What is a Paleo Diet?
It doesn’t matter if your main goal is to get rid of unnecessary kilos or to build an athletic body, you probably already know that you can succeed in it only sticking to a diet. If you are more or less familiar with the issue of healthy eating and health care, then you have probably heard about the Paleo diet, or at least this term sounds familiar to you.
The name of the Paleo diet itself is a shortened form of the Paleolithic diet. The approach of the diet is an attempt to come back to our origins and create a model of ration based on those foods that were consumed by the cavemen in the ancient times.
It is doubtless that the development of modern technologies has caused a lot of changes in the process of making and cooking different dishes in comparison to what it was like in the life time of our ancestors. They needed to hunt in order to have something to eat for dinner, whereas all we need to do is to go to the nearest supermarket where the shelves are full of semi-cooked and finished products. The problem is, because of all these changes our nutrition has worsened and it’s starting to consist of less and less of products that don’t contain any nutritional supplements. The Paleo diet is about choosing the food of exclusively natural origin.
Does Science Approve Of The Paleo Diet?
Scientists don’t fully agree on the advantages and disadvantages of the Paleolithic diet. In fact, the diet has a certain amount of non-believers and anti-fans among scientific figures.
There is an Association included the diet into their Top five Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in the year 2015 list. The representatives of the association called the paleo diet as time consuming, isolated diet and unbalanced which could easily be a sure way to get nutritional deficiencies, which can harm your relationship with food and health.
David Katz and Stephanie Meller, in their Annual Review of Public Health, wrote that, as they believe, the Paleo diet has partial scientific justification on the anthropological basis, but there exist comparatively little evidence proving its benefits for human health in comparison with other modern diets.
Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes in their book ‘‘The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging’’, 2002, stated that neither convincing evidence nor scientific logic confirm the statement that following the Paleolithic diet guarantees long-term use.
The U.S. News and World Report, with the participation of a group of experts, estimated the diet on the basis of a row of factors such as the state of health, the loss of weight, and the simplicity of the diet itself. According to their Best Diets Overall list, in 2013 and 2014 the Paleo diet, among other different diets, took the last place together with the Dukan Diet.
Marlene Zuk, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Minnesota, USA, the author of the book ‘‘Paleofantasy’’, said that, because of the fact that different genes change with different speed, there is no reason to think that modern people are genetically identical to the people who lived in the ancient times. M. Zuk explains, ‘‘Some of the genes that we had in the ancient times are those genes that we got from the creatures whose habitat was the ocean. However, we’re not offered to eat the way marine animals eat’’.
Nevertheless, followers of the Paleo diet claim that the reason why we need to follow the diet is that the human organism, especially the digestive system, adapt to this particular food. It is stated that the consuming of dairy and other products, that hadn’t been available before agriculture and farming appeared, challenges both the evolution and human organism. Loren Cordain, an American scientist, a specialist in the fields of nutrition, and the founder of the Paleo diet, explains, ‘‘The human gene was formed in the Paleolithic era and earlier – consequently, the products that appeared later contradict the genetic human structure and the true system of nutrition. As a result, consuming of these food products lead to constant health troubles’’.
Why Should You Give Your Vote For the Diet?
At the beginning of following the Paleo diet your level of sugar in blood will go down, Many people suffer from constant changes of the sugar level in blood, hence the use of the diet in this case is obvious. The more stable your sugar level is, the less often you feel strong hunger, constant tiresome, and the risk for diabetes will for sure be lower.
Considering the fact that the Paleo diet is based on the products containing unsaturated fats (seeds, nuts), and consuming of saturated fats will be reduced due to avoiding of fat meats and dairy products, the level of cholesterol in your organism will be lowered, which will reduce the danger of heart diseases.
Sticking to the Paleo diet, you will not have to search for any auxiliary sources of protein needed to build muscle and lower weight, since your meals will contain low-fat meat. In addition, the combination of lean meat with garden fruit and vegetables will allow you to reduce on the amount of consumed calories, which is incredibly helpful to lower your body weight.
