There is a lot of discussion about the Paleo diet in many diet and weight loss forums these days. I’m sure even you would have read about it in magazines and online websites.
With so much buzz about this diet, we thought it is important we explain this concept in more detail. By the way, this diet is also known by several other names like Primal, Caveman, Paleolithic, Stone Age and Hunter-Gatherer diet.
In this article we will take a look at the basics of this diet and also list the pros and cons of a Paleo diet.
The idea of this primal diet is very simple. It encourages people to eat the way our ancestors did. It seems eating this stone age diet will help you to become leaner, stronger, fitter and healthier.
The proponents of Paleo also say that we should rethink about certain foods that we consume today. That’s why need to critically examine both, the pros and cons of a Paleo diet.
Certainly there are benefits of this caveman diet like fat loss, better energy, improved fitness, clearer skin, cleanse and detox body etc. and that is why we need to know more about this diet.
Basics of Paleo Diet
The founder of Paleolithic diet Loren Cordain says that humans have not evolved at the same pace as the modern day foods and that’s why we see health problems like cellular inflammation and chronic diseases.
According to him the best way to overcome modern day ailments is by following a caveman diet. This means eating foods as close to natural state as possible and totally avoiding processed foods.
For a better understanding of this diet we need to examine the evolution of humans.
According to historical information available, almost 60 million years back humans truly eat like primitives and survived just on fruits, vegetables and some insects.
Over the years humans have evolved. Further, the historical information reveals that 2.5 million years back, humans moved to hunter gatherer diet by using fire and some tools.
It seems the real change came some 10,000 years back when the concept of agriculture was started by human beings
So essentially, the Paleo diet involves eating lean grass feed meat, wild seafood, honey, lean proteins, fruits & vegetables, raw nuts & seeds and healthy fats like coconut oil, butter, avocado etc.
In addition, the paleo diet recommends us to do daily purposeful activities like a caveman so that your body gets enough physical exercise.
With this diet you will have to avoid eating grains, processes foods, processed oils, legumes, salt, chips, crackers, cookies, cakes, items containing salt and even dairy products.
Before we draw any conclusions about this diet it is important that we check some of the pros and cons of a Paleo Diet.
The Paleolithic diet is rich in fiber, proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, antioxidants, low glycemic index carbohydrates and mono saturated fats. This type of diet will keep you fuller for longer period and also assist in digestion. This means you will be able to lose weight much faster than other diets.
Since the diet does not allow sugar, salt and diary products, there are several health benefits like quick weight loss, lower risk of blood pressure and diabetes.
Since the diet does not contain items that one can overindulge like chocolate brownie, cheese pizza, fried chicken etc. therefore you will feel more energetic and the chances of getting obese is naturally reduced.
Energy levels improve with this diet because fruits, vegetables and lean meats are easy to digest and therefore energy saved is energy gained.
It is much easy to eat this food because there is no counting of calories or making a guess of the portion size. Since the diet is low on fats, people can consume liberal amount of food.
This diet depends on lean meat and this is something that is not easily available because modern day animals are not grass fed. Modern day animals are given a lot of food to eat and they do not move around a lot. And this leads to animals putting on a lot of weight. The meat from such animals is surely going to be fatty.
Several studies have indicated that it may not be easy for people to give up sugar and salt. Therefore this is not an easy diet to follow for everyone.
This diet lacks some of the micronutrients that are provided by diary products. Therefore people may not get sufficient calcium and vitamin D when they follow this diet. This in turn will result in people having brittle bones. Most of the websites that are providing the pros and cons of a Paleo diet, miss out this particular point.
Cost of grass-fed chicken, organic eggs, organic fruits and vegetables can be almost double the price of the normal variety. Therefore this diet may not suit everyone’s pocket and may be expensive for the common man.
Athletes and sports persons burn a lot of energy. They also need strong muscles and bones. The paleolithic diet may not be able to meet all the nutritional requirements of such people.
The only source of carbohydrates in the Paleo diet are the starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava root, manioc, yams and others. These root vegetables may not be able to meet the carbohydrate requirements for many people including athletes and sports persons.
Humans had a limited lifespan during the caveman days when compared to lifespan of modern day human beings. This is because modern day diet is not nutrition deficient, thanks to dietary supplements and fortified foods.
Summary – Pros And Cons Of A Paleo Diet
Paleo diet surely has some great benefits. However there are certain things it lacks. Therefore it is better to combine this diet with some modern day foods. The new combination would be a much more healthy diet.
The lean meat, wild seafood, fruits, vegetables, raw seeds and raw nuts can be combined with low fat diary products so that the human body gets calcium and vitamin D also.
The cavemen exercises can be supplemented with some gym exercises so that you can get a fit, lean and mean body.