The Paleo Diet – Fat Fighter Or Fad?
Losing weight and burning fat are on the minds of many consumers today. There are a number of fad diets, exercise programs and even meal replacement products that claim to promote healthy and effective weight loss. Recent studies have shown that a specific diet can have a very profound impact on health and weight.
A study done at the University of California in San Francisco suggests that there are a number of benefits to following the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet, often referred to as the caveman diet, consists of foods that were readily available before the establishment of agriculture. It focuses on lean meats, dairy, grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. No legumes, salt, processed oils or refined sugars are known to have been ingested by humans before agricultural establishment so these foods are not typically included in the Paleo diet. Research has shown that the diet can have a very positive effect, even more positive in fact than popular Mediterranean diets.
“Researchers found that, calorie-for-calorie, the Paleo diet improves satiety more than a Mediterranean-like diet.” – Mother Earth News
During this particular study, 29 subjects were given either a traditional Mediterranean diet or the Paleo diet. Those following a diet of lean meat, vegetables, fruits and certain dairy products lose about the same as those following the Mediterranean diet in terms of pounds. However, the subjects following the Paleo diet lost more inches around their waist than those on the Mediterranean diet. In addition, Paleo diet followers also lowered their blood sugar to a healthier level, while they were allowed to eat as much as they desired within the diet’s guidelines. Subjects reported feeling much more satisfied with regards to hunger and still consumed fewer calories each day.
In 1975, Walter Voegtlin, esteemed gastroenterologist, wrote a book based on the Paleo diet that was designed to help patients who were suffering from Crohn’s disease, indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. Around 2000, Department of Health and Exercise Science professor from Colorado State University, Loren Cordain, discovered that certain digestive diseases were not evident in people who followed caveman type diets such as thePaleo diet.
“And he hypothesized that “when hunter/gatherer societies transitioned to an agricultural grain-based diet, their general health deteriorated.” – Miami Herald
The Paleo diet is based more on lean grass-fed meats, wild captured fish, chicken and free range eggs as well as healthier oils such as olive and coconut. It incorporates high fiber and low-glycemic fruits and vegetables and avoids refined sugar. Grains and potatoes are not consumed on the diet because smaller grains are more difficult to digest. The belief is that cavemen would not have eaten these foods.
Raw seeds and nuts are consumed on the Paleo diet although legumes like soybeans and peanuts are not. Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are also not consumed. Many physicians have patients who are looking to begin following the Paleo diet although they often are a bit confused as to how to begin. Most consumers are so used to grabbing a quick fast food bite during lunch that incorporating the Paleo diet can seem difficult. Many believe that this is simply another diet fad that is designed to wipe out certain foods, much like the Atkins diet, which is not the case.
“People sometimes mistakenly think that Paleo is low-carb.” – LA Times
Once they begin incorporating it, many will find the Paleo diet much easier to follow. Most consumers can grasp the thought of having a simple lean meat along with vegetables for dinner instead of counting fat and calories that come along with many other diets. Many doctors have also taken the initiative to begin the Paleo diet, not only because of its weight loss benefits but because of the other health benefits that it offers. Those following this type of diet will experience much more control over blood sugar, blood pressure and many digestive disorders.
While there are a number of fad diets that have come and gone over the years, the Paleo diet seems to be one that has sufficient research to back up its claims. Studies done have shown that eating a diet based on the cavemen’s way of life not only helps you to feel full and less hungry throughout the day, it is easy to follow and offers a variety of health benefits that fad diets do not. Simply eating foods that were available centuries ago seems to be easy enough to grasp. Many consumers have already begun reverting back to the way of life of their ancestors, at least where their diets are concerned.