My experience with the Primal Diet

When I first started Tony Horton’s P90X, I followed the included diet plan religiously.

The plan called for a diet of 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat. I created a spreadsheet and entered everything I consumed, ensuring I kept my daily totals very close to those targets. I lost a lot of fat.

About six weeks after I’d started P90X, though, I read Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint. It intrigued me and made more sense to me than any other dietary lifestyle I’d ever read about.

If you are not familiar with Sisson’s philosophy, let me explain briefly that it involves eating lots of fat and protein, only some carbs, and those carbs should come primarily from vegetables, a bit from fruit, and not from anywhere else. No grains or sugars of any kind. The concept is that our bodies evolved to eat certain foods. Grains have not been part of our diets for very long, so when we eat grains, we are, essentially, eating things that our bodies are not accustomed to as food.

Because this made a lot of sense to me, I switched from the 50/30/20 diet to a primal diet after six weeks of P90X. I have been on the primal diet since then.

But now I’m switching back to 50/30/20.


While P90X has been great for getting me into shape, making me much more fit, and strengthening my muscles, well, dammit, my waist size has not budged from where it was ten weeks into the program, shortly after I went on the primal diet. I’ve been stuck. And it’s pissing me off.

I believe that our body composition is at least 80% what we eat, so I’ve thought for some time that I should make this move, go back to 50/30/20. Problem is, I really like primal eating and it’s a healthy way to eat. Plus primal does seem to be great for body-fat-percentage maintenance. But I guess that’s the problem. I’ve maintained my fat level, can’t seem to lose this fat around my gut.

I am not certain that primal is the cause of this lack of fat loss. But I’m back on 50/30/20, as of yesterday, to see if I can find out.

I’ll keep you posted.

About white carbs

White carbs. You may have heard them mentioned as public enemy #1. I dunno about that, but I’m pretty sure they’re not good for you, if your #1 goal is to lose fat.

White carbs, by my definition (based on reading I’ve done), are processed carbs, like sugar and white flour. I avoid them. I also like to avoid white rice and potatoes.

Why avoid them? The problem with white carbs is that they rather quickly increase your blood sugar, which spikes your insulin, which processes the excess sugar into fat. They can also lead to a host of other problems, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you can read the first 100 pages of  Good Calories, Bad Calories and still think you can consume all the white carbs you want, well, I don’t know what to say.

In that book, acclaimed science reporter Gary Taubes makes a strong argument against white carbs. Perhaps the most compelling evidence is the incidence of type 2 diabetes and cancer in native tribes before and after the introduction of white carbs into their diets. Before white carbs, those diseases were virtually non-existent. After the white carbs were introduced to the natives, well, a few years later, guess what? Yeah, you guessed it.

I have been experimenting with white carbs on my own body.

I was completely off white carbs and, in fact, all grains, for about six months. During that time my weight stayed steady. Recently, I purchased some supposedly carb-inhibiting white pasta by Dreamfields. I’ve also been less cautious about how much white bread I’m eating. I am still, however, completely off anything with sugar added, except for some honey or dates put into a protein shake after weight training.

(The reason for carbs with a protein shake after weight training is that an insulin spike after weight training is good. Insulin, in addition to helping to store fat, also helps the body assimilate proteins, so having it in the body along with some protein right after a workout will build muscle more efficiently.)

My waist size has been creeping up. The creep is slight, a mere one-half- to three-quarter-inch so far, but that’s too much. I was at one waist size for about 8 months, and now it’s moving upward. What’s that about? What’s causing it?

Are the white carbs the cause of the added size? I don’t live in a closed environment, so there could be other causes, but the white carbs are my primary suspect.

I will finish off the pasta — I still have a few boxes — continue to observe my waistline, and then go off white carbs again when it’s gone.

Damn white carbs!