Other wise known as the Caveman Diet, the Paleo Diet has proven itself to be the new craze, but what do the experts say?
Based on the notion that we should eat only the foods that we can hunt, fish or gather, the Paleolithic (Paleo) diet consists of wild and grass-fed meat, fish and shellfish and organic eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruits, and berries. “A quick and pithy definition of the Paleo diet is—if the cavemen didn’t eat it then you shouldn’t either,” says Jim White, RDN, ACSM/HFS. This means no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar and no salt.
To duplicate this diet in today’s society would be a bit difficult and costly; so some have chosen to follow a “contemporary” Paleo diet, which is more of a nutritional guide than a “diet” as we use the term today. This diet consists of meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts of any kind with limited or no dairy, grains and legumes.
The benefits of this diet are clear, it fills your diet with antioxidant and nutrient rich foods and it’s low in sodium and added sugars. This diet also reduces spikes in blood sugar and reduces inflammation. However, leaving out grains, dairy and legumes could make it difficult to meet your vitamin and mineral needs. Both legumes and whole grains have been shown to reduce risk of disease and improve insulin sensitivity, while dairy is considered the main source of calcium in most diets.
So, is the Paleo diet Dietitian approved? Cutting out dairy, legumes and whole grains would make any dietitian a little nervous. However, there are countless benefits to increasing vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins while reducing refined sugars, processed foods, and bread. In the long run, cutting out entire food groups can be difficult to maintain. It is best to choose a healthy diet modified from your current diet so you can maintain good health for life.