Tag Archives: water

Media’s Botched Coverage of Long Term Weight Loss | The Paleo DietIt sounds like a gimmick, doesn’t it?

Well, it would be if the top five tips focused on pills, powders, and packaged shake mixes that often have some side effects and frequently don’t even offer lasting results.

But what if we take a more natural, soundproof approach to turning our bodies into better fat burners instead?

How do we do this?

By changing what we eat.

Some may be surprised to learn that one of the most effective strategies for getting more efficient at using fat rather than carbohydrate as our fuel is to eat more of the very thing we have been told for years to avoid:  fat.

To clarify, this is not to suggest that we should simply add fat to the diet; rather, to shift the focus away from a high carb method of eating to one garnering more of its calories from an array of natural fat sources.

A study published by the Harvard T.H. Chan’s School of Public Heath showed that “a low-carbohydrate diet may help people lose weight more quickly than a low-fat diet and may help them maintain that weight loss.”  In addition, a low-carb diet was most beneficial for lowering triglycerides – the main fat-carrying particle in the bloodstream – and also delivered the biggest boost in protective HDL cholesterol.” (1)

Trust me, not only will you begin to see the pounds come off slowly and surely, you’ll quite likely begin to enjoy your meals much more, due to how satiating fat is.

Below are my top five tips to help make the shift to eating more fat and begin the transition into being a better fat burner.

1. Up the Water

No, I’m not suggesting you take a mind-over-matter approach to your hunger by drinking water instead.  Rather, simply check in to see it the next time you’re feeling hungry, you’re actually just thirsty.  Thirst can sometimes masquerade as hunger since the same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst signals (resulting in mixed signals) (2), Before reaching for a snack, it’s worth a quick check by simply having a glass or two of alkaline water to make sure that doesn’t do the trick. How much water should you be taking in? There’s no one-size fits all approach, as there are many factors that would skew one’s need for water, such as age, activity level, gender, supplements, and medications. A safer bet is to simply make sure that your urine is light straw-color.   If you actually are thirsty, that’s a clear sign you’re dehydrated. Thirst indicates you’re already about 2-3% under where you should be.   Bottoms up!

2. Reduce the Carbs- That Includes Fruit

Eating white sugar has no part in a sound approach to weight loss, or a sound approach to health, for that matter, but it’s not just white sugar we need to be concerned about.   Many people eat far more fruit than veggies, no thanks to the categorization of the two together when we get the recommendation to ‘eat fruits and veggies.’ The results is more more sugar and less fiber compared to eating abundant veggies.   Begin to reduce the number of fruits you’re consuming each day.   You may be surprised to see the need to eat as often decreases, due to how much more satisfied you are after eating!

3. Audit your Veggie intake

Let’s be honest; are you really eating enough leafy greens?    Did you know only 1 in 10 Americans eat enough? (3)   With spring in the air, this is the perfect time to head to your local farmer’s market and start to develop a relationship with the vendors of some of the most amazing bounty you’ve likley ever seen.   Tip:  Ask them for ‘how to’s’ in terms of ways to prepare veggies that you’re learning about, perhaps for the first time!

4. Up the Fat

While it does require some thinking outside, the box, adding a variety of healthy fats to the diet is really not all that radical.   Simply use a bit more coconut oil to sauté your veggies and prepare your over-easy whole eggs, or top off the meal with some sliced avocado. Little things like this can do the trick to take what might have been a low calorie and low fat meal from ‘lite’ to ‘luscious’.    Plus, it will be all the more enjoyable and you’re not going to need a snack in two hours.

5. Check your sleep

Not getting enough sleep can spoil even the most prefect eating and exercise regimes.  The Mayo Clinic reported in a study that women who slept less than six hours a night or more than nine hours were more likely to gain 11 pounds (5 kilograms) compared with women who slept seven hours per night. (4)


If you’re feeling skeptical about upping the fat and going against what we’ve been told for years, ask yourself one question:  how has the low fat approach been working for you so far?

If you find yourself trying to achieve a different result while following the same approach, why not try something new, rather than banging your head against the wall, trying to figure out why it’s just not working (again)?


1. “Low-Carbohydrate Diets.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard’s HT Chan School of Public Health, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 07 May 2017.
2. Bruso, Jessica. “Difference Between Being Hungry and Thirsty.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 13 May 2011. Web. 07 May 2017.
3. Thompson, Dennis. “Only 1 in 10 Americans Eats Enough Fruits and Veggies: CDC.” Consumer HealthDay. N.p., 09 July 2015. Web. 07 May 2017.
4. Hensrud, M.D. Donald. “Sleep and Weight Gain: What’s the Connection?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 May 2017.



The Hydration Debate Gets Heated | The Paleo Diet
As we move into the summer, the competitive season for endurance sports hits full swing. Regardless if you’re an experienced runner or novice, you’ve likely been reminded by your run coach or peers “make sure you drink enough water during your run!”

For years the recommendation from run coaches has been to drink before you are thirsty, to prevent dehydration and subsequent decrements in performance. But if you aren’t racing at the front of the pack, do you need this much water?

