There are a lot of myths surrounding the paleo diet. Some of these myths are commonly believed, which is only natural because the paleo diet is so different from what we’ve been told is healthy for so long. But we need to bust these paleo diet myths because they are often the reason for many people being scared to adopt a paleo lifestyle.
The paleo diet is extremely beneficial and has helped a lot of people lose weight, feel happier and recover from autoimmune diseases. So let’s not allow a few silly myths to stand in our way. Here are 13 of the top paleo myths and the reasons why they are wrong!
Myth #1 - Saturated Fat Will Give You Heart Disease
It’s not hard to see why this myth became so popularly believed. Our culture has spent so long praising carbohydrates and demonizing saturated fat. There are still tons of shelves at the supermarket filled with low-fat yogurt and other similarly misleading treats. But slowly society is becoming aware that the case against saturated fat isn’t exactly black and white. People are starting to realize that good saturated fat, like you would find in eggs, is highly beneficial for your body as long as it is paired with quality protein and not refined sugars. Stick with the saturated fat sources recommended by the paleo experts and you will enjoy a life of greater energy and clarity. There is almost no relationship between good saturated fat intake and heart disease.
Myth #2 - Paleo Food Tastes Bad/Is Hard To Make
We’re a carb-loving culture. So, naturally, some people are going to question how easy it is to follow a paleo lifestyle. But, as you can see from the proliferation of paleo cookbooks stuffing the bestseller lists, paleo is getting easier and easier to follow every day. There are great paleo dessert recipes, for example, that easily beat any sugar alternative. You have to try it to believe it but it’s true. Paleo is as easy and delicious as you want it to be. Just do a little research and you will be rewarded with great tasting and simple-to-make paleo food.
Myth #3 - Paleo Diets Have Too Much Protein
Yes, it's true that eating too much protein can put strain on your kidneys. But the paleo diet is not a high-protein diet. That’s a common misconception. You get most of your calories from fat. After that, good quality protein makes up the second bulk of your meals, followed by high quality complex carbohydrate sources. Just because you’re eating more protein than carbs doesn’t mean you have to shove insane amounts down your throat. The recommended paleo protein serving per meal is roughly the size of your hand. That’s around 3 ounces for women and 5 for men.
Myth #4 - Paleo And Low-Carb Are The Same Thing
Kind of. But not really. There is some crossover but paleo is primarily a diet of natural food that would have been eaten by our ancestors. It just so happens that our ancestors wouldn’t have eaten many carbs. But the difference is that on a low-carb diet, fruits would be off limits because of the sugar content. On a paleo diet, however, you can eat fruit because fruit is natural. You can also eat sweet potatoes, which many low-carb diets would advise against.
Myth #5 - Our Paleo Ancestors Died Young
This used to be my primary reservation before I dived into the paleo lifestyle. Why should we copy the diets of a people that all died at the age of 30? But the fact is that simply isn’t the case. Studies have shown that our ancestors lived lives roughly the same length as we currently do now. The only difference is that they lived their lives without the autoimmune diseases that are so prevalent now. Our ancestors didn’t suffer from inflammation, diabetes, heart disease or gut problems. And the reason is because of their natural diets.
Myth #6 - Paleo Is Just A Fad
This is just plain wrong. Yes, it might seem like paleo is a fad. But really we’re just returning to the way we used to eat. We are returning to the natural way of eating. How can it be a fad if our bodies our optimized for the paleo diet? For most of history, humans have eaten a paleo diet. It is only recently, in the grand evolutionary scheme of things, that humans have started eating candybars and microwave dinners. This is one of the most annoying paleo myths because it is so far from the truth and it attempts to discourage people from eating healthily.
Myth #7 - Paleo Is Too Expensive
Paleo can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. Sure, it can get pricey when you’re shopping for organic produce but many farmers’ markets are actually cheaper than the stuff you’ll buy in the supermarket. People also forget how much money they will save not buying junk food or packaged meals. Then there’s the cost of medical insurance. When you adopt a paleo lifestyle, you’ll get less sick. And less illness means less medical bills. It also means less time off work. With the paleo diet, you’ll also feel more clear headed so you’ll be able to get more done and earn more. When people ask me if the paleo diet is expensive, I say no. But I also tell them that they’re coming at it from the wrong angle. You should see the paleo diet as an investment in your health. You only get one body. You should treat it right.
Myth #8 - No Dairy Means No Calcium
Firstly, many paleo diet followers don’t necessarily believe that all milk is bad. Many make the argument that organic, raw and full fat milk is good for you. Many dieters still eat cheese anyway. But it you’re going to be really strict and limit your dairy that doesn’t mean you won’t get enough calcium. Loads of other foods contain high calcium, like leafy greens and nuts. You can also improve your calcium levels by getting vitamin D from the sun!
Myth #9 - I Have To Give Up My Favorite Foods
This is one of those paleo diet myths that can be busted just by looking at all the awesome paleo dessert cookbooks on the Amazon bestseller list. Many people think they’ll miss their pancakes and waffles when they go paleo. But you can actually make your own paleo-friendly version that will leave you feeling healthy and without the sugar crash. Many of these paleo-friendly desserts are actually more delicious than the sugar originals.
Myth #10 - Paleo Diets Guarantee Weight Loss
It’s important to recognise that there are myths on both sides of the paleo argument. Those who are the biggest proponents for paleo will have you believe you can eat as much bacon and butter as you want and still get ripped abs and toned thighs. The truth is that a paleo diet definitely makes fat loss easier. But you can still overdo things. If you think that you can just shovel 10,000 calories worth of butter and bacon in your mouth and not have it spill over, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you don’t go crazy, the paleo diet will give you great results.
Myth #11 - Paleo Won't Give You Important Nutrients
Actually it’s the complete opposite. When your diet is 70% plants and the other 30% is comprised of healthy fat sources and organic animal protein, you are definitely going to get a whole host of great nutrients. Your nutrient profile will likely improve if you are switching over from the common fast food and packaged dinner diet.
Myth #12 - The Paleo Diet Is Just For Weight Loss
The paleo diet is certainly a popular choice for those looking to lose fat but it’s definitely not just for those people. The paleo diet is an extremely good choice for people looking to reverse or recover from autoimmune diseases, improve the quality of their mental well being or achieve body recomposition.
Myth #13 - Paleo Is Not Sustainable
You miss your desserts and alcohol. I get it. But just because you’re going paleo doesn’t mean you have to cut off your treats completely. Some people are super strict on their paleo diets and don't drink any alcohol or touch any cakes. Others like to give themselves a 10% or 20% wiggle room for special occasions. You can always make smart decisions in regards to alcohol anyway. For example, instead of a beer, a glass or red wine would be a better option. Plus there are plenty of paleo-friendly options in regards to desserts and alcohol now. Also, it only takes around 30 days to make a new habit permanent. So after making paleo adjustments to your life for a month, you’ll be on easy street.
Don't Believe The Myths
Myths originate from misinformation. The same is true with paleo diet myths. But after just a little research, you’ll see that these myths have no grounding in reality. I am actually glad there are so many myths surrounding the topic because when people discover that they are not true, it often persuades them to try the paleo lifestyle. The next thing they know, they love it! So don’t let the paleo myths scare you off from one of the best diets around!