Are Sandwiches Paleo?


Many of us were raised on the notion that sandwiches are healthy. Pack some meat, vegetables, and mustard between two slices of bread and you have one nutritious meal, right?

Not so much. Of course the meat and veggies are healthy, and even mustard and mayonnaise can be included as part of a Paleo diet, but the bread has to go. If you don’t know by now, here’s why:


You’re probably sick of hearing about gluten by now, but it’s true that it’s problematic. Not only are we discovering a rise in people suffering from diseases like Celiac, but it turns out that gluten can have all sorts of negative effects on people, even if they don’t test positive for gluten sensitivity. Essentially, gluten literally sticks to your insides. Since the lining of our gut is designed to let some nutrients in to the blood stream, the sticky gluten messes with this system and forces the gut to increase its permeability in order to let nutrients through. This then lets in other foods and toxins that do not belong in the blood stream, which causes an immune reaction, resulting in inflammation. In the short term, inflammation is nothing more than a by-product of an immune response and it can even be beneficial, but when allowed to become a chronic condition, it is linked to all sorts of diseases, from diabetes to heart disease.


As far as your pancreas is concerned, there is little difference between a couple slices of bread (even whole wheat) and throwing back a handful of pure sugar. The result is the same as far as the amount of insulin that your pancreas needs to secrete to deal with the sugar rush. The more carbohydrates you consume over time, the more accustomed to insulin your cells become, leading to insulin resistance and ultimately illnesses such as diabetes.


Wheat is pretty devoid of nutrients, and what little nutrition it does contain is compromised by the inflammation that results from the gluten and the carbohydrates. Since living a Paleo lifestyle is all about consuming nutrient-rich foods, you’re better off passing up that sandwich in favor of a lettuce wrap or a salad.

If anyone tries to tell you that grains are an important food group, Mark Sisson did a great job of debunking that myth here.