Eat Like Its 1999 BC: The Paleo Diet

One of the strangest diets around is the Paleo Diet. Short for Paleolithic, the name for the time period long ago when cavemen roamed the earth, the main theory behind the diet is to eat like our ancestors because they were lean, athletic hunters. The creator of the Paleo Diet, Rob Wolfe, suggests that the development of agriculture has led to our increased problems with obesity. Cavemen did not grow or process their food, so they did not ingest grains and sugar. Instead, they lived on a diet of meat that they hunted, vegetables and leafy greens they found, as well as roots, seeds, and nuts.

What Can You Eat on the Paleo Diet?
So what exactly can you eat on the Paleo Diet and what foods are off limits? On the diet plan, you can eat plenty of lean red meat (grass-fed, not grain-fed), poultry, fish, vegetables, nuts, roots and seeds, and healthy fats. Paleo forbids grains, sugar, salt, processed food, beans, processed oils, dairy, and alcohol. Dairy is to be avoided on the diet because it often contains sugar. Beans and alcohol are not allowed because they contain carbohydrates.

The Benefits of the Paleo Diet
While the Paleo Diet is extreme, there are numerous potential benefits to this diet. It eliminates gluten, the binding ingredient in wheat, which poses sometimes hidden, sometimes severe, problems for some people. According to Rob Wolfe’s website, in a study that compared the effects of the diet and Mediterranean diets on diabetes symptoms, the Paleo Diet resulted in a reversal of insulin resistant Type 2 diabetes symptoms.

Additionally, any time a diet reduces the amount of processed food eaten, health benefits will definitely occur in the dieters. Americans consume an enormous amount of processed food, carbs and sugar every day, and none of these foods keep one full for very long. However, meat and vegetables are quite filling, enabling someone on the diet to stay satisfied for longer.

Paleo Dangers
While the diet does indeed offer benefits, there are some dangers as well. Numerous medical professionals suggest minimizing the amount of red meat you eat, a staple of the diet. Eating too much red meat can increase your cholesterol, which can potentially lead to a heart attack. There is also controversy about eliminating dairy, because dairy provides an important source of calcium and vitamin D. Finally, implementing the Paleo Diet can be pricey; the cost of grass-fed red meat alone can cause your grocery bill to skyrocket.

Although there are dangers to this diet, limiting carbohydrate intake is still a good idea, but needs to be incorporated long term. Losing weight on this diet only results in weight gain as soon as you stop. If you are just trying to get past a weight loss plateau or want to diet for a short period of time, Paleo is not for you. The Paleo diet is similar to the Atkins diet, but it is less restrictive and devotees often say it is more of a lifestyle change, not just a diet.

Stop by to read about other diet plans that might fit into your lifestyle.