What is the Paleo Diet?
December 11, 2012
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Weight Control Information Network, approximately 39.8 million American adults are overweight. Because obesity is on the rise, it’s no wonder that people are looking for the best ways to lose weight.
One of the most popular diets is the Paleo Diet, a back-to-basics eating plan that supposedly increases energy and prevents modern-day diseases. This diet stands out because it’s not technically a “diet” in the traditional sense. Rather than act as a short-term eating plan, the Paleo Diet is intended to be followed throughout your life.
This eating plan is popular with dieters; it’s helped users lose significant weight because it eliminates processed, high-calorie foods. But what exactly is the Paleo Diet? Can it really help you live healthier and lose weight?
What is the Paleo Diet?
Every diet has specific guidelines and off-limit foods. The Paleo Diet is simple because it really only has one rule: if cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either.
The cavemen didn’t have access to packaged, processed, artificially-flavored foods. They also didn’t eat grains or legumes. Instead, the cavemen ate foods they either hunted or gathered.
Here’s an easy guide to help you remember which foods are and are not acceptable on the Paleo Diet.
Acceptable Paleo Diet Foods
- Fruits (in season)
- Vegetables (in season
- Lean meats
- Healthy fats (includes nuts, seeds avocado, olive oil, fish oil, grass-fed meat)
Unacceptable Paleo Diet Foods
- Processed food
The Paleo Diet emphasizes high-quality foods, differentiating itself from low-carb diets like Atkins.
Exercise also plays a big role in the Paleo Diet. When on this diet, you should approach physical activity the same way you approach food: think about how cavemen worked out. They didn’t burn calories and increase strength using expensive workout machines. Emulate the cavemen by opting for outdoor workouts, such as hiking, running, and playing sports.
Why Should You Consider the Paleo Diet?
Choosing natural foods instead of overly-processed foods is always a good idea. The Paleo Diet, however, takes it further than most people would.
Although research has not proven the Paleo Diet is superior to a typical healthy diet, users say they notice significant improvements in not only their physiques but also in their general health. Check out these benefits:
- Improved blood lipid levels
- Regulated blood sugar
- Clearer Complexion
- Improved sleeping habits
- More energy
- Prevent type 2 diabetes and heart disease
- Reduce caloric intake
The Paleo Diet is also appealing because its one rule makes the diet easy to follow. For example, many diets are difficult to maintain when you eat out. The Paleo Diet is surprisingly easy to keep up: when at a restaurant, just look for meat entrees with vegetable sides.
Are There Any Downsides?
The one drawback to the Paleo Diet is it may be tough to get all the nutrients your body needs since you don’t eat dairy and grains. Plus, you need make sure you only eat lean meat. If you eat too many fatty cuts of meat, you could increase your risk of heart disease.
Though the Paleo Diet is very basic and helps users form healthy habits, the program still has its share of skeptics. For starters, some people are wary of the Paleo Diet and think it is just another low-carb diet that won’t produce long-term results.
However, the Paleo Diet’s primary intention is not to eliminate carbs. The point of the diet is to eliminate unnatural, unhealthy foods. Since it cuts out grains, however, the Paleo Diet is technically low-carb. But unlike stringent low-carb diets like Atkins, the Paleo Diet allows users to eat vegetables and fruits that contain carbs.
Some people are skeptical of the Paleo Diet because they think vegetarians and vegans can’t take part since it’s so meat-centered. Although the Paleo Diet focuses on animal protein, there are ways for herbivores to follow the diet. Vegetarians, for example, can include more eggs in their diet to increase protein intake.
Vegans, on the other hand, will need to cheat a little bit by eating protein-heavy, grain-like seeds such as quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. If you’re vegan, you can also add sprouted beans and legumes to your diet to get more protein.
Ready to Travel Back in Time to the Paleolithic Age?
The Paleo Diet is a great option for you if you’re looking for a thorough yet uncomplicated eating plan. Its emphasis on protein and healthy fats will not only slim you down but will also improve your overall health. In addition you will notice positive improvements in your athletic performance.