In an age of new diet plans and crazes its easy for people to get confused by what exactly is good for them? The Paleo Diet or Caveman Diet as it is commonly known has been generating a lot interest recently and is starting to gain momentum in the competitive sports world across a wide variety of high level amateur and professional sports. So what exactly is the Paleo Diet and what exactly are the benefits of it?
The Paleo Diet in its simplest terms is exactly what a caveman would have eaten. The main component of the diet is made up of meat/fish, eggs, vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds. It eliminates grains such as bread, rices and pastas and the large majority of processed foods, basically all foods that have been manufactured and are considered unnatural.
Plus points on Paleo:
The largest killers in society today contained in diets are manufactured grains and sugar rich processed foods. Breads, potatoes, pastas etc are the main stable of the vast majority of peoples’ diets in society at the moment. Mainly due to their convenience, and more importantly force and habit. Its so easy to walk into any outlet and pick up a sandwich, bottle of orange juice and a yoghurt and from the marketing in the media believe that you are indulging in a healthier option. In reality though you may be doing as much damage as getting something from the hot food counter!
Breads, pasta and rice dishes etc are all processed refined carbohydrates in the majority of cases, while these with their wholegrain versions are marketed as being a healthier alternative they are in fact not that and can cause many problems such as excess weight gain due to the high level of carbohydrate contained within them and can also contribute to a lot of diseases such as diabetes due to the affect they have on insulin levels.
Paleo effectively elimates this problem and replaces these with natural fruits and vegetables. This has been seen to have massive advantages for not only members of the general public making the switch but also high level athletes as many top Mixed Martial Arts fighters, Boxers, CrossFit competitors to name only a few have made the switch over with great success.
Down sides of Paleo:
The theory behind the Paleo diet cannot be questioned and has really made a storm in both the health and fitness and competitive sporting world. Some of the criticisms that have been laid upon it are the fact that in many cases it has started to become commercialised with many Paleo Diets online condoning the use of such things as diet sodas, and processed meats like sausages and bacon. Things like this have no health benefits whatsoever and the only articles you will read on them are actually the negative effects they have on the body.
Outside of this some people are unsure why food items like sweet potato and quinoa are not allowed on the hardcore Paleo Diet, two items that although very high in carbohydrate content have been noted as having significant benefits, with sweet potato being classified in many cases as a super food and quinoa being one of the only food items to contain such a huge quantity of amino acids.
Diet plan debates are something that can go back and forth between people continously with each side providing legitimate arguements on both sides of the fence. As a whole though my opinion on the Paleo Diet is that the hardcore concept, has many noted health and fitness benefits and is working at the highest level. While some people argue against low carb, high protein and fat diets, done correctly this is not the case with Paleo as your carbohydrates are taken in from the fruits and vegetables category. In short, high carbohydrate diets resort in weight gain and in many cases serious health problems. Whereas high fat and protein diet with a balanced amount of carbohydrates from the right sources have been shown to have significant health benefits to the body and also increased performance benefits for athletes.
Like any diet its never one size fits all so people can experiment how they like and find what works best for them. These are just my findings from experience and revision on the topic over the years. The main point to take from this whole thing is eat from clean sources, if it doesnt grow, or eat something that grows, then dont eat it. This is a simple line commonly used by many nutritionists and when its applied makes a lot of sense and makes the dieting process so much easier to follow without having to constantly carry books around with you. Hope this has been of help, and dont be afraid to drop a line on any other topics you would like discussed.