The Paleo diet is one the biggest new diets of the last few years it seems like everyone and their grandma is trying it. You might have heard of it and been curious about it, but haven’t quite done enough research to jump in with both feet. But by the end of this article you’ll have enough knowledge about what’s been called the ‘caveman’ diet to decide if you’re ready to follow the crowd or dismiss the fad.
What is the Paleo Diet?
Paleo is short for Paleolithic, or in other words, back in the day when men scrounged for food and bopped their women over the head with big clubs. Back then, they hunted animals and gathered whatever was edible and growing in the ground around them. They lived harsh lives but were supposedly much stronger and less disease ridden than us modern humans. The paleo diet is based around the way these neanderthals ate and will supposedly benefit us with a leaner body, stronger organs, and less health problems. So is the hype really worth it?
Paleo Diet Pros
No Processed Food
This aspect of the paleo diet is the single most effective thing any diet can push. Obviously in prehistoric times there were no food factories that machine made food with preservatives and additives that we can find on any aisle in our grocery stores today. So it makes sense that the paleo diet doesn’t allow you to eat these. It makes sense that ANY diet shouldn’t allow you to eat processed food as it’s probably the worst thing you can put in your body other than poison. Of course, without someone telling us “these are the guidelines, stay away from these foods!” , we would probably eat them anyway, so this is a good aspect of the paleo diet.
The paleo diet includes foods that are anti inflammatory and strictly forbid any that will cause inflammation. The amount of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats that you consume on this diet will help to decrease any inflammation you have now and reduce the risk of any inflammation in the future.
You Won’t Be Starving
Many diets don’t work because they severely restrict the amount of food that you are allowed to eat. With the paleo diet, you are encouraged to eat sensible portions but it doesn’t put a limit on your food intake. The types of food you will be eating – fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vitamin filled foods – will naturally satiate your appetite so you won’t be feeling the deprivation of low calorie consumption. This diet usually results in weight loss due to this fact alone.
Paleo Diet Cons
Expensive and Hard to Maintain
Because of the foods the paleo diet allows and the many foods that are restricted, it can be expensive and hard to follow. Buying a grocery cart full of meat, produce, and healthy fats can definitely cost a pretty penny. And because so many foods are restricted, many people fall off the wagon within the first month.
Even though the paleo diet focuses on healthy fats, it still allows for a higher than recommended amount of fat consumption. This can negatively affect your health.
Lacking in Nutrition
Because the paleo diet restricts whole food groups including all dairy, grains, and legumes, it lacks a complete nutritional profile. It can be very hard or nearly impossible for someone to get all of their vitamins without these foods. Also, the sources of carbohydrates are limited to just fruits and vegetables. Eating the recommended amount of healthy carbs for maximum energy from just fruits and vegetables means a lot of fiber in a very little amount of time which can cause severe stomach cramping.
Not Suitable for Vegetarians
The amount of meat encouraged on the paleo diet makes it nearly impossible for vegetarians to follow, especially since beans are forbidden. And with dairy also forbidden, vegans shouldn’t even consider it.
Although the paleo diet isn’t the most extreme diet to come out, it still has its drawbacks. What do we need diets for anyway? We aren’t cavemen anymore and we don’t need to eat like one. We’ve evolved into smarter and longer living humans. Of course, this doesn’t negate the fact that we’ve created some very unhealthy foods out of convenience. Our lifestyles can be unhealthy and we should address this issue. But ultimately, you should strive to eat sensibly and stay active. If you do this, you won’t need to rely on these types of diet to lose weight.