Recently, I have been seeing a variety of diet plans presented that are versions of what basically is “the Paleo diet.” The vast majority of these plans are virtually identical in theory to what the Paleo diet preaches with only slight variations. I suspect that most of these deviations are provided to give the “new” diet plan a difference (no matter how slight) so that the creator can then claim it as their own. The problem I see is that nearly all of them include the problems inherent to the Paleo diet philosophy.
Let me first state that I find a lot of good with the Paleo diet. My thinking probably overlaps with the principles they stand on for about 80% (more or less) of their philosophy. That said, there are some basic tenets of the diet where I feel they are pretty much dead wrong.
No Grains Principle
The first – and most glaring – of these is the “no grains” principle. That line of thinking eliminates an entire (basic) food group that is included in nearly every other diet plan, BECAUSE it is an essential food that SHOULD be consumed. Whole grains and the fiber and other nutrients in them are actually foods that should comprise a fairly large portion of your total caloric intake each day. The fiber in them alone is enough reason for inclusion. There are macro and micro nutrients galore in whole grain foods, and you actually increase your risk of becoming deficient in several major components of a healthy diet when you eliminate this healthy (BASIC) food group from your diet because it’s the latest “fad.”
Severe Restriction on Carbs
Another problem is the severe restriction on carbohydrates. While I am among those who do not advise getting the vast majority of your calories from carbohydrates, I now realize that you do need to include a significant portion of your calories from [preferably] complex carbohydrate sources (like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads, etc). See one of the reasons for including whole grains!
When you restrict carbohydrates to unreasonable levels, you will experience strength and energy decreases, moodiness, and hunger pangs greater than normal. You will experience muscle loss and longer recovery times between workouts. Your normal blood sugar levels likely will fluctuate greatly leading to a feeling of fatigue and/or uneasiness as your body tries to stabilize itself. Your brain alone needs about 60 grams of carbs each day. Believe me, I endured the “no or low” carb cutting diets popular with competition back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It was not fun. Modern advancements in nutrition have provided much better and healthier ways today to accomplish the same objective.
No Dairy or Gluten
I won’t get far into the principle of eliminating milk and gluten from your diet. Each of those arguments is another article in itself. Suffice it to say that dairy is ANOTHER basic food group that should not be eliminated unless you have an intolerance or allergy to dairy products. Likewise with gluten. Unless you have celiac disease or have been diagnosed as having trouble digesting gluten, THERE IS NO KNOWN OR MEDICALLY VERIFIED REASON TO ELIMINATE GLUTEN FROM YOUR DIET. This a fad that has no known backers other than those who profit from promoting it and those who have been led to believe that they should eliminate it. There is currently no science to back this.
Whole Foods Principle
Now before you think I want to throw out the entire philosophy, let me state that I do agree with their whole foods principle. I agree with getting your food in as unrefined a state as possible. I agree with including lots of fresh produce and eliminating sugar as much as possible. But to state that you shouldn’t eat corn and other field crops because they weren’t raised on farms many years ago is preposterous. Adam worked in the garden every day, and I doubt he was only growing flowers!
Take a look at the diet if it intrigues you. If something strikes you as questionable about it, ask questions about it until you uncover the truth. This is another fad that will eventually be exposed in the light of day and another “latest and greatest” diet plan will be revealed. Or . . . you could come train with me and get all the nutritional advice you can stand included with your training! Contact me today and lock in your rate before they increase.
Dave – Your Harford County, Maryland Personal Fitness Trainer
Results are what you’ll get when you train with me. I’m conveniently located in Forest Hill near the center of Harford County, Maryland. Clients come to me from Fallston, Jarrettsville, Bel Air, Forest Hill and Baltimore. I’ve got the experience, the ability, the knowledge and the success stories of my students to testify that my training is result driven and result based. Visit my webpage for more information.