The Paleo diet is named after the Palaeolithic Period, otherwise known as the Stone Age. Dieters aim to mimic the foods consumed by our prehistoric ancestors by limiting what they eat to foods which can technically only be ‘hunted and gathered.’ This means, no dairy, no breads/grains, no sweets, and definitely no processed and packaged food items.
Although there are a lot of sceptics who rightly question the over-consumption of meat and lack of calcium or fibre, when you look a little deeper it’s quite surprising how balanced you can make this specific diet (coming from an ex-sceptic over here!). To put it simply, the paleo diet is a high protein, low carb, plant-based and focused diet, comprised of good quality, lean meat sources, non-starchy vegetables and fruit.
- Contrary to what you may think, this diet is quite high in fibre due to it’s large focus on fruits and vegetables.
- We generally tend to eat more breads/grains than protein, which is actually needed much more within the body, so this diet’s reversal of this statistic reaps quite the benefits.
- High protein and high fibre equals stable blood sugar levels due to the low glycemic nature of these foods.
- Moderation of the right types of fats: following the Paleo Diet means you eliminate completely the consumption of unnatural trans fats found mostly in processed foods
- Increased micronutrient intake due to the variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients etc consumed through focus on plant-based foods.
- Elimination of entire food groups can cause nutrient deficiencies for those who don’t know who to substitute properly (i.e there are a lot of calcium-rich plant sources but for those who don’t know, removing dairy could be an issue)
- Easily creates restricted eating which is not sustainable for most people
- If not followed correctly, over consumption of meat can be too acidic for the body, as well as increases saturated fat intake to an unhealthy level.
- Can be quite expensive as meat and fresh fruit/vegetables are usually the most expensive food items
- Research is still emerging on the credibility of the benefits this diet promises.
As it goes with all diets, what might work for you and your goals, may not necessarily work for someone else, so it’s important to remember to eat what is right for your body and not to get caught up in media-driven trends. If you try a diet and it doesn’t work, there is no shame in that – if your goal is fostering a good relationship with food then you’ll always succeed!