The Paleo diet definition is very vague and was not around in its original form during the Paleolithic age. However, the diet has been widely adopted by health and fitness buffs and has become a staple in many diet plans. Its origin may be traced back as far as 25 million years ago. During this time period, humans had split into several different groups with each group hunting and gathering its own food. Each time they traveled, they left behind their food and artifacts in the caves. Later, as the technology evolved, these artifacts were used for heating purposes.
During this time, people developed lactose intolerance, which made it very difficult to digest dairy products such as milk and cheese. At the same time, grains such as wheat and barley were hardly used because they could not be masticated, refined or rolled. Thus, these diets had very little nutritional value and were mainly composed of organic or plant-based foods including meat and nuts. Unlike today’s refined carbohydrates and sugar levels, those prehistoric people would have eaten large amounts of meats, vegetables, roots, and nuts.
Modern diets have greatly diminished these healthy foods, replacing them with processed, refined foods and processed grains that are high in fat, salt and sugar. As a result, the Paleo diet definition has greatly been misunderstood. While some people still follow parts of it, others have totally rejected it. Processed and refined grains cause spikes in blood glucose levels, which increase satiety and lead to overeating. Also, refined sugars and refined carbohydrates tend to create insulin spikes in the body that contribute to both hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.
To be categorized as a Paleo diet member, you need to eat a lot of seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, which are legumes. Legumes like black beans and chickpeas are excellent sources of fiber. Also, meat is limited to a few servings a day and should be lean beef, poultry, fish, and eggs. The Paleo diet also limits or eliminates processed oils, hydrogenated fats, sugar, and processed grain flour. This diet is primarily grass-fed and natural. Animals are fed primarily what they can eat, unlike our contemporary diets, which are largely what they can’t.
As with any new diet that focuses on quality nutrition, there can be good and bad effects. Though there aren’t many heart disease and cancer statistics associated with the paleo diet definition, it does seem to lower overall cholesterol and blood pressure. There are no significant differences between this diet and the traditional American diet (the foods that were recommended long ago by our great grandparents), though there are some potential health risks when you cook with coconut oil. In addition, studies have shown that there may be an effect on zinc and magnesium levels, which could potentially lead to some vitamin deficiencies.
Some of the foods allowed on the paleo diet that are not good for everyone include red meats, poultry products, eggs, dairy products, and refined sugar. For those who are lactose intolerant, there are some difficult to digest grains such as cow’s milk and yogurt. Sugar can be tricky because it is derived from the sap of fruits and vegetables. It is not recommended that you completely eliminate these foods, as there are so many excellent alternatives, just be aware of possible pitfalls. For instance, the avocado is very high in saturated fat and should be eaten in moderation. If it’s too much, you will risk your health and eventually destroy your chances of staying healthy.