What is Paleo Diet?
Paleolithic diets are all about eating the way our forefathers and mothers did. While you may not feel compelled to hunt down a wildebeest, Paleo followers strive to eat as naturally as possible, favoring grass-fed meats, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and other whole foods like nuts and seeds.
The paleo diet focuses on eating foods that may have been accessible during the Paleolithic period. The Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet, or caveman diet are all terms used to describe the paleo diet .
Individuals commonly ate foods that they could hunt or gather until modern agriculture arose roughly 10,000 years ago, such as seafood, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease were all far less common among these hunter-gatherer ancestors. This is largely due to their whole-food-based diets and physically active lifestyles.
Numerous studies have also demonstrated that the paleo diet can result in weight loss.
In a nutshell, the Paleo diet is a whole-foods, nutrient-dense diet to maximize foods that heal while minimizing foods that hurt. It enhances health by offering a well-balanced and comprehensive diet while avoiding processed and refined foods, as well as empty calories. It’s not just a means to lose weight rapidly (though it does for many people! ), and it’s not a fad that will fade away when scientific scrutiny is applied; rather, every Paleo principle is based on the most recent research and facts.
The Paleo diet is primarily a plant-based diet, with plant foods accounting for two-thirds or more of every Paleo diet and animal foods accounting for only one-third of every plate.
History of Paleo Diet
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., a Colorado State University researcher who began researching in the 1970s, discovered the paleo diet. The paleo diet, he claims, is how humans were genetically created to consume.
The Paleolithic or “Paleo” diet attempts to cure 21st-century illnesses by returning to how people ate more than 2 million years ago during the Paleolithic epoch. Paleo advocates argue that since our genetics and architecture haven’t altered much since the Stone Age, we should eat foods that were accessible at the time to stay healthy.
Our forefathers hunted, fished, and gathered wild plants for nourishment because their stone tools were insufficient to grow and cultivate plants. And that to a constant meal of lean proteins and plant foods, as well as a high degree of physical activity from intensive hunting, they were thought to encounter fewer modern-day ailments like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease if they survived long enough. Our forefathers’ life expectancy, on the other hand, was a fraction of what it is today.
The goal of a paleo diet is to eat in a way that is more similar to what early humans ate. The diet is low in carbohydrates but high in lean protein and plant-based meals. Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are all key components of plant meals.
Unlike some other low-carb diets, the Paleo diet supports the consumption of select fruits and vegetables while avoiding salty, processed meats. The diet does not support a low-fat diet, but rather encourages the use of natural fats such as those found in pasture-fed livestock, fish, and seafood, as well as nuts, seeds, and their oils.
The paleo diet is more than likely to result in weight loss due to the absence of a wide range of items such as grains, dairy, refined carbohydrates, and caffeine. While adopting a well-balanced paleo diet plan full of nutritious whole foods has evident nutritional benefits, there is no evidence that all modern foods are hazardous to human health and should be avoided.
Furthermore, cutting out beneficial foods like beans, legumes, whole grains, potatoes, and low-fat dairy may put you at a nutritional disadvantage because you’ll be missing out on easy sources of key vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, thiamine, folate, niacin, and riboflavin.
The Paleo diet emphasizes sustainability, which means that it is a way of eating and living that you can adhere to and maintain for the rest of your life. This means you have the freedom to explore with your own body to determine what; ideal vs tolerable are, and to learn what works best for you and fits into your life over time.
For some people, flexibility is gained by adhering to the 80/20 rule (or the 90/10 rule), which states that 80 percent (or 90 percent) of your diet should consist of nutritious Paleo foods, while the remaining 20% (or 10%) should not. Many people find that they are healthy when they keep 20% (or 10%) of their diet free of the most inflammatory items, such as wheat, soy, peanuts, and so on.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet
The paleo diet, like any other diet plan, possesses its own set of advantages. The Paleo Diet can provide you with the following advantages:-
1. Insulin Sensitivity has Improved:- Because most paleo diets are low in carbs, the pancreas has less work to do in producing insulin. According to studies, the paleo diet lowers insulin levels and so improves its efficiency. According to studies, the paleo diet can reduce insulin secretion and hence enhance insulin efficacy. Insulin resistance, the driving force behind type 2 diabetes, is reduced, and some patients may be able to lower the amount of medicine they need.
