by Laura Forsyth | 2nd June, 2023 | Nutrition
The Paleo Diet has gained popularity in recent years, with many people embracing its philosophy of eating like our ancestors did in the Paleolithic era. However, it’s important to take a closer look at the Paleo Diet and understand why it may not be as sustainable or healthy as it’s often portrayed. Here, we’ll explore five key reasons why this diet should be approached with caution.
The Paleo Diet eliminates several food groups, including grains, legumes, and dairy products. While this may initially seem like a good idea to cut out processed foods, it also restricts important sources of nutrients such as fiber, calcium, and vitamin D. The absence of whole grains and legumes can lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, potentially compromising overall health.
The focus of the Paleo Diet on animal-based protein and fats can lead to an imbalance in nutrient intake. Excessive consumption of red meat and saturated fats can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, the limited intake of carbohydrates can result in low energy levels and difficulty in sustaining physical activity or exercise routines.
Eliminating entire food groups can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies. For instance, the absence of grains may result in inadequate intake of B vitamins, while the exclusion of legumes may lead to a lack of plant-based protein, fibre, and micronutrients. These deficiencies can have long-term health consequences, including weakened immune function, impaired cognition, and increased susceptibility to chronic diseases.
This diet has an emphasis on animal-based protein and limited intake of fibre-rich foods like whole grains and legumes can have a negative impact on gut health. Fibre acts as a prebiotic, fuelling beneficial gut bacteria and supporting digestive health. By depriving the gut of this essential nutrient, individuals following the Paleo Diet may experience digestive issues, such as constipation and imbalanced gut microbiota.
No one is built the same. Which is why this restrictive diet may not be suitable or sustainable for everyone, especially for individuals with different dietary needs or preferences. Athletes, for example, require a higher intake of carbohydrates for optimal performance, which may be challenging to achieve on a low-carb Paleo Diet. Additionally, individuals with specific medical conditions, such as kidney disease or certain nutrient deficiencies, may need modified dietary approaches that differ from the Paleo principles.