12

votes

What are valid criticisms of the paleo diet?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 09, 2012 at 4:54 AM

What are valid criticisms of the paleo diet? Scientific, economic, ethical... the gamut.

And by paleo I mean the umbrella term that includes Weston A Price, Primal, Perfect Health Diet, GAPS etc etc.

Ed0cb30f40daff568778b776b2a5a81d

(943)

on May 02, 2013
at 10:37 AM

I completely agree with you. For me it also developed into an eating disorder which I'm still struggling with. Today I would not be able to eat a slice bread without panicking and thinking I would die within a few days. Can you eat 'non-paleo' food with feeling guilty?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 10, 2012
at 01:05 AM

^ true..........

14e1dbdd25db00d2c9db36d6a695f6cb

(159)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:04 AM

You hit the nail on the head, sister. The social isolation, I believe this is one reason I have the cheat meals....

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:37 PM

Completely agree - physical health is NOT the only part of a healthy life. Mental health matters too, and the social isolation of Paleo can be incredibly detrimental to mental health.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:53 PM

"Euphoria" doesn't sound so bad. :) Yes, if addiction is an issue then of course abstaining is the best choice. But for those who can drink on occasion and enjoy themselves or eat a warm donut on occasion and enjoy it, without causing any major health issues, maybe it's worth it. It's obviously not a decision I've made for myself, but I think it's a valid criticism of paleo.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:52 PM

"Euphoria" doesn't sound so bad. :) Yes, if addiction is an issue than of course abstaining is the best choice. But for those who can drink on occasion and enjoy themselves or eat a warm donut on occasion and enjoy it, without causing any major health issues, maybe it's worth it. It's obviously not a decision I've made for myself, but I think it's a valid criticism of paleo.

6371f0ae0c075ded1b8cd30aafd4bf16

on June 09, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Not disagreeing that Red Wine might be beneficial, but here are my thoughts. Paleo concepts such as Norcal Margaritas and the fact that alcohol post seem to get the most attention on Paleo blogs does not convey a sense of moderation? Is it the alcohol that makes the red wine beneficial? The Paleo community is so anti fructose yet alcohol is pretty much the same in regards to toxicity whats the difference? Couldn't the moderation argument be used for people who show no signs or symptoms of gluten intolerance

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 09, 2012
at 06:16 PM

If I think about it, the only real joy I got from SAD foods was when I'd bake treats to share with others. I enjoyed the act of baking, and liked seeing other people enjoy what I'd made. And I confess that I'm gradually using up my baking ingredients by making cookies and muffins to share with other people. I never eat what I bake, but I still get just as much pleasure from it as before.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 09, 2012
at 06:10 PM

I'm not sure I ever derived "joy" from eating SAD foods. "Euphoria" would be a more accurate term. When I was much younger, I had a drug and alcohol problem. Sure, I got pleasure from using those mind-altering chemicals. But did they make me happy? Not at all. And now I look at my experience with grains and sugar and see how it mirrored my drug and alcohol problem, albeit at a much lower level of intensity, and a much longer time needed to do its damage.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:44 PM

Paleo2.0 - funny. I've never heard someone say that rice is not a grain, either. odd. whatever the terminology is, rice is the $hit.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:37 PM

There are also now numerous studies showing that light to moderate alcohol intake, in particular of red wine, actually improves both health and overall well-being. Like everything else, the issue is in knowing -which- forms of alcohol are least damaging (for example, beer, which is typically made with wheat, is probably not a good choice), and knowing when to stop (ex., one glass instead of getting ploughed). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/drinking-benefits_n_1233544.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/red-wine-breast-cancer-risk_n_1190647.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Paleo and Primal are both more restrictive than GAPS. Only the GAPS intro is restrictive, but the full GAPS diet allows dairy, grains, lentils/legumes, beans and some other non-paleo foods.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:02 PM

I used to love debate when I was in school and I expect rebuttal. From that I learn and adapt. I have to state a case as clearly as I can to get a good rebuttal. Since I wrote this I've thought about how the sudden introduction of a virus into a population causes the same sudden selective response. It's brutal, but it rapidly sorts out the genetically non-resistant population.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:51 PM