2. Improved Cardiac Health:- The paleo diet was linked to decreased blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in a 2019 meta-analysis published in Advances in Nutrition. However, the authors cautioned that this is based on a small number of research and that a few of them may have distorted results, so take it with a grain of salt. Improved total cholesterol may be one of the advantages. In 2015, researchers discovered that when compared to a regular diet, the paleo diet significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, and boosted HDL.
3. Boosts Energy Level:- People tend to eat items with a low glycemic index when following the paleo diet. This can help you avoid the energy slump that comes after eating foods with a high GI or sugar content. Because the Paleo diet is so high in protein, you will notice a significant improvement in your muscle and body structure far faster than you would with any other sort of diet. Incorporate vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and unprocessed foods into your everyday meals with this diet. As a result, the immunological system and overall health improve, lowering the risk of being ill.
4. Manage inflammation in the body:- Excess inflammation in the body can lead to a variety of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, but consuming low-carb, low-GI meals – particularly omega-3 fatty acids – can help prevent this. If you’ve been identified with an autoimmune condition and want to better control your symptoms, the autoimmune Paleo diet might be perfect for you. The diet helps reduce inflammation, promote gut healing, and alleviate the symptoms by recognizing foods that cause an inflammatory reaction.
5. Helps in maintaining Weight:- Refined, high-carb foods have been shown to harm blood sugar levels. As a result, the diet aids weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you’ll notice a difference in your weight almost quickly after starting the Paleo diet. When you cut out processed foods and refined sugars from your diet, your body begins to heal itself and burn excess fat, allowing you to lose weight more quickly.
Consuming raw foods is at the heart of the paleo diet. Paleo diets are often low in carbohydrates because they omit foods that need processing, such as grains. The paleo diet, when combined with eliminating processed foods and avoiding high-carb foods that negatively impact blood sugar levels, can help you lose weight by reducing body fat.
Foods to Eat
1. Fruits: Bananas, oranges, strawberries, apples, pears, and avocados.
2. Vegetables: Tomatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, kale, and peppers.
3. Seafood: Shellfish, trout, salmon, shrimp, haddock, and more.
4. Meat: Chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, and pork.
5. Eggs: Go for free-range eggs or pastured or omega-three enriched ones.
6. Tubers: Yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and more.
7. Seeds & Nuts: Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more.
8. Oils: Coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, among others.
Foods to Avoid
1. High-fructose corn syrup & sugar: This will also include fruit juices, soft drinks, candy, pastries, ice cream and more.
2. Legumes & grains: Beans, lentils, breads, pasta, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and more.
3. Certain vegetable oils: Sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and more.
4. Dairy: Ideally avoid most dairy.
5. Trans fats: Usually found in various processed foods and margarine – it is often referred to as ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oils.
Side Effects of Paleo Diet
1. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar):- If you require insulin, you should take precautions before starting the paleo diet. Hypoglycemia can occur if a person is taking insulin and follows the diet. You require less medication when on a low-carb diet. As a result, your dosages may need to be adjusted to avoid low blood sugar. Before beginning a paleo diet, it’s best to talk to your doctor.
2. Low Carb flu:- When carbohydrates, legumes, and grains are removed from a person’s diet, they may experience lethargy, irritability, and weariness. Although the paleo diet provides enough carbs from plants, if your diet formerly consisted primarily of bread, beans, and pasta, the drop in overall carb consumption can be significant. Low-carb flu is the name for this condition. Reduce the severity of the flu by gradually reducing your carbohydrate intake.
3. Hypothyroidism:- Hypothyroid symptoms such as weariness, sluggishness, and susceptibility to cold have been reported in people on long-term low-carb diets. Low-carb diets decrease your appetite, which might lead to your body starving. When you lose too much weight, your body begins to down-regulate thyroid functioning to conserve energy. To maintain carbohydrate levels, more paleo-permitted vegetables can be consumed.
