1

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how are you sure paleo's right?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 13, 2013 at 7:34 PM

hi there!

so I'm 20, having troubles with IBS and being paleo since a few months (with offs and ons, but my last bite of bread was on jan, 1st). I haven't noticed any change thought I'm sure I'm doing everything right. But still, I like the idea of eating right, so even if it doesn't make me feel better at the moment, it's of course better than soda etc.

But there's one thing I always struggle with: How are you always so sure this is the right form of eating? Because I always wonder if paleolithic humans did actually eat THAT much meat and fat (come on, they didn't have butter!) or if our bodies did change to manage with milk in alot of cases, why shouldn't it have evolved to digest gluten also quite well?

Don't get me wrong, I love my steak and avocados, but I'm the only one I know eating like this and I'm afraid, in the end, it will harm me more than it has helped me because it's just a trendy diet.

006f2e9b763058ff2332681c206563e4

(252)

on March 15, 2013
at 12:17 AM

i AM eating for more than sicty days like that; but actually nothing happened. thats the point.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 13, 2013
at 10:55 PM

Thanks Dr. Pangloss. The best of all diets in the best of all possible worlds. It is experiential, and it's a diet/lifestyle that has verifiable benefits on the important health markers.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 13, 2013
at 10:52 PM

It is experiential, eat this not that.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 13, 2013
at 10:51 PM

If our bodies didn't evolve to drink milk, we're fooling ourselves by stopping at a mammal diet. We need to go waaaaaay back with our paleo and eat what the trilobites did.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 13, 2013
at 10:13 PM

As always, roth has left me scratching my head over what he could possibility be talking about.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on March 13, 2013
at 09:42 PM

Our bodies didn't evolve to consume milk, at least not in the way you think evolution happens. You can't evolve to benefit from something horrendous - humans will never evolve to benefit from crack cocaine. That's what gluten is essentially.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on March 13, 2013
at 08:42 PM

This, a million times over.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on March 13, 2013
at 07:55 PM

Enjoy. http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200251h.html

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 13, 2013
at 07:38 PM

Easy: keep the meat, and fatty, nutritious whole foods like avocados and nuts but ditch the refined fats like butter. You IBS may actually be the result of a magnesium insufficiency btw.

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9 Answers

6
E6c14efded576a0bea38a2fe2beced6a

on March 13, 2013
at 07:50 PM

The same way I knew I was ready to get married and have kids.

By jumping in head first and figuring it out as I go.

To be honest I don't know this is the "right" way for me to eat, but I can say it's the best way I have found and it simply works for me.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 13, 2013
at 10:52 PM

It is experiential, eat this not that.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on March 13, 2013
at 08:42 PM

This, a million times over.

4
0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

on March 13, 2013
at 08:45 PM

it's not 'right'...it's just better than the alternative. I don't think the word 'right' should describe a diet.

I was on paleo for 6th months avoiding salt and animal fats..after I added these two things that's when I really started to feel good (with the exception of a week long coconut oil buzz in the very beginning)

paleo is ever changing and adapting to certain situations..there's never really a 'right'

3
783275f7d7d5fd8de47977d42fc5f97d

on March 13, 2013
at 08:03 PM

I'm with Travis Culp, there's no point in obsessing over what paleolithic humans ate, that's bound to be variable and will likely always remain uncertain. Clearly they didn't fry all their meals in butter or lard. But the main tenets of the diet, i.e. that it's healthy to eat whole foods, in moderation, while avoiding energy-dense foods that our ancestors could in no way have relied on as a dietary staple (i.e. grains, legumes, sugar etc., since these require monoculture farming for regular consumption) are clearly supported by science. If you take that as the guiding principle for your diet, I don't see how it can be wrong. To me that doesn't necessarily include copious amounts of meat or fat.

2
7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

on March 13, 2013
at 09:49 PM

Most of the benefits of "paleo" come from the eschewing of toxic foods, many people are coming to it from horrific American diets, the logic is actual pretty spurious: I started eating better, now I feel better, ergo this is the best diet possibly to be on

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 13, 2013
at 10:55 PM

Thanks Dr. Pangloss. The best of all diets in the best of all possible worlds. It is experiential, and it's a diet/lifestyle that has verifiable benefits on the important health markers.

2
F2054b0bf33820c76e5ff0f272c15117

on March 13, 2013
at 08:31 PM

Honestly? I'm not. I'm fairly new to Paleo, and I dont know if it will be how I eat for the rest of my life..But i do know this:

I feel better. I have more energy. I have lost almost 20lbs in 32 days...and coming from a person with PCOS and insulin resistance, that's no small feat. I am excited about cooking and trying new things.

