The Paleo craze has erupted with people praising its health benefits and weight loss abilities. Paleo eating typically refers to an eating style similar to one that would have been consumed during the Paleolithic era. During that time, meat and vegetables were the main food sources. So this style of eating focuses on non-processed meats, vegetables and some fruits. For any type of fad diet there are pros and cons.
The best aspect of this diet is that it focuses on non/low processed food. I am a huge supporter of this and returning to a more whole food way of eating. Processed food typically contains preservatives and additives to increase shelf life. I typically say that if a food can sit on the shelf for 6 months, it probably isn’t something we want in our body. The lifestyle also focuses on lean meat, which can be a fantastic source of protein. Vibrant colored vegetables are recommended, which contain antioxidants and all sorts of good nutrients. Healthy fats are a staple, which continue to help debunk the low-fat diet myths.
However, my biggest issue with the Paleo plan of eating is the exclusion of many good food sources. Fruit is limited, which can be beneficial for weight loss, but is a great source of many nutrients. Whole grains and beans are also eliminated, which can be great sources of fiber and protein. I also have no issue with intake of Greek yogurt and milk products, which are also eliminated in this lifestyle. All of the foods eliminated can fit into a healthy diet and many are very beneficial to the body.
While the Paleo plan has a great foundation, I think that a few small tweaks here and there could provide the best balance of nutrients for health benefits and weight loss. My optimum health and weight loss lifestyle plan would focus on lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, beans and low-fat/non-fat yogurt.
Again, returning to a less-processed lifestyle could be the best change we make to target obesity and improve health.
Katherine Horner, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist
Photo from: http://steadystrength.com/the-paleo-diet-revealed/