The Paleo Diet is a diet based on foods similar to those that may have been eaten in the Paleolithic era, dating about 2.5-10,000 years ago.
The Paleo Diet limits the amount of food that became common when agriculture began around 10,000 years ago. And also, the Paleo Diet typically includes lean meats, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds – foods that could be obtained by hunting and gathering in the past. These foods include dairy products, grains, and legumes.
Purpose Of The Paleo Diet
A Goal of the Paleo diet is to reoccurrence to a diet more similar to what the ancient people ate. The basis behind this diet is that the human body is genetically incompatible with the modern farming-driven diet – an idea known as the mismatch hypothesis.
Agriculture changed what people ate and made dairy products, grains, and legumes other food. This relatively late and quick change in hypothesized diet outpaces the body’s ability to adapt. This inconsistency is a contributing factor to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease today.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet resembles what the ancestors of human hunter-gatherers ate thousands of years ago. While it’s impossible to know precisely what human ancestors in different parts of the world ate, researchers believe their diet consisted of whole foods.
Following an all-food diet and a physically active lifestyle, hunter-gatherers appear to be far less likely to suffer from lifestyle ailments such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Several studies show that this diet can lead to significant weight loss (without counting calories) and considerable health benefits. This article provides a basic introduction to the Paleo Diet, with a simple meal plan and other important information.
Paleo Diet Meal Plan
There is no one “right” way to eat for everyone, and the Paleolithic people thrived on various diets, depending on what was obtainable at the time and where in the world they lived.
Some ate a low-carb diet very high in animal products, while others ate a high-carb diet with many plants.
Consider this a general guide, not set in stone. You can tailor all of this to suit your personal needs and preferences.
Eat Meat, Fish, Eggs, Fruits, Nuts, Seeds, Vegetables, Herbs, Spices, Healthy Fats, And Oils. Avoid Convenient foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, most dairy products, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine, and trans fats.
Foods To Avoid With The Paleo Diet
Avoid the following foods and ingredients:
High Fructose Sugar and Corn Syrup: soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, baked goods, ice cream, and more.
Cereals: includes bread and pasta, wheat, spelt, rye, barley, etc.
Legumes: beans, lentils, and more.
Dairy: Avoid most dairy products, especially low-fat ones (some versions of Paleo contain fatty dairy products such as butter and cheese).
Some Vegetable Oils: Soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grape oil, safflower oil, etc.
Trans Fats: Found in margarine and several treated foods. They are commonly “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
Artificial Sweeteners: aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. Use natural sweeteners instead.
Highly Processed Foods: Anything labelled as “dietary,” “low in fat,” or contains many additives.
Simple Tip: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it. If you want to avoid these ingredients, you should read the ingredient lists, even if there is a label of “healthy food.”
Foods to Eat on the Paleo Diet
Base your diet on the whole, natural paleo foods:
Meat: beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, and others.
Fish and Seafood: salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, etc. Choose wild animals whenever possible.
Eggs: Choose free-range, pasture, or omega-3-fortified eggs.
Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, onions, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries, and more.
Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and more.
Healthy Fats and Oils: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, and more.
Salt and Spices: Sea salt, turmeric, garlic, rosemary, etc.
If you can afford it, opt for pasture-grown and organic produce. If not, always choose the least processed option.
The paleo diet can help you lose or maintain weight. It can also have other health benefits. However, there are no long-term clinical studies on the benefits and potential risks of dieting.
You can achieve similar health benefits if you exercise enough and eat a balanced, healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
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