What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet, aka The Caveman Diet, The Stone Age Diet, The Nordic Diet, and the Hunter Gatherer Diet is based on the eating habits of those alive during the paleolithic period. Primary based on food sources that were hunted and gathered rather than cultivated in certain areas of the world, the diet consists of lean meats, fish, and more easily gathered vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. While the jury is still out on there being a specific paleo diet plan to follow (since people of different regions consumed diets specific to their area), it is generally accepted that a dietary plan based on the high-protein, high-fat foods our ancestors ate long before highly accessible refined carbohydrates and processed foods were available is a great way to improve health and shed fat.
What is definitive, is that humans do eat much differently than our earliest ancestors, which is significant since common conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity are exponentially more prevalent. Even though life expectancy back in those days was shorter than in today’s modern era, paleolithic dieters argue that the human body is not inherently able to adequately process the modern diet, and given the widespread health problems associated with it, they might have a point.
What would I eat on a Paleo Diet?
- High amounts of fruits and vegetables
- A significant portion of lean meats (grass fed beef, organic chicken, eggs) and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna)
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Moderate to high use of heart-healthy oils such as olive or walnut
- Complete exclusion of dairy, grain products and processed food
Foods to avoid:
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese)
- Refined carbohydrates
- Refined sugars
- Added sweeteners
- Added salt
- Prepackaged meals
- Beans, legumes
What are the benefits of this diet?
The Paleo Diet has been shown to decrease inflammation along with oxidative stress while improving various common health issues, including:
- Weight loss over time
- Appetite control
- Heart disease and other health issues like diabetes and stroke
- Elevated triglycerides (and poor lipid balance in general)
- Elevated blood pressure and fasting glucose
- Excess body fat
How can the Paleo diet help treat obesity?
Diets similar to paleo with its emphasis on nutrition and the elimination of processed foods are in fact, beneficial and help millions of people maintain healthy weight. With more than sixty percent of Americans overweight or obese, health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension will only continue to rise. Studies have shown that after six months, paleo dieting can lead to a reduction in body mass, waist circumference, and decreased triglyceride levels.
There also seems to be a beneficial link between paleo diets and common conditions associated with obesity patients such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A 2009 report in Cardiovascular Diabetology showed that the Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a diabetes diet in patients. While a specific diabetic diet may be a bit more effective, adherence to paleo could prove to be promising for diabetics.
Are there any downsides to Paleo?
The Paleo Diet has received praise by medical professionals and dieters due to its health benefits and relative flexibility. Several products have been created to accommodate the paleo diet such as paleo protein shakes and bars. Also, the fat content can be high on a paleo diet, so opt for wild caught fish and organic protein for the healthiest fats. High protein diets like paleo can also be a liability for patients at risk for kidney disease. Lastly, most people get the majority of their daily calcium from dairy products, yet paleo removes dairy. Ensure that you are getting enough calcium through fish and vegetable sources like broccoli or spinach. Keep in mind that a doctor consultation is recommended before any new dietary change occurs, particularly for those with any medical conditions.
Should I try the Paleo Diet?
DocTalkGo’s medical director notes that the paleo diet has changed over the last five years as much research reveals that there is no one version. Our ancestors ate dramatically different diets depending on where in the world they lived. Therefore, eating as our ancestors ate simply boils down to eliminating the consumption of processed foods, simple sugars and carbs. The paleo diet can be extremely vague in terms of how much of each macronutrient dieters should consume and part of that reason is the variety in the historical record. Some groups of humans ate large amounts of meat, while others ate a large amount of vegetable fiber and both seemed to fare the same.
While the Paleo diet has various health benefits and works for many individuals, it is not ideally suited for all. In addition, some parts of the Paleo diet are not supported by the American Diabetes Association’s dietary recommendations or leading medical professionals.
Why dieters should try DocTalkGo
You’ll find effective, customized diet programs at DocTalkGo. Our doctor-supervised diet plan is custom-created for all patients to achieve a healthy lifestyle. While the blueprint for eating from the paleo diet can work in theory, DocTalkGo recommends consuming foods from the same groups while helping patients eliminating the obvious unhealthy processed foods in our diets.
Upon consultation, patients receive a detailed weight loss plan based on their nutritional needs and medical history. Losing weight with DocTalkGo is safe, simple and affordable. Nutrition plans, exercise guidance, motivational support, and dietary supplements are all part of the comprehensive package.