We have seen fad diets come and go sooner than the blink of an eye. But few have been propagated with such fervor that they have managed to cling on to our psyche refusing to die down like a tepid flame.
At the forefront is the Paleolithic diet, also known as the ‘Caveman diet’ that has managed to linger around for more than a century now. (Dr. Emmet Desnmore – 1890)
The diet plan encourages one to follow the eating habits of our caveman ancestors who lived during the Paleolithic era. Before you picture yourself half-clad in putrid skin, running around with a club trying to hunt, the modern adaptation of paleo allows you some leeway.
You no longer have to go on hunts or scavenge for food. Some urban foraging is all that you need. But your diet will be limited to foods that were available in the Paleolithic era.
The idea stems from the theory that certain categories of food, like dairy, sugar, grains and processed foods became an important part of our dinner plates only after the agricultural revolution. Our bodies were never programmed to consume these foods and hence, these are contributors to a majority of health problems that we face.
Instead, the paleo diet recommends consuming foods like meat, wild fruit, seeds and nuts. The proponents of the diet swear by the ability of the diet to help in weight loss, better looking skin, mood, hormonal balance and a stronger immune system.
But, as all other fad diets the paleo diet also has its share of detractors who trash the theory as hogwash and bro-science.
The million dollar question is, does the paleo diet really work?
Let’s find out.
The advocates of the diet
The paleo diet lifestyle has been embraced by thousands of men and women who vouch for its effectiveness in helping them lead an active, happier and healthier life.
There have been clinical trials, although limited in number, that have recorded both weight loss as well as reduced blood pressure with just three weeks of the paleo diet.
Celebs like Miley Cyrus, Jessica Biel, Mathew McConaughey, Uma Thurman and Kobe Bryant have spoken in favor of the Paleo Diet.
In another study of a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Papua New Guinea, it was found that both diabetes or heart disease were absent in them.
The detractors and their side of the story
The detractors of the diet claim that eliminating core food groups such as dairy, legumes and grains can often lead to nutritional deficiencies that are impossible to plug with other food forms.
Also, advocates of the diet claim that the human genome has remained unchanged over the last 10,000 years or so, while our diets have undergone a sea of change. This theory is largely misconstrued. The fact is that evolution has often sped up to keep in sync with the changing environment around us.
Everything from genetic mutations to gut bacteria (theorized) are different from our Paleolithic ancestors.
Most importantly, the prehistoric man had to spend hours every day scourging for food and trying to hunt. The modern day human spends 12-14 hours sitting in front of a laptop and clacking away on keyboards.
Our take on it
Without sounding biased, we would like to vouch for the positive takeaways from the Paleo diet.
- You stop consuming processed foods and hence, cut out tons of preservatives and sodium from your body
- You stop eating table sugar.
- You can eat healthy fats (Non-dairy)
- It is a high protein diet
As long as it helps you to get off the couch and get a slimmer waistline, we are all for it.
There are ample resources, guides, cookbooks and videos that can help you get started with Paleo.
But as is the case with any other diet, it would take a few weeks for your body to respond to the changes.
If you do not feel good about it or you start to feel deprived, stop it and switch back to a normal eating habit.
On the other hand, if you notice that your skin looks better, waist line has reduced and you start to feel active, well, you have a new lifestyle to embrace. There is nothing like results to keep you motivated.
So hey, why not give it a shot?