The nutrition industry regularly sees new "revolutionary" diets that claim to be the answer to a sustainable lifestyle. The "Paleo" short for Paleolithic diet is a meal plan based around eating like well...Cavemen/women! This is also called the hunter-gatherer diet.
The basis of this diet revolves around vegetables, nuts, seeds and meat that come from free-range (non mass produced) sources. It restricts: grains, legumes, processed food, dairy, salt, sugar and *gasp* caffeine.
So Does it Work?
Well yeah, any diet that is low in carbs will help a dieter to lose weight. The question is, is it sustainable? Why would we eat like we're from 2000 years ago when technology and has evolved our diet?
While I never believe in food restriction with enough carbs from vegetables and fruit and the feeling of fullness from a high protein diet, people have been maintaining this diet. Personally, I see this diet as an opportunity to learn new ways to eat healthier but not necessarily give up our beloved sandwiches and occasional pizzas!
-I like that this diet promotes free-range and grain fed animal products.
-Eating meals once in a while that do not contain grain is a good way to go.
-Consuming more seeds and nuts is the best source of healthy fats.
How to Incorporate the Paleo Diet into your Lifestyle
Personally, I'm on a half paleo diet anyway. I'm a vegetarian and while out ancient ancestors probably wouldn't be eating a tempeh stirfry I borrow the concept of protein and vegetable only meals.
Many people (myself at one point included) was almost scared to reduce carbs. Never eliminate them entirely because carbohydrates give you energy! However, it's safe to say that we eat too many and carbs that have not been burned off from activity store as fat. Protein on the other hand, does not store as fat, and healthy fats absorb nutrients and keep skin and hair healthy.
I can't eliminate beans and legumes because they ARE healthy and delicious. I also refuse to give up caffeine and dairy. However, I never add salt, and I cut out bread and most grains during the work week and then add them back in over the weekend, when dining out and visiting family makes it unavoidable anyway. I feel like this is a good balance.
Eating vegetables and protein is very satisfying and since I started to eat this way I crave sugar a lot less, and I feel fuller for much longer on less calories. Energy levels are up, and I sleep better at night.
Ultimately, it's up to the individual to figure out how they will work new nutrition concepts into their meal plan. I believe that any fad diet can be borrowed from, as they have their strong points that have caused their popularity. I never endorse a diet that makes you feel deprived and miserable, and I think that eventually I wouldn't be able to follow this one, as I'd miss too much!
Have you ever tried to follow a "fad" diet? Did it work out on a long term basis?