"white rice is a starch, not a grain" - sweet, then bread and pasta are not grains either. Magical Paleo Land is funny.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:39 PM

You seem pretty firm in your opinion.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:11 PM

Actually, technically, I'd say that Paleo is under the WAPF umbrella, since WAPF has the broadest umbrella of all of the above. Under those terms, WAPF is followed in restrictiveness by SCD, then Primal, then Paleo, then GAPS -- while they may have -different- restrictions, that's how the relative -level- of restriction appears to me.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Weston A Price Foundation, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Actually, I think you'll find that many individuals who opt for paleo-primal ways of eating ALSO gravitate towards sourcing their foods through sustainable agricultural sources -- including ethically managed livestock. The farms that I get my food from -do- take care of their animals and treat them extremely well. They're environments are low in stress, they're fed the foods that they would naturally eat if they were in the wild, they're given the opportunity to wander around outside in the air and sunshine, and they're given love and respect by the farmers who care for them.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I agree of course. That's an argument I use a lot with SAD people. I'm sure most everyone here agrees too. That's why we're on Paleo Hacks. BUT, people often argue back to me that if I could just eat SAD food with some moderation/self control, I could derive the pleasure and not have so much of the negative effects of blood sugar swings, overeating, binges, etc. Eating that stuff in moderation is very difficult for me, but that might not be true for everyone.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:57 PM

You eat for pleasure, you overeat from force of habit expecting pleasure. Far after the thrill is gone.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:56 PM

Just like humans, the calorie ratio of a given plant is NOT its best determining factor for its value. Grain crops are notoriously bad for the environment and mass production of grain crops is not sustainable. They require a significantly higher proportion of chemical fertlizers, toxic pest management techniques, and destroy the nutrient value of the soil where they're grown, often damaging entire swaths of land which take years to restore to their natural healthy balance!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:53 PM

@ Jamie- I'm obviously not saying we should be eating CAFO meat or replacing grass fed meat with grain fed meat. Your country can grass feed it's animals because not everyone in your country eat's a pound of beef a day.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on June 09, 2012
at 02:51 PM

explain...what is WAPF, GAPS, and SCD?

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:42 PM

I derive a great deal of pleasure from eating when I'm hungry, savoring the natural flavors, and then feeling satiated. I did not get pleasure from constantly having blood sugar swings, continually obsessing about when/what I would eat next, and being unable to stop until I felt horribly overfull.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:40 PM

But we're not all Buddhist.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Dont turn all our green cattle feilds into wheat and cows into boxed in meat machines on concrete, and cover our feilds with petrol driven massive machinary! (Yuck!) It might be economical, it might even be more sustainable (though I doubt it, given it relies on fossil fuel), but it certainly aint either compassionate or enviromental.....theres nothing about the image of cows in a concrete box being fed unnatural food provided for by burnt fossil fuel that says "green".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:40 PM

The foods we are evolved to eat are the ones that taste good. There's a wide range. Humans are also products of unnatural selection. The healthier Neolithics prevailed over the tribalists, eliminating their hunt-and-gather range. The modified their best animals and plants by domestication. In the process they became able to thrive on gluten lactose and casein as proteins, at least better than their paleo ancestors. What they did 10,000 years ago is imbedded in our DNA and can't be reversed.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:36 PM

Mechanises argiculture...thats what I would have thought. That petrol run massive machines would be worse for the enviroment than giving cows a bit of roaming space...I have to say, I find the whole idea of all the green feilds in my country being turned into wheat feilds thoroughly repungnant and weird....

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:33 PM

How is grass fed less sustainable? Grass fed is all my country does and we havent run out of space... Should we replace all our green feilds with grain crops? I am confused...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I dont think anyone would argue for large scale adaptions commonly occuring in a few generations. Epi-genetics leaves room for some human adaption post-paleo. If it had not happened, our infant mortality rate will still be through the roof like when the egyptians started favouring grains as food....i dont think anyone would argue that humans have not adapted at all - after all gluten allergies for example arent that common, nor lactose intolerance ---Just that it would not be generally significant compared to the paleo period, thus we are more adapted to those foods...