If your main target is to build muscle, which implies consuming of considerable amounts of calories, you can add more seeds and nuts to your nutrition. In this case you will consume food rich for unsaturated fats and get the satisfactory amount of calories at the same time.
Is There Anything Wrong with the Paleo Diet?
To be honest, this diet implies having plenty of money to afford it. Consuming high-quality food rich for unsaturated fats might cost you an arm and a leg. We are not saying that all the products needed for the diet will cost you a whole fortune, however, having chosen this way of eating, be prepared to spend more money on your nutrition than you might be used to.
A serious problem that you might face is the lack of carbohydrates. Those carbs that your body takes from fruit and vegetables might not be enough for you. As a result, you will feel uncomfortably exhausted after doing your sports activities. Nevertheless, this problem has a solution. You will need to enrich your eating with fruit and vegetables that contain the biggest amounts of carbs. Cherries, pineapples, bananas are perfect for that purpose. Having eaten one big high-carb product, you’ll get no more than 100 calories. If you struggle to stop having night cravings, this diet will definitely help you. Additionally, some sportsmen can add cereals and grains useful for human health, for example, oat porridge or brown rice. They will provide your body with plenty of carbohydrates, which will serve as a source of energy. Unfortunately, this will not be the original Paleo diet anymore.
Another, more specific problem connected with following the Paleo diet is a disadvantage for vegetarians. The source of protein for vegetarians is mainly soy, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and other legumes, but consuming of them is forbidden according to the Paleolithic diet. This is why vegetarians need to find some other sources of protein. Therefore, those vegetarians who would like to stick to the diet can use protein powder to provide their body with the required amount of protein in addition to the food that is not limited. Although it is not implied by the original version of the Paleo diet, since consuming of eggs and dairy products is not allowed.
What Can Studies Say About the Diet?
Some people may experience short-term weight loss through reducing on consuming carbs and increasing of consumed calories contained in some products of animal origin. However, later on it might seriously affect human health. A row of scientific studies proves this fact.
Due to the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the USA it was discovered that there is a connection between a diet rich for products of animal origin and mortality caused by cardiovascular diseases. A diet containing mainly plant sources of protein didn’t reveal such a strong connection with mortality caused by cardiovascular diseases.
A study held in Sweden gathered data about more than 40 thousand women of 30-49 years old. Scientists were watching them for approximately 15 years. Those women who sticked to a diet with low level of carbs and high level of animal fat, depending on the amounts of consumed fat, appeared to have a higher probability of cardiovascular diseases and a coronary heart disease.
One of the most historically fundamental studies of weight showed that consuming of meet encourages gathering of fat in the body. That means that a person who eats mainly meat products will have more weight and more fat deposits than the one who prefers to consume fats of plant origin, if both of them consume the same amount of calories per day. This makes it clear that, in order to reach the desirable results in losing weight, you should eat less products of animal origin.
Watch What You Eat
We would like to give you a brief idea of what you can and cannot eat, according to the Paleo diet. Let’s start with the list of preferable products:
- meat (organic meat of the animals having lived in the natural conditions: beef, lamb, fowl);
- eggs (preferably those received from a bird living in the natural conditions);
- nuts and seeds;
- fruit and berries;
- oils for making sauces (e.g. olive oil);
- oils for making food (e.g. coconut oil, avocado oil);
- spices, but with no salt;
- beverages: mostly water; green tea, herbal teas with no sugar, but not fruit teas.
List of products that you should avoid:
- grain crops;
- dairy products;
- salt, vinegar;
- black tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, juices;
- finished and semi-finished products;
- dried fruits;
- sunflower oil, vegetable oil, margarine.
We agree that the diet seems to be not so easy and requires plenty of alertness and accuracy to make sure you’re not going to consume a product forbidden by this diet. However, if it seems interesting to you, give it a try, and if it becomes just a comfortable way of nutrition now, later on, it might become your lifestyle.