No Carbs, No Energy? Wrong.

Here’s a nice Dorsey Kindler article in Men’s Journal: “Paleo’s Latest Converts.” Mr. Kindler points to three endurance athletes who have become paleo and have drastically improved performance and/or lengthened their careers: a professional cyclist, an ultramarathon runner, and a triathlete.

Typically the carbohydrate-heavy diets of pro cyclists coupled with massive amounts of mileage lead to a lowering of testosterone, and by extension, less power on the bike. This explains the appeal of illegally supplementing the hormone — to aid in recovery in multiday stage races.

The results for Zabriskie were impressive, DeVore says. Over the course of their time together the 6-foot cyclist dropped his body weight from 168 pounds to 154 while improving his dead lift from 150 pounds to 245. This while increasing his power on the bike by about 15 percent. He performed well in the Volta a Catalunya, an early-season Spanish stage race, before dropping out in the last stage due to illness.

“I don’t think he ever thought he would improve this much,” DeVore said. “For a guy who’s as elite as he is, and we’ve added that much power on the bike in one off season? That’s huge.”

It’s pretty amazing that the conventional wisdomists have insisted – forever – that one needs carbs for energy for intense exercise or performance athletics, as well as the day-to-day sedentary living that describes the lifestyle of most folks.

This brings up something that has always left me dumbfounded: It’s even worse when the amateur “nutritionists” (meaning family member, cousin, neighbor, co-worker, man on the street, etc.) all can’t wait to lecture folks on how their lower-carb and higher-fat diet is both deleterious to health and “not how we were meant to be.” My response is that Hot Pockets, bagged snacks, donuts, sugar beverages, and 3-hour energy drinks surely kept our paleolithic ancestors going, and it’s a darn good thing the modern, westernized-industrial diet mimics evolutionary lifestyle!

Still, I find that I am badgered by folks for how I eat, and other real-foodists tell me the same stories. Even with my waist size, at age 51, being the exact same size as when I was in junior high school, very overweight people at the office will scoff at me for walking by with a plate of (pastured) bacon, a pile of juicy lamb steaks floating in real butter and dumped on with celtic sea salt, or a salad piled high with five meats and eggs (gasp – with yolks). I’ve actually received the nutrition lectures from these folks, though those are getting fewer and fewer, thanks to the new reality crashing in on their world due to the barrage of media information on traditional foods and diets. Meanwhile, they discuss their anti-depression meds, post-lunch carb comas, and unsustainable periods of starvation in desperation to lose weight. Thankfully, my floor at the office is slowly starting to become paleo-central – if not in adherence (due to hard-to-break habits), at least in a new appreciation of the facts and a willingness to look at other options that defy the conventional bull**it.