321631b2e3931f601d2e9b1918b18ab4

(130)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:25 PM

white rice is a starch, not a grain...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Overall I would have to suggest that hedonism is overrated. If it worked to make you happy, our society would be in bliss, and buddhism would never have been invented...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Sugar is a mu opiod and d1 dopamine drug, similar to heroin and amphetamine in the nature of its neuro effects. Other foods produces some dopamine, but its not the same as sugar at all. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine in rat studies.... You might as well as that people on drugs are having more fun! Like drug highs and lows, i think its more like sometimes yes - overall, no. The more sugar you use, the more you rely on it...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:17 PM

And do people really model on northern european anscestors rather than african ones? That seems strange...why?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:16 PM

^ Mostly great points! Pretty good stuff...Admitedly on the last one science hasn't had enough time.inclination to support paleo. Studies so far mostly focus on single aspects, like low carb. And one major counter point, to one of these - tree fruits. Modern fruits are far higher in sugar (even veges are higher in sugar) than wild counterparts. Theres no doubt that early hunter gatherers used tree fruit. But those wild tree fruit were much lower in sugar, and higher in nutrients. So paleo man didnt need to count sugar because he hadnt changed the nutrional profile with farming...

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:48 PM

All of those species have suffered from Unnatural Selection, a man-made microevolution (Aurochs to Cattle, wolves to dogs, wild grains to commercial grains). That being said, I don't know of anyone suggesting regressive evolution, just feeding humans the foods they were originally adapted to eat.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:47 PM

The dopamine is not synthetic...we eat for pleasure whatever we eat, but at some point you cross the line between food and confection.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:41 PM

But on the flip side, would legitimizing lead to commercialization? I saw a fking Women's World at the Grocery store two days ago claiming Paleo was the ancestral path to a new you! I threw up a little in my mouth.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Almost opposite to our view that engineered food is bad, you could say the technology of engineering food is good because it enables us to derive even more pleasure from eating than we could ever get from whole natural foods (like a synthetic drug).

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:04 PM

There's more to sustainability than just calories per acre. Large scale mechanized agriculture requires huge inputs of non-renewable resources, and it loses topsoil faster than it is created. In the long term, that is not sustainable.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:38 PM

I'm sure we can find some stats on this online somewhere, and I'll look once I get a bit more time.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:38 PM

MIke, per acre of grains you get something like 10x the amount of calories from per acre of grass.

Bf2291448a06d573f0fdc87cd514e512

(519)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:04 PM

It's a pipe dream, but it'd be so awesome if all the wheat fields turned into pastures.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:00 PM

I don't think it's more sustainable. Growing grains (even to feed cows) tends to destroy top soil and farmland over time. I highly recommend the book "Vegetarian Myth"

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 09, 2012
at 11:56 AM

CAFO meat is more sustainable than grass fed meat. insisting on eating grass fed meat is selfish because it places your quest for ultimate health before the environment, a shared resource.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on June 09, 2012
at 11:34 AM

that's more a criticism of the subsidies than the diet, IMO

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 09, 2012
at 10:36 AM

Both good points, Paleoish Dude and Matthius, but we could extend the argument to "it's environmentally difficult to sustain intensive agriculture" which is really only necessary because of Paleoish Dude's original point; there are too many people for all of them to experience optimal.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:11 AM

On that note, a broad definition of "paleo" (interpreted more in a generally ancestral context) doesn't rule out a diet largely comprised of starches such as white and sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, etc.

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14 Answers

21
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:09 PM

A valid criticism is that there are inconsistencies in the tenets of the paleo diet, especially when it's practiced dogmatically. I focus on keeping junk fats, junk carbs, processed foods, legumes, gluten and casein out of my diet, I don't get dogmatic, I don't believe that there is one rigid right way to do Paleo and I'm good.

Here are some inconsistencies pointed out in one review of Paleo.

