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Paleo Diet-What is it?

Updated on April 24, 2015

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet (or paleolithic diet) is a diet that is based on the foods that our ancestors used to have. By ancestors, I mean people that lived in pre-agricultural times, the hunter-gatherers.
For a while now, people are talking about this new approach to eating. Many people have embarked on the Paleo diet and they say that it has changed their health in many ways. The aim and the purpose of the Paleo diet are to optimize your health and minimize your risk of diseases.

There are seven important elements of the Paleo diet:

1. Increased protein intake

Protein comprises 19-35% of the calories, whereas in the average western diet protein comprises 15% of the calories.

Examples of protein: meat, seafood and other animal products.

2. Lower intake of carbohydrates and lower glycemic index

Non-starchy fresh fruit and vegetables comprise 35-45% of the daily calories. These foods are the main source of carbohydrates in the Paleo diet. The majority of these foods have a low glycemic index, which means that they are slowly absorbed in the body and will not elevate blood sugar levels.

3. Increased fiber intake

Non-starchy vegetables and fruit provide all the dietary fiber that is essential for good health, as they contain eight times more fiber than whole grains.

4. Increase in monosaturated and Omega-3 fats

Food with an increased amount of trans fats and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats leads to the elimination/reduction of unhealthy fats and the increase in good fats can minimize the risk to cardiovascular disease.

5. Decrease sodium intake and increase potassium intake

Stone Age people were adapted to a diet that had foods with 5-10 times more potassium than sodium. Modern people have adopted a diet that is high in sodium and low in potassium, which is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure.

6. Balance out dietary alkaline and dietary acid

Foods that produce acid are meat, fish, grains, legumes, cheese and salt, whereas alkaline producing foods are fruits and vegetables.

7. Increase intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of those valuable elements, whereas in western style diets the emphasis is on whole grains. Whole grains though, are not a good substitute to meat and they are not absorbed well by our body.


Some excellent choices for Paleo followers

Paleo Diet Quick Guide

EAT
DON'T EAT
Meat (grass-produced)
Cereal Grains
Fish
Legumes (peanuts included)
Seafood
Dairy
Eggs
Refined Sugar
Nuts & Seeds
Salt
Healthy Oils (olive, coconut, flaxseed etc)
Any type of processed food
Fresh Fruit
Potatoes
Vegetables
Refined vegetable oils

What do Paleo followers say?

Most people say that Paleo is the best diet to lower the risk to cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, decrease blood pressure, lose weight, promote healthier skin appearance, eliminate acne, and increase performance in all aspects of life.

There are numerous supporters that have investigated this eating approach in depth and some have published papers or data to prove their claims. Their main and strongest argument is that in today’s western style diet people have exposed themselves to all sorts of diseases. In addition, the western diet is responsible for high levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many more.



Paleo Diet Debunk

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Paleo Diet & Controversy

Some experts in the food industry argue that people have adapted to a different diet throughout the centuries and the consumption of grains, dairy and legumes is part of that adaptation. Other people have argued that the evolutionary logic behind the Paleo diet is not accurate and therefore, people should be aware of false claims.

Is a true Paleo(-lithic) diet possible?

In all fairness, a person can’t eat like the cavemen did. People can mimic the way cavemen used to eat but there are many things that have evolved or changed since then, that it is impossible to adopt this lifestyle now.

For example, wild game is not available as it used to be, and that’s because people have developed ways to domesticate animals. Plant food is mostly cultivated nowadays rather than wild, so for an average person like you and me, there is limited access to the food sources that cavemen used to eat.

The advice of many nutritionists and dieticians is to follow a modern version of the Paleo diet, which includes lean meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and nuts. If you want to be as close to the Paleo ideology, then you should avoid dairy, grains, potatoes, processed foods and oils, and legumes.


Why should I follow the Paleo diet?

A diet that is rich in lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables contain valuable fiber and protein, which can control our blood sugar levels, can aid weight loss and prevent type 2 diabetes.

Eliminating processed foods from your diet and switching to whole foods is the basis of all healthy nutrition recommendations. In addition, eliminating grains, dairy, sugar and more foods would definitely lead to weight loss.


© 2013 DemiT

Please, Share Your Thoughts And Experience

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    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 3 years ago from Southern California

      Beautifully done hub! The Paleo diet is also a good one to follow for people with GI disorders like Crohn's and Colitis.

    • DemiT profile image
      Author

      DemiT 3 years ago from Greece

      Hi bloggering,

      I totally agree! I have a wheat intolerance and following some of the principles of the paleo way of eating has really helped me. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 3 years ago from Maine

      This is very interesting, I never heard of this type of diet. I would have a hard time with it though because I love rice and beans. Thank you for sharing!

    • LoisRyan13903 profile image

      LoisRyan13903 3 years ago from Upstate NY originally from Long Island

      If it was just me, I would go for the diet. But my husband loves his potatoes and can't eat seafood. I love seafood

    • DemiT profile image
      Author

      DemiT 3 years ago from Greece

      Creativelycc, I discovered this diet recently but apparently is beeing around for a while. I do not think many people can follow it to the letter but surely we can all benefit from returning to a less-processed food intake! thanks for commenting:)

    • DemiT profile image
      Author

      DemiT 3 years ago from Greece

      Hi LoisRyan13903,

      I can definitely say that most families would have a problem with this type of diet, as we all have different preferences! Undoubtly though, we can always get some ideas and incorporate them in our everyday life! Thanks for stopping by:)

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