Paleo/Primal Diet?

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    Does anyone have any experience with the Paleo diet? Like what you'd see on Mark's Daily Apple or PaNu - PāNu Blog . Did anyone have a positive (or negative) experience with it? Do you see any major flaws? Is this something you would feel comfortable telling a patient about since it is so far removed from the standard American diet?
    I am looking for scientific information, and/or direct personal experience. I am not interested in vague "common sense" type recommendations or appeals to authority, government or otherwise.
    Thanks ahead of time for any responses!

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  2. 49 Comments...

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    Unless a diet has been ordered by the physician (ADA, AHA, etc), it is not my job or my business to instruct the patient on how to eat.

    So, I would not feel comfortable telling a patient anything at all about this, or any other, fad diet. If the patient is seeking information, I would be happy to direct them to a RD or their PCP, who are more qualified to render an opinion on the subject.

    I have seen other nurses try fad diets and tell their patients how great and effective the diets are. Without knowing all the nutritional requirements or restrictions of the patients (which these nurses generally do not), this is simply unsafe.
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    I understand that many would feel uncomfortable giving nutritional advice. That is a valid point. I was kind of assuming any nurse giving such advice would try to be aware of any odd nutritional needs before they gave it though.
    From what I have seen, Paleo (unprocessed, low sugar, low carb) is based on a lot of good science. I don't think it quite qualifies as a "fad" diet. Also, I specifically asked for informed advice and/or personal experience for a reason. Simply appealing to big authorities or doctors' orders is probably necessary for work, and like I said, I understand being uncomfortable telling a patient about it. But, when it comes down to actual science/ critical thinking, it's just lazy. So, does anyone out there have some direct experience with this specific diet?
    Psych4me likes this.
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    I am familiar with the diet and yes it is a fad diet. The first thing is it is based off of poor rationales and assumptions on hunter-gatherer lifestyles. The rationale that early man did not suffer our diseases due to eating unprocessed food is rather silly, many of our modern diseases are due to the fact that we live beyond the age of 30. If the assumption is that early man was so healthy then why were hey dying so young?

    If you want to lose wait or maintain a healthy lifestyle then eat a balanced diet and exercise. It really is that simple.

    P.S. I would not recommend anything counter to the practitioner's or RD's recommendations nor would I recommend any diet not endorsed by mainstream medicine.
  6. 0
    Quote from ramcda3
    I understand that many would feel uncomfortable giving nutritional advice. That is a valid point. I was kind of assuming any nurse giving such advice would try to be aware of any odd nutritional needs before they gave it though.
    From what I have seen, Paleo (unprocessed, low sugar, low carb) is based on a lot of good science. I don't think it quite qualifies as a "fad" diet. Also, I specifically asked for informed advice and/or personal experience for a reason. Simply appealing to big authorities or doctors' orders is probably necessary for work, and like I said, I understand being uncomfortable telling a patient about it. But, when it comes down to actual science/ critical thinking, it's just lazy. So, does anyone out there have some direct experience with this specific diet?
    That sounds ideal for a patient who requires a low residue diet!

    /sarcasm

    It is not lazy to work within your scope of practice. You are a doing prereqs for nursing school, so you'll have plenty of time to find out what is and is not appropriate for a nurse to discuss with patients.

    You asked " Is this something you would feel comfortable telling a patient about?" and you got an answer. If you want to share food stories with other dieters, you'll probably find more responses on a dieting forum.
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    As far as opinions go, an interesting and thorough dissection on the so-called "Paleo" diet can be found here: The Paleo Diet: Fad, Religion, or Solution? | Leigh Peele

    Some friends of mine are avid followers of this diet. I don't know why they have to put a name on it. It's just eating very clean and in moderate amounts. They are very fit. Is it for everyone? Probably not, I could never stick to it, nor would I want to.

    I think that, as part of working as a team, it is important to know who is best at what. RDs should be your first resource for nutrition - after all, it is what they do. Reinforcing the teaching done by other professionals is not "lazy"... it's acknowledging their expertise, which is different from a nurse's.
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    It is most definitely a controversial, fad diet as it's never been scientifically studied and a poor future nurse you will make if you start recommending food choices to your patients which could be potentially dangerous - raw meat, raw eggs, unpasteurized dairy products can all pose significant health risks.

