What is the Paleo Diet? And it is Right for Me?August 6th, 2012
The Paleo diet is the latest diet to take the health and fitness world by storm, with top athletes and celebrities praising its high energy and weight loss benefits. But just what is the paleo diet? And is it right for you? Read on to discover what this diet is, and the main pros and cons associated with this diet craze.
Paleo Diet Basics
The paleo diet is based on the diet that the Paleolithic (prehistoric) people would have eaten. Their diet is widely believed to have mainly consisted of lots of meat, fruit and vegetables. Gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin helped reintroduce this diet as a healthy eating plan in the 1970′s and there’s been various other adaptions and versions popularized ever since.
Advocates of this diet argue that a healthy diet consists of similar food that the “Cavemen” would have eaten, as their diet contained no processed foods and very little carbohydrates. They claim that this diet is the perfect solution for weight control and maintaining good health and can help reduce the chance of obesity, developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
While some praise the paleo diet for weight loss and improving overall health, there has been a lot of paleo diet criticism from both people who have tried the diet and from dieticians and medical professionals. To help you decide if the paleo diet is right for you, here are the main pros and cons of the paleo diet:
Paleo Diet Pros
- It’s Easy – Unlike other diets where obsessive calorie counting and calculations might be involved, the paleo diet is relatively simple to follow. You can find the paleo diet food list easily online, which clearly lets you know what you can and can’t eat while on this diet.
- It Makes Sense – As processed food and a carbohydrate heavy diets are constantly being blamed for various health epidemics (including diabetes and obesity) to many it makes perfect sense to revert to a more natural and basic diet.
- Physical Exercise is Important – Virtually every adaption of the paleo diet notes that exercise is very important and should be combined with the paleo diet in order to get the most health benefits. Therefore, this diet is very health conscious and is not just interested in quick results at any cost.
Paleo Diet Cons:
- It’s Expensive – The paleo diet insists on grass fed meat, free range, organic eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables. All of these can be very expensive, making this diet financially unrealistic for many dieters.
- It Cuts out Nearly All Carbohydrates – Almost all carbohydrates are cut out of this diet, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Carbohydrates are an essential source for providing sustained energy, and most traditional diets advise that a certain amount should be consumed each day. As a result, any diet that cuts out all carbohydrates together has the potential to do more harm than good.
- It’s a Major Change – The Paleo Diet is going to be a major change in eating habits for most dieters, which could make it a difficult diet to stick to for many. The avoidance of processed food can be particularly challenging, especially when dieters want to buy food while they’re out and about at large events or looking to eat a meal out.
- The Evidence is Confusing – Some studies have suggested that the paleo diet is good for health improvement and weight loss, while others have shown it to have little to only marginal positive results. These mixed results have led the official verdict still well and truly out with regards to just how healthy and beneficial this diet is.
What Can You Eat?
So, you’ve decided to take on the Paleo challenge but you’re probably wondering what you can eat everyday. Here is an example of what your daily diet might look like on the Paleo plan:
- Breakfast – Bacon & eggs with cut up fresh fruit
- Trail mix or fruit
- Lunch – Chicken breast with a side salad and piece of fruit
- Dinner – Steak & steamed vegetables
- Desert - Handful of trail mix
The Next Step
The paleo diet does seem to have some benefits, but its cons shouldn’t be ignored. Definitely do some more research before you embark on this diet and you may also want to consult your doctor.
Have you tried the paleo diet? Did it work for you? Please share your comments and experiences below.