The Science Behind The Paleo Diet:


‘Why are we meant to eat like caveman when we are not currently cave men, and is this ken doll an unfortunate victim of mummy’s creative vision?’ These are probably the first two questions to leap out at most intelligent people reading this article. And yes, on the ken doll.
Last week we over-veiwed the basic Paleo diet and what it is, but let’s look at some top scientific pointers as to why it may not be the best longterm solution to health:
1) Much of the research on primitive man is inconclusive on what exactly he ate; most studies suggest he was in actual fact, more a vegetarian than an avid meat eater!
2) There is ever-emerging evidence of the correlation between high meat and animal protein intake and accelerated ageing and cancer risk through mTOR activation (see my book, “A Diet in Paradise” for the full explanation).
While respected medical journal after journal are full of research papers finding not just mTOR issues, but that meat is additionally full of free radicals and bad fats which age us faster too.
3) Our body has been designed mechanically to require higher protein in our infancy and youth, and less after adolescence. It’s functionality changes and too much protein, as an adult is not processed adequately and poses as a toxin.
4) The type of meat we eat now is completely different to that of cave men times. Our meat is pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and a multitude of chemicals. Our organic meat is grain fed, not grass fed, meaning more inflammatory molecules- again linked to ageing and cancer. While ‘grass fed’ is truly difficult to regulate organically, if not, impossible.
5) If we look at the environmental impact for a sec: in a twist, free roaming cattle, including organic beef farms have a bigger impact on the environment, more so than feedlot beef! While eating less meat and more legumes is extremely sustainable for the planet.
6) Grains and legumes were banned from the original Paleo diet because it is said they contain “anti-nutrient” blocking chemicals that stop absorption of vitamins and minerals.
This is true… to a point. Simply soaking grains or legumes overnight releases the phytates and chemicals that block nutrient absorption.
Grains and legumes such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, mung beans, and lentils have incredible health giving properties and have been eaten by ancient man for centuries- such as the Aztec and Mayan, who outlived Paleolithic man when comparing individual lifespans.
7) Let’s take a look at evolution for a minute now, apart from the fact that our body and every cell within it, including our brains, has been designed to use carbs as its main energy source, not protein, there is also a school of thought that restricting carbohydrate foods, such as those found in grains, this excessively, can in fact make the body more sensitized to carbs, as the body thinks we are starving and in famine. So when the carbs are re-introduced, they are stored as fat straight away, as the body is designed to protect us from dying and it thinks it’s doing this by storing reserves for the potential next famine.
So what do we do? It’s so unfair really because high protein, low carb diets like this can work for weight loss, but what is it doing to us and our planet in the long term?
In this modern day world, science is saying that eating high protein low carb everything means we may be skinnier but we’ll look and be biochemically older, die younger whilst screwing up the earth- super!
Perhaps this paleo, high protein faze could be used as a stepping stone to somewhere more real, where we don’t just try to take one small piece out of a larger working puzzle and think that that’s the part that is the solution, rather than see it was a whole organism at work.
We are in need of a new system; I wonder what the next one will be?
Buy a copy of A Diet in Paradise to find out!


Published by honnutrition

Qualified Nutritionist, Health Writer, Nutritional Journalist. Nerdy with a touch of class.

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