What is Paleo and Why Should I Care?

Spend any amount of time reading up on health and you will be inundated with buzzwords. Among the most recent crop circulating the fitness realm is “paleo” – short for Paleolithic Diet. While there’s a lot of bickering among paleo proponents about what exactly fits into the popular eating style, the core ideas remain the same. Let’s take a closer look at the basic tenets of the paleo diet and how you could benefit from it.

Back To Our Roots

The foundation of paleo is that the modern diet is not the way we’re supposed to be eating – a fact that is vividly demonstrated by the epidemic of obesity and other preventable yet chronic conditions. So, paleo seeks to get us eating – and living – in a way that more closely represents the pattern set by our paleolithic ancestors before agriculture was developed.

One of the major problems facing the paleo diet is that scientists can’t really agree on what real- life paleo people would have eaten. And then there’s the issue of geography; People in different parts of the world had access to different foods and developed processing techniques at different times. Then, of course, there’s the fact that some paleolithic foods are now extinct and have since been replaced by modern variations. Also, it’s fairly possible that a true paleolithic diet would have included some human flesh – so that’s a pretty powerful limiting factor. Despite these obstacles, the paleo diet has some standard, accepted guidelines:

• Stick to unprocessed, unrefined foods like meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts andseeds.

• Avoid grains, dairy and sugar.

As mentioned, there are different takes on the paleo diet and some versions allow for dairy and rice. Others are even starting to shun seeds. Regardless of the exact rules you decide on, the central theme is to eat a clean, high protein diet free from processed foods. To that end, many paleo practitioners also stick with organic, non-GMO foods and grass-fed meats.

Does It Work?

To be fair, it’s hard to properly test the paleo diet since there are so many different versions of it out there. Still, it makes complete sense on paper but we need hard scientific evidence. Fortunately, there are a few studies that show promising results. To get around the issue of variability, these studies all used the diet set forth in “The Paleo Diet” by Dr. Loren Cordain which advocated lean meats, no added sodium and used canola oil. In the interest of fairness, it should be pointed out that most paleo diets these days aren’t afraid of fatty meats and aren’t friendly with canola.

Despite these differences, though, it can be said that these studies add support to the basic idea of the whole paleo movement. But, enough talk. What did the studies show?

First, a 2009 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition put nine non-obese, healthy but sedentary individuals on the diet for 10