Paleo Diet Benefits and Risks
What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is a popular option that offers a relatively moderate way to reduce excess body fat and lead a healthier lifestyle. The Paleo or Prehistoric Diet is based on the premise that a dietary plan based on what our ancestors ate back on the Paleolithic era well before the advent of refined carbohydrates and processed foods can shed fat and eliminate a wide-range of common health problems. The proponents of paleo suggest that consuming foods is key to restoring health. Here’s a short list of foods consumed by early humans:
- Large amounts of lean meats and oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna
- Relatively large amounts of fruit and vegetables
- Significant portions of nuts and seeds
- Moderate to high use of heart-healthy oils such as olive or walnut
- Complete exclusion of dairy, grain products and processed food
What are its benefits?
The Paleo Diet has been shown to decrease inflammation along with oxidative stress while alleviating many other common health issues, including:
- Heart disease and other health issues like diabetes and stroke
- Elevated triglycerides (and poor lipid balance in general)
- Elevated blood pressure and fasting glucose
- Excess body fat
Many diets like the Paleo diet are, in fact, beneficial and help millions of people maintain a healthy weight while battling obesity. More than sixty percent of Americans are overweight or obese with health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Dealing with busy lifestyles and engaging in minimal physical activity has only aggravated these problems.
What are its drawbacks?
The Paleo Diet has been praised by many individuals for its health benefits and relative flexibility. It must be noted, however, that it can also cause adverse effects due to extremely high levels of saturated fat and protein and deficiencies in Vitamin D and calcium intake. Diets like the Paleo diet can be beneficial and help millions of people maintain a healthy weight while battling obesity. However, because dieting involves major lifestyle changes and continuous reduction of calories consumed, doctor supervision is strongly advised.
What’s the verdict on Paleo?
DietDemand’s medical director notes that the Paleo Diet in many ways has changed over the last five years as much research that has revealed that there really is no one paleo diet since our ancestors ate dramatically different diets depending on where in the world they lived. Eating as our ancestors ate simply boils down to eliminating the consumption processed foods, simple sugars and carbs.
While the Paleo diet has various health benefits and works for many individuals, it is not ideally suited for all. Besides high levels of dedication, the Paleo diet requires consistency on a daily basis. In addition, some parts of the Paleo diet are not supported by the American Diabetes Association’s dietary recommendations or leading medical professionals.
VERDICT: Despite its health benefits, the Paleo diet is not an ideal diet because it is not customized for individuals’ specific needs.