The latest fad diet – the Paleo a.k.a. “Caveman diet”
|September 15, 2011||Posted by Alex under Lifestyle|
Fad diets come and go all the time. We’ve seen ridiculous ones like the cookie diet “eat as many of our special cookies as you want!”, dangerous ones like the Atkins diet and some that plain don’t work.
A new diet has recently hit the radar screen of people looking to lose weight, and it emphasizes a return to a time when humans enjoyed much simpler diets.
This new fad diet is called the Paleo Diet, popularly known as the “caveman” diet.
The idea behind it is that human beings have only started seeing health problems related to nutrition once we made the jump from hunter gatherers to agricultural communities. The people behind the diet content that our systems were never meant to eat large amounts of grain, dairy and even cooked foods to the extent that we currently do.
The movement encourages high energy diets, filled with protein, like our ancient ancestors would have gone for. They emphasize lots of meat, preferrably lean and uncooked if possible, as well as sides of fruits and ground veggies.
The backers of this diet suggest that the surest way to show that their diet works is to examine communities around the world that still live closely to the hunter gatherer ideal. In most of those communities, the elderly show few signs of the diseases that plague us urban folks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, etc.
However, before you head out and try to get your caveman (or cavewoman) attire on, there are a few problems and notable criticism that leading nutritionists have with this diet.
First of all, when they examined modern day hunter gatherer societies, they failed to take into account plenty of factors that could explain why some of them showed no signs of certain illnesses. For one, genetics could play a huge role, as the makeup of a small group would almost certainly bare similar traits. Second, people in those communities likely engaged in active lifestyles in their whole. Being on the move all day is a good counter to most of the illnesses they listed.
Next up, a study at New York University on 20 diet plans ranked the Paleo diet dead last in terms of overall nutrition and health benefits. The diet involved higher than normal levels of fat, and lacked certain nutritional benefits altogether, such as calcium rich dairy which is all but essential for some women.
Also, the big thing to remember is, changing your diet isn’t like waving some magic wand and all of a sudden all of your health problems are gone. The road to good health is normally long and windy, but very scenic. It takes time to get over bad lifestyle habits and start living for good ones. Exercise is a must for people in our societies, where we spend more than half our time sitting down each day. As well, always look to balance your nutrients and food groups. Neglecting some nutrients and overindulging in others can lead to complications as well.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to sticking with diets that are proven to work, such as diet plans that include low calories, high vitamins and go best with exercise.