The Paleo Solution – Episode 99

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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1. [2:02] Sugar-Burner to Fat Burner
2. [8:18] Dietary Cholesterol
3. [17:15] Safely Quitting Ketogenic Diet
4. [23:42] Passing out during Press
5. [27:59] pH Balance
6. [33:23] Low Testosterone
7. [38:05] Osteopenia in High School XC Runner
8. [40:42] Genius and Insomnia


1. Sugar-Burner to Fat Burner

How long does it generally take crossing over from being a sugar-burner to fat-burner and how will I know when I’m there? Have listened since beginning. Thank you guys for all the great info! :)


2. Dietary Cholesterol

I’m fifty-nine years old and have been on the paleo diet for about two weeks. Although my cholesterol readings have always been fine, my doctor suggested that diet high in animal protein/fat may put me at risk for developing higher cholesterol. Please advise.


3. Safely Quitting Ketogenic Diet

Samantha Says: I’ve been on a very low carb diet for over a year, eating about 10 grams of carbs a day.  This diet made me pack on 30 pounds (unwanted) and has left me very fatigued, among other problems.  What’s the best way to leave deep ketosis without putting on more weight or further stressing my body?  I’m 31.  Thank you!


4. Passing out during Press

Alex Says: Hi Robb and Greg, I had a scary moment yesterday in the gym: During a 1RM Press I blacked out and came to a few seconds later sprawled on the floor. I remember deciding I couldn’t rack the bar, but was conscious enough to push it away in front – apparently it pulled me forward and I pitched forward, tripped over the bar, and went face-first into the ground.

Luckily I survived with a few scrapes and bruises from the fall, but no head injuries, and I didn’t drop the bar on myself or anyone else. I have seen this on the internets before, but never thought it could happen to me.

I have been practicing holding my breath during lifts for years, but this has never happened to me before. I sometimes get a little light-headed during presses, but never enough to distract me from lifting, and I usually just bear it for a few seconds and it goes away.

I eat a primal diet (absolutely no gluten, but occasional mexican food with corn, beans, and cheese). Lately (two weeks) I have completely cut out caffeine as I have an Andy Deas-like dependency with no level of moderation that I can stick to. Also, I have pretty low blood pressure normally (about 95/50), and I have had postural drops in BP resulting in near-fainting spells, staggering around, etc.

1. Have you guys ever seen this happen in person?

2. Would caffeine or some other stimulant (nicotine? ep. 96!) help prop up my BP during lifting?

3. Any other dietary recommendations?

4. Should I just buy a helmet?

Thanks a lot for two great years of podcasts and info.


5. pH Balance

Brad Says: Thank you for all the great work you guys are doing.

My question is about Pee…kinda.

I’ve heard Robb talk about how he doesn’t place a lot of credibility into the acid base balance.

As a chiropractor I educate people about changing lifestyle habits to create health.  For several years I have been teaching about the pH balance.  However, since going Paleo almost 2 years ago, my urine pH is balanced only when I supplement with Vit C, which I only do a couple of times a week.  I do however regularly supplement with fish oil, vit D3, a whole food multi and pro-biotics.

Since I started eating paleo I have leaned out and I am more fit.  I know that the research is clear that Paleo is the healthy way to eat but am wondering if I just throw the whole PEE on a stick thing out the window.

My question is that if the urine pH is low, does that really mean that the blood pH is low?  Or does it matter?

Would greatly appreciate understanding the physiology from the perspective of biochemist, Robb the Great.



6. Low Testosterone

Jarod Says: Greg & Robb, A few months ago I was feeling weird symptoms of constant lethargy, hot flashes and anxiety. I went to the doctor, got checked out and had blood tests taken. The results were good with the exception of low testosterone and somewhat high LDL cholesterol. Total TEST was 448, FREE TEST 55, and SHBG 52. LDL cholesterol was 153. I’m not overly concerned about cholesterol since I eat a Paleo plus raw dairy diet. Since the blood results approximately 30 days ago I’ve been supplementing with Tribulus, Zinc, cod liver oil and nettle root.

