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Oct 2018

Paleo diet: What is it and why is it so popular?

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Oct 03, 2018

The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and Palaeolithic diet is based on food items that are very similar to what our early hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. The diet plan consists of food items that dates back to the Palaeolithic era and typically includes fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts.

The diet includes food that could easily be obtained from gathering or hunting and limits everything that became popular with the emerging of farming 10,000 years ago like grains, legumes and dairy products. A lot of studies suggest that this diet can enable a significant amount of weight loss along with major health improvements.

Purpose

The main aim of the diet is to help people adopt a way of eating which is similar to what our early ancestors ate. The reasoning of the diet is that our body is incongruous genetically to the modern diet which grew with the farming practices. This is what is referred to as the discordance hypothesis.

With the introduction of farming, there was a huge change in what people consumed. This rapid change in diet outdid the body’s ability to adopt according to the hypothesis. This incompatibility is believed to be a major factor contributing to diabetes, obesity, heart diseases and more. Also, it is important to get paleo blood test done from time to time to keep a track of your blood sugar and cholesterol while following the diet plan.

Why Choose Paleo Diet?

The Palaeolithic diet is usually adopted by those who wish to maintain a healthy weight or lose some weight. The diet plan works because you are essentially cutting out a lot of processed food items and are eating more anti-inflammatory items like fruits, vegetables and unsaturated fats. People who need help in planning meals can also benefit from this diet.

Paleo Diet: Details

Recommendations for food vary among paleo diets and a few diet plans seem to have strict guidelines as compared to others. It must be noted that this diet wasn’t created as a diet for weight loss. A person loses weight as anytime an entire food group is restricted; the calorie intake clearly tends to be lower. As you shift the focus from sodium and calorie rich food to fruits, lean meats and vegetables, it contributes to considerable amo0ut of weight loss.

In general, the paleo profile follows the below-mentioned guidelines.

What to Consume

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish, especially those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids including salmon, albacore tuna and mackerel
  • Lean meats especially wild game or grass-fed animals
  • Healthy fats and Oils from nuts like olive oil or walnut oil
  • Spices and salt including turmeric, garlic, sea salt, rosemary.

What to avoid

  • Legumes like beans, peanuts, peas and lentils
  • Grains like wheat, barley and oats
  • Dairy products
  • Refined sugar
  • Highly processed foods
  • Salt
  • Sunflower oil, soyabean oil, grapeseed oil
  • High-fructose corn syrup especially fruit juices, soft drinks, candy, pastries and more.

Menu for a Typical Day

Let’s take a look at the food items that you might be consuming when following the Paleo diet on a typical day:

  • Breakfast: cantaloupe and broiled salmon
  • Lunch: salad (comprising of romaine, tomatoes, walnuts carrot, cucumber and lemon juice dressing) and Broiled lean pork loin
  • Dinner: steamed broccoli, Lean beef sirloin tip roast, salad (comprising of mixed greens, onions, almonds, tomatoes, avocado, and lemon juice dressing) and strawberries.
  • Snacks: An orange, celery sticks or carrot sticks.

Drinking water and being physically active is also stressed upon when following this diet. To keep an eye on how much weight you have lost, you can opt for a paleo check-up package.

Results

A few clinical trials have collated the paleo diet to various other eating plans and have suggested that it may offer some benefits. They are:-

  • Improved tolerance to glucose
  • Enhanced weight loss
  • Better management of appetite
  • Improvement in blood pressure
  • Lower triglycerides

However, to truly understand the benefits along with the potential risks of this diet, longer trials with more people is required.

Dietary Concerns

The paleo diet includes consuming food items that are considered healthy. The major difference between this diet and other diet is the omission of legumes, dairy products and whole grains. These items are good sources of vitamins, fiber and calcium other than being easily accessible and more affordable. For some people, following the paleo diet can be way too expensive.

Bottom Line

Other than helping you maintain your weight or lose it, following the paleo diet might also have a lot of other advantageous health benefits. But, there is no clinical evidence about the potential benefits and health risks associated with the diet. A few experts claim that one may be able to achieve similar health benefits by exercising and eating a balanced diet at all times consisting of a lot of vegetables and fruits.