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What’s the Deal with the Paleo Diet?

Checking in a Monday …

… answering one of the MOST common questions we get.

What Do You Think About the Paleo Diet?

Well, let’s take a step back and talk about the Paleo Diet a bit first.

What is the Paleo Diet?

To really simplify it, the idea is to eat like our ancestors who ate a lot less processed of a diet than we currently do

More specifically there are some simple guidelines about foods to choose and those to avoid (this list from a popular Paleo Diet website).  Similar lists are out there that are even a bit more limited (eat fruit, but only berries — veggies, except nightshades, like eggplant and tomatoes, etc).

Eat Avoid
Fruit Dairy
Veggies Grains
Lean Meat Processed Food & Sugar
Seafood Legumes
Nuts & Seeds Starches
Healthy Fats Alcohol

Let’s first talk about all we agree with.  Because at the end of the day, 90% of nutrition experts agree on most nutrition habits.  What’s funny is everyone always wants us to focus on the little part where there is a discrepancy.

We at Mohr Results are 100% on board with all those foods to include on the list above as a majority of the diet.

However there are a few in the "avoid" column we certainly believe are fantastic for you.

To be honest, the only one we completely agree with in that list is processed foods and sugar.  The devil is in the details.

Dairy certainly has some great nutrients.  Cottage cheese & Greek yogurt, for example — two easy sources of protein that work great in meals or as snacks.  Grains, same thing – lots of benefits when you choose the right types and that’s the issue.  Grains offer a ton of fiber and other nutrients.  Sure, most people do eat too many grains and, well, the "grains" they choose are hardly high fiber grains.  That’s the issue.

We’re fans of quality, fibrous grains in the right portions.  Same with legumes, which are a great source of fiber too.

The issue, really, is folks want to make nutrition black or white believing a food or food group is good or bad.

In fact, in response to a blog I wrote the other day, someone followed up on Twitter saying.

"Beans and Grains are Pro Inflammatory = Leaky Gut"


Let’s look at the big picture.  Asian cultures usually eat rice (a grain) with every single meal. Italians include pasta (grain) and/or bread (grain) with most meals.  Usually white flour pasta, at that. 

Are we seeing an epidemic of "Leaky gut" around the world from the grains?  Not quite.

Nutrition is not black or white. 

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t some great qualities of eating less processed, more whole foods.  Of course there are and we love that about the "Paleo Diet" approach.  Less processed foods, more of a ‘clean’ diet for lack of a better term.

We’ve been "preaching" nutrition quality over nutrition quantity for years. 

Where we don’t agree are in some of the details. 

Alcohol for example – if caveman had beer, I can assure you they would drink it!  All jokes aside, alcohol does have some health benefits if you drink in moderation.  Of course beans and the right grains all have great nutrients.  Same with dairy, if there are no allergies.

Anytime an entire food group is demonized or completely off limits, the diet itself has limitations.

Paleo Diet

There are no miracle diets.

There are not evil food groups.

There is no magic food(s) that boost fat loss.

We guide people to make smarter food choices most of the time.

Show them how to make smart choices when faced with challenging situations.  No need to preach to me or everyone else how YOU eat and pretend that it’s written in stone.  There are a lot of approaches that work — "Paleo" might work for you, though a true nutrition expert can guide people to make appropriate choices for their lifestyle. 

Though telling people not to eat x or y, limit only specific foods because a food causes some type of issue/symptoms is easier than teaching …

… it’s not a solution that can last.  

"Give a man fish and feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." 

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2 Responses to What’s the Deal with the Paleo Diet?

  1. Kevin Orlin Johnson July 8, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    There’s one important factor omitted here. There are ethnic groups that are allergic to common foodstuffs. Eastern Europeans and, I think also, Slavic people have a high percentage of allergy to wheat gluten; others, such as–if memory serves–Teutonic races have a high percentage of allergy to dairy products. Not all foods agree with everybody!

    An Italian may be able to eat bread at every meal, but a Russian or an Hungarian might have a 70-percent chance of being significantly allergic to it.

    It comes down to paying attention to your own individual case. But the basic principle of the “Paleo” or “Stone-Age” approach — could I have caught or gathered this 30,000 years ago? — does automatically swing the diet to healthier choices. I mean, when did Twinkies roam the wild?

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Linda July 9, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    As always, great info. The last line says it all!!

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