Lately, probably because the paleo diet is becoming increasingly popular, so-called “experts” have begun to attack it. But most of the criticism is misplaced because for many people, the diet is a lifesaver.
Digestive ills, fatigue, headaches, arthritis pain… over and over again, people discover that eating paleo — avoiding grains, dairy foods, soy and corn — can help solve many of their physical ills.
As Chris Kessler, author of the book Your Personal Paleo Code points out, “…[C]ommon critiques (of the paleo diet) don’t invalidate the fundamental premise of the Paleo approach.”
Mimicry Or Gimmickry?
I find it laughable that people attack the paleo diet because it doesn’t precisely mimic the foods that Paleolithic people ate before the introduction of grains into the human diet.
Really? That’s a reason for lambasting a diet that can produce extraordinary health benefits?
Of course, the paleo diet can’t reproduce what humans ate during the Paleolithic era. Look around. We don’t live in caves, or lean-tos, or tents. Most of us live in a modern urban or suburban environment. No way are we going to hunt and gather the way our ancestors did.
Instead of worrying about historical accuracy, critics of the diet should focus on its health effects. Kessler argues that “… the Paleo diet should be used as a starting point because it removes the foods people are most likely to react to.”
And he’s absolutely right.
Probably the most important paleo dietary change is the elimination of grains. Foods like bread, pasta, beer, rolls, cakes, cookies and breakfast cereal not only contain problematic gluten, they also include large amounts of sugars and starches that can lead to weight gain.
Another objection to the paleo diet is rooted in the fact that it allows you to eat red meat. Some think that red meat seriously increases your risk of cancer. However, many researchers believe, rightly in my view, that processed red meat is the carnivore’s cancer danger. If you eat organic meat, without the kind of additives that go into hot dogs, luncheon meats and fast food concoctions, your cancer risk doesn’t go up.
Paleo critics also claim that the studies supporting the health benefits of eating paleo involve too few subjects.
Well, while it is true that research into the effects of a paleo diet is in the beginning stages, studies in this area are starting to show significant benefits. These include reducing the body’s inflammation, helping weight loss, increasing insulin sensitivity and improving cholesterol balance.
The paleo diet generally entails eating organic meats, organic poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts. It includes most of the foods that experts believe are the best for your health. And my own experience on this diet (my weight dropping, my arthritis easing off) has given me all the proof I need to know that it works.