What’s Up With The Paleo Diet? Is It Right For You?
Diet trends come and go, but one that’s been picking up a lot of steam in the past few years is the paleo diet. While other food fads work on point systems or require you to buy into their plans, paleo stands as a simple contrast. Like most diets, it limits the range of food you’ll be allowed to eat, but unlike others, it isn’t backed up by pseudoscience – it has its roots in human history. If you’re looking to start eating healthier and you’re considering picking up the paleo diet, here’s everything you need to know.
So, What’s the Paleo Diet?
Thankfully, understanding the paleo diet is easy. All it asks you do is eat like our ancestors did. And no, we’re not talking about your great-uncle Charlie’s famous barbecue. Rather, this diet is meant to mimic what the earliest humans ate. The paleo diet exists almost like an argument against the quick, processed food that has swept the world in the past century, food that has led many to unhealthy overconsumption. Proponents of the paleo diet reason that we’re better off eating natural foods that served our species well for generations upon generations.
What You Can and Cannot Eat
So, is it as easy as skipping the drive thru on the way to work? Well, not really. While the premise of the paleo diet is simple, there are a few different interpretations of how to make the best of this diet, and most of them have long checklists of foods you can and cannot eat. For most versions of the diet, you’re encouraged to eat mostly lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. What you can’t eat: dairy, grains, processed sugar, potatoes, nuts and legumes, and alcohol. That means if you’re planning on heading out to the bar this weekend, you might want to sip on some water and bring baby carrots to munch on.
Benefits and Possible Dangers
While the paleo diet may prove to be an exercise in restrictions, there is one thing you don’t have to worry about: counting calories. And its proposed benefits are nothing to sneeze at. If you stick with the paleo diet, you’re promised weight loss, better digestion, and less allergies. Before you get too skeptical, keep in mind that many people have adapted to this diet and seen these effects. That said, there are some risks. By cutting out certain foods and drinks, such as milk, you might be denying your body the right levels of calcium and vitamin D, as well as other minerals.
Is It Better Than Other Diets?
Doctors have been weighing in with all sorts of opinions on the paleo diet, and they mostly agree that it can’t do you too much harm in the short term. But while paleo is healthier than other diets, whether it’s your best option really depends on you. Many people have problems sticking to a diet that restricts whole food groups; do you really think you could go a sustained period without dairy or potatoes? If that’s something that doesn’t bother you, give it a try. And with any major change in your lifestyle, tell your doctor!