interior of the cell where it can be oxidised. If there is more glucose than is needed for oxidation as an energy substrate, then it may be converted to fatty acids and stored in the adipocytes as trigycerides.

        Now, if it needs to clear as much of the excess from the blood via oxidation in cells (muscles, for example) then it stands to reason that it needs to limit the availability of other substrates – particularly fatty acids. So any fatty acids that are floating around in the blood (from a mixed meal, for example) will have to be locked away in the fat cells. This where the other important function of insulin comes in: promoting lipogenesis and blocking lipolysis. This is why insulin also up-regulates ASP secretion.

        It actually does not take much of a rise of insulin above basal levels to blunt lipolysis, so any time fats and carbohydrate (especially sugars) are mixed in a meal, insulin will rise above basal levels and lipolysis will be blocked and lipogenesis may also be induced whether by insulin alone or by its up-regulating action on ASP.

        None of that contradicts the findings of the in vivo studies where an oral fat load was just that – an oral fat load without any added sugar.

      • Perhaps you are right, maybe ASP isn’t responsible for making fat cells take up fat after eating fat.

        When you think about the hypothetical scenario I talked about earlier, do you not agree that there must be some hormone or effect/stimulator etc, that makes fat cells take up fat from a meal, other than insulin. I am talking about the scenario of eating one meal a day 2000 cals at dinner. The fat has to go somewhere and something has to be responsible for it.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        I didn’t say that. I said ASP isn’t greatly stimulated by fat alone.

        If you eat 3 to 6 meals a day totalling 2000 kcals and don’t get fat why should you get fat if you eat 2000 kcals as a single meal (I regularly eat single meals at anything up to 1500 kcals)?

        As I said it doesn’t matter if you store fat via ASP as long as that fat can be readily released when you need the energy. If I were to get up at 8.00am after a full eight hours sleep and not eat anything until 8.00pm what would my body be burning for fuel? Principally body fat do you think? If then had a 2000kcal meal at 8.00pm (say my usual total daily energy intake) would I store any more fat than I had already burned during the day?

        It’s the balance of what gets stored against what gets released and burned that counts.

      • There has to be something else that is regulating fat storage and is at far higher/lower levels in certain individuals. While I’m not insulin resistant, I had myriad issues from my blood sugar and insulin surging and crashing which have been solved, by restricting carbs. However I eat a large amount of calories, SAD or paleo, and I’ve maintained a BMI of 15-17 from puberty to my mid-20s (would like to gain 10-20 lbs). I’m up a couple lbs on 6 months of fairly strict low-carb paleo/primal, but my weight is still a mystery to me.

      • Yes you are right. It is the balance that is important. When you burn 2000 calories a day and eat 2000 calories too at one meal per day, dinner for example, the energy between meals comes from fat cells. Let’s say just for the sake of the argument that for a couple of days you eat only 2000 calories of fat. No insulin response. Since during the day you are getting energy from fat cells, they have to be replenished after dinner from the fat you eat. You can’t have all the fat swimming around in the blood, it must be stored as fat.

        I am not saying you get fat by doing this, just that you need to store it for use between meals. I am trying to make the point that something must be responsible for making fat go into fat cells other than insulin. Based on my scenario such a hormone must exist. Do you agree?

      • Alex Thorn says:

        Yes and that is ASP. ASP can block lipolysis but to nowhere near the intensity that insulin can, which is why – between meals – fat can be liberated from fat cells to fuel cellular activity when insulin is kept low. Also, when insulin is low, glucagon is usually secreted which also helps to unlock fatty acids from fat cells.

      • But what about the studies which show no increase or even a decrease in ASP levels following a fat load?

        Also, isn’t insulin only high as long as glucose is high? The body burns and stores the glucose, once blood sugar levels normalize, so does insulin and fat metabolism can continue.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        It’s dose dependant – you only need to store excess fatty acids. If the fat load is not that high you will probably oxidise most of it in the absence of high levels of carbs/insulin plus some is used for other needs like hormone synthesis and cell wall maintenance.

        It is difficult to overdose on pure fat. Sit down to a block of butter and see how much you can eat. Cream the same amount of butter with sugar and you would no doubt be able to eat more of it. Natural whole foods tend to fall into to broad categories, those with high fat and protein and minimal carbs and those that are essentially carbs with minimal protein and fat. In the former both the protein and fat are highly satiating while in the latter it can often lead to increased appetite/cravings and overeating. Sudden and large fluctuations in blood sugar cause a signalling in the hypothalamus that increases hunger.

