The Paleo Diet May Be Linked to Major Nutritional Deficiencies and Paleo Candy Bars

How’s that for an attention grabbing headline? Both were listed on a google alert I receive, just last week. So what version of the paleo diet, then, is the one which is linked to nutritional deficiencies? The one with Twix bars? Indeed, the image of the meal above does look quite dangerous. I had to check it out. First, I clicked on the link for the first article. OMG. Guess where I landed? On a site called Food.Mic…. presented by MacDonald’s (1), where I was greeted with a large banner across the top. On the left side, an image of a burger being flipped which read 100% beef. Not 100% grass fed… just 100% beef (because what was in it before? God only knows). Then we see No Fillers, No Preservatives. OK then. On the right hand side, we’re invited to ‘explore the behind the scenes connections, causes and effects that impact the food we all eat’. Then, we scroll down to a lovely image of greens and what appears to be a lovely cut of steak, with the headline of the article “The Paleo Diet May Be Linked to Major Nutritional Deficiencies”. Turns out, it was a study (2) involving 39 adult women as participants; twenty-two of whom followed a Paleo diet (what version, I’m afraid to ask, as apparently there are now so many) for four weeks; the other 17 followed a diet consistent with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Those who followed the Paleo version lost weight but had low levels of thiamin, riboflavin and calcium. The takeaway recommendation is a reminder that ‘By cutting out milk, cheese and other dairy products, Paleo dieters miss out on a natural source of calcium. Might be time to make like a mouse and get your paws on some cheese, Paleo peeps.’ And as for the Twix Bars? We’re taken to a site with a recipe to make a version of this candy that is indeed made with paleo-ish ingredients, so technically not as offensive to the body as an actual Twix bar, but the issue is this: for someone that’s created their balance and follows a mostly Paleo approach (call it 85% or partly Paleo or whatever), and understands how to balance in the occasional treat, fine. But for anyone who is new to this approach and intrigued as to its effectiveness, the risk is that the assumption that all one needs to do to adapt a Paleo diet into their regime is to replace candy, cakes, cookies and pasta recipes with those which are gluten free, dairy free and not made with white sugar which leads to little to no improvement in terms of health benefits, weight loss or an overall improved quality of life. It’s a slippery slope and it’s gotten so far that as I’ve mentioned, half the time I’m not even using the “P” word when talking about this healthy approach to living that I value to highly. All too often, I found myself having to explain what the diet is not before being able to move forward with the talk I’m giving or client session I’m holding. In event, the message I hope to get out remains unchanged. Eat locally, eat in season, eat in balance and eat things that are food (and don’t eat things that are not food). Oh! And move a little. Taking it that far back to basics can be the ticket to clarifying all the nonsense out there and creating an easy to follow, helpful approach to eating, living and well being. 1 Orlov, Alex. “The Paleo Diet May Be Linked to Major Nutritional Deficiencies.” Mic. MacDonald’s, 14 June 2016. Web. 20 June 2016. 2 “Cardiovascular, Metabolic Effects and Dietary Composition of Ad-Libitum Paleolithic vs. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Diets: A 4-Week Randomised Trial.” MDPI. MDPI, n.d. Web. 20 June 2016.