The Paleo diet or caveman diet is the latest and most popular diet craze to hit North America. It is based on the premise that although human lifestyle has changed over the last 40,000 years our genetic make-up is unchanged; therefore, our dietary needs are the same as those of our early ancestors.
Loren Cordain M.D., compiled hundreds of studies regarding the eating habits of paleolithic man and found the early hunter-gatherers ate no dairy, cereal grains, refined sugar or bad fats. They ate a diet of lean meats, non-starchy wild vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. These studies also show this population did not suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes or other chronic disease.
Adopting the Paleo Diet can be quite an undertaking in our carb-addicted society. We have been sold on a diet rich in cereal grains, bad fat, sugar and salt, especially in combination as processed foods, which we love because the human palate loves the combination of fat, sugar and salt. It is an addictive combination that leaves us hungry for more! Problem is, processed foods are nutritionally devoid, stripped of vitamins and minerals and easily metabolized into fat. These foods, according to Dr. Cordain, are like diesel poured into a gas burning engine. They clog our arteries, make us fat, cause inflammation, disease and even death.
Right off the hop, it is easy to see that eating Paleo has benefits! By eliminating processed foods, grains, dairy, bad fats and refined sugar you reduce caloric intake, which in turn promotes weight loss. Paleo is a diet high in lean protein, good fats, fruits and vegetables which many of us do not get enough of. When we consume real food, we get more of the nutrients our bodies need to fuel our systems and prevent disease. Most people will find they lose weight, feel better and become more energetic while following this diet. The lack of energy often felt by many in mid-afternoon and following dinner magically disappears as blood sugar stabilizes.
I do, however, have some concerns regarding the way the Paleo lifestyle can be interpreted and implemented which I will discuss in an upcoming post.
Have you tried eating Paleo? Tell me about your experiences!