Health Life

Health: why Paleo is rubbish

Health is hot. There are I-don’t-know-how-many health blogs out there, all with the perfect advice on how to gain perfect health AND perfect looks.One of the more prominent dietary philosophies is Paleo. And it is rubbish.

Many people with an interest in Health look at the mediterranean countries. There are very few cardio-vasculary diseases over there. And Italians and Spanish people remain quite vital while they age. The reason? Well, it must be their dieet: many fruits, veggies, fish and nuts.

The University of California did some research into the genetic adaptations which have taken place within the population of mediterranean countries. Their conclusions: the DNA of the population has adapted to digest vegetables more efficiently. Considering agriculture was invented “only” about 10,000 years ago, that’s quite quick.

So what does this have to do with Paleo?

If you are confused right now, I don’t blame you. I mean, the title mentions Paleo, yet I speak only of the Mediterranean diet. But, bear with me. Because it makes sense.

Think about it: what is the central idea behind the Paleo diet?

The Paleo-dietists believe that many of the modern diseases (obesitas, diabetes and others) are the result of our modern diet. They believe that our bodies cannot keep up with the speed with which we change diet. In the Paleolithicum “we” would eat berries, nuts, meat and fish. So that’s what our body is perfectly arranged for. Wheat? Potatoes? That’s stuff our body doesn’t know how to digest.

But if the Italians managed to adapt their genetic make-up within “only” 10.000 years, isn’t it likely that we’ve adapted towards an agricultural diet too?

Just look at cow milk. The majority of the world population is lactose intolerant. Except for northern-Europeans, who developed lactose tolerance as an adult. Adaptation.

More research

As it turns out, more research has been done which further undermine the Paleo-philosophy.  For instance, the Eskimo people have not undergone the genetic alterations the Italians did go through. That makes sense, because there aren’t many olives or tomatoes in the arctic. They are better adapted to eating meat and fish.

Or what about grain? People who live in areas where the diet is more carb-based, more often have the gene for Amylase-I. Amylase-I creates a enzyme which efficiently breaks down starch. Quite handy, if you eat a lot of bread.

Or, even more obscure: apparently, there is an evolutionary selection going on right now where a gene is favored which causes lower bloodpressure. Scientists think this is a response to us becoming more obese. Because obesity causes higher bloodpressure, a compensating gene provides an evolutionary advantage.

Science proves Paleo is rubbish

Conclusion: the basic foundation of Paleo-diet is scientifically proven to be untrue. Which means, in laymans’ words, that the whole diet is rubbish. On the other hand: each their own. So if you like eating Paleo, do so, and be happy with it. But I’m just gonna eat the foods of today. With potatoes, with tomatoes, and with wheat.

4 Comments

  • Emily Fergie
    April 19, 2017 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been doing the paleo diet and lost 15 pounds in a month! I absolutely love it. Enjoy your potatoes, tomatoes, and wheat 😉

    • Frindividual
      April 25, 2017 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

      First of all: Congratulations! Awesome that you lost weight (although I am not quite sure that 15 pounds in a month is healthy, seems a bit too much too fast to me, but that’s something a GP is more qualidied to judge)

      I am convinced the diet will help, because you’re focusing on certain foods which are a lot better than the stuff coming from boxes. You probably eat almonds instead of chips. You have probably replaced McDonalds-type foods by a nice mix of veggies. Awesome!

      However, the effect coming from healthy choices isn’t because it is Paleo. It is because you eat actual food. As said, the central premisse of Paleo is proven to be incorrect.

      Does this mean eating nuts is bad? Of course not. But it also means that the derivations of the central premisse (being: humans aren’t evolved to adapt to agriculture –> you must not eat anything agricultural) are not necessarily true. They may be, of course.

      I may say you get wet because it is raining. I might be wrong about the fact it is raining. But you may still get wet when you get outside (because the neighbour is using his gardenhose somewhat uncontrolled or something).

  • April 24, 2017 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I think you have to distinguish between die-hard paleos who won’t even eat Yuca or legumes and the mainstream paleos. in general, they advocate for unprocessed foods and low sugar. I think that’s great! Any diet that helps people eat more fruits and vegetables and lean meats is good. You are always going to get the fringe folks who sign up for a diet but then only eat bacon

    • Frindividual
      April 25, 2017 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Eating fruit and veggies is a brilliant idea. Even though I love steak. Oh wait, that’s Paleo too, right? Anyway… the main point in the post is that the whole philosophy of Paleo is based on the idea that the human biology hasn’t been able to adapt to the changes in diet brought about by agriculture. And that claim, is proven to be wrong. And if the main foundation of a philosophy is wrong, then everything derived of that main premisse is wrong.

      As Yoda said “Paleo, or Paleo not. There is no in-between” (well, he didn’t say that, but you get the idea. You cannot be a little-vegetarian. Either you are, or you are not. You cannot be “a little woman”, you are or you are not. You cannot be a little Paleo. You are, or you are not.

      People who chose to eat healthy foods instead of overly processed food, which is rich in additives and sugar are people who eat a healthy diet. But it isn’t Paleo.

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