I’m still getting symptoms of low TEST even with the supplementation. I feel very lethargic all day and have a constant “brain fog”. I follow Wendler 531 BBB template religiously, get good sleep and recover well. I’m going back to the doc for another blood test next week and have a follow up appointment 30 days after that. Should I recommend hormone replacement if the supplements don’t help? I’m only 31 years old
and am tired of feeling like shit all the time! Thanks in advance and am loving the podcast!


7. Osteopenia in High School XC Runner

David Says: Robb and Greg,

I coach a high school cross country and track team, and I have a young runner with osteopenia, which resulted in stress fractures his first xc and track seasons with me. He’s taking calcium supplements, and I want to approach the topic of changing his diet to something closer to paleo in order to prevent the loss of calcium, but it’s a tricky situation when a young coach is telling a parent how to feed their child.

So, I am left to do what I can when he’s under my care. We work on his mechanics to help him run softer, I have him train on grass a lot to minimize impact on his skeletal system. What would you think of adding some weight training in the hopes of causing natural osteogenesis? Would the running be doing enough of that as it is?

Thanks for the help guys. I love the podcast.


8. Genius and Insomnia

Katy Says: First of all, I love your podcast. I’ve been transitioning my family to Paleo for several months. Anything my husband eats from home is 100% Paleo. Unfortunately, he isn’t completely committed, so at work, he may get a burger with a bun or something. He is also a huge Ben & Jerry’s fan, and feels the seratonin spike he gets from a pint is TOTALLY worth it, given how stressed he is. :/

For a little background. My husband is a genius. 99.99% of all people-level-genius. He recently had his 3rd Neuropsychological profile done (first two were in childhood) right after his thirtieth birthday. Over the years he has had all kinds of borderline diagnosis with OCD & ADD, and this time was no exception. This neurospych was awesome though, because she was able to explain that someone with his genius brain just can’t “turn it off” like the rest of us (read: me). He doesn’t have OCD or ADD, but she DID diagnose him with insomnia.

So, we go to bed between 8 and 9 every night and wake up between 5 and 6am (depending when our three boys under the age of three wake up). He wears a sleep monitor (Zeo), and has for over a year, and has been taking Melatonin nightly for five years. Without the Melatonin, he can’t fall asleep, but even with it, if he wakes up (on his own or by our kids) in the middle of the night, getting back to sleep is really hard. I worry about the Melatonin for all of these years, but I’m unsure of an alternative. He has noticed that even after getting more than eight hours of sleep, he is STILL exhausted. According to his Zeo monitor, he gets his REM sleep in the early morning hours (starting around 4 or 5), so he feels like a train hit him when he wakes up during REM.

I should add- after years of football in highschool and college where he was forced into the gym, he refuses to lift weights. Every couple of weeks, he will do pull-ups on the bar we have at home. He also rides the stationary bike for a couple of hours a day 3-5 days a week at a VERY slow pace. He’s 6’2″ and 195-200lbs. He’s addicted to his electronic devices, as he works at a high level in ecommerce. I’m sure the glow of the screen isn’t doing him any favors, but he’s pretty pissed at life right now. He feels like he’s “being good” an going to bed early- instead of his preferred 2am- but he’s still tired, so he is frustrated!

So i guess, these are my questions:

1. Is it bad taking Melatonin nightly for 5 years? Is there something better?

2.  Is there any way to make the REM sleep occur earlier in the night?

3.  Would hitting the gym – hard- help?

Thanks a ton. Love you guys!

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Categories: Podcasts


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


    • Cody M says

      Unrelated, but can you list out the tests you recommended and throw up the link on the other product besides DHEA?

      As always, top notch work.

  1. says

    Thanks for the bit about moving away from a ketogenic diet (KD)- this is a great question and one I get often too, as well as something I’ve been tinkering with myself. I find that when I come off of even a cyclic ketogenic diet that I pretty much gain back the few pounds I had lost while on it within a week or two. I don’t know that maintaining it is worthwhile at that point since I see much better performance in the gym when I’m just free-eating veggies with some minimal starchy ones included as well as some fruit here or there. I can’t say that extra bit of leanness is as much fun as being able to just do more fun stuff!

    So… how might this situation be different for someone who is on a cyclic KD including “carb ups” 2x/week (either 3 on 1 off or 5 on 2 off) to a moderate level (usually up to in the 100-150 range)? Would the titration back in of carbs not be as necessary? Would the CKD leave a person AS naturally insulin resistant as a full-on, every day KD?

