Dr. Loren Cordain’s famous book, The Paleo Diet, has been widely acclaimed in scientific and lay communities and published in 2002.
The basic ideas date back much further, all the way to 1975. The Paleolithic Diet is based on common, current foods that are similar to our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors’ dietary groups.
The idea is that humans have evolved to eat a certain way, and the modern diet includes several foods and types of processing unavailable to our ancestors.
Due to this disparity and the fact that the current era of food abundance is relatively new, modern humans face vastly increased risks of chronic disease and obesity.
In the paleo diet, the food composition is king. The following fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets are considered essential to the paleo diet.
7 Logics of The Paleolithic Diet
1. High Protein Intake – Protein accounts for 15% of calories in the normal diet, which is significantly less than the 19-35 percent reported in hunter-gatherer diets. The significant foods of modern Paleo diets are meat, fish, and other animal items.
2. Lower Carbohydrate Consumption and Low Glycemic Index – The primary carbohydrate source is non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables, which offer 35-45 percent of your daily calories.
Almost all such foods have low glycemic indexes, meaning they are slowly digested and absorbed and will not spike sugar levels in the blood.
3. Increased Fibre Consumption – Dietary fiber is critical for optimal health, and the paleo diet maintains that whole grains aren’t the best source.
Non-starchy veggies have eight times the fiber content of whole grains and 31 times the fiber content of refined grains. Fruits have double the fiber of whole grains and seven times the fiber of refined grains.
4. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats Predominate, with Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats in a Balanced Ratio – The idea is that the kind of fat in your diet, not the total amount of fat, boosts your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Reduce the amount of trans fats and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in your diet while increasing the beneficial monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats found in Stone Age diets. Recent meta-analyses of large population studies suggest that saturated fats have little or no effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. High Potassium and Decreased Salt Intake – The average person now consumes around twice as much sodium as potassium. Natural, unprocessed foods contain 5 to 10 times more potassium content than sodium, and stone-age bodies were evolved to this ratio.
Potassium is needed for the sound functioning of the heart, kidneys, and other organs. Low potassium levels are connected to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, the same issues linked to too much sodium in the diet.
6. Net Dietary Alkaline Load, Counteracts Dietary Acidity – All foods present a net acid or alkaline load to the kidneys after digestion. Meats, seafood, cereals, legumes, cheese, and salt are acid generators. Fruits and vegetables are alkaline-producing foods.
Excessive dietary acid over a lifetime can cause bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, an increased chance of kidney stones, and worsening breathing issues like Asthma.
7. Enhanced vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, and phytochemical consumption – Many of the minerals and B vitamins incorporated in whole grains are poorly absorbed by the body.
Because whole grains lack vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B12, they are a poor substitute for grass-fed or free-range meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Pros and Cons of Paleolithic Diet
- Most people will notice weight loss primarily due to the limited food choices.
- There is a high satiety level due to the high protein and fat intake.
- This diet creates a favorable hormonal environment for fat loss and has an extremely high thermogenic effect.
- It has a positive impact on metabolism. For the most part, it preserves muscle mass.
- It is simple to follow and does not require you to count your calories. Instead, watch what you are eating.
- It has an excellent ability to boost immunity, reverse insulin resistance, and prevent lifestyle diseases.
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- This diet can be quite costly.
- This diet might be challenging for vegans, mainly because it excludes beans.
- An average athlete requires 3 to 6 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day. It would be challenging to do this solely through fruits and vegetables. We aren’t cavemen. Our way of life is considerably different.
- Due to this diet’s incredibly low carbohydrate content, it can be difficult to grow muscle.
Allowed Foods in The Paleolithic Diet
1. Fish and Seafood.
2. Lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, pork, and eggs.
3. Fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, such as lettuce, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach.
4. Nuts, like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and pistachios (no peanuts).
5. Organic roasted seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower.
6. Plant-based oils, such as olive, walnut, grape seed, and coconut oil.
Not Allowed Foods in The Paleolithic Diet
1. Grains, such as oats, wheat, barley, and rice — which means no cereal, bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, or granola bars.
2. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, as well as potato and corn chips, tortillas, and popcorn.
3. Legumes or beans — so no peanuts or peanut butter; no soy foods, such as soy milk, tofu, or edamame; or dal, no hummus or beans of any kind.
4. Dairy products — so no milk, yogurt, cheese.
5. High-fat types of meat, such as salami, bologna, pepperoni, hot dogs, ground meat, rib roast, and ribs.
6. Sugars, such as soda, honey, jam or jelly, syrup, candy, cakes, cookies, and sports drinks.
7. Processed foods or trans fats, such as doughnuts, french fries, fruit snacks, or macaroni and cheese.
8. Salty foods, such as crackers, chips, pretzels, soy sauce, added-salt foods, or sports drinks.
9. No added supplements.
A Sample Paleo Diet Plan
Snack 1 (Pre-Workout)- 2 bananas (210 calories), 1 cup black coffee, two boiled eggs (150 calories, 12g).
Breakfast (Post-Workout)- 1 apple (60 calories), 1 Orange (65 calories), 1 cup of grapes (62 calories), 200g Baked Pork Ham (350 calories, 32.7g).
Lunch- 200g Mixed greens salad (91 calories, 5g), 200g Grilled Chicken (180 calories, 40g), 1 tbsp olive oil (120 calories).
Snack 2- 25g almonds (160 calories, 6g).
Dinner- 250g Vegetable stew with prawns (208 calories, 27g) Totals- 1656 calories, 118g.