If the argument is that because "some" lectins are toxic to "some" people, then "all" people should avoid "all" lectins, we have a problem. We live in a world where food exists as part of a chain, with predators eating prey ??? and the prey develops defenses to protect itself from being eaten. Lectins are part of the circle of life and can???t be avoided; they permeate the food chain as predator eats prey. This means that if you wish to avoid all lectins, you would have to avoid all food, since all food contains lectins. To do otherwise implies selective belief in your theory. At least the Blood Type Diet acknowledges this issue and says that at least some groups of people have adapted to eating grains, beans, potatoes, and dairy.

And, another:

Fruit and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and beets are okay, but not tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams. Incidentally, I find the exclusion of tubers requires a bit of theoretical bending. The argument is that potatoes are a "new world" crop and humans have only been eating them for maybe the last 35,000 years. But in truth, yams are an African crop that people have been eating since the dawn of time. So why are they excluded? And if that's your logic for excluding potatoes, then why is turkey okay? After all, turkey is a "new world" species, not even introduced into Europe until the 16th Century.

And, this:

As for fruits, berries of all kinds are good -- strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries etc. are good. From there, differences in Paleo's abound. Tree fruits are controversial. For example, some say apples are great. Others call them "bags of sugar." And still others say they're okay if you eat the low sugar varieties. And yet, if the theory is based on eating what hunter-gathers ate, then tree fruits would have to be top of the charts. Not to go Biblical, but I think it's pretty safe to say that tree fruits such as apples and pomegranates have been part of the human diet since the very first man and woman walked the earth. And I don't believe hunter gatherers selected their fruit based on the glycemic index.

And, more on lectin:

Also, fruits contain lectins3 -- just like grains. Apricots, bananas, cherries, kiwis, melons, papayas, peaches, pineapples, plums, and even berries are all known to contain lectins and cause allergies. In fact, fruit allergies make up about 10 percent of all food related allergies. So why are fruits allowed? Incidentally, new research has shown that allergies to fruit are actually made possible by pectin, the soluble fiber found in fruit. The pectin surrounds the fruit allergens in the digestive tract so that they don't get broken down and enter the bloodstream intact. Using a digestive enzyme supplement that contains added pectinase can help moderate that problem by breaking down the fruit pectin, which then exposes the allergens to digestive juices and enzymes.

And, another inconsistency:

The assumed diet of the hunter-gatherers modeled by the Paleo's is reflective of cave people living in Northern Europe in cold climes where plants did not readily grow. But the simple truth is that hunter-gatherer societies in other locations ate decidedly different diets. As Katharine Milton points out in an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "The !Kung might live in conditions close to the "ideal" hunting and gathering environment. What do the !Kung eat? Animal foods are estimated to contribute 33% and plant foods 67% of their daily energy intakes. Fifty percent (by wt) of their plant-based diet comes from the mongongo nut, which is available throughout the year in massive quantities. Similarly, the hunter-gatherer Hadza of Tanzania consume "the bulk of their diet" as wild plants, although they live in an area with an exceptional abundance of game animals and refer to themselves as hunters."

And, on grains:

And it's not just modern examples of hunter-gatherer tribes. There is solid evidence that suggests that Paleolithic peoples commonly ate grain, and even flour, as far back as 30,000 years ago.5 In fact, there is quite reasonable evidence that people were processing cereal grains for food as much as 200,000 years ago.6 The bottom line is that the fundamental premise that Paleolithic peoples did not eat grains and that they ate large amounts of meat is only "suggested" by historical records, not necessarily supported by them.

And, one more:

The idea that the so-called Paleo Diet is inherently healthier is simply not supported by the evidence, either ancient or modern. What is supported is that eating modern highly processed, high-glycemic foods is unhealthy. Diabetes was virtually unknown in China until people began eating the modern Western diet. But before people started eating modern diets in China, they weren't eating anything remotely close to the Paleo Diet. They were eating a largely vegetarian diet grounded in rice and noodles. For centuries, they ate grains without problems. It was the introduction of refined sugars and oils and processed fast foods "what done em in," to quote Eliza Doolittle. As a side note, although meat consumption has gone up dramatically in China, with disease rates climbing right alongside them, it's probably not the meat that's causing the problem. It's most likely all of the refined, processed, fast food that's killing them.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:16 PM

^ Mostly great points! Pretty good stuff...Admitedly on the last one science hasn't had enough time.inclination to support paleo. Studies so far mostly focus on single aspects, like low carb. And one major counter point, to one of these - tree fruits. Modern fruits are far higher in sugar (even veges are higher in sugar) than wild counterparts. Theres no doubt that early hunter gatherers used tree fruit. But those wild tree fruit were much lower in sugar, and higher in nutrients. So paleo man didnt need to count sugar because he hadnt changed the nutrional profile with farming...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:17 PM

And do people really model on northern european anscestors rather than african ones? That seems strange...why?

