The Paleo Diet
The paleolithic diet or paleo diet is a modern nutritional slimming plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture.
Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
First popularized in the mid-1970s, this nutritional concept has been promoted and adapted by a number of authors and researchers in several books. A common theme in evolutionary medicine, Paleolithic nutrition is based on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their ancestors and that human genetics haven’t changed much since the dawn of agriculture, and therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.
This dietary approach to is a controversial topic amongst dietitians and an article on the National Health Service of the United Kingdom Choices website suggests that it may be a fad diet that is designed to lose weight. Critics have argued that if hunter-gatherer societies failed to suffer from “diseases of civilization”, this was mostly due to reduced calories in their diet, shorter average lifespans, or a variety of other factors, rather than some special diet composition.
How does it work?
Paleo diets are based on a simple premise—if the cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. It is advised to avoid refined sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains (this is pre-agricultural revolution) and instead stick to meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and veggies. What you eat and how much depend on your goals or the specific slimming program you’re on, if you choose to follow one.
Will I lose weight
Paleo diets haven’t yet drawn the attention of many researchers. One small study that looked at weight loss found that 14 participants lost an average of about 5 pounds after three weeks on a Paleo regimen. However, if you build a “calorie deficit” into your Paleo plan for example eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max, or burning off extra by exercising—you should expect to shed pounds. How quickly you lose weight and whether you keep them off is dependent on you.
Is the diet safe?
By cutting out dairy and grains, you’re at risk of missing out on a lot of nutrients. Also, if you’re not careful about making lean meat choices, you are at a higher risk of developing heart problems.
While there are no specific restrictions, you should consider talking with your doctor before making changes to your meal plans.
Is it easy to follow?
Diets that restrict entire food groups are difficult to follow. However on the other hand, you can determine how primal you want to be, working in some cheat meals if you want.
There are many recipe books and websites for you to gather information from, but you can also incorporate eating out into your Paleo plan. Alcohol is discouraged but is fine in moderation.
Nutrition experts emphasize the importance of satiety, the satisfied feeling that you’ve had enough. You shouldn’t feel hungry on this diet—protein and fiber are filling, and you’ll get plenty of both. One small study of 29 participants published in Nutrition and Metabolism in 2010 found Paleo dieters felt just as full but consumed fewer calories than their Mediterranean counterparts.
You’re making everything, so if something doesn’t taste good, you know who to blame.
Have you heard of or tried this diet before? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it.