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What Paleo diets get wrong: We're not evolved for meat, and our ancestors ate carbs

Paleo diet facts that stick

  • The Paleo diet was born in academic circles in the '70s. Walter Voegtlin wrote that modern kinfolk would be much healthier if only they returned to the pre-agricultural food habits of the Paleolithic era.
  • An academic evangelizer, Loren Cordain, trademarked and built a brand around advocating for hunter-gatherer eating.  Celebrities and low-carb enthusiasts have helped fuel the craze.
  • Our ancestors didn't actually eat this way. "There is no one 'Paleo diet.' There are millions of Paleo diets. People in East Africa ate different foods than people in West Africa versus the Middle East, and South America, and North America." Daniel Lieberman
  • According to evidence, hunter-gatherers ate plenty of grains and other carbs.
  • Our bodies have evolved to eat modern foods.
  • Paleo diets do help people lose weight — but so do all restrictive diets.

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What Paleo diets get wrong: We're not evolved for meat, and our ancestors ate carbs

What Paleo diets get wrong: We're not evolved for meat, and our ancestors ate carbs

https://www.vox.com/2015/8/20/9179217/paleo-diet-jeb-bush-weight-loss

vox.com

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Key Idea

Paleo diet facts that stick

  • The Paleo diet was born in academic circles in the '70s. Walter Voegtlin wrote that modern kinfolk would be much healthier if only they returned to the pre-agricultural food habits of the Paleolithic era.
  • An academic evangelizer, Loren Cordain, trademarked and built a brand around advocating for hunter-gatherer eating.  Celebrities and low-carb enthusiasts have helped fuel the craze.
  • Our ancestors didn't actually eat this way. "There is no one 'Paleo diet.' There are millions of Paleo diets. People in East Africa ate different foods than people in West Africa versus the Middle East, and South America, and North America." Daniel Lieberman
  • According to evidence, hunter-gatherers ate plenty of grains and other carbs.
  • Our bodies have evolved to eat modern foods.
  • Paleo diets do help people lose weight — but so do all restrictive diets.

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The Paleo Diet
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Studies suggest that this diet can lead to significant weight loss and major improveme...

A general guideline

There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • All Grains.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
  • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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Paleo concept

Humans evolved on a diet very different from today's eating habits. To be healthier, leaner, stronger and fitter, we must re-think our diet and remove some of the food groups we ...

What to eat
  • Animals (especially a "whole animal" approach, including organs, bone marrow, cartilage, and organs).
  • Animal products (such as eggs or honey).
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Raw nuts and seeds.
  • Added fats (like coconut oil, avocado, butter, ghee).
What to avoid
  • Grains, although research suggests eating whole grains improve our health and appear to be neutral when it comes to inflammation.
  • Heavily processed oils, such as canola and soybean oil.
  • Legumes, although research suggests the benefits of legumes outweigh their anti-nutrient content. Cooking eliminates most anti-nutrient effects. Some anti-nutrients may even be good.
  • Dairy.

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The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is an effort to go back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing us to tap into our genetic potential and start living healthier immediately.

Lose weight on the Paleo Diet
  1. Eat fewer calories than you burn every day.
  2. Eat mostly real food if you want to be healthy.
  3. Do those two things consistently for a decade to KEEP the weight off.

When you only eat real food and avoid all unhealthy food, you’re more likely than not going to run a caloric deficit – and thus lose weight.

Eat the following:
  • Meat – GRASS-FED, not grain-fed. 
  • Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey.
  • Fish – Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched cage free eggs.
  • Vegetables – As long as they’re not deep-fried, eat as many as you want.
  • Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – think natural.
  • Fruits – Fruits have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Nuts – High in calories, so they’re good for a snack only.
  • Tubers – Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs.

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Best foods don’t have labels
Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The "Age" of vegetables
The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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People struggle to keep weight off

Researchers have observed weight regain following weight loss across a range of populations and types of weight-loss diets.

Why long-term weight loss is so hard

The brain’s response to caloric restriction tends to be to increase cravings for foods that are highly rewarding and reducing our perception of being full. 

Diets frequently fail because they have an endpoint and are not a real lifestyle change. Maintaining a lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight and metabolism is often a lifelong journey. 

Maintaining weight loss

The actual food you eat isn’t the main thing that enables you to keep weight off.

Maintaining a weight-reduced state is a lifelong journey and many dietary approaches can work to facilitate weight loss and keep it off.

Protein Intake
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Protein intake is considered a no-brainer. As obesity rates have doubled over the last 20 years, this is what we have been told to eat. It is common knowledge that we have to avoid sugar, refined o...

Protein is Essential

A high-protein diet is essential for us to help our body grow and repair. We have been told to eat approximately 55 gm of protein daily for males, and 45 gm for females, based on average weights.

Not eating enough of protein can also have side effects like hair loss.

Health Fad

The protein supplement market had a valuation of USD 12.4 billion in 2016.

The way protein is packed in everything from candy bars to ‘high protein’ versions of staple products, it is becoming clear that it is an ongoing health fad. Many experts believe that products with ‘inflated protein’ are a waste of money.

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Fiber gap

Only 5 percent of people in the US meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily target of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That amounts to a population-wide deficiency.

Benefits of a fiber-rich diet

Eating a fiber-rich diet is associated with better gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, even some cancers. Fiber slows the absorption of glucose — which evens out our blood sugar levels — and also lowers cholesterol and inflammation.

Fiber doesn’t just help us poop better — it also nourishes our gut microbiome.

Processed foods and fiber

Instead of munching on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, more than half of the calories Americans consume come from ultra-processed foods. On any given day, nearly 40 percent of Americans eat fast food. These prepared and processed meals tend to be low in fiber, or even fiber free. 

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Microbes

Research found the following difference in stomach microbes of different individuals:

  • Intestinal microbes of people living in villages, having a natural diet, are much more complex, and ...
Wrong Baseline Data

Due to the new kinds of microbes discovered in villagers, all the previous research on diet and microbes, which used the baseline data of the Western civilization microbe, thought to be the healthy and normal microbe, is now incorrect. 

Digesting Fibre

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The general Keto diet
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The Keto diet is one of the biggest diet phenomenons today. It is the most Googled diet of 2018 and has surpassed Weight Watchers and other low-carb regimens, Atkins and Paleo.

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Understanding ketosis

The body can only store glucose to last a few days. If we don't eat carbs, the body finds other ways to fuel the body, like ketogenesis. In ketogenesis:

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  • Once ketogenesis starts, the ketone levels rise.
  • The body burns fat instead of the usual glucose.

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Forbidden foods are more tempting

Dieting often involves “giving up” more pleasurable foods in an attempt to reduce calorie intake. But if we are asked to avoid eating the food we enjoy, researchers have found that we will crave it.

The behavioral and cognitive response to deprivation may inadvertently be creating more temptation.

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A problem with dieting rules is that only a small violation—a sneaky slice of cake, for example—is enough to derail the whole diet. Researchers call this the “what-the-hell effect”. 

Diets that require the dieter to follow rigid rules or forbid them from consuming foods they enjoy appear to be problematic, as they paradoxically increase the risk of overeating.