What Is a Paleo Diet and Is It Good For You?

July 6, 2017

[ssba]
Lauren Modery
Lead Copywriter

Going paleo is all the craze right now, with brands and restaurants offering paleo-friendly grub for people wanting to “eat a like a caveman.”

But what is a paleo diet exactly? Is it just eating a bunch of bark and twigs? We are curious ourselves, so we decided to dig in and see what the hubbub is all about.

What is a Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet Movement was made famous by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., with his 2002 book, The Paleo Diet. According to his website, thepaleodiet.com, the diet is “based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. The following seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets will help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and lose weight.”

The seven characteristics include:
-High protein intake
-Low carb intake & lower glycemic index
-High fiber intake
-Higher fat intake with balanced Omega-3 and 6
-Higher potassium intake and lower sodium intake
-Balanced alkaline and acid
-Higher intake of vitamins, antioxidant, minerals and phytochemicals

How does a Paleo Diet work?
The modern-day human is inundated with high carbohydrate foods that are often processed. These sort of foods make us sluggish, overweight and can cause long-term health effects such as diabetes and heart disease. Hunter-gatherers had a diet high in protein, high in fiber, low in carbohydrates and with no refined sugar intake. The Paleo Diet helps promote this healthier eating style.

So what do you have to eat?
According to thepaleodiet.com, this is what you should eat:
-Grass-fed meat
-Fish & seafood
-Fresh fruits
-Fresh vegetables
-Eggs
-Nuts & seeds
-Oils such as olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado and coconut

These are foods you should not eat:
-Cereal & grains
Legumes such as peas & beans
-Dairy
-Refined sugar
-Potatoes
-Processed foods such as soda, candy or protein bars
-Refined vegetable oils
-Salt

So is it healthy for you?
Reviews are mixed. The diet is often hailed as one of the worst (US News and World Report) and one of the best (Consumers Report). HuffingtonPost says the pros consist of getting you cooking, getting you lots of nutrients and it can be low in saturated fat. As for cons, it can be restrictive and confusing. Other critics are concerned about the heavy meat intake that the diet promotes. A diet high in meat can increase your chances of developing cancer or diabetes. However, a diet low in refined sugars can help prevent heart disease. Like any diet, it’s important to consult with your physician to ensure that this is the best diet for you!