The Paleo diet is arguably one of the healthiest diets around, and it’s popularity in the fitness industry has grown exponentially in recent years.
The principal behind it is to eat what the human body was designed to eat, without any processed junk. The idea was originally proposed by nutritionist Loren Cordain.
Modern day food is packed with unnecessary refined sugars, trans fats and artificial colours and flavourings. These have been linked with many modern diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzeheimer’s, depression and infertility.
The Paleo diet was designed to combat this, so you can be as healthy as you possibly can be.
A general rule of thumb to follow on the Paleo diet is you shouldn’t consume anything which is processed. However, others like to go by ‘eating only foods which would have been available to a caveman’.
Here is a comprehensive list of foods you should avoid:
✘ Processed foods + refined sugars
This may seem restrictive, however there are plenty of foods which you can eat, as I will go into more detail. Furthermore, sacrifices have to be made if you want to see results. Ask yourself, would you rather have an item off this list, or achieve your fitness goals? I find this to be an excellent way to stay on track, and ensuring you can maintain a diet.
Now you have ruled out those banned foods, it’s time to discuss the foods which you are allowed to eat.
✔ Lean meats
✔ Nuts and seeds
✔ Healthy fats
This list may seem short, however there are loads of healthy meals which you can create using these foods, which taste great too. All it takes is a bit of getting used to.
✔ Improved levels of blood lipids
Lowering your levels of blood lipids reduces your risk of contracting cardiovascular disease, and reduces risk of associated events such as a heart attack or stroke.
✔ Improved weight loss
Since you are eating only foods your body was designed to, whilst cutting out unhealthy sugars, starches and grains, you boost your body’s fat burning potential. This means you can easily lose a few stone, or even those last few stubborn pounds. To really turn your body into a fat burning furnace, you can couple this diet with intermittent fasting.
✔ Stable blood sugar
This diet is great for type 2 diabetics, and those who are insulin sensitive alike. Your blood sugar will remain at a constant level, which means you won’t have hunger pangs, and will also significantly reduce potential to store fat.
✔ Efficient workouts
Because you are fuelling your body properly, giving it the foods rich in macro and micronutrients that it as designed to eat, you will be more fuelled during your workouts. Your body can use the food more efficiently as fuel meaning you can push even harder during an intense session in the gym.
✔ Improved sleeping patterns
The paleo diet has a direct effect on coronary diseases associated with secondary insomnia, which means that when you switch to the diet, you will notice your quality of sleep will be greater, and more consistent.
✔ Clear skin and better teeth
Since you are cutting out unhealthy refined sugars and fats, as well as artificial colours and flavourings, your skin will clear up significantly, making the paleo diet a great solution to acne issues. It also improves the condition of your teeth, since they will be less prone to staining. Over time, they will naturally be ‘whitened’ whilst on the diet.
✔ Improved digestion + anti-inflammatory
The paleo diet offers improved digestion, as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory. This is because your body does not have to digest processed foods, high in sugar, starch and fat.
✘ There is a comprehensive list of foods which are not allowed on the paleo diet. This can make it difficult to follow for many, as it means giving up foods which they enjoy.
✘ Some ‘processed’ foods are not unhealthy. For example, cottage cheese is a staple food in the diets of many fitness enthusiasts. Following the Paleo diet would mean cutting out foods like cottage cheese.
✘ Some ‘banned’ foods such as beans and legumes are actually shown to reduce the risk of several diseases, such as some of those which the Paleo diet itself combats.
✘ A ‘one size fits all’ diet does not suit everyone. We are all genetically different, therefore eating only food which the paleo diet describes may work for some, but not others.
Take Home Message
The Paleo diet is a very popular diet, and for good reason. There are dozens benefits which it offers, and the weight loss potential when following it is second to none.
However, it isn’t for everyone. The comprehensive list of foods which aren’t allowed can put people off.
If you are looking to try a new diet to get into shape for summer, or just looking to drop those last few pounds, I would highly recommend that you give the Paleo diet a shot!
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