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What is the best diet for weight loss? Show more Show less

There now exists hundreds of different wisdoms on what the best and most effective way to lose weight is. All have different philosophies and different benefits, real or alleged. But which has the most evidence behind it? And which, in reality, is the most effective way to lose weight?

Eliminating carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight Show more Show less

Eliminating carbs is the most common rule for popular diets, and with good reason.
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The Paleo diet is the best way to lose weight

The best way to lose weight is by eating as the cavemen did.
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Context

The paleo diet is based on what humans may have eaten during the Paleolithic era about 10,000 years ago. It is therefore comprised of foods that would have been available to hunter-gatherer-type peoples, such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, and seeds, and it prohibits highly processed foods, grains, dairy, and refined sugars.[1]

The Argument

Essentially, a paleo diet doesn't allow foods that the human body has not been able to genetically adapt to over the centuries. How we eat can shape our genetics, but the modern human body does not really know how to react to the recent innovations of things like refined sugars and processed foods because evolution is so slow. For example, many people are still unable to process lactose after the invention of dairy farming--and that happened 5000 years ago.[2] Our bodies' inability to process more recently derived foods is indicative of a genetic "mismatch," and this is the cause of conditions like obesity and heart disease.[1] Thus, it is essential to have a diet that relies on foods that the human body understands. Because a Paleo diet is more genetically appropriate, there are a number of benefits that its practitioners can gain. Compared to other diets, studies show that eating paleo can allow for more weight loss, improved blood sugar, and lower triglyceride levels, among other benefits.[1] A paleo diet is also incredibly nutrient-dense because it emphasizes foods full of essential vitamins and minerals in place of processed foods that not only are nutrient-poor but also inhibit the absorption of nutrients.[3] Lastly, those who eat a paleo diet can see improvements in general health, such as a boosted immune system, as well as lowered risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.[4]A paleo diet is not just the best way to lose weight but also the healthiest way to eat in general.

Counter arguments

The rationale behind the paleo diet oversimplifies both evolution and human history. For example, the idea that there was ever a single diet that every paleolithic person ate is completely false: human diets would have been based on geographically available foods, leading to not just a variation in what people ate but also differences in the evolution in nutritional needs.[1][5] Additionally, paleo followers outlaw grains and some plants based on the logic that paleolithic peoples would not have eaten these types of food before farming was invented 10,000 years ago, but archaeological evidence shows that humans consumed grains as early as 30,000 years ago and plants like tubers and water chestnuts fairly regularly.[1][5] In addition to its flawed logic, another problem with the paleo diet is that it can be too restrictive. Prohibiting dairy, beans, legumes, and grains can be difficult for people to maintain, not to mention flour and sugar; the former of these foods are rich in nutrients like fiber, calcium, and vitamin D as well, so it seems counterproductive to cut them out.[5] This diet may be good for short-term weight loss, but it can prove unsustainable in the long run.

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182
  2. https://thepaleodiet.com/paleo-101/what-is-paleo
  3. https://thepaleodiet.com/eliminating-non-paleo-foods-improves-nutrient-density
  4. https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-all-about-the-paleo-diet
  5. https://www.vox.com/2015/8/20/9179217/paleo-diet-jeb-bush-weight-loss

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This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 18:12 UTC