Advantages & Disadvantages of the Paleo Diet

piece of salmon

piece of salmon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you fighting a war on obesity? While low-calorie and low-fat diets tend to be the most popular varieties, recently low-carbohydrate diets have grown in popularity.

That includes the Caveman Diet, or Paleolithic Diet. This diet first appeared in the 1970s, and basically argues that cavemen ate healthier than modern humans do.

The essence of the Paleolithic Diet is the belief that the hunting and gathering lifestyle of prehistoric humans was more adaptable to our genetic makeup, than modern diets are.

Advantages

1. Strictly hunted and gathered foods

One of the main benefits of the diet is that it only included foods that humans could hunt and gather. Thus, foods such as grains and the majority of starches aren’t included in the Paleo Diet. Although it doesn’t include all available natural foods, it only includes natural foods. Cavemen didn’t spend their days hunting for frozen pepperoni pizzas, or gathering Twinkies.

2. Lack of food byproducts

Furthermore, the byproducts from various food sources, such as sugar from sugar cane, wouldn’t be allowed in a Paleo Diet. Many of these byproducts are unhealthy, and can create various unwanted results. This is particularly true of modern processed and prepackaged foods, which often contain a Frankensteinian list of man made ingredients.

3. Weight loss

Those who maintain a Paleo Diet can experience some benefits related to weight loss. Carbohydrates, which are a no-no in the Paleo Diet, include foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, bread, pasta, and rice. By reducing the amount of insulin in your body, your body’s blood sugar level decreases. That allows your body to break down fat, instead of storing it. In a Paleo Diet, you essentially replace carbs with proteins.

Disadvantages

1. Unbalanced diet

One of the main criticisms of the Paleo Diet is that it includes a small sampling of food varieties. That means that people following the diet have a dietary deficiency of foods such as dietary fiber and carbohydrates. Clinical studies show that including grains and non-saturated oils in one’s diet tends to produce better overall results than the Paleo Diet does.

2. High saturated fat consumption

Another of the drawbacks of the Paleo Diet is that it tends to be high in saturated fat. That’s due to the high amount of protein that such diets are comprised of. This would actually be an asset for cavemen, who spent the majority of their day searching for food. But it can create a major problem in modern times, since we typically spend most of our days seated. In today’s world we spend more time hunting for information, than hunting for food.

3. Totally new eating habits

While many of us have consumed healthy foods, most of us haven’t exclusively consumed cavemen’s foods. Thus, adjusting to the Paleo Diet can be somewhat challenging for many people.

The Paleo Diet idolizes the diet of prehistoric humans, while undermining the value of a modern “well-balanced” diet. While some health experts fully support this diet, others believe that it’s simply a new fad diet with an old history.

Graeme Thompson writes for the Caveman Diet resource website.

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