• 4 Real Foods You May Be Overeating

    4 Real Foods You May Be Overeating | stupideasypaleo.com When it comes to eating real foods, it’s still possible to overdo it.

    If you’re new to Paleo or a more general “real food” way of eating, it can be a monumental task to switch over from a diet of processed, nutrient-poor junk food to one that’s healthier. Building a foundation on meat and eggs, veggies and fruit and healthy fats is one that’ll take you far in your quest, but often, even the best of intentions can get us in trouble.

    You see, some foods, even though they fit a Paleo template, are easily over-consumed. Granted, it’s easy to eat too much of anything, and slipping up from time to time won’t really make or break you in the long term. What I notice, though, are some real, Paleo foods that become problematic for folks even though they’re supposed to be “okay” to eat.

    With what frequency and in what quantity will consuming these foods be an issue? It’s impossible to say for everybody, but if you notice you aren’t feeling or looking your best, it may be time to examine your eating patterns. Awareness, together with knowledge, is a powerful thing.

    Real Food #1 You May Be Overeating: Nuts

    Crunchy, fatty and satisfying…nuts are a common Paleo-friendly food that’s over-consumed. Paleo’s definitely not a low fat approach to nutrition, but nuts are a dense source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and calories. Together with the fact that they’re portable, mindlessly munchable (or mindlessly spoonable out of a jar) and readily available, you can see why they could be an issue.

    What else about nuts makes them something to not crack out on? They contain phytic acid (one of the same reasons beans / legumes are avoided in Paleo) which prevents some of the minerals in the nuts from being available to us upon digestion. Another issue? Certain types of nuts – particularly those with high PUFA content such as walnuts – are prone to going rancid because these fatty acids are structurally more unstable.

    I’m not telling you to never eat nuts ever again (I usually eat them once a day), but look for other healthy fat sources, like coconut products, animal fats and olives, to incorporate into your diet. You can also soak nuts to reduce their phytic acid content (click here for a tutorial from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition). One of my favorite ways to use nuts is as a condiment for sprinkling on top of a dish for some crunch and texture.

    Real Food #2 You May Be Overeating: Dried Fruit

    Fruit is one of those real foods that gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s generally got more sugar than veggies and if you’re particularly sugar-sensitive you may want to limit it to 1-2 servings a day, but it’s hardly the same as putting 3 spoonfuls of sugar in your coffee in the morning. Where fruit becomes more of an issue is when it’s dried.

    Removing the water from fruit makes the sugar highly concentrated, and since the fruit’s volume is reduced, it’s easy to keep popping it in your mouth. If you’re sugar addicted (like I was), you may do best to limit or avoid dried fruit. If and when I do eat it, it’s usually as a natural sweetener (say, in my cranberry sauce). I used to sit down to a bag of Trader Joe’s dried mango slices (some of you know exactly what I’m talking about) and kill the whole thing in 5 minutes. Now, I’m happy with half a sliced apple on top of my salad.

    Real Food #3 You May Be Overeating: Kombucha

    Jackie (The Paleo Mama), Vanessa (Healthy Living How To) and I were recently discussing the rise of cavities among heavy kombucha drinkers, and we all came to the same conclusion: kombucha is supposed to be a tonic, not a soda replacement.

    Kombucha is awesome (read more about kombucha health benefits), and I love making it (heck, I even have a tutorial and an e-class for it) but it’s one of those real foods that can be overdone. Why? It does have sugar – even though that’s drastically reduced by the fermentation process – and it is acidic. While consuming acidic foods isn’t fundamentally bad, drinking a lot of kombucha can be just as hard on the enamel of your teeth as soda (which is acidic due to its carbonation). Yes, it’s still a great source of probiotics, but if you’re drinking several cups a day, it might be time to cut back.