    Thanks :)

    • says

      The weight gain is almost certainly glycogen + water from last weeks podcast. if folks are in the 100-150g per day range as a low-end, then have occasional carb ups form there, I think they will be running fine. Insulin sensitive, but a good % of cals from fat.

      • says

        Thanks. Even hearing this stuff repeatedly is helpful since some of the nuances in the parameters change from question to question.

        Also, much respect for the fact that you guys are around 2 years into this gig. I’m about to record Episode 5 of my podcast and it’s lots of work! It’s fun, but definitely work!

  2. Luke says

    Hey Robb,

    Great Episode!
    Do you have any Information regarding FODMAP-Intolerance? Do you know people whose tolerance to these foods improved after their gut had healed? Miss my coconut milk and onions =(.

    Thanks, Luke

      • Luke says

        alright. am I supposed to submit a podcast-question?

        coconutmilk ingredient list says “coconut, water”, + I also do not tolerate the other fodmap-foods like most fruit, asparagus, broccoli, … so I DO suspect the fodmaps..

          • AC says

            Would like a blog post on this. Dr. Ayers suggest food intolerances are due to lack of established gut flora and that one way to improve gut flora is through inulin found in such foods such as garlic,onions, leeks, most fodmap foods. I react to onion as well, but am trying out the GAP protocol for gut healing and improving the good bacteria and it calls for a lot of these inulin foods in the introductory stage. Garlic doesnt seem to bother me as much but get quite bloated with onions. Am sticking it out and seeing if it settles over time.

  3. henry says


    Did you post up the link you said you were going to post up? (No worries on the brain fart, it happens to the best of us)


  4. Lori Calhoun says

    I just saw the TV ad for Curiosity on Discovery, with a close up of Robb Wolf, filthy wearing an animal skin saying this was the toughest thing he has ever done in his life. Awesome. I can’t wait to see this.

  5. says

    Hi Robb,

    The punchier the better. You guys should get that combative RN from the ADA conference on the show–probably wouldn’t be good for the whole positive/constructive vibe (which I really appreciate, btw) but it would be fun as hell to listen to.

    Q re: Q’s 1&2–I’m upping my carb intake because of increased training (climbing/bodyweight+vest strength/a few 15 min high intensity sprints per week) but I have a family history of heart disease and am probably overly paranoid about it. As a 6’1, ~155lb male, is there an easy way to estimate how many cals from carbs/day I should be getting to avoid problematic reactive vldl via eleveated insulin levels? I have a nifty little body metrics monitor that measures my actual energy expenditure (95% accuracy) in calories if that’s helpful.

    I’m going to pick up a biochem textbook in the next month b/c I need to be able to answer these questions myself, but I really appreciate all your work on this.

  6. Daniel F. says

    Hi Robb,

    low testosterone question levels:

    Total TEST 448
    FREE TEST 55
    SHBG 52

    Can you give a range for what healthy testosterone levels would like in a male around the same age as the person who posted the question? It seems like whenever I do google search for proper/healthy testosterone levels there’s a bunch testosterone cream spam included with it. Not sure I can trust numbers. Perhaps there a site or study you can recommend.


  7. steveb says

    Is there any danger, in lowering natural test production after taking the supplement and then stopping? Also, I have heard that ashwagandha and forskolin can also be used to raise levels naturally. Any thoughts??

  8. Jess says

    Thanks for the last question, it further explained sleep issues I have struggled with my entire life. No genius here, but I have never understood how to “turn-off” my brain, even as a child. I take melatonin nightly and it makes a huge difference with being able to fall asleep, staying asleep is a whole different problem.

    THE biggest game changer for me is having no clock in the bedroom. I initially got rid of it to obtain a pitch black room but found it had other pleasant consequences. I used to wake up and see the glowing red lights of the clock telling me what time it was in the middle of the night. I’d then start doing math to see how many hours left until I had to wake up. Once I start with the math, it’s over, I’m awake.

    I now refuse to even look at my phone if I wake up. I want to be ignorant and try and keep the brain in a subdued state to fall back asleep.

