By Betty Murray
The Paleolitic (Paleo) diet (a.k.a. “caveman,” “stone age,” or “hunter-gatherer” diet) is growing in popularity, and for good reason. Touted as a means of successful weight loss, the Paleo diet isn’t a crash diet, but really a lifestyle change that results in weight loss and reduced cardiovascular risk factors.
What is the Paleo diet?
The diet is a natural meal plan based on the presumed diet of our ancestors. Before agriculture shifted the human diet to grain-based diets, people primarily ate lean, grass-fed meat, fish, fruits, vegetable, root vegetables, eggs and nuts. The diet excludes grains, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt and sugar, processed oils and beans.
Health benefits of the Paleo diet
This diet is low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates and many on the diet experience at least minimal weight loss. But more importantly, research is beginning to show the heart benefits of the Paleo diet. Eating Paleo has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.
One study of diabetics found that the Paleo diet resulted in more significant health improvements such as lower weight, lower BMI, lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar than a standard recommended diabetes diet. Another study found that the Paleo diet could improve diastolic blood pressure.
Other health benefits found of a Paleo lifestyle include more efficient workouts, reduced allergies, burning of stored fat, balanced energy levels throughout the day, improved sleep patterns, anti-inflammatory benefits and clear skin and better teeth.
It is important to note that these same health benefits can be achieved by cutting out processed foods and foods that are high in fat and sugar without cutting out entire food groups.
If you are interested in trying the Paleo diet, consult with your physician before making any significant changes in your diet.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.