Redefining Paleo Diet
Healthy Living

Redefining Paleo Diet

Farzana Chauhan profile Authored by Farzana Chauhan on 14 Oct 2014 - 16:42.

The paleo diet is one of the most interesting diets similar to our ancestors' diet, also nicknamed as hunter-gather diet, caveman diet, or primal diet. This unique diet includes fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, sea food, nuts and seeds while avoiding grain, legume, dairy product and processed food.

The paleo diet works on the concept that these are the foods we are genetically adapted to. Over a period of time our diets got modified to various choices available in the market, though our body’s needs remain the same – a balanced diet and reasonable physical activity.

In recent past paleo diet has become very popular and researched by nutritionists and health professionals. Study published in journals like Diabetologia, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Cardiovascular Diabetology and Journal of Internal Medicine, concludes that paleo diet leads to greater improvements in:

  • Waist circumference
  • Blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Total cholesterol reduction
  • Blood pressure control and
  • Liver fat reduction

Not only it is known to reduce health risks but also it helps in getting:

  • Naturally glowing and acne free skin
  • Lean body
  • Fast recovery from injury and
  • Improved athletic performance

Due to limited research on this diet, it’s still a controversial topic, in terms of its effectiveness. Some feel it is reasonable and healthy while others feel it is not balanced and harmful. Here we attempt to explain the pros and cons of paleo diet in today’s generation.

Cons of Paleo Diet

Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD, who is researching on this topic, provides the following comparison between daily nutritional intake of our ancestors and today’s common diet.

Percentage of Diet

Paleolithic Diet

 

Average Modern Diet

 

Protein

31

16

Fats

38

35

Carbohydrates

31

49

The paleo diet is high in fat content, but our ancestors used to lead an active life which helped in burning the fat. They had to hunt animals and run miles after the prey. Their caloric requirement was higher as compared to our sedentary lifestyle.

The protein content of paleo diet is way too high (35%) than our recommended 20% protein in Indian scenario. Eating too much of protein and not enough carbohydrate can cause kidney damage and prone to osteoporosis.

Whole grains and legumes are full of nutrients like, carbohydrate, fiber and essential amino acids. When calories from carbohydratesare not available for body functions, it uses protein by breaking down muscle, optimal amount of carbohydrate is necessary for the body. Paleo diet is devoidof nutrients that help to lower the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure, and promote a healthy weight.

Paleo diet lacks in dairy products, that are high in calcium and vitamin D. Individual who wants to avoid rickets, osteoporosis, should consume 2-3 servings of dairy products per day.

Pros of Paleo Diet:

Excessive consumption of carbohydrate is rare in paleo diet. Our body is not equipped to handle over consumption of highly processed carbohydrates and simple sugars therefore consuming large portions of processed carbohydrate can result in diabetes, weakened immune system, obesity and other metabolic disease. 

In the omega 3 fatty acid content is high, and consists of health benefits as compared to our today’s diet which are high in poly unsaturated fatty acid.

Eating fresh food is good for health and Paleo diet scores points here as it is fresh food with no preservatives used such as sodium or salt. Research study finds that people who eat home cooked food increase their life expectancy to 10 years.

Paleo diet consists of eating many servings of fruits and vegetable along with meat. People who start following Paleo Diet for health benefits start consuming extra serving of meat but skip salad and raw fruits. Veggies and fruits are highly preferred due to their high vitamins and mineral content.

To conclude, Paleo diet needs little modification to fit into today’s diet plate suitable for this age considering the lifestyle and food of today.  So it is always better to weigh the pros and cons before indulging in a particular diet.

 

References:

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.