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The Ridiculous Dieting Series: Paleo Diet

My plan for this weeks ‘The Ridiculous Dieting Series’ was to test out a Paleo diet. However, after some research, I realised that 55% of daily calories on this diet are supposed to come from seafood and meat, which was clearly a problem considering I’m attempting to cut down as much as I can on animal products. The rest of the food mainly constituted as what I ate for my raw food day, however I still find the Paleo diet interesting, so here is a brief account of what it’s all about!

What is this Paleo diet then?

Well, it’s inspired by the diets of our ancestors, and by ancestors, I mean the caveman type. The diet mainly consists of grass-fed meat that isn’t processed, nuts, fruits and veg. Having said this, depending on how strongly the Paleo dieter believes in the health benefits, some fruits and vegetables have been banned. For example, fruits with too much fructose (e.g. clementine’s) and root vegetables such as potatoes are not encouraged, especially since the latter wouldn’t have been available during the Palaeolithic era.

What’s the point in the diet?

Those who follow the Paleolithic diet do so because they believe that our bodies are designed to absorb and digest these sorts of foods better than others. Paleo followers believe that our digestive system hasn’t changed drastically since the Paleolithic era, despite the rapid changes culturally. Therefore, by eating refined sugars, processed foods, salt, dairy, legumes and cereal grains, we are harming our digestive systems and in turn our bodies since we are not yet evolved to eat all of the above.

Is this diet good for you?

This is a low-carb, high protein, and high fat diet (natural fats from nuts and fruits). In fact, the word ‘diet’ may be misleading, since it connotes losing weight. However, the only reason one might lose weight during this diet is because it restricts many food groups. The main positive side effects of a paleo diet are that blood sugar levels are better controlled, and that there is a reduction in risk factors associated with heart disease.

However, negative side effects have also been reported. For example, deficiencies in certain nutrients such as Vitamin D and calcium can be likely if meals are not planned out effectively. The diet fails to consider the positive health benefits that other food groups have on our bodies. Due to a more restricted calorie intake, dieters can feel more dizzy, and fatigued as they lack energy from this decrease in food intake.

It’s also important to note that modern day life is extremely different to a Paleolithic lifestyle.  We are no longer in a hunter/gatherer society, and almost every aspect of our day-to-day routines are different to what the routines of our ancestors were like. Surely then, it seems normal that our eating habits should be different? Furthermore, there are flaws in the Paleo diet considering some foods such as avocados would not have been available for the cavemen living in Europe for example, yet they’re still accepted in the Paleo diet.

Whilst I have not tested out whether the diet is sustainable and un-intrusive on a day-to-day basis, I imagine that it would not be too difficult to live by this diet. However, as mentioned before, planning meals in order to reduce the chances of a vitamin deficiency is very important.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-paleo-diet

 

 

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