What’s the paleo eating regimen? Right here’s every little thing it’s good to know
At first glance, the paleo diet may sound ideal for meat lovers.
Versions of the diet are known as the Caveman Diet or the Paleolithic Diet because you should eat foods that were available to our prehistoric ancestors. Think about things that can be hunted and gathered, such as meat, produce, and nuts. They avoid foods like dairy products and grains that humans began to eat after agriculture and production began.
But watch out carnivores. Dietitians say just because steak and eggs are allowed doesn’t mean you should load up meat at every meal throughout the day. Here’s what you need to know:
What is the Paleo Diet?
The term paleo diet was coined by Loren Cordain in his diet book “The Paleo Diet” from 2002 (a revised edition of the book was published in 2010). It is based on the Paleolithic nutrition theory, which, according to anthropological knowledge, after the advent of agriculture and the industrial revolution, spread many chronic diseases (such as cancer and heart problems).
What Does Research Say About The Paleo Diet?
The science on the subject is murky at best.
While some studies show that people can experience some health benefits by switching to a paleo diet, the jury remains undecided as to whether those benefits are better than switching to other healthy diets that have been studied in more depth.
For example, a 2015 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that studies comparing paleo foods to diets containing dairy products, legumes, and grains showed that people who eat paleo are better able to: Lose weight, improve glucose tolerance, lower triglycerides and control control blood pressure and appetite.
However, the story gets more complicated when you take a closer look at the studies, explained Deirdre K. Tobias, ScD, Associate Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. The legume and grain diets (the “control groups”) were somewhat high in processed foods. And everyone in these studies initially had risk factors for metabolic problems. So it’s hard to say for sure that the benefits they saw really came from the paleo food. “Instead, was it that these benefits were cutting out processed foods and turning up fruits and vegetables?” Asked Tobias. “With so many aspects of the diet being changed, it is virtually impossible to attribute any component of the patterns to their success.”
Many other components of our lifestyle have also changed since the caveman era. Linking the occurrence of chronic diseases to certain foods is therefore still quite theoretical.
What will I be eating on a Paleo Diet?
Every paleo-style diet includes:
- Nuts and seeds
Some versions allow limited amounts of non-paleo foods like grains, dairy products, legumes, and other processed foods. Cordain’s original Paleo Diet recommends following the 85-15 rule, which means that 85 percent of the food you eat should be Paleo and 15 percent can be non-Paleo. Choosing a modified version of the diet can make it a lot easier to stick with for the long term, said Amy Shapiro, RD, CDN, founder and director of Real Nutrition in New York City.
You avoid foods that humans ate after agriculture and production came into being, including:
- processed sugar
- lots of foods that come in packages
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
What a Day on the Paleo Diet Might Look Like:
Here’s an example of a Shapiro meal plan suggesting what a day in Paleo might look like:
- Breakfast: Whole egg, mushroom, asparagus and dill frittata
- Having lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, avocado, roasted pumpkin and spinach
- Snack: Apple slices (or celery) with nut butter and cinnamon
- Dinner: Fried salmon with Brussels sprouts, baked sweet potatoes and olive oil
- Dessert: Avocado chocolate pudding
Are Grains and Beans Really That Bad for Me?
Organizations such as the World Health Organization and the US Department of Health regularly review dietary records to establish healthy eating guidelines. Both groups consistently report that whole grains and legumes are generally associated with lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
If you improve the quality of your diet (i.e., eat more whole, nutrient-dense foods and minimize processed foods) by switching to a paleo diet, you will likely see benefits. However, there is no evidence that you will see any more benefits in the long run than if you switched to another healthy diet that includes grains and legumes (like the Mediterranean diet or the plant-based diet), Tobias said.
What about all that red meat?
It’s important to take into account that there is a fairly extensive body of nutritional research that suggests that consuming a lot of red meat, especially processed red meat (like sausage, ground beef, and bacon), can result in worse health outcomes for things like Heart health is linked and cancer. If switching to a paleo diet meant a significant increase in the amount of red meat in your diet, Tobias said, “This could put you at higher risk for these health problems.”
The Paleo Diet is similar to:
- A total of 30, which also excludes grains, pulses, dairy products and sugar.
- Keto diet that also excludes whole grains and legumes. The diet allows dairy products, but no fruits or starchy vegetables.
- Pegan Diet, which combines the principles of the Paleo Diet and the Vegan Diet.
- Atkins Diet, which restricts but does not eliminate grains, legumes and sugars.
Is the Paleo Diet Effective Long Term?
When you focus on nutritious whole foods, the Paleo Diet can be healthy, Shapiro said. But many people rely a little too heavily on animal protein on a paleo diet because they feel like they are not full of the other foods (such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) that the diet allows for. She explained. “Then we run the risk of consuming too much saturated fat.” If adopting the diet means eating more red meat, this is probably not a good move for your long-term health.
They also cut out whole grains and legumes, both sources of fiber. Vegetables and fruits also contain fiber, but most people will find that they need to put quite a concerted effort into meeting the recommended fiber intake in a day (roughly 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men for adults).
Before switching to Paleo, it is important to speak to your doctor, who can recommend the best diet based on your specific health needs.