Is The Paleo Diet Too Ancient?
What Makes a Diet “Paleo”?
So what is the paleo diet? The Paleolithic diet (referred to as “The Paleo diet” for short) is a lifestyle of eating that is meant to imitate that of our pre-agricultural ancestors. Namely that is the cave folks. This diet is also known as a “caveman diet” and was created by Loren Cordain who wrote the paleo diet book.
The paleo diet food plan consists of eating animal protein like chicken, beef, and seafood, fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and some fruit and vegetables. You should avoid salt (some followers debate this) when possible as it is more commonly used as a preservative and has harmful effects to the body. Basically, if the caveman didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either!
This isn’t fully true, but it is about as close as you can get. And no it doesn’t require you to go physically hunt for your dinner at night, but the less processed and closer it is to the source, the better. This means there are more nutrients and less preservatives.
Researchers believe that our bodies have not had adequate time to adjust to breaking down foods of the last 10,000 years. The paleo diet is essentially a low carb diet that is often compared with the Atkins diet. The major difference is that the paleo diet doesn’t have phases where you start adding food groups back in as you progress with the diet. Also the paleo diet is more restrictive with dairy.
The reason why this is done is because of insulin spiking and gut irritation these issues cause. In turn, you gain fat and have a higher risk of disease like cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
What Will I Be Giving Up with the Paleo Diet?
In order to live a paleo diet lifestyle, you should not eat any grains. This means cereals, wheats, barley, oats, etc. Also you shouldn’t touch sugar. The paleo diet also nixes legumes (beans), dairy products, or any processed foods. Depending on your goals there are also limitation with nuts, starchy vegetables, and fruit.
What Will I Eat?
You get to eat as much as you want! (As long as you stay within the confines of the diet). There is no need to count calories or limit meals, meal times, or snacks. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Because you are advised to eat protein at every meal with some sort of dietary fat, you will find that you are fuller faster and for longer periods of time, than when you eat a meal constructed around carbohydrates.
The one carbohydrate you can go to town on is vegetables. Because of the low insulin impact and the insoluble fiber, you can eat a lot of vegetables.
What Else Should I Know?
There is a version of the paleo diet that avoids “nightshades” which consist of vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. A nightshade is a plant related to the potato and all of the aforementioned vegetables fall into that classification. Those who have avoided nightshades report improvement in symptoms of chronic health problems such as arthritis and stomach irritation.
Skeptics of the paleo diet focus on the cost, claiming that maintaining this diet is too expensive for the modern day eater. (The same modern day eater who is used to “dollar menus” offered at every corner “restaurant”). Other dietitians claim that the limitations or restrictions of this diet make it unsustainable long-term. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that there are potential nutrient inadequacies and potential for heart disease.
What’s the Skinny?
Is the paleo diet healthy? I personally think is the best and I rank my paleo diet review the healthiest diet out of all the diets we have gone through. I have seen the best results from using the paleo diet. I have had the most energy and have looked the best when eating this diet. I have also gotten my best results working out when using this diet. Also most importantly my biomarkers like triglycerides, HDL, LDL, blood pressure, and body fat percentage have all been at their best when I have eaten this diet.
In the next post we check out the Atkins diet.