I haven't had this reaction to any "diet" I've ever been on..and for me, that's enough to keep with it.

2
72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 13, 2013
at 08:30 PM

You don't have to know it's right on theoretical grounds, or be persuaded by others. As with any approach to eating, you want to be able to answer two questions:

How does this diet affect my day-to-day life?

This includes things like your energy level, any chronic disease conditions, pain, and mood. It also includes ethical concerns, aesthetic enjoyment of food, effects on relationships, etc. Some people seem to intuitively recognize changes in this; if you prefer there are tons of quantified self tools and resources to help you.

What are the non-obvious long-term effects of this diet?

It's possible to imagine a diet that makes you feel great, get lean, put on muscle, etc, but that also gives you a huge risk of cancer or drastically accelerates aging. So you want to find reliable biomarkers that can help you see what downstream effects it might have. Blood lipids are an obvious one (though some people are arguing that you have to split LDL up more finely to see what's really going on). You could potentially get systemic markers of inflammation, like C-reactive protein. If you're sedentary, becoming even moderately active is widely agreed to have large health benefits, as is losing excess fat (at least enough to go from "obese" to "overweight," beyond that people are still arguing). Any diet that helps you do those things has a great deal going for it, regardless of any other disadvantages.

Atheoretical epidemiological evidence should also be helpful here (that is, do people who eat the same things you eat tend to live long, healthy, happy lives?), but that can be treacherous because it almost always involves trying to take isolated variables out of context. Long-term randomized controlled trials in populations that are culturally and genetically similar to you are much more useful, but also very rare.

Summary

You can find out whether paleo is right for you by deciding what aspects of day-to-day health you want to focus on, and finding out how they're affected by various dietary changes. Assessing long-term health effects is trickier, but you can at least get some decent evidence.

2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 13, 2013
at 07:55 PM

Experience goes a long way. Not all paleolithic humans would have eaten as much fat as some of us on Paleohacks do, but some paleolithic humans probably did. Blubber was a staple in some cultures. Plant oils and processed carbs couldn't exist until the machines necessary to squeeze oil out of kernels of corn were created.

But after you see a few wins, whether it be a reduction of symptoms, loss on the scale, or just better body composition, you'll know. We are sometimes wrong about what we imagine the paleolithic to be like, but after losing 100+lbs, I'll take the occasional wrong hypothesis thrown in along with the sensible stuff. (An example of this would be initial salt recommendations, which I think are too low based on personal experience.)

1
9b0310b623f8ed289c9571ab3a58a142

on March 13, 2013
at 08:51 PM

Can you think of any other diet backed by anthropology? Most other diets are based on research less than a few decades old. Even ignoring the question of fat consumption, we know for a fact that our ancestors did not eat a carb-dense diet.

That is how I know I am on the right diet. Not even mentioning that I have seen many benefits from changing.

If you are not seeing many changes I recommend you look at some of the lifestyle changes recommended for paleo (sleep, etc.). Stress is also a very powerful force against improvement.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on March 14, 2013
at 01:55 AM

I am not 100% convinced that it is the best / only way to eat, but it did wonders for my health. I have a list of about 20 things that the Paleo diet improved about my health, starting with losing weight and including better hair, skin, mood, sleep, reduced muscle and joint soreness, better energy, etc. This has continued for about a year so far. I can't say that this is the best thing for all people but it is no exaggeration to say that it transformed my health and attitude.

I don't think the idea is that our Paleo ancestors necessarily ate a lot of meat and fat, but that the way they ate caused human bodies to evolve so that that is an excellent diet for them. Many Paleo cultures lived pretty mean existences, scraped by as scavengers, were miserable, and died young. They didn't have Whole Foods and wild meat was hard to come by, but it was the best thing for them. We are much luckier because we don't have to snare a rabbit to have good meat.

But the point isn't to live exactly as they lived, but to eat the way that our bodies evolved to eat during that time.

Or look at it this way -- give it a try for 30 or 60 days. Even if it's totally horrible for you, that won't kill you. That guy in the movie ate McDonald's for 30 days, and some scientist ate nothing but Twinkies for 30 days. Eating Paleo for 30 days can't be worse than that, can it? And if it starts to really feel good then you can figure out if and how it works for you from there.

006f2e9b763058ff2332681c206563e4

(252)

on March 15, 2013
at 12:17 AM

i AM eating for more than sicty days like that; but actually nothing happened. thats the point.

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