We take you through the basics of the Paleo diet and what exactly it entails. Is it a lifestyle you would try?
There's no doubt that we've seen a lot of fad diets come and go for decades. It's a huge industry in America, a culture that is always on the lookout for an easy way to lose weight quickly.
I mean, does anyone still remember the Atkins diet? How about the Zone diet? Yes, there was even a Baby Food diet at one point, where you ate two meals worth of baby food each day. The diet crazes can get ludicrous and it's sometimes hard to separate the healthy and helpful from the disastrous.
Although the Paleo diet still has plenty of critics, it has lasted longer than any diet that could be considered a "fad." Perhaps there is a reason it's still a popular diet to adhere to today. In this article, we'll take you through the history of the Paleo diet and what exactly it involves so you can make up your own mind about it.
How did it start?
The Paleo diet - or Paleolithic diet - is based on the principles used by our early Stone Age ancestors. The Paleolithic diet can actually be traced all the way back to 1975 by a gastroenterologist named Walter Voegtlin, who first came up with the concept. It was then revamped and popularized by a man named Loren Cordain in 2002. The diet experienced its most popular wave of followers in 2012 and 2013 when there was an abundance of books, articles, and nutritionists talking about the Paleo movement and lifestyle. Although the buzz died down after a while, it's still a popular diet choice by health advocates today.
The premise of the diet is to eliminate modern processed food and to instead have a diet that is similar to what Paleolithic humans used to eat when they lived off the land. The idea is that animals are most healthy in their natural environments, so it should be no different for humans.
What does it involve?
The diet typically involves a high amount of healthy fat, moderate in animal protein, and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Meat should be organic, wild and/or grass fed and the low to moderate intake of natural carbohydrates should be things like vegetables and fruits, although more veggies than fruits. A small amount of nuts thrown in once in a while is fine too. Fruits should be low in sugar and high in antioxidants and nuts should be high in omega-3 but low in omega-6.
The recommended fat is saturated fat (raw coconut oil, duck fat, lard butter) and monounsaturated fat (extra virgin olive oil, avocados).
The diet says to cut out all cereals and legumes, vegetable, hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated oils added sugar, and dairy products (other than butter).
Who is on it and why?
The benefits that people have claimed since being on the diet have included weight loss, a boost in energy, muscle gain, less stress, smoother skin, better sleep, stronger bones, better digestion, and immune system.
The Paleo diet is especially seen as an important diet for the average American who doesn't exercise or move around all that much. An inactive person, after all, should eat fewer carbohydrates to keep up a healthy metabolism.
Is it safe?
This is where the conflict over the diet, and any diet really, comes into play - the question of whether or not it's safe. Some argue by cutting out major food groups you open yourself up to nutritional deficiencies, others swear by the Paleo diet in making them feel more energized and healthy overall. With this said, I think it's important to remember that every human body is different and no diet is a one size fits all.
The Paleo diet has shown to be effective in treating certain digestion issues and can be a healthy way to live and eat assuming you still abide by the rule of moderation. We are by no means health professionals, so of course, ask your doctor or nutritionist before starting a new diet. It could be a positive new lifestyle change or something that's simply not for you. Again, everyone is different.
If you're interested in starting the Paleo diet we would very much recommend reading up on it as much as possible before you dive right in. The Paleo Diet and Mark's Daily Apple are both great websites to get some important info about what the diet and primal lifestyle truly entail.
What are your thoughts on the Paleo diet? Have you tried it before or do you think it's an unhealthy lifestyle? We would love to hear what you think!