The Paleo Diet is a low sugar, low sodium and high protein diet that aims to provide optimum health by following the diet of our ancestors who lived in the Paleolithic era. While the diet’s main priority is health, it is also a great weight loss diet. Those who developed this diet believed that the cavemen who lived in the Stone Age or Paleolithic era had a very healthy diet and is well suited to mankind of today.
What types of foods can be eaten on the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet also known by these terms: caveman diet, stone age diet, paleolithic diet, or hunter-gatherer diet is a popular diet of today which consists of eating foods that a caveman would eat, hence the reason it is called the Paleo Diet (from the Paleolithic Period when cavemen lived). Obviously, cavemen did not eat processed meat, dairy, grains, oils, and sugars (possibly chocolate), these are not recommended for the Paleo Diet. The diet includes non-processed meat, fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds– that is the cornerstone of the Paleo Diet.
Long past the Paleolithic era, we have evolved into wanting foods that are fast and convenient and that have a longer shelf life all to make our lives easier. To attain this convenience, preservatives and additives started to be used in the many foods we buy and eat. Because these are chemical concoctions and human made, they are no longer natural and not necessarily good for us. Even if they are natural, overeating and convenience has made much of our food harmful to our health.
For these reasons, the Paleo Diet was developed to spare us from substances that are not healthy and to provide us with foods that contain what our bodies need. The cavemen lived healthy lives without convenient and fast foods, and so the Paleo Diet imitates their diet. With the intake of more natural food, cavemen were able to perform daily tasks that require much energy and labor. They had to walk for miles to hunt and forage for all their food sources, and their diet allowed them to do this with no adverse effects because of the energy they attained from a healthy diet.
The Paleo Diet is a high protein diet providing one with enough energy to perform labor intensive tasks. It also includes lots of vegetables and fruit to provide the body with vitamins and nutrients. These two food groups are absolutely healthy and consumption of either has minimal limits. There is no need to take extra vitamin supplements because the diet will provide the body with enough vitamins.
5 Mistakes When Taking The Paleo Diet
While the Paleo Diet is a great diet, there are some people who do not get the results that they expect. Here are some of the reasons why these people fail on the diet.
Taking Plenty of Nuts:
Although, nuts provide a lot of calories (energy) and fiber, eating too many can cause digestive problems, or make worse any existing problems of this nature. They should be eaten in moderation.
Taking Too Little Salt:
Excess salt is a problem, but having too little salt can also be a big problem. It is common for people to have low blood pressure when they are on the Paleo Diet and thus they should consider adding a little more salt in their diet.
Not Taking Enough Carbohydrates:
Many people on the Paleo Diet tend to avoid taking carbohydrates as they feel that they do not need them. Many of these people end up taking in very little carbohydrates. This results in reduced energy reserves in their bodies, which can be detrimental to their health.
Eating Processed Foods:
The Paleo Diet recommends that one eat natural foods; however, some people eat processed foods such as nut milks and nut flours and these foods are hyper-palatable, thus keeping the dieter wanting more. They also contain high levels of calories which are not good for the dieter especially when trying to lose weight. The best choice is to avoid these foods.
Exercises are very important for a healthy lifestyle. A simple exercise such as daily walking is enough to help dieters live a healthier and fulfilling life.
Paleo Diet – Yes or No?
The Paleo Diet has many pros and cons, here are a few.
- Because the Paleo Diet eliminates simple sugars that cause the spikes in blood sugar levels believed to play a role in the development of type II Diabetes, it could reduce the risk of developing the condition.
- Intake of saturated fat should be lessened by eliminating butter, cheese and other dairy products. Farm-raised meats, such as beef and pork are sources of dietary saturated fat and should be avoided. Fish and game meats are generally leaner.
- It is believed that the modern diet plays a role in all kinds of chronic, seemingly age-related diseases. Eating natural, whole foods, as opposed to processed foods, could reduce your risk of these modern-day diseases.
- People with food allergies may find it difficult, if not impossible to follow the diet.
- Shell-fish is one of the major components of the eating plan. So people with shell-fish allergies have fewer choices when planning what to eat.
- There is an added expense that accompanies this kind of eating plan. Fresh seafood is expensive. Canned or frozen seafood would not be allowed if someone was “truly” following the Paleo Diet.
- The cost of buying game meat, if the dieter does not hunt and deal with food preservation, could be a problem. 55-65% of the calories in the eating plan are to be derived from meat or fish.
- Mushrooms and other plant foods that are allowed on the diet can also be expensive.
- Opponents of the Paleo Diet often mention this fact: If more than half of your calories are derived from animal foods, you may not get enough fiber to have healthy digestion and low cholesterol levels. Most dietary fiber comes from plant-based foods.
All of this can be summed up through one popular phrase: “meats, vegetables, nuts, and seeds; some fruits, no sugar”. In other words, eat mostly vegetables, natural meats, nuts in moderation, and seeds as well as 2 fruits a day, and strictly no refined/processed sugars.