When it comes to weight loss it’s not immediately obvious which diet works, what’s good for you, and what could actually be damaging for your health.
The Paleo diet is no exception. Are our bodies really adapted to the modern food industry, or should we still be eating like cave people? We speak to dietician Sophie Medlin about the pros and cons of the Paleo diet.
What is the Paleo diet?
Put simply, the Paleo diet means eating only what people would have had available to them in the stone age, effectively cutting out processed foods, carbohydrates, and dairy.
‘The Paleo diet is designed to mimic what humans were thought to have been eating around the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.’ says Medlin ‘The diet cuts out dairy, beans, pulses and grains and encourages a lot of meat, fish and vegetables.’
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What are the health benefits?
The idea behind the Paleo diet is that the human body isn’t adapted for the modern diet we have now. After rapid developments in farming and industry established the likes of dairy and processed foods, our bodies, so the theory goes, haven’t had the chance to adapt. Therefore, the Paleo diet is said to be a way of being ‘kinder’ to your body.
In terms of the tangible benefits, ‘the Paleo diet is another way to cut out carbs,’ says Medlin, ‘so if you’re able to stick to it, it will probably help you to lose some weight.’
‘It is also high in protein,’ Medlin adds. Protein is an excellent food source that benefits your bones, muscles and skin.
Paleo diet health concerns
Despite the theory that the Paleo diet will benefit your health, there are several reason why it might not be worth the risk, according to Medlin.
➡️ Bowel health: the diet eliminated some important types of fibre from the diet which may negatively affect the bacteria in your large bowel.
➡️ Imbalance: a diet that is high in meat is shown to have poorer health outcomes than diets that are balanced with plant protein. Pulses are an important source of plant protein.
➡️ Cholesterol: anyone with high cholesterol or problems with fat digestion should avoid this style of eating.
➡️ Calcium: the diet can be low in calcium which is a particular concern for anyone under the age of 30 and women due to issues with bone health.
The Paleo diet verdict
The reason this particular diet leads to weight loss is because of the reduction in carbohydrates. However, as a highly restrictive diet, it cuts out some essential food groups.
‘Cavemen lived much shorter lives than we do now,’ Medlin points out. ‘While this diet may help you to lose weight, it is not well balanced.
‘Weight loss can be done in a more balanced way and still include pulses, dairy and some whole-grains, therefore mitigating the risks of the Paleo diet.’
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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and MSN does not endorse them in any way. Neither can MSN independently verify any claims made in the article. You should consult your physician before starting any weight loss or health management programme to determine if it is right for your needs.