In recent years, there have been many “fad diets” that claim instant weight loss, a six-pack in a week and other promises that are near impossible. The Paleolithic diet, or Paleo diet for short, may actually be rooted in sound principles.
The diet was popularized in the mid 1970s when a gastroenterologist theorized that a diet similar to the one early humans had would improve a persons’ health. It is thought by those who advocate the diet that foods that were available during the evolution of humans are healthier than recently introduced ones, which include dairy and refined grains, since our digestive and metabolic systems were not designed for the latter group of foods, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Food and Nutrition.
The diet consists of meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. It eliminates dairy products, most grains and starches, salts, sugars, caffeine and legumes (which include peanuts). Processed foods have to go!
The necessary carbohydrates needed for energy come from the vegetables, and the body thrives off of unprocessed natural fats and oils from eggs, nuts and meats.
The calcium lost in the limitation of dairy consumption can be made up for with calcium supplements and foods like spinach, kale and almond and soy milk.
Ryan Payne, a 21-year-old industrial and systems engineering junior, says he follows the paleo diet as strictly as he can, but often will vary in levels of intensity so he can incorporate potatoes, rice, or quinoa to help with his workouts.
“With the paleo diet you’re going to be more into a heavy cardio workout plan. You’re going to be lean and strong in terms of your personal body weight and not get really huge by any means because of the energy you’re putting into your body,” he said.
Overall, Payne said he had never felt better since he began the diet.
Photo by Mark Bonica