Paleo Diet Review
Along with The Zone diet, the paleo diet has become quite popular in recent times. In this blog post I will summarise its claims and nutrition principles, and give you my opinion on its value.
The Paelo diet is based on the premise that human beings have not evolved sufficiently to handle our modern diet, and as such, it is a diet based on our prehistoric roots.
Guidelines and claims
The diet is centered on the eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors of the paleolithic period, which began approximately 2.5 million years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago, with the development of agriculture.
Paleo advocates believe it is the ideal diet for health and wellbeing as it resembles the ancesteral/genetic diet humans are most suited too.
Advocates highlight that our paleolithic ancestors were free from lifestyle related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which started to appear with the rise of agriculture.
The modern paleo diet consists of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
It is well beyond my own knowledge to provide commentary on whether humans genetically favour the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors or not. However from what I have read this is a very controversial topic amongst both nutritionists and anthropologists.
Paleo critics also argue that if our paleolithic ancestors failed to suffer from modern diseases such as diabetes, it is due to restricted calorie consumption or a variety of other factors rather than the composition of their actual diet.
Like many diets, this one offers a plethora of books and recipes for people to follow. An obvious benefit to the diet is that it provides people with guidelines on how to shape their diet, and in effect it can help them lose weight. It also advocates for people to eat more fruit and vegetables and less refined products, which I whole-heartedly support.
As with The Zone diet, the paleo diet is very heavy handed on carbohydrates. The diet does not permit grains or cereals, nor does it permit dairy products.
I am personally not a fan of any diet that makes such tight restrictions on what people can and can’t consume. From a nutritional perspective whole grains and cereals, as well as low fat dairy products are healthy additions to any diet. I do not believe people need to eliminate these foods from their diet to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
The paleo diet, though not a new phenomenon, has become very popular over the last few years. The genetic claims it makes are highly contentious amongst nutritionist and anthropologists and the diet has it fair share of critics.
I personally am not an advocate for the diet as I do not believe it is beneficial to remove grains, cereals and dairy products from your diet. I believe that a healthy nutritious diet should contain these foods.
Are you an advocate for the diet? Do you follow it? Let me know, as I’d love to hear your thoughts!