The paleo diet is based on foods that humans in the past could obtain by means of hunting and gathering. This diet is also called the Paleolithic diet, hunter-gatherer diet, caveman diet, and Stone Age diet. So what is the purpose of returning our prehistoric way of eating? What foods are you allowed to eat and not allowed to eat?
Aside from just returning to a way of eating that is similar to what our early ancestors ate, many believe that this diet is more in harmony to what our body really needs. Farming has considerably changed what people eat and have added other new staples into the human diet which many reason is genetically mismatched to the human body. Because of the discordance, it is believed that the modern diet has been a contributing factor for obesity, diabetes, etc.
Many studies say that the Paleo diet can help improve your health by eliminating processed and high-fat foods that either have too many calories or does not give us any nutritional value. The point of this diet is to eat more fruits and vegetables which have more nutritional value and fills you up faster. Some research also suggests that this diet could help improve your health and limit certain health risks. These benefits may include:
- More weight loss
- Better appetite control
- Improved glucose tolerance
- Blood Pressure Control
So for this diet, you will prioritize eating more natural foods and fats. Although the diet varies, with some taking on a more stricter approach than others, but in general the basic guideline is:
- Nuts & Seeds
- Oils (from fruits & nuts)
- Vegetables (non-starchy)
- Fish (Esp. fish that are high in Omega 3)
- Lean Meats (Preferably Grass-fed/Free-Range/Game/Organic)
Any foods that Paleolithic humans were not able to obtain easily should not be consumes. This includes processed foods that contain butter and sugar. The following is a basic guideline of what to avoid:
- Refined Sugar
- Dairy Products
- Highly Processed Foods
- Sugary Drinks & Fruit Juices
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
- Starchy Vegetables (ex. Potatoes)
- Grains (wheat, rye, rice, oats, barley)
- Sweets (all forms of candy, honey, & sugar)
- Processed/cured meats (bacon, hotdogs, deli meats)
The Paleo diet may help you maintain your weight or lose weight. It could also provide other health benefits. However, at the moment there are no long term studies regarding the benefits or potential risks of taking on this diet. You may achieve the same benefits by just eating a balanced meal and exercising. However, if you would like to try out this diet, do some more research and talk to your medical healthcare provider to see if this diet is good for you.