Hydration is currently a hot topic and it’s divided into two main camps: the traditional camp who believes you should pre-hydrate by drinking 8 cups of water daily, versus a growing camp who believes you should only drink when thirsty. It can be a complicated topic, especially when the men and women in white lab coats can’t even agree on the best strategy. So, what are the best guidelines for you?


The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) recommendation for endurance athletes is to consume 5-7ml water per kilogram bodyweight in the four hours before exercise. This translates to approximately 340-477ml for a 150 lb. female and 455-636ml for a 200 lb. male. The general recommendation is to drink until your urine is clear. This seems very reasonable, so why the sudden change in thinking?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that straightforward. Just because you drink water doesn’t mean you’re absorbing the water. The composition of the water largely determines how much you absorb. If you drink distilled water with no salt, you won’t absorb the water and you’ll begin to deplete your blood sodium levels leading to hyponatremia.


 Hyponatremia sets in when the fluids you consume are greater than the amount of fluids you lose via sweat. Common symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, muscle weakness, and disorientation, which can be easily confused with symptoms of dehydration. The problem becomes dangerous if you give a person suffering from hypoatremia more water. Increased water will further dilute their blood sodium levels which can lead to cerebral edema, pulmonary edema, and death.

When a Boston marathoner died of hyponatremia in 2002 the wheels were put into motion to find the answers behind what hydration strategy is safest for all athletes. This led to the recent “drink to thirst” stance on hydration and a new set of recommendations.


In fact, this new thinking goes all the way back to the early 1990s when a ground-breaking study was published by Dr. Tim Noakes PhD and his colleagues regarding the potential danger of overconsuming water during exercise. Contrary to popular belief, they found drinking too much water was far more dangerous than not drinking enough. The body’s inherent mechanism to maintain hydration balance has since been shown to be more than enough to keep you hydrated and prevent the catastrophic effects of hyponatremia. This has led to changes in recent recommendations for endurance athletes to simply “drink to thirst.”


The composition of your water – specifically the amount of salt and carbohydrates – plays a major role in hydration and your capacity to actually absorb the water you are drinking. Just because you drink a lot of water, doesn’t mean you’re hydrated. If you pee just as much as you drink, you’re likely not making the most of your water intake. Many people can actually drink less and be more hydrated.

As mentioned above, if you drink too much distilled water you’ll flush out sodium from your body, depleting blood sodium levels and leading to hyponatremia. Fear not, it’s very rare to die of hyponatremia, but if you’re an elite level athlete it’s still a major concern.

You need salt and carbohydrates added to your water to maximize absorption. Nature is very smart; the fructose in a piece of fruit is naturally surrounded in fibrous pectins, which lead to a gradual release of fructose for energy. In sports drinks, your gut receives a large bolus of fructose all at once which can slow gastric emptying rate or the speed at which food and liquids leave your stomach. Too much fructose, or too many sips from a sports drink can lead to bloating, discomfort, and subsequently poor performance.


Interestingly, there are differences between men and women when it comes to hydration. The female hormonal terrain is more complex than that of men, which impacts the hydration question. The research of Dr. Stacey Sims PhD highlights that women are more susceptible to hyponatremia during their high hormonal phase – between ovulation and menses – than during their low hormonal phase. Furthermore, fructose is poorly absorbed in women compared to men, which can slow gastric emptying rate.

So, what does this mean for you if you are a woman? Effectively, a “drink to thirst” strategy is not the best approach as hormonal shifts in estrogens as well as high stress (e.g. exercise!) can alter vasopressin release, which decreases a woman’s thirst cue during the high hormonal phase.


Your hydration plan should depend not only on your gender, but your level of competition and general state of hydration. To stay hydrated away from competition, a Paleo diet is a great platform for maintaining hydration because it’s naturally high in vegetables and fruits, which provide a wealth of water and electrolytes to help keep you hydrated.

A general way to tell if you’re adequately hydrated is to look at the color of your urine. If it’s completely clear, you are likely over-consuming water and over-hydrating. If your urine is a darker yellow color, you likely need to increase you veggies and fruit consumption and add more water into your diet (Note – if you are taking a b-vitamin supplement it will lead to a very bright yellow urine. This does not mean you’re dehydrated). A urinalysis test can confirm your hydration status.

The average exerciser likely does not sweat enough to warrant the ingestion of large amounts of water and the old refrain of having a cup of water at every drink station isn’t necessarily the best strategy. Don’t worry about passing over a few water stations at your next race, let thirst be your guide and simply drink if you feel thirsty.

For elite runners, a useful strategy to determine your hydration plan is to weigh yourself before and after your run. If you’ve gained weight then you’re definitely over-consuming and you need to dial back your water intake.  If you lose more than 2% of your bodyweight, you need to bump up your intake.

It’s great to see so many people being active and training to compete in 10k, half and full marathon events throughout the summer months. Listen to your body and pay attention to a few key metrics – bodyweight, urine color, hormonal phase in females –  to ensure you’re optimally hydrated to look, feel, and perform your best!

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