Most Compelling Arguments Against the Paleo Diet
The Paleo Q&A ForumI know I will enjoy the company of a group, if the group is willing to ask a very basic question: What are our biggest weaknesses? It’s a mindset that isn’t married to the status quo, but is more interested in evaluating the truth, improving when possible, changing previous positions, and (especially) can admit errors.
Sound almost like science, instead of religion.
…what do people think are the strongest and most compelling arguments against recreating the paleo metabolism?
Excellent! That’s the skeptical mindset I’m talking about. It’s also great to see this particular question with 12 up-votes, which is relatively high based on how I’ve seen other questions perform. Members can up-vote (similar to Digg, Reddit, and other social forums) questions they feel are especially interesting or well-stated. One of the best answers in the thread included this portion:
Another argument against strict paleo is that it relies on cherry picked evidence. I don’t like Cordain because of this — he identifies non-paleo foods and then finds what’s wrong with them. Putting aside my point that almost all modern foods are non-paleo, this approach has a big problem: there are bad things to say about any food.
And another response goes at it from an entirely different angle:
I think the toughest argument to counter are the extreme animal rights arguments, which are appealing to many people. I have friends who absolutely believe slaughtering animals for food is wrong and it’s hard to counter them.
My own take on this is that empirical evidence is superior to all arguments. We all, to some degree or another, have the ability to experiment with our diets. We can make drastic changes from strict Vegan to so-called Orthodox Paleo. And we can evaluate how we feel before and after.
This isn’t always accurate, of course, but experimentation allows you to focus on what works for you, versus general findings. General findings are a great starting point. Yesterday, I posted a question on PaleoHacks about how to get enough saturated fat without dairy.
Right now, I’m experimenting with being liberal with dairy in my diet. That means cooking with extra butter, heavy cream in my coffee, whipped heavy cream on my berries, greek yogurt and so on. Dairy isn’t Paleo. But can it help me achieve the health and fitness results I’m looking for?
I’m feeling good with this approach so far, by the way. But, I’m curious…is it the dairy? Extra calories? Extra fat? All of the above? In order to find out, I’ll have to stop consuming dairy at some point while keeping the calories and fat up. Then, I can compare how I’m doing on dairy with how I will be feeling in the future without it.
I received several good answers, most of them pointing to lard as the post-dairy (or pre-agricultural) saturated fat source of choice. And there’s also some interesting takes on coconut oil in the answers and comments.
Head over to PaleoHacks to get in on the action. If you’ve experimented with tweaking and fine-tuning your diet first hand…I’m sure everyone PaleoHackers (including me) would like to hear about it.
And, if you’re a skeptic at heart who can contribute to our understanding of the Paleo diet by pointing at its shortcomings, your opinions and findings are highly sought after — consider yourself among friends.