So, as far as I can tell, Paleo eating essentially means not eating grains/legumes or sugar or vegetable oil, and not eating a no-fat diet. That's about the crux of it.
But then there are other styles/fads that people tend to be fans of: high fat, fish oil, sweet potatoes, coconut everything, etc. I'm not saying these are equal, these are just common elements of a paleo diet, none of which are required to avoid toxic foods.
And then there are these problems that keep popping up on PH:
Binge eating: This appears to be a major problem. This could be a self-selection issue (people who used to severely restrict often end up with BED, so maybe they also tend to be the types who obsess about their diets on an internet forum).
Crazy high cholesterol: Seriously, I know that it's overall cholesterol that counts, but some of the numbers people report really are frightening and new (i.e., people didn't have ridiculously high LDL before but now do).
Food intolerances: it seems like more people are developing more food intolerances on a "paleo diet" than they had before (people saying, e.g., I've eaten eggs my whole life and now suddenly I can't; I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast every day for 20 years, I cut out grains, but now suddenly 1/2 a glass of milk makes me sick, etc.).
Weight gain: some (generally normal weight or slightly overweight) people appear to be doing everything right, and are still gaining weight compared to their diet before.
But given that straight-up don't eat poison paleo is so very benign, what do we think the common mistakes are that cause people to suddenly develop these problems that they didn't have before? Some people might say it's an adjustment issue, but a lot of people reporting these problems appear to have been eating pretty solidly "paleo" for months.
I doubt that eating English muffins with margarine somehow protected people from these ailments, so it must be something else that we're all commonly doing that maybe we shouldn't. I have my theories (just because some meat/fat is good doesn't mean tons of meat/fat is better, people tend to OD on "safe foods" which can cause intolerances, it's harder to rely on calorie counts when you don't eat from a box, etc.), but I'd like to hear everyone else's thoughts.
What common missteps on a paleo diet tend to lead to some of the common seemingly paleo-diet-related ailments?
Re: your binge eating part of the question, some binge eaters are trying paleo and I'm in that sub-group; I had been a yo-yo who struggled with binge eating for 50 years. This lifestyle has worked for me--I'm either in full remission or cured--thanks as much to IF and home-made water kefir as to my particular selection of paleo foods. I only splurge on major holidays, and most of those splurges are now "fancy" paleo dishes rather than junk food. You'd call me a lacto-paleo because I also make and eat home-made yogurt and I put heavy cream in my coffee.
My positive outcome is because I am now very comfortable with physical hunger as no different from an itchy elbow and I recognize/distract emotional hunger with non-food activity. Eating neolithic foods at Christmas didn't have any negative effect so I'm feeling relatively secure in my current relationship with food.
Other folks may have gone very strict paleo in an attempt to lose weight and accidentally triggered the "recovery from famine" response we'd call newly emerged binge eating. I'm hoping this is temporary and if they take a deep breath and tweak to a more moderate version of paleo they'll be fine.
I've actually fixed a lifelong intolerance--ice cream and yogurt made me ill before but drinking water kefir apparently straightened out my gut issues and I eat yogurt every day now. Since I'm in my 60s, I think that's a pretty big deal. Also, if I start to feel emotional cravings I crack open a bottle of fizzy water kefir and they go away.
In 9 months (month 5 was my crisis month with 2 final binges) I've lost about 40 pounds and I'm still losing slowly and steadily. So there are success stories too, but the folks who struggle are asking for help here and I think that's great. I have no reason to post a lot of questions and I'm glad to give support to others but that doesn't mean everyone's having trouble.
This is totally a personal thing for me, but I've had a reduction in binge eating problems. But the reasons why I've had reduced binge eating may be helpful for some people.
I started eating semi-paleo for the weirdest of reasons. I have Meniere's disease and it seems to be 95% controlled for me by a low salt diet. The problem is, if you take salt out of SAD food, or some of the vegetarian stuff I was cooking before, you are left with the blandest food on earth. I started eating semi-paleo last year simply because there are many, many paleo recipes where you can cut the added salt to 1/3 and they still taste good. (My current theory is that it's the umami.) Now I've had binge eating issues since I was 9 or so, and within a few months of cutting my sodium intake, my binge eating changed substantially. I would still binge, but the quantity of food I ate during a binge dropped to probably 1/3-1/2 from what I used to eat. This was DURING a binge, so I wasn't consciously controlling it, I just binged on less food.
But like I said, I was doing a semi-paleo thing, a lot of things were paleo-ish, but I was still eating some grains, traditionally prepared beans, full fat dairy and such, plus Diet Coke (shameface). Right now I'm trying a Whole30, and my bingeing has disappeared. Just gone. The urge is gone, struggling is over, I just haven't even had to resist the idea of bingeing, it's just not there. But for the Whole30, I've been focused on one thing, sticking to the food list. I threw out the window any rules for what to eat when, any rules about combining protein and carbs. I've just been eating according to my appetite. If I'm not hungry for breakfast, I skip breakfast. If I am hungry for a piece of fruit between meals, I eat a piece of fruit. Focusing on one restriction (quality of food) has both gotten rid of the high-reward/low-nutrition parts of my diet, and gotten rid of struggling over other "rules" that I thought would prevent my binges.