  9. Miranda says

    My sleep used to be plagued by the ‘brain won’t turn off’ problem… until I had a baby and during the 9 months beforehand. Maybe the increased prolactin levels during pregnancy and breastfeeding? If you have this sleep problem, might I suggest getting knocked up and laugh in the faces of those who tell you to kiss your sleep goodbye with a newborn…I sleep great now!

  10. Kirill says

    Robb, on PH balance. Wasn’t it Cordain’s point, in the first place, to just not have to tax the buffering system in one direction(carbonate) by balancing it externally with food? Because that way it does seem to make sense. Like, if there’s a constant low grade process that takes up some resources then it may make sense to avoid it? Never got it myself, but it’s bizarre that even his revamped website and books still maintain the alkaline/acid stance. Could you please clarify it with him on the upcoming show? Thanks for all you do. Love the podcast.

  11. Ryan Murakoshi says

    Hey Robb, Greg, and anyone else who may have some info to share with me on this. Robb, I know you’re super-uber busy, so if you don’t have time, understandable.

    So here goes. I wrote into the PS podcast in the past about my wife’s autoimmune condition, in which she was dealing with extreme bouts of dull pain for days, had difficulty sleeping, had joints feeling internally inflammed (no visible swelling), abdominal distention (sp?), gas, bloating, etc etc etc. (Trust me on the etc, etc, etc part)

    She has gone to different blood labs, with positive SCL-70, postivie ANA (speckled @1:640) and most recently to a 3 day excursion at a clinic in Santa Barbara, returning all the same results. The test results according to the Dr’s were inconclusive to any one result, mainly looking at Lupus and Scleroderma. So recently I took it upon myself to use this tool called google and start looking up everything that I could, and when I look deeper into it, it looks like Mixed Connective Tissue Disease or Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. Either way, I know that the conditions are great, especially since they are flaring on her right now for the past week or so.

    I am drilling it into her now, I am giving her no other choice at this point except the 30 day grain-free, dairy free, legume free way, supplemented by 2 tsp Carlson’s Fish Oil (2 @ 1 tsp each), vitamin D3 (4000 IU), probiotic, her prenatal vitamin, iron (for anemia), and more recently 1 tsp liquid melatonin (at night, 2 nights on/2 nights off).

    Is there any more considerations that I should be looking at here that I might have missed either in the blood work or in what I am interpretting as the proper way to correct it through her food intake? Anything extra such as nightshades that should be withheld at this point? SHould we cut the coffee as well and try to get adrenal levels back to a baseline to operate good health off of?

    Any help at this point works, it’s all just psudeo-science anyways.

    And Robb, I don’t know if or when you’d be available for a consult if at all, but if not do you know of any good people to talk to in central california? i checked the Paleo Physicians Network, and the only resutl I could find around us is an D.O. M.P.H.?? Would our condition be worth a visit to him? I’ve never attended any office with that title before. (Although I have attended some offices before that I don’t know if they really should have had a title…?)

    • says

      that covers it pretty well. I do occasional consults, but you need to have DONE all this stuff, blood work etc…it rare the person that it does nto fix just doing the homework for the consult.

      • Ryan Murakoshi says

        Thanks Robb. We’ll keep on trucking and see. She is supposed to go to a Rheumatologist in November, If we get everything until control by then, will the rheumatologist still be able to tell her what is going on inside, or must the condition be present and flaring at the of the visit to detect it? I know common sense says if she’s feeling better, there’s really no need for the visit, but this would at that time be more of something just to ease her mind knowing what is going in internally. (Cause she doesn’t want to listen to me on what is going on inside)

        Also forgot to ask in first post, accuracy of urine analysis dipstick for detecting celiac? At the clinic, they tested it only thr=rough urine, and then the doctor hand wrote in, you do not have celiac. I couldn’t find anything to verify the accuracy of urine testing for detecting celiac?

        Sorry to bug.

        • Mary says

          Before I went Paleo, I had many inflamatory issues similar to your wife (including the high ANA titer) plus peripheral neuropathy (plus diagnosed with CFS, ADHD and mood disorder). The rheumatologist was totally useless. He definitely felt that my symptoms could be autoimmune-related, but none of them were “specific”. He basically told me to definitely come back to see him when I started getting more symptoms. The neurologist was also no help.

          Going Paleo resolved all of these symptoms (with the exception of intractable insomnia, which seems to be a different issue), and I am able to live my life and support my kids again. You should get tough with your wife. Tell her that if she is enjoying this condition, then she should of course continue visiting different specialists. If she truly wants to get better, she should at least try Paleo.

