The Paleo Diet is designed to move us back into the eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors for health and to achieve a leaner body mass.
The Paleo Diet promotes the consumption of natural foods instead of processed ones. It goes back to basics of eating as it imitates the diet pattern of hunter-gatherer ancestors. The aim of this diet is to only consume foods that a caveman would have eaten. There is no grains, no sugar (some use honey), no artificial sweeteners, no soy, no trans-fats, no legumes and for some no dairy.
There is no calories to count or carbs to track, only restrictions of certain food items. Since it mainly focuses on protein consumption, this diet is preferred by many health buffs as it is said to be effective in gaining more muscle mass. Carbohydrate foods are sourced only from fresh vegetables and fruits – no processed ones like rice, pasta, bread and other common items. It constitutes about 40-50% protein, 15-20% carbohydrates and 30-40% fat. With that, it can be derived that it is low in carbohydrate and high in protein and fat.
- This diet is high in fat. There is no calorie counting or portion-control. You can eat unlimited amounts of coconut oil, butter or clarified butter. Other recommended fats are grass-fed beef tallow, duck fat and lard. Olive oil, macadamia oil or avocado oil can be used to drizzle on salads but not for cooking.
- This diet is also high in animal proteins. This includes poultry, beef, pork, eggs, organ proteins (liver, heart, etc.), fish and shellfish. It is highly recommended that these meats come from animals that are grass-fed. All meats should be unprocessed and without the addition of additives, preservatives and hormones.
- Cereal grains and legumes must be avoided. These include but are not limited to rye, barley, oats, brown rice, beans, black-eyed peas, oats, peanuts & soy.
- Starchy vegetables are source of carbohydrates. The best examples are yams and sweet potatoes. Consumption of fruits and nuts are also allowed but fruits should be low-sugar. All green leafy vegetables are allowed, as well as fresh herbs.
- Sugary foods, processed foods, fried foods and other packaged products are absolutely not allowed.
- Dairy foods aren’t recommended. However, butter is allowed and whole milk is too if it comes from grass-fed cows.
Since this diet is generally high in protein and fat, it goes to say that exercise is necessary. The Paleo Diet is highly preferred by health buffs since it requires a high consumption of protein and fat. This meets the requirements of intense exercises since the body will need proteins for muscle build-up and repair, and fat for energy reservoir. The usual advocates of this diet are athletes who perform CrossFit – an intense strength and conditioning exercise that combines sprinting, weight lifting, gymnastics and other variety. Similarly, this diet is said to be perfect for any other sport or intense exercise.
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- It is an effective way of gaining lean muscle mass as the diet is composed high protein.
- This diet eliminates some carbs (but not all), which will lead to weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels and much more.
- Perfect for active people, athletes and those who want to have a more active lifestyle.
- Eating natural and whole foods reduces your chances of negative health effects from the consumption of additives, preservatives and other artificial ingredients.
- A dieter has to experience drastic lifestyle changes since it requires limited food choices and increased physical activity.
- A busy person may not completely adhere to the diet especially when food preparation time is lacking, and there is limited time to do exercise.