My name is Chris Kidawski. That’s me with 3-time MMA Champion Robbie Lawler. I have been coaching athletes for the past 17 years. When I was 19 years old, I read THE ENTIRE strength and conditioning text book cover to cover in one week and was so enamored by the information I was presented with that I never looked back. What I was reading made sense, I could retain it, and I could teach others what I learned very well.
My work has taken me from New York, to Hawaii, to Colorado, and now Southern Florida where I reside. I have trained high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. I also helped one of my best friends train to become a Navy SEAL, but I have found that specializing is not as fun as generalizing. What does that mean? It means I would rather help the masses than the select few. Someone once said, “If you have a gift, share it with the world.” That’s what I intend to do with this report and I hope you live a happier, healthier, more rewarding life because of it.
The Paleo Fix
The Paleo diet has become quite the craze in the health and fitness circuit for the past few years. With Paleo conventions taking place and major companies creating and marketing new products that fit the Paleo lifestyle, it looks as if the diet is not a diet at all, but a way of life once you get hooked. Does the diet work?
Well, most of the time for people who just started a diet and exercise regime, some of the time for those who were already on a diet and exercise regime, and almost next to never when you train professional athletes. Through the wide variety of people I have trained in the past 16 years I’ve had everyone tell me how the Paleo diet works for awhile, then catastrophe happens. Energy turns to loss of energy. Body fat decreases, and then starts to increase. Strength, endurance, and increased vitality turn to sluggishness and an almost rubbery appearance in the mirror. When asked how closely they followed the diet the answer is always the same: down to the very letter.
So what gives? If there are so many success stories, why aren’t these people part of them? Do the Paleo gods shun them? The simple answer is that no one diet will fit every single person in the world. If you think that sounds like a cop out, you are correct. The lengthy (yet simplified version for the purposes of this paper) answer comes down to how the foods that the Paleo diet recommends affect our body at the time that we eat them. Let me reiterate and emphasize, the TIME that we eat them.
Timing: It’s What’s For Dinner
If there is one thing that we absolutely know without a doubt about nutrition, it’s that sugar had many drug like qualities. It is a very hyper-palatable, hyper rewarding food. Take this for example: Go to a buffet serving only salmon and celery. Eat as much of it as you can handle till you are completely full. After you’re done, they roll a cart to your table and reveal an ice cream sundae station. All of a sudden you’re not so full anymore!
As you are stuffing a massive scoop of ice cream down your throat you are wondering, “How am I doing this? I thought I was full!” The problem that we have created with our food is the ability to combine salt, sugar and fat together into a tasty little treat. This occurs nowhere in nature. You either get salt in one food, fat in another, and sugar in yet another. Today we can combine all of that into one and serve it up in seconds.
How does this relate to Paleo you ask? Well, before I tell you the down side, I ‘ll tell you why it works first. The Paleo diet gets rid of anything processed that you may put in your body, (anything in a box or a bag) and forces you to eat what our “primal” ancestors ate (you know, the people that didn’t have refrigerators or TV’s). This is a great concept and has helped many people lose weight and lead a somewhat healthier lifestyle. Yet having the direction to go from pasta, granola bars, and TV dinners, to meat, vegetables, and fruits is only part of the answer.
Because the Paleo diet has no time restriction on the carbohydrates it recommends, it is still causing some people to retain fat, lose muscle, and eventually end up at where they started the diet. That one simple secret I told you about, and the reason you decided to download this paper, is to only eat sugary carbohydrates at night. We need to save the fruits, high sugar veggies like carrots, or potatoes, for dinner. The reason being is that it all comes down to a pesky little (read: BIG) hormone called insulin.
Insulin: It’s What’s For Breakfast
Picture yourself as a healthy man or woman, about 160lbs and 30% body fat. You go on the Paleo diet and soon find yourself down to 28% body fat, then 22% body fat, and then 18%. This usually will happen over the course of 4-6 months. Great right? But then you measure your body fat and it’s 23%. You had a feeling it went up because you could see it in the mirror. Then back up to 25% a month later. You’re doing everything the same in the gym, eating according to the guidelines. What’s happening?
Insulin. That’s what!
Usually when we eat processed foods, (by processed I’m talking about cereal, cookies, pasta; foods that do not normally occur in nature, but instead are created on a whiteboard in some company’s laboratory), our body regards them as very toxic and stores most of it as fat. We go on the Paleo diet and since we are not eating anymore processed foods, we lose the toxins and fat that our body stored previously. Now, if you’re familiar with diet and exercise, you know eating carbohydrates causes an increase in insulin in the body. When we wake up, our body releases an adrenal hormone called Cortisol. Normally, in the human body, only one, cortisol, or insulin is released, never both at the same time. Eating carbohydrates for breakfast causes the pancreas to release insulin, and insulin, in the presence of cortisol signals the brain to make NEW fat cells (1)!
So, the Paleo honey you just put on your Paleo nut and seed bread in the morning just made new Paleo fat cells. The scary fact is that a fat cell has only one job and that is to get full! So it starts sending out signals to the brain for more sugar, more carbs, until it is nice and full and happy, hence the fat/weight that we regain.
What Else Does Insulin Do?