        Yes, insulin levels spiked by high glucose will normalise once the glucose levels have returned to normal but there is usually a lag – which is why people who habitually eat high carb meals tend to suffer reactive hypoglycaemia. Over time a high carb diet can lead to hyperinsulinaemia and all the problems of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, including obesity.

      • ASP appears to be stimulated by insulin and chylomicrons, and going back to fat storage, if postprandial triglycerides aren’t cleared PDQ, it’s bad news for arteries.

        Chylomicrons are full of TGs, so a high-fat meal => lots of chylomicrons => lots of ASP, in total absence of insulin.

        And in the study I linked earlier, these individuals had hyperinsulinemia and were able to lose weight fine by reducing calories. Chronically elevated insulin didn’t turn these people into rolling balls of fat; matter can’t be made out of thin air. If you have enough raw material to work with the body is very good (and very redundant) at storing calories, even in total absence of insulin.

      • James, David said that he had a more normal response to eating sugar not to baked potato.

      • Right Sue, but David knows that was a typo and even you can see that if you read the whole post but thanks for your contribution to the conversation.

      • That was not a typo. My blood sugar will jump to 200+ in a very short time if I eat a baked potato. My response to sugar is at worst, 160. Needless to say, I avoid both.

      • I meant it was a typo on my part, David.

      • Oops! I thought I understood you the first time.

      • You apparently did understand me the first time when you failed to catch my typo. ie…we’re on the same page.

  17. San fran J says:

    I don’t think potatoes are that much different than sweet potatoes in the big picture. Pure paleo Cordain could have his beef with potatoes, but I say toss the old “paleo” mindset. Having a helping of potatoes with some meals gives plenty of variety with meals and won’t do a DAMN thing to healthful body composition.

    Richard can get ripped eating potoatoes. Actually potatoes are a good food for weight lifting any ways.

    I think as long as one fasts once a week 12am-12pm for one day, and eat real food, including potatoes , I think they can get as lean as they want.

  18. This is a great attention grabbing topic for sure and the debate is entertaining. I personally don’t see any malevolence in the poor potato, at least not more so than in any other non-grain source of starch. If I were to ever eat like that (I’ve been a keto carnivore continuously for years), I wouldn’t consider the potato to be any better or worse than a yam, or even a squash. I don’t see the point in it, but I also don’t see the harm in it.

  19. Nathaniel says:

    I’m with you, Richard – I’m starting a carb-cycling diet next week and I’m going to be using potatoes as my principal source of starchy carbs. I think it’s undeniable that our ancestors gathered and consumed starchy tubers of some kind, and probably derived significant advantage from doing so.

    Look at this article – even chimpanzees dig up tubers for food!
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21775270

    “The researchers found the chimps feasted on the hidden resources during the rainy season, even though aboveground treats were readily available. Anthropologists had thought the roots and tubers only served as fallback foods for chimps during the dry seasons when sustenance was scarce.

    The rainy-season finding “suggests it wasn’t a matter of being pushed into something that you had no choice. It’s a matter of opening up an opportunity,” said Hernandez-Aguilar’s colleague James Moore, a biological anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego.”

  20. The cooked potato might very well be what is needed to heal, or perhaps mask the symptoms of a broken metabolism which nearly all paleo dieters have, or at least did have before landing themselves in the paleoverse. Though, I doubt this cooked potato would be necessary if we were all truly paleo from the get go.

    The tubers gathered by the Hadza, the best example of hunter gatherers we have left, are gathered by the women and are not very calorie dense and are the least preferred food amongst their five major choices (Honey, meat, baobab, and berries make up the rest). The Hadza women, while gathering these tough to get at tubers will eat some raw just fine. They chew the insides and simply spit out and discard the fibrous indigestible mass.

    The calories obtained from these tubers range from .1-.3 calories/gram, compared to the modern potato which is entirely edible at about .8 calories/gram, making the modern potato 4 times as calorically dense. Meat would be around 10 times as dense.

  21. go to panu, it’s the real deal. kurt shuns potatoes.

    • this isnt kurt’s blog…and he is semi-neo-panu… i agree with richard and don on the potatoes. i could envision a caveman breaking up a potato and mixing it with some organs/blood stew type and feasting

      on that note, richard youre making me weary of ADDING potatoes b/c your getting ripped and lean with them…weight loss isthe LAST thing i am looking for… gimme s’more beef recipes with gravies!!! hahah j/k :) i have plenty saved and printed to still make

      • Alex Thorn says:

        That would depend on the historical context! Generally, a ‘caveman’ denotes our ancestors from the palaeolithic period (2.5 mya to 12,000 years ago) and covers 99% of human technological history.

