What is the paleo diet and what are its benefits?

Also called the Paleolithic or Stone Age diet, it is gaining more and more followers among those seeking to lose weight and control blood pressure.

Known as the Paleo, Paleolithic, or Stone Age diet, many people choose an eating plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the caveman age.

The plan includes eating lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering, according to specialists from the US Mayo Clinic. “The paleo diet limits foods such as dairy products, legumes and grains, which became common when agriculture emerged, about 10,000 years ago,” they expanded.

“Followers of the paleo diet believe that the diet of that time also has a positive effect on health today,” said the spokeswoman for the German Nutrition Society (DGE), Astrid Donalies.

The nutritional concept is based on the assumption that human beings are still genetically adapted to Paleolithic diets and that food choices should be based on this. Therefore, it assumes that the modern “food of civilization” is not healthy for human beings.

For Donalies, this position entails something really true: “The current diet is partly responsible for diseases such as obesity, hypertension or cardiovascular pathologies.”

“The positive thing is that in this diet a lot of value is placed on little processed foods,” the specialist remarked. And it is also beneficial, that the focus is on regional foods or foods available during the prevailing season”.

So, according to the Mayo Clinic, “the goal of a paleo diet is to return to a mode of eating more similar to that of early humans. The rationale behind the diet is that the human body is genetically incompatible with the modern diet, which arose from the advent of agriculture, an idea known as the discordance hypothesis.”

Agriculture changed what people ate and established dairy, grains, and legumes as additional staples in the human diet. “According to this hypothesis, this relatively late and rapid change in diet overwhelmed the body’s ability to adapt. It is believed that this incompatibility is a factor that contributes to the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and heart disease today, ”as they assure from the health center with headquarters in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida.

What foods does the paleo diet include?
The paleo diet promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, especially from grass-fed or game animals, fish, especially those high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna, fruit and nut oils, such as olive oil or walnut oil.

Meanwhile, among what is advised to avoid are cereals, such as wheat, oats and barley, legumes, dairy products, refined sugar, salt and highly processed foods in general.

In several randomized clinical trials, the paleo diet was compared to other eating plans, such as the Mediterranean diet or the type of diet followed by people with diabetes. And overall, these trials concluded “that a paleo diet may provide some benefits compared to diets of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy.”