One thing that struck me about paleo eating is that there is a huge amount of fat in it and the principle is that “there is no such thing as bad fat”, I found this hard to digest initially. With a background in medicine and science I still remember the lectures on heart disease saying that “high fat diets are one of the causes of atherosclerosis which can lead to heart attacks”. So I asked a cardiologist about this.
Their theory was that the paleolithic man wouldn’t have had fats all the time they would have binged on it when they could, additionally they would have had a lot of vegetables and also nuts/berries, possibly because meat wasn’t as available all the time. Additionally if you eat a lot of animal fats it will put your cholesterol up (whether this was good or bad cholesterol, I forgot to ask, sorry); this fact however I can believe.
The main points I got from this were:
1. Vegetables should be the main focus of the meal with protein on the side (this I sort of gathered already).
2. Try to minimise consumption of red meat (this is what I think they meant by animal fats putting up cholesterol).
3. Aim for white meats and fish/seafood which don’t have as much saturated fat in them.
A big thing, for me personally, was worrying about developing heart disease/chest pains from trying to be healthy and eat right (because paleo is a high fat diet). Getting called out to help a person with ‘chest pains’ is an almost daily occurrence and I worry I would dismiss or exaggerate my own ‘symptoms’ because of the frequency of dealing with chest pains when there is no discernible cardiac cause. I truly think this is more out of paranoia than anything else, again asking the cardiologist about this they seemed to agree it was down to paranoia. Not sure if any other HCPs have had similar problems in their related fields.
I definitely need to prove, for myself, that eating a paleo diet is not going to increase my risk of heart disease or other health problems when combined with exercise i.e. CrossFit. It is very hard to shake the persistent sound of lecturers saying “too much fat is bad for you”. Further scientific investigation by me is needed, more posts on this subject to follow but for now back to thinking about food!