Paleo Diet


Paleo diet is based on what humans ate during the ‘Stone Age’ or ‘Paleolithic Era’. It is also known as Paleolithic diet/Stone Age diet/ Hunter-Gatherer diet/Caveman diet. It includes foods that humans could obtain by hunting and gathering in that era & excludes foods that are obtained from farming which emerged later. 

Concept of Paleo Diet:
It is based on the fact that the modern diet is the contributing factor for obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes among human beings and claims that going back to the caveman’s diet helps in weight loss and is beneficial for health.

What to eat?
Foods Included:
 Lean Meats (grass-fed animals)
• Eggs
 Nuts & Seeds
 Fish (Salmon, Mackerel and Tuna)
 Oils (Olive, Coconut, Flaxseed)

Foods Excluded:
 Whole grains
 Legumes & Beans (Peanuts, Lentils)
 Dairy products
 Refined Sugar
 Refined Vegetable Oils
 Refined/Processed food (Man-made or pre-packaged)

Benefits & Risks of Paleo Diet:
 It encourages consumption of fruits & vegetables which may reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases.
 It eliminates consumption of refined carbohydrates which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
 It reduces inflammation markers and oxidative stress.
 It promotes weight loss, fat loss & reduces waist circumference.
 Grains, legumes & dairy are excluded which can cause deficiency of certain nutrients such as B vitamins therefore consumption of organ meats such as liver can compensate for B vitamins. To prevent calcium deficiency, non-dairy sources of calcium such as dark green leafy vegetables & fish with bones can be consumed.

 Vegetarians and Vegans would find difficulty in following Paleo diet as it emphasizes on meat and fish and excludes rich vegetarian sources of protein which is beans & legumes. Paleo diet also remove sources of B vitamins & fiber i.e. grains & legumes which restricts vegetarians & vegans from following this diet.
 Limitation of salt & dairy can increase risk of calcium & iodine deficiency.
 It costs higher to buy foods required to follow this diet.
 Omission of entire food group can lead to sub-optimal intake of essential nutrients therefore careful planning of the diet is important to compensate for those nutrients and prevent deficiency.
 More studies are required to prove that the diet is safe and beneficial for elderly people, people with higher risk of chronic diseases and healthy population.

It has been observed that humans in Paleolithic era were healthy not solely because of their diet but also the high intensity/rigorous physical activity they were involved in such as hunting, gathering etc. Paleo diet can be considered as one of the many dietary options and not the ultimate solution. However, further studies are required to prove the diet’s efficacy in the long run and overall benefits in various aspects.

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