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FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
“Eat like your ancestors and reap the health benefits!” That’s the basic concept of the Paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet. Does it actually work or are supporters just blowing smoke?
The Paleolithic (Caveman) diet has been around for some time, since Loren Cordain, Ph.D., researcher at Colorado State University, started studying the diet in the 1970s. However, there still has not been sufficient scientific literature to support or deny the Paleo diet health claims. The main concept behind the Paleo diet is to try and mimic what hunter gatherers ate 10,000 years ago. That means lots of meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, veggies, fruits, roots, and berries. Because hunter gatherers were not farmers, you can say goodbye to all dairy, grains, and legumes.
The diet claims to help control blood sugar (a big help to Type II diabetic patients), regulate blood pressure, and contribute to weight loss. In my opinion, these are some pretty lofty claims for a diet that has not been thoroughly studied.
However, there are a number of health professionals who have tried the diet and have attested to its beneficial claims.
Because there is not an adequate amount of studies to make any claims about this diet, I cannot definitely say that it does or does not work. What I do say is as long as the diet works for you and is bringing you closer to a healthy lifestyle, then you may proceed with caution and careful consideration! Let me clarify that you should always consult with a medical professional, especially a registered dietitian, before making any drastic changes with your diet.
Let’s go through some pros and cons of the diet as described by Leslie Bonci, RD, MPH, LDN, the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health Sciences:
Bottom line: If you are willing to spend extra money on grocery shopping, extra time cooking in the kitchen, and are up for the challenge of living with no processed foods, then this diet may be suitable for you. If you are shaking your head no to any of the above, I think it may be wise for you to seek an alternative diet.
For your information:
Eatright article on the Paleo Diet: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/should-we-eat-like-our-caveman-ancestors
Michael Pollan and His Argument as to Why People Shouldn’t Follow the Paleo Diet: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/17/michael-pollan-paleo-diet_n_4619723.html
Terry Wahls, M.D. and Her Counter-argument to Pollan:
Web MD article on the Paleo Diet:
Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet: