If you ever did a search on popular diets for weight loss, Paleo probably came up at some point. Similar to the keto diet in some way, Paleo is a low-carb diet, though that is not the main point of it.
Already in 1975, in his book The Stone Age Diet, gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin supported a meat-based diet, with few vegetables and starchy foods. Ten years later Stanley Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine saying that because we were very similar to our primitive ancestors, we were meant to eat pre-agricultural foods. They added that the modern diet led to lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.
However, the Paleo diet only became popular in the past ten years. While it is generally considered a safe diet, there haven’t yet been enough studies, especially long-term ones, to prove the benefits and risks of Paleo.
What is the Paleo diet?
The name Paleo refers to a return to how humans used to eat during ancient times, specifically the Paleolithic era before farming emerged. The diet is also known as the Stone Age diet and is based on the idea that our modern way of eating is not compatible with our bodies.
The main purpose of this diet is to eat in a healthy way, avoiding all the processed foods that we tend to eat nowadays. Because it is so low in sugar and only contains carbs from fruits and vegetables, the diet is also often followed for weight loss.
What can you eat on the Paleo diet?
Because the Paleo diet is based on the concept that we should eat pre-agricultural foods, it excludes all processed foods as well as grains and dairy, since animals were not yet domesticated in the Paleolithic era.
This means that you should eat meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, and oils derived from them.
Among the foods to avoid, there are wheat, oats, barley, legumes like beans, lentils, peanuts and peas, all dairy products, refined sugar, salt, and potatoes.
Should you try the Paleo diet?
It can be challenging to stick to a Paleo diet since our modern way of eating includes lots of grains and dairy. It can also be more expensive since generally foods like pasta and bread are cheaper than meat. However, compared to other diets, like keto, it allows for more flexibility and it is richer in nutrients.
The downside of the Paleo diet is that it includes big quantities of meat, which are saturated fats, which can lead to a risk of kidney and heart disease. It also excludes legumes and some grains which are good sources of fiber.
Overall, though there aren’t enough studies on the Paleo diet, it is considered a healthy diet, and eliminating processed foods is certainly a good choice. However, you can also choose to follow other less restrictive ways of eating and be active to reach similar results when it comes to weight loss and staying healthy.