Last Updated on September 8, 2020
What are the pros and cons of the paleo diet for athletes?
A couple of books about the paleo diet that I recommend are the Paleolithic Prescription and Native Nutrition.
The Paleo diet was introduced in the late sixties or early seventies by a Dr. Cordain out of a Colorado university. Dr. Cordain studies ancestral ways of eating and concluded that we should still be eating that way.
I’m not a huge fan of paleo diets. We’re not cave people who hunt and gather our food anymore. We have access to foods like nuts and seeds that hunter-gatherers never even dreamed of having.
- The Connection Between Your Mood And Your Microbiome
- Gut Health And Your Mood: What’s The Link
- Putting An End To Binge Eating: 10 Steps You Can Take
- Anxiety, Depression & Candida Connection
Pushing people into a diet that people ate thousands of years ago doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t think the Paleo diet is a good fit for the 21st century.
Nevertheless, there are definitely pros to following a Paleo diet. There are also cons, particularly for athletes. The carbohydrate issue is the big one because athletes need carbs for energy. Once you take out all the starchy vegetables from the diet, you’re left with leafy greens, eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, and seeds.
For vegetarians, the Paleo diet is challenging because beans aren’t an option.
I think the Paleo diet is likely better for certain sports than others. For example, it seems better suited to weight lifting than track and field.
The Paleo diet can also be quite expensive. I also don’t think red meat is something to eat in significant amounts. There is ample evidence that Bacteroidetes bacteria are associated with colon cancer, and red meat encourages the growth of this bacterial strain.
I always tell people to back off the red meat. You’re better off eating free-range eggs, check, and fresh-caught fish.
The Paleo diet may have some blood sugar control benefits to offer people with diabetes. But if you’re a high functioning athlete, you need to be very careful about keeping your carb, protein, and fat ratios at an appropriate level.