Paleo Diet Pros and Cons
First let me begin by saying there is no single diet on earth that can be tailored to fit every individual. Second, the five ways to recognize a nutritious diet according to Chapter One of Nutrition Concepts and Controversies are; “Adequacy, Balance, calorie control, moderation, and variety”. I did not know much about it before taking a solid look into the Paleo Diet. I have wanted to look into it for some time as I have had my doubts about it. My doubts stemmed from hearing that it omits dairy. Well upon my research, according to the web site www.robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet, the creator of the diet, Robb Wolf, states that the foods to avoid are “ dairy, grains, processed food, sugars, legumes, starches, and alcohol.”
I am going to approach my disdain for this diet with a food by food basis. Cutting out any staple food in general is not a good idea. First food I will address is dairy. Dairy has been under attack when it comes to fad diets every since I can remember. Milk is known to contain calcium. The author of Nutrition Concepts and Controversies states, “A diet lacking calcium causes poor bone development during the growing years and increases a person's susceptibility to disabling bone loss in adult life” (Concepts and Controversies). Milk and milk products also contain; protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Next I will tackle legumes. Legumes are high in iron and contain essential vitamins and minerals (Concepts and Controversies). “Most foods that are rich in iron are poor in calcium” (Concepts and Controversies).
Grains are a very important food, they contain folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, magnesium, selenium, and fiber. The body needs Forty-odd nutrients to function at it's best. Many of these nutrients are found in the foods the Paleo Diet suggests we cut out.
Believe it or not starches do have their place in the human diet. The USDA recommends 4 cups per week on a 1,600 calorie diet (Concepts and Controversies) “Even an ordinary baked potato contains hundreds of different compounds” (Concepts and Controversies) proving that they should be included into our diet.
I will approach my approval of the diet with a food by food basis as well. The Paleo diet is not all bad, in fact the foods they are pushing us to add more of are excellent foods, the best of the best. Fruits and vegetables rate very high in my diet. I concentrate on adding more each week as to meet my recommended nutrient intake. On top of being loaded with essential vitamins, fruits and vegetables contain something called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are extremely beneficial to our bodies and are something that can only be obtained through fruits and vegetables, or in other words, cannot be made into a vitamin. Doctor Haas states in her book, “Phytonutrients outnumber traditional nutrients by about 10,000 to 1. All of the wonderful qualities that we associate with good food-the way it looks, smells, and tastes-are the result of a food's phytonutrients” (Staying Healthy with Nutrition). The next food Wolf, founder of the Paleo Diet, tells us is “okay to eat” is lean meat. Lean meat contains protein, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc (Concepts and Controversies). Nuts and seeds are also on his okay to eat list. Nuts and seeds including; flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and almonds along with healthy oils. Olive oil, contributes to vitamin E, and essential fatty acids (Concepts and Controversies). Lastly I would like to talk about the health benefits of certain seafoods. Salmon and other types of fish are known to contain high levels of omega 3, and omega 6 essential fatty acids. In fact the USDA recommends eating seafood two times a week (Concepts and Controversies). One more thing I agree with Wolf about is omitting processed food and refined sugars, along with alcohol. There are no health benefits to either. I will however provide one caution of omitting processed food and refined sugars all in one. It can cause a serious binge session if the individual who proceeds with the Paleo Diet chooses only to stay on the diet until the weight is lost. This is why everything nutrition should be handled in moderation and with a lifestyle change in mind, and this is also why I do not agree with cutting out dairy, legumes, whole grains, and even starches. The way I see it, the broader my choices of food, the better opportunities I have to make good choices.
Sizer, , and Whitney. Nutrition Concepts and Controversies. 12th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengate Learning, 2012. N. pag. Print.
Haas, MD, Elson M., and Buck Levin PhD, RD. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. 21st centuryst ed. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2006. N. pag. Print.
Wolf, Robb. "The Paleo Diet Works!." http://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/. Media Temple, 2013. google.com. Web. 8 May 2013.