Paleo Diet Revised

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

In my opinion even naming the diet the Paleo diet was debilitating to the health movement. Once a “diet” gets a name people label it a fad diet. This has and will continue to haunt the health movement known as paleo.
What people don’t understand is this is a starting point of healthy nutrition. The diet is dynamic and will and should change as we continue to grow our knowledge on how foods react in our bodies. Researchers who started this movement in essence saw that certain diseases were more prevelant after the agricultural revolution. They then looked at individual food groups such as grains, legumes, and dairy and saw that there were mechanisms that caused negative reactions in our bodies. It was not founded on the science that our ancestors ate this way so we should. That was the starting point, and the appropriate research was done from there to determine what foods have an adverse affect on the majority of the population.
The other piece is this diet is dynamic and will change as we learn more. When paleo was first brought up it advocated for meats, eggs, fish, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. This was a starting point for people looking for better health. As a starting point I think this list needs further revision.
First, let us look at fruits. Fruits are made up of both glucose and fructose. Too much ingested fructose can cause a whole mess of problems. For one, some people metabolize fructose better then others. Also, ingesting too much fructose can cause our liver to be overworked and to create palmitic acid, a fatty acid, that can mess with insulin sensitivity and even cross the blood/brain barrier and mess with our leptin signalling.
In a study done in 2009 researchers showed that excess fructose consumption actually led to increased storage of carbohydrates and an increase in triglycerides in the liver (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081209221742.htm). In my opinion fruit should be removed for 30 days while we get our metabolism and liver back on track. If we need to introduce more carbohydrates into our diet for energy reasons stick to sweet potatoes, yams, and other safe starches.
The next items I want to address are nuts and seeds. To avoid inflammation we want a diet that is balanced in omega 3 and omega 6 fats. The only way we can do this without supplementation is to eat grassfed meats at our meals and get about 18oz of fatty fish per week. On top of doing this we need to remove our sources of omega 6 fats from our diet such as seed oils. Nuts and seeds are also very high in omega 6 fatty acids. If we are not getting our intake of fish and grassfed meats they should be removed for this reason alone. The question I get asked a lot from here is “Can’t I just take more fish oil to counteract the nuts?” My answer is you can, but will run into problems when you ingest too many polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). PUFAs are highly unstable and oxidize in our bloodstream when they are floating around for too long. This leads to smaller LDL particles that can lead to plaque buildup and increase our risk of heart disease. Nuts are also high in the antinutrients lectins and phytates. This can lead to gut permeability and the malabsorption of key nutrients. Lastly, nuts are easy to overdue it with in a sitting. Like I mentioned before too many PUFAs, especially omega 6, are dangerous to our health. If you want nuts go with the coconut!
This does limit our dietary choices in the beginning. After 30 days we can reintroduce foods and see how we react, but to reset the metabolism restriction is needed. Success comes down to not being lazy and finding recipes for foods and learning to love your kitchen again. After the 30 days if you want to add in 3 servings of fruit a week, or try some raw dairy products I encourage you to do so.

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Comments
  1. Megan says:

    Good nutrition is definitely a continuum. Some have further to go than others.
    I’m not a fan of the word diet either. When I explain the paleo ‘diet’ to people I call it the paleo lifestyle.

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