I first heard about the Paleo Diet from a woman at work who was constantly munching on nuts and bringing grilled chicken for lunch. She claimed it had helped her lose almost thirty pounds a few years back, and that it was working weight loss miracles again. The diet is based around the idea that processed foods and whole grains are making us fat, and that we need to go back to eating like cavemen. This means lots of meat, nuts, fruits, veggies and raw foods. And ever since learning about the diet, I keep hearing of more and more dieters who tried it and lost weight. But what makes people think it's so healthy?
io9 recently ran a fairly extensive evaluation of the Paleo Diet, which contains some shocking facts. Did you know that, due to our lifestyles, the young generation now may have shorter lifespans than their parents? Yikes! It's no wonder people are trying to change the way they eat. According to the article, the idea behind the Paleo Diet is that sugar and processed foods are poison, and that, "The answer to many of our health problems...is to look at our evolutionary history and see what it has to say about what our bodies were actually meant to eat." This also means no dairy, grains and legumes.
According to dieters, the gluten found in grain is literally poison, due to the fact that:
Many plants have evolved chemical defenses to dissuade animals from eating them. Think of it as a kind of chemical warfare, with gluten being a particularly nasty weapon. It turns out that people suffering from the celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder, aren't the only ones sensitive to gluten. In fact, it has been shown that all humans react poorly to it."
Meat is a huge component of the Paleo Diet, and, while lots of foods are vilified by it, fat is not.Some Paleo dieters actually say that half of our calories should come from good fats, and point to studies showing that, "no single study could associate saturated fat with increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or coronary vascular disease." And apparently fat staves off depression, which isn't surprising since it'sso delicious.
The article didn't quite convince me one way or the other about the diet, nor did it offer any personal testimonials. But, beneficial or not, it certainly seems to be a movement that is heavily catching on.
What do you think of the Paleo Diet? Do you know anyone who has done it?