Is the Paleolithic Diet a Fad?
Every diet out in the capitalist wild has some marketing behind it. Most rise and die without making a dent in the public conscience. These are the fad diets. The initial marketing stirs up sales of some books and videos. Results however determine the staying power and that’s where fad diets fall short.
Atkins crashed, Paleo Rose
What is a fad? dictionary.com defines it as
a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc.,
especially one followed enthusiastically by a group.
Let’s break down paleo within the context of this definition. We’ll start at the end.
…especially one followed enthusiastically by a group
Paleo is followed enthusiastically by a group of rabid people, much like crossfit. Of course there is probably a good reason for the enthusiasm. People tend to lose weight, have more energy, and still eat great tasting foods while on Paleo. Seth Godin would say Paleo people are a Tribe. They have intense passion and work together to bring about more knowledge within their community. Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body was a good starting point for me in a low carb diet, however the legumes just sucked. The only real change between 4hb and paleo was eliminating legumes, which was a welcome fix. Tim’s slowcarb diet didn’t even register on the google trends chart so I didn’t include it.
…fashion, notion, manner of conduct
Paleo is a manner of conduct or notion that promotes eating naturally occurring foods. The thought is that our body’s natural systems have adapted to our evolutionary history. The last 100 years have brought about in increase in highly processed foods and grains, both of which were not consumed by paleolithic humans.
Often marketers will try to label their diet as a “lifestyle”. Followers of the diet will then evangelize and use this term to convince others that they are not just on some fad diet, they are changing their lifestyle. However, since most dieters fail, a short term change in lifestyle is still just a fad.
So what’s the verdict?
Given that Paleo is still rising in popularity it is hard to say. However, the themes of eating naturally occurring foods, avoiding gut irritants, and reducing sugar consumption will stick around with me until the day I die. I’ve been consuming a low carb diet for over 2 years now after years of high carb, gluten rich diet and I don’t see myself switching back. The benefits of basically effortless weight and body composition management make paleo the most attractive way to eat that I have seen.
What say you? Are the throngs of Paleo people, their blogs, apps, and recipe books bound to die a slow inflamed death or is Paleo here to stay?