The Paleo diet or Paleolithic diet is also known as stone age diet or cavemen diet because it’s mainly derived from foods consumed by stone age cavemen and humans of the Paleolithic age. The essential component of the Paleo diet are fruits, vegetables, roots and meat, but excludes any form of dairy products like milk as well as processed foods.
Paleo diet is being promoted and seen as one of the fad diets that actually have the capability to improve health. Researches show that there is very limited data available on the metabolism effects of the Paleo diet but there are studies that show that the Paleo diet has significant effects on body composition of humans.
As previously told, the Paleo diet advocates consumption of meat, roots, vegetables and fruits and prohibit the consumption of any sort of grains , milk as well as processed foods.
How Does The Paleo Diet Work?
Paleo diet derived from the eating habits of Paleolithic humans. Thousand of years ago, the humans were tall, muscular, agile, athletic and versatile. Comparing this to the current generation humans who are fat, overweight, lazy, unhappy and sleep deprived. What led this much change? Research shows that the human genetics have not changed much, but the diet has changed a lot.
It is believed that the real reason for this big change is agriculture. 1000 years ago, humans discovered farming that led to the cultivation of grains like wheat, rice and other cereals.
The humans stopped hunting and started feeding on grains. Grains are rich in carbs and slowly and slowly lead to obese humans. So instead of loading meat, vegetables & roots, humans became dependent on grains.
The Paleo diet focuses on changing the diet as genetics of current humans are the same as of Stone Age humans. The difference in the body composition can be reversed if diet is brought back to the basics.
Why No Grain In Paleo?
Grains are a good source for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are converted into Glycogen and any unused Glycogen is stored as fat. The activity levels of present humans are much less than in the Paleolithic times and this leads in getting obese. Furthermore, grains have gluten and lectin – there have been instances of people suffering from gluten-based food and we do have “gluten-free” products in the market.
Lectins have negative effects to our gastro intestinal tract as they don’t let the tract to repair itself from wear and tear.
No Processed Foods, No Sugar, No Sweeteners, No Grains? From Where Do I get Energy?
Paleo diet says no to all the things above but body needs energy to sustain. Most of the carbohydrate requirement (glucose) is met through fruits and then the body burns fats for fuel. Fewer carbohydrates mean the body does not store them as fat.
So in short, meat serves as a source of protein that helps to grow and build muscles, fruits and vegetables provide a small amount of carbohydrates and nuts and fatty meat compensate for low carbohydrate levels.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet
Healthy Brain & Cells
Cells are made up of saturated as well as unsaturated fats and the cells depend on a healthy balance of these two. Paleo diet ensures that a perfect balanced is maintained whereas other diet do not.
More Muscle & Less Fat
The Paleo diet focuses heavily on flesh. More flesh means more muscle cells. More muscle cells lead to higher metabolism and lesser carbs result in lower glycogen stores and the body starts burning fats for fuel.
Improved Gut Health
Processed food causes inflammation in the intestines. A lot of stress keeps on building on the walls that leads to leaky gut syndrome.
Better Digestion & Absorption
Paleo diet advocates eating of foods that’s been known to mankind since ages. So it’s understood that the diet never had issues with our ancestors so we can also adopt to it very easily.
The other advantages of Paleo diet are promoting better insulin sensitivity, reduction of chances of getting sick, promotes weight loss and so on.
The Disadvantages of the Paleo Diet
- The diet doesn’t specify the portion of food to be eaten. There is a high chance that you end up eating large portions of unnecessary foods
- Not suitable for vegetarians as the whole diet revolves around getting proteins from meat.
- It can get expensive at times!
- Not suitable for athletes who require high amount of carbs. Getting high levels of carbs with fruits and vegetables very difficult.
- Calcium deficiencies can occur as dairy products, a major source of calcium, are not a part of the diet.