Eating unprocessed, fresh food that reflects the diet of our ancestors from the stone-age refers to a paleo diet. In this article, we will discuss the following things about the paleo diet.
- What is a paleo diet?
- Characteristics of the paleo diet.
- Foods allowed in Paleo diet-Diet plan for Paleo Diet.
- What are the health effects of the ancient diet?
- Is it good to follow a Paleo diet?
- Are there any disadvantages to the Paleolithic diet?
- What other weight loss methods are available?
It involves avoiding processed food, cereals, and dairy products that were not available to our ancestors back in the stone-age. The staple foods of the Paleolithic diet include meat and seafood. The diet also includes fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs, and certain oils. Following a Paleo diet may have some benefits, but there are also some disadvantages. If followers of the diet are not careful, they may have a calcium deficiency.
What is a paleo diet?
The paleolithic diet is also known as “ancient diet”, “troglodyte diet”, “stone age diet” and “hunter’s diet”. It includes eating the food our ancestors used to eat in the Paleolithic era. This era started 2.5 million years ago and ended 10,000 years ago. The diet includes foods that need to be “hunted” or caught, such as meat and seafood, and foods that can be “collected”, such as fruits and vegetables.
Dietitians believe that these foods are better for us because our bodies are genetically adapted to eat this kind of food. They believe that our genetics have not changed much since the Paleolithic period and that the human body’s metabolism cannot keep up with the advancements in agriculture and food manufacturing processes that have taken place. Therefore, according to this diet, we should not eat modern human diets rich in dairy products, processed foods and grains. They believe that adopting the Paleolithic diet can provide beneficial effects for health and happiness.
There is some scientific evidence to support this. A study found that in certain cultures such as Australian Aboriginals-the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease only increases when processed food is introduced into the diet. Recent studies have shown that Paleolithic diets have reduced risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but the authors believe that more work is needed in this area.
Over the years, many people have written articles and published books on Paleolithic diets. The person best known for his publications and Paleo diet work is Dr. Loren Cordain. He owns the trademark of The PaleoDiet® and describes himself as the founder of the ancient movement.
Characteristics of paleo diet
Paleo Diet has seven basic characteristics:
- It has a high protein content. Protein foods such as meat, meat products, and seafood are staple foods.
- It includes foods with a low glycemic index. Non-starch fresh fruits and vegetables constitute the main source of carbohydrates, providing 35-45% of the daily calorie intake. These foods have a low glycemic index. This means that when they are eaten, they are digested by the body and absorbed (absorbed) more slowly, with less impact on blood sugar levels.
Note: Potatoes are starchy carbohydrates, so they should not be consumed in the diet.
- It has high fiber content. The main source of dietary fiber in PaleoDiet® is non-starchy fruits and vegetables, not whole grains, and refined grains.
- It has a high-fat content. The fat should be mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, not saturated fats and Trans-fats.
- The potassium salt is taken in a higher quantity than the sodium salt. Unprocessed fresh foods eaten in food contain a higher proportion of potassium and sodium salts.
- The diet provides a balance of dietary acid and alkali. Eat more alkaline foods in your diets, such as fruits and vegetables, to achieve a balance with acid-producing foods (such as meat and fish).
- It has plenty of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Foods allowed in Paleo diet-Diet plan for Paleo Diet
Paleo diet doesn’t include any kind of processed food. Here is a list of things you can eat while you are on paleo diet:
Meat and eggs
Meat (including seafood) and eggs are an important part of the Paleolithic diet. Loren Cordain said that we should look for low-fat meat sources, while others disagree. His reason is that today’s meat has a much higher saturated fat content, so we should look for low-fat meat and then add fat from other sources.
Vegetables are encouraged, although some versions of the diet do not include green beans and peas because they are legumes. Some versions just say, if it cannot be eaten raw, do not eat it (although this does not mean that it must be eaten raw, only that it should be eaten raw). Potatoes and other starchy tubers (such as cassava) are an area of disagreement. Some paleo-diners would eat sweet potatoes and some other tubers but still eat white potatoes.
Fruits are usually allowed. Some people suggest that people who need to lose weight should limit the consumption of high-sugar fruits, especially dried fruits and juices. Some people say that everyone should limit these.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are generally allowed, although Cordain recommends that those who want to lose weight should limit them to 4 ounces per day. Please note that peanuts are legumes and are not allowed. Some people do not allow cashew nuts because they cannot be eaten raw. Unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are commonly used as substitutes for dairy products.
Although the authors differ in the recommended oils and fats, the general consensus seems to be that the oils from allowed plants are good. You can use olive oil and nut oils including coconut oil (Cordain recommends rapeseed oil but not coconut oil). You can use fish oil supplements.
Water is encouraged, and tea is generally considered good. In addition to this, there are some differences in the coffee and alcohol recommendations. Cordain feels that occasional diet drinks may be okay.
What are the health effects of the ancient diet?
Paleo diet can improve health by reducing the following risks:
- Heart diseases.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Chronic degenerative diseases.
It can also:
- Help in losing weight.
- Slow down or reverse the progression of autoimmune diseases.
- Improve sleeping.
- Reduce acne.
- Improve athletic performance.
- Increase libido.
- Improve mental clarity and prospects.
What is the evidence behind the Paleolithic diet?
In general, the studies and research on Paleolithic diets so far have only involved a very small number of people. Many people did not participate in long-term follow-up or control subjects (a group of subjects very similar to the studied group for comparison).
A study published in 2014 attracted media attention because it did include control subjects. It also involved more people and followed up the participants for some time. The study involved 70 women who experienced menopause. The women were divided into two groups: one group followed a low-fat Nordic diet, a group that did not exclude any food (control group), and one group followed a Paleolithic diet. These groups were kept under observation for two years.
Although those who followed the Paleolithic diet lost weight at six months, both groups had the same weight after two years. There were differences in triglyceride levels between the two groups after two years. (Triglycerides are a type of fat that is thought to be related to heart disease). Women in the Paleolithic diet had better triglyceride levels within two years. However, the women in the control group still had triglyceride levels considered safe.
Is it good to follow a Paleo diet?
Making fresh unprocessed food is the basis of what you eat (as in the Paleolithic diet), which means you will stay away from processed food. Processed foods are prepared using certain manufacturing processes. For example, by adding preservatives or artificial flavors. Processed foods are often high in calories and high in salt. We do know that too much salt in the diet increases the risk of high blood pressure, which itself can cause heart disease and stroke.
In addition, once you have mastered the basic concepts, the Paleolithic diet is relatively easy to follow. It does not involve counting calories, weighing food, etc.
Are there any disadvantages to the Paleolithic diet?
As mentioned above, the Paleolithic diet currently lacks abundant research and scientific evidence to support them. The current recommendation of the British Ministry of Health is that people should not eat more than 70 grams of red or processed meat a day due to the increased risk of bowel cancer. Critics of the Paleo diet would say that the high meat content of this diet violates this recommendation.
The fact that the diet does not allow the consumption of dairy products has also been criticized by some nutrition experts, including the British Dietetic Association. Eliminating key food groups such as dairy products from the diet increases the likelihood of nutritional deficiencies. One of the main problems with the Paleolithic diet was that it could cause calcium deficiency due to the exclusion of dairy products. Healthy teeth and bones require calcium, and it also involves blood clotting and muscle contraction.
There is also evidence that whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Paleolithic diet did not include cereals, so some nutrition experts expressed concern. Finally, because Paleo diets involved eating meat, it is expensive.