It’s time for a look at diet #4 in our series of the hottest new diet trends
: the Paleo diet. While somewhat controversial, this diet’s put it in its place at the 9th Annual Nutrition and Health Conference, held in Boston, MA.Fat Caveman?
Have you ever heard of a fat caveman? Exactly. That’s the motivation behind a diet dubbed “the Paleo Diet.” By eating only the foods that cavemen ate way back in the day, fans of the Paleo diet (named for the Paleolithic era) claim that you can reduce or even prevent the risk of developing “diseases of civilization” such as diabetes and heart disease
, and maintain a healthy weight. Does it live up to the claims? Let’s take a closer look.
While most popular diets are all about losing fat, getting flat tummies and looking great, the Paleo diet focuses more on healthy internals
. Because of this, dieters looking to lose large amounts of fat and body weight might want to search elsewhere. Only small scale studies have been performed on the effects of this diet, with not nearly enough of a measurable outcome to really warrant attention.
But, having said that, there are a few things to consider.Food Choices
The cavemen were hunters that ate only what they could catch. Because it was before the Agricultural Revolution, there were no grains or junk food; and the Paleo diet mirrors this by completely cutting out all carbohydrates, dairy and grainy foods. This means no more pasta, rice, or sugary foods. Instead you will only eat animal proteins and plants such as fruits or vegetables. Some accepted foods are:
- Chickens and Eggs
- Wild caught fish (to reduce the toxins and mercury ingestion)
- Meat from grass fed animals (avoid grain fed animals)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
Proponents of the diet claim that by eating so much protein and fiber you can be sure that running out of energy won’t be a problem, and you’ll be feeling full all the time. Vegetables can be a little tricky for new Paleo dieters – while you can definitely cook vegetables as you please, if a particular vegetable can’t be eaten raw in the first place, don’t touch it. Don't Forget to Exercise
Exercise is a key component to make this diet successful for weight-loss purposes. Because the high animal protein intake might increase your cholesterol, it’s important to maintain a steady workout schedule. Cavemen didn’t have to worry about this problem since they were always outdoors and on the move.
Speaking of the outdoors – this diet may cause a vitamin D deficiency because you can’t drink milk or eat fortified cereal. You can remedy this by either taking vitamin D supplements or by spending at least 15 minutes a day enjoying the sun. Suspected Health Benefits
Though most of its claims have remained largely unproven thus far, the Paleo diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and extra calorie consumption. Bear in mind that this diet basically consists of meat and produce, which are the two most expensive sections in a supermarket, and could end up being costly. If you don’t like the sound of completely deleting carbs, dairy and sugar from your diet, then this diet isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you like the idea of creating simple meal plans that will keep you feeling full and energetic throughout the day, and you don’t mind the high cost, then maybe the Paleo diet is right for you.
9th Annual Nutrition and Health Conference. Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA. 16 April 2012.
King, Barbara J. "The Paleo-Diet: Not The Way To A Healthy Future." NPR.org
. National Public Radio, 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/10/27/141666659/the-paleo-diet-not-the-way-to-a-healthy-future>.
Kamb, Steve. "The Beginners Guide to the Paleo Diet." NerdFitness.com
. N.p., 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/>.
Dolson, Laura. "Foods Allowed on the Paleolithic (Paleo Diet, Caveman Diet)." About.com
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"Paleo Diet." USNews.com
. U.S. News & World Report, n.d. Web. 24 June 2012. <http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/paleo-diet>.