Health Benefits and Possible Side Effects of the Paleo Diet

In our previous article, we talked about the premises of the Paleo Diet and the list of foods that are allowed and prohibited in the diet routine. Here, will shed some light on the benefits and side effects associated with this diet.

The purpose of this article is to give you a comprehensive picture of the Paleo Diet in order to make you aware of all the related aspects if you are going to adopt its diet recommendations.  

Benefits of Adopting Paleo Diet Plans

There is a whole range of health benefits associated with the Paleo diet and endorsed by scientific research.

Ensures the Health of Body Cells and Functions

Foods prescribed in the Paleo diet have a perfect balance of healthy fats which is rare to be seen in other diet plans. Some diet routines increase the ratio while others cut down the consumption of healthy fats.

Let’s take the example of omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats and an integral part of intracellular communication, in the formation of hormones regulating blood clotting. They also play an important role in the better function of arteries (contraction and relaxation). Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for balancing the homeostasis associated with inflammation.  

The human body is able to produce other fats but it can’t make omega-3 fatty acids on its own. Therefore, one must get them through food. Seafood, vegetable oils, leafy vegetables, and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and all of them are essential food items of any Paleo diet chart. Getting ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids helps in improving the overall physiological functions to ensure a healthy state of the body.

Accelerates Metabolism, Helps in Maintaining Healthy Weight

The Paleo diet increases the metabolic rate of an individual by simply increasing the muscle content of the body. Lean cuts of all red meats, crammed with proteins, are permissible to eat in the Paleo diet, unlike most of the diet plans.

A high intake of protein in your daily diet helps increase the muscle mass of your body. Muscle cells are very active and therefore need more energy to function. By adopting any Paleo diet plan, you will naturally replace fat cells with muscle cells which will help you in maintaining your weight in healthy BMI levels.  

Guarantees Healthy Digestive System

Most of the contemporary food items are loaded with processed sugar and fats which overwhelm our stomach and digestive tract because they are not designed to process such dietary items. Excessive use of these foods usually results in the onset of ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.

The Paleo diet prohibits all such manmade foods so that your digestive system can function at its best.  

Ensures Sufficient Consumption of Micronutrients

By allowing leafy and non-starchy vegetables and nuts in its menus, the Paleo diet ensures that you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for the healthy functioning of the body.

Side Effects and Criticism of the Paleo Diet

With all its benefits, the Paleo diet is also criticized due to some of its shortcomings and side effects.

Cutting Down the Entire Range of Dairy Products Leads to Osteoporosis

Many nutritionists heavily criticize the Paleo diet because it excludes all dairy products from dietary consumption. Low-fat dairy items are necessary to fulfill the body’s needs for Vitamin D and calcium. Cutting down the dairy products for a long time can result in the development of osteoporosis.  

Renal Damage

Consuming high amounts of proteins and very low carbohydrates has detrimental effects on kidneys.

High Levels of Cholesterol

People who are already susceptible to cholesterol problems and heart diseases can face complications with more consumption of red meat even if it’s lean.

Body Fatigue

Low amounts of carbohydrates and sugar in the diet can also lead to body fatigue in some individuals, especially during increased physical activity.  

In order to get the maximum benefits out of a Paleo diet plan, it is important to have it devised with moderate consumption of every food item. Eating excessive red meat in the name of the Paleo diet will surely get you in trouble.

Similarly, you can have a modified Paleo diet plan by including healthy dairy products in it. Finally, it is necessary to consult your physician or any seasoned nutritionist before getting on any diet plan.

Paleo Diet—The Eating Habits of Prehistoric Men

Losing weight with the Paleo diet

According to the statistics, nearly 70% of the US population is obese or overweight, thanks to an unhealthy eating regimen and decreased physical activities. These alarming circumstances prompted many concerned parties (nutritionists, food scientists, etc.) to come up with diet plans and routines that can limit the harmful impact of recent times by convincing people to eat healthily.

Therefore, many dieting plans and routines have been planned out in recent years and one of the popular among them is the Paleo diet. Here, we will discuss the salient features of this diet routine.

The Paleo Diet- Eating Habits Come Full Circle

The Paleo diet, referred by the terms the Stone Age diet, the Caveman diet and primal diet, is based on a simple rationale that humans should revert to the eating behavior of a caveman, the most ancient ancestor of the human race.

By adopting the eating habits of his ancestors, the modern human can get back to a healthy lifestyle which is not crammed with diseases and other physical and mental complications. Humans of the Stone Age would eat vegetables, fruits, meats and seafood and therefore the Paleo diets are also premeditated around the same eating commodities.

Scientific Rationale Given to Adopt This Diet Plan

Genetics of modern human has been evolved through the time with food items eaten by humans in his primitive phase. That’s why, to maintain the balance of health against evolutionary pressure, it is imperative to adopt the eating habits of our prehistoric forefathers.

What to Eat, what not to Eat?

Many nutritionists also call the Paleo diet a dietary routine without any carbohydrates. Because most of the food items rich in this macronutrient are not allowed to eat in this eating regimen. Let’s try to outline some of the food items that are allowed and prohibited in this diet plan.

Paleo Foods

  • All type of lean meats and seafood are allowed in the Paleo diet
  • Fresh organic fruits and green vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage and broccoli can also be consumed
  • Only plant-based oils such as coconut, olive and grapeseed oils can be used in the making of Paleo dishes
  • Except for peanuts, all other nuts can become a part of a Paleo diet chart

Foods That Can’t be Included in a Paleo Diet Chart

  • All variety of grains whether its wheat, barley or rice are not allowed to eat in the Paleo diets. A large chunk of modern foods (bread, pasta, rice dishes, cereals) are made of grains and this diet plan excludes all of them from your daily diet.
  • All the vegetables rich in starch are also prohibited in the Paleo diet. For instance, potatoes and corns, a major ingredient of many recipes can’t be consumed if you are following the Paleo diet.
  • All the beans and legumes, which became part of human diet just few hundred ago are also not permissible in the Paleo diet plan.
  • Since caveman didn’t consume dairy products, therefore milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy derivatives are not allowed.
  • Meat with high-fat content and process food rich in Trans fats are also excluded from your diet
  • Processed sugar and salty foods are also not allowed in the Paleo diet plans.

From the above-given list, it is evident that most of the food items considered Paleo foods have scientifically proven benefits for human health. But there are some foods which are healthy but still can’t be consumed in the Paleo Diet (dairy products). This is the reason why some nutritionists don’t advocate the complete adoption of this diet regimen. In the next article, we will look into the benefits and side effects associated with this diet plan.