We Live in The 21st Century, Not In Pre-Historic Cavemen Times
I’ve torn into the Keto Diet in the past, now it’s Paleo’s turn. I really like some of the ideas and the foundations upon which the Paleo Diet is built upon. Namely:
- Reduce sugar intake
- Eat more plants & lean meats
- Stop eating processed crap
Essentially meaning that you only consume things that were available during pre-historic times. I like this. The irony of all this is that people who are screaming about Paleo being the cure-all are actually selling physical products that weren’t available in pre-historic times, nor necessary to solve any dietary issues, but aside from that, I like the founding ideas.
But there’s some major, major problems with it.
Problems With The Paleo Diet
There are several problems with the Paleo Diet. The creators of this diet are pointing at grains as being the source of all evil (aside from sugars), and that if you eat things like whole wheat, rice, oats and barley, then you’re going to get heart disease. Errrrrrr, no. Sugar, yes. Whole grains, no.
The Paleo diet at the time was incredibly varied, and depended upon the location of the Paleolithic men. The diet varied by location. Therefore the instant anyone tells you that “This is the Paleo Diet, and nothing else was ever consumed outside of this box” is a charlatan and full of shit.
Furthermore, whenever Paleolithic fossils have been discovered, guess what’s been found in their GI tract? Go on, take a wild stab in the dark….
Correct! Grains. Everywhere.
The Paleo Diet in reality had grains.
The idea that grains are evil follows the similar notion to the Keto Diet, which blames any source of carbs for fat gain. Supposedly carbs magically get converted into fat really easily (no it’s called excess total calories), but I’m pretty certain this idea partially comes from the fact that this is true in animals such as cows, and the fact that the meat we eat is getting fatter (because we’ve been fattening them up with grains).
Problem is, humans are not cows. Grains do not get converted into fat anywhere near as easily in humans. Grains are good, remember that. It’s sugar that causes problems. This is not debatable, and has been proven countless times. If you have a sugar addiction, it will indeed slash your life expectancy. Unfortunately most people in Western Society have a sugar addiction to some degree.
Some sugar in and of itself is okay, but when you’re addicted it leads to a whole host of other problems. The biggest one being the fact that it makes it almost impossible to consume in “normal” quantities. If you’re addicted, like most people are, you’re going to consume it in excess.
Speaking of excess, take anything to excess and it becomes harmful (this doesn’t mean that consuming zero is the answer, stop thinking in terms of extremes ffs). This includes:
- saturated fats
- water (yes, water!)
- fiber (yes, fiber!)
Paleolithic people weren’t taking these things to extremes, because their society was not constructed in such a way. They physically couldn’t. Food was fuel, not emotional therapy.
My point with all this is that anything can potentially be dangerous. The problem with both sugar and our society in the 21st century, is that they both make it ridiculously easy to consume excess.
Grains will not make you drop dead of heart disease. The problem with our society is that everyone is fat as hell and sedentary as hell. Grains are not the enemy. In pre-historic times, men were not running around at 30%+ body fat!!
Another problem – Paleolithic people only lived long enough to procreate. They didn’t live long at all, so their diet is not really some kind of lofty goal to shoot for. It doesn’t mean we’re going to live forever and never have any health issues if we eat like they did.
Instead, I suggest eating like them (which means grains!!!), and have more lean meats than them. Eat some broccoli too – Paleolithic mean usually didn’t eat broccoli. Broccoli’s great 😉
We Live In The 21st Century
There are many problems with the Paleo Diet, I have to write it off as an emotionally-compelling scam like Keto. The ideas start off with promise, but they get distorted into something that simply sounds nice but doesn’t hold any real long-term sustainability. They just DON’T.
We live in the 21st century. Now, whilst I’m a HUUUGE proponent of having most of the variables under control in terms of your diet, including food shopping and food prep, I’m a realist at the same time. I don’t think it’s realistic to have ALL of the variables under 100% control ALL the time.
How many times within the past year has someone else cooked what has gone into your mouth?
How many times have you eaten at a pub, bar, restaurant, cafe within the past 365 days?
The answer to these questions is going to depend on your lifestyle, your social life, your introversion vs extroversion, where you live, the type of friends you have, your cooking skills, your financial priorities etc.
But the reality is that the Paleo Diet (and Keto, as I’ve explained before) will not work for you in the long-term, unless you live under a rock.
Are you really never going to eat grains ever again?
- Brown rice,
- Whole wheat pasta,
- Wholemeal bread,
Really? You think you will abstain from them for the rest of your life?
Carbs are not the enemy. The Fitness Industry and it’s indoctrination are the enemy. The Paleo Diet, Keto, and other diets are the anti-theses of creating a sustainable fitness lifestyle in the modern world. They prey on weak consumers who don’t know any better. Instead of being preyed upon, you have to figure this stuff out for yourself, and create a fitness lifestyle that works for you.
I can give you some over-arching principles:
- Shorten your eating window
- Drink more water
- Consume more fiber & protein (the latter depends on a few factors)
- Consume less sugar
- Take control over what’s in your damn cupboards (Men Over 40!)
- Eat tactical evening snacks every night to prevent excessive deprivation & cravings
- Plan the weekend meticulously
- Schedule time for general calorie-burning activity EVERY SINGLE DAY (doesn’t need to be intense)
- Increase your testosterone
I will leave it there for today. Overall, no diet holds the answers. The answer is to use your common sense, accept the current realities of our world for what they are, rather than what you want them to be, and create a solution based upon that.
We live in the 21st century, not in pre-historic times.