I ask this because my boyfriend is largely derisive of paleo circles, insisting that the majority of the world does just fine eating carbs and grains. He acknowledges that sugar isn't great and that people eat too much of it, but for the sake of taste and enjoyment, believes that it has little negative effect on his health- no mood swings, insomnia, etc. He appears to be very healthy with his diet as it is (meaty but for reasons of economy relatively high in pasta, noodles, bread), and has no digestive complaints, sleeps well, and has perfect skin. I, on the other hand, came to paleo after undernourishing myself on a low-fat pescetarian diet, with shades of anorexia, that caused me to switch from low-fat pescetarian to high-fat, low-carb paleo. He often points out that he has always been healthy on his diet, while I still have some problems (due to stress and structural spinal issues), so am hardly the most convincing argument for paleo or any other eating program.
He points out that mankind has done pretty well on grains for thousands of years, and it's only in the last 100 years or so that 'the diseases of civilisation' have really increased. We also live in Japan, where despite eating around a thousand calories of rice every day, people are in pretty good health. He is skeptical of paleo because most people seem to come to it because of some health problem they were suffering, whether it be obesity, GERD, arthritis, IBS and so on. He argues that most sports professionals eat mountains of pasta, bread and so on, and seem to be in perfect health (I agree that many of them look good and turn out superb performances despite living off glucose and grains). He simply doesn't find the argument for paleo convincing because of this, and because he thinks there has been some adaptation over the last few thousand years to allow people to thrive on grains (our Asian environment would support this).
So- has everyone here come to paleo because of some health problem, or were some of you turned onto it merely out of curiosity? It seems somewhat implausible to me that you would give up pizza and so on if you felt like you were in perfect health.
I came to Paleo after nearly dying from severe metabolic derangement. Initially all I cut out was wheat, but within two months I discovered that rice made me just as sick. Seven months after I figured out that it was refined carbs that were killing me I went full Paleo. In February of this year my C-reactive protein level was 12.04. In September, after being off of the wheat for 7 months and rice for 5 months, my CRP was down to 0.9. Within the first month of being Paleo ALL of my auto-immune symptoms were GONE. BTW - I ate a Standard American Diet for 43 years before having any problems.
I have no doubt that there are a lot of people who can eat grains and do just fine (at least for a while) just as there are a lot of people who can't eat it at all (such as those with Celiac disease). But trying to compare the bulk of society with a handful of athletes is ridiculous. Look at the obesity, cancer, diabetes, alzheimer's, auto-immune, etc. statistics. These are your average Americans. They are DYING and I would wager that a huge portion of these many cases could have been prevented or can be reversed by eliminating refined carbohydrates. There is a direct, and DOCUMENTED, link between refined carb consumption and inflammation, leptin sensitivity (the hormone that tells us we're full), and the derailing of apoptosis (that handy little safety mechanism that allows our bodies to destroy irregular cells - such as cancer - before they run amok).
Keep in mind that WHEN the deleterious effects of a refined carb diet start making a visible presence (they tend to have a cumulative effect) depends on your own unique DNA. Also keep in mind that by the time you start seeing the physical evidence of the damage it can be too late. I have a friend whose mother was diagnosed with stage 4 liver and lung cancer. These cancers came from her undiagnosed colon cancer which they believe she's had for two years. Colon cancer does NOT show up in blood work. Ever wonder why so many cancers start in the COLON? Could it possibly be because that's where we digest our food?!?
Do your boyfriend a favor and buy him a copy of Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution". All of his statements in the book are backed by documentation which can be found in the reference section in the back of his book.
Paleo saved my life and I talk about it every day hoping to save as many more lives as I can.
I came to lowcarb eating to lose some weight and it works great for that. I had no other health issues. But I switched from lowcarb to paleo purely because I thought it was a more healthy approach. I personally believe sugar and processed foods are the main problem because they very slowly damage the metabolism. I don't think rice and potatoes are a huge issue for healthy people other than that rice has close to zero nutrients in it and so you are basically eating something with tons of calories and zero benefits to your body. The more of this kind of thing you eat, the more it pushes out foods that are actually healthy.
You know, I know dozens of people who were very healthy and trim until they hit their 40s or 50s (sometimes 30s)and started putting on weight and then were diagnosed with diabetes. All those people said the same thing as you boyfriend all the way up until they suddenly were not so healthy any more! Seems stupid to me to follow that path and keep eating a bunch of crap all the way up until I too am sick. My plan is to eat healthy now so I won't be sick down the line.
I had no known health problems when I first heard of paleo. I was just a guy in my mid-thirties who was tired of growing a little softer and more lethargic year by year. I'd never had an interest in any special diets before and ate whatever I wanted for my entire life. Paleo made a lot of sense and so I gave it a try.
To my surprise it seemed I did have health problems as frequent headaches, heartburn, and even hiccups vanished entirely. I had simply lived with these symptoms so long I thought of them as normal.
I'm now back to what I weighed just after high-school, am growing a little leaner and more energetic by the month, and can't imagine going back.
My switch to Paleo was made based entirely on the philosophy of why it should be healthier (and more sustainable, etc), and it was only after switching that I realized how bad I had felt eating lots of neolithic and industrial foods.
I came to Paleo with no health problems at all. I have no issues digestively or allergy-wise, nothing. I was looking for a way to lose the last 10-15lbs and to drop my body fat. I rolled my eyes at my personal trainer when he started the Paleo diet. 6 months later he talked me into trying it for just 30 days. It worked.
SAD Diet also has been found to change our genetics, where if his parents ate whole foods, he would seem healthy enough, but if he has children, they would probably present more issues as a result of his SAD type diet. It can be linked back to how wholesome our parents and grandparents ate before childrearing....
I certainly did. I was suffering from chronic anxiety and always felt cold and tired. Cutting out grain products and refined sugar, upping my saturated fat intake and generally only considering nutrient rich whole foods, along with 'paleo-friendly' exercise and some behavioural therapy, (the holy trinity of diet, exercise, will) saved the day for me.
I began paleo from several angles of research. I have an autoimmune condition called ankylosing spondylitis (similar to a rheumatoid arthritis in the spine). It's incredibly painful, and if you find eating a certain way helps, you'll do whatever it takes!
Besides paleo, there are several nutritional organizations that are pointing to similar diets that are working:
Specific Carbohydrate diet - aiding kids with autism and those w/ autoimmune such as crohn's, arthritis, eczema, etc.
Erbinger's Diet - a no carb/zero carb approach for AS (spondylitis). Currently, about half the people in my support group see improvement on this diet.
Schwarzbein principle - I started here...she does allow grains, but she really cuts them back to support more veggies and protein. Helped me understand the insulin issues.
If I had it to do over again, I'd have been eating paleo diet all along, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be in the health mess I'm in now. I was a carb queen!
I'm here because of my T2 diabetes and related problems (metabolic syndrome). But I know a fair number of athletes/gym rats/crossfitters who do paleo (or somwthing close to paleo - maybe CKD/clean eating) simply for the body composition and performance. But yeah, a lot of us are here to solve various health issues related to diet. Amazing that this paleo thang is so helpful across the board! Well, it just makes sense - feed human beings an optimal, natural diet - and they perform better, look better and feel better!