The Pitfalls of the Paleo Diet

Recently, I posted about the very popular Paleo diet, which is a strict hunter-gatherer diet comprised of meats, vegetables, fruits in moderation, and good fats.   You can read that article here.   Today, I want to explore the common pitfalls that people adopting the Paleo/Caveman diet may make. 

Paleo Pitfalls

1.  People use nut flours like they would use grain flours.  Our early ancestors didn’t have access to nut flour.  They didn’t make pancakes, muffins, cakes or cookies.  The people of this era would have had to pick, crack and then eat the nuts.  They wouldn’t have had the resources to eat 2 or 3 cups of almonds at a time.  If we consume too many nuts and seeds we upset the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils.  We must be aware of this as Omega-6 oils have been implicated in inflammatory response.

2.  Many people who follow a paleo lifestyle are not eating naturally fed meats.  The composition of grass-fed vs grain-fed is very different.  There are very little if any omega-3 fatty acids in feedlot beef and the same applies in farmed salmon.  Naturally fed meats or even grass fed meats will also contain more nutrients from the animals more diverse diet.  Bottom-line, buy the best meat you can afford and you should likely take an Omega-3 supplement if you are unable to buy grass-fed meats and/or eat cold water wild fish on a regular basis.

3.  The caveman took advantage of all cuts of an animal, eating the organs, brain, marrow from bones and often stomach contents as well.  How many people on the Paleo diet eat these?  By consuming the majority of an animal these people would have had a more balanced mix of fats than going for the prime rib or chicken thighs on a regular basis. 

4.  Fill a proper paleo plate.  One often sees the paleo plate illustrated as ½ meat and ½ vegetables, this certainly isn’t the case.  This plate represents many more calories from meat than from vegetables, when it should be 2/3 full of vegetables of varying color and variety, a palm size serving of meat, a serving of healthy fat (avocado, olive oil on salad, nuts or seeds) and a small serving of fruit.

5.  The Paleo diet eliminates all grains, dairy and legumes.  This can be very difficult to maintain and can be socially isolating as well.  Food is a large part of culture!  By eliminating these foods one may also limit the number of sources of nutrients available to them.   Following the Paleo diet one must be diligent about getting proper nutrition. 

While there may be the downfalls in following the Paleo Diet, it is still a far better way of eating than the Standard American Diet which is causing us to be obese and ill.  

I would love to hear what you have to say!