What is the Paleo Diet?

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It is time for your yearly physical...you visit your health care provider and after an examination and some routine tests your health care provider informs you of your current state of health...unfortunately all the news is not good...your health care provider explains to you that you are overweight, your blood pressure is elevated and you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes...wanting to take charge of your health you inquire about ways to improve your health and prevent any of the aforementioned issues from getting worse without the use of medications...your health care provider recommends lifestyle changes involving diet modifications and recommends you research the Paleolithic diet.

What is the Paleolithic diet?

The Paleolithic diet, or Paleo diet, is a nutritional plan first popularized by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin which emphasizes increasing dietary protein while decreasing dietary carbohydrates.

Why is it called the Paleo diet?

The nutritional plan is called the Paleo diet because it is based upon the diet of humans living during the Paleolithic era.

What is the theory behind the Paleo diet?

The theory behind the Paleo diet is one formed by evolutionary biology and medicine...theorizing that the human body has not evolved to metabolize and process many of the staple foods of the modern diet such as cereal grains and processed sugar. Therefore the body reacts negatively, resulting in obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

What does the Paleo diet propose?

The Paleo diet proposes we return to the diet of our ancestors, the diet our body has evolved to metabolize and process...in other words we build our diet around foods high in protein while avoiding foods high in carbohydrates, sugar and dairy products.

What are the health benefits of the Paleo diet?

The proponents of the paleo diet claim it can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, acne, gout and chronic degenerative diseases.

Is there any research to support the aforementioned claims?

Yes, several published clinical trials showed that individuals following the Paleo diet exhibited lower mean values of blood pressure markers, diabetes markers, body mass index and waist circumference when compared to other diets.

What types of food does the Paleo diet recommend?

The Paleo diet recommends: grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and healthful oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut). What types of food does the Paleo diet recommend to avoid? Avoid cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, salt and processed foods.


About the Author

Marc Macera, PharmD, RPh's picture


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