You've heard about the Paleo diet, but what exactly does going Paleo mean? And why would you do it?
What Can I Eat on The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet calls for eating like our ancestors did: no grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar, or processed foods. Rather, fill your plate with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, seafood, grass-fed/free-range meat, eggs, nuts & seeds, and healthy oils. The outcome is supposed to be weight loss, lower blood sugar, and less inflammation in your body.
The History of The Paleo Diet
The theory behind Paleo is this: people’s genetics haven’t changed much in the past 10,000 years, but farming, food production and food availability certainly have! Some doctors and scientists think the dietary habits adopted over the past 100 years have led to an increase in heart disease, diabetes, and a variety of autoimmune disorders. These heath conditions were virtually unknown among hunter-gatherer and pre-agricultural human beings — their “caveman diet” consisted of fat, lean meat, occasionally roots, berries, and other sources of carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, our country's SAD (Standard American Diet) has become a diet loaded with sugar and carbohydrates that come mainly from processed grains. The Paleo thinking is our bodies haven’t evolved to keep pace with these changes and we don’t have the genetic wiring to process that type and quantity of grain, hence many of our health problems, including weight issues.
Why the Paleo Diet Works
The Paleo diet isn't necessarily low-carb, but it replaces those high-glycemic index, grain-based foods that don't do a body good. Reducing those high glycemic foods has many benefits:
- Less inflammatory response because you aren't eating gluten and sugar.
- Increases the body's sensitivity to insulin.
- Minimal blood sugar spikes and therefore less insulin being released.
- Helps you lose weight.
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Reduces hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
- Minimize energy crashes.
- Minimize carbohydrate cravings.
The Paleo diet is easy to follow and relatively quick with results. Give it a try!
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods