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Spotlight On: The Paleo Diet

Should you channel your inner caveman and try the Paleo diet for weight loss, health?

Image credit: “Banksy’s Caveman” courtesy of Lord Jim, Flick

Name: The Paleo or Paleolithic Diet

Concept: The basic premise is that we must return to our roots and eat as a caveman would. This doesn’t mean that we should clobber our prey. Rather, it means no processed foods, including anything with growth-stimulating antibiotics or hormones. The only fair game is foods that can be hunted, fished or gathered. Advocates state that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat this way. We get into problems when we stray from our roots. And by “problems” they mean obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

The Promise: Weight loss, improved blood fats, better digestion, less inflammation, more energy and fewer allergies… to name just a few. Unlike many diets, the Paleo plan is simple to follow.

The Perils: Any diet that restricts certain food groups isn’t balanced and may set you up for nutritional shortfalls. There is also concern that the emphasis on red meat may increase your risk for heart disease if not eaten in moderation.

“Yes” Foods: Meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, veggies, roots, fruits and berries.

“No” Foods: Grains, dairy, legumes (beans or peas), sugar and salt.

Sample Meal: Breakfast, Paleo style

An omelet with omega-3-enriched or free-range eggs, and sautéed onion, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and diced turkey or chicken breast.

Should you or shouldn’t you? Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about whether the Paleo diet is right for you. He or she can help you weigh your personal benefit and risk ratio.

Further Reading: What to Eat on the Paleo Diet