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The Paleo Diet – Good or Bad?

By Lucy Rose Clinic

November 24, 2022

Have you heard some conflicting claims about the Paleo diet? This article will highlight some of the most asked questions.

The Paleo diet removes grains, legumes, dairy, refined seed oils, and refined sugar and has been around since the 1970s.

The Paleo diet has a lot to offer those with poor lipid markers, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. But a healthy diet isn’t as simple as following one set protocol. Hopefully this article will give you some food for thought 😉

Paleo Diet Benefits for Metabolic Syndrome

Research shows that the Paleo diet can reverse markers of metabolic syndrome before type 2 diabetes or heart disease develops.

This study tracked people over a 2 year period and showed favourable outcomes for the group following the Paleo diet.

Paleo Diet and Weight Loss

A small, short-term study in 2008 showed beneficial effects on body weight, waist circumference, and systolic BP after only three weeks.

After even short-term dietary interventions, the Paleo diet gains good results in terms of weight loss, and reducing lipid and metabolic markers. 

Paleo Diet and Calcium Intake

Many worry about the relatively low calcium intake compared to other diets – and this is justified. A Paleo Diet done wrong can result in inadequate nutritional intake of many vitamins.

However, some studies have shown that calcium retention is better in people on the Paleo diet, suggesting that the daily need is not as great. (Study, Study)

When not consuming fortified foods, such as milk, calcium needs to come from other sources. For people with a higher calcium need, bone-in fish, and bone broth can be great food-based sources. If supplementing, it is vital to also supplement calcium co-factors, otherwise, calcium can store in the soft tissue causing issues such as kidney stones, atherosclerosis, and thickening joints.

Trimethylamine-n-oxide, or TMAO

Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is a metabolite that your body produces if you eat certain foods. The bacteria in your gut converts it into a molecule called trimethylamine (TMA). Your liver converts TMA, and generates TMAO.

Researchers are discovering associations between TMAO levels and the development of many inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and liver disease.

Where does TMAO come from?

The dietary precursors to TMA formation are found almost exclusively in foods of animal origin. Beef, pork, eggs, and lamb, as well as salt-water fish, liver, dairy products, and shellfish lead to the highest concentrations of TMAO in our bodies.

This is where the claims about the Paleo diet being bad for the gut in.

Our gut bacteria and organisms are diverse and as unique as your fingerprint. It also changes in composition of your diet. The bacteria that produce TMAO live by you eating animal products, and the more meat you eat, the more bacteria you will likely have. People who don’t eat meat don’t have that bacteria, so they have lower amounts of TMAO in their system.

Quality Matters

There are many factors to consider when approaching diet, and what is health-promoting for one person may not be for another.

Many studies do not highlight the quality of subjects’ diets, so we don’t know for sure how much this impacts the results.

If you want to follow a Paleo diet for the many health benefits it offers, be sure to balance your macros correctly, and not overeat animal products. Many people benefit from adding in some whole grains to this approach to increase resistant starches.

A daily general Macro Guide:

Protein: the size of your palm minus finger. 3 times a day

Carbs (vegetables): 3 – 5 handfuls a day

Fats: The size of your thumb 3 x a day.

Starchy carbs: the size of your fist a day.

Other tips for a Healthy Paleo Diet approach

     

      • Take a probiotic daily
      • Eat plenty of vegetables, or take a prebiotic supplement to boost your resistant starch intake
      • Eat 2- 3 pieces of fruit daily for added nutrition and anti-oxidant support.
      • Drink adequate filtered water.
      • Ensure your mineral intake is adequate – many people are deficient in minerals needed for healthy bones, the cardiovascular system, and more.
      • Exercise adequately to burn calories and build and strengthen muscles
      • Take digestive enzymes if you feel that you are not digesting animal products properly.
      • Use Food Combining principles to optimise digestion.
      • Work with a practitioner to guide you on the best dietary choices.

    Follow Nature’s Lead

    It is important to note that we evolved with a changeable diet all year round. Our diet should continue to change with the seasons despite our modern-day conveniences. If you would like coaching to gain the best diet and lifestyle that works for your unique biology, book an appointment to discuss how we can get you started. We would love to help you live your healthiest life!

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