Diets come and go, and if you wait long enough, they’ll come back round again with a twist. The paleo diet, or caveman diet is pretty similar to the stoneage eating…
Diets come and go, and if you wait long enough, they’ll come back round again with a twist. The paleo diet, or caveman diet is pretty similar to the stoneage eating plan made popular in the mid 70s. There are a few pros and cons but I should admit now that I favour a paleo-type diet and loosely follow one myself…
The idea is to recreate the way we would have eaten before modern agriculture. Paleo refers to the Paleolithic era which started over two million years ago and ran until 10,000 years ago. Our forefathers would only have eaten foods that could be hunted or gathered and so would have existed on meat, fish, eggs, nuts, vegetables and fruits. Grains, refined sugar and oils, salt, dairy products and legumes would not have been available and so must be avoided. By eating more protein and fewer refined carbohydrates it’s easier to keep glucose levels in the blood even. Biochemically this reduces insulin spikes which can help combat insulin resistance, raised cholesterol and triglycerides. You can expect consistent energy levels, reduced hunger and cravings, together with weight loss or easy weight maintenance.
Eating this way will alter the ratio of protein, fats and carbohydrates in your diet resulting in around 35-40 percent of energy coming from protein foods. It is effective as long as you eat plenty of fresh produce and lean protein, but don’t eat too much of it. A very high protein diet will tax the kidneys and has the potential to affect bone density in the long term.
In my opinion, the cons are more about lifestyle than health, as a paleo diet requires a level of commitment. You’ll need to plan ahead as even convenience foods like sandwiches are out, and so there’s a lot of home cooking and taking food to work. It’s also more expensive as protein produce costs more than carbohydrates, due to the transport, refrigeration and shelf life.
My advice is to do some research about the plan and then write down what you might eat in a week. You might also like to make a note of how you feel; perhaps rate your energy, sleep and digestion on a scale of 1-10. Revisit this after a week or so on the diet and see if the scores change. If there’s a noticeable change then the effort may well be worth it. But, as always, check with your GP if you have any existing health issues, just to make sure.
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