Paleo: The pros and cons of eating like a caveman | Brand Ave. Studios

Susan S. Johnson

The pros and cons of eating like a caveman

The pros and cons of eating like a caveman

Recently, a wave of low-carb diets have been popping up across the internet. The most popular, which many people have heard of, is the keto diet. But another low-carb strategy, the paleo diet, is also becoming popular again. 

Before starting a new health plan, it’s best to speak to a healthcare provider. Midwest Express Clinic providers are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Simply check-in online at your closest location and a Midwest Express Clinic provider will take care of any concerns you may have.

What is the paleo diet?

The paleo diet was developed in the 1970s by a Ph.D. researcher from Colorado State University named Loren Cordain. The diet claims that humans were never meant to eat the way we do now, i.e. lots of grains and processed foods.

The paleo diet suggests that humans need to go back to the way we ate in the Paleolithic era: Lean meats, fish and nuts are some examples of foods allowed on the paleo diet. The diet also emphasizes expanding past the usual meats, like chicken and turkey, and trying overlooked meats like heart and liver for their variety of nutrients.

What foods are allowed and not allowed?

There is no exact list of what foods are and are not allowed.

Generally, the paleo diet includes:

  • Lean meats like turkey, chicken, pork and bison

  • High protein organ meats

  • Fish

  • Fresh fruit

  • Nonstarchy vegetables like lettuce, asparagus, green beans and broccoli

  • Seeds

  • Eggs

Foods typically not allowed on the paleo diet include:

  • Grains like oats, wheat and barley. This is the hardest part for many people as this means no cereal, pasta, crackers, granola bars or bread.

  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes

  • Dairy products

  • High-fat meats like hot dogs and ribs

  • Sugars, e.g. honey, soda, candy, cookies

  • Processed foods and trans fats, e.g. doughnuts and French fries

These lists are not exhaustive. Also, some paleo dieters choose to not be as strict. For example, some might consume dairy products. It all depends on the individual’s lifestyle and circumstances.

The pros and cons of the paleo diet

There are varying opinions of the paleo diet. Practitioners of the diet say it changed their lives, while scientists studying the diet claim that there are nutritional benefits to foods left out of the paleo diet.

  1. Clean eating. You are more likely to eat a clean diet. Because the paleo diet removes all forms of processed foods and sugars, you will have a significantly cleaner lifestyle.

  2. Greater satiety. You may feel full longer and therefore eat fewer meals. The paleo diet has a higher intake of proteins and fats, which take longer for the body to digest and absorb, leading to greater satiety.

  3. More nutrients. The paleo diet forces you to eat a lot of meat, which contains necessary nutrients including iron. Also, you may find anti-inflammatory benefits from the nuts, seeds and fruits included in the diet.

  4. Weight loss. Because the paleo diet is so restrictive, many users lose weight. Cutting processed foods and snacking less can cause those numbers on the scale to drop.

  1. Money. The paleo diet is expensive. The diet emphasizes large amounts of meat at every meal, which is one of the most expensive items you can buy at the grocery store. If you go with grass-fed or organic meats, the price can skyrocket.

  2. Balanced dieting. Eliminating grains and dairy could mean missing out on necessary nutrients. While many practitioners of the diet claim you don’t need grains or dairy, most scientists and dieticians believe that both are necessary for a balanced diet.

  3. Not for non-meat-eaters. The paleo diet is almost impossible for vegetarians or vegans. With the amount of meat consumed, the paleo diet is not for non-meat-eaters, especially since beans — a key source of protein for vegetarians and vegans — are not allowed.

  4. Low carb. Athletes may have trouble finding energy. Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for humans. The paleo diet significantly decreases carbohydrate intake, which may cause athletes to feel sluggish and underperform during competition.

Is the paleo diet right for you?

That depends. While the paleo diet removes many foods that contribute to obesity and general unhealthiness, it is also expensive and may not be practical in the long-term. Still can’t decide? Come see one of Midwest Express Clinic’s providers. They will answer any questions you may have.

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