    Real Food #4 You May Be Overeating: “Natural” Sweeteners

    Artificial sweeteners suck (they’re hyper sweet and offer zero nutrition) but what about natural sweeteners that pop up in real food / Paleo recipes like honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup? They’re still going to affect blood glucose and cause an insulin response, just like refined sugars. While you may argue that natural sweeteners have nutritional advantages over their refined counterparts and are therefore “better choices”, one thing’s clear: continuing to eat high amounts of sugary-sweet substances in your diet isn’t ideal.

    Again, if you’re battling a sugar addiction, this one’s particularly relevant, but even for people who aren’t, pouring natural sweeteners in your food or drink daily can turn into a problem. Your goals and context will dictate how much you can tolerate – from a physical and psychological perspective – but just know that just because a sweetener is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it should be eaten with abandon. For more on sugar, check out this article.

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    4 Real Foods You May Be Overeating | stupideasypaleo.com

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    Have you ever overdone it on any of these real foods? What would you add to the list?

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    59 thoughts on “4 Real Foods You May Be Overeating

    1. These are all me… I caught myself eating a spoonful of maple syrup yesterday and THEN I put some on my oatmeal (obviously, I’m not a strict paleo eater.. but try to eat real foods) I was like.. um.. what am I doing?

      But nuts and dried fruit are totally my downfall because they are my go to snacks when I need a little something.

      And kombucha.. ah kombucha.. I love the stuff… I just started brewing this a few months ago… and I have been resisting the urge to brew more than 1/2 gallon at a time because I will drink too much of it.

      1. I totally have to watch myself too, give my history of sugar addiction…I have TOTALLY had those moments!!

        I try to do coconut flakes or olives instead of nuts sometimes. They’re still pretty portable but a break from the nut nuttiness! 😉

    2. Yay! I don’t over eat any of these (especially the kombucha (yuck)). 🙂 The food I seem to have on hand all the time though are sweet potatoes. I don’t eat them at every meal but probably 3-4 times a week. Can sweet potatoes be overdone?

      1. I think it depends on your goals…if you’re after fat loss, it may be wise to limit them but honestly 3-4 times a week doesn’t sound like too much to me! If you’re active and healthy otherwise, I can’t see why they’d be a problem in that frequency.

    3. I started laughing when you wrote about the Trader Joe mangoes…those are so easy to overeat! And the dried pineapple. We make our own grass-fed jerky and I have found it is very easy to overeat that as well…I did not eat much red meat before doing Paleo/Whole9 and now I find it is an easy source of protein, but I really have to be careful to not over-consume. Thanks for writing this! Loved it!

      1. Chica, I could eat a whole bag and then some 😉 Looks like we are kindred spirits. Anything dried seems particularly easy to overdo. Thanks for stopping by!

    4. LOVE this post, friend! You ALWAYS have THE BEST topics!

      I am currently LOVING kombucha, but am drinking it because I’ve noticed that it really helped me with some digestive issues I was experiencing. How much kombucha would you suggest to have if you were to have it daily? Or should a person even be having it daily?

      Thanks, Steph! xo

      1. Hi Meg…thank you very kindly! I always think about the type of posts I wish I’d read when I started out. I think 4-8 ounces is plenty if you’re going to have it daily. I usually will drink part of a GT’s bottle or only a little of my own per day.

    5. I agree completely with this list. I’m guilty of overdoing it on the majority of the items, except for the last one. I am especially hooked on dried fruit & need to watch my consumption… it’s like candy to me, which is dangerous. Great post!

    6. oh yeah.. snacking has been the hardest part for me from the beginning. For nuts, i absolutely have to put the can/bag away and just take out a small handful. Bringing a bag of almonds with me over to the couch is a bad, bad idea.

      1. Never the whole bag!! 😉 Most of this post was written from first-hand experience which is to say I’ve made these mistakes myself!

    7. Such a great post!! This was SO me when I first went paleo. You had me cracking up with the Trader Joe’s mango, that was ME! Then Costco came out with this gigantic sized version (no sugar added and organic), and well, you can probably guess that was trouble. I learned my lesson and realized that not overdoing it with everything you listed made me feel much healthier. When I’m craving extra kombucha, I just drink apple cider vinegar and water and it totally satisfies the craving. Weird?!