12
06cf0b860450445b9d399fcc1b2a053a

on June 09, 2012
at 08:07 AM

It's environmentally difficult to provide a mostly meat diet to the majority of humans. But this is not really a criticism of the diet. It's more a criticism of humans for overpopulating the planet.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:11 AM

On that note, a broad definition of "paleo" (interpreted more in a generally ancestral context) doesn't rule out a diet largely comprised of starches such as white and sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, etc.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on June 09, 2012
at 10:36 AM

Both good points, Paleoish Dude and Matthius, but we could extend the argument to "it's environmentally difficult to sustain intensive agriculture" which is really only necessary because of Paleoish Dude's original point; there are too many people for all of them to experience optimal.

Bf2291448a06d573f0fdc87cd514e512

(519)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:04 PM

It's a pipe dream, but it'd be so awesome if all the wheat fields turned into pastures.

10
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:13 PM

I think that because it's so contrary to the food that's readily available to us, it requires a large amount of planning and preparation that can easily slide into obsession and orthorexia. And because it requires us to give up a lot of socially enjoyed foods, it can promote social isolation. As I come from a background of eating disorders, these are my chief concerns - in many ways it often feels like an eating disorder.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:37 PM

Completely agree - physical health is NOT the only part of a healthy life. Mental health matters too, and the social isolation of Paleo can be incredibly detrimental to mental health.

14e1dbdd25db00d2c9db36d6a695f6cb

(159)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:04 AM

You hit the nail on the head, sister. The social isolation, I believe this is one reason I have the cheat meals....

Ed0cb30f40daff568778b776b2a5a81d

(943)

on May 02, 2013
at 10:37 AM

I completely agree with you. For me it also developed into an eating disorder which I'm still struggling with. Today I would not be able to eat a slice bread without panicking and thinking I would die within a few days. Can you eat 'non-paleo' food with feeling guilty?

5
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 11:59 AM

Many people derive a lot of joy in life from eating things like pizza, donuts, ice cream, apple pie, cake, chips, snickers bars, etc. Eating paleo deprives you of this joy and for many perhaps the health benefits do not outweigh this deprivation in terms of net happiness over your lifetime.

This is one I struggle with at times. I think it's likely a "grass is always greener" situation where I'm envious seeing others enjoy engineered foods, but if I put myself back in their place, I wouldn't end up happier. Hard to say for sure, though.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Sugar is a mu opiod and d1 dopamine drug, similar to heroin and amphetamine in the nature of its neuro effects. Other foods produces some dopamine, but its not the same as sugar at all. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine in rat studies.... You might as well as that people on drugs are having more fun! Like drug highs and lows, i think its more like sometimes yes - overall, no. The more sugar you use, the more you rely on it...

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:13 PM

Almost opposite to our view that engineered food is bad, you could say the technology of engineering food is good because it enables us to derive even more pleasure from eating than we could ever get from whole natural foods (like a synthetic drug).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Overall I would have to suggest that hedonism is overrated. If it worked to make you happy, our society would be in bliss, and buddhism would never have been invented...

