Paleo diet: Meaning, Benefits and Why it is popular today


The paleo diet encourages people to go back to eating like our ancestors did in the Stone Age, making it the ideal throwback diet. Know what all goes into paleo diet.

Paleo diet, short for paleolithic diet, is all about consuming foods believed to have been available to our ancestors during the Stone Age. The goal of the paleo diet is to replicate the foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed a long time ago. Even though it is impossible to pinpoint exactly what our predecessors consumed across the globe, it is believed whole foods made up the majority of their diet. Hunter-gatherers are thought to have had far lower incidence of lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease because they ate a diet high in nutritious foods and lived physically active lives. Follow paleo diet, as it may result in substantial health improvements and weight loss.

What is paleo diet?

Depending on what was accessible at the time and where they lived in the world, palaeolithic humans were able to thrive on a variety of foods. “If you are on the paleo diet, focus on certain foods,” says clinical nutritionist Deepti Khatuja.

Fish with lemon
Fish is part of the paleo diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the best foods for a paleo diet?

• Lean meats: Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and pork
• Fish: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp and shellfish
• Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.
• Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots and tomatoes.
• Nuts: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and hazelnuts
• Seeds: Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
• Spices: Garlic, turmeric and rosemary
• Eggs: Omega 3 enriched

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What foods to avoid in a paleo diet?

Processed foods: Chips, biscuits, cookies and instant noodles
• Grains: Bread, pasta, wheat, cereal, spelled, rye and barley
• Low-fat dairy
• Legumes: Beans and lentils
• Refined sugars: Candies, chocolates, ice creams, pastries and cakes.
• Processed oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil and safflower oil

Portion control is essential in the paleo diet plan, says the expert.

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Can vegans follow a paleo diet?

While traditional paleo excludes grains, some individuals adopt a “paleo-vegan” approach by avoiding animal products. But a pure vegan diet is not 100 percent paleo diet. You can add these vegetables to your paleo diet if you are vegan:

• Leafy greens
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Cabbage
• Onions
• Carrot
• Tomatoes
• Turnips

What are health benefits of the paleo diet?

A paleo diet can give you the following health benefits:

• Potential weight loss
• Improved blood sugar control
• Lower risk for cardiovascular disease
• Better digestion

Who should avoid paleo diet?

People with specific dietary restrictions, like individuals who rely heavily on grains or dairy, may find it challenging. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes.

raw fish
Side effects of the paleo diet may include nutrient deficiencies. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are there any side effects of paleo diet?

The side effects of the paleo diet may include nutrient deficiencies if not properly balanced, and some individuals may experience initial fatigue due to a lack of adequate energy consumption or cravings due to the adjustment period.

Also, this diet may put you at risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiency, both of these are essential for bone health. Eating too much meat can also cause you to ingest significantly more protein and saturated fat than is advised. An elevated risk of kidney, heart, and some types of cancer can result from this.

Paleo diet is a special and specific diet. Hence, it is advised to take guidance from a professional nutritional expert before starting, and once following, it is to be done under proper guidance for a specific time as it can not be followed for the long term.

You should follow a healthy, balanced diet and keep yourself fit with regular physical activity.

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