      1. Hi Kristen!! I think that part is relatable for a lot of folks. OMG…yes…I’ve had that Costco version before. Totally addicting. Never did that again. Thanks for stopping by!

    8. Bananas! I eat 2-4 very ripe bananas a day in raw chocolate or fruit in almond milk based smoothies. That’s my substitute for sugar sweet coffee and ice cream cravings. Any suggestions?

      1. Hi Rae…it could honestly be that you’re consuming just about as much sugar / calories with those snacks as with ice cream.

    9. Thanks for bringing these up Steph! When I learned that not everyone felt giddy & drunk drinking kombucha in the name of health, I discovered that it isn’t great for those of us dealing with candida 🙂 But once you have gotten to a balanced place, what a great tonic!

    10. I am just starting the Paleo way of life – have been doing a lot of shuffling of foods I consume and doing research, so I am a newbie. I still do have lentils and brown rice but not everyday. Only sometimes. For the most part, I have my veggies, lean meats, poultry and fish (salmon and halibut mostly), and my Garden of Life Raw Meal and Raw Fit drinks (working on weight loss as well).

      Thank goodness I do not eat too much or, really, any dried fruit, save for when I make my Roasted Butternut and Brussel Sprouts (dubly named by me as Roasted Brusselnuts and I put in some cranberries. I do love almond butter but I make sure not to eat too much, though almond butter is so addicting and sometimes when I make my shakes in the morning, I add a tablespoon or two of either raw or roasted (I know roasted isn’t good) almond butter. But I don’t do it all the time.

      I’ve never tried Kombucha and each time I’ve wanted to try it, I see that it contains traces of alcohol which a big no no for me since my religion prohibits all forms of alcohol….

      I think that moderation is the key for everything and I am really glad I stumbled on your blog and website. I look forward to reading more insightful things you have about Paleo. Thank you for this list. Although I am okay with most (nuts are probably a bit of a problem), I will be sure to keep in mind about these five foods. 🙂

      I do crave chocolate lol. What can we do about this!? 😀

      1. Hi Aasiyah! It sounds like you’re off to a great start!

        Ahhhh…chocolate. I think a little bit of high quality dark chocolate now and again isn’t a bad thing.

        Keep up the great work!

    11. I seem to be doing the same things you began with… about 80% Paleo… and just like you, it hasn’t been working as it should! Top it off with the “food sensitivity” blood test I just got. Obviously, dairy, yeast, and other non-paleo things are on there.. but I also came back with severe reactions to eggs, coconut, squash, tomatoes, bananas, apples, almonds, citrus, basil even! (many more.. but those are the toughest ones for me)
      I would love to do another Whole30, but cutting the above mentioned (as well as my others) out on top of the Whole30 no, no list has not been easy! Actually.. almost impossible… oh yeah.. lettuce is BAD too!
      No one that I talk to about nutrition seems to be able to help me. I am wondering if it is still possible to heal my gut and decrease inflammation, etc… by sticking to the Whole30 while still eating some things on my list from my sensitivity test. Have you ever dealt with or heard anyone with these problems? I feel like its green veggies, chicken and beef on my plate and that’s it… sad 🙁

      1. Hi Katie! Oh wow, that’s a tough hand to be dealt. I can tell you that my husband is on a low histamine paleo protocol and it does limit foods that normally would be considered very healthy: olives, some meats, different fruits and veggies, etc. We still make it work, and I think there’s a way you could do Whole30 on a more limited diet. What’s your goal with Whole30? To determine more food sensitivities?

        1. So many things have become clear… When I’m really disciplined ie… Whole30, my psoriasis goes away, my cycle becomes regular for the firs time in my life and I loose weight as well as solve general IBS symptoms. My weight seems to be the last one that I keep struggling with.

          1. I understand. I think you have a great foundation to move forward with a selection of food that you know you’re not allergic to and call it something like “clean eating.” If it’s to reset things and get you jump started, I get where you’re coming from. The only thing I would caution agains (and Dallas & Melissa do as well) is trying to do Whole30 for the rest of time.

