So my sister informed me over the weekend that she and her fiancé are now on a paleo diet. And of course, because I am a psycho nutrition fanatic, I had to do some research. After researching for a good four hours, I have still had no conclusion as to if this diet is worth practicing. There are so many pros, as well as an equal amount of cons; it is hard to decide whether it is healthy.
For those that do not know, the Paleo diet is based on what cavemen ate thousands of years ago. This means you can eat what hunter and gathers ate, like fruits, meat, vegetables, seafood, and nuts. This eliminates everything that comes from a box, package or any modern food really. Since cavemen did not have crops or livestock, it is important to eat grass-fed meat and organic crops.
There are many pros that come along with this diet, such as avoiding processed foods. There are many unhealthy ingredients that are added to packaged foods, such as extra salt, sugar, calories and other unnecessary ingredients. This diet is rich in many nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, omega 3’s, etc. Since you will be consuming large amounts of vegetables, fruits, and meats, you will be consuming necessary nutrients. However, it is important to consume a variety of produce to ensure you consume all nutrients. It is gluten free and you will not have to worry about over indulging in high-calorie foods like desserts.
The downsides don’t necessarily out way the pros; however, it is important to acknowledge all aspects of a diet. I think the most important drawback is the fact that you will be eliminating certain food groups, like carbohydrates, legumes, and dairy. When you eliminate a food group, it is always hard to stay on track, because you will crave it. More importantly, when you introduce the food group back into your system, your body may not know how to react to it. It can cause digestive issues and your body may store it as fat. You will also be eliminating fortified foods. Foods are fortified because the nation was low in a certain nutrient. Eliminating fortified foods means you will be removing the nutrient, like b vitamins and iodine. This diet is focused on meat. Meat is not as lean as it once was and it may be hard to find grass fed meat at restaurants or at certain grocery stores.
An important factor to acknowledge is that our bodies have developed since ancient times. We have become accustomed to grains, fortified foods, and other modern foods. We have also out lived their average lifespan. It is an interesting idea and a great concept. I love the fact that it is all natural.
What are your ideas on this diet? How has it worked for you?