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:53 PM

"Euphoria" doesn't sound so bad. :) Yes, if addiction is an issue then of course abstaining is the best choice. But for those who can drink on occasion and enjoy themselves or eat a warm donut on occasion and enjoy it, without causing any major health issues, maybe it's worth it. It's obviously not a decision I've made for myself, but I think it's a valid criticism of paleo.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:40 PM

But we're not all Buddhist.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 09, 2012
at 06:16 PM

If I think about it, the only real joy I got from SAD foods was when I'd bake treats to share with others. I enjoyed the act of baking, and liked seeing other people enjoy what I'd made. And I confess that I'm gradually using up my baking ingredients by making cookies and muffins to share with other people. I never eat what I bake, but I still get just as much pleasure from it as before.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I agree of course. That's an argument I use a lot with SAD people. I'm sure most everyone here agrees too. That's why we're on Paleo Hacks. BUT, people often argue back to me that if I could just eat SAD food with some moderation/self control, I could derive the pleasure and not have so much of the negative effects of blood sugar swings, overeating, binges, etc. Eating that stuff in moderation is very difficult for me, but that might not be true for everyone.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:47 PM

The dopamine is not synthetic...we eat for pleasure whatever we eat, but at some point you cross the line between food and confection.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 09, 2012
at 06:10 PM

I'm not sure I ever derived "joy" from eating SAD foods. "Euphoria" would be a more accurate term. When I was much younger, I had a drug and alcohol problem. Sure, I got pleasure from using those mind-altering chemicals. But did they make me happy? Not at all. And now I look at my experience with grains and sugar and see how it mirrored my drug and alcohol problem, albeit at a much lower level of intensity, and a much longer time needed to do its damage.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:42 PM

I derive a great deal of pleasure from eating when I'm hungry, savoring the natural flavors, and then feeling satiated. I did not get pleasure from constantly having blood sugar swings, continually obsessing about when/what I would eat next, and being unable to stop until I felt horribly overfull.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:57 PM

You eat for pleasure, you overeat from force of habit expecting pleasure. Far after the thrill is gone.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:52 PM

"Euphoria" doesn't sound so bad. :) Yes, if addiction is an issue than of course abstaining is the best choice. But for those who can drink on occasion and enjoy themselves or eat a warm donut on occasion and enjoy it, without causing any major health issues, maybe it's worth it. It's obviously not a decision I've made for myself, but I think it's a valid criticism of paleo.

5
2e5dc29c61f97d335ffb990508424719

on June 09, 2012
at 11:17 AM

It can be expensive compared to the subsidized food in the SAD. That is a valid criticism. (The benefits are worth the price.)

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on June 09, 2012
at 11:34 AM

that's more a criticism of the subsidies than the diet, IMO

4
6371f0ae0c075ded1b8cd30aafd4bf16

on June 09, 2012
at 02:33 PM

Not necessarily a criticism of the diet but of the psychology of the people who follow it; which is the same psychology of people that follow anything like a Vegan Diet or the Next BIG network marketing deal or the next big workout deal,etc. I would like to echo the thoughts of Danny Roddy on his farewell podcast of the Healthy Skeptic. We are all such different beings yet we are so dogmatic about what someone else should do. Just because it worked for you does mean it will work exactly the same for everyone. It is easy to find something that really benefited you and want to share it but then become very close minded to the fact that there may be other ways to solve the problem. Hey if you have a headache and drinking tons of water on a low histamine diet, taurine diet and still not getting relief then maybe you should try an aspirin. All the infighting regarding low carb or low fat or low this seems silly to me. It all potentially works, why the big ruckus. We shouldn't look at this as a cure all as many do (and then are deeply disappointed when we are not cured) but rather as another tool to manage your situation.

EDIT: Now I'm on a soap box. I would also add that I don't understand how the paleo community can be so anti this or that and be so pro alcohol. There are so many studies that show that alcohol negatively affects our bodies. I watched a documentary years ago that pointed out that alcohol (unlike other drugs) affects every part of the body. They compared a group of heavy heroin user to a group of severe alcoholics and after 40 years the heroin addicts were alive but everyone in the alcohol group was dead. We seem to want to invite data that supports our beliefs but almost completely ignore data that doesn't. Okay now I'm off my box.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:37 PM

There are also now numerous studies showing that light to moderate alcohol intake, in particular of red wine, actually improves both health and overall well-being. Like everything else, the issue is in knowing -which- forms of alcohol are least damaging (for example, beer, which is typically made with wheat, is probably not a good choice), and knowing when to stop (ex., one glass instead of getting ploughed). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/drinking-benefits_n_1233544.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/red-wine-breast-cancer-risk_n_1190647.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