        It is unlikely a human of that period would have had access to a ‘white’ potato. Potatoes originated in the Andes Mountains of South America and grew at elevations of up to 15,000 feet. They were first discovered and cultivated by pre-Colombian farmers 7,000 years ago (well within the proposed date for the start of agriculture ~10,000 years ago). They were unknown to Western civilisation until 1537 AD when the Conquistadors entered Peru. It wasn’t until 1570 AD that potatoes reached European shores. Even then, it was limited to mainly Spanish colonies and was considered a food for the underclass!

        Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family of plants and the leaves are toxic. The flesh of the tuber, when exposed to light will turn green and also become toxic. Raw potatoes also contain other antinutrients such as α-solanine, α-chaconine and asparagine. The latter is known to be involved in the formation of acrylamide when the potato is cooked.

      • Dave C. says:

        That last bit is why I suspect most strict Paleos exclude potatos.

      • Asparagine though implicated in acrylamide production also happens to be one of the 20 amino acids encoded. First time I’ve seen an amino acid that is essential for the production of proteins deemed an antinutrient. Yikes. btw they find acrylamide in starchy foods after high temperature frying. Not in boiling…So cut the green, and boil if you’re going to eat potaters. Then whack it with some tallow or butter or maybe even coconut oil, eat it with some protein to slow its digestion and the subsequent blood sugar spike.

      • Interesting EZ-E (cool handle). Any idea whether baking would accomlish the same thing?

        As I’ve said, this increased consumption is a temp deal for me because it’s an easy, real foodish way to get up to the carb level deterimied for me by the pro helping me to get those last 10-15 pounds off. But I’ve already divulged more than I should have about specifics. He deserves to have his individual prescriptions guarded, and that’s what I’ll do from here out.

        Baking is easy because it’s toss it in 400 deg and forget for an hour.

      • http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FoodContaminantsAdulteration/ChemicalContaminants/Acrylamide/ucm053549.htm

        Check this out for a list of foods and the acrylamide content. Its funny I haven’t looked at this list in awhile and noticed, except for Postum, sweet potato chips have the highest content of acrylamide measured.

        If you wanna avoid acrylamide maybe get the smaller new potaters and boil and forget for an hour? Baking definitely appears to increase levels.

      • Baking a potato in its skin shouldn’t be a problem as the skin is not starchy. Acrylamides lurk in all kinds of foods, including coffee beans. Avoiding fried or baked starches does eliminate most sources.

        I had heard something similar about meat cooked at higher temperatures in a pan or in the oven – that the browned exterior contains carcinogens. Cooking at lower temperatures in liquid is supposed to yield healthier meat. When I get a pastured whole chicken, I bake it because I love the crispy skin, carcinogens or no, but other meats I usually toss in the slow cooker with herbs.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        The list of acrylamide containing foods is interesting as the vast majority seem to be of plant origin (grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables). This is not surprising seeing as acrylamides are formed when the amino acid asparagine cross-links with a reducing sugar. These types of foods are notorious for the addition of sugars or are naturally high in sugars.

        Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are the substances said to be carcinogenic and produced in cooked meats. HCAs are formed when amino acids and creatine react at high temperature. However, the amount of creatine in meat is negligible – about 1g per 227g of raw meat or 0.4%. Most of the creatine (as well as glycogen) in the muscle tissues of animals slaughtered for food is ‘used up’ during rigor mortis.

    • Kurt is no paleo fundie. He recently posted a graphic to illustrate his view that not all paleolithic foods are good for us and not all neolithic foods are bad for us.

    • If Kurt at PaNu shuns potatoes, why does he say:

      “If you are not fat and you like to eat potatoes, EAT THEM.”

      ?

      CAPS his.

      And if he’s so the real deal, implication Richard isn’t, why have I read — and heard — him on several occasions praise Richard’s blog immensely and talk about how they both have very similar personalities?

      I’m not saying Kurt isn’t great: I”m saying you’ve overlooked what he said about potatoes.

  22. I read at Panu, Dr Harris often suggests potatos as a carb option.

  23. DavidFlint says:

    I find potatoes really help with “bowel” problems, eating raw vegetables is something my stomach just cant handle the same goes for eating melted fat directly like coconut fat or butter. They are also perfect if one is looking for a way to get some extra calories, they will absorb butter very well and sits perfecly in the stomach until its digested.

