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Where Family and Food Meet

The Science Behind The Paleo Diet

The Science Behind The Paleo Diet

{I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post}.

Before we get into the science behind the Paleo diet, we first need a clear understanding of what Paleo is.

I use the term ‘diet’ very loosely here, as I do not consider being Paleo a diet, rather it’s a lifestyle one chooses to live.

Whether you committed to the Paleo lifestyle voluntarily {like myself}, or you were forced into to it for medical and health reasons, we all follow the same guidelines.

We live a life free of grains, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes, and all things processed or chemically unsafe for human consumption.

The above mentioned not only includes the foods you eat but also the products you use every day, like your deodorant and toothpaste. You would be surprised the number of chemicals you put into and on your body daily without even knowing it. {Women: 168; Men; 85} (1)

 

The Science Behind The Paleo Diet

Let me clear up any misconceptions; you will not see ‘cavefolk’ running around with giant wooden objects bopping prehistoric creatures on the head and eating them raw. Being Paleo refers to the way our ancestors ate before the agriculture revolution; meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Basically, anything that could be gathered, grown, or hunted our ancestors ate and thrived on.

Since the agriculture revolution obesity, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, and cancers have increased by the millions yearly. There is a significate connection between the foods we consume and the products we use with these growing numbers of statistics.

Put everything aside you thought you knew about food and learn the science behind the Paleo diet.

 

Grains

According to the American standardized food pyramid {which is regulated by the USDA} you should be consuming 6-11 servings of grains a day. (2) {My jaw just dropped}.

Here’s what’s wrong with that…

Grains are a simple carbohydrate, they break down into sugar rather quickly, and raise your glycemic index almost instantly, causing your insulin levels to spike. If you consume the USDA recommended servings of grain daily you are on a fast track to obesity and diabetes before fifty.

Grains are also loaded with anti-nutrients, the most common being, gluten, lectin, and phytates. These anti-nutrients can have an adverse effect on your digestive system and overall health.

 

Gluten

A dangerous protein found in wheat, rye, and barely causes severe vomiting, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea for some. While some can tolerate this or have mild symptoms, others that have celiac disease or an intolerance, consuming gluten can have devastating effects.

 

Phytates

Unlike plants, humans can not digest phytates.

Phytates bind to essential nutrients and minerals {magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron}. Once phytate binds to a critical nutrient, they are then unavailable to the body and taken out of your system. In return, this leaves you deficient or lacking in the above-mentioned minerals and nutrients.

 

Lectins

Lectins are a sticky anti-nutrient protein found in large quantities of grain. They are meant to discourage the consumption of the plant by presenting themselves to predators. Consuming lectins in large amounts can lead to intestinal damage, adverse gut health, and leptin resistance. (3)

Still thinking about eating 6-11 servings of grain?

 

 

Dairy

About 75 percent of the world’s population is unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products due to lactose intolerance. The onset of symptoms can occur between twenty minutes to two hours post dairy consumption. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, cramping, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroenteritis.

How many times have you heard the phrase “drink your milk so you can grow big and strong?

Well, what I’m about to tell you, will turn your world upside down.

 

Now here’s why you should avoid dairy:

Despite the widespread belief consuming dairy provides healthy bones and prevents fractures, zero evidence or studies were done that actually prove this white lie. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study, the consumption of dairy may increase your chances of fractures by 50 percent! (4)

Furthermore, countries with lowest rates of dairy consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

Dairy is linked to prostate cancer in men, heart disease, and contributes to other health-related issues including but not limited to; allergies, sinusitis, diabetes, constipation, and ear infections.

Skip the USDA’s recommend three servings of dairy and get your daily calcium from other sources such as kale, oranges, salmon, and broccoli.

 

 

Legumes

What the heck is a legume?

Simply put a legume is the editable seed contained within a shed or a pod. The most well-known legumes include alfalfa, peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind.

Legumes are not the worse things you could be eating, compared to overly processed foods and sweets, but there is a reason we tend to avoid them on the Paleo diet.

 

Lectins & Phytates

Just like grains, legumes contain lectin and phytate.

So, let’s recap; the consumption of lectins causes ‘leaky gut’ issues and inflammation, while phytates prevent the absorption of essential minerals needed from particular foods.

 

Phytoestrogens

Definition: Prefix: Phyto: Plant / Root: Estrogen: Female Sex Hormone

Legumes contain plant estrogens which are not technically estrogen but instead they act like it. These plant estrogens bind to the same receptors as estrogen does, but in weaker signals – causing an overproduction of estrogen and disrupting your hormonal system. (5)

 

Carbohydrates

While carbohydrates are not essentially bad for you, they are not your best friend either. With diabetes and obesity at an all-time high, it is best to avoid large amounts of carbohydrates as they will cause weight gain, blood sugar spikes, and inflammation.

 

 

Refined Sugar

Refined sugar is defined as any sugar product that has gone through a process to enhance or refine the raw sugars obtained from sugarcane and other foods.

Refined sugar is the most dangerous additive found in overly processed foods. It is like a drug. It is addictive, damaging to your health, and is the cause of many diseases, as well as harmful to your digestive health.

 

Obesity

When consumed in high amounts and paired with an unhealthy diet, sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity in America. Studies have found that sugar increases body weight and fat in both adults and children. (6)

 

Diabetes

When you consume sugar in large quantities over long periods of time, it can cause insulin resistance, which can contribute to type ll diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

 

Addictive

As stated above, sugar is like a drug; it causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. This release gives you the ‘sugar high’ feeling, similar to that of a street drug. (7)

Skip the table sugar and try these natural sugars instead.

 

 

Processed Foods

When you purchase prepackaged foods, you are buying more than the picture on the box. You’ll find artificial ingredients, chemicals, unnecessary additives, and preservatives hiding in these packages that compromise your health. You have to go beyond the picture on the box and read labels and ingredients.

 

Artificial Ingredients: preserve, add flavor, and provide enticing colors.

Chemicals: increases shelf life and storage time

Unnecessary Additives: soy, sugar, and food coloring

High in Sugar: addictive

No Nutritional Value: zero health benefits

Unhealthy Fats: trans fat and saturated fats

 

All these factors lead to:

Weakened digestive health, liver damage, autoimmune disorders, obesity, depression, anxiety, type ll diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, high cholesterol, hyperactivity, and certain cancers just to name a few.

 

 

The Take-Away

Avoid grains, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, legumes, and all things processed and stick to real, whole, and healthful foods.

You’ll thank me later. 🙂

 

 

-Angela

 

Comments or Questions?

 

The Science Behind the paleo diet

 

Sources

1 https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/13/toxic-chemicals-cosmetics.aspx

2 https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/archived_projects/FGPFlyerLineEng.pdf

3 https://ultimatepaleoguide.com/are-grains-paleo/

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9224182

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14664520

6 https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/

7 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763407000589

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