Insulin is a hormone that comes from your pancreas. It has many different jobs in the human body. The more we test insulin, the more we find out as it is responsible for many, many things in the human body. Insulin can and will:
- Absorb sugar in the blood and partition it to the muscle or fat cell
- Help replicate DNA and synthesize protein when present
- Help uptake amino acids, utilize potassium and enzymatic activity
- Increase blood flow
- Decrease protein breakdown
- Lowers the rate of fat burning and gluconeogenesis (the generation of sugar from non carbohydrate sources)
The previous list is just what Insulin likes to do in its spare time, sort of like hormone hobbies. The main role of insulin, what it is really there for, is to keep the body in an anabolic state as it triggers the growth of everything.
How Insulin Works
For the scope of this paper, we will simplify the terms of how insulin works for a universal understanding. To do this, we will use a………… Banana! Every person in the world that wakes up in the morning wakes up burning fat. What we eat after that dictates whether or not our body continues to burn fat or whether or not that process gets disrupted by carbohydrate fuel. See the following example pertaining to two people:
Person #1 – Wakes up at 7:30am for work and has a cup of coffee with two over easy eggs with 3 pieces of bacon. This person continues to burn fat until their next meal since no carbohydrates were introduced.
Person #2 – Wakes up at 7:30am for work and has a banana and a cup of coffee. Once the fructose from the sugar in the banana reaches the blood stream, the pancreas releases insulin to go scoop it up. As soon as insulin is released the body stops burning fat for fuel, and forces the consumed sugar to be used as fuel. Because person #2 is commuting to work and not doing any physical activity, insulin takes the sugar directly to fat cells for storage at a later date. The fat burning process has been disrupted and the brain now realizes it needs more “quick fuel.” Before you know it, person #2 is reaching for more food.
As you can see, person #2 is on the fast track to fluffiness. Person #2 will not only consume more sugar throughout the day in all of its forms, but probably more calories as well. This is all avoided by consuming mostly fat, protein, and fibrous or low glycemic vegetables during the day, then consuming your lean meats and higher glycemic fruits, and vegetables in the evening. Why? Because of GLUT’s!
GLUT’s: Are We There Yet?
Like I said before, it seems the more we find out about insulin, the less we realize we know. In the old days, we used to think insulin gobbled up sugar and brought it directly into the cell. Scientists just found out that this isn’t the case at all. Insulin actually brings sugar to the cell and then the sugar is received by glucose transports, or GLUT’s.
For the purpose of this report, we will focus on GLUT 4 because it is the insulin regulated glucose transporter, responsible for insulin related sugar storage. GLUT 4 receptors lie inside the muscle and fat cell waiting for insulin to attach to the receptors outside of the cell so they can come up and receive the sugar. Sort of like when the mailman knocks on your door to deliver you a package. If the mailman comes during the day when you are not home, then the package just sits (read gets stored). But if he knocks at night when you are home, then you can receive the package, open it, and use what ever is inside.
This is the beauty about saving your high sugar veggies and fruits for the nighttime; studies show that the GLUT 4’s in the muscle tissue become hypersensitive, and the GLUT 4’s in the fat tissue become less sensitive at night, especially if resistance training was performed directly before their consumption (1,2).
So there it is. Your super quick Paleo fix. The take home message is that besides looking good, the health of the body really does reside in how often insulin is released. Release insulin frequently and suffer the high and low energy swings. Burn fat, then stop burning fat, or, burn fat all day, release insulin in the body once per day, at night, when it wants to put sugar in the muscles, not in the fat. It’s your call. The bottom line is IF YOU ARE GOING TO CONSUME SUGAR, SAVE IT FOR THE EVENING TIME!
During the writing of this report, I came across some new information that will help fix your Paleo diet even further. I figured that since I’m in the writing zone, why not!
One of the lesser-known reasons why people often have reduced energy when switching to the Paleo lifestyle is because of the loss of sodium in the processed foods that they no longer consume. To compound this effect, when I tell you not to consume any sugar during the day so you don’t release insulin, you will also lose more sodium because insulin tells the kidney’s to reabsorb sodium and not release it in the urine (3). So the problem is two fold; lose sodium in the diet, and then with low insulin levels during the day, you will lose sodium in your urine as well. How do we counter act this problem?
Consume above average amounts of sodium during the day.
We don’t want to use just any old table salt though; we need Celtic sea salt, or Himalayan salt. If it’s white, don’t consume it. Celtic Sea Salt is grey, and Himalayan salt has a reddish tint. This ensures the salt is natural and contains other minerals our body can digest. One study had subjects drink three cups of beef bullion periodically throughout the day (3). Kelly Starrett, author of Ready to Run, suggests adding a pinch of this natural salt to your water bottle you take to the gym, or on your run as well.
I hope you found this report useful; not only in your life, but also for the ones you love. Do me a favor; share this knowledge with someone who struggles with their Paleo diet, or someone who struggles with the food they consume at all. For more information, contact me at:
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- Kiefer, John. The Carb-Nite Solution. Kiefer Productions, LLC. 2005
- Kiefer, John. The Supplement Blackbook. Kiefer Productions, LLC. 2014
- Champ, Colin E. Misguided Medicine: The Truth Behind Ill-Advised Medical Recommendations and How To Take Health Back Into Your Own Hands. CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. 2014