Looking for a new diet that turns you into a leaner version of yourself? Well, the paleo diet is quite popular these days. Also known as the hunter-gatherer diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and caveman diet, the paleo diet teaches you how to eat like ancient humans — who needed to be significantly physically tougher than we are these days.
This article will explore the benefits and disadvantages of the paleo diet and explain why a modern person like yourself might want to consider eating like a Stone Age person.
The New Diet That’s Older Than Any Other Diet
The paleo diet consists of consuming many of the foods humans consumed during the early hunter-gatherer days like nuts, seafood, meats, vegetables, and fruits. By sticking to these diet constraints, your diet becomes more in line with your genetics, leading to improved health and well-being.
The paleo diet lowers your body’s glycemic load, provides an optimal mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, and it increases your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.
The logic behind the paleo diet goes something like this: Our ancestors had similar dietary patterns, and they were not plagued with many of the chronic diseases that modern people often find themselves dealing with like high blood pressure and diabetes. There are many who believe you can prevent many of such conditions from developing by consuming a more natural diet.
A study that was published in the journal Diabetologia determined that consuming paleo diets reduced the subjects’ blood sugar over a period of 12 weeks compared to a control group that consumed a Mediterranean diet that allowed for oils, low-fat dairy products, and grains.
Given the different farming techniques used to produce crops and livestock, those who are on the paleo diet do everything in their power to avoid foods that have been contaminated with chemicals like antibiotics, pesticides, and non-organic fertilizers.
A proper paleo diet involves getting about 35 percent of your daily caloric need from fats, another 35 percent from carbohydrates and the remaining 30 percent from protein.
The paleo diet remains one of the most popular diets nowadays, and it has led to the formation of a large online community comprised of people trying their best to mimic the eating patterns of the ancients.
Giving Up Modern Foods
The paleo diet requires you to be willing to give up many of the tasty treats that are commonly consumed in the modern world. As a general rule, stay away from anything that comes in a bag, jar, or box. These items were certainly not on the menu during the Paleolithic era.
Items on the banned list for paleo dieters include:
- Dairy products
- Anything that contains added salt
- Legumes like peanuts, lentils, soybeans, and beans
- Honey (even though it is preferred over sugar or artificial sweeteners)
The paleo diet is not designed to be some temporary fad that you do for a few months, then quit once you reach your fitness goal or start to feel better. The diet is meant to be a lifestyle change that you stick to for the long term. That is how you get the most out of this diet.
The Paleo Diet Goes Beyond Restricting What You Eat
The paleo diet goes past controlling how you eat. As was mentioned earlier, it is a lifestyle change, and it involves more than just dieting. Exercising regularly is as important as eating healthy foods when it comes to getting your body to its optimal state.
Stone Age people didn’t have to worry about going to the gym since their daily lives were pretty hard. It often involved walking long distances and hours of laborious work. Researchers at the Yale University Prevention Research Center estimate the average person during the Paleolithic period burned an average of 4,000 calories per day.
More than likely, your daily routine does not require you to burn so many calories, so you will need a fitness routine to give your body the physical exercise it needs to run properly.
Your exercise routine should be designed based on how active your lifestyle is. Those who spend most of their days sitting in front of a desk will need a more rigorous fitness routine than those who are pretty active during the day.
Complementing the paleo diet with a thorough fitness routine like a Muay Thai class – which burns up to 1,000 calories for every hour spent training — leads to the best results.
You Can Start By Cutting Out Processed Foods
The idea of giving up many of the foods and drinks you enjoy seems like a tall order, but it’s not that difficult if you start gradually. One simple improvement anyone can make to their diet is to eliminate processed foods. Simply doing so can increase your odds of being alive ten years from now by up to 47 percent compared to people who consume processed foods primarily.
You Can’t Completely Mimic Ancient People
The truth is, it’s impossible to fully mimic the dietary patterns of ancient people. For example, they didn’t consume chickens and cows the way modern humans do. These are products of modern agriculture. Instead, they hunted wild game like buffalo, antelopes, and many now-extinct animals as their primary source of meats. These meats are a lot leaner than the meats from domesticated animals, and they provide healthier omega 3s fatty acids.
Even grass-fed, organically raised livestock are not as nutritious as these meats. Many of the plants and vegetables consumed during that time period are now extinct.
Don’t Overeat Proteins
The paleo diet recommends a one to one ratio of produce and meats. The problem is, you’d have to eat a few bowls of salad to match the calories in a steak. Your paleo diet should consist of mostly vegetables and fruits.
Doing otherwise increases your risk of over-consuming protein, which increases your risk of osteoporosis and kidney damage.
The Paleo Diet Requires A Commitment
The paleo diet requires commitment, planning, and preparation on your part. It makes simple things like going out to eat more complicated as you now find yourself wondering if any processed items went into making your plate.
However, there are many who swear by it, and they have the results to prove it works. Just make sure you combine it with a cardio-intense fitness routine that works out your entire body like martial arts or circuit training.