Everything in Moderation, Including the Paleo Diet
Are Nuts Part Of The Paleo Diet?
Recently I was asked to review an article on the Paleo Diet. Someone had asked the author, a Paleo Diet advocate, about eating nuts. Just like in grains and legumes, nuts tend to be high in phytates. Legumes and grains are not considered Paleo foods and should definitely be avoided. How does one justify the consumption of nuts when grains and legumes were high in phytates as well and are not recommended, especially since nuts are often recommended as part of the Paleo Diet.
The author diplomatically provided sound science and logic to show that the amount of phytates in nuts can at times be higher than that found in grains and legumes, but that nuts are not considered a staple of the diet. In those instances were grains and legumes are commonly eaten, they are eaten on a repetitive basis, thus making the total accumulation of the phytates from these foods substantially higher. The level of phytates accumulated from eating nuts alone is not likely to be a problem. Therefore, the primary concern of phytates interfering with mineral absorption becomes a non-issue.
The bigger point is not whether phytates, or even grains and legumes for that matter, are a problem. The bigger issue is that if you look hard enough you are going to find some issue with nearly all food categories. Therefore, the idea is not to avoid a particular food grouping, but rather to eat it on a moderate level, or stated another way, to diversify the consumption of food. One thing I have learned from practice is that the body is not a fan of extremes. Too much is often just as bad as too little. Neither is an ideal state for the body. Stated another way, we call too little deficiency, and too much toxicity.
Too Much Of Anything Is Not Healthy
As a real world example, let’s take something that nearly all Paleo eaters like, meat. For simplicity, let’s use a chicken breast. A chicken breast is a protein source, and as such it is made up of amino acids. Just by the name, you can see that these are acidic. Lack of adequate protein consumption hinders detoxification, promotes muscle wasting, reduces our metabolic rate and impairs our ability to produce some of our hormones and neurochemicals. Clearly stated, it is essential. In opposition, too much protein, or an imbalanced amount of protein in the diet relative to other food categories has a tendency to make the body more acidic. Higher levels of acidity, as noted through urinary and salivary pH assessment can promote the onset of some chronic diseases. However, when protein is consumed in moderate amounts throughout the day with sufficient amounts of vegetables and fruits, the acidifying nature of proteins is kept in check by alkalizing effects of potassium.
Keep the diet diverse as possible and try to avoid extremes. You are more likely to stay balanced in your diet when you consume a variety of foods. I have often noticed that Paleo eaters have a tendency to be extreme in their actions. I personally think sometimes it just goes with the mindset. But instead of extremes, if you try to stay in the middle of the road and practice a more central line of moderation with your Paleo Diet choices, you will maximize the health promoting benefits that the Paleo Diet aims to provide.