The Paleo Diet promotes lean meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Generally speaking I support this way of eating. For most of us eating fewer complex carbs and less refined food should be part of daily life.
But there are exceptions, some people need more than lean meat, veggies, nuts and seeds to meet the demands of their day. A couple examples include the skinny guy trying to put on muscle or the athlete who is training intensely. These folks need to adjust the Paleo diet in order to maintain health and meet their goals.
This usually means including more unrefined carbohydrates, often at breakfast and during the post-workout period. It often also means including a protein/carb drink during training. And the rest of the day can be more protein, veggies, nuts, and seeds.
New research is finding that in some ancient cultures, unrefined, wild grains and potatoes were actually part of their diet. With this new research, some of the basic “Paleo” concepts are being questioned.
I think that eating less processed food, eating more lean meat, veggies and nuts/seeds is very smart. For certain individuals with specific goals, unprocessed grains and legumes are a huge help. Those individuals need to focus on quantity and consider timing.
And it all depends on your genes. There’s some fascinating new research showing that our heritage could play a role in our nutritional tolerances.
For example, in the UK almost 100% of the population can tolerate dairy. The same is true in Scandinavian countries and Northwestern Africa. However, in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Southern Africa, almost no one (less than 10%) can handle dairy. Knowing this, your thoughts on dairy consumption might need to change based on where your family comes from.
There’s a similar relationship between our genetic heritage and our ability to digest and process carbohydrates.
People from Northern Europe, the UK, and Southern Asia make more carbohydrate-digesting enzymes because they’ve traditionally eaten a more carbohydrate-rich diet. While people from Africa and Northern Asia make fewer carbohydrate-digesting enzymes because of their traditional diet that’s lower in carbohydrates.
Your thoughts on grains/milk would have to change based on where in the world your ancestors come from.
Everyone can start with a set of guidelines to work from. And after that, you’ll need to experiment and tweak until you find what works for you.