6371f0ae0c075ded1b8cd30aafd4bf16

on June 09, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Not disagreeing that Red Wine might be beneficial, but here are my thoughts. Paleo concepts such as Norcal Margaritas and the fact that alcohol post seem to get the most attention on Paleo blogs does not convey a sense of moderation? Is it the alcohol that makes the red wine beneficial? The Paleo community is so anti fructose yet alcohol is pretty much the same in regards to toxicity whats the difference? Couldn't the moderation argument be used for people who show no signs or symptoms of gluten intolerance

4
Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:17 PM

That humans have not adapted since paleo times. Every other species - from goats to cattle to wheat to bacteria - adapts within several generations. Lactose tolerance and skin pigmentation argue the same for humans, yet paleo pundits argue that we can go backwards on the evolutionary timeline.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:02 PM

I used to love debate when I was in school and I expect rebuttal. From that I learn and adapt. I have to state a case as clearly as I can to get a good rebuttal. Since I wrote this I've thought about how the sudden introduction of a virus into a population causes the same sudden selective response. It's brutal, but it rapidly sorts out the genetically non-resistant population.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:40 PM

The foods we are evolved to eat are the ones that taste good. There's a wide range. Humans are also products of unnatural selection. The healthier Neolithics prevailed over the tribalists, eliminating their hunt-and-gather range. The modified their best animals and plants by domestication. In the process they became able to thrive on gluten lactose and casein as proteins, at least better than their paleo ancestors. What they did 10,000 years ago is imbedded in our DNA and can't be reversed.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I dont think anyone would argue for large scale adaptions commonly occuring in a few generations. Epi-genetics leaves room for some human adaption post-paleo. If it had not happened, our infant mortality rate will still be through the roof like when the egyptians started favouring grains as food....i dont think anyone would argue that humans have not adapted at all - after all gluten allergies for example arent that common, nor lactose intolerance ---Just that it would not be generally significant compared to the paleo period, thus we are more adapted to those foods...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:39 PM

You seem pretty firm in your opinion.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:48 PM

All of those species have suffered from Unnatural Selection, a man-made microevolution (Aurochs to Cattle, wolves to dogs, wild grains to commercial grains). That being said, I don't know of anyone suggesting regressive evolution, just feeding humans the foods they were originally adapted to eat.

4
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 09, 2012
at 08:43 AM

I think the biggest problem with paleo is that it's quite hard to do it in our current society. The diet itself doesn't have many problems, except maybe the tendency to eliminate types of food that could really improve the quality (nutrient-density) of the diet (eg. dairy).

In itself the diet is pretty good as it addresses the 2 biggest problems in the SAD : PUFAs and grains (= phosphorus, anti-nutrients and gluten).

Other criticisms often involve 'tendencies'. Lots of paleo people take quite some supplements, have a very low calcium intake, eat plenty of PUFAs (nuts), have a very high iron intake, a high tryptophan intake, .... Telling people you don't eat grains because Grok didn't eat them while popping pills and eating loads of muscle meat (basically a refined food) can be confusing to others. But all these things aren't part of the paleo mindset but rather choices/mistakes that people make.

It is more expensive and more difficult than the SAD, but these things are debatable : the acquired increase in energy and improved mental state (hopefully) likely makes it easier to work more and earn more money.

Some won't like the high animal product intake, I think that's silly.

3
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 09, 2012
at 12:50 PM

The main criticism is that it hasn't been studied thoroughly. Whereas you have decades of SAD research (admittedly, most of it biased and not taking into account other lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol intake and genetic predisposition). But seeing some controlled studies done on Paleo/Primal, and having the results published in medical & nutrition magazines/sites would go a long way towards legitimizing this way of eating.

tl;dr Paleo hasn't been vetted thoroughly.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:41 PM

But on the flip side, would legitimizing lead to commercialization? I saw a fking Women's World at the Grocery store two days ago claiming Paleo was the ancestral path to a new you! I threw up a little in my mouth.

