Baking is not exactly natural, even if it contains Paleo food types. I am not against baking; everyone likes eating it. But if you’re serious about losing weight, eating natural whole foods as often as you can is the key to sustainable weight loss; here is why:
People often say, “oh i don’t have time to cook or prepare meals often, so i make baked things for the week so we can eat those on the run.. ” Sure, thats fine occasionally, especially if they are Paleo type baked goods. But please, every day or so!? I run several companies and squeeze exercise in my lifestyle aswell as all sorts of other daily things i have to do – just like many other people on this planet. However, i still prep my meals and i don’t bake very often. If i do, it’s what i call “mix & set” not baking. Why?
Baking of any kind combines foods we don’t find naturally occurring
A banana has no fat but alot of natural sugars. An avocado has reasonable fat but no sugars. Meats have high proteins and some fats but no sugars. You can see where i am going with this. Try thinking of any natural food that contains reasonable portions of both fat and sugar. Other than full milk, there isn’t! Milk is also something that was intended for an animals infants, not the adults let alone us humans.
Fat and sugar together is often a problem
The combination of fat and sugar in a single food is dangerous for us if consumed too often. Our bodies were intended to eat one or the other in reasonable quantities and often with protein too. In the past we might have indulged very occasionally in alot of fruit when in season or even honey. When we did, our Pancreas was there to help with the spike in our blood sugar by producing insulin. After a day or so we would then go back to our normal diets. Refined sugars like we know today were not available early in our history. Even a few hundred years ago, they were hard to obtain. Our ancestors never indulged with sugars on week by week basis or even year on year. But we do today – and we also combine these sugars with fats in almost every processed food i can think of. Yes Paleo baked goods are much better for you because you’re using un-refined ingredients; but you’re processing these whole foods and this isn’t curing the weight gain issue. Most weight gain issues are because of insulin spikes caused by higher than normal carbohydrate intakes and often combined with fats. So if you’re weight is still up or has stalled at some point and you’re eating these better baked goods, this might be why.
Baked goods are always very high in calories
Even if you follow a Paleo diet in some form, you can still become over weight from eating baked foods. You could also retain existing insulin issues if you use alot of natural concentrated sugars too often. Over weight people are often already symptomatic in some form and this makes the idea of sustainable weight loss much harder to achieve. High levels of sugars from honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and palm sugar combined with high fat nut flours when baked are still processed foods; albeit alot better for you. Don’t get me wrong, i am not saying don’t enjoy a few of these, but the best rule of thumb here is to use the 80/20 rule and make sure your getting most of your meals from whole foods. These whole foods tend to carry more water and fibre within the entire meal unlike baked goods and whole foods absorb much more slowly with less calories.
Mix and set your food rather than bake
If you’re going to bake with the Paleo diet guidelines, try to use whole fruits and not agaves, maple syrups, coconut sugar, palm sugar and or honey very often; or use sparingly. Whole fruits carry fibre and this is believed to help reduce the absorption of fruit sugars into the body too quickly.
Keep to mixing things rather than complete blending of ingredients and baking for long periods. The more you breakdown the ingredients the faster this absorbs into our blood, which you want to avoid. Baking or heating food heavily caramelizes most foods – this makes it absorb faster into our blood also. The idea of “mixing and setting” over blending and baking is where i feel the distinction between whole foods and processed foods can be made. Grains were never an issue for our diet till someone decided to grind them into a powder we could bake with; this absorbs fast and is seen as sugar to the body. Not surprising then that todays mass produced flours roughly resemble cocaine… they almost act the same way too and our brains love it.
Being careful not to go full circle
The recent uptake of baking using Paleo or Primal diet guidelines is merely fulfilling our desire for addictive food. It is allowing us to somewhat return to what we have been trying to ideally leave behind – processing of food. I am already seeing such things as processed paleo nut mix for making cookies etc, sold in jars. This is hardly natural or normal despite what it is made from – this attitude towards faster food is about making everything we do convenient for us because we are simply too lazy to make a little effort each day in supporting our health with proper meals. Baked goods, even healthier ones, should be treats we seldom have.
80/20 people, stay with the program.