Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Is a Paleo Diet Healthy?

This Wall Street Journal Article on the Paleo Diet gives a more comprehensive view on the "pros" and "cons" by two very reputable and competent sources -- Dr. KellyAnn Petrucci, naturopathic physician and certified nutritional consultant and Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

First off, there is no doubt that the statistics of where we are health-wise here in the United States is astounding. "More than one-third of U.S. adults - close to 80 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - are obese, and as Americans' waistlines continue to grow, so do rates for chronic health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease".

In viewing the "pros" and "cons" to this diet, Dr. Petrucci believes that yes, the Paleo Diet is a good choice for her patients and so she stands behind this diet. She states that "a Paleo diet can reduce inflammation, reverse diabetes symptoms, lower blood pressure and cut cancer risk by providing a template of foods that are as close to nature as we can get today. Science backs this up."

However, Professor Nestle says that "we really don't know what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. As often as she argues, determining what people eat is the single most intellectually challenging question in nutrition science. It is extraordinarily difficult to get an accurate idea of what people ate yesterday, let alone 10,000 to a million or more years ago". She goes on to say, "The reason cave men didn't have chronic diseases like diabetes is more likely because they didn't live long enough and lacked antibiotics, rather than because they didn't eat carbohydrates".

Additionally, the Paleo diet is viewed differently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutritional guidelines in a number of ways.

The Paleo Template says to:
  • Make lean meats and non starchy vegetables the foundation of your diet.
  • Don't eat grains, dairy, legumes or added sugar
The USDA Template says to:
  • Eat grains, make at least half of them whole grains.
  • Don't eat foods high in solid fats.
Whatever the diet or non-diet one chooses though, there is no doubt that the fundamental tenets of nutrition are balance, variety and moderation. How everyone sees what these tenets really mean though is another debatable issue...

1 comment:

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