Debating the Paleo Diet

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Entrepreneur Peter Evans has recently come under fire for his supposed extreme views on paleo and his views on food which the every day commoner would probably consume. Basically Evans hasn’t visited a GP in over 20 years and uses kinesiology and clean foods to keep his health in check. For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough.

Most of us have heard of the word paleo, which is a type of diet where foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts and seeds plus healthy fats are consumed. All alcohol, dairy, grains, processed food and sugars, starches and legumes are all avoided. According to Robb Wolf, research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. In other words let food be the source which keeps our bodies nutritionally balanced and at equilibrium.

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So why have Evans views been discarded by health enthusiasts and the medical world? Well its thought that we need all the food groups to be considered healthy. One blogger has even called his views on the 5 food groups as “clueless”. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines one of the larger food groups is made up of grains, this is one food group which paleons avoid. Medical views see that grains supply the body with thiamine and vitamin B. However by avoiding grains and consuming more fruits and vegetables one would think that the required nutrient level could be achieved in an alternative way?

There are also claims that without dairy products our bodies would be in deficient of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, potassium and zinc. All of these nutrients can be found in salmon, oysters, beans, broccoli, spinach and kale. Calcium does not necessary need to be consumed through dairy products and levels can be reached by following a paleo diet.

Moving onto vegetable oils and their toxity. Apparently not even the Cancer Council claims that by using canola and vegetable oils will cause your body some form of harm. Well one study analysed canola and soybean oils found on store shelves in the U.S. They found that 0.56% to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were toxic trans fats. Canola oil is made with a highly unnatural processing method that involves high heat, deodorization and the toxic solvent hexane. Significant amounts of trans fats are formed during this process. Basically I wouldn’t be cooking at high temperatures with canola or vegetable oil for a matter of fact and agree with Evans on choosing natural alternatives such as coconut oil for cooking.

The lucky last food group is sugar. Now if you are a close follower of mine you will see my beliefs on the affects of sugar on the human body, the results are not great nor surprising. Evans believes Sugar, even from fruit juice, increases weight, accelerates ageing, is addictive and causes numerous mental and physical disorders. I agree with his standput here. In this day and age we are tackling an obesity epidemic, its so easy for us to buy a quick bite to eat because we are one running short of time or two the excuse I hear a lot from parents is that the kids enjoy it. Well of course they do, sugar feeds the feel good endorphins giving us a quick high. The paleo diet doesn’t cut “sugar” out completely but merely processed sugar. Sugar can still be found in fruits and vegetables giving our bodies the right balance of nutrients. When our bodies start to “get used to” the paleo diet we would probably find that we no longer crave the double chocolate ice cream hiding in the freezer or a McDonalds McFlurry on the way home from work. Instead you will probably just need a piece of fruit to satisfy the sugar craving.

My opinion on the whole paleo debate is in support of Peter Evans views and his thoughts on educating Australia on pretty much a “cave man diet”. The paleo diet is not for everyone, but that’s not to say it cant be modified to suit your needs. There is no harm in trying to stick to simple foods and adjusting as you see fit. Everyone knows when there bodies are at optimum peak, its just finding our way is the key.

 

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