Fat Fiction Fat, lies and measuring tape


Paleo diets will kill you!

This will kill you. Along with the meat. And everything else you ever eat.

Happy new year, nothing like a health scare a la Daily Mail to kick off. Ever heard of orthorexia nervosa? Nope, me neither, at least until yesterday when the Metro ran an article on it, about the rise of extreme eating where people cut out entire food groups because they’re so paranoid it’ll do them harm. Pretty timely I’d say…

Lap it up. Or if you want the highlights (lowlights?) be warned that,

"cutting out food groups such as wheat, dairy or meat can have a devastating effect on health… suffers can become severely malnourished, and deficient in vital vitamins and nutrients… leading to problems like adrenal fatigue, brittle bones, infertility and in extreme cases, death"

All this at the same time when the Paleo movement (no grains, no legumes, no dairy, diet based on meat and vegetables, a return back to our hunter-gather diet) is making huge strides in the US, and is slowly but surely creeping across the pond to the UK. And look at them all, with their vibrant health, shiny hair, ultra-bright teeth. Sick the lot of them! Yeah, especially those ultra marathon runners, iron man triathletes. What and as for Ursula Grobler, competing in the London Olympics next year, rowing, with a diet of no grains, dairy or legumes? Tell you what mate, I’ll be surprised if her arms don’t snap at the starting line.

Or maybe not. There’s no doubt that Paleo is pretty extreme, especially when put next to the standard British or American diet, but the logic behind it is sound, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a follower that doesn’t have demonstrably good results with it after sticking it out for at least a month (that part’s crucial by the way, it takes time to adapt).  Not everyone agrees of course – the NHS have called it a ‘fad diet’ and on the opposite end of fad eating raw foodists (all food raw, simple eh?) have done an intelligent but unfortunately misguided critique of it over here. It’s largely misguided because they’ve assumed the diet is pretty much Innuit (fat and meat) with barely any vegetables. Ooops. PS if you're looking for Paleo style bloggers, I've updated Loved here.

Bringing it to the mainstream

But either way, Paleo is still very much a niche diet and the radical nature of such a large change guarantees that it won’t ever become completely mainstream. But more crucially, if the world went paleo we’d be speeding up the inevitable issues of worldwide food security. And no-one’s robbing my sirloin steak off me.

So if Paleo itself doesn’t become mainstream, what will? Avoiding gluten. I wish I’d seen this before to spread it around. Matt Lezner came up with the simplest idea – gluten free jan:

He’s right. Whether or not you give a flying toss about paleo diets or like me you stumbled into avoiding wheat for other reasons, I’m convinced this is what will mark the biggest change in people’s diets over the coming years. The only question I’ve got, how long will it take?

What’s wrong with gluten?

Well, seeing as you’re here, you might as well start with How wheat made the world fat. And then there’s this timely list compiled by Ravi. Content from authors below:


Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. My name is Lori and I’m an orthorexic.

    It all started last year when I went off wheat. My doctor told me my 20-pound weight gain was due to age (I was 40), but I just wouldn’t listen. My symptoms on the wheat-free diet included weight loss, clear sinuses and more energy.

    A month and a half later, I got even worse. Some microbiologist cooked up a theory about why a low-carb diet eliminated acid reflux, and I flung myself into that, too. The weight really started falling off, and this 41-year-old body felt like it was 20 again. Oh yeah, the acid reflux stopped, too. I’m not sure when I’ll ever see a doctor again.

    Even though I sent back a piece of breaded fish at a restaurant today, I believe my orthorexia has been getting better. I’ve added back the organ meat food group, and I’d even be willing to try the insect food group.

  2. Lori, you’re very brave in admitting it. In the fullness of time you’ll learn to incorporate foods that make you sick and unwell, and to return your health back into the hands of others.

    It’s the first vital step on the path to degeneration.

    I have sent you some USDA guidelines to start the process and hope this helps.

  3. Love it! Perhaps we should start Paleo Orthorexics Anonymous?! :D

  4. Where is this quote from?!?!: “cutting out food groups such as wheat, dairy or meat can have a devastating effect on health… suffers can become severely malnourished, and deficient in vital vitamins and nutrients… leading to problems like adrenal fatigue, brittle bones, infertility and in extreme cases, death”

    That is ridiculous and sounds like it comes straight from the meat, dairy and junk food large industries who want us to consume and buy more of their product (so if it’s a US government warning, I wouldn’t trust it at all either!)

    Many studies show that Gluten is detrimental to a number of groups (MS, Coeliacs, ADHD in there perhaps?? – excuse my quick rant and thus not substatiated fully for these cases) but I think this article is really condemning to a potentially great diet to help people!!

    GLUTEN and dairy can kill you slowly FACT (I have the messed up but recovering stomach and intestines to prove it)…. 1 of many….

    Best wishes :)

  5. Mike,
    This is a great article highlighting several keys issues and challenges we face. Keep flying the flag this is a bottom up revolution, one day soon common sense (backed by overwhelming scientific evidence) shall prevail.


    • Eventually, eventually!
      Great site by the way. “Eat more and exercise less” is a top byline, should have nutritionists spluttering over their low fat yoghurts.

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