A Critique Of The Paleo Diet

There has been a lot of hype about the Paleo Diet and its health benefits. The basis of the diet is to eat only things you can hunt and gather—like a caveman. The virtues of “eating like a caveman” are praised on sites such as Living Super Human. I asked our nutritionist, Rick Weissinger, author of “What the Experts Say About Food and Cancer,” to comment on the virtues of a diet that promotes meat and egg yolks while shunning legumes (beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts, etc.).  His comments follow:


Nutritionists View on the Paleo Diet

Recently, Dr. Taubman alerted me to posts regarding the Paleo diet that he thought I should comment on. Below are some of the statements made by Paleo enthusiasts about beans and other legumes along with my views on the matter. If I don’t sound convincing enough, please read Dr. McDougall’s post on The Paleo Diet Is Uncivilized.

“Most legumes are extremely toxic in their raw state.”

Why is this a problem? No one eats these foods raw. Why don’t you try eating hamburger and chicken raw, and compare the toxicity of these with legumes? You can write about it while you’re recuperating in the hospital!

“Phytates found in legumes, specifically phytic acid, have been shown to block the mineral absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.”

Phytic acid, also known as phytate or as inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) is also an incredibly potent anti-cancer phytochemical, as I discussed in my book. The science is actually crystal clear that the reduced absorption of IP6 that occurs from eating legumes and whole grains does not pose a risk for making people deficient in these minerals.

Want to know about your heredity risk of cancer? Dr. Taubman offers Cancer Genetic Counseling.

“Phytates have also been shown to inhibit important enzymes involved in digestion, including pepsin and amylase.”

These properties actually have the potential to help with weight loss; they shouldn’t be avoided, they should be increased in our diets.

“Soy leads to an increased risk of bladder cancer.”

This was found in ONE study. All the other evidence has shown a LOWER risk of bladder cancer with higher soy intake, consistent with the effect of soy on several other common cancers.

“Soy fed infants have more repro­duc­tive and asthma issues as adults.”

On the contrary, a 2001 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “Exposure to soy formula does not appear to lead to different general health or reproductive outcomes than exposure to cow milk formula.”

“Increased con­sump­tion of soy-based tofu led to lower cog­ni­tive func­tion later in life and a greater inci­dence of Alzheimers.”

On the contrary, several studies have demonstrated that soy isoflavone (SIF) supplementation can improve aspects of cognitive function, and the phytoestrogens in soy have been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) related pathology.

“The Paleo diet shuns processed foods and Paleo followers are cooking more at home.”

Any diet should get people to eat at home more. This is not justification for eating meat, eggs, and cheese three times or more each day; animal meats and products have been associated with higher inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to many chronic ailments including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

“Egg yolks are good for you and don’t really raise your cholesterol.” 

Sounds like a great topic for next week’s blog!!

If you are interested in learning more about nutrition, weight loss solutions, and the steps you need to take to get healthy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Taubman and our certified nutritionist!

Nutrition and Weight Loss in Olney, Maryland

If you are interested in starting a new diet, consult your physician first. Fad diets can often be dangerous. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet with whole foods that offer the right nutrients for your body. To learn more about dieting and starting a healthy diet regimen, contact Dr. Taubman at Olney Medical to schedule an appointment at our office in Olney, Maryland!

Leave a Reply