If you stop and think about what you consume on a daily basis, you might reconsider your diet.
• Processed food bars
• Soy products
• Corn chips
• Potato chips
You may not even realize how you feel after eating these foods, until one day you are forced to pay attention. You may fall ill after eating or you feel sluggish or begin to have strong reactions and you don’t know why. What you think may just be a stomach ache, a tired feeling, a headache or rash, may be a red flag for an underlying condition.
Paleo refers to “a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit”. It excludes grain products, processed food, soy, corn and legumes. There are a few variations of the diet, such as excluding dairy, salt or certain sweeteners, however, this is mainly the philosophy of the diet. I should add that all the animal protein consumed on a paleo diet is to be organic, grass-fed/pasture raised, and fish is to be wild only. If there is dairy, it is advised to choose raw, organic and pasture-raised, as well.
As mentioned earlier, Paleo diets restrict the consumption of grains. Grains contain lectins, which are anti-nutrients that can interfere with beneficial bacteria in the gut. Furthermore, they can cause digestive disturbances, especially in those with autoimmune and digestive disorders. Grains are also very low in protein and essential fatty acids.
Several studies have shown the benefits of a Paleo diet, even without weight loss. Here is one, in particular, that does not focus on weight loss but the physiological and metabolic effects of the diet.
Nine healthy individuals consumed a paleo diet for 10 days. The calories were controlled to ensure that they would not lose weight. The results after just 10 days…
• Total Cholesterol decreased by 16%
• LDL Cholesterol decreased by 22%
• Triglycerides decreased by 35%
• Insulin AUC decreased by 39%
• Diastolic Blood Pressure decreased by 3.4 mmHg
Other studies also showed that the paleo diet does help with improving insulin sensitivity, weight loss, fat loss, and type 2 diabetes; These were short term studies that lasted less than 4 months. You can view the summary of studies here:
All studies aside, lots of individuals claim many other benefits from the paleo diet, such as:
• Reduced joint pain
• Clearer thinking
• Increased energy
• Improvements in skin (acne, rashes, elasticity)
• Improved muscle tone
• Better digestion
• Increase in lean body mass
• Less bloating
Although we have seen the benefits of a paleo diet, it is important to know that when making drastic changes in your diet, you should always speak to your healthcare provider. Overall, do not discount the importance of regular exercise, rest and stress reduction; These are just as important as your diet.