What is the paleo diet?
The Paleo or Paleolithic diet, also called the cave man or Stone Age diet, is a diet that consists of adopting a diet close to that observed by hunter-gatherers living in the Paleolithic era, there is about 2.5 million at 10,000 years old. The reasoning behind this diet is that the human body is genetically unsuitable for the modern diet that has arisen with the development of agricultural practices. According to proponents of this diet, this hypothetical mismatch contributes to the current prevalence of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
How the paleo diet works?
Dietary recommendations for the paleo diet vary from source to source. Some paleo diets are more restrictive while others offer less strict rules.
What foods are allowed under the paleo diet?
In general, permitted foods include:
- The vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish and seafood
- Fruit and nut oils (e.g .:olive oil,coconut oil)
- Honey, in small quantities
What foods are prohibited under the paleo diet?
In general, prohibited foods include:
- The grains
- Dairy products
- Refined sugars
- Processed foods
- The alcohol
- Refined vegetable oils (e.g .: canola oil)
Some positive aspects of the paleo diet
- The paleo diet includes nutritious, unprocessed foods.
- The paleo diet is low in sodium and refined sugars.
Some negative aspects of the paleo diet
- Eliminating several food groups, including grains, dairy products and legumes, which increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies (eg:calcium, vitamin D, group B vitamins).
- The possibility of consuming more red meat, classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization.
- The possibility of consuming more saturated fat, which is harmful to the health of the heart.
- Research on the paleo diet primarily involves short-term studies and with a small number of participants.
- The long term side effects are not well understood.
- It is not known whether the paleo diet is safe and beneficial for all individuals (eg, the elderly, healthy people, people with chronic illnesses).
- The restrictive nature of the diet makes it difficult to follow for the long term.
Some questions about the reasoning behind the paleo diet
The Mayo Clinic points out that some researchers believe that the paleo diet simplifies the story of how humans adapt to changes in diet and that other aspects should be considered:
- The differences between the first diets depending on the region (eg tropical vs arctic).
- Archaeological research has shown that the earliest diets may have included wild grains until 30,000 years ago.
- Genetic research has shown that evolutionary changes, including changes in diet, continued after the Paleolithic era.
More research is needed to determine the long-term health effects of the paleo diet.