The Paleo Diet Plan is a special dietary plan for weight loss* that is based on the foods that were believed to be eaten during the Paleolithic era. It is also known as the Stone Age Diet, Paleolithic Diet and Caveman Diet. This is approximately 2.5 million – 10 thousand years ago. The diet is typically composed of lean meats, fish, buts, fruits, vegetables and seeds. These are food items that are usually obtained through hunting and gathering. The diet primarily excludes food items that became common when farming became popular which was approximately 10 thousand years ago. This includes grains, dairy products and legumes.
What is The Purpose of the Paleo Diet Plan?
The main goal of the diet plan is to help with weight loss* while at the same time improving* the overall health of the dieter. It aims to return to a way of eating that is believed to be better suited to the human body as compared to the modern diet that became popular when farming emerged. Farming essentially changed what people ate, establishing grains, dairy products and legumes as the staples of the human diet. The hypothesis is that the sudden change in diet didn’t allow the human body to adapt which resulted to the prevalence of obesity, heart disease and diabetes that affects many people today.
Recommended Food Items for the Paleo Diet Plan
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Lean meats specifically animals that are grass-fed or wild game
- Fish particularly those rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, albacore tuna and mackerel
- Oils from nuts and fruits including olive and walnut oils
What You Should Not Eat?
- Grains including barley, wheat and oats
- Legumes like beans, peas, lentils and peanuts
- All dairy products
- Refined sugar
- All processed foods in general
An Example of a Day’s Menu
Breakfast: Broiled salmon and a serving of grapefruit
Lunch: Grilled beef sirloin and fresh vegetable salad with some fruits
Dinner: Broiled lean pork loin with steamed vegetables and/or fresh vegetable salad
Snacks: A piece of fruit, carrot sticks or a handful of nuts
* Take note that the diet emphasizes drinking plenty of water and being more active every day
Clinical Research on the Paleo Diet Plan
There are some studies showing that the Paleo Diet Plan offers certain benefits. For instance, there are clinical trials that last about 12 weeks which have been conducted on a small group of participants. The trials suggest that the diet may offer some benefits as compared to diets that include dairy products, whole grains and legumes. The moderate benefits include the following:
- Improved* weight loss*
- Better tolerance to glucose
- Beneficial for blood pressure control
- Better management of appetite
The problem is the lack of research that involves large groups of participants that are assigned to a range of different diets. This would help understand the long-term and overall health benefits along with the possible risks regarding the Paleo Diet.
Is Paleo Diet Plan Safe?
The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts which are all elements of a healthy diet. The main different is the lack of fiber sources which is usually sourced from whole grains and legumes. These food items are also ideal sources of vitamins and other essential nutrients. Dairy products are also removed from the diet which is among the best sources of protein and calcium. The diet is generally healthy but some experts believe it requires supplementation with certain nutrients in order to prevent deficiencies.
- There are small studies showing it offers some benefits
- It is generally healthy since it is low in “bad” fat
- There are many people who say it is great for weight loss*
- There are no long-term studies done to prove its safety
- It may cause certain nutritional deficiencies
- Some people say it is expensive to follow this type of diet
- It is not easy to follow
All in all, the Paleo Diet Plan is a good way to lose* weight or maintain your healthy weight. It can also offer beneficial health effects. However, there are still no long-term studies proving it is really safe. There are also concerns about nutritional deficiencies due to the elimination of certain food groups from the diet. It is worth a try if you want to lose* weight but you should consult your health care professional first especially if you have any medical condition.