Malnutrition And The Paleo Diet

By Paleo
In Learn About Paleo
May 17th, 2013


Malnutrition doesn’t only affect starving children in third world countries with protruding stomachs; malnutrition is extremely common in the well-fed. In-fact, malnutrition is the leading cause of disease for the simple reason that the body isn’t receiving the vital nutrients it needs to stay healthy; un-healthy cells = diseased cells. A deficiency in any one nutrient alone can cause many health issues, let alone multiple deficiencies.

One deficiency can have multiple effects on good health. For instance, a vitamin B3 deficiency impairs the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C – a vitamin C deficiency will impair the absorption of iron – a lack of iron can cause excessive copper absorption – too much copper in the blood inhibits cortisol production – low cortisol levels cause adrenal fatigue. Magnesium is one of the major deficiencies in society; magnesium deficiency will contribute to increased sodium retention and can eventually lead to a vitamin A deficiency – a vitamin A deficiency inhibits the body’s ability to fight infections. Some of the other major deficiencies in society include zinc, chromium, vitamins A, E and B6.

Often people will supplement their diets with mega-doses of a certain vitamins or minerals; however this can also cause malnutrition. For instance, consuming too much calcium can produce a phosphorus and magnesium deficiency – this can result in symptoms almost identical to that of calcium deficiency. Or consuming too much zinc which can antagonise and cause an imbalance in vitamin D – too much zinc can also produce a copper and/or iron deficiency as well as cause a sodium to potassium imbalance.

When the cells in our body are not receiving the nutrients they need to stay healthy they will eventually malfunction or die; this is where disease sets in. Everything we eat, drink or swallow will determine the quality of our blood, which will then determine the quality of our health.

Obesity is a major sign of malnutrition or malnourishment, even though a lot of food is being consumed it’s the right foods that are not being consumed to satisfy hunger, normalise metabolism, keep energy levels high and support healthy cells that is the problem. Around 90% of what most obese people consume is nutritionally dead foods; white rice, pasta, breads, cereals, dairy and sweets (these are some of the most nutritionally dead foods you can find). This is a reason why we see many obese people suffering so many different health issues, whether it is low energy levels, lack of sex drive, depression, constant illness, constipation or diarrhea, diabetes or poor sleep.

Apart from nutritionally depleted foods, another problem we are faced with in society is the quality of our foods which have been changed in ways that cause them to become low in nutritional value; processing, transporting, storing and preserving all assist in lowering the nutritional value in the foods; especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables which are more often that not grown in nutrient dead soils and sprayed with chemicals to speed up growth while repelling bugs and insects. This is not to say these fruits and vegetables don’t contain any nutritional value at all, but they have been significantly reduced with these processes.

Even people who eat a diet high in nutritional value can still easily become deficient in vital nutrients which the body needs to stay healthy and function optimally. Not only because of some of the concerns with nutritionally depleted foods mentioned above, but because our modern lifestyle is unfortunately an environment for toxins which cause cellular malfunction and disease. Each person has their own individual nutritional requirements; each person’s nutritional needs are as individual as their finger print.

Back in 2000 there was said to be 1.2 billion people within developed countries who where malnourished because they consumed too much of the wrong foods; foods which hold little to no nutritional value. Yet, we will still be told by health care professionals, food manufacturers and within ‘educational’ articles that we should consume a diet rich in these foods that are bad for our health and don’t assist in maintaining a healthy body. This could be due to misinformation, poor education, laziness or simply just good product marketing.

What we need to focus on nutritionally to avoid malnutrition and deficiencies is obtaining the correct amount of nutrition that our 75 trillion cells need in order to stay healthy; not doing this will virtually guarantee disease. A diet rich in foods full of nutritional value will provide the cells with what they need to repair and make new healthy cells.

One of the best additions we can make to our nutrition is to follow paleolithic diet. The paleolithic diet is rich in nutrient value because it doesn’t include foods which contain little to no nutritional value; such as white bread, white rice, pasta and cereals. The paleolithic diet consists of foods our bodies where designed to eat; nutritionally rich foods including meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Because of this the paleolithic diet also eliminates the heath issues associated with consuming a diet rich in sugars and other high GI (glycemic index) foods; such as diabetes.

Keeping an eye on our lifestyle is also vitally important; a lifestyle of smoking a packet of cigarettes every day is not going to help maintain cellular health.

Being active in noticing changes in our bodies is also extremely important in over-coming any deficiencies and potential malnutrition before they impact heavily on the bodies overall function; noticing a drop in energy levels, drop in sex drive, troubles sleeping or sudden symptoms of depression can all be signs of deficiencies that if spotted and treated early can be overcome easily and effectively.

8 Responses to “Malnutrition And The Paleo Diet”

  1. eubert says:

    Many popular diets are now diebetic friendly too. If a person just eats healthy they will have far less problems with their health including diabetes, obesity and heart problems.

  2. Gayle Weed says:

    I am a type 1 diabetic. My Dr. has warned me against any “low carb” diets, which this one claims to be. In YOUR opinion, is this diet safe for type 1 diabetics? EVERY time I see a diet that claims to be safe for diabetics, as I research farther, it’s type 2 diabetes they are talking about. No one ever spells out the safety for a type 1 diabetic. There is a HUGE difference between the two.

    • Paleo says:

      The paleo diet is following the foundations of eating natural foods in the most natural form possible, it isn’t ‘eat X amount of this and X amount of that’. By consuming natural foods with extra attention on lowering sugar intake through fruits and natural sugars, you can consume a very low carb diet with the paleo principles in mind. Eating low carb should be applied to paleo eating, including keeping fruit intake to a minimum. You may be interested in the following posts:‘the-practical-paleo-guide’-ebook-review/

      • Gayle Weed says:

        Thank-you for that info. Obviously the “eating x amount of this and x amount of that” is NOT working for me. I will read those articles right away. Thank-you again.
        = )

      • Anon says:

        It should be noted that paleo’s aim isn’t “low-carb” (that’s Atkins), but emphasis on nutrient-dense food. It just so happens that it’s low-carb when compared to SAD and many other “mainstream” diets due to “empty calorie” foods like bread, pasta, etc. not having much nutritional conten

  3. Andrea says:

    Hello, thank you for this article. How can we find out if our kid is ‘malnourished’ or has something like Celiac?? is there a test you can recommend??

    how would one go about starting something like this??

  4. Sam says:

    Hi there
    I’ve been doing paleo for the past two weeks. Bowel movements were great for the first week. Second week lets say I had ‘upset’ bowel movements (possibly due to spices and garlic) and closer to the end of the week I’ve barely pooped at all. I try to have about 4 meals and a snack a day. Meals consisting of veggies (and sometimes fruit), a protein source or two(usually chicken, ground lean chicken, ground lean beef, shaved turkey from the bird, chicken sausage,wild pacific salmon, or eggs/egg whites…aim for approx 25-30g pro), and fat ( either a combo of oils, olive and/or coconut, and/or nut butter to meet 1 T, 1 oz nuts,or 1/2 avocado). Drink a few bottles of water a day. What’s going on?

    • Paleo says:

      Doing less bowel movements is common when you consume more meat and less grains. Garlic can cause diarrhea, keep an eye on it otherwise it may have been a once off and nothing to concern yourself with. I wouldn’t start eating more JUST so you go to the bathroom more often – meat is suppose to take it’s time through the digestive system (it’s why we have a long small intestine).

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