Paleo Diet Debunked

It’s not uncommon for people to ask me “Marci, what do you think of the Paleo diet?” And it’s not unusual for me to respond with something like “I try not to.” I’m so tired- so very tired of the dieting culture we live in. It’s a state of affairs that leaves me both tired and sad. Sad because our dieting culture is a reminder of how disconnected we have become from ourselves. It reflects a deep level of self-distrust. The very idea that so many people believe that they have to follow a strict set of rigid guidelines made up by someone else in order to feed themselves is actually bizarre if you think about it (perhaps equally bizarre that we have an entire profession of dietitians to help us with our eating!). 

But, since many people have asked about Paleo (next year, it will inevitably be something else) I thought I’d formulate a response. You may also be interested to watch this TED talk Debunking the Paleo Diet: Christina Warinner. She’s an archaeological scientist who actually studies the health and dietary patterns of anciety people (yes, she seriously does that). It’s a pretty interesting talk and she skillfully debunks the tenants of the Paleo diet, although she gets on shaky ground near the end with some of her recommendations.

Additionally, this is a great article from Scientific American “How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked” by Ferris Jabr. The very brief take-home is this:

*We are not biologically identical to our Paleolithic ancestors

*We do not have access to the same foods Palelithic people atw.. Food, not just people, have changed A LOT in the past tens and hundreds of thousands of years

*Paleolithic people ate really differently depending on where they lived. They foraged what was naturally in existence rather than producing their food through farming and agriculture.

But there are a couple of key points that may be useful to consider that you can kind of, sort of draw from the whole Paleo crock of crap:

*Eating fewer processed foods is healthier for your body

*Eating foods that are local and seasonal are more nutrient rich

*Eating a variety of foods also provides your body with a broader array of nutrients

The rigid rules around the whole diet plan is simply one more gimmick created to make you feel like you don’t know how to feed your body. But as research continues to point out, people who are connected to and listen to their bodies are actually healthier. AND diets still remain the #1 predictor of future weight gain.

So go enjoy your corn on the cob tonight…it’s not Paleo-friendly but it’s in season and it sure is tasty!

1 comment

  1. Well said! I love the short bullet points- easy and interpretable info to pass to my clients. Thank you!

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