  24. MMM potatoes! Thumbs up for bucking the misguided fear of them!

  25. John FitzGibbon says:

    does anyone know a good recipe for gnochi or sweet potato gnochi?
    One of my biggest cravings is for classic pasta with tomato sauce

  26. Great stuff Richard!

    I think there is definitely a case that potatoes are paleo food, especially considering the fact that we have evidence that cooking goes back millions of years. I think the people of Kitava shed some light on the fact that starchy vegetables are not the enemy. One might want to eliminate them and greatly reduce carb intake if they have a metabolically damaged liver as you stated, but in no way does it seem potatoes will cause this. I consume yams fairly regularly with great success.

    Goodluck with you “getting ripped” goal! Looking forward to more updates on that!

  27. Maybe it’s just me, but I think white potatoes kinda taste like crap unless you coat them with something. Very similar to oatmeal. Pureed cardboard is probably tasty too if you cover it with gravy and/or butter ;)

    Sweets on the other hand… now those are yummy. Why would you want to eat the white ones?

    • i agree with the white potato point… i dont think i could choke down an undressed baked potato

    • I think the flavor of potatoes is delectable… but then again I grow my own tender, succulent yellow, red and blue varieties. I haven’t had one of those giant brown ‘baking potatoes’ (dry, flavorlous monstrosities) in years.

      Sweets are just sweet. Too sweet.

  28. Very much enjoying the debate. From my personal experience I have found I lose the most weight when I avoid any starch (i.e potatoes) and if I keep my fat intake to a moderate level. I think the high protein content is what fills me up the most too. But having said that it is very restrictive and if you are going to incorporate foods into your diet to make it more enjoyable surly the potato is a reasonable choice.

  29. san fran J says:

    one thing I will say. I don’t think fruit is all that bad either. Equating fruit with fructose is not exactly accurate. http://weightlossdietplan.blogspot.com/2008/10/can-you-get-fat-from-fruit-question.html

    fruit is pretty healthy too and should not be cut out of a healthy diet. as far as potatoes go, they have a somewhat high glycemic load, and can be enjoyed fine. its issues with antinutrients as a stem tuber I wonder about it a bit.

    comparing potatoes as superior to fruit bc its “glucose vs. fructose” isn’t completely accurate either.

    Jury is probably still out on potatoes on if they truly are “that bad” for you.

  30. Gertie the Goose says:

    Between you & me, It’s Martin over at LeanGains.com that’s coaching you, isn’t it?

    • If that’s the case he’s in pretty good hands.

    • Well, Gertie the Goose, posting to comments isn’t exactly “between you & me.”

      At any rate, I’m going to neither confirm nor deny any such thing. There’s lots of guys out there and I know a lot of ‘em. Identities will be revealed in due time.

    • I will tell you this, however. Just over one week and in spite of all the potatoes, 3 pounds of fat lost, and it’s truly fat. I can already see that the final results photos are going to be dramatic.

      James is gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do. This this isn’t supposed to happen with all those insulinz coursing through my veins. :)

      • I can explain it to you right now, Richard. If you eat only once on your heavy resistance training days, and it’s a reasonable portion of steak and potatoes (potatoes only on resistance-exercise days – the other days, strictly low-carb paleo), and you eat it only at the end of a good workout, and you work out with heavy weights only once every 48 hours and at that time, you hit every muscle group, you will get lean and potentially muscular. How do I know this? Because I used that same information to propel myself from a lowly walk-on collegiate football player to 4 year starter with full-scholarship and Associated Press All American Honors, etc…
        Of course that’s been nearly 20 years ago, but since then I’ve been in the business of turning young athletes into stars and older fat “civilians” into lean athletes. My degree is in Kinesiology and I’m nationally certified as a strength and conditioning specialist. I’m in the pool of guys & gals who are hired to work with olympians and supervise big University athletic strength & conditioning programs for any and all sports. My first big nutrition gig was being sub-contracted to work with another CSCS (Scott McTeer) in the job of designing Duke University Basketball team’s nutrition program. Duke won the national championship that year (2001).

        While until now, I haven’t divulged any of the above information to the general population here, but I did email you (Richard), introduce myself, tell you I liked your blog and that I might possibly be commenting. This was some time before Matt Stone started belittling you for being “low carb”.