Long story short: I see a lot of people who have the bingeing problem are trying to restrict their diet in several ways, trying to clean up the quality, and restrict carbs to lose weight and timing meals around workouts to build muscle and restricting nuts and fruit and, and, and, and. Oh yeah and often eating unlimited amounts of rich high-reward "paleo" foods like bacon, steaks and coconut (as referenced here:http://paleohacks.com/questions/90654/is-the-paleo-primal-diet-like-the-sad-diet-in-overstimulation-and-unnaturally-ric#axzz1jpezht41). That sets up a situation where you're struggling over internal rules and regulations (which can cause decision fatigue & cortisol issues) while still tickling at the food reward centers of the brain. As a binge eater, it does not surprise me in the least that this can lead to problems.
Ok, I am going to address food sensitivities.
One in every 133 Americans is gluten intolerant. 30% of all Americans are gluten sensitive. Those are the facts. But those numbers are growing not only on a daily, but on an hourly basis.
Everybody who is gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive needs to know: as soon as you eliminate all gluten (wheat, rye, barley and cross-contaminated oats), and even gluten free grains (rice, buckwheat, quinoa) and then eliminate any cross-reactivity foods (potatoes and starches) guess what happens? Your body becomes EXTRA SENSITIVE to all gluten and gluten-like sources.
Milk and dairy have similar protein to gluten. Your body, that is used to gluten, is searching for it. When there is no gluten, it starts attacking milk as if it has gluten. That's why gluten intolerant people become lactose intolerant when they go gluten-free.
I have developed a range of food allergies because my body, that was poisoned with gluten for a long, long time became SUPER SENSITIVE. Just how sensitive? Let me illustrate. I bought a jar of Shea butter from a very well-known company. It had TRACES of tocopherol. I mean literally, traces. And yet I felt it - my body reacted right away. The company admitted that tocopherol was made with wheat and I got my money back.
I can tell if something has been contaminated with gluten (no matter how innocent and gluten-free it looks) within seconds.
I also can feel if something is organic or has chemical additives. I am so super sensitive, it is not even funny.
I actually do not see it as a bad thing. Some people can eat bad food and then they get sick. I feel bad food within milliseconds. My body rejects it so it can protect itself.
I also developed allergy for eggs and olive oil. Why? I don't know, but I bet they are feeding those egg-laying hen some bad stuff. And when they squeeze that oil, who knows where those olives have been?
So, to address your point #3: when your body gets a taste of real food, it won't let go. And it is a good thing.
I'm not sure that the cholesterol is a 'problem', I think a lot of the food sensitivity issues may be people simply forgetting how they used to feel all the time, although novel or reintroduced foods may excite the digestion a little more than things consumed daily. Weight gain I'd put down to people eating too much. It's not just not having calories printed on the box, it's essentially a whole new food culture you need to learn and the advice is nothing if not conflicting. I'd tend to put most new bingeing problems in the same box. Anyone trying to micromanage their diet is going to run into trouble if they have bad information. I try to put my body in charge as much as possible.
Some people are not sleeping enough (or properly) and/or overtraining. Excess cortisol from both scenarios blocks weight loss.
Some people are eating too much protein, carbs, or nuts, fruit.
Some are not eating enough carbs!
Age, gender, medical history, and current weight/body all matter!
Some people are doing Faileo- misunderstood/misguided Paleo (low-fat Paleo) or Paleo 1.0 (believe saturated fat to be the problem, etc.).
Some could benefit from more or less supplementation and/or more variety of foods - bone broth, fermented foods, perhaps even raw dairy (surprise)
Some are damaged bad enough to need longer to heal, and some may never 100% heal but improve as best as possible.
This is why need more health professionals versed in Paleo, WAPF, low-carb, etc. to help individuals titrate to what they need!
Does not have to be anything at all that they are all commonly doing or that eating paleo does to them.
Yep it's apparent that #3 has happened for me... Suddenly egg intolerant. :( However prior to this diet I was only having eggs occasionally and now it's 2 every morning... It's quite possible I've always been intolerant and it's now showing. The interesting news is that this diet has shown me I'm NOT wheat intolerant. Surprise! Hah.
My own experience, coming from IBS mixed type, is that now I'm mostly comfortable in my gut I notice all the times things aren't perfect. I also have such a limited range of food in my diet that I know for certain which foods/cheats have disagreed with me and I'm obsessive (in a good way;)) about rooting them out and stomping on them!! So where I used to be in a general fog of bloatedness, pain and tiredness, I now know that all dairy, nuts, FODMAPS, raw foods, too much food, not enough food . . . yeah it's a big list, but my point is that now I know what's on the list I can seem much more 'intolerant' than I was before. I'm not, I just have more knowledge and a higher standard of daily health for myself.
I inadvertently had some dairy a few weeks ago (ate a commercial product that had changed their ingredients since I ate it last, grrr) and it took 30 hours for the full misery to manifest but I knew exactly what it was because I'd eaten my standard fare every other day. I spent a couple of days huddled in a ball, thinking that this used to be my everyday reality. What a difference a year makes!!
Whoops, I just wrote a long answer that I now realize was a subconscious regurgitation of this post I read yesterday: http://paleohacks.com/questions/90654/is-the-paleo-primal-diet-like-the-sad-diet-in-overstimulation-and-unnaturally-ric#axzz1jpezht41
And since I can't figure out how to delete answers, I'm just going to say, I agree! Also, damn you subconscious plagiarizing! ha.
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