Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Paleo Diet Q & A - 23 December 2009

Dear Readers,

Here's today's edition of Paleo Diet Q & A.

Q: I like drinking protein shakes in the morning, but I noticed some of the protein sources in my protein is made from milk or dairy products. Is there an alternative that is available in the market place?


A: Dear John-Michael,

Yes, egg white protein powder is a better option than whey protein. Whey is a good source of casein and IGF-1, two insulinogenic (they increase pancreas insulin release) peptides that may lead to hyperinsulinemia which is at the root of many chronic degenerative diseases as shown in Dr. Cordain's scientific paper: "Hyperinsulinemic diseases: more than just syndrome X"
However, if you suffer from an autoimmune disease you may want to reduce egg whites until your symptoms improve. Lean meats and fish are good sources of proteins and particularly of branched chain amino acids which increase muscle growth.

I hope this helps.

Q: I'm a male senior citizen (aged 60+) who is on the Paleo Diet and experiencing unwanted weight loss. What can you suggest to curb my unwanted weight loss?

A: Start a weight Training Program (3 times a week is enough) and pay attention to the post workout period:

After high intensity exercise there is a window of opportunity (that peaks in the first 30 minutes) where it appears that increasing blood levels of insulin, along with amino acids, is beneficial. This facilitates recovery and increases protein synthesis without (theoretically) inducing insulin resistance.

I would use a post-workout shake, composed of water, and liquid essential amino acids, along with net base yielding high glycemic carbohydrates (such as Bananas or grape juice). This has been shown to increase protein synthesis.

The ingestion of an amino acids/high glycemic carbohydrate drink may trigger a very high insulin release that could be followed by Hypoglycemia, which would lead to loss of muscle mass. Moreover, depending on training intensity and duration, it appears that the presence of amino acids (especially leucine) and carbohydrates stimulates protein synthesis for up to 3 hours after a workout (although its peak is reached in the first 30 minutes after training), so it could be useful to eat a solid meal 30 to 60 minutes after the post workout shake, composed of lean meat or fish or egg whites (good source of leucine), and a net base yielding carbohydrate, such as cassava and sweet potatoes. And if this isn’t enough, a second meal (identical to the first one, but with a lower glycemic load) within a 3 hour time frame could be a good idea (lean meat or fish or egg whites and a net base yielding carbohydrate with a lower glycemic load, such as yams).

I hope this helps.



  1. I just read a response to one of your reader's question pertaining to a 54year old male (I am 56). He said he was losing weight since eating Paleo and not wanting to lose the weight. You gave him a post workout recipe to follow.

    I have been on the Paleo diet for about 2 years, do Crossfit 3 times a week for exercise, am trying to gain muscle mass to replace muscle atrophy and am having no luck building 5 to 7 pounds of muscle let alone a couple. Also, if I eat more than 30-34 grams of protein per meal, my stomach poochs out like it's bloated. Lastly, I want to lose the love handles and belly fat. I lost some of this with the diet, but not much. I eat mainly protein, healthy fats, and keep my carb count below 70 grams a day. The Paleo Diet has made me healthier!

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!


  2. Posted on behalf of Maelán:


    You can eat up to 1.2g/kg/d (total protein from supplement and food) without deleterious effects if you eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and fruits to compensate for metabolic acidosis.

    Best regards,

  3. Posted on behalf of Maelán:

    Dear Dave,

    There are some other strategies you can adopt to optimize your body composition.

    You could use medium chain tryglicerides (coconut oil) as a fuel source for the muscle, this has the advantage that it does not produce insulin response (contrary to carbohydrates) and may, in the long term, improve your insulin sensitivity. Maybe one of the reasons why you can get rid of your abdominal fat is insulin resistance, so maintaining your current carbohydrate intake (and not increase the glycemic load of your meals) while rely on fats as energy sources will improve your capacity to burn fat. Omega-3 fatty acids stimulate fat beta-oxidation which will decrease your abdominal fat.

    Regarding gaining muscle mass, creatine supplementation has been demonstrated to increase muscle mass.

    Regarding stomach bloating when you eat high protein amounts, the reason could be hypochlorhydria (decreased HCL production in the stomach) which increases as people age. One solution is using Betaine HCL supplements, starting with one capsule before each meal, and if not enough you could increase up to 2 or even 3 capsules before meals.

    I hope this helps.

  4. In the comments here you say, protein should not go above 1.2 g/kg/d. Is that a typo? Did you mean 1.2/g/lbs/d?

    There's no way you can get 25-30% of your calories as protein if the max amount is 1.2 g/kg/d.

  5. Posted on behalf of Maelán:

    Yes, this was a typo. It should be 1.4-2.0 g/kg/day. As stated by the International Society for Sports Nutrition: protein intake of 1.4-2.0 g/kg/day for physical active individuals it is not only safe, but may improve the training adaptations to exercise training. This would make 140g for a 70kg person and 540 kcal/day (25-30% energy).



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