Paleo diet pros and cons

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Who else remembers the good old days, when people worked hard every day, did not spend every free minute pushed into an armchair, and the tables did not reign with sugars and dripping fats? It was not even chairs and tables, because we were busy running with spears and fighting for survival.

Although these were dangerous times, one thing is certain – in the Paleolithic era, there were far fewer diabetics, obese people and victims of heart attacks. Why did the apple fall so far from the apple tree? For sure the difference in physical activity is important here, but our diet has also changed significantly. Can we improve health by adopting the eating habits of our Paleolithic ancestors?

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Assumptions of the paleo diet

The name of the diet comes from the Paleolithic age, which lasted for about 2 million years and was completed almost 10,000 years ago when with the agrarian revolution, the Neolithic period began. Naturally, we do not have accurate records of what the diet was like at the time, but based on observations of current gatherer-hunter tribes and archaeological discoveries, we can guess.

The paleo diet is not a classic diet to improve the appearance of the body in 10 weeks. It does not have specially specified phases, duration, and complex protocols. The paleo lifestyle is simply about making the right dietary choices, it does not even require counting calories.

On the way to the store, you have to feel like a Paleolithic man who travels the jungle in search of food. In this jungle, he certainly will not find packed bars or a bottle of sweetened beverage. It will not find a fresh loaf of bread or a bottle of milk in it. Its source of food will probably be hunted meat and collected fruit and nuts.

Efficacy proved by research

The paleo diet became so popular because it caught the eye of scientists who in numerous publications checked its effectiveness and compared it with other diets.

As an example, we can use the study from 2016, whose main author was Dr. Julia Otten. Participants of this experiment adhered to the assumptions of the paleo diet, that is, their diet was dominated by-products such as lean meats, fish, seafood, vegetables, and fruits. At the same time, they completely avoided cereal products, dairy products, legumes, processed fats, processed sugars, and salt. The authors of the study ordered one group to perform a special training program 3 times a week.

Although the study lasted only 12 weeks, the paleo diet combined with physical activity allowed participants to lose an average of 7.1 kg on weight and a loss of 8 centimeters at the waist. Improvement in many health markers has also been observed, among others decrease in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) and a decrease in systolic and diastolic pressure.
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One might even think that the participants were on a hunger diet, but the truth is completely different. They were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted – as long as they followed the assumptions of the paleo diet!

The biggest pros

– Complete elimination of processed products;

– high satiation and suppression of hunger – this is probably the result

from the combination of the high content of meat products, fruits, and vegetables, thanks to which the diet is rich in protein and fiber;

– cardiovascular health and cellular membranes – this is due to the high consumption of healthy fatty acids, in particular, omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish;

– no requirement to count calories and macronutrients;

– reduction of body fat and simultaneous preservation of muscle tissue.
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Cons of the paleo diet

The disadvantages of this nutritional system are not related to nutritional values, but the ideology of the entire movement. We can not be sure what the diet of our ancestors looked like. There is evidence that up to 100 grams of fiber per day were consumed in some regions of the world during the Paleolithic period.

The top-down rules for the elimination of legumes and potatoes seem unjustified. There is no real evidence that these products affect our health and body appearance badly.

Posted on: October 30, 2019

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