5

votes

What foods/nutrients/factors are paleo bogeymen?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM

As most of us know, a lot of what defines the paleo diet is what we aren't supposed to eat because they're supposedly bad for us. Of course, I think over time we discover that some things were just bogeymen, imaginary threats to our health designed more to control our behaviour than actually have positive results.

For example, I think saturated fat has proven to be a bogeyman. Loren Cordain's take was this was nearly as bad as other verboten foods/nutrients/factors, but that's largely been discounted as false.

I certainly have my own opinion on the matter (a lot of paleo recommendations are bogeymen), but I think it would be interesting to get others' take on the question. As an unrelated aside, there's a lot of interesting reading on bogeymen on Wikipedia - the history, the cultural differences/similarities, etc???

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 07:14 PM

It's fairly hard to get too wonky a ratio if you're eating whole foods. You can get a pretty hefty dose eating whole foods, but then you're also getting all sorts of antioxidants/phytochemicals that are likely synergistic with the fats.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on August 21, 2012
at 04:25 PM

I have always wondered if omega-6 from real foods is better. I mean I know it's better, but is it still bad to get a lot of omega-6 from whole foods such as almonds and avocados?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 03:33 PM

Agreed on all points.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Also the nitpickiness regard to what is a nut, or seed, or fruit, or legume, etc... it gets plain silly at times to base our eating habits off of botanical classifications.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I think there's a difference between the "it depends" foods and bogeymen foods. Nightshades aren't verboten in paleo, so they can't be a bogeyman, they're simply an "it depends".

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 12:13 PM

Sure, how about just lectins and phytic acid then? Bogeymen? Phytic acid is definitely a bogeyman, I just think that got tacked into the no grains recommendation without considering that most paleo foods are also fairly high in phytates.

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3 Answers

5
211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on August 21, 2012
at 02:43 PM

Omega 6 fatty acids from real foods (nuts, avocados, olives etc.).

Carbohydrates.

Antinutrients for anyone eating a varied diet.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on August 21, 2012
at 04:25 PM

I have always wondered if omega-6 from real foods is better. I mean I know it's better, but is it still bad to get a lot of omega-6 from whole foods such as almonds and avocados?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 03:33 PM

Agreed on all points.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 07:14 PM

It's fairly hard to get too wonky a ratio if you're eating whole foods. You can get a pretty hefty dose eating whole foods, but then you're also getting all sorts of antioxidants/phytochemicals that are likely synergistic with the fats.

4
Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on August 21, 2012
at 01:06 PM

The problem is people want clear cut recommendations or lists of "approved" foods when they start out with Paleo because that is what they are used to when they start other "diets". Try telling someone who isn't familiar with Paleo that it's just a "template" and that you may or may not be able to eat nightshades or dairy or legumes or "safe starches" etc. all depending on your current health, your goals, perhaps your ancestry and numerous other factors. They don't get it, they're not sure what to do and they are less likely to be successful.

So, people find a list and stick with it. But, whatever "list" the follow is likely to prohibit some foods that actually don't cause them problems. Or they may cause a problem when they are overweight or metabolically deranged, but then are fine to eat once they are healthy. Or they may be fine in small amounts but problematic when eaten in significant quantities.

However, you may not know what foods cause you problems until you eliminate them and reintroduce them later in a systematic manner paying attention to how the food affects your body. Even that is not foolproof as some foods may have no outward short term negative consequences but may have long term negative consequences.

So, in my opinion, there are not many bogeyman recommendations. Rather, there are several foods that fall in a gray "it depends" area. If it turns out a specific food causes you no problems when you reintroduce it, that doesn't mean that recommendation to eliminate it was a bogeyman, rather it just means that you are lucky enough to tolerate that food.

Having said all that, fear of saturated fat is a bogeyman. :)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I think there's a difference between the "it depends" foods and bogeymen foods. Nightshades aren't verboten in paleo, so they can't be a bogeyman, they're simply an "it depends".

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 21, 2012
at 12:00 PM

for me I would add Peas, Green Beans, and Peanuts.

When I started everyone told me to say no to legumes, all legumes, all the time... that included the three above. I reintroduced them to my diet, and I have seen no negative effects.

Yes peanuts contain phytic acid, but less so than almonds and walnuts. Yes peanuts have high aflatoxins, but roasting, and especially grinding (i.e. peanut butter) removes most of that. They are cheap, tasty, and when I am hungry a spoonful of peanut butter really satisfies me much more so than almond butter or sun butter.

Peas and Green Beans are TASTY, have a glycemic load of 1 and 4 respectively, contain lectins that most humans process without trouble...

The blanket no legumes is a bogeyman

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Also the nitpickiness regard to what is a nut, or seed, or fruit, or legume, etc... it gets plain silly at times to base our eating habits off of botanical classifications.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 21, 2012
at 12:13 PM

Sure, how about just lectins and phytic acid then? Bogeymen? Phytic acid is definitely a bogeyman, I just think that got tacked into the no grains recommendation without considering that most paleo foods are also fairly high in phytates.

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