The Palaeolithic diet, also referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet, and hunter–gatherer diet, commonly known as Paleo Diet, consists of foods that are assumed to have been available to humans prior to the establishment of agriculture. Studies, on healthy subjects put on paleo diets for three weeks, found significant improvements in weight, body mass index, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
The diet promotes nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, and meat and excludes grains and dairy products. It forbids foods that humans hadn’t discovered/invented, at that time (Stone Age) including peanuts, lentils, beans, peas, and processed sugar. Advocates of the Paleo diet maintain that our bodies are not “built” for food derived from modern agricultural processes and that food processing is the cause of “modern” diseases (lifestyle diseases) such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
Paleo diet has fewer calories and is high in protein, it includes foods which have a low glycaemic index although have a lesser fibre content compared to most high protein low carb diets. Palaeolithic diet compared to any other weight control diet is more satiating and facilitates a reduced caloric intake. A weight loss diet with low to moderate carbohydrate, moderate to high protein has been shown to result in more favourable changes in body composition, dyslipidaemia, and the post-prandial insulin response compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets. Therefore, the greater protein intake during a Palaeolithic diet might confer an additional benefit (beyond weight reduction) in its favourable effects on risk reduction for metabolic disease.
The most important feature of this diet is that it avoids processed foods, mainly because we tend to overeat them and they are nutritionally void. Most of us would agree, that limiting highly processed foods, such as those made from refined flour such as bread and pastas; processed products such as potato chips, processed cheese, canned meats; and those with high sugar content such as candies and ice creams; is a healthy practice. Most of these processed foods contain high amounts of preservatives, salt, refined sugars and fats and add little or no nutritional value to our diets.
Despite successful outcomes in clinical studies, the Paleo Diet is still widely discouraged by nutritionists. This is because, elimination of entire food groups (dairy, grains, and foods with added sugar) means excluding, essential nutrients from the diet such as Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, calcium, fibre and antioxidants. The Nutritionists favour a more nutritionally balanced diet which would provide all nutrients as per recommended allowances.
All populations seem to develop metabolic or lifestyle diseases due to consumption of highly processed foods and sedentary lifestyles. It therefore seems prudent, to increase their intake of vegetables and fruits and to decrease the intake of animal fats, refined grains, simple sugars and processed foods. Along with the change in diet, there is a need for the change in lifestyle form a sedentary to a more physically active one, in order to battle the metabolic diseases or obesity.
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Each of us are different from the other and so, need a diet that suits our body type the best.
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