The Paleo diet is purported to reduce inflammation and reduce our chances of developing lifestyle diseases. Fact or fad? Naturopath Eugene He tells us more.
What is Paleo?
The Paleo Diet, or Paleolithic diet, also called the Caveman diet, is based on the principle that our body is designed for the same foods that our hunter gatherer ancestors used to eat. Due to modernisation and the rise of agriculture and processed foods, there is a hypothesis that the digestive system of humans have yet to evolve to consume certain foods effectively, thus resulting in diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The belief is that by switching to the original caveman diet, we can then reduce inflammation and ultimately reduce the chances of developing lifestyle diseases. As this theory is relatively new, there are no long-term studies of people on the Paleo diet to substantiate any claims. As with all trending diets, the Paleo diet has its fair share of controversy and criticism. However, a well-executed Paleo diet can be nutritionally sound, low in carbohydrate calories and devoid of any processed foods.
Paleo in a nutshell…
WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED:
1 All grains and grain products (rice, wheat, corn, quinoa, barley, corn) – contains anti-nutrients and promotes inflammation and bowel irritation
2 Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, soy) – same as grains
3 Refined and artificial sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose) – linked to lifestyle diseases
4 Most vegetable oils (corn, soy, sunflower, peanut, canola) —comes from legumes or are heavily processed
5 Dairy – milk promotes inflammation
WHAT IS ALLOWED:
1 Unrestricted amounts of vegetables but limit starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and taro.
2 Whole fruits and moderate amount of juice from low sugar containing fruits.
3 Lean cuts of meat from grass fed animals.
4 Seafood and shellfish.
5 Nuts and seeds.
6 Cold-pressed oils (olive, coconut, walnut, sesame, macadamia, hazelnut, avocado).
7 Butter from grass fed cows is allowed.
8 Natural whole sweeteners in moderation (raw honey, unprocessed maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia).
Like our early ancestors, you are recommended to rotate and consume through a wide range of different foods rather than sticking to staples.