You might have heard about the Paleo diet or Caveman diet and theres been mixed reviews about it, we give you the unbiased truth.
If you didn’t know the main information about the Paleo diet it is:
“a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans or Cavemen, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit and excluding dairy or cereal products and processed food.”
First off then, the good points:
1. Its better than what most people are currently eating. Generally speaking the majority of people need to eat naturally i.e. food not out of a box. Swapping breakfasts like cereal for things like meat will always be better for keeping you fuller in the morning.
2. It favours Protein based foods. Protein based foods keep you fuller longer but the best point is a high protein diet is proven to help you lose weight.
3. It gives people structure. If you know you can only eat certain foods, in some scenarios that will help you stay on the diet. (Theres a flip side to this later)
4. More good fats in the diet. Fats are a food lacking in most peoples diet due to the old myths that Fat makes you Fat. In fact good Fats like Nuts will help you lose weight.
So as you can there are many good points about the Paleo diet or style of eating, now onto the bad….
1. The flip side as mentioned before is Restrictive diets are always hard. So as soon as you say you can’t eat grains or dairy. You will crave them more and in a healthy balanced diet there is no problem with grains or dairy. Grains are full of good fibre, whilst dairy is a great course of calcium, so you will miss out on these nutrients.
2.It doesn’t track calories. High protein is great on Paleo, so is high fat, but what about the calories? The problem you get on a diet like this is that you believe the foods you consuming are healthy so they will help you lose weight. But If you consume a few handfuls of nuts a day that adds up to nearly 800 calories or more. Extra calories, healthy ones or not, are extra calories which means you will put on fat. Also watch out for the Paleo recipes, sound and look good. But just because its a Paleo cake, you can’t eat a whole one.
3. Why do we need to eat like Caveman? Should we behave like Cavemen too, better get rid of the car and ditch the mobile phone because Caveman didn’t have them. Im being facetious. But really though, Caveman didn’t live very long and any diet as mentioned in point 1 becomes restrictive and unrealistic.
4. Dogma. Any diet gets a following, these people will believe theres is the best diet ever and will tell youabout it at every chance. Not necessarily bad for your body, but bad if you hang out with any Paleo eaters or Caveman dieters.
So overall Paleo has a lot of good points and bad points. The best thing to take from Paleo is to eat more naturally, so make 80% of your diet based around foods like meats, fish, vegs and fruits. However, allow yourself to make up the other 20% with foods you like and need to maintain a balanced diet. Eating a few things from boxes isn’t going to be bad for you, so don’t worry about it.
Remember, calories are the most important things. Despite whatever “diet” you are on, even for just a few days track your calories to see how many you are eating – from there, you can adjust and lower them if you need to lose weight.