A diet designed to resemble what human hunter-gatherers ate thousands of years ago, a Paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. A paleo diet also limits foods that became common when farming emerged. Foods like dairy products, legumes, and grains that man started cultivating, have been excluded from this caveman diet. Like many other diets, there are paleo diet benefits.
Is the paleo diet safe? Yes, it is. But before we jump into the benefits here are some of the foods that you need to avoid while following a paleo diet.
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup: Exclude soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, pastries, and other sweets from your diet.
- Grains: This includes bread, pasta, wheat, rye, barley, etc.
- Legumes: Exclude legumes like beans, and lentils, amongst others.
- Dairy: Avoid most dairy. Especially the low-fat variety.
- Vegetable oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, etc.
- Trans fats: The fat found in various processed foods, also known as hydrogenated fat.
Here’s what you can eat on the paleo diet
- Meat like beef, lamb, chicken, pork, etc.
- Fish and seafood, like salmon, trout, haddock, shellfish.
- Eggs that are free-range, pastured or omega-3 enriched.
- Fruits like apples, bananas, avocados, pears, oranges, etc.
- Tubers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and more.
Paleo Diet Benefits
1. Weight loss
Since the main aim of a Paleo diet is to eat unprocessed food this usually means that a paleo diet tends to be low in carbohydrates. Thus, this combination of removing processed food, and avoiding high-carbohydrate foods means that the Paleo diet can help reduce body fat and consequently lead to weight loss(1).
[ Read: Keto Diet for Weight Loss ]
2. Increased insulin sensitivity
Since most paleo foods are low-carbohydrate, there is often lower demand on the pancreas to produce insulin. Hence, the paleo diet may reduce insulin secretion, and thus improve the effectiveness of insulin. This reduces insulin resistance which also happens to be the driving force of Type 2 diabetes(2).
3. Improved heart health
The paleo diet may have many benefits for heart health. This may be particularly useful for people with diabetes, as heart disease is one of the most common complications that diabetics face. The health benefits may include improved cholesterol as well. Lower cholesterol levels in the body automatically translate into a lower chance of heart disease.
4. Provides more energy
While following a paleo diet, you will eat foods that are low on the Glycemic Index. Hence, you will avoid the sugar crash that comes after consuming foods that are high in sugar.
5. Lowers inflammation
Eating low carbohydrate and low Glycemic Index foods, particularly omega 3 fatty acids, may protect against excess inflammation. The lower the inflammation, the lower the risk of health problems including Type 2 diabetes.
[ Read: Zero Carb Diet Foods ]
How Do You Start a Paleo Diet?
You need to consult a dietician before switching to a paleo diet. In general, a paleo diet needs to be high in fat, moderate in animal protein, and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Do not count your calories, or control your portions.
|A sample menu is described below and this contains a balanced amount of paleo-friendly foods, however, you could adjust the below menu based on the preferences you have.
Breakfast: Eggs and Veggies that are fried in coconut oil, Fruit (single piece) preferably banana
Lunch: Chicken Salad with a dash of olive oil, Nuts (around 40 grams) (if you have an allergy you could make this a piece of fruit)
Dinner: Salmon Fried in butter with a side of vegetables.
It is to be noted that you don’t have to track the calories or the macronutrients in this diet, this is something you could do at the later stage.
If you are planning to lose weight using this diet, do tweak it to cut down the carbohydrates. It is strongly recommended that you consult a physician/nutritionist for tweaking the diet according to your body and health type
[ Read: Ayurvedic Diet Plan ]
The motto of the paleo diet is to eat real food. Here is the recipe for a delicious paleo burger which is sure to satisfy your hunger and taste buds.
- Ground beef 2 pounds
- One medium-sized finely chopped onion
- Three cloves of finely chopped garlic
- Four egg
- Fresh pineapple cut in slices ½ cup
- Ten marinated beet slices
- Sea salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Burger patties as required
- Take a bowl and combine ground beef with onion, one egg, garlic
- Now add sea salt and pepper to the ground beef and mix well
- Now form a patty-like shape from the ground beef. This marinated beef can make six patties
- Now place a pan on the stove on a medium-high flame
- Once the pan is heated, put the patties in the pan for five minutes on each side. Patties can also be grilled on BBQ
- Now grill the pineapple slices for about a minute on each side
- To fry the eggs, place a little amount of oil in the pan and fry the eggs
- Once all the ingredients are ready, place the patty on the bun and add marinated beet slices, fried eggs, and grilled pineapples
The paleo burger is ready to be served!
To satisfy the sweet tooth, here is the recipe for simple paleo dessert – Chocolate – Almond Bars. This delicious dish requires fewer ingredients and no baking. Here is the recipe of the incredibly healthy paleo dessert:
Chocolate – Almond Bars
- Organic Creamy Almond Butter – 1 cup
- Paleo Vegan Chocolate chips – 1 cup
- Pure maple syrup – 3 tablespoons
- Coconut flour – 1 cups
- Take a deep pan and mix the coconut flour with ½ cup organic creamy almond butter and pure maple syrup
- The mixture must be mixed thoroughly. It must be thick enough
- Now set this flour mixture in a dish and refrigerate until the chocolate mixture is prepared
- Now melt the paleo vegan chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat
- Add the remaining creamy almond butter to the melted chocolate
- Now pour the prepared chocolate mixture over the almond butter layer
- Level the chocolate
- Refrigerate the dessert until it is firm
- Now take the dish out of the refrigerator and cut it into slices
The amazing paleo Chocolate – Almond bars are ready to eat!
There are pros and cons of the Paleo diet
- It is an unbalanced meat-only diet
- This is untrue, as a typical Paleo diet contains a small portion of meat, with lots of vegetables, fruits, and some nuts. Paleo dieters eat a lot more plant food in comparison to others.
- It is a fad diet
- The paleo diet goes back to the time of early man when we were all hunter-gatherers. The fundamental tenet of this diet is to eat only what the human body was designed originally to eat. This proves that this is not a fad diet.
- It’s expensive to follow
You don’t have to choose the best cuts of meat when you follow this diet. Balance meat out with fish sometimes to be economical.
- Low blood sugar, if you are taking certain glucose-lowering medications.
- Low carbohydrate flu
- Craving for foods that you’ve eliminated
- Lack of energy, initially
- Change in bowel habits
In conclusion, a paleo diet is a healthy diet to start, if you are on the road to fitness. Consulting a dietician is very important, so you don’t make any grave errors with regards to what you eliminate from your diet, or what you include in it.
Also, if you have a history of taking medications it might be wise to see how a paleo diet might affect the way those medications work on your body. All in all, the paleo diet is a great way to rid the body of toxins, and get on the path to good health.
[ Read: Keto Diet for Vegetarians ]
1. Is the paleo diet good for weight loss?
High in protein and low on carbs, a paleo diet may help you reduce your appetite, as it eliminates highly processed foods and added sugar.
2. Does the paleo diet work?
In the long term, a paleo diet may help you reduce your weight or control your weight. Hence, it is a good long-term diet.
3. Is paleo better than keto?
Both diets discourage the intake of added sugar. If sugar goes out of your life, it’s a win-win situation, whether you follow the paleo diet or the keto diet!