What’s Wrong with Paleo?
Everyone is searching for the best way to loose weight, feel better, have more energy, and look better. Dieting has been part of American culture for a very long time. But why should we need to restrict the food we are eating? Because we are eating the wrong foods. With each passing moment, diet fads come and go. History does repeat itself and diet fads will continue to come and go as long as we continue eating the wrong foods.
What is wrong with going on a diet is just that! You shouldn’t have to go on a diet for a certain amount of time. You should decide you want to eat better, set some parameters, and focus on your goal….forever. Dietary changes need to be tackled and wrestled around with until you succumb to the fact that you need to make this change forever. I am not saying that you can’t ever cheat, I am just saying, make up your mind to eat more healthfully and do it. And don’t pick a diet that restricts calories or provides unrealistic proportions. Merely decide that you are only going to eat the right foods and watch your dietary habits such as overeating, eating late, or not chewing properly.
I understand that this blog post may get a lot of heat for what I am about to say because Paleo dieting is the new miracle diet. Yes, some people do better and lose weight on the Paleo diet, but are they eating a balanced diet? What percentage of people doing Paleo can actually do it healthfully?
With the overwhelming amount of research and studies out there praising the benefits of a vegetarian diet, Paleo can be followed wrong very often. Dropping carbs and eating more meats and fats instead, certainly helps the weight come off for some people. But, isn’t it just a new version of Atkins, then? Dr. Atkins had heart disease when he died. And if you look at the research, it doesn’t lie. Too many animal products can have detrimental affects on health, specifically diabetes. If you haven’t read my blog on AGEs, advanced glycation end products, and their affect on health, please do so and you’ll understand better the connection between animal products and diabetes, heart disease, and aging. Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States. Unless people are extremely cautious and conscientious about how they adopt the Paleo diet, most people will fail to have the right proportions. Additionally many people don’t have the finances to purchase their animal products organic, which means that these people are not only consuming more chemicals, additives, and hormones in their animal products, but they are consuming an excess amount due to their increased meat consumption on the Paleo diet.
To do the Paleo diet right, people need to eat the right proportions. I suggest Paleo dieters to eat 75 % of their calories in vegetables and fruits and dedicate the remainder 25 % of the diet to fats, meats, nuts, and seeds.
What I am urging each person who is eating Paleo to do, is examine what and how they are consuming their calories. As I browse through many Paleo websites, I see recipe after recipe of meat dishes, baked goods, crackers, muffins, cookies, and even cakes. Fats disguised as carbs are certainly not the way to a healthy physique. I love fat and think it is a great thing, but not when it is out of balance and not when people are eating it in place of eating carbs.
If you choose to eat Paleo and are still addicted to eating muffins, cookies, and baked goods, then you haven’t really truly beat your “carb addiction.” Plus, we forget that there are so many healthy carbohydrates out there that we should be consuming regularly such as vegetables and fruits. I am not saying that a simple treat here and there is wrong while on the Paleo diet, but I am saying once again, get your proportions right so that you are not lead down the wrong path.
Heart disease is the number one fatal illness in the United States and Diabetes follows closely at number four. Cancer and COPD are numbers two and three, respectively. All of these conditions rise under higher levels of inflammation in the body. The research regarding diets high in animal products is compelling. Frankly, more vegetarian diet leads to less inflammation and more animal product heavy diets lead to increased inflammation. Chronic inflammation always leads to disease. It is the one common hallmark of 9 out of the top 10 fatal illnesses in the United States, sparing only the category of accidents.
While adopting a new diet, I understand that the short term goal is often improvement in digestion or most importantly, weight loss, but you need to remember that everything has its risks and benefits and I firmly believe that if you do the Paleo diet wrong and regularly consume too many animal products, you are headed down the wrong path.
What I am not saying in this article is that people need to continue consuming large amounts of grain or continue consuming breads, pastas, pizza, etc… In fact, I take my patients off of most of those foods. What I am saying is that maintaining a diet long term takes patience, guidance, support, determination and a very balanced diet to follow. Consuming a small amount of soaked grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, and rice and soaked legumes can offer balance to a diet like the Paleo diet. Reducing animal products in general and only consuming organic grass fed animal products can reduce exposure to excess irregular chemicals often found in processed meats.
Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.