Eat Like a Caveman: The Paleo Diet
*Disclaimer* This article is not meant to advocate or dismiss any particular type of dieting or lifestyle. It is merely an overview with observations and explanations in an attempt to provide a brief education on this type of diet.
The Paleo Diet, (aka The Paleolithic Diet, Caveman Diet, Stone-Age Diet, hunter-gatherer diet) has its origins from a book by Gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin in 1975. It was developed further by Stanley Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner and then popularized by Loren Cordain in 2002. In 2013 is was Google’s most search for weight loss method.
The diet advises eating only foods presumed to be available to Paleolithic Humans. Though this is highly debated and very difficult to prove, since the Paleolithic era began 2.6 million years ago and ended 12,000 years ago. That’s a lot of time to cover, and the evolution of humans from the beginning and end of this period is extraordinary. In short, humans adapted and so did their methods of foraging for food.
The premise of this diet is the avoidance if processed foods, dairy, and almost all grains, and also no added salt or sugar. The bulk of the diet consists of eating vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, eggs, and lean meats and seafood.
This approach is consistent with most low carb or high protein diets. The emphasis on higher protein and vegetables helps with satiety and can make you feel less hungry. Some studies have shown however that some adherers to the diet develop nutritional deficiencies like vitamin D and calcium. It is therefore recommended to supplement with these vitamins and minerals to prevent an imbalance.
An entire lifestyle has emerged from this particular diet. It has been embraced and endorsed by athletes, celebrities, and conspiracy theorists alike. Many people have experienced great results and undergone very successful body transformations by “going Paleo”. Like I explained in the disclaimer, this is not an argument for or against the diet. It is merely scratching the surface.
Most diets, at least the non-dangerous ones, when followed consistently and over a long period of time have a great track record of producing great results. If you feel that the Paleo lifestyle is one that you can follow consistently and long term, by all means, give it a try. The only thing I recommend is monitoring any nutritional deficiencies or major changes in performance and addressing them. Consult your doctor and get regular bloodwork done.
Any diet that completely restricts one thing or another should be gradually introduced. Listen to your body and see how it reacts before stopping something cold turkey. This will help with adherence as well as tolerance, and will change the way your body reacts to the change.
If you would like information on this or any other diet or a more in-depth look at a particular diet, send an email to [email protected].
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