My first thought is that people with certain eating disorders might be better off not going down the road of a very restricted diet that might end up reinforcing the very food issues that they are trying to deal with.
I'm curious about you're thoughts on that.
I often think that the paleo template is so universally applicable that everyone should be doing it. But are there any other situations where it would be better not to be paleo?
Depending on how you define a Paleo diet, I don't think it is for everyone. For example some folks would not do well on a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. Kids for example just have different metabolisms than adults and I think they need more carbs and more frequent meals. Serious athletes also often need more carbs.
But if you are talking about just eliminating processed foods, improving omega 6/3 balance, and eliminating or cutting way back on gluten, but leaving room for variety within that definition, I think nearly everyone can benefit from that. The main benefit of the Paleo diet in my opinion is improving overall nutrition by both eating more nutritious foods and improving nutrient absorption, and decreasing systemic inflammation. Everyone can benefit from that.
Ironically, I think it was the level of control over my food afforded by ancestral eating that finally helped to heal some of my disordered thinking about food -- or maybe the higher-fat diet helped to heal my brain... I don't know. I do know that, regardless of years of anorexia and binge/purging, I hated my body and my relationship with food -- now, even without a perfect body, I feel like food and I aren't total enemies any more... like I finally eat to nourish, occasionally to enjoy... but not so much to -punish- myself.
Dr. Lynda Frassetto addressed this at AHS this past August. Her abstract says:
Not everyone on a Paleolithic diet
improves to the same extent. Our
studies suggest that those people with
risk factors for metabolic syndrome
(elevated blood pressure, abdominal
obesity, high blood sugars,
cholesterol and/or triglyceride)
improve more than healthier people.
And those subjects whose blood
pressures change with changes in salt
intake seem to be those most likely to
She specifically notes that those with kidney problems should avoid a paleo diet due to its high potassium load.
As far as eating disorders go, I think a paleo diet might actually be a good one as it is helpful in providing the necessary nutrients for better brain chemistry. This can be a good foundation for other protocols (in my case, I wound up doing neurofeedback).
Would Jack LaLanne have benefitted? He was more restricted than paleo, dropping red meat and fats in addition to grain, processed foods, milk and refined sugar. It's hard to say whether adding sat fat would have extended his life past a healthy 96 years.
There are those who benefit relatively little from a paleo diet. If one is gluten/grain/dairy/soy-tolerant, the benefits are rather limited. Some folks can eat a SAD diet with loads of vitamins/minerals/omega-3s and likely get the same outcome as paleo, in my opinion.
Strict and dogmatic paleo isn't for everybody, very few people probably require that level of paleo dedication.
Information on health/sat.fat is still muddled. Folks on a high satfat and higher carb diet may be in for a surprise if they don't check their lipid values. One single way isn't optimal or even healthy for everyone.