Paleolithic diet for optimal nutrition?
Every day scientists publish new discoveries about nutrition. There are also experts who say that everything we need is a diet identical to that used by our stone age ancestors.
The paleo diet, also known as the diet of cavemen, warriors or the diet of the Stone Age, is a menu containing plant and animal food, which our ancestors from 10,000 years ago had access to. Why should we go back in time and eat in this way? Because our bodies are genetically programmed to receive just such food. Proponents of the paleo diet argue that such a way of nutrition provides us with all the necessary nutrients and prevents many diseases.
What do advocates of the paleo diet say?
Loren Cordain, a doctor, professor at Colorado State University, and at the same time the author of the paleo diet claims that scientific research has proven that this type of nutrition is optimal for us, reduces the risk of heart disease, inflammation, hypertension, helps to achieve and maintain normal body mass, guarantees maximum fitness and physical fitness.
On many websites devoted to the paleo diet and in many books written on this topic, you can read that the modern diet is responsible for epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
Skeptics, on the other hand, say that humanity has already adapted to a larger number of diverse foods, including whole grains, dairy products and legumes. Meanwhile, Loren Cordain argues that our genes have not been able to adapt to them, which promotes the formation of inflammation at the cellular level, and thus promotes the development of civilization diseases.
What can you eat while on a paleo diet?
Simply put, you can eat anything that could be hunted, caught and collected in the Paleolithic era – meat, fish, eggs, molluscs and crustaceans, nuts, vegetables, root plants, fruits, berries. Unfortunately, this way of eating is practically unreachable, because almost all available fruits and vegetables, as well as meat are currently grown or bred. Therefore, it is only possible to get close to the diet of our ancestors by eating gluten-free products and lean meat, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables from farming and organic farming.
In the paleo diet there are no dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, potatoes, processed oil, and thus those products that entered the human menu after the beginning of agriculture.
Being on a paleo diet, avoid salt and drinks other than water, coconut water, organic green tea.
Appetite for sweets can be satisfied with wild honey and palm sugar, which can be eaten in limited quantities.
Some versions of the paleo diet allow inclusion of certain amounts of olive oil or linseed oil into the nutrition plan.
How it’s working?
The unique, health-promoting effect of the paleo diet is attributed to high protein, fiber and healthy fluids that saturate, help control blood sugar levels, prevent weight gain and type 2 diabetes. To benefit from this beneficial effect on health, it is enough to make 80% of food compatible with the paleo diet. Loren Cordain proposes that everyone interested in his diet should devote two weeks to it and realize what the difference in well-being is.
The paleo diet plan includes encouraging people who use it for regular physical activity. Our ancestors from 10,000 years ago were active, because getting food and ensuring their safety required a lot of work and movement from them. Getting organic food nowadays requires less effort, so we have to make sure that we find time to move.
Paleo diet and expert point of view
Nutritionists have been encouraging people to eat more lean meat, fruit and vegetables for years, and to limit the amount of sugar and salt in their diets, as well as to avoid processed food. However, their recommendations also include dairy products, legumes and whole grains, whose beneficial effects on human health have been proven in many scientific studies.
Many specialists say that the paleolithic diet has many advantages, but the restrictions it puts make it only one of many diets that are difficult to maintain for a long time. There have also been no long-term studies that would be the basis for comparing its effects on the body with other diets beneficial to health – Mediterranean, optimal, etc.