I’m not a fan of any fad diet, because that is just what they are – a fad. They lack science, and often are unhealthy. They lay out strict dietary rules which everyone must stick to, with the promise of weight loss; and the paleo diet is no different to this – you eat like paleolithic man and you will become healthy and lose excess body fat.
Despite this, the paleo diet is my preferred of the fad diets out there because it does have some good and healthy principles. It advocates avoiding sugars, eating veg and avoiding processed foods, but this doesn’t excuse it from the fact that it is unlikely to represent a true paleo diet (not that there is such a thing as a ‘true’ paleo diet). These principles are also shared in other fad diets too (think juicing diets for example). But as a whole, the paleo diet offers the most nutrition and I’d say its the healthiest of the fad diets.
The paleo diet has stood the test of time much better than other fad diets, which are often just a flash in the pan. This could be because the paleo diet is relatively healthy and nutritious, or it might be because its rise in popularity has coincided with research showing that fats, meat and cholesterol are not as bad as previously thought; which people see as supportive of the paleo diet. It could even be the fact that it is often sold with imagery of muscle clad topless men eating steak – which appeals to both genders (but for different reasons).
Either way, over the last few months I’ve seen a number of signs which might be indicating that the paleo diet fad has peaked, and might be dying. Mark Sisson has had to cancel PrimalCon (after 5 previous successful years) due to lack of interest, the Human Food Project is showing that meat wasn’t on the menu everyday (and starchy foods are good for you), and there are a growing number of articles explaining how the paleo diet, is not actually a paleo diet.
Dying, or evolving?
A possible cause for the decline in paleo popularity is that there has been a distinct shift in the paleo community. More and more people are accepting that ‘the paleo diet’ is not a real paleo diet, but rather than returning to their unhealthy diet of processed foods; have kept the basic message, and forged a healthy personal diet which suits them. These people eat plants and animals, avoid highly processed foods, but do away with some of the strict aspects of the paleo diet. Rather than calling themselves ‘paleo’, you see them calling themselves just ‘healthy’. Which is nice to see. I think the paleo community is evolving into a healthy community, which still sometimes flies the ‘paleo diet’ flag from time to time. Perhaps to honour their roots.
Although this kind of simple and healthy diet is what many people (myself included) have been preaching for years, it looks like it has taken the paleo movement to kick people into these healthy habits, which I’m fine with. There is something serendipitous about how the paleo diet might be evolving, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong
This isn’t a paleo bashing article (there are enough of those, and I’ve kind of done that already). I’m not saying that paleo is particularly unhealthy and that everyone should stop following it and revert back to their old sugar coated diets. I’m just saying, perhaps it has run its course, and is dying.
So, what are your thoughts? I’d be keen to know. Have I just coincidently stumbled upon a lot of anti-paleo media recently and really its as strong as ever, or do you think paleo is dying?
Image courtesy of johnnystiletto