I love peanut butter way too much to ever try the Paleo diet. However, it’s become widely popular, and a lot of people are cutting out many food groups to go Paleo. Followers of the Paleo diet eat meat, vegetables, fruit, seafood, and nuts. I know I just said peanut butter is my all-time favorite and you might be thinking it’s a nut, but peanuts are actually legumes, which are banned when you go Paleo.
I thought I would get a little advice from someone who has more experience with this topic, so I talked to Laura Timco, a certified nutritionist at Bridgeport Hospital. She calls the Paleo diet a “fad diet,” because a lot of times those who try the Paleo diet are looking for weight loss. Many don’t realize that the second they start reintroducing the foods they originally cut out to go Paleo, the weight will come right back as well.
The Effects Of Being Paleo
With this diet, you cut out a lot of foods that are good for you like legumes, dairy, and whole grains. These food groups all help promote a healthy weight, lower the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, as well as help lower your blood pressure.
Laura emphasizes to her clients that a well-balanced diet is the better approach. Your body needs the balance of vegetables, fruits, meats, and whole grains. She said one reason we need carbs is because our brains utilize carbs, and without them our bodies would turn to our stored protein and break that down instead. In Laura’s opinion, we shouldn’t be deprived of any one food group.
No Peanut Butter?
When cutting legumes out of your daily diet, you could be hurting yourself more than you realize. Legumes are packed with fiber that helps lower your cholesterol. The combo of the fiber and protein also helps lower your blood sugar and supplies you with lots of energy for the day. I say the more peanut butter the better, so I’m sticking to the legumes.
Too Much Protein
People often overload on protein on the Paleo diet, because they consume too much meat. With this choice of lifestyle, the Paleo diet is supposed to be geared more towards vegetables and fruit. However, many people are eating too much protein, because they’re cutting out so many other foods that they have limited choices. By doing so, you are depleting your body of carbs as well. With the imbalance of a low-carb intake coupled with a high-protein intake, you could actually increase your risk of osteoporosis or cause kidney damage.
Going back to the expert, Laura shared that because the fat content is high in beef and pork, you’re actually increasing your fat intake if you stick to too many of these foods. If you incorporate too much meat into your diet, you will increase your triglycerides, which will then ultimately raise your chances of heart disease.
Can You Afford It?
The Paleo diet could also be hurting your wallet. Most of the lean ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken costs on average .29 cents more than other choices that might not be deemed as Paleo-worthy. Also, Paleo-approved almond butter compared to the banned peanut butter could cost you a .13 cent difference. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up.
Is It Well Balanced?
Laura isn’t fully against the Paleo diet. She said it’s individualistic and depends on the person and his reason for choosing the diet. Right now, she’s working with a cancer patient, and she said it makes sense for him to be on the Paleo diet due to his health. However, she is working with him to make sure his diet is still as balanced as it can be. Overall, Laura emphasizes a well balanced diet that includes carbs, as long as it’s the best choice of carbs.
Should We Be Eating Like Cavemen?
At first I thought it was an interesting idea to emphasize the importance of eating like our ancestors, but our bodies have evolved since then. We can eat differently because our bodies need to. One reason the diet cuts out grains, dairy, and legumes is because these foods are known to cause digestive issues for many, but we have been eating these for years, and for many of us they hold key nutrients and can be easily digested.
Many in favor of the Paleo diet are saying that by eating like our ancestors (hence the nickname “the caveman diet”) we will rid our bodies of many chronic diseases, because those who lived long ago didn’t suffer from chronic illnesses. Thus, they are focusing the argument towards society’s health issues being completely caused by the food we eat. However, many do not agree with this argument.
There’s no proof that our ancestors were free of chronic diseases because of the food they consumed, which is why the argument is invalid to many. Laura also mentioned how our lifestyle has evolved. Our ancestors didn’t have fast food back then or the junk food we have now. The way they ate wasn’t bad, but it’s just not realistic anymore. Our ancestors ate how they had to, not because they necessarily chose to.
After considering Laura’s advice and the negative aspects of turning towards the Paleo diet, make sure you listen to the drawbacks of going Paleo in addition to the benefits. It could be that you will deplete your body of more nutrients than you expected, as the hype only focuses on why you should switch, not why it could hurt you.