    • Gary says


      Re: ‘…extreme bouts of dull pain for days, had difficulty sleeping, had joints feeling internally inflammed (no visible swelling), abdominal distention (sp?), gas, bloating…’ Could be a heavy metal issue. Mercury causes a range of symptoms, including the ones you mention (of course such symptoms can be caused by other illnesses too). Has your wife got amalgam fillings? Mercury in amalgam (50% mercury!) known to be associated with positive ANA, scleroderma and lupus (and a myriad other illnesses). Hair mineral analysis (Doctors Data: $50) is a good test to start if mercury is suspected (hair test will show deranged mineral transport if mercury is a problem – but not necessarily high mercury). I’m suffering from mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings with a positive ANA but with no specific autoimmune illness confirmed. One study showed 60% dentists have positive ANA compared to 5% controls. I do Paleo which is great to help heal leaky gut and other digestive issues (which mercury causes) but the only ‘cure’ for mercury toxicity is to get amalgams replaced and chelate for months/years with alpha lipoic acid. Here’s a link to Harvard chemist Andy Cutler’s site (author Amalgam Illness: diagnosis and treatment) to find out more

  12. Sandra Brigham says

    Wow. #3 really made me wonder what the hell I’m doing wrong. Following Archevore (kept cream, butter, cheese) I’ve gained 7 lbs. I’ve tried LC, VLC, Dr. Kruse’s leptin reset Rx, IF. Is it all hormonal? I’m peri…If I happen to lose a pound, I gain it right back. Adrenal fatigue may be at play. Only walking a Donkey Dog (dog who walks slowly). Started also walking after dinner alone. Body comp is changing w/Primal BP begginer workouts but the damn wt won’t come off…9 mths now. Chronic fatigue is gone, migraines gone, and a bunch of other good things happened. Really would love to hear more on this wt gain thing.

  13. paleoslayer says

    “…people are fucking stupid” – that’s been my experience as well after dealing w the public in a retail pharmacy setting for the past 15 years.

  14. says

    What do you make of this testosterone study on high carbohydrate?
    ‘Low Protein Diets … Decreased Cortisol & More Testosterone’

    Also sometimes I get hypoglycemia (and the ravenous falling blood sugar hunger) after 2-4hrs from sweet potatoes – even when I eat with cinnamon & insulinogenic cocoa. Should I eat these with fat/protein source like meat, or will too much fat cause temporary insulin resistance and sugar damage when eaten with the sweet potato… I’m thinking of that hyperlipid post

    Should I just eat my bolus of sweet potatoes in one sitting and then just sprint for a few seconds? I don’t walk/exercise everyday so this may be the problem. I just want stable blood sugars (for low cortisol, protein sparing) but still want to eat 150g+carb/day, and also absorb the beta carotene with some fat I believe it only takes 8-12g of pure fat for maximum absorption of most carotenoids.

    Will check out I-Caveman!

  15. Mary says

    I am so happy to hear that you are going to be having a sleep specialist on in the near future.

    I have very-long term, intractable insomnia similar to what was described in this episode. In my case, the cause is very clear: stimulation DURING THE DAY. I never watch TV, never use the computer in the evening (never do anything stimulating in the evening) and go to bed early in a pitch black room. Whether or not I sleep seems to be totally determined by the level of stimulation (interpersonal and intellectual) I have experienced during the day. It’s not stress/worry, as my insomnia is the worst after an interesting day, when I lot has been going on, and I have a lot of ideas for problem-solving, planning etc.

    I have just started a new job as a manager trying to fix a disfunctional team situation (very demanding, stimulating and interesting) and I am pretty much on a three day cycle: I only get a decent night’s sleep every third night, and only because the two previous nights I have barely slept, or haven’t slept at all. I find that I can function mentally/interpersonally on little or no sleep for a couple of days, but physically it is just driving me into the ground.

    So Robb, please give us a shout before you have the specialist you mentioned on the show, so I can send in a question.

  16. Karen says

    Wow…REALLY? If they can’t seriously answer questions without mocking the person who is asking, why do this? THis was my first podcast, maybe I’m just not getting their humor.

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