Up until now, the conventional wisdom was: going paleo is not inherently good or bad but a rather a change that could pay off (or not) depending on how you did it.
New healthy eating guidelines, recently released by The Heart Foundation, challenge this notion, suggesting that even a well planned Paleo is probably too red meat-based, and unnecessarily restrictive.
But first up: the meat. As reported by The Dail Mail, “the guidelines warn Australians should limit how much red meat they eat to about three meals a week if they want to keep their heart in good shape.”
This refutes the claims of the paleo diet championed by celebrity chef Pete Evans, and that of renowned Canadian psychology professor and self-help author, Jordan Peterson, who famously follows a carnivorous diet comprised of exclusively meat.
The recommendations also challenged the Paleo idea that full-fat dairy products are the devil incarnate, with scientists finding their impact upon one’s health to be negligible.
“The Heart Foundation dismissed previous concerns about full-fat dairy products, finding they have no effect on a person’s risk of heart disease or stroke, following a major review of Australian and international research,” The Daily Mail reported.
“The foundation previously recommended everyone stick with reduced-fat dairy products, but now says that’s only necessary for those with high cholesterol, heart disease or type two diabetes.”
For the first time ever, it is also calling for all Australians to restrict their consumption of unprocessed beef, lamb, pork and veal to 350 grams a week, which equates to roughly three lean red-meat meals, due to the growing evidence linking their high consumption to heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Instead, the scientists recommend you source your protein (once you’ve used up your three days of fun) from plant sources like beans, lentils, chickpeas and tofu, or seafood, eggs and chicken.
On that note: the foundation has also completely lifted the former guidelines’ restriction on the maximum recommended number of eggs a healthy person can eat per week (though the researchers still say people with type two diabetes or heart disease should stick to seven eggs a week or fewer).
And of course, the old suggestions regarding butter, ice-cream and dairy-based desserts (i.e. refined carbohydrates and sugar) remain as stringent as ever, with the only silver lining being that “evidence found the dairy fat in milk, cheese and yoghurt does not raise bad LDL cholesterol levels as much as butter or other dairy products,” (The Daily Mail).
Overall, however, the foundation encouraged people to focus on the more general pattern of their eating, not just the specifics of how many eggs (for instance) they ate per week, explaining that this kind of concerted effort is what makes a difference in the long run.