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Eat Smarter Check

Paleo Diet

Followers of the Paleo diet (also known as stone age diet) eat lots of meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables – basically the things that our stone age ancestors ate. Processed foods, grain products and sugars are on the no-go list. After all, according to paleo people, these are the things that are responsible for many of our modern diseases. While many followers celebrate the paleo diet as the ideal diet, there are also many critics. EAT SMARTER reveals why people might opt for the paleo diet and what some of the disadvantages are.

Paleo Diet: What's behind it? Paleo Diet: What's behind it?

In June 2011 "Tiger" Tom Jones made headlines. After the 5’10 singer gained enough weight to put him at 10 kg / 220 pounds he lost a whopping 15 kilos / 33 pounds in just five months. When asked about his weight loss, Jones attributed his success to the paleo diet. Shortly after his weight loss he was quoted, “the stone age diet tells you to eat what we ate as hunters and gatherers” when talking to BBC2 in the UK. This means eat plenty of fresh fruit, eggs, fish and especially lots of meat.

The Paleo Diet Is A Relatively New Invention

"Ten years ago it was still an absurd idea, but in the past two to three years, the paleo diet has become known all over the world," says Loren Cordain of Colorado State University. According to his data, millions of people now eat like stone age people. So what drives people to this diet? Followers believe this diet brings them closer to a natural diet. Low-carb diets (as is the assumption) have strengthened the health and brain function of Homo sapiens and helped develop him into modern man. Why so much meat? The genetic makeup of humans has barely changed and the desire for meat is put into human’s genes.

Paleo Improves Blood Work

The paleo diet has a lot of benefits for people. Loren Cordain, who himself has written a book about the paleo diet, likes to refer to studies. For example in the "Journal of diabetes science technology,” a study was published that shows that the stone age diet had improved blood sugar levels and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. In the magazine “Journal nutrition and metabolism,” a study was published that shows that the stone age diet is more satisfying than the Mediterranean diet and therefore lowers the risk of obesity.

Is The Paleo Diet Really Healthy?

The paleo diet really does have a lot of good approaches. Avoiding processed foods and eating more fresh fruit, vegetable and nuts is widely acknowledges. However, it is controversial whether or not you should completely avoid grains and dairy products and instead eat more meat. In a poll in the magazine "U.S. News World report" the paleo diet did poorly for nutritionists. In the paleo diet only 23 % of calories would come from carbs. In the US it is recommended to get 45- 65 % from carbs. Additionally, all the meat exceeds the fat and protein recommendations.

In the New York Times nutritionist Marion Nestle also questions whether or not the paleo diet is really adapted to the sedentary lifestyle of modern people. In addition, she questions whether stone age people really would have eaten so much meat. Furthermore, since many stone age people only lived to 25, the diet (among other circumstances) could have been less than ideal. Cordain’s beliefs hold steady. Even today there are indigenous peoples on Earth also living in “Stone Age conditions.” And here, fewer people suffer from obesity, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. As soon as these people assume a western diet, their health starts to deteriorate.

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