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What is Paleo Diet?

Dt Sheetal chhabria

Dt Sheetal chhabria

  Vasanth nagar, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     

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Overview

Recently, there has been an interesting diet regime that has been tried by a lot of people who aim to have a fit and healthy body. This form of diet has been referred to as the Paleo diet, or other common names such as Paleolithic diet, Stone age diet, caveman diet or the hunter-gatherer diet. This form of diet has been said to improve a person’s overall health as it maintains a balanced nutrition.

What is a Paleo Diet?

Simply put, this form of diet involves consuming food that was predominantly eaten by the humans during the Paleolithic Era.  This era is also known as the Old Stone Age, and occurred around 3.3 million years ago. This is the era when man developed tools and began hunting for food.

The food involved in this era wasn’t anything uncommon. In fact, a lot of the food involved in the modern times was also a part of the Paleolithic era. The Paleo diet is basically having food that was consumed by cavemen millions of years ago.

This diet involves ingesting a lot of proteins such as lean meats and fish as well as other forms of vitamins and nutrients like fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds. This kind of food is naturally occuring, and the paleolithic men used to hunt and gather to obtain it.

The paleolithic diet does not include food that was developed during the time farming emerged. Therefore you will not find different dairy products, grains or legumes in the Paleo Diet. Basically this is the food eaten by humans more than 10,000 years ago.

Why Choose the Paleo Diet?

The main reason why people opt this diet is to eat exactly how the cavemen ate. There is a  theory that suggests that the human body is genetically not wired to consume items involved in the modern diet; basically food that came about due to the emergence of farming. This theory is known as the discordance hypothesis.

When farming came about, the food we ate started adding in staples such as dairy, grains and legumes. This change in the diet came about very late, and the hypothesis suggests that this addition has contributed to slowing down the body’s ability to adapt. It is also believed that this genetic mismatch is why humans have developed disorders such as obesity, diabetes and several heart diseases.

Concerns regarding the Hypothesis

A lot of researchers in the scientific community argue that the discordance hypothesis oversimplifies how humans adapted to dietary changes. 

Scientists say that the evolution of nutritional needs isn;t just based on the emergence of farming, but also other factors such as geography, climate, food availability, etc.

There is archaeological research that states that humans have consumed grains long before farming was introduced by mankind. 

There is research in the field of genetics that there have been notable genetic changes that took  place even after the Paleolithic Era. One of them being how there is an increase in the number of genes pertaining to breaking down dietary starches and similar other changes.

When do you opt for a Paleo Diet?

There are many reasons why people choose to opt for paleo diets. You can begin opting for a paleo diet when you hope to change your food habits and how you take in your nutrition.

This could be because you want  to:

  • Lose weight: Paleo diet has a lot of proteins, thus making it an ideal diet to switch to if you want to lose unwanted body fat

  • Plan your meals: It is helpful when it comes to planning meals and helping you have a balanced nutrition.

What does the Paleo Diet Include?

Paleo diets may vary from one nutritionist to another, but all in all, it contains a set of specific food items. These include Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat (especially that of herbivores or carnivores), Fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and vegetable oil such as olive or walnut oil.

There are some food items that should not be consumed if you want to follow a paleo diet. These include grains such as wheat, barley or oats; lentils, dairy products, beans, peanuts, peas, refined sugar, salt, or processed food.

Paleo diet involves following a strict diet regime. Your menu for the day might be something as mentioned below.

For breakfast, you would be recommended something like a  broiled salmon and a cantaloupe. Later for lunch you’d be suggested a lean meat like broiled pork along with a vegetable salad that could include carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, walnuts, romaine and maybe some lemon juice sprinkled over it. The dinner includes another lean meat, typically a beef sirloin tip roast along with steamed broccoli and vegetable salad. If you are in a mood to end your diet with dessert, then have some strawberries.

If you want to snack in between then have some carrot or celery sticks or some orange.

For the diet to be effective, you must not just eat as said, but also be physically active during the day and also perform some exercises.

Changes after Implementing Paleo Diet

There have been many randomized clinical trials that compared the Paleo diet with other common diet regimes like the Mediterranean Diet or the Diabetes Diet. During these trials it was observed that the Paleo diet was effective in bringing about some changes in the body. In fact it had some more benefits. These benefits included

  • Your body lost more weight while implementing the Paleo diet over other eating plans

  • There was an improvement in how the body absorbed glucose.

  • The body blood pressure improved

  • There was a decrease in the amount of triglycerides

  • There was an improvement in the appetite. The body could manage a proper, healthy appetite.

Disadvantages of a Paleo Diet

A paleo diet has various elements that is ideal for a healthy diet. But at the same time it doesn;t have various other elements. 

For instance it lacks whole grains and legumes, which are usually present in most other diets. These items are a rich source of vitamins, fibres and other essential nutrients. The paleo diet also does not include dairy products which provide protein and calcium to the body. Calcium is important for the development of bones.

Another major concern regarding this diet is the availability and affordability of the food items. It is comparatively easier to afford whole grains and legumes than animals hunted for food, or grass-fed animals. So, the Paleo Diet may be a little more expensive than other diet regimes.

Conclusion

Paleo Diet is ideal if you are looking to lose weight or maintain a fit and healthy body.  It also has its own set of health benefits. However, it hasn’t been studied extensively and there is no proper evidence on the exact benefits as well as the risk involved in implementing it.

Besides, the benefits that you achieve by consuming Paleo Food can also be achieved if you practise consuming a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables as well as exercise.

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Tags:  Fitness Diet,Healthy Diet,balanced diet,diet, nutrition, proteins, healthy food, caveman diet, balanced nutrition

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