Chances are if you’ve been trying to lose weight you’ve heard of the Paleo diet. Actually you may have very well heard of it even if you haven’t. Like many a diet before it, the Paleo diet relies on a set of rules claiming to be based on science. People swear by it and in theory it makes sense, but is it actually practical?
Paleo harkens back to the days of a different time; the caveman era. The diet lays out an eating plan that mimics the way our ancestors ate hundreds of years ago. The idea is that modern day diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all the result of processed foods. Things like grains, dairy, legumes, salt, and sugar which have entered our diets thanks to the agrarian revolution are all eliminated from the diet. What’s left? Meat, fish, and veggies. Think of it as retro dieting.
This all sounds sensical and smart, but it also throws out foods that do have real nutritional value. Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorous in dairy, and fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins in grains. In addition, legumes are a fantastic source of protein and fiber that also happens to be low fat. The nutrients in these forbidden foods can lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reduce risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
If you have weight problems to begin with and you’re used to eating lots of processed fatty food, any diet is likely to help you lose weight Paleo included. Which is a good thing since obesity is becoming a major epidemic.
The problem with Paleo is that eliminates things that are healthy like low fat yogurt for example. It also neglects to address portion control, a key element in losing weight. There’s also no mention of saturated fat which is a major artery clogger. It would be easy to cut out grains and just fill up on meats with no concern for your heart.
Last but not least, the diet forgets one major thing; we’re human! In the Paleo diet there’s no room for cupcakes or fettuccine Alfredo or peanut butter and jelly? Enjoying delicious food and savoring it is one of life’s pleasures. In fact, its one of your senses. Sure one may need to lose weight, but it’s also important to maintain balance. So go ahead and cut out unhealthy foods. Just don’t forget to eat that cookie every once in a while.