Fresh Salad with Roasted Beef

The problem with the Paleo diet

The Paleo or primal diet is based on two basic ideas: Humans have adapted to eat particular foods. To stay healthy, fit and strong it is necessary to eat like our ancestors. 

A brief history of eating

Our oldest cousins/primates, lived more than 60 million years ago and ate mostly fruit, insects and leaves. With the Paleolithic age, about 2.6 million years ago, things began to change. They started the use of crude stone tools and fire, and, therefore a change in diet. About 50,000 years ago, our ancestors became omnivorous.

The basic Paleo diet

This brought us to the Paleo diet that includes:

  • Animal products (such as eggs or honey)Animals (meat, fish, reptiles, insects, along with all their parts)Leaves, roots/tubers, flowers and stems (in other words, vegetables)FruitsNuts and seeds that can be eaten raw

About 10,000 years ago, the Paleolithic age shifted to the Neolithic period. It is a general belief that change from hunting and gathering diet (rich in wild fruits and vegetables) to an agricultural diet (rich in cereal grains) have given rise to modern day chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Returning to meat-based diets is one of the main tenets of the Paleo diet. In comparison to average humans today, Paleolithic humans consumed more protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, unsaturated fat, and minerals, and less saturated sodium and fat.

Flaws in the Paleo diet

The Paleo diet is not one solution that can suit all. Certain people need to avoid gluten and dairy, restrict grains and legumes – but there is definitely a way to improve the way one feels and looks without eliminating complete groups of food. Here are some of the major flaws of the Paleo diet:

Osteoporosis, Acidity

Meat and plant ratios need to be maintained as too much of meat has an acidic effect on the body leading to the depletion of bone tissue.Ketosis- Paleo being a high protein diet tend to encourage nutritional ketosis leading to weight loss. The body uses the fatty acids instead of glycagen from carbohydrates for energy and the liver turns the acids into ketones by the liver. Ketosis is a state of elevated ketones in the blood and is not a very safe state for the body to be in.Cardiovascular disease and gut bacteria- A recent article by Dr John Douillard mentions a nutrient called carnitine. It is not harmful but when it accumulates in the blood due to eating too much red meat, the intestinal flora converts the carnitine into a toxic substance called trimethylamine-N-oxide or TMAO. This alters cholesterol metabolism in the liver, intestines, and artery walls that lead to heart diseases.

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