PALEOLITHIC DIET – What is it & Why is it popular?
The Paleolithic diet also called the “paleo diet”; “caveman diet” or “stone-age diet” is based mainly on foods presumed to have been available to Paleolithic humans. In this period, food choices varied since men were hunter-gatherers and often moved in search of food availability. This includes fruits, vegetables, meat & nuts with negligible cereals, grains & milk products. The diet is based on avoiding modern processed foods.
The idea of this diet was introduced by Walter Voegtlin, however was popularized by Loren Cordain. It was advocated that an ideal Paleolithic diet should consist of the following:
- 55% of the calories should come from sea foods & meats.
- 15% should come from fruits & vegetables.
- Rest of the calories should be from nuts & seeds.
As per the best nutritionist in Bangalore, List of foods allowed in a Paleolithic diet:
- Meat & meat products
- Pumpkin Seed
- Sea foods
- Sunflower seeds
Popularity of Paleolithic Diet:
Paleolithic diet has been under clinical trials for the scope of preventing chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD) in humans, especially on anthropometric markers. CNCD’s like diabetes, respiratory disorders, obesity & cardiovascular diseases burden around 35 million people every year which is around 60% of the global population.
Many clinical trials show that in comparison to an isocaloric balanced diet, Paleolithic diets have a greater impact on body fat percentage and dropping down waist circumference. They also have an impact on the blood lipid profile, blood pressure, and circulating concentration of glucose.
This is probably because of the higher consumption of complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits & nuts along with higher biological value proteins like meat & eggs.
Apart from this, it has also shown to have an impact on gut microflora, because it eliminates the consumption of processed foods. This reduces the risk of digestive disorders such as constipation, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and bloating.
But, are they reliable?
Paleolithic diet includes a complete elimination of an entire food group, characterized by the World Health Organisation. This increases the chances of the follower being severely deprived of essential vitamins and minerals, whereas exceeding the RDA of the others. One such example being calcium, which is majorly obtained by milk & milk products. Therefore adopting such practices might increase the osteoporotic risk in the mass. Not only this, the vegetarians are devoid of consuming legumes which are the best quality source of protein available for them, thereby impacting the growth factor among children & athletes.
Another challenge associated with Paleolithic diets is the potential risk of parasitic infection & adulteration, as most of the foods are consumed raw. It might not only be expensive but also increase the chances of food poisoning.
Short-term positive effects are followed by relapse in many dietary interventions later. Even though a paleolithic diet improves the bodyweight when compared to a healthy reference diet, it might not be feasible & acceptable for a longer time frame. Contact a nutritionist to maintain a healthy meal plan. Therefore, it is important to act smart & modify dietary habits only on the basis of bio-individuality & not trends.
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