The paleo diet (also nicknamed the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter-gatherer diet) is hugely popular these days, and goes by one simple question: What would a caveman eat? Here, we explain what the paleo diet involves, its pros and cons, and, ultimately, what a modern person needs to know to decide whether or not to take the paleo diet plunge.
You’ll lose weight because any time you restrict entire food groups, your calorie intake tends to be lower, Sandon says. And whenever you burn more calories than you consume, you'll have weight loss, she says. (2) The focus on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables over calorie- and sodium-rich processed foods can also contribute to weight loss, though she also points out that the paleo diet wasn’t created to be a weight loss diet. (3)
For those not in the know, the paleo diet centres around the ‘caveman’ style of eating, i.e. increasing consumption of meat, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds while restricting grains, legumes, sugar and dairy. And according to lead researcher Dr Angela Genoni, it’s the high quantity of red meats and lack of whole grains that are the source of the problem.
As you might expect from the previous paragraph, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables naturally leads to higher fiber intake. Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and despite what you’ve probably heard, whole grains aren’t the place to find it. Non-starchy vegetables contain eight times more fiber than whole grains and 31 times more fiber than refined grains. Even fruits contain twice as much fiber as whole grains and seven times more fiber than refined grains!
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You by Uffe Ravnskov is a new book which includes updated and simplified sections from his previous one (The Cholesterol Myths). Ravnskov also presents his own idea about the cause of heart disease, an idea that explains all the findings that do not fit with the present view. It is a powerful book. Also see his web site. The Amazon.com reviews average to 5 stars. Published January 26, 2009.
If you're interested in the paleo plan but don't think you want to be so strict, you don't have to be all-or-nothing with your approach. Consider adopting some eating patterns from paleo and skipping the ones that don't work for you. For example, try just eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting down on added sugars. If you feel unsure about grains or dairy, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine what's best for your body.
“I think there are a lot of positives about it,” Holley says. “It cuts out a lot of processed foods just naturally, like processed grains or added sugar through soft drinks or juice.” And because the diet promotes eating anti-inflammatory foods — like fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats in nuts and certain oils — your health could benefit, Holley explains. Cutting out processed foods and sugar will also help lower your risk of certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, she says. (6)
For the most part, my eats are “clean.” For me, that means generally following the rules of the Whole30®. The Whole30 is a nutritional reset that gets you back to a clean dietary slate: Eliminate all grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, and chemically processed vegetable and seed oils from your diet for a month. Once a baseline of health is established, slowly reintroduce some of these foods (like dairy, white rice, and dark chocolate—not hyper-processed junk foods!) one at a time to see where you sit on the spectrum of food tolerance. We all share the goal of finding a lifelong template for optimal nutrition and health, but you just might find that your template allows for a wider range of foods than mine.
Similarly to the above, we do not have designated Pescetarian options, however, in virtually all instances you would most definitely be able to swap the proteins out for your favourites from the sea. Bare in mind seafood typically cooks much faster than red meat or poultry, so it would require some extra consideration and perhaps cooking your seafood on lower heats and/or for shorter period of time (perhaps towards the end of cooking). There are already many seafood recipes within the program, and paired with your creativity (trust yourself!) you could absolutely pick up some amazing new recipes as well as benefit from the Program.
As of 2016 there are limited data on the metabolic effects on humans eating a Paleo diet, but the data are based on clinical trials that have been too small to have a statistical significance sufficient to allow the drawing of generalizations.[not in citation given] These preliminary trials have found that participants eating a paleo nutrition pattern had better measures of cardiovascular and metabolic health than people eating a standard diet, though the evidence is not strong enough to recommend the Paleo diet for treatment of metabolic syndrome. As of 2014 there was no evidence the paleo diet is effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease.
Cordain admits that meat leads to plaque and increases cholesterol where plants wouldn’t. And science establishes that plaque and cholesterol lead to heart attacks and strokes. But Cordain argues that plaque alone is insufficient to cause harm. Rather, it is plaque combined with inflammation that causes heart attacks and strokes. So avoid acid, salt, legumes, wheat, starchy vegetables, dairy, oil, fatty meats, and grains because they cause inflammation. But if both science and Cordain agree that plaque is a necessary part of the heart-disease equation—and that meat causes plaque—why should we follow Paleo rather than just forgo meat?
A great question to ask is “Does the Paleo diet work?” Here we have a head to head comparison between the Paleo diet and Mediterranean diet in insulin resistant Type 2 Diabetics. The results? The Paleo diet group REVERSED the signs and symptoms of insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet showed little if any improvements. It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet is generally held up by our government as “the diet to emulate” despite better alternatives. You can find an abstract and the complete paper here.
Bridget Hastings Komosky MS, RD, CD-N is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition at Ithaca College and her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition at New York University. She completed her dietetic internship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, NY. Her work in eating disorders includes a six month fellowship at NewYork- Presbyterian Hospital and New York Psychiatric Institute, employment as a dietitian on the inpatient eating disorder unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and now as a dietitian at Walden Behavioral Care since October 2013. Currently at Walden, Bridget works with the adult and adolescent Partial Hospitalization Programs and the Binge Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program. She also has a private practice.
The aspects of the Paleo diet that advise eating fewer processed foods and less sugar and salt are consistent with mainstream advice about diet. Diets with a paleo nutrition pattern have some similarities to traditional ethnic diets such as the Mediterranean diet that have been found to be healthier than the Western diet. Following the Paleo diet, however, can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as those of vitamin D and calcium, which in turn could lead to compromised bone health; it can also lead to an increased risk of ingesting toxins from high fish consumption.
Jan Engvald has studied food and health thoroughly in the literature. In Unexpected facts on... food he shows that today's health advice (more or less unchanged for more than 30 years) is a direct cause to the increase in national diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, allergy, eye diseases, etc. His findings are low-carb and high-fat, close to paleo, though he allows high fat dairy.
So here’s the deal: I can’t even explain how good this dish is without getting hyperbolic. The way the ingredients blend together is simply perfect: creamy and rich but bright and so satisfying. It’s a simple recipe but so beautifully balanced. With only 7 ingredients, all you need is a simple side and you’re set! It’s company-worthy but easy enough to make for your fam on a Tuesday night.