Although I am in favour of the Paleo/Banting/Ketogenic Diet and see it as a fundamentally healthy way of eating that mirrors the diet we evolved to eat and is in accordance with our innate physiology, alarm bells are ringing! This diet in the hands of followers who have scant knowledge of nutritional needs of the body or harm that can be done by toxic chemicals, becomes dangerous! I see people losing unwanted kilograms but at what cost? Here are some of the dangers I see:
Eating only protein and fat and totally avoiding vegetables – any man’s dream! I hear of people eating just eggs, bacon and more bacon for breakfast. Some may even have a 400g steak for breakfast – nothing else! So what’s the problem with this?
Firstly no acid-alkaline balance. Your vegetables are alkaline-forming and proteins, oils and fats are acid-forming. You need a balance or else disease will prevail. Cancer thrives in an acidic environment. High protein diets can lead to acidosis setting the stage for osteoporosis, hormonal imbalances and gut dysbiosis and can potentially lead to kidney stones, arthritis and gout.
Secondly, you’re missing out on essential nutrients and anti-oxidants found in vegetables. Without them you are putting yourself at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as oxidised or rancid cholesterol which can result in arterial plaque and inflammation.
Thirdly, processed meats such as bacon are known to be potentially carcinogenic (cancer-forming) due to the nitrosamines formed during frying. Even non-processed meats, if from commercial sources and not from grass-fed animals, are full of toxins such as xenoestogens, antibiotics and growth hormones. Remember too that toxins are stored mainly in fat cells so the more fat you are eating from feedlot animals, and not those reared on the veld, the more toxins you are taking in.
Fourthly, there’s the matter of “eat all the cheese you want” statement. There are good cheeses and bad and the bad ones from feedlot animals are just as high in the toxins mentioned for meat. Processed cheese is also high in sodium and eating too much of it can result in magnesium and potassium imbalances, never mind that cheese is also highly mucous-forming and constipating!
Perhaps you find that you were but are no longer losing weight on this diet? My guess is you’re one of those eating too much protein. Did you know that a significant percentage of excess protein will ultimately be converted to sugar and stored as fat? You simply have to stick to the rules: protein portions should be no bigger than the area and thickness of the palm of you hand, minus fingers. And you simply have to include 5-7 cups of vegetables and fruits daily to benefit from this type of eating plan. Without the fibre provided by these foods constipation will be the order of the day. They are also your anti-oxidants, neutralising free radicals and slowing down ageing.
This diet is also devoid of all grains so if you’re not eating organ meats, nuts and seeds then watch out for vitamin B deficiencies including biotin. If hair-loss occurs or your stress levels rise, a vitamin B supplement would be adviseable. Also have your homocysteine levels checked. High levels can cause hardening of the arteries and to reduce these levels you need most of the B vitamins which are abundant in whole grains which you are no longer eating!
My intention is not to throw cold water on an eating plan that is working for you, all I ask is that you do not compromise your health for the sake of weight-loss. The good news is that two positives have come out of everyone “banting” these days: the harmful refined carbs are out and the no-fat and low-fat myths have been busted! Hoorah!