As with any new, or newly popular, diet, it is now common for folks to question whether the Paleo Diet is not dangerous. The Paleo diet is, of course, a way of eating based on the diet of caveman, the hunter gatherer, or Paleolithic Man. So what’s the response? Are we correct to question it, and is the Paleo Diet safe or is it merely another fad that is possibly dangerous?
Low carbohydrate diets
The first potential objection to the Paleo manner of eating is based largely on a misconception, the notion it is a low carb diet. The Paleo Diet certainly shares some similarities with the well understand, and perhaps infamous, Atkins Diet. Like Atkins, Paleo suggests high fat and protein consumption and contains much less carbohydrates than we’re typically used to eating.
Unlike the Atkins diet, however, the Paleo Diet doesn’t seek to restrict carbohydrate consumption, and it is that extreme restriction that can instance problems and, possibly, be not safe. If you purposefully, and greatly, limit your carbohydrate intake in order to remain in ketosis, the important aim of the Atkins diet and its process of weightloss, then you actually do need to be cautious. This process, if tried whatsoever, is likely best supervised by a medical professional, it can definitely produce some side effects that are not pleasant. This isn’t to say that it’s not powerful, for it does seem to get results, but there is really nothing to indicate this is how we’re meant to eat.
Rather than being blatantly low in carbs, the Paleo Diet merely has a tendency to be so because it removes the leading sources of carbohydrate in many people’s diets, grains, sugars and potatoes. When you take those staple foods out of the equation, most individuals who attempt the paleo diet find themselves looking for ways to get more carbs, not restrict their consumption. Yes, because it’s a diet based on a balance of rich foods that are nutritionally, not on the notion of restriction.
The other important objection to the Paleo Diet, on medical grounds, is the encouragement to eat lots of fats and protein. The problem, naturally, is the increase in cholesterol and the notion that eating all that fat is going to cause you to gain weight. This is, however, INCORRECT. As this is such an important, and yet common, error the capitalisation is entirely justified! There’s research, and lots of it, though far beyond the scope of this article, to demonstrate that it is not eating fats that induces you to gain weight but carbs. Refined sugars and grains, wheat in particular, are the worst offenders here.
As ever, it’s far better do your own research, but you won’t need to look far to find plenty of evidence that eating fat and protein, and loads of it, is a great thing; it’s certainly not the reason that people put on weight. This shouldn’t be taken as carte blanche on oily foods – may come of something of a surprise, although they are not ALL great. Again, it’s beyond the scope of this post, but let us simply say: butter, eggs and fats from pastured, grass fed animals is all quite good for you. But beware those vegetable oils – be suspicious if you have to do any more than squeeze something to get the oil out of it! Olive oil is not bad – palm, corn and soy oils are not. The Wikipedia pages for those oils make for some fascinating reading – before placing any more of those in your body you might want to learn more!
And though, obviously, there’s the delusion of security in the known.
It’s accurate to say that Westerners in general, and Americans particularly, are less healthy and more overweight than has been the case for many decades, if ever. So, instead of asking ‘is the paleo diet safe?’, you might, perhaps, be wondering your present diet is!
The Paleo Diet is one based on natural equilibrium. It’s balanced, although it’s an extremely different balance than the one we’ve been educated for years, it’s not a diet of extremes. You should view with suspicion any diet that calls for extreme activities, particularly when it involves limiting particular food groups, for example fats or carbs. Nature adores balance, and will usually have it one way or another!
Thus, are you inquiring Is the Paleo Diet Safe? Maybe the best answer is just to attempt it for yourself. When you detect how good you start to feel weight naturally drops off if you want it to, and how much vitality and energy you’ve got, there will be a clue. If you see skin conditions, aches and pains and digestive problems disappearing then you may well be asking not whether the Paleo Diet is not dangerous but you didn’t get round to trying it sooner!
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