4. Increased protein concentration:- A lot of animal protein is included in the paleo diet. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are all examples of this. These foods, except fish, are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Excessive animal-derived protein consumption lowers HDL cholesterol levels while raising LDL cholesterol levels, boosting your risk of heart disease. Your kidneys would have to work harder to eliminate any additional waste products due to the paleo diet’s high protein intake.
5. Hankering & cravings:- Hunger pangs for sugar and other non-paleo choices like French fries or potato chips are common side effects of the diet. This is most common in the first few weeks of a paleo diet shift. Cravings are known to subside after this transition, with those on the diet no longer yearning for sweets or non-paleo foods.
Some other side effects are as follow:–
- It can be quite costly.
- You don’t eat grains or dairy, which can be beneficial to your health and energy levels.
- For vegans, this diet might be challenging, especially because it excludes beans.
- Restricts several food groups
Crucial Paleo Diet Tips
1. The diet doesn’t define portion sizes for the permitted foods, and because there aren’t many, you can find yourself overeating some of them. If you ate a lot of lettuce, it wouldn’t be a concern, but if you ate a 5-pound jar of nuts, it may cause an issue.
2. Protein is more abundant in the diet, which is a vital component for muscle growth and maintenance. Too much protein, on the other hand, usually means too little carbohydrate, which is the source of energy for exercise.
3. For sportsmen, bodybuilders; the number of carbohydrates consumed may be insufficient. Although the diet allows for some carbohydrates, it is still somewhat restrictive. The average athlete requires 3 to 6 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day. It would be difficult to do this solely through fruits and vegetables.
Paleo Diet Alternatives
Nevertheless, if you want to “health up” your diet, go ahead. However, instead of adopting the paleo diet, you can keep it into consideration:-
- Eat three times every day.
- At every meal and snack, include some protein.
- Colorful foods should be included in every meal or snack.
- Grains, such as cereal, whole grain bread, rice, or pasta, should be included in every meal and snack.
- At each meal, include a small amount of fat, such as nuts, butter, salad dressing, oil, or mayonnaise.
- Selectively consume some of the less nutritious items.
1 Week Sample meal plan
- Breakfast:- Onion mint scrambled egg- 2 eggs, 1 bowl boiled spinach medium.
- Lunch:- Cold chicken tomato soup- 1 large bowl, meatballs- 4 pcs.
- Snacks:- 1 serving Meat and macaroni casserole
- Dinner:- 1 serving Rogan josh curry medium plate Egg noodles
Total calories- 2643kcal
- Breakfast:- 1 serving Butternut boiled squash, 2 Vegetable muffin , 1 medium Egg nog
- Lunch:- 2 serving -Salad with roast chicken, dried cranberries, pecans, apple slices, and vinaigrette
- Snacks:- 1 tall glassSquash fruit punch, 2 egg- Cheese & mushroom omelette
- Dinner:- 2 serving Lasagna with meat sauce, 2 Meatballs
Total calories:- 2352kcal
- Breakfast:- 2 Scrambled egg with smoked salmon- 1 fillet fish
- Lunch:- roast chicken (cold or hot) inside lettuce wraps with mustard, mayonnaise, or your favorite other condiments- 2 serving
- Snacks:- 1 large bowl Vegetable soup, 2 Mutton cutlet
- Dinner:- 1 Minced meat pancakes, 1 serving Boiled rice, 1 medium bowl herbed Chicken stew, 1 small size Baked sweet potato.
Total calories- 1950kcal
- Breakfast:- 2 Stuffed bell peppers
1 medium Egg nog
- Lunch:- 1 large bowl Vegetable stew
1 serving Boiled rice with tomato & broccoli
- Snacks:- 4 Fish fingers
1 Smoked prawns
- Dinner:- 2 Baked potatoes
1 fillet Smoked salmon
1 large bowl Broccoli cream soup
- Breakfast:- 2 serving Cabbage and onions fried up with bacon
- Lunch:- 1 serving Chicken chilli with 2 medium size baked yam
- Snacks:- 1 large bowl Almond soup, 2 Scrambled egg noodles
- Dinner:- 2 Baked yam, 1 serving Smoked vegetables, 3 Sauté herbed shrimp + 6 cherry tomatoes.
