Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Paleo Diet Q & A - 11.10.09

Dear Readers,

Here are more Q & A from the Paleo Diet community. We're very encouraged by your responses to our posts so far, and our team is reviewing your questions left as comments here on the blog.

Thank you for your continued interest in The Paleo Diet.

Q: I am wondering your collective thoughts on grains that have been sprouted? Are these still a big no as well? My understanding has been that sprouted grains differ greatly than non-sprouted?

A: Yes, sprouted grains and beans are a much healthier option. When we 'sprout grains' we are allowing the seed to germinate and a shoot will emerge from the seed. This is the part that is cut off and eaten. Therefore, the seed itself is not actually consumed (as is the case with whole grains and wheat flours where the seed proteins and starches are milled and eaten). Since lectins are packaged along with the seed to protect against predation, once the seed sprouts, the lectin concentration diminishes within a couple days. In a week's time the sprouts should have no residual lectins.

Gliadin and glutenin are the dominate proteins located in the endosperm of the seed. The starchy endosperm is located alongside the embryo (germ) within the seed, and provides nutrients the embryo needs as it is sprouting and growing. Therefore, there should be no gliadin or glutenin proteins in the sprout, but rather primarily non-digestible cellulous (dietary fiber). One can consume sprouted grains and beans without fear of anti-nutrients. However, keep in mind that these are still nutritionally poor in terms of micronutrients. Leafy greens and other vegetables contribute high fiber AND a higher concentration of nutrients-grains are still 'nutritional lightweights'.

I would like to amend my earlier statement: We can consume GRAIN sprouts without fear of anti-nutrients. However, legume sprouts still appear to contain considerable concentrations of saponins--the secondary compounds responsible for increasing gut permeability. Alfalfa sprouts (which are actually in the pea family) have an especially high concentration.

Q: I am just starting on the Paleo Diet and have read the book The Paleo Diet. However, I do not find advice on combining foods. Can fruits, nuts, vegetables and meat be all eaten at the same meal, or should they be eaten at different times so that appropriate and efficient digestive processes can take place?

A: Usually Paleo Recipes would combine carbohydrates and proteins, such as a salad with turkey breast, however, we would recommend not mixing fruits with main meals as they sometimes produce bloating or indigestion because the sugars in fruits are not well digested when combined with either fats or protein. My advice is to listen to your body and see what happens when you eat fruit with protein or fats. If you don't experience bloating or indigestion, go ahead and eat fresh fruits for dessert.

Q: Is there a definitive test for leaky gut?

I am 64 years old and retired. I have lived in the central mountains of Colorado for the past seven years, and generally, in good health. I use a treadmill for walking in the winter with an occasional downhill ski day or snow shoe day. In the summer I hike and spend most of day outside around the house. I was glad to see your latest "Update" talks about people in their later years.

I have been on the Paleo Diet since 2004, each year getting closer to 100%. I stopped dairy except for once a month when a pint of B&J ice cream calls to me from the freezer. The grains were the last to go. A rye bread chicken sandwich for lunch was replaced with steamed fresh broccoli and chicken. Potato chips were finally replaced with pecans and almonds, but the table salt on all meals is still in my diet. I eat fresh fruit throughout the day. Supper was composed of tomatoes, celery, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, raisins, green peppers, spices and ground bison or chicken. I say was because I read a few weeks ago in The Paleo Diet Update about Leaky Gut, and realized the nightshade family of vegetables may not be good for me if I have a leaky gut.

I took a blood test about 17 years ago named the "ELISA/ACT". This tested the lymphocytes for their reaction to 235 purified foods, preservatives, and chemicals most commonly found in the American diet back in 1992. My results indicated a strong reaction to 11 items and an intermediate reaction to 13 items. I have avoided eating most these items since the test. My blood tests from the 9HealthFair for the last 5 years have been good. I had a colonoscopy 4 years ago which was good.

My questions are:
  1. I know there is a definitive blood test for Celiac disease, but is there a definitive test for a leaky gut? If the blood test I took 17 years ago indicated food molecules in my blood, then will I always have a Leaky Gut to these foods? i.e. If I stop these foods for 2 months or more will my gut stop leaking?
  2. If my blood tests results from the 9HealthFair were all in the normal range, then doesn't that indicate a Leaky Gut may not be present?
A: Yes, there's a test for leaky gut namely Lactulose & Mannitol Test, where test subjects ingest 10ml of Lactulose (a non metabolized sugar) and 10ml of Mannitol (an absorbable sugar). Your physician then collects urine for 6 hours after ingestion and measure sugars. Increased intestinal permeability is when the L:M ratio is between 0.15-0.40. Normal should be 0.04-0.09.

If you remove nutrients known to increase gut permeability, then the L:M test results will probably improve. However, if you've been following The Paleo Diet, then the L:M test should be OK.

Yes, if you eat The Paleo Diet, then the antibodies against those foods you tested for some time ago should decrease.

Q: Hi -- my husband was recently introduced to The Paleo Diet through his gym. He has lost over 40 pounds in just over 2 months and continues to lose weight even though he would have liked to level out a while ago. He is 6'1" and weighs 170 pounds and looks a little skeletal. What can he eat to help him level out and even gain a little weight back? Is there a web site that gives an example meal plan with desired calorie intake, or some tips you can give us to help prepare foods that will give him a little more fat?

