Paleo Diet – The Finale

In this blog post, I will look back at my initial thoughts about the diet and make a final decision about the diet.

Original thoughts

 

My personal belief is that the diet is a radical answer to modern medical issues. While it may be true that in the Stone Age humans were more fit and suffered from less medical conditions such as diabetes, altering our diets to this extreme is not the answer. Surely we can survive off of meat and vegetables alone, but why would we shoot ourselves in the foot like that? It isn’t hard to eat healthy without resorting to following what our ancestors did. To me, this diet is not a progressive answer to our current health problems. The paleo diet has so many flaws and can be devastating if not done properly. With so many restrictions, it can be very easy to miss out on vitamins and minerals needed to fuel our daily lives. Sure processed foods have their own issues, but restricting almost all foods from a diet in 2016 is not going to be easy to follow or appropriate for many of our health goals. While the diet may be innovative, I do not believe it is the true answer to cancer and diabetes. Perhaps if the diet could be tweaked a little it could be a viable and healthy option; in its current state, it falls short and any drastic changes would destroy the roots of the diet.

 

Final decision

 

After several posts looking at details of the paleo diet, I would like to state that my view on the paleo diet is the same as my opinion in my first blog post. I still believe that the paleo diet is far too extreme of an answer for modern dieters. While the diet may be effective in terms of weight-loss, it is far from perfect. The diet may be innovative, but it is far from being progressive due to its backwards nature. Sure we can avoid modern health risks by reverting back to the diet our ancestors ate, but that can also be achieved by simply living a healthy lifestyle. The diet has far too many restrictions to be considered valid by many. The diet makes things harder than they need to be by limiting what we can eat just to be innovative. The concept makes sense, but in practice it does not make the cut as relevant. The creators of the diet do not properly demonstrate the burden of proof and as a result have a flawed end result. Sure this diet can help me lose weight and prevent diabetes, but so can many diets and lifestyle changes without the need to limit my food choice so drastically. Focusing on the few health benefits our Paleolithic ancestors had over us without looking at their health problems is misguided from the beginning. Our ancestors back then were lucky to live anywhere near as long as we do in the 21st century. As a result, does going backwards with such a drastic dietary change really seem like the answer? The diet is still fairly new and not studied very heavily, so we must tolerate that there may not be a definitive answer. The data that is displayed and claims being made leads to be state that the diet is NOT and effective dietary choice. This is due to the diet being: too difficult to maintain, cutting out complete nutrients, high cost, and aggressive change. I would not recommend this diet to anyone, as there are far more effective options available that do not limit the dieter to such backwards choices.

The Paleo diet – Verdict

 

 

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).

  1. The standard diet puts participants at risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiency and as a result, increased risk of bone problems (UCDavis , 2015).
  2. 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).
  3. The diet is very difficult to stay committed to due to its extreme restrictions (UCDavis , 2015).
  4. Increase low-density lipoproteins (Bad cholesterol) over long periods of time (UCDavis , 2015).
  5. Increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures due to lack of proper minerals (UCDavis , 2015).
  6. Low carbohydrate diet; may cause the participant to enter ketosis (UCDavis , 2015).
  7. Overuse of fat for energy can leave the participant at a loss of energy (UCDavis , 2015).
  8. Very restrictive; the diet should not be followed by anyone with heart, kidney, liver, or pancreatic disease (UCDavis , 2015).
  9. “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)
  10. 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).
  11. 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).
  12. 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).
  13. 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).
  14. Paleolithic humans suffered from many diseases and infections due to their missing nutrients including atherosclerosis (Berardi, 2014).
  15. 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).
  16. 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.).
  17. Large amounts of red meat consumed can lead to increased heart-disease and cancer risks (Andrews, n.d.).
  18. 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.).
  19. 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.

 

 

SEAR

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

 

Final Verdict

 

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

 

References

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