Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Paleo Diet Q & A - 11.4.09

Dear Readers,

We are often sent questions from our readers about the Paleo Diet. We will publish these questions and our follow-up answers periodically to share with the Paleo Diet community. If you have specific questions regarding the Paleo Diet please send us a comment!

The Paleo Diet Team

Q: Are eggs (mainly just egg whites) considered to be an OK food for this diet?

A: Yes, egg whites are OK on The Paleo Diet. The only exception is autoimmune diseases. In that case you should avoid egg whites as some proteins in it (Lysozyme) may increase intestinal permeability which is at the root of many autoimmune diseases. Otherwise, you can eat egg whites.

Q: I started the program and I was wondering if Whey Protein or protein powder in general is against the diet.

A: Egg protein powder is a better option in order to avoid certain harmful whey proteins, specially if you suffer from an autoimmune disease. Whey protein also produces hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) which on the long run may produce insulin resistance and hence hormonal disruption.

Q: In the article in today's email "The Paleo Diet Promotes Greater Vitality in Later Years" by Pedro Bastos he writes about the Okinawan Diet. He writes that they don't eat potatoes but I understand that they eat lots of Sweet Potatoes.

Yes, probably they ate big amounts of sweet potatoes as some hunter-gatherers do in Kitava-Papua New Guinea. Our ancestors didn't have an universal diet because it depended on climate, season, latitude, culture, etc. This means that the amount of carbohydrates they ate varied substantially. So, for instance in Kitava they eat a lot of carbohydrates and still have no obesity, so it seems as if some bioactive substances of neolithic foods are responsible for hormonal disruption rather than merely carbohydrate content.

However, there's a big difference between potatoes and sweet potatoes. Potatoes are a good source of some known harmful substances namely saponins. They have the ability to increase intestinal permeability and hence increase the risk of autoimmune diseases (in genetically predisposed individuals), and induce low-grade chronic inflammation which is at the root of many chronic degenerative diseases. On the other hand, there's some preliminary data suggesting that some bioactive substances, such as lectins and saponins, contained in potatoes, grains, legumes, etc. can bind hormonal receptors impairing their function. This could be the case of leptin receptor leading to leptin resistance and some metabolic disorders.

Potatoes are a very new food for humans, as they came from North America less than 600 years ago. On the other hand, it seems that sweet potatoes are part of the human diet since a long time ago.

Q: Can you please give me some ideas for breakfast, as I am anxious to get started with The Paleo Diet?

A: First of all you have to take out of your mind the idea that a healthy breakfast is composed of milk, cereal grains and cookies. Not even Paleo-friendly foods such as fruits are the only options you have for breakfast, although they are one of them. Breakfast is just another meal of the day and as such you can eat lean protein such as turkey or chicken breasts, steamed vegetables, avocado, nuts, eggs (if you are not following the autoimmune plan), salmon and fresh fruit. Another good option is leftovers from the previous day's meals. I usually cook a large amount for dinner in order to have the next day's breakfast ready!

You can find more ideas in our website:

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