Why Is The Paleo Diet Unhealthy? Paleo Side Effects

Some of those who are following Paleo may ask; why the Paleo diet is unhealthy, although that is not always the case. The Paleo diet has its benefits and drawbacks.

The paleo diet is a potentially healthful diet that is founded on a sound assumption regarding the dangers of contemporary, processed foods. However, eating too many fatty meats (particularly processed meats) may quickly transform this potentially beneficial diet into a health nightmare.

The popular Paleolithic diet (also known as the Paleo, caveman, Stone Age, or steak and bacon diet) is based on the concept of eating like our ancestors. Natural, healthy food is genetically compatible with our bodies, and hence beneficial to our health. A paleo dieter’s dietary options are restricted to what could be hunted, caught, or collected in prehistoric times, such as meats, fish, and vegetables.

Why the Paleo diet may be considered unhealthy

Despite its popularity, the Paleo diet has been a subject of debate within the nutrition community, with critics raising concerns about its potential drawbacks. Examining the diet’s restrictions and nutritional limitations reveals reasons why it may be considered unhealthy by some.

Increased risk of renal disease and heart problems

The Paleo diet’s potential for increased risk of renal disease and heart problems arises from its emphasis on higher protein intake, particularly from animal sources. The elevated load on the kidneys from increased protein metabolism may pose challenges for individuals with pre-existing renal conditions. Moreover, the diet’s reliance on red meat and saturated fats may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, potentially impacting cardiovascular health.

While the Paleo diet promotes whole foods, individuals considering or following this dietary approach should exercise caution, ensuring a balanced intake of proteins and fats to mitigate potential risks associated with renal and cardiovascular health. Regular medical check-ups and consultation with healthcare professionals are advisable for those adopting the Paleo diet, especially for individuals with existing health concerns.

Increase lipid levels

The Paleo diet’s emphasis on high-fat foods, including animal fats and oils, has the potential to elevate lipid levels. While some sources of fats in the Paleo diet, such as avocados and nuts, offer heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, the increased intake of saturated fats from red meat may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels.

Individuals following the Paleo diet need to be mindful of their overall fat intake, opting for sources rich in unsaturated fats and incorporating a variety of foods to maintain a balanced lipid profile. Regular monitoring and consultation with healthcare professionals can help mitigate concerns related to increased lipid levels within the context of the Paleo dietary approach.

Calcium deficiency

The Paleo diet, while emphasizing whole foods, may pose a risk of calcium deficiency due to its exclusion of dairy products, a primary source of this essential mineral. Calcium plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health, nerve function, and blood clotting.

Without adequate dairy intake, individuals following the Paleo diet should be vigilant in sourcing alternative calcium-rich foods, such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. However, the potential for calcium deficiency underscores the importance of thoughtful dietary planning and consideration of supplementation to ensure comprehensive nutritional adequacy within the constraints of the Paleo lifestyle.

Chronically low carbohydrate consumption

Chronically low carbohydrate consumption, often associated with the Paleo diet’s restrictive approach to grains and legumes, may have implications for overall health. Carbohydrates serve as the body’s primary energy source, crucial for brain function and physical activity.

The sustained absence of sufficient carbohydrates may lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, commonly known as “low-carb flu.” Furthermore, inadequate carb intake can impact athletic performance and hinder muscle recovery.

While the Paleo diet prioritizes whole foods, careful attention to carbohydrate sources is essential to maintain a well-rounded and sustainable nutritional profile, ensuring the body receives the energy it needs for optimal function.

Lack of Nutrient Diversity in Paleo

The Paleo diet, with its emphasis on lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, may inadvertently lead to a lack of nutrient diversity. By excluding entire food groups like dairy, legumes, and grains, followers might miss out on key vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

This restricted approach can potentially result in nutritional gaps, increasing the risk of deficiencies. To address this concern, individuals adhering to the Paleo diet should be vigilant in selecting a wide variety of foods within the allowed categories, ensuring a more comprehensive and balanced intake of essential nutrients for overall health and well-being.

Those following the paleo diet should seek medical advice. Especially if they have heart, kidney, liver, or pancreatic illness, or if they want to stick to the very low-carbohydrate form of the diet.

What are the paleo diet side effects?

The Paleo Diet’s Negative Effects and Disadvantages

Also, individuals who follow a Paleo diet may experience a condition called Paleo flu or Low-carb flu. 

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Low-carb flu symptoms include:

  • Headaches. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Weakness. 
  • Hazy thinking (brain fog).
  • Irritability.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you are on certain blood glucose-lowering medicines.
  • Cravings.
  • Lack of energy initially.
  • Bad breath.
  • Change in bowel habits.

Long-term effects of the Paleo diet: Is it safe long term?

A paleo diet may assist you in losing or maintaining your weight. It might offer additional health benefits. However, there have been no long-term clinical trials on the diet’s advantages and potential dangers.

Finally, to sum up what we said and answer why the Paleo diet is unhealthy, the short answer is that it raises the risk of some serious diseases, although it has many benefits. Make it a rule that your body needs all kinds of nutrients in moderation. Unfortunately, omitting one or two food categories will possibly put your health in danger.

Modern diseases and the Paleo diet

Recent research findings shed light on potential health implications associated with the Paleo diet, revealing a significant impact on cardiovascular health. The study, conducted by Edith Cowan University in Australia, compared 44 Paleo dieters with 47 individuals following the Australian diet, emphasizing the noteworthy differences in biomarker levels linked to heart disease. The following points outline the key findings and concerns arising from the investigation.

  1. Participants following the Paleo diet for a year showed a notable doubling of TMAO levels, a biomarker associated with a 62% increased risk of severe cardiovascular issues, as evidenced by prior research.
  2. Elevated TMAO levels also correlated with a staggering 63% increase in mortality, highlighting the potential health risks associated with this dietary approach.
  3. The rising prevalence of TMAO is attributed to the absence of whole grains, indicating a possible drawback in the Paleo diet’s nutritional composition.
  4. Low-carb diets, such as the ketogenic (keto) diet, have been linked to heightened heart disease risks, further emphasizing concerns regarding the potential cardiovascular impact of Paleo diet adherence.
  5. The study’s comparison between Paleo and standard diets revealed double the biomarker levels in those following the Paleo diet, underscoring a potential association with heightened heart disease risk.
  6. Despite the belief among Paleo followers that their diet mirrors that of Paleolithic human ancestors, the heavy reliance on meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and limited fruits may contribute to the observed cardiovascular concerns.
  7. Notably, the Paleo diet excludes cereals, dairy, legumes, refined sugar, processed oils, and salt, emphasizing a restrictive approach that could impact overall nutritional balance and cardiovascular health.

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In conclusion, while the Paleo diet has gained popularity for its focus on natural, unprocessed foods, recent research suggests potential health concerns. The identified risks, including elevated TMAO levels associated with cardiovascular issues and increased mortality, raise questions about the long-term health implications of this dietary approach. The exclusion of whole grains and the restrictive nature of the diet may contribute to these concerns. It’s crucial for individuals considering the Paleo diet to weigh the potential drawbacks and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance. Understanding the potential risks is vital in making informed choices about one’s dietary habits. For more insights into why the Paleo diet may be considered unhealthy, explore the research findings and expert perspectives.