What You Need to Know About the Paleo Diet

Are There Problems With the Paleo Diet?

While numerous studies have suggested that mimicking a diet of what our ancestors ate may help shed some pounds and improve some health conditions, there are some drawbacks of this diet.
For starters, the Paleo diet throws out some important food groups. This includes legumes and whole grains, which have been shown to reduce the risk for certain diseases and improve blood sugar levels. However, proponents of the Paleo diet believe that legumes, grains, and other starches contain high levels of antinutrients, such as lectin, phytate, and saponins, which may increase the risk for inflammation, autoimmune disease, and cancer.
While research does show that some antinutrients may increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease, there isn't clear evidence that says they should be taken out of our diet completely. In fact, some studies show that lectins from legumes and grains may increase the good bacteria in the digestive system and aid in digestion.
There's another drawback with the Paleo diet in that you may be restricted from some of the foods you love to eat, such as ice cream, pasta, and cheese. For some people, this may mean they won't stick with this plan very long and may be more likely to binge. Trying to lose weight and making healthy eating into a long-term lifestyle change doesn't necessarily mean that you have to eliminate whole food groups or even some of the foods you love. 
What about all that meat on the Paleo diet causing high cholesterol and heart disease? There is a significant difference in the meat the cavemen ate and what we find in our local meat department nowadays. Proponents for the Paleo diet recommend that when choosing your meat, try to opt for free-range or grass-produced meats over meat from feedlots.
Some people may be concerned about the fact that dairy is eliminated from the Paleo diet. However, if it's the calcium you are worried about, have no fears. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, surpass the calcium amount that is absorbed from consuming milk, cheese, and yogurt. 
If you do decide to try the Paleo diet, it's important to note that this way of eating can come with a hefty price tag. Because you will be making most of your meals from scratch, not only can the grocery bill add up, but so can the time it takes to prepare your food. In addition, the diet does not specify portions of the various foods, so you may find yourself overeating some of these items.
Because taking away food groups can cause some depletion of important nutrients, talk to your healthcare provider before starting the Paleo diet. He or she can help you decide if this plan is right for you and give you some suggestions for how to avoid a nutrient imbalance.
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