Paleo is Just Bad Science

Renegade-Diet-Review-Paleo-ProtocolsIf one more person at work asks me if I am “On Paleo” I might scream. No, its not a drug, it is the newest Fad Diet. And everyone know that Fad Diets come with groupies. This diet is not different than the others in that it tells you that restricting certain foods will make you lose weight. No shit, Sherlock.

The Paleo diet maintains that healthiest way to eat is to avoid the ground grain products that were unavailable to our cave man ancestors. People all over the world are changing the way they eat because some dude name Dr. Loren Cordain. PhD, of course. I think he’s a total nut who is selling folks a bill of goods.

Author Laura Miller agrees with me. At least about the diet. She states that thinking the human species hasn’t evolved in billions of years is just plain silly. Humans (and animals) have been evolving and changing for a really long time. She also points out that many species evolve quite quickly (humans being one of them) so basing a diet on “science” of evolution doesn’t hold water. Think about it. Humans have been grinding grains for close to 40,000 years – that’s a really long time to not get used to something. There are a great deal of foods that are included on the Paleo Diet that were NOT around in the hunter gatherer time. Foods such as the Brussel Sprout are only a few hundred years old. They were first written about in 1587, around the time Mary Queen of Scots was executed. That’s a far cry from hunter gather time.

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Of course, people claim that the diet “works”. Yeah, maybe it does, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you. Bulimia “works” too, but I’m steering clear of that as well. The reason the “diet” works is because you are severely limiting your calorie intake. Anytime you put restraints on what you consume, you will lose weight. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that. Wanna lose weight and keep it off? Exercise  30 minutes 5x a week, and watch your calorie & sugar intake. Easy.

The Paleo concept is an idea with very little basis in fact. It’s a gimmick to get you to buy the book. If you follow his plan you’re cutting out low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt (calcium), lentils and black beans (some of the healthiest stuff around), whole-grain carbs and heart-healthy oils. Sure, our bodies weren’t originally designed to eat these foods, but we (and every other species that is still in existence) have evolved since then.

e76f12b58f27ebddca23ef9e2c51e9f9If you feel the need to lose weight, you don’t need to follow a diet that restricts carbs, or limits grains and legumes (both of which are healthy for humans to consume).  Here is my easy 5 Point Plan for weight-loss.

  • Decide that you are ready to make permanent changes in your life. Yep, life. Loosing weight should be about changing the habits that led you to lose weight in the first place. It’s not about “giving up” foods of any kind. If you think you are not ready to stop eating ice-cream out of the container, then you are not ready. You need to be in a head space of moving forward and of positive change.
  • Once you have decided that you are serious you may begin to make small changes. When I dropped a significant amount of weight I made 1 positive change per week until I got in the habit of just knowing how to make good choices. For example, the first week I cut out all soda. I switched to fizzy water with fruit. Next week I walked for at least 30 minutes daily. You get the picture. You don’t have to make yourself crazy, or into a cave person to see results.
  • Portion control. Do it. Food served and prepared in the states is so big, it could be used as two (sometimes three!) different meals. Eww. If you ordered fries, don’t eat them all. If you want dessert, share it with a buddy. If the plate is as big as your head, then don’t eat everything on it. At home, get smaller plates so you feel like you are eating more.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! In order to loose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. It’s that simple. If you are not exercising you probably won’t lose much weight. You also need to lift weights, or do some sort of resistance training. Remember, there is no such thing as “spot reduction” so stop running the treadmill for an hour, doing crunches and walking out the door. You need to work your whole body.
  • Eat enough calories. I see women all of the time who think that by starving themselves they will loose weight. Yeah, you might. But you’ll also be loosing lean muscle mass, which is want you want to keep. Diets that severely restricts caloric intake result in loss of lean body weight as opposed to fat weight. This can result in a person who isn’t overweight, but has a high body fat composition. Not my idea of healthy. Just be mindful of what you eat, when you eat it and how you feel about it. Keep a food journal if it helps. I used an online food tracker at myfittnesspal.com to help me see my bad eating habits and take the necessary steps to 86 ’em.

I hope you enjoyed this little rant. And I hope that maybe you’ll do a little research of your own, if you are so inclined. The idea is balance, not restriction – with food and the rest of life.

And, in case you are wondering – I do know what I am talking about. I am studying to be a personal trainer which means I have read tons and tons of material about the human body and what it needs to perform, what it needs to drop weight, and what it takes to keep it in good condition. 

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7 thoughts on “Paleo is Just Bad Science

  1. Paleo diet is becoming a “fad diet” because because people refer to it as a diet. It’s not a diet, it’s a cleaner way of eating. There are people who do go with the “caveman” lifestyle, however, potatoes are reduced if you have a hard time with your immune system, and sweet potatoes and yams for example are recommended if you exercise for long periods of time. I’ve eaten on a paleo lifestyle and it actually brought me a lot of energy not only during my workouts but during an entire day. Paleo also encourages lots of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Sure, you lose weight if you follow it but it’s meant to come with an active lifestyle. I also think that putting paleo and bulimia in the same context is an exaggeration, in addition to the fact that bulimia is an eating disorder that can sometimes be fatal.

  2. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it
    was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for newbie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  3. Your outline for moderation is completely justified and spot on. There are plenty of people drinking the cool-aid that is paleo, but I’d like to throw a few things out into the ether. Your comment about eating enough calories for fuel actually applies to paleo eaters even more. They should be eating just as many, or more, calories to keep going. Calcium is not found exclusively in dairy products, so if people are looking for balance, they can certainly find it in other foods.
    I have to say, I honestly agree with or enjoy your basic view on several on of your posts, but they’re laced with a certain amount of ire I find a little baffling. I mean, your Austin post was pretty spot on, but certainly angry. I’ve lived all over the world, and am from Texas (gasp!), so I sympathize with your being let down by the hype that is Austin. Austin kinda sucks…but that’s what’s kinda great about it. It’s like a holding cell. I’m just glad I don’t have to live there. But this post is a bit like that one, I found myself agreeing with you and simultaneously wanting to argue just because you seem so upset. (I’m weird like that.)
    I guess I’m saying, take a breath. You’ve got your head on straight, no one (except angry wanna-be hippies) disagrees. Keep the sanity flowing.

    (and just because I can’t help myself… it’s lose weight. I apologize for the inherent douch-y-ness of that.)

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