        Anyway, my original point was that potatoes shouldn’t be defined as “paleo” for reason’s I’ve literally illustrated.

        Jared Fogle lost a lot of fat on “the Subway diet”, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Subway diet is somehow paleo.

        One of my arguments is..”fat loss on a diet” should not automatically be put said diet in the Paleo category.
        The other is…as you’ve already pointed out in your previous posts, there are details you’re leaving out here and that people who want to lose weight shouldn’t confuse this as a blanket endorsement of regular helpings of potatoes – there are qualifiers…the actual specifics of which you are currently keeping (more or less successfully) under wraps.

      • Nice explanation, nice credentials, and I’m sure that would work, too.

        Unfortuately James, it does not describe my program. But more details on that later.

        But again, I’m certain you are fully competent to design a ripping program for me or most, low or moderate carbs, maybe even high. That just means there’s more than one road to Rome.

    • san fran J says:

      Martin follows a 16 hr fast defined by 3 meals in an 8 hour period. Doesn’t sound like Richard’s protocol, but I guess I have no idea. I am pumped to see Richards results though. Love his idea in turning it up a notch to improve his body composition.

  31. While I agree with Potatoes being bland on their own the same goes for most foods except maybe fruit. Hence the reason we evolved experimenting with spices, herbs and fats when cooking. To me a baked potato with some sea salt and good butter is one of the most tasty things going…….

  32. Troll much? The 1990s called. They want their “drank the kool-aid” insult back.

  33. Wiki fan, too. No surprise there. Sucking dicks, drinking the kool-aid, and now retard. What else have you got in your precocious high school sophomore bag of insults?

  34. just a bag of rice chinky poo

  35. For some reason my latest post on this topic didn’t register the pingback, so here’s the URL:

    http://freetheanimal.com/2010/04/one-potato-two-potatoes.html

  36. I get ridiculous GERD symptoms (heartburn) when I eat more that just a little bite of potato.

    I used to get GERD all the time pre-paleo, and when I just started on my paleo adventures it was primarily driven by wanting to resolve this. Initially I did pretty much all the paleo stuff except I was still eating potatoes regularly, and at that time I noticed the immediate link between potatoes and my GERD. Even after a year of paleo, even little bits of potato still bring it back very consistently.

    To me, that’s enough of an indication that we probably shouldn’t be eating them, but then again, maybe my body is just weird. Strangely though I don’t get these problems with other tubers such as red beets.

  37. I love potatoes, especially roasted with goose fat! I can make compromises here and there but when it comes to the glorious spud, I get weak-kneed. Vive la Pomme

  38. My understanding (which admittedly, may be limited) is that white potatoes are not “Paleo” because the foods that we avoid in the Paleo diet are those foods that cause gut irritation via lectins and saponins, since sweet potatoes and yams don’t contain those items, they’re ok.

    From the Paleo diet blog:

    “However, there’s a big different between potatoes and sweet potatoes. Potatoes are a good source of some known harmful substances namely saponins and lectins. They have the ability to increase intestinal permeability and hence increase the risk of autoimmune diseases (in genetically predisposed individuals), and induce low-grade chronic inflammation which is at the root of many chronic degenerative diseases. On the other hand, there’s some preliminary data suggesting that some bioactive substances, such as lectins and saponins, contained in potatoes, grains, legumes, etc. can bind hormonal receptors impairing their function. This could be the case of leptin receptor leading to leptin resistance and some metabolic disorders.”

    Here’s the link to the original:
    http://thepaleodiet.blogspot.com/2010/01/paleo-diet-q-6-january-2010.html

  39. Nate:

    All plant matter has toxins and anti-nutients.

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/05/traditional-preparation-methods-improve.html?showComment=1273124152149#c4779169359054939981

    “I know many paleos think grains are going to be somewhat toxic any way you prepare them. And I’m sure they’re right. But the problem is that almost everything is somewhat toxic, including starchy tubers, vegetables, and even some fruit. Vegetables are full of assorted goitrogens, oxalates, salicylates, tannins, phytoestrogens, etc. You can’t avoid toxins and still eat a healthy diet, but that’s OK because you don’t have to. You just have to reduce the relevant ones to a level at which they aren’t problematic. I believe healthy traditional cultures have shown us that we can do that with grains if we prepare them well, as part of an overall healthy dietary pattern including nutrient-dense plant and animal foods.”

    I just draw the line at grains & legumes. You draw it at potatoes. Others draw it at all nightshades.

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