    You can't walk into a hospital preaching your own agenda and expecting not to step on the toes of physicians, dietitians, nurses who are working so hard to promote optimal health and nutrition.
    PetiteOpRN likes this.
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    A quick skim of the website leaves me with the impression that this is a riff on a low-carb, high fat/high protein diet with a side business of selling supplements. Didn't check prices on those supplements but I'd hazard a guess that they're pretty pricey. So far, am not impressed.
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    Quote from ramcda3
    Also, I specifically asked for informed advice and/or personal experience for a reason. Simply appealing to big authorities or doctors' orders is probably necessary for work, and like I said, I understand being uncomfortable telling a patient about it. But, when it comes down to actual science/ critical thinking, it's just lazy. So, does anyone out there have some direct experience with this specific diet?
    Quote from ramcda3
    Does anyone have any experience with the Paleo diet? Like what you'd see on Mark's Daily Apple or PaNu - PāNu Blog. I am looking for scientific information, and/or direct personal experience. I am not interested in vague "common sense" type recommendations or appeals to authority, government or otherwise.
    OP, do you see any conflict in asking simultaneously for "scientific information and/or direct personal experience"? Does "personal experience" have scientific validity?

    As a student, are you yet familiar enough with "authority" and "government" sources of information available to clinical professionals and to the general public to know the scientific inquiry process that produces the information and recommendations contained within them?
  11. 2
    So many things to address:

    *"As a student, are you yet familiar enough with "authority" and "government" sources of information available to clinical professionals and to the general public to know the scientific inquiry process that produces the information and recommendations contained within them?"

    Why yes, I am a nursing student, but I also have a previous science degree (I have the pretty piece of paper! So, am I allowed to speak now? Sheesh...) and more experience with hospitals than anyone should. I am very aware of the source of our authorities, as well as their limitations (which is where you seem to fall off the tracks....). I know exactly what goes into government nutrition guidelines - a bunch of dirty money, misread journal articles, and big corporate lobbying.
    This comment exemplifies everything I hoped to avoid in this thread. Degrees and titles are no replacement for independent thought. You don't have to be an RN or MD to read medical and nutrition journals. The difference between science and personal experience is very clear to me. I am interested in both, but I do not confuse them.

    *The Paleo diet is not about eating raw food or playing caveman. It is about avoiding toxins we are not evolved to tolerate. For most of us, what is considered a toxin is determined by science, not by caveman fantasies. The negative effects of grains, excess sugar, the resulting insulin imbalance and resistance, and various other things this diet says to avoid are well documented. These results just don't make it to the media or textbooks until they've been skewed by "conventional wisdom." *I'm not about to preach at someone who has no desire to listen.*If you are truly curious I already posted two links though. PaNu, is the more in-depth one scientifically.*

    *The paleo diet can be done raw, but it is fairly rare. Raw vegetarianism is much more common. The human body HAS had time to evolve the ability to digest cooked meat over raw meat, raw diets are not supported by good science, and I never said they were.

    *About supplements: I don't take any, and many people on this diet do not. Vitamin D and fish oil are big in the paleo community, but the average person is not taking anything else. Mark Sisson literally posts every day, people love him to death, and his books are free. His supplements, in my opinion, are geared toward the body building crowd that would be taking then anyway that wish to avoid the junk in conventional protein powder and such. He does not push them on readers. Plus, the man needs to make a living somehow...

    *Now I see that nurses have little influence over what patients eat. It all comes from dietitians, and it is too risky professionally to give conflicting opinions. I completely understand that alternative nutrition advice is outside of a nurse's scope of practice. I am not trying to step on any professions' toes. And, I have no desire to jeopardize any nurse's career, including my future one, but that doesn't mean I have to turn my brain off, and a blind eye to medicine's shortcomings, when I'm not at work.*

    *I was very, very sick for years with an autoimmune stomach disorder and everything the doctors did made it worse. I went from being tired, brain-fogged, and in chronic pain to being energetic. I went from so many meds I can't remember the number to none. I went from the fat, hypertensive, stressed, steteotypical American to a much thinner, happy person with perfect lab values. I know my story is not unique, and there are bound to be nurses with similar stories. I would love to hear them.*

    *I read plenty of nutrition sites and forums, but I am interested in a nurse's perspective at the moment. Paleo dieters: How do you handle looking at the 60% carb/grain hospital meals, then look at all the diseases around you and not constantly feel like something is very wrong?*

    *Thank you for the Leigh Peele link! Now that is an intelligent response. I don't agree with everything she says and she even admits, "While the dogma behind the Paleo Diet is not healthy, the basic nutritional principles seem to be sound...." I don't follow the dogmatic aspects, and I agree the name "paleo" is stupid. That paper she mentioned has been torn to pieces by multiple writers, supposedly there was some confusion about grass vs. nuts vs. seeds vs. grains in it. I'm not sure, but regardless, for modern man, carbs do cause dramatic insulin responses and cause cells to store fat (this is in most physiology books), and grains are full if antinutrients and terrible for the gut.*
    *
    NurseKrieger and chwcbesteph like this.


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