Total calories:- 2102.27 kcal
- Breakfast:- 2 pistachio-crusted salmon served over wilted spinach
- Lunch:- 2 boiled egg [herbed & salted], 1 serving Sauté vegetables, Handful Roasted nuts
- Snacks:- 2 Fish soufflé, 2 Date nut pie
- Dinner:- 2 servings -Onions, mushrooms, and spinach fried up with sausages + almond sauce, 2 Baked sweet potato, 2 Egg cutlets, 1 serving Barbecue- meat skin –mint sauce
Total calories- 2760kcal
- Breakfast:- 2 serving Smoked broccoli – chicken, Small bowl Roasted nuts
- Lunch:- 4 Minced meat cutlets, 2 serving Walnut chutney, 2 Chicken – Danish luncheon sandwich
- Snacks:- 1 serving Boiled –herbed turnip, yam , seashell salad
- Dinner:- 2 serving Paleo Creamy Bacon & Spaghetti Squash Recipe with Chicken, 1 serving Sauté broccoli with avail 1 medium bowl Vegetable stew
Total calories- 2616.12kcal
The Paleo diet emphasizes nutrient-dense whole fresh foods while avoiding highly processed meals that are heavy in added salt, sugar, and harmful fats. The absence of whole grains, dairy, and legumes, on the other hand, may result in inadequate nutrient intake.
Individuals may find it challenging to stick to such a diet in the long run due to its restrictive nature. More high-quality research comparing the Paleo diet to other weight-loss programs, particularly randomized controlled trials with a follow-up of more than one year, are needed to prove a direct health advantage of the Paleo diet.
Paleo diet weight reduction advice cannot be overstated. Best of all, the Paleo diet isn’t a diet in the sense that it’s a difficult thing to follow that necessitates a lot of discipline and self-deprivation to achieve a certain goal. It’s a way of life for them. Because the Paleo diet focuses on long-term health, it allows for imperfection while also educating you so that you can make the best decisions possible.
Except for the premise that it is another technique to aid people in emphasizing more nutritious, whole foods in their diet, the benefits of paleo eating do not appear to equal or outweigh the benefits of following any fundamental healthy diet.
According to the available, limited studies, you don’t have to stick to a rigorous paleo diet to reap the benefits. Do not forget to consult your doctor/ dietitian/ health professional before introducing it into your daily life.
1. What happens to your body when you start a paleo diet?
A paleo diet may have several health benefits, such as better insulin sensitivity and lower belly fat, as well as reduced heart disease risk factors and inflammation.
2. What are the views of science towards the paleo diet?
Unfortunately, as per the studies conducted ; the vast majority of studies described above have significant flaws, the most significant of which being the tiny sample size. The evidence isn’t solid enough for doctors to change their dietary advice just yet.
Researchers determined that “even short-term intake of a Paleolithic-type diet improves blood pressure and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin production, increases insulin sensitivity, and improves lipid profiles,” even though subjects did not lose weight. science does not wholly support the inclusion of a paleo diet for the long term.
3. What happens during the paleo diet’s first week?
When you first start the diet, you’ll most likely lose 5 to 10 pounds within the first week. Though this is encouraging, the majority of the weight loss is due to water retention. When this happens, don’t get disheartened; if you continue the diet, you’ll still lose some weight.
4. Is the Paleo diet effective?
Yes, because it is a high protein, low carb diet, it works. The diet increases metabolism and suppresses hunger sensations. It also helps with fat loss by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
5. Is the Paleo diet unsafe?
As previously mentioned, the Paleo diet has its own set of adverse effects. According to studies, the paleo diet can be harmful to one’s heart and digestive health.