      2. Katie, wow! I feel you… I’m allergic to a number of things that make Whole30ing a challenge. I found though, after I ate almost every meal Whole30 for about 6 months (note: almost, I did not have strict compliance for 6 months, just ate healthy and clean the majority of the time), my good allergies went away! Doc says if you eliminate problem foods for a minimum of 3 months and reintroduce sslloowwllyy you can eliminate your allergies. Might be a rough few months, but maybe something to talk to your doc about trying?

    12. So true! I find myself going to my cupboard for a few nuts all the time 🙁 I am on the Whole30, so I find snack options are very limited – I try not to snack but sometimes I find myself very hungry!
      Could you recommend an appropriate daily consumption of nuts if my goal is weight loss?
      Thanks for reading and your help 🙂

    13. I just ate a 4lb (~15 cups) bag of blueberries. Thats 90g of fiber but i feel fine…. lol probably shouldn’t do that

    14. Carrots! 3 per dar, Coconut! 2 per week, Coffee! 1-2 Per day, and also coconut butter, 4 tblsp Per week, coconut oil 1-2 tblsp EVERY day… Is it good, isn’t?

        1. Sorry , my English is very poor ! I mean: daily volume 3 carrots, 2 coconuts a week 1-2 coffees a day, cocoa butter and coconut oil very often. I mean, some of these aliments I take too much ?

    15. I do so love dried fruit, so I try to separate them into multiple small bags as soon as I bring them home. I also have a sugar (and simple carb) addiction so I try to stay away from all that stuff (fake or real). Nuts are probably my downfall, I could really overeat them, and when I do (especially whole nuts) they go right through me, it can be miserable.

      1. Hi David,

        Isn’t it cool to know this information about yourself? Now, you know what you need to do to be your best. 🙂

    16. I just recently figured out that nuts were causing my weight gain! Ugh! I miss them so much! I can’t even have them in the house because I’m so addicted to them. 🙁

      1. It’s important to know what does and doesn’t work for you. Some foods are trigger foods that yield that reaction.

    17. Macademia nuts were definitely my downfall when I started with a Whole 30 in November. On the plus side… I may have eaten so many of them that I am no longer anywhere near as interested in them or really any other nuts now. Nut butters on the other hand…

    18. I have been in in/outpatient treatment and counseling for bulimia/binge eating… thought it was some sort of defect in me. I white-knuckled a lot, lost a lot of weight, but from time to time, I would “slip”.

      When starting AIP/Paleo – it ended. I used to obsess about food. I think it all had to do with eliminating sugar (or drastically cutting down). I hadn’t “slipped” once. I had some very ripe pineapple about 6 months in and it was too sweet – realized how much my palate had changed. For my bday a few months later, I decided to give myself “permission” to have whatever I wanted to celebrate. I went to my fave bakery where I would usually get a key lime pie and devour it all by myself… but I stood there and had ZERO desire for it. I ended up with a watermelon and I stuck sparklers in it. Totally cracked me up…

      In February, I came down with a bad cold that turned into bronchitis. I wanted to try to beat it without standard meds – so I whipped up lemon, honey, tequila for ” cough medicine”. I found I was craving more and more of it – it was the honey.

      Was a confirmation to me that excess sugar is no bueno for me. Fruit doesn’t seem to be as much on an issue for me… but I eat maybe 1-2 servings a day, and sometimes I may not have any at all. Still amazed and grateful every day that food, which was something I always battled with, ended up healing me as well. 🙂

    19. I’m so addicted to frozen blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and raspberries. Oh and frozen bananas too. And during the summer, I totally overdo the watermelon. Why is fruit so yummy???

    20. I should have read this before I finished the bag of dried mango from TJs – darn. Guess I won’t be eating anymore …

      1. If it’s not a trigger food for you, it’s probably not an issue. For me – and lots of folks with sugar cravings – it just intensifies them. Know yourself 🙂

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