“Hang on” I can hear you saying “I thought that this site was pro Paleo?” Well it most certainly is and I most certainly am. The headline was to grab your attention and now that I have it I just want to give you some balanced facts which in my opinion still have me well on the side of a Paleo lifestyle. I often see on the internet that bold statement ‘Why Paleo is Bad”. Of course, it depends on your perspective and which of the evidence sets you are prepared to believe but let’s see here if can’t give some facts to consider to make up your own mind.
Recap on Paleo
Just so we are clear about what we are talking about for those who have arrived at this page without having been on my site before. The Paleo diet is based on foods that humans were most likely to have been consuming during the Paleolithic age, that is about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
It would consist mainly of lean, grass fed, meats, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds the latter in moderation. A paleontologist would probably identify this under the description of a hunter-gatherer dietary system. The diet specifically excludes those foodstuffs that became more common when farming started to become established from about 10,000 years ago. The ‘forbidden fruits’ are dairy products, legumes and grains. It is often referred to as the caveman diet for given the 2.5 million year time frame.
Despite the paleo lifestyle having a following of 27 million people in America alone, with a world population potential following of 0.5 billion, the lifestyle has its detractors and it continues to invite controversy.
There is one particular study published in Jul 2019 by Maria Cohut PhD which suggests that people on the Paleo diet may be susceptible to high levels of a blood bio marker tied to heart disease. Of course, it is probably comes as no surprise that this is contradicted by a 2016 study that suggests that Paleo could protect against heart attack and cardiovascular disease as it promotes high levels of a protective blood molecule.
The point here is that I can go to the internet and find as many potentially negative reports as I can positive reports or research studies on the pros and cons of this diet or lifestyle as I can for any other.
What I don’t want my readers to do is to launch headlong into the Paleo thing without having first done some rudimentary balanced research to satisfy yourselves that you understand the arguments and any potential risks associated with choosing to be a Paleo Lifestyler.
Now because I am a pro Paleo proponent I am going to offer you 2 case studies on the positive side to help you begin that research. I will leave it to others to provide you with the information that you can find on the internet and by visiting you local library or talking to your doctor about some potential cons.
Study One – A Comparison of Glycemic Tolerance, Waist measurement and Weight Loss (Men with Heart Disease)
29 men suffering heart disease and associated elevated blood sugar levels, some with type 2 diabetes were chosen at random to be subjected to either a Paleo or Mediterranean diet. There was no restriction on either group for calorie intake.
The study took place over 12 weeks and the key outcomes subject to measurement were; glucose tolerance, insulin levels, weight and waist measurements. (the glucose tolerance test measures how quickly glucose is cleared from the blood and is a clinical marker for insulin resistance and diabetes.
Glucose: What is known as the 2-hour under the curve level for blood glucose was reduced by 36% by the Paleo group and only 7% for the Mediterranean group.
Weight Loss: Both groups lost significant weight levels in 12 weeks with a loss of 5kg (11Ibs) by the Paleo group versus 3.8 kg (8.4lbs) by the Mediterranean group. ( this difference is not considered statistically significant)
Waist Measurement: The Paleo group saw a 5.6cm (2.2ins) reduction in waist measurement while the Mediterranean group experienced half of that 2.9cm (1.1ins) (this is a statistically significant result.)
- Every patient in the Paleo group ended the study with normal blood sugars compared to only 7 of the 15 patients in the 14 strong Paleo group
- The paleo group experience was that they consumed 451 fewer calories per day (1344 v 1795) without any intention to restrict either calories or serving portions.
Conclusion: A Paleo diets lead to greater reduction in waist measurements and provide for much improved glycemic control in men with heart disease, elevated blood sugars or suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Study 2 – Effects of a Short Term Intervention with a Paleo Diet in Healthy Volunteers
14 medical students all in good health, 5 males and 9 females, stuck to a Paleo only diet for 3 weeks. (In this instance there was no control group)
Results: Weight decreased by an average of 2.3 Kg (5Ibs), their BMI decreased by 0.8 and their average waist measurements decreased by 1.5cm (0.6 ins). They also had an average decrease in systolic blood pressure measurement of 3mmHG
Conclusion: All individuals experienced healthy weight loss a healthy decrease in blood pressure and a healthy reduction in waist measurement.
Be Educated on Paleo
“So what?” I hear you say.
I know that the people who come to read my material are intelligent people who are interested in gaining knowledge and informing themselves as a prelude to making informed decisions.
That is the so what…….
Do as much reading as you can, inform yourself and hear all sides of the case for Paleo. I am confident that the evidence out which is out there will speak for itself and lead you to this lifestyle.
If you want a good pointer for an excellent guide to some comprehensive health research related to Paleo the there is a fantastically outspoken and sometimes controversial Paleo Blogger; Dr Jack Kruse, who has written his first book called EPI-paleo RX; The Prescription for Disease Reversal and Optimal Health. It tells the story of how he took his own clinical findings in studying obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmunity, brain health and aging and then used them himself to shed 140 pounds (63.5Kg) while packing on healthy muscle. This is a great read and supports some things I have offered you in this post. You find it here at Amazon.com. I recommend it highly.
Yes to Paleo, no to Paleo is really your choice. But you need to be able to answer two questions to make that decision:
- Why Paleo is Bad for you
- Why Paleo is Good for you
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