Is Paleo Diet The Best Choice For Good Health?

With the advent of agriculture 12,000 years ago, the practices of the Paleolithic age (stone age) came to an end as mankind progressed manifold. One aspect of this prehistoric lifestyle that has caught on in recent times is the Paleolithic diet. The term was even one of the most searched diet related words on Google in 2013.   

Availability of processed foods limit whole food consumption, leading to diabetes and cardiovascular problems. The Paleo diet, also called the hunter gatherer diet and the stone age diet, constitutes lean meat, leafy vegetables, fruits and eggs — basically everything opposed to the typical American diet. Thus, it acts as a preventive agent against many health problems. 

Refined carbohydrates are not encouraged at all in this diet since they cause diabetes and heart failure, even sodium is restricted so as to reduce the blood pressure. The diet is rich in vitamins A, C and E through consumption of many vegetables and fruits, supplementing many deficiencies. 

cooked chicken Roasted Chicken Breast, Goat Cheese Polenta, Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, Currants at Parallel Post in Trumbull, Connecticut. Bad odor, a sign of contaminated chicken, is not easy to spot in meat that has been marinated with various ingredients such as herbs and spices. Lisa Wiltse/Corbis via Getty Images

The biggest advantages of the Paleo diet have to do with its ability to reduce appetites, increase metabolism and give a feeling of fullness that is not derived from other diets.  

The Paleolithic diet strictly does not include grains, legumes, dairy products and refined sugars. In 2007, a group of 29 patients with either cardiovascular problems or type 2 diabetes were analyzed in a randomized study. Some of the study’s participants were following a Mediterranean diet while others were on the Paleolithic diet over a period of 12 weeks.

The scientists could not find a connection between glucose tolerance and weight loss or waist circumference reduction in the participants who lost weight. Another study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008 on 14 subjects over 3 weeks found that there were positive changes in weight, blood pressure, glucose tolerance, waist circumference and Body Mass Index (BMI).

The Paleo diet has negative aspects as well. Lack of calcium in the diet causes a deficiency and increases the risk of osteoporosis, especially since vitamin D is also absent in the diet that only consists of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium. Iodine deficiency risk also comes from the diet since there is not much dairy and salt intake.   

All in all, the diet is worth a shot to overcome the problem of maintaining a healthy weight over a long period of time.