Letter Re: Low-Carb Paleo and Primal for Preppers

Dear Editor,
Regarding the article
“Low-Carb Paleo and Primal for Preppers, By T.Z.”, there are a few points of this article that should be clarified. The low-carb diet can be used to great effect, however you need to be aware that you can overdue it and cause yourself harm. Symptoms of harmful ketosis are thirstiness, feeling tired, peeing a lot, feeling sick to your stomach, belly pain, throwing up, dry or flushed skin, trouble breathing, confusion, and fruity smelling breath.  The main benefit of the ketosis diet is the lack of hunger your body feels when on the diet, making it easier to eat less. When done correctly there is no danger to your health.

The Inuit Indians of the previous century are often used as the model for the modern Paleo diet. The research shows that the Inuit consumed only meat for most of the year. The research also shows that they averaged 15-20 percent carbohydrates in the form of muscle and fat glycogen (a form of glucose), from the raw meat they consumed. The glycogen levels of seal blubber can be as high as 30% when eaten raw, immediately after the kill. Once rigor mortis sets in or the fat is cooked, the glycogen disappears and you only have fat. Protein toxicity is also a problem, if not enough fat is consumed in proportion to the protein. Protein toxicity was a problem many native people had in late winter, because the animals they relied on for food were depleted of their fat stores after a hard winter.

In the article T.Z. stated that “The only macro nutrient you need is protein”. Fat is also an essential macro nutrient that you can’t live without. There are nine essential amino acids and two fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own and need to be part of the food you eat. It is easy enough to do a web search to see which foods can supply the essential amino and fatty acids necessary to live. If you only consume protein and do not consume the proper amount of fat you will suffer from protein poisoning.

When I read the article it seems to suggest that a five-pound jar of Whey protein and some vitamins in a bugout bag, will last the average person three months.  Five pound of Whey contains roughly 9000 calories. If you are on the march you will need at least 3000 calories a day, which translates to a three day supply of energy for every five pounds of Whey protein. If someone were overweight, then consuming the Whey protein would maintain their muscle mass while they were using their stored body fat for energy. Depending on the degree of obesity and activity, five pounds of Whey could last much longer. For the five pounds of Whey to last 90 days you could only consume 25g a day, which is half the recommended daily requirement for protein. Vitamins take up very little room in a bug out bag and would be an excellent choice to include.

There is little doubt that we eat too many carbs. In my opinion the best Paleo diet that avoids both ketosis and protein poisoning, would be to consume 30% of your calories from protein, 50% from fat and 20% from carbs. Once your body uses up the carbs it will convert the protein into energy through the liver, by a process called gluconeogenesis. This is the same process that an athlete’s body employs when available carbs are depleted. Gluconeogenesis is the not the same as ketosis and ketosis is not necessary to convert protein to energy. The Inuit diet was not ketogenic and multiple researches were unable to detect any evidence of ketosis resulting from the traditional Inuit diet. My suggestion would be to use the ketosis low carb diet (less than 30g of carbs a day) until you reach your target weight and then increase your carbs until you are no longer producing ketones in your urine. You can buy urine test strips that detect the presence of ketones. Figuring out the proper diet now may change what you decide to grow and store in the future. Best Regards, – M.J.