Billed as the healthiest way to eat since it consists of none of the processed foods found in a modern diet, the Paleo diet is a popular weight loss trend — but does it work?
How did it come to be?
Commonly referred to as the Caveman diet, the Paleo diet encourages people to return to the Stone Age by eating foods that emulate the wild plants and animals consumed in the Paleolithic Era.
- Studies found that modern diets full of processed foods, trans fat and unhealthy sugars are the leading causes of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
- Because the Paleo diet focuses on foods that the very first humans ate, supporters say it is much healthier and more beneficial for the body.
- They point to the cultural image of cavemen as strong, muscular physical specimens as proof that our bodies are naturally adapted to the hunter-gatherer diet.
What is it?
The Paleo Diet consists of foods that were available to humans 2.5 million years ago. Because this period was far before the agricultural era, the diet consists of plant-based foods and wild animal-sourced meat like fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs and nuts.
- Because humans during this period were unable to farm, the diet does not include grains, dairy products, salt or refined oils.
- Consuming protein is a critical component of the Paleo diet, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that 15 to 35 per cent of calories come from protein. Given that the Paleo diet lacks dairy, many people opt to take a calcium supplement.
Does the Paleo diet work?
Critics argue that the reason the earliest Home Sapiens did not suffer from the diseases prevalent today is because they did not live long enough for them to become present.
- Furthermore, because there’s no scientific evidence that confirms the diet works, it’s impossible to say whether or not it’s particularly beneficial.
What’s missing from the Paleo diet
In addition, the Paleo diet ignores many important food groups like grains and dairy products. As a result, it’s difficult to say whether it leads to a healthy lifestyle.