A paleo diet is a diet which is strictly based on foods humans might have eaten during the Paleolithic Era. The Paleolithic Era dates from around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. This article presents a modern Paleo Diet Guide, which is more apt with our modern lifestyle.
A modern paleo diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts & seeds. These are the foods that in the paleolithic era, people could get by hunting and gathering. It doesn’t include foods that became common when small-scale farming began about 10,000 years ago. These foods include grains, legumes & dairy products. Dairy is also not included as domestication of animals didn’t exist back then.
Other names for this diet are Paleolithic diet, Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet & cave man diet.
What is the purpose of Paleo Diet?
The basic purpose of this diet is to eat foods likely eaten by early humans. This diet is based on the idea that our genes are not well adjusted for modern diets that grew out of farming & heavy food processing.
Farming made foods such as grains & legumes more common & easily available. And it introduced dairy & we are highly dependent on dairy too. Also, farming changed the diets of animals that people eat. The paleo diet idea is that these dietary changes outpaced the human body’s ability to change, or adapt. This mismatch is believed to be the reason for lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
You might opt for a paleo diet if you want to:
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce heart disease, or cardiovascular risk factors
Details of a paleo diet
Since it is practically not feasible to mimic the exact diet that our Stone Age ancestors ate, we can reasonably take some key foods & adapt the diet to our modern lifestyle. Though the recommendations may vary among paleo diets promoted in books and online, but in general, this diet follows these rules:
What to eat on Paleo diet Guide?
There’s a variety of whole, unprocessed foods you may eat on this diet. This includes:
- Eggs: free-range, pastured,
- Lean meats, especially of grass-fed animals
- Fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel & albacore tuna
- Oils from fruits and nuts, such as extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
- Vegetables: broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
- Fruits: apples, bananas(avoid ripe bananas), oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries.
- Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc.
- Nuts & seeds: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds & more.
- Salt and spices: sea salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc.
What to avoid on Paleo diet Guide?
- All grains ( breads, pastas, cereal)
- Dairy products
- Refined & added sugar (soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, cake, ice cream)
- Added salt
- Legumes, such as beans, lentils, peanuts
- Starchy vegetables, such as corn, jicama, peas & white potatoes
- Highly processed foods, like chips or cookies
- Some vegetable oils (soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil)
In general, a Paleo diet has many features of mostly recommended healthy diets. This includes the emphasis on fruits, vegetables, lean meats & the elimination of processed foods.
However, the research on this diet is still limited in comparison with studies of balanced diets with more varied food groups.
In general, research studies so far suggest that this diet might help manage:
- Blood pressure
- Weight loss
One recent large study found that the paleo diet is linked to decrease the three markers of disease(Inflammation, Blood lipid profiles & Blood sugar). The lower risk could have possibly come from strictly avoiding highly processed foods, such as chips and candy, & eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
Doubts on Paleo Diet
Though paleo diet has gained popularity & recent research is finding it positive, but this diet is still unacceptable to some people.
Many people doubt the idea that human body still didn’t adapt to foods that came with farming. Some people are also concerned about foods that this diet cuts out totally.
Concerns about nutrition
The main concern about paleo diets is cutting out whole grains & legumes. These foods are considered good sources of fiber, vitamins, protein & other nutrients. Low-fat dairy products are also good sources of protein, calcium, vitamins & other nutrients. The potential risk of eating a paleo diet is that you may not get all the required nutrients.
Whole grains, legumes & dairy are also quite affordable & easily available than foods such as wild game, grass-fed animals and nuts. For some people, this diet could be too costly to afford.
Legumes are rich in fiber, protein, & a variety of micronutrients like iron, zinc, and copper & dairy products have essential nutrients like calcium, which is important for bone health.
Eliminating these food groups altogether can put individuals at a high risk of developing nutrient deficiencies.
In addition, legumes are one of the primary sources of protein in the vegan and vegetarian diet, which may make this diet simply unrealistic for vegans and vegetarians.
This diet includes foods which are high in fiber, like vegetables, fruits & nuts. Since foods high in fiber exert a laxative effect, a person transitioning from a low fiber diet to this diet could experience gastric distress, such as bloating, as a result.
The basic idea of the paleo diet guide is to avoid processed foods and focus instead on healthy, whole foods.
Paleo diet foods include meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies, healthy fats and oils. Processed foods, grains and sugar are to be avoided.