Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

April 9, 2014

Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

— Q: Is it possible to follow a paleo vegetarian eating plan?

A: The short answer is that it's possible. But in entertaining this eating plan, you've got to examine your health goals, the plan's nutritional soundness and whether you can follow it long-term.

Let's unpack each part of the plan and look at the research and the nutritional pluses and minuses.

               

Paleo diet defined

This diet, also called the caveman or Stone Age diet, has recently become popular, mainly through books, the Internet and social media buzz. The premise: It's our highly processed, grain-focused food choices that are causing our rampant rate of chronic diseases. Eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors in the Paleolithic time will help us lose weight, minimize heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and live longer.

In: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits.

Out: Grains, dairy foods, legumes (beans and peas), processed foods and foods containing refined sugars.

Research rundown: "If you search for controlled studies on the paleo diet, meaning it was tested against another diet, you'll find a couple of short-term studies each done with a relatively small number of people," says Brie Turner-McGrievy, an assistant professor and registered dietitian in health promotion, education and behavior at the University of South Carolina. Like many diet studies, these show slightly more weight loss and some improvement in chronic disease indicators for the paleo plan. But a few short-term studies don't constitute an evidence base.

In U.S. News and World Report's 2014 ranking of Best Diets Overall (compiled with the help of top health and nutrition experts), paleo tied for last in a group of 32 diets, with this comment: "Experts took issue with the diet on every measure. Regardless of the goal - weight loss, heart health, or finding a diet that's easy to follow - most experts concluded that it would be better for dieters to look elsewhere." No. 1? The government-developed DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

Paleo advocates recommend eating meat and avoiding all grains, saying the grains we eat today have been dramatically changed with modern agricultural techniques. One problem they cite is greater gluten content. "The notion that our ancestors ate more meat than grains is not based in fact. Our ancestors were constantly gathering grain-based foods," says Julie Miller Jones, a professor emeritus in nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., who has studied grains extensively. Jones adds, "Though the hunt for meat was pretty constant, the kill was rare. They didn't sit down to Tyrannosaurus steaks every day."

As for the gluten claim, Jones points to research sampling century-old wheat showing that the amount of gluten hasn't changed. But she acknowledges a small increase in the population of people with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, as well as other autoimmune diseases, such as Type 1 diabetes. "A lot has changed in our environment. Perhaps it's changes in our grains, the gut, use of antibiotics or countless other factors," Jones says.

Is it wise to omit grains? "Absolutely not. We need a variety of whole grains, as well as legumes, fruits and vegetables, to get the gamut of dietary fibers for their unique effects on the heart, digestive system and insulin and glucose control." Plus, Jones adds, grains' and legumes' different types of fibers and amino acids make them a perfect nutritional match.

Nutrition pitfalls: Eliminating whole grains and legumes might leave people deficient in iron and zinc and some B vitamins. Deleting dairy could make getting enough potassium a challenge. And going heavy on animal-based proteins, which take center stage in the paleo diet, could raise saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

               

Vegetarian diet defined

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks