Paleo for Results?

The Paleo diet = eat like our ancestors? The Paleo diet is called the “caveman” diet. The premise of the diet is to eat the foods as if we were living back in the caveman days. Supporters of the Paleo diet claim that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat these types of foods because that is what we did back in the stone age! However; there can be drawbacks. The best way to make an informed decision about your dieting patterns is to understand the pro’s and con’s of the diet – along with understanding the impact on your physical activity level.

The Diet

The Paleo diet is a very healthy diet, says Loren Cordain, PhD, Colorado State University professor and author of The Paleo Diet. “Clinical trials have shown that the Paleo Diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” Cordain says. When my clients make this statement about the Paleo diet, I do not disagree. The premise of the diet is to eat fish, meat, shellfish, nuts, seeds, eggs, vegetables, roots, fruits and berries. You will not find any grains, potatoes, sugar, legumes or oils on this diet giving that they made their debut after modern agriculture. You would only drink water, coconut water or organic green tea. Salt is a no-no. No processed foods. This could definitely be good – in theory. Eating a diet based on these whole foods is going to limit fast food trips, binges on sweets, soda and alcohol! The basis of a healthy diet is listed here. However, we are missing some of the KEY nutrients in the HEALTHY diet plan, and it can take some strict planning to get in these nutrients otherwise.

The Drawbacks

The Paleo diet is missing key nutrients found in whole grains, legumes and fat free dairy. These foods are not harmful for our bodies, however; the sugar, refined white grain, and high fat dairy can be! By cutting out the whole grains, legumes and dairy –you need to add in the appropriate amount of other veggies, proteins and carbohydrates in order to prevent nutritional deficiencies. It may also take supplementation in some cases due to lack of variety in food choices. “People who eat diets high in whole grains, beans, and low-fat dairy tend to be healthier because these foods are nutrient-rich and there are mountains of research about the health benefits of diets that include, not exclude, these foods,” says Keith Ayoob, EDd, RD, an assistant professor at New York’s Albert Einstien School of Medicine. We just have to make a wise choice overall – by cutting out the sugar and salt, adding in more whole and fresh foods!

The truth behind the Paleo diet is that to actually follow it to “caveman” standards would be utterly impossible in today’s day and age. Not to mention the cost and time spent planning to meet these standards are probably more than any working individual could sustain for more than a few short weeks. The animal meats eaten back in the cavemen days would have been wild animals – not any chicken you can buy at the local grocery store. Also, all the produce would be organic – which is very difficult for individuals to come by in some areas of the country.

I always recommend cutting out salt, sugar and processed foods as much as you can. Any diet that forces you to cut out vital food groups can be hard to stick with in the long run. Aim for 4-5 servings of lean protein per day (including beans and legumes), 5 fruits and veggies, 3-4 whole grains, 1-2 low fat dairy products and 1-2 healthy fats. Balance is really the key in achieving health and wellness for a lifetime!

If you are interested in bettering your health, lose weight and get off obesity related medicines – try to focus on the whole and realistic approach. If you are attempting a diet plan that you only plan to sustain for a short period of time, it will never last for long term weight management. The key word in the Paleo diet is DIET – diets are not effective for LONG TERM weight loss for most people. Healthy eating is not a diet – but we should all be practicing it. If you are in need of assistance in changing your eating habits for the better, be sure to check out our website or give us a call at Fitness Together!, (330) 702-1311.



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Posted by on May 6, 2013. Filed under Nutrition,Weight Loss. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry