The Paleo diet may be a solution to the fast-growing weight-related concerns like heart diseases, diabetes and obesity. The diet suggests switching to the eating habits of our ancestors from the Paleolithic era. Keep reading to find out about its pros and cons, how to get started, foods to eat and avoid, along with a 7-day sample diet plan.
What Is The Paleo Diet? How Does It Work?
Some common names of the Paleo diet include the Stone Age diet, Hunter-gatherer diet or the Caveman diet, as the plan suggests following the dietary habits of humans from the Paleolithic era. It stresses on eating lean meat, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds while eliminating all kinds of modern food options like processed and packaged foods.
There is no one-size-fits-all Paleo diet plan. It is advisable to begin this diet under the careful supervision of a fitness expert based on your health goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can include low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, with limited nuts, lean proteins, and healthy fats and shed extra kilos.
What Does Research Say About The Paleo Diet?
Researchers are divided about the Paleo Diet.
While the proponents of the Paleo diet believe that humans are not evolved to digest grains, legumes, dairy, wheat, etc., which explains the choice of foods we must consume while on this diet, some researchers argue that humans have notably evolved post-Paleolithic era proving that they can digest a variety of food groups.
On the other hand, some studies suggest that the Paleo diet has health benefits such as reduced inflammation and insulin levels, improved lipid levels and promotes weight loss, but there is no conclusive evidence on its long-term effects.
Foods To Eat And Avoid On The Paleo Diet
It may be challenging to create a meal plan when you begin the Paleo diet. The following lists will make your job easier.
Foods to consume:
- Fruits such as berries, mango, figs, etc.
- Non-starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, onion, asparagus, etc.
- Fish and seafood.
- Lean cuts of meat such as pork, chicken, etc.
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil.
- Free-range or organic eggs.
- Herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid:
- Grains such as wheat, rice, barley.
- Legumes such as peas, beans, peanuts, etc.
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes.
- Dairy products – milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt.
- Processed foods.
- Sweets or foods high in added sugars.
- Refined vegetable oils such as canola oil.
- Sugary beverages such as sodas, packaged fruit juices, etc.
- Trans fats and low-fat or diet foods.
Must Read: GOLO Diet For Weight Loss – Pros and Cons
7-Day Sample Paleo Meal Plan
Here is a sample 7-day Paleo meal plan to get you started. You can adapt it based on your food preferences, lifestyle and health goals.
Breakfast: Mixed vegetable omelette with a side of berries or any seasonal fruit.
Lunch: Roasted chicken with a side of salad in olive oil dressing.
Dinner: Sweet potato salad with mixed green leaves and shredded chicken.
Breakfast: Fruit smoothie made from apples, avocados and a banana in almond milk.
Lunch: Baked salmon with broccoli and bell peppers stir-fried in olive oil.
Dinner: Mediterranean wraps made with shredded chicken and salad leaves along with the mint dressing.
Breakfast: Pancakes made with almond flour and berries with a side of apple and cinnamon.
Lunch: Salad made with grilled shrimps, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower.
Dinner: Chicken stir fry with bell peppers (mixed) and basil dressing.
Breakfast: Mixed fruit bowl with bananas, blueberries, apple, and pear along with a handful of walnuts.
Lunch: Stuffed chicken legs with carrots, rosemary and onions along with a side of green salad.
Dinner: Vegetable soup and leftover chicken salad.
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with sausage and vegetables.
Lunch: Lemon chicken with garlic and herbs along with a serving of roasted asparagus.
Dinner: Mixed salad with shredded chicken in olive oil dressing.
Breakfast: Poached eggs with sliced avocado and stir-fried broccoli and asparagus.
Lunch: Boiled egg salad with baby onions, spinach, nuts, and seeds in olive oil.
Dinner: Stir-fry fish with baby corn, red and yellow peppers along with onions.
Breakfast: Spinach smoothie in coconut milk with a handful of almonds.
Lunch: Chicken soup with black pepper and herbs along with a mixed vegetable salad.
Dinner: Grilled lamb chops served in lettuce wraps.
Must Read: A Simple 30 Days Meal Plan To Lose Weight
Health Benefits And Risks Of Paleo Diet
Here are the top 5 health benefits of the Paleo diet:
Promotes Weight Loss:
According to a 2008 research study, the Paleo diet helped achieve a weight loss of 2.3 kg in just three weeks. Another study claims that the Paleo diet resulted in reduced waist circumference and body weight of the participants.
Lowers Blood Pressure:
According to a 2014 study, the Paleo diet helped reduce blood pressure and blood lipid profile, which improve cardiovascular health.
Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes:
Paleo diet can significantly improve an individual’s sensitivity to insulin, which helps reduce the risk of diabetes and its symptoms. As per a 2015 study, the Paleo diet showed promising results in people with Type-2 diabetes. The diet improved their metabolic health and blood sugar control.
Enhances Overall Well-being:
As the Paleo diet suggests eliminating all processed and packaged foods from your meals, you can expect improved immunity and general well-being. As you focus on eating protein and fibre-rich foods, you can also manage your cravings easily.
Improves Physical Fitness:
The diet encourages you to follow an exercise routine every day, which further maximises your weight loss efforts and helps you maintain a healthy weight with ease.
Must Read: 30 Days Diet Plan For Weight Loss
Paleo diet also comes with a few disadvantages:
Lacks Enough Scientific Evidence:
Though there is a lot of anecdotal evidence, there is not enough scientific evidence about the Paleo diet, especially for weight loss.
An Expensive Diet Plan:
Paleo diet plan emphasises eating organic food items and grass-fed meats, which are likely to increase your grocery bills.
Challenging To Follow:
Meal planning can be challenging and time-consuming in case you have hectic schedules and cannot cook every day. Moreover, since the plan has many dietary restrictions, you may become inconsistent.
Possible Nutritional Deficiencies:
The Paleo diet may not fulfil your daily nutrient requirements. Calcium deficiency is common as you eliminate dairy products from the diet. You are also likely to experience Vitamin D and Vitamin B deficiencies. Further, there is a chance of other health risks, as regular consumption of saturated fats links to life-threatening diseases.
The Paleo diet offers health benefits along with weight loss and weight management. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that there is not enough evidence proving the efficacy of the diet. Your safest option is to consult an expert who will design a fitness plan suitable for your health needs.
Your trusted choice is Oliva Skin & Hair, where highly qualified nutritionists will customise holistic fitness routines to meet your unique health needs. We help you cultivate a long-lasting, disciplined and healthy lifestyle. Visit Oliva today!