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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fred Flintstone is Fat: Is the Paleo Diet for You?



Are you trying to lose weight?  Thinking about trying the Paleo diet?

If so, you may want to pick up the book: Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, diet and How We Live.  In it, author, Marlene Zuk, a professor of ecology, evolution and behaviour at the University of Minnesota, debunks some of the myths about our ancestors that underlie the popular Paleo diet craze.

Although I have not read the book, in an interview published in the Nutrition Action Healthletter she explains that what prehistoric folks were eating depends on exactly what time period and on what region of the world these peoples lived.  She also points out that often these people at only what was available and their bodies adapted to this, however, this does not mean that they were necessarily eating the healthiest diets.  Furthermore, while the Paleo diet forbids grains based on the assumption they were not eaten by our ancestors, Zuk points out that scientists have growing evidence that they DID, in fact, eat grains.  Another thing to consider is that very few of the plants and animals early humans were eating still exist.



All this aside, there is also little evidence that a Paleo diet can help you shed pounds.  Nevertheless, here are my two cents.  First, my main concern with this diet is that it heavily relies on animal protein and eshews grains and legumes.  That being said, if you stick to lean sources of protein, minimize red meat as much as possible, avoid any processed meats, and consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, you are probably getting better nutrition than most North Americans.  My other concern is whether a person can stick with such a restrictive diet long-term.  As I have said many times, I couldn't live without grains (or legumes).  If you can, and this diet makes you feel good and helps you maintain a healthy weight.  Go for it.