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All about the Paleo Diet: Is It Safe?

You may have heard of the Paleo Diet, which is also known as the Caveman, Stone Age or Hunter-Gatherer Diet, especially when fitness and group exercise regimens like Crossfit are discussed. Read on to learn more about it and determine whether it is healthy and safe for you.

What is It?

During the Paleolithic era, which took place approximately 10,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, our ancestors relied on nuts, seeds, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and anything else they could hunt or gather for nourishment. The Paleo diet aims to duplicate these eating habits, as some researchers believe that a diet resembling our hunter-gatherer predecessors’ is healthier, due to the fact that the human body hasn’t yet evolved to properly digest products of agriculture, such as grains, dairy and beans. There is some evidence that a reliance on these foods may be contributing to modern-day levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Eating a Paleo Diet

Food that you can eat on the Paleo Diet includes:

  • Lean meat, preferably organic and grass-fed
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oils from fruits and nuts, such as olive and coconut oil

Food to avoid includes the following:

  • Dairy products, such as milk
  • Grains, such as wheat and oats
  • Hydrogenated oils (trans fats)
  • Diet products, low fat products or processed foods
  • Legumes such as beans, peanuts and peas
  • Potatoes
  • Refined sugar

Along with these eating restrictions, the Paleo Diet lifestyle also emphasizes getting plenty of exercise.

Results

A healthy diet consists of plenty of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, which are the cornerstones of the Paleo Diet. Emphasis on these whole foods is always a smart way to improve your eating habits, and is part of the reason why the Paleo Diet is considered relatively safe. Clinical trials comparing this diet to other eating plans, such as the Diabetes Diet and Mediterranean Diet, show numerous benefits. Triglycerides often go down, as does the risk of heart disease. Blood pressure can also improve as a result of decreased weight and a lower body-mass index. Weight loss is common during the first six months, primarily due to lower calories consumption.

Limiting carbs and sugars minimizes the build-up of glucose in the blood, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can also inhibit tumor growth because refined carbs can suppress the immune system and feed cancer cells.

It’s important to note that not all experts agree on the benefits of the Paleo Diet. Some question how anyone can get all the needed nutrients by excluding dairy, grains and legumes. They also caution that eating too much protein can cause higher amounts of cortisol and ammonia and a depletion of Vitamin A. It’s important to always talk to your doctor before you start any new diet.

 

 

 

 

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