The Paleo Diet and what you can eat
The Paleo Diet is admittedly, the “caveman” and the label makes this sound like a weird fad diet, but trust me: it isn’t. Over the past 200,000 years, humans have biologically adapted best to whole foods: plants, meat, seafood—all of them packed with the nutrients our bodies evolved to thrive on. Which ones are the Best? Click Here!
But a typical plan also exceeds the Dietary Guidelines for daily fat and protein intake and falls short on carbohydrate recommendations, according to a review from U.S. News & World Report. The exclusion of whole grains, legumes and dairy can be risky as well. “These foods are nutrient-rich and contain important vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D. Without these foods, supplementation is necessary,” says White. “Eating this way … can be very healthy but the lack of certain foods may result in certain deficiencies.”
What to Eliminate
Eliminating whole grains and dairy is not necessarily the ticket to ending disease and ensuring weight loss. Whole grains contain dietary fiber, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and other health complications. And, studies suggest that dairy may play a role in weight loss. “The crux of the problem, with respect to grains and dairy, stem from over consumption, and, as with anything, excess quantities will become problematic,” explains White.
Agriculture came on the scene a mere 10,000 years ago—a tiny fraction of our evolutionary history—and there simply hasn’t been enough time and evolutionary pressure for humans to completely adapt to eating modern foods like wheat, sugar, chemically processed vegetable and seed oils, and other “Neolithic” foods. It’s not a coincidence that many modern diseases of civilization—including autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rampant obesity—have accompanied the global spread of industrialized food. That’s why the Paleo approach emphasizes returning to a more ancestral approach to eating.
But here’s the thing to keep in mind: we’re not trying to precisely replicate cavemen diets. Yes, a few Paleo die-hards may approach their diets this way, but there isn’t just one definitive, monolithic, one-size-fits-all “Paleo diet.” Some Paleo eaters choose to go super-low-carb, while others of us (me included!) are happy to munch on a baked potato or a bowl of white rice every now and then. There are Paleo eaters who can’t imagine life without dairy, and more orthodox folks who refuse to touch even a pat of butter with a ten-foot pole. The Paleo tent is big enough to fit a host of different approaches, but the core tenets of ancestral eating remain the same: Click Here!
Avoid foods that will harm us by causing systemic inflammation, wrecking our guts, or derailing our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and the laboratory-concocted Frankenfoods found in the middle aisles of your neighborhood supermarket.
Physicians, biochemists, nutritionists, and other researchers are starting to come around to the benefits of ancestral nutrition, and people who adopt a Paleo-like approach to eating are reporting significant improvements in their general health, body composition, and energy levels. Most importantly, there’s evidence that folks who eat this way are reducing their risks of numerous diseases and disorders that are associated with the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).