As The Paleo Diet has continued to grow exponentially every year, it is now creating some jealousy and detractors. Its growth is driven by the fact that it is a strong science, whereas most other diets have a weak scientific basis. Due to its strong science, The Paleo Diet works much better than other diets. The latest criticism has been from US NEWS Health and Wellness. Prof Loren Cordain has written a rebuttal to their comments which you can read here. And below is what I have to say on the topic.
The Paleo Diet is not just some diet that some guy wrote one weekend (unlike some diet books). It is a major international scientific movement involving thousands of scientists- doctors, dentists, dietitians, biochemists, physiologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, and other dedicated scientists.. It is the most evidence based and sound diet ever developed, and the only one that is 2 million years old. Because it is a SCIENCE, it can be IMproved but scarcely DISproved. Similarly you cannot disprove chemistry but you can improve it.
Because it is a science, Paleo diet gladly embraces all scientific research. Paleo diet concepts have steadily improved for the past 60 years or so, to the point where it is the most healthful diet known, and unlikely to make major changes in its recommendations.
One of the main tenets of Paleo diet, is that any deviation from the mainstream diet has consequences. We don’t need to go back 10,000 years to prove that changing our diet has consequences- even changes in our food supply in the past 50 years have been disastrous! Consider that in the past 50 years:
-the gluten content of wheat has increased several fold due to selective breeding and other factors. We now have an epidemic of gluten related disease- coeliac disease (1% of the populaton), gluten intolerance (5 to 6% of the population).
-our sun exposure has dropped (a major change in lifestyle from the Paleolithic era) vitamin D deficiency now affects around 50% of the population
-the iodine content of dairy products, added entirely by processing, has dropped 80% and iodine deficiency (around 50% of the population despite recent changes). Authorities now recommend all pregnant and breast feeding women take an iodine supplement unless there is a medical reason not to do so. (reference).
– the increased intake of salty industrial food has contributed to many diseases, particularly hypertension. (reference)
– the flooding of the diet with polyunsaturates has been implicated as the cause of the epidemics of depression, asthma and arthritis. (reference).
– reductions in choline intake (in conjunction with insulin resistance) have led to an epidemic of fatty liver disease. (reference)
All of these points add up to prove that every change that we make to our diet and lifestyle has consequences, and most are harmful, and the best diet is found by rolling back all the changes to our original diet. This diet already contains everything that all dietitians agree is good for us- more vitamins, more minerals, more fibre, more omega 3, less trans fats, low GI, low salt, high potassium, low in toxins (yes a plethora of toxins have been scientifically identified in many commons foods) the list goes on. No other diet can provide everything in one package- I challenge you to find another diet that does! Similarly when you go over the Paleo Diet, you will find all these questions have been answered.
Sadly The Paleo Diet has some detractors, just as Galileo was opposed in thinking that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and many physicists thought Einstein was wrong. While healthy scepticism is good in science, being a Luddite is not acceptable. Most detractors have a poor knowledge of the science of Paleo Diet or are over-interpreting studies which Paleo Diet scientists are already aware of. Unfortunately most people either “get it” or “don’t get it” immediately, and I have written about why before (click here). If you really want to get “under the hood” of the science, then have a look at research by the 2 leading lights in the Paleo world- Prof Cordain and Prof Lindeberg. Or have a look at the books and websites of Prof Cordain and Prof Lindeberg. Then come back and tell me you’re not convinced LOL!