I’ve put together a comparison of paleo Vs The Australian Guidelines To Healthy Eating. Our current guidelines provide flexibility and a frame work for individual requirements, compared to the latest paleo diet fad. Both promote the consumption of veggies, fruit and lean meats. They both suggest, limitation on “fun” foods. The difference, is the Australian guidelines is not restrictive, as it includes food groups dairy and whole grains, which provide beneficial nutrients.
The guidelines recognise, that people have different requirements to suit varying ethical standpoints and energy needs. The Paleo diet is filled with unsubstantiated claims which can cause food fear. Essentially both advocate eating a healthy diet full of vegetables and fruit. It’s just a shame that the paleo diet vilifies whole grains and dairy. It’s for this reason that I do not recommend the paleo diet, unless it’s well thought out and planned to ensure all vital nutrients are accounted for.
|Food group||Australian dietary guidelines (ADG)||Paleo||Benefits of food group|
|Fruit (all types)||1-2 serves of fruit per day. Serves can be adjusted according to energy needs, if energy requirements are higher for active individuals.||No limitation to fruit.
Stricter paleo styles that are also “low carb high fat” do restrict fruit consumption to lower sugar fruits only. For example berries.
|Nutrient dense (vitamins, minerals) Fructose in fruit has not been shown to cause disease. In fact has the opposite affect of being health protective. Fibre obtained from fruit also helps to maintain good bowel health.|
|Vegetables (green & coloured)||5+ serves per day, all types eat a wide variety||Paleo diets do not restrict vegetables. High veggies consumption is encouraged.||Veggies health protective and high intakes have been show to decrease risk of cancer and heart disease.|
|Lean meats & vegetarian alternatives (legumes, tofu, red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds)||2-3 serves according to age and energy requirements. Caters for both vegetarian & vegan diet types and promotes sustainable choices.||Unlimited amounts of grass fed animal meats. No consideration for environmental sustainability or animal cruelty for those who are interested in taking this ethical stance||Excessive consumption of red meat has been linked on numerous occasions to bowel and heart concerns. Legumes provide high levels of fibre (pre biotic). Veggo alternatives are more environmentally sustainable than meat consumption.
For good health it is encouraged to eat a wide variety of plant sources this include legumes, nuts and seeds.
|Diary (yogurt, cheese, milk)||2-3 serves (1500mg ca+ daily ) according to age and energy requirements||Restrictive – Not allowed at all. Claims have been made that it will give you Type 2 diabetes, cancer and autism. Currently there is no evidence to support this.
This diet provides low grade calcium alternatives as replacements unlikely to meet RDI’s for example kale, almonds & spinach.
|Contributes to calcium and potassium intake used for muscle contraction, bone & teeth health. A cheap way to provide protein to growing bodies, whey protein has been shown numerous times to provide a positive performance enhancement in power lifting sports.|
|Whole grains (whole wheat, quinoa, oat, corn, rice, rye spelt)||3-9 serves according to age & energy requirements||Restrictive – Not allowed at all. Claims have been made that it will give you Type 2 diabetes, cancer and autism. Currently there is no evidence to support this.
|Provides energy to fuel movement. High levels of fibre for good bowel health. Source of nutrients not found in large amounts in other food group: B-vitamins folate, magnesium, vit E. Particularly great for growing bodies (athletes & children). Cheap to feed large volumes of people. Part of traditional cultural cuisines. Has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, lower rates of bowel cancer, improve health outcomes such as heart disease.|
|Discretionary foods (chips, lollies, biscuits, alcohol, chocolate, takeaway).||Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, sugar and excessive sodium, alcohol.||Not allowed. Claims have been made that sugar is toxic & addictive. Currently there is little evidence to support this.Some paleo advocates still allow alcohol.||Discretionary foods do play a part in food enjoyment & part of social occasions.
They provide additional energy for those malnourished & underweight. It increases energy density of the diet.
*RDI’s = recommended daily intakes for good health
Whole grains & health: Study 1, 2, 3
Dairy consumption health & sport: Study 1, 2, 3