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 09, 2012
at 01:54 PM

One basic criticism is that grains are the staple of so many healthy populations. Following,

why would one be better off wholly eliminating them?

This is an old and basic criticism but I continue to think it's valid. Populations thriving on rice diets will laugh at the thought.

321631b2e3931f601d2e9b1918b18ab4

(130)

on June 09, 2012
at 02:25 PM

white rice is a starch, not a grain...

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:44 PM

Paleo2.0 - funny. I've never heard someone say that rice is not a grain, either. odd. whatever the terminology is, rice is the $hit.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:51 PM

"white rice is a starch, not a grain" - sweet, then bread and pasta are not grains either. Magical Paleo Land is funny.

2
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 09, 2012
at 06:33 AM

Valid criticism of the "paleo diet" as followed by many, or the way out anscestors/hunter-gatherers ate/eat?

If you mean the generic term, there are probably lots of individual points of eating habits that could be criticised but it depends on the diet itself.

However, re hunter-gatherers etc -Two I can think of.

Animal welfare. This is not to say veganism is 100% valid or consistant either, but animal welfare is a reasonable consideration - preferably animals should lead good lives before we eat them.

And practical/economic.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 10, 2012
at 01:05 AM

^ true..........

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Actually, I think you'll find that many individuals who opt for paleo-primal ways of eating ALSO gravitate towards sourcing their foods through sustainable agricultural sources -- including ethically managed livestock. The farms that I get my food from -do- take care of their animals and treat them extremely well. They're environments are low in stress, they're fed the foods that they would naturally eat if they were in the wild, they're given the opportunity to wander around outside in the air and sunshine, and they're given love and respect by the farmers who care for them.

1
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on June 09, 2012
at 02:22 PM

WAPF, GAPS and SCD are not under the Paleo umbrella.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on June 09, 2012
at 02:51 PM

explain...what is WAPF, GAPS, and SCD?

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Weston A Price Foundation, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on June 09, 2012
at 03:11 PM

Actually, technically, I'd say that Paleo is under the WAPF umbrella, since WAPF has the broadest umbrella of all of the above. Under those terms, WAPF is followed in restrictiveness by SCD, then Primal, then Paleo, then GAPS -- while they may have -different- restrictions, that's how the relative -level- of restriction appears to me.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on June 09, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Paleo and Primal are both more restrictive than GAPS. Only the GAPS intro is restrictive, but the full GAPS diet allows dairy, grains, lentils/legumes, beans and some other non-paleo foods.

0
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on May 02, 2013
at 04:26 AM

That its too expensive. True for some. A lack of defined macronutrient ratios. You could eat raw honey and sugary fruits all day and still be "paleo" That's the only valid arguments, really. Everything else about paleo is pretty awesome! I for one am feeling and looking (IMO) better than ever!

0
41d3035f75a3f33195e7037fb079cea5

on May 01, 2013
at 11:16 PM

Most centenarians eat little meat and lots of legumes. Dan Buettner's team researched this.

(BTW, search for "Paleo" in Buettner's Ted talk page).

Then again, the first sentence of this answer seems to only be a criticism of certain Paleo diets. To copy a comment on http://www.outlawfitnesshq.com/the-paleo-diet/

"There is a book out there from before the current paleo craze, “The Paleolithic Prescription,” published in 1988 by several authors including Melvin Konner (an M.D. and anthropologist) and Marjorie Shostak (anthropologist). The two of them lived with and studied the !Kung people of the Kalahari. Their book discusses the hunter-gatherer pattern not just for diet but for childrearing, exercise, etc. Their advice for incorporating a ‘paleo’ take on nutrition for current-day humans? 60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat, “Carbohydrate should be mainly complex, with little simple sugar and abundant dietary fiber. Protein should come primarily from animal sources which in our society means poultry, seafood, and low-fat dairy products: vegetarian protein-balancing is an acceptable alternative.” Their suggested diet also includes whole grains and legumes. So even those who think our current diet should follow a hunter-gatherer model have come to very different conclusions about what that means."

See the above link for more seemingly valid criticisms.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sc-health-0420-palos-diet-20110420,0,7758445.story also has criticisms of cutting out legumes and grains.

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