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What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet, often referred to as the Cave Man Diet is designed to reproduce only food that our distant ancestors would have had access to. For example, YES: Lean meat, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds. NO: Dairy, Grain, Processed Food, Sugar, Legumes, Starches(Sweet Potatoes allowed). The diet at its core is high protein, high fat, and lower carbohydrate.
The key benefit and aim of the Paleo diet is continued weight-loss and muscle growth. Going from a calorie heavy diet with processed food and carbohydrates, to an extremely clean diet with lots of fresh produce it would make sense for calorie intake to decrease and for the body to settle back into normal hunger patterns.
The high protein content when absorbed in conjunction with an active lifestyle will help with muscle building and recovery. Lots of vegetables in the diet add to fibre content which will aid the digestive process. With the lack of grains and gluten in the diet it is more than likely a Paleo diet would help to control bloating often related to gluten sensitivity.
Additionally the omission of processed sugars with minimal exposure to fructose will help to even out blood sugar levels, promote energy throughout the day and minimize cravings.
A Paleo Diet would be well suited to those who find themselves to be Gluten and/or Dairy intolerant and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people are already unwittingly following something that could be easily classified as Paleo. However for the rest of us more digestively resilient folk the Paleo Diet could be worth the cash, for a while at least. After all, The Paleo Diet is just that, a diet, and shouldn’t be considered as a full and long term lifestyle choice.
Admittedly however, I found the Paleo diet to be relatively gratifying, it ticks all of the major macro and micro nutrient boxes and if followed closely would certainly result in weight loss and muscle growth. However in saying that, the Paleo Diet is still a restrictive diet that omits certain food groups that can form a balanced nutritional plan. When omitting things such as Dairy, Legumes, and Grains not only do you restrict your diet which can be challenging mentally but you also restrict your intake of nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, fibre and many others.
Personally I love being able to indulge in a rich slice of handcrafted cheddar, or some sourdough topped with homemade baked beans for breakfast. Sure, while I could live without them restrictive diets in the past haven’t been enjoyable for me. I don’t understand why everyone has to make it so hard with all the labels and restrictions. In the end (and forgive me for the wishy washy-ness), we only have one life to live so why not focus on the things in life that do bring you great enjoyment, for me that’s a positive, healthy, active lifestyle with balanced nutrition that allows the odd indulgement along with suiting my present tastes and needs at the time
PS. This is part of a series of posts about popular trends in the health industry. Read more and subscribe here: Health Trends – Translation Please?