What is the Paleo Diet?
One of the most discussed and debated diets is the paleo diet. In 2013 and 2014, it was one of the most searched diets online, with millions of Americans committing themselves to the caveman way of eating. Hamilton Stapell, a historian at SUNY-New Paltz, did a survey in 2013 that estimates between 1-3 million people are paleo, or about 1 percent of the population.
Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions.
If you’re considering this diet, here’s a five-part paleo primer with what you should know…
1. How is the paleo diet defined?
In essence, the diet recommends eating foods that are closest to what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic Era: vegetables, meat, tubers (e.g., potatoes), and fruit. Dairy, sugar additives, grains, and legumes (e.g., beans) are not considered a part of the paleo diet. These foods weren’t introduced until later, when the boom of agriculture happened approximately 10,000 years ago. Some people argue that our bodies have still not yet evolved to digest them properly.
2. What foods should I eat?
- Any kind of meat, fish, or poultry (preferably from animals that have been fed a grain-free diet)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts (excluding peanuts)
- Natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and flax seed oil
3. What foods are off-limits?
Many people turn to the paleo diet to cut out foods that cause inflammation or irritation to the digestive system. For example, lentils, beans, peas and peanuts all contain phytates and lectins, which can cause issues for some people. If you fully commit to going paleo, say goodbye to:
- Dairy products
- Non-naturally occurring sugars
- Legumes (pod plants, such as peas)
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
4. What are the pros?
Individuals who are able to stick to the paleo diet for 30 days or more have seen some wonderful benefits as a result. They report losing weight, gaining energy, and feeling great. Many people like the simplicity of the diet and relish the fact that they don’t have to count calories.
Scientifically speaking, there are no comprehensive studies that tout the benefits of the paleo diet as a whole. There are, however, studies that show the benefits of its main principles: lowering sugar consumption, eating more vegetables, and cutting out processed foods.
5. What are the cons?
The biggest pitfall of the paleo diet is that it’s not scientifically proven to be healthy. Some nutritionists argue that the paleo diet is not fully balanced and limits the diversity of nutrients (including carbohydrates, calcium, and vitamin D) due to the elimination of entire food groups.
Consult your doctor if you think this diet could be right for you. It’s important to remember that balance and moderation are key, and healthy habits are interconnected. Eating better could potentially lower your prescription costs in the long run. To get help affording medications today, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription card works, check out our video.
If you’re interested in learning more about the paleo diet, here are a few recommended articles:
Biochemist and author Robb Wolf: http://robbwolf.com/
The Weston A. Price Foundation: http://www.westonaprice.org/
Author and fitness professional Mark Sisson: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/#axzz3PNk9W5Qb
Whole9 and Whole30 (a stricter version of paleo): http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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