What You Need to Know About the Paleo Diet

The basic idea behind the Paleo diet is that you eat like a caveman. Lean proteins, seafood, fruits, veggies, and healthy oils are in; grains, legumes, and dairy are out. Proponents claim that humans are genetically predisposed to eat this way and that our modern diet is contributing to many ailments. However, this plan isn't right for everyone and has its drawbacks.

 

What Is the Paleo Diet?

With its claim as "the world's healthiest diet," the Paleo diet revolves around eating wholesome foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have survived on -- that is, those who lived in the "Paleolithic" era, a period of time that began 2.6 million years ago and lasted until the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. So what did our ancestors eat?
 
For starters, the Paleo diet (also commonly referred to as the "caveman diet" or "Stone Age diet") includes fresh meats, particularly grass-produced or free-range beef, pork, poultry, lamb, and game meat. It also consists of fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive, macadamia, flaxseed, walnut, coconut, and avocado. Because our ancestors didn't have processed foods or refined sugars, these items are not included in the Paleo diet. Also absent from this diet are dairy products, cereal grains, and legumes.
 
The Paleo diet claims to help reduce your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many chronic degenerative diseases. It is also reported to help people lose weight and give them more energy. Other benefits may include improving acne and slowing down the progression of autoimmune diseases.
 
So if humans are genetically adapted to this diet, is it right for you? (After all, you are a human.) Let's try to answer any questions you might have before you journey down the Paleo path.
 
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