What are the benefits of the Paleo Diet?
Advocates of the paleo diet (or caveman diet) tell us that from an evolutionary point of view we should be eating simpler foods, such as those eaten by our caveman ancestors more than 10,000 years ago. Quite simply, the foods that were available to us for the last 100,000 years or more consisted of either animals we could hunt, fish we could catch or fruit and vegetables we could find and gather (a hunter gatherer diet). Through the process of evolution, any species can gradually adapt to new food sources. However evolutionary change is slow and our diets changed dramatically around 10,000 years ago through the advent of farming and refining of food and though we can survive on those foods, we can’t really thrive on them as our bodies are still much more suited to the hunter gatherer diet than they are to a modern diet of refined and processed foods.Though the concept of paleo seems sound, in practice what benefits of the paleo diet will you experience if you make that choice. What do people actually report after they switch to the caveman diet?
Simply Better Food:
Before I even begin to discuss what the benefits of the paleo diet are, the first point to note is that from the outset you will by default being eating healthier. The paleo diet doesn’t advocate extremes in dieting, starvation diets, calorie counting, dieting pills or untested supplements. Any decent paleo plan, just says, hey, eat simple healthy food and you’ll lose weight and feel great. When you eat paleo, because you’re avoiding processed foods, you’re avoiding all of the toxins included in those, by cutting out refined wheat and sugar, you’re reducing the development of intestinal yeast infection, abdominal bloating, insulin resistance and a whole range of other health issues. And by (for the most part) only including lean meats, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables in your daily meal plans, you’ll be supplying your body with all the nutrients it requires without the need for pills or supplements. In short, paleo is healthy by default, the foods it recommends give you all you need to function at your best and feel great.
When you switch to the hunter gatherer diet, you don’t just change your diet, you change your life. Believe it or not, we’re not really meant to work so hard we can’t sleep, then exercise with long slow cardio for hours at the gym (at no small expense) for hours every day, and then still not see proper results. When you switch to the stone age diet, you sleep more, you exercise differently (and use up less time doing so) and you reduce stress levels, and all of this leads to you losing weight, feeling a whole lot better, and believe it or not makes you more productive in your work and home life. There are numerous studies showing that stressed out type A personalities DO NOT get more done, they just feel worse, and when you switch to the paleo diet the lifestyle changes you make will benefit not just your size and shape, but your whole life. The paleolithic lifestyle is quite simply a happier one!
When you eat paleo, you lose weight. Its as simple as that. I’m not going to lie to you and say that as long as you eat strict paleo you can gorge yourself to bursting at every meal and expect the pounds to fall away, but I will say that you will lose weight without ‘trying’ to if you switch to the caveman diet. You won’t need to count calories or feel hungry all the time. Why?, because when you eat paleo, by default you avoid foods with addictive qualities (sugar, refined wheat etc) , and by improving the nutritional quality of your food, you raise your metabolism and most importantly when you’re on the paleolithic diet you avoid foods which cause excessive release of insulin and subsequent formation of fat. As a result you’ll also find that when you lose weight, you’re burning fat and retaining lean muscle which will leave you looking at your very best. If weight loss is one of the key factors pushing you towards the paleo diet, then check out the Paleo Burn Program by Ken Burge. He explains how to get in control of your body’s metabolic hormones and burn more fat on the paleo diet, by using his own special technique for following the caveman diet.
Many of the foods in our modern diet, really do us no favors when it comes to our immune system. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of why the paleo diet has a positive effect against inflammatory disease and provides a boost to the immune system as quite honestly immunology is a more complicated topic than most mortals can accurately understand or describe. Quite simply by avoiding processed foods, refined wheat and sugar, your immune system will function better and inflammatory processes (particularly allergic processes) will be controlled. The end result of this is that if you suffer from any form of inflammatory disease such as colitis, arthritis, asthma, acne etc (the list goes on) , when you switch to the caveman diet these conditions will improve, possibly even go away altogether. Even if you don’t actively suffer from any of these diseases, the positive effects of the paleolithic diet and lifestyle will help any underlying conditions and ultimately make you feel fitter and healthier. For more in depth info about these benefits Robb Wolf provides a range of excellent guides which I would highly recommend.
Apart from those I’ve already mentioned, there really is a long list of benefits in store for you when you switch to paleo. I’ve listed some more below.
Better Hair and Beautiful skin
Better mood, and increased mental clarity
Significantly raised energy levels.
Less abdominal bloating and wind
Reduced risk of serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Reduction in insulin resistance helps prevent and/or control diabetes.
Our modern diet is so far removed from what evolution is currently dictating that we should eat that it makes many of us sick and overweight. The good news is that the Paleo Diet will make you feel and look your best. I have no doubts about that. If you’re serious about giving the paleolithic lifestyle a go then I would highly recommend following a reputable paleo plan. for info on some of the better paleo plans available on the web please see my reviews of paleo diet plans.