The diet typically includes eating fish, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. These are the foods that could be obtained in the past by hunting and gathering. The diet limits the foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. The foods include dairy products, grains and legumes.
Studies suggest that the diet can lead to significant weight loss and improve your health without even cutting back on calories.
Other common names for the Paleo diet include the Paleolithic diet, stone age diet, caveman diet and the hunter-gatherer diet.
The aim of the diet
The diet aims at returning to the way of eating what humans in ancient times ate. The diet’s reasoning is that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices, an idea known as the discordance hypothesis.
Farming has changed what people ate and added dairy, grains and legumes as staples to the diet. This rapidly changed the diet and according to the hypothesis, outplaced the body’s ability to adapt. This mismatch is believed to be a contributing factor for increasing obesity, diabetes and heart disease in today’s life.
Here are some foods to eat and avoid while following the Paleo diet.
Foods to eat on a Paleo diet
Meat: Lamb, chicken, beef, pork
Fish and seafood: Trout, salmon, shrimp, haddock, shellfish
Eggs: You can choose free-range or omega-3 enriched eggs
Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, onions, carrots, pepper and tomatoes
Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, pears, avocado, strawberries, blueberries
Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more
Healthy fats and oils: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and others
Salt and spices: Sea salt, garlic, rosemary and turmeric etc.
Foods not to eat on a Paleo diet
Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup: Soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, ice creams and pastries
Grains: Bread, pasta wheat, spelt, rye, barley
Legumes: Beans, lentils and other legumes
Dairy: Most dairy including low-fat. But some versions of paleo include full-fat dairy like butter and cheese.
Some vegetable oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil and others.
Trans fat: It is found in margarine and various processed foods. These are called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.
Artificial sweeteners: Sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium and aspartame. One can use natural sweeteners.
High processed foods: Most of the foods labelled as low-fat and diet food have many additives. Includes artificial meal replacements.
The basic rule of the diet includes that whatever is made in the factory should not be consumed.
Foods and beverages that can be consumed in small quantities include wine and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has more than 70 per cent higher cocoa content. Quality dark chocolate is very nutritious and extremely healthy.
What can you drink?
Talking about hydration, water should be your go-to beverage. Drinks that most people consume on the paleo diet.
Tea: Tea is healthy and loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Green tea is considered the best.
Coffee: Coffee is rich in antioxidants and has various health benefits.
There is no need for more than three meals per day. But if you feel hungry, here are some paleo snacks that are simple and easily available.
Some common snacks are baby carrots, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, nuts, leftovers from night before, apple slices with almond butter, a bowl of berries with coconut cream and homemade beef jerky.
Benefits of Paleo diets
Various clinical trials have compared the paleo diet to other eating diet plans such as the Mediterranean diet and diabetes diet. The trials overall have suggested that the paleo diet may provide some more benefits when compared to vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. The benefits of the diet include more weight loss, improved glucose tolerance, better blood pressure control, lower triglycerides and better appetite management.