What is Paleo diet and how it works

Saad Rana Jul 20 2014
what-is-paleo-diet-and-how-it-works

The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the only nutritional approach that works with your genetics that helps you stay lean, strong and energetic. The diet is based upon eating wholesome contemporary foods from the food groups our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have thrived on during the Paleolithic era, or stone age, at the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agriculture revolution about 10,000 years ago. These foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-fed or free-ranging beef, lamb, poultry, and game meat), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthful oils (olive, coconut, walnut, avocado, macadamia, and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods were not part of our ancestral menu.

Back in the day, grains weren’t part of our diet

Grains cause a funky response in our system. They are composed of carbohydrates and those carbs are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function, but any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.
Most grains contain lectin and gluten. Gluten is a protein found in things like rye, wheat and barley. Its now being said that much of our population may be gluten-intolerant. Over time, those who are gluten-intolerant can develop an array of medical conditions from consuming gluten – for example, dermatitis, joint pains, acid reflux, and reproductive problems. Lectins are a natural toxin that exist within grains to defend against consumption. That’s right, grains don’t like to be consumed. They prevent the gastrointestinal tract from repairing itself from normal wear and tear.
The Paleo diet also eliminates sugar. Unless your getting your sugar from a fruit, forget it. Sugar causes an energy spike and crash in your system, turns to fat unless its used immediately, and wreaks havoc on our bodies.
So no grains, no sugar, no processed foods. Many studies have shown that an incredible number of diseases and lifestyle issues can be reversed following these three simple changes.

So wheres my energy coming from?

Our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we’re used to eating, so less carbs isn’t an issue. When there is an absence of carbs, our body will take stored fat and burn that for energy in a process called ketogenesis. So less carbs = less glucose in your system, which means your body will have to start burning fat as your fuel and energy source.

Building a healthy paleo diet

Lean proteins

Lean proteins support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.

Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil, and grass-fed meat

Studies have shown that diets rich in Monounsaturated Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the risks of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive failure.

So what can you eat?

  • Meat – Beef, lamb. Grass fed, not grain fed as grain produces the same problem in animals as they do in humans.
  • Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey. Anything with wings that try to fly.
  • Fish – Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish.
  • Eggs – Look for Omega-3 enriched eggs.
  • Vegetables – As long as they’re not deep fried, eat as much as you want
  • Fruits – Have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if your trying to lose weight.
  • Nuts – High in calories, so they’re good for a snack. Just don’t eat bags and bags of them.
  • Sweet potatoes and yams – Higher in calories and carbs, so they’re good for right after a workout to replenish your glycogen levels.

Steak with asparagus, sweet potato fries, grilled chicken salad, massive omelets that will fill you up for the whole morning, apples dipped in almond butter, are some foods you can try. Pick any of the things from that list and eat as much as you want of them. You’ll feel better and healthier. Avoid dairy, grains, processed food and sugars, legumes  and starches.

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.