This blog post will focus on deciding whether or not the paleo diet is a viable diet or a waste of time. I will look at both the benefits and drawbacks and come up with a final decision as to how effective the diet is. To start I will review the previous blog entry, which focused on how cons of the paleo diet
Why the paleo diet is bad
In the previous blog entry, I constructed a list of over 20 reasons stating the issues with the paleo diet. To review, they were as follows.
1. The food eaten in the Paleolithic period varied based on location in the world. Some foods may not have been available in certain regions and the actual foods consume would have varied greatly (UCDavis , 2015).
- The standard diet puts participants at risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiency and as a result, increased risk of bone problems (UCDavis , 2015).
- Saturated fat and proteins are often consumed at a higher level due to the extreme limitations of the diet. This can increase risk of kidney and heart disease as well as some types of cancer (UCDavis , 2015).
- The diet is very difficult to stay committed to due to its extreme restrictions (UCDavis , 2015).
- Increase low-density lipoproteins (Bad cholesterol) over long periods of time (UCDavis , 2015).
- Increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures due to lack of proper minerals (UCDavis , 2015).
- Low carbohydrate diet; may cause the participant to enter ketosis (UCDavis , 2015).
- Overuse of fat for energy can leave the participant at a loss of energy (UCDavis , 2015).
- Very restrictive; the diet should not be followed by anyone with heart, kidney, liver, or pancreatic disease (UCDavis , 2015).
- “One-size-fits-all” diet. All people of all sizes are expected to follow the same diet. This will not work for any outliers which is a problem for diets like this. (Berardi, 2014)
- The diet is too difficult to maintain for longer than a few weeks. Most people are unable to last a month on the diet (Berardi, 2014).
- The paleo diet states that we should not eat legumes. Research suggests that the benefits of legumes may outweigh the anti-nutrients. Eliminating these foods from our diets is not ideal (Berardi, 2014).
- The diet suggests that we avoid whole grains, which does not follow the Canadian food guide and will causes users to miss out on the benefits of grains (Berardi, 2014).
- The diet believes that humans were healthiest millions of years ago. There is no way to prove this. Humans have a much longer life expectancy in the 21st century than any other known time (Berardi, 2014).
- Paleolithic humans suffered from many diseases and infections due to their missing nutrients including atherosclerosis (Berardi, 2014).
- Based on at what point the Paleolithic diet looks at specifically, the diet may be too loose. 60 million years ago our ancestors at primarily fruit, leaves, and insects. The paleo diet focuses largely on animal meat which does not respect its origin (Berardi, 2014).
- The paleo diet ranked 29/29 in a ranking of the most popular diets in “US news and World Report’s Diet Rankings” (Andrews, n.d.).
- Large amounts of red meat consumed can lead to increased heart-disease and cancer risks (Andrews, n.d.).
- You need to go either full-paleo or not go paleo at all. The diet is very strict and bending the diet will ruin its intentions (Andrews, n.d.).
- The diet is too complicated for no good reason. There are many ways to eat healthy without resorting to these extremes (Andrews, n.d.).
The diet is extremely controversial in the public eye and does not represent a modern diet well. The vast array of health concerns from the diet makes it overall very risky, but perhaps the benefits can outweigh all of these issues?
Why the paleo diet is good
Going back two blog posts, I looked at how the paleo diet can be beneficial. Many studies have been conducted testing the validation of the paleo diet in various different age groups and weight categories. After reviewing several sources, I came up with a list of evidence supporting the paleo diet.
- Blood pressure reduction (Gunnar, 2015)
- Waistline reduction (Gunnar, 2015)
- Cardiovascular risk reduction (Gunnar, 2015)
- Lower cholesterol (Gunnar, 2015)
- Liver fat reduction (Gunnar, 2015)
- BMI Reduction (Gunnar, 2015) (Cordain, 2014)
- More effective than diabetes diets (Gunnar, 2015) (Cordain, 2014)
- Weight loss (Gunnar, 2015) (Cordain, 2014)
Overall the diet’s strong points focus are weight loss and prevention of more modern diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which were likely not common in the Paleolithic times. Several studies were conducted looking at the diet, all of which focused on the weight loss aspect. The diet’s strong point is its weight loss properties, with waist line reduction also being common.
State the claim, example evidence, assess other factors, and rate the claim
S – The paleo diet is an effective diet for weight loss and disease prevention
E – Multiple studies conducted support this argument, all participants (100+ total) lost weight
A – Exercise and caloric deficit may be a factor, not just the food being organic
R – The paleo diet is an effective weight-loss method
For anyone looking to lose weight in a healthy way, the paleo diet may be a viable option for you. The diet has many drawbacks as a diet itself, but as a short-term weight loss method it can be very effective. While the diet may cause one to miss out on important vitamins and minerals, it is useful only in short-term use. The diet can be modified to meet these needs but it would defeat the statement of the diet. This diet should not be conducted without proper research on a case-by-case basis. I would recommend speaking to a dietitian before going forth with the diet.
The paleo diet is an effective and viable diet if followed correctly and only done short-term
Andrews, J. (n.d.). Nutrition Q&A: Is the Paleo diet really healthy? Retrieved from Men’s Fitness: http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/is-the-paleo-diet-really-healthy
Berardi, J. (2014, September 17). The Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet. Retrieved from Huffpost Healthy Living: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-berardi-phd/paleo-diet_b_5774200.html
Cordain, L. (2014, February 7). Scientific verifitcation of the paleo diet. Retrieved from The Paleo Diet: http://thepaleodiet.com/long-term-scientific-verification-of-the-paleo-diet/#.VsAO-PIrKUk
Gunnar, K. (2015, July). 5 Studies on The Paleo Diet – Diet it Actually Work? Retrieved from Authority Nutrition: http://authoritynutrition.com/5-studies-on-the-paleo-diet/
UCDavis . (2015, June 10). Is the paleo diet safe? Retrieved from UCDavis Health System: https://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/2014-2015/06/20150603_paleo-diet.html