I am unsure what to try besides having him eat avocados and lots of nuts, and drizzling olive and canola oils over his vegetables. All the websites we have gone through talk about the added benefit of weight loss achieved by this diet, but none that we have found so far tell you what to do to stop the weight loss once you have reached your desired weight. Thank you for your time!

A: If your husband is active he should emphasize a high glycemic load food post-workout, such as a recovery drink with glucose, bananas, grapes and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) with a dosage of 6-7 grams. This post-workout period lasts approximately 30 minutes, and is the best time to replenish your muscles with energy. Otherwise, his body will start to burn fat (and lose weight) in order to recover energy levels. He can also add a protein shake an hour and a half later, such as egg protein powder. The goal should be 1.2 grams/kg body weight.

Please keep us posted.

Please submit your comments and questions for the Paleo Diet team.


  1. Hello, I have recently been introduced to The Paleo Diet by my personal trainer at the gym in the UK. I am finding it much more easier to follow than I first thought it would be. The biggest hurdle to some would be the high concentration and consumption of fruit and vegetables but that to me was the easy bit because I've always done that. My biggest downfall was always chocolate but having been on this eating plan for 5 days now, those cravings have gone - should they return however, I have a plan for myself - go for the highest cocoa content you can find - typically 85%. A small piece the size of your index finger nail is enough to satisfy any craving. Because it's a bitter chocolate, just let it melt on your tongue and believe me it works. I used this "plan" for a previous time in my life. It encourages damage limitation by only eating a very small amount and you won't blow your "diet" by eating huge amounts of the sweet and sickly milk chocolate because the quantity has been vastly reduced but the effect is the same as eating a bigger bar. Out of the things I can't eat, namely potatoes, pasta and bread and natural yoghurt, if I'm truthful, I miss the yoghurt and the potatoes the most but I've set myself a goal and for the next 4 months, I won't consume any of the forbidden foods and see what happens to the weight loss. I have never been a big consumer of milk. For many years I followed the principles laid down by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond in their eating plan "Fit for Life" which is where I learned how to consume fruit correctly and the energy ladder of food from breakfast through to supper. Their theories on milk have always stuck with me "we are the only species on the planet that consumes the milk of another animal" - they go on to explain in more simpler terms that "cows milk is for calves" which is such a simple sentence to remember. Where in our species do we drink our mother's milk when we turn adult? We don't! I think their theories on these principles have helped me to adapt to your eating plan more or less from day one. I only ever used to eat plain and natural yoghurt which I used to make up with water and use on my breakfast cereal. 2 things I have noticed since not consuming breakfast cereal and not consuming yoghurt is the difference in my asthma, I am less wheezy and my nasal mucus secretions are far less. I have a nasal spray to aid breathing due to nasal polyps and I have found that not only have I not had to use the spray but the secretions are far less and in relation to not consuming bran flakes for breakfast, I am finding a new bloat-free day is the order of the day and I somehow feel lighter. My scales tell me I have lost 3 lbs this week. I need to fine tune next week and have put this week down to getting to grips with the Paleo plan. I was initially told to eat vegetables that grew above the ground so I have been eating peas and beans etc (on the principle that they grow above the ground) but having now researched the Paleo Diet a lot more, I have discovered the reasons for not eating these vegetables and can understand how they affect our bodies' performance. Now I know what I can and cannot eat, I can make the necessary adjustments and find recipes that I can adapt to this eating plan. As for the protein side - no problems at all and for anyone else in the UK who may have been to Slimming World (the UK rival equivalent of Weight Watchers - we have that too by the way) - this is basically a RED day without the 'A' (Diary) and 'B' (potatoes, pasta, bread) choices.

    I feel inspired to carry on researching and I hope that with the eating plan and the exercise I can achieve my 63 pounds weight loss.

    Best wishes to my fellow Paleo Pals, Victoria

  2. I have been on the Paleo diet for about 3 weeks now. I am very satisfied with it, but am not experiencing the weight loss that I'd hoped for. I lost a few pounds the first week, but seem to have gained that back and leveled out. Can you advise me please?

  3. I'm with lcreswell and have actually gained about 4 now, which is a lot since I was 114. I am strict Paleo, and have been for 2 1/2 months now, except during and of course after hour and a half plus runs. I've also heard other women say the same. Is it our bodies are holding on to fat? Do I need to eat less fat? I eat about 1/2 cup of almonds a day as well as flax oils for cooking. And I consume 3-5 pieces of fruit, along with plenty of veggies and lean protein. Is it possible I'm eating too much? Thanks for your time and advise!


The Paleo Diet Team invites you to leave comments or post questions to our blog. We receive a great amount of feedback, but we are not able to always answer personally. We read all comments, and we are very interested in hearing your thoughts, learning about your experiences, and understanding what questions you have. Note that we review all comments before publishing them on the blog. Comments posted that do not contain questions or comments related to paleo nutrition, or those that point to web sites that do not provide content that would be deemed helpful to our readers, will be rejected.

Thank you.
The Paleo Diet Team