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Old 11-18-2011, 04:48 PM   #1
Mark Davis
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Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

I have been looking in to the Paleo diet a lot lately and have read multiple places that it enhances performance. Now these claims never go in to deep specifics. It would be a no brainer to see that the Paleo diet enhances performance compared to a diet rich in processed foods and junk food etc. But would the Paleo diet enhance athletic performance compared to a diet free of all processed foods and over all very well balanced with whole foods such as fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. I am wondering because I have been considering giving it a try, but was wondering what people here thought and or have experienced? I currently eat a zoneish diet, free of all processed foods and eat a lot of veggies, meat (a lot of wild caught salmon), some fruit, nuts, avocados, a little grain (wild rice), Elzekial sproated wheat bread, typically a glass of milk with my breakfast, and greek yogurt before I go to bed. So making the switch to Paleo wouldn't be that big of a change for me. I don't have any food allergeries that would give me the need to switch. So do you think in the context of my diet, would I feel the miraculous results I always read about? Btw I am not trying to lose weight (actually trying to gain weight), I already have very low body fat, estimating around 8%. I had an under water measurement ( most accurate way available) taken last spring and I was 6% (doing a lot of running at the time). The one questions I always have when reading all of these miraculous stories (which are great and I am glad people are changing and enriching their lives through their diet), is that a lot of these people seem to have had pretty poor diets befoer they started Paleo, and that if they would have just cut out processed foods and focused on more veggies, fruits, etc. they could get similar results (that is just something that pops into my head, so who knows). I guess I am just looking to see what others think of the Paleo diet and athletic performance.
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:24 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

From a performance perspective, the two biggest challenges with the Paleo diet are (a) getting enough food generally and (b) in particular, getting enough carbs.

Plenty of people have reported that Paleo was bad for their performance. Usually one of the above seems to be the reason.

No, I wouldn't expect to see miraculous results when switching from your current diet to Paleo.

Katherine
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:27 PM   #3
Dave Traeger
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

Heard of paragraphs?

Summary: Eating for health & longevity and eating for performance are 2 completely different things.
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
Samy Natour
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

I agree with Katherine. The main problem is getting enough calories. For me my best strength gains have come while not on paleo. I figure I need atleast 3000 calories on the days I do strength training, so eating rice, bread and consuming dairy helps me do that.

However, the days I know I'm going to be doing a cardio based activity (sports,martial arts etc.) I prefer to eat paleo only before hand.
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Old 11-18-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
Wayne Riddle
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

If you are eating like crap it will probably help you out. If you go with the diet you will probably have to tinker with it to find what food intake works for you. If a hard core workout type of person you'll probably have to increase the carb intake via things like sweet potatoes.
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Old 11-18-2011, 11:29 PM   #6
Rene Vega
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

Personally I have noticed that when on a strict Paleo diet, my performance does increase by a tiny bit. But, I do feel hungry most of the times (lack of calories) which causes me to want to get off of Paleo.
Latley I have begun experimenting with a Paleoish type of diet, consuming more veggies, meats, nuts, fruit, dairy, and a few grains (love that pasta!). I have found this approach to be more sustainable (diet wise) and have noticed that my performance has not suffered too greatly.
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Old 11-19-2011, 06:51 AM   #7
Mark Davis
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

Sorry about the paragraphs. I appreciate everyone's info thus far. The lack of carb issue also had me wondering. It seems like it would cause a decrease in one's performance, but like I said I haven't tried it. Thats why I am looking to you all.
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Old 11-19-2011, 06:50 PM   #8
Michael E Tancini
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
From a performance perspective, the two biggest challenges with the Paleo diet are (a) getting enough food generally and (b) in particular, getting enough carbs.

Plenty of people have reported that Paleo was bad for their performance. Usually one of the above seems to be the reason.

No, I wouldn't expect to see miraculous results when switching from your current diet to Paleo.

Katherine
I tried it, my performance declined and my lifts decreased. Like Katherine said I wasnt getting enough food and I wasnt getting enough carbs. I tried adding back in dairy though after deciding paleo wasnt for me and I developed a dairy intolerance and had to take it back out. I doubled my food intake and added grains back in and It has done wonders for me.
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:25 PM   #9
Chris Mason
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

Absolutely not.

Now, if all you do is eat pure junk and are a slob and you get on Paleo and lose body fat then sure, your performance will be enhanced, but for anyone in reasonable condition and pushing themselves to the limit Paleo is not optimal for performance.

Paleo is very good for body composition and likely good for overall health.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:46 AM   #10
Rob Samuels
 
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Re: Does a Paleo diet really enhance athletic performance?

I'm not so convinced about overall health either. Getting more veggies is certainly healthy no argument there but there are studies that overcomsumption of red meat or animal protien in general and fat are unhealthy as well.

Many people feel better going paleo and that would be a good indicator of improved health along with improved blood tests. Again I'm not so sure if that is a result of removing grains and dairy as it is removing junk.

We already know plenty of humans world wide live to a healthy ripe old age on more of a starch based diet and certainly on more grains in general. When talking about people being fat and having helath problems Paleo seems to forget about all the bilions of people doing fine with grains and points to the general population in the U.S. as its test subjects.

Nobody on the planet over consumes food like we do. Nobody ingests as much chemicals as we do. Nobody eats as much processed foods as we do. Nobody destroys food quality as much as we do. Nobody sits on the couch as much as we do.

We have no long term paleo diet studies. I wonder if removing the garbage causes improved healthy but remvoving the grains long term may possibly be causing damage. So I lean out because I have removed a ton of carbs and processed junk from my diet. As a result my cholesterol triglycerides, CRP etc.. all improve great. But then the lack of grains and lower starch coupled with dramatically increased animal protien and fat stimulates cancer growth and I die.

This is just something I have been thinking about when I look at the big picture of fitness AND health of course I have no proof. What I do have proof of though is when you look at the worlds populations and you correlate disease and longevity, populations with more grains do better, its just fact.

Last edited by Rob Samuels : 11-20-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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