What is the Paleo Diet?
The ‘Paleo’ or ‘Caveman’ Diet is generally explained is a way of eating that removes processed food in favour of natural, single ingredient foods.
The idea being that we eat how our Paleolithic ancestors ate. A concept that theorises that we as humans have gone through very minimal genetic changes in the last 2.5 million years (approximately) and therefore are poorly adapted to a ‘modern’ diet.
Advocates of this way of eating again theorise that it is because of our ‘modern’ diet, that we have ever increasing rates of Obesity, Disease (in both children and adults) and poor health and by removing said foods, we are able to, to a certain degree, optimise our health and go some way to ‘healing’ our bodies.
There are however many benefits of eating a diet rich in natural, single ingredient foods, such as:
• Improved Body Composition (increase or maintenance of lean muscle tissue with a decrease in overall body fat
• Increased energy
• Improved mental clarity & mood
• Improved gut health (reduction in IBS symptoms etc)
• Improved skin (reductions in acne)
• Reductions in general illness (cold & flu symptoms)
• Improved joint pain
• Reduced risk of disease (such as CVD & Type 2 Diabetes)
• Improvements in blood pressure
• Reduction of foods that are possible allergens to an individual
• Reduction in food cravings
And there are many more benefits both scientifically (that require a simple internet search) and anecdotally (as each individual may benefit in a different way to another, eating this way).
In my opinion (among others) it isn’t possible, regardless of the name of this way of eating, to actually eat the same as our ancestors; the foods available simply aren’t the same. What I think we could all agree on however, is that a reduction in heavily processed foods with many ingredients in, half of which we can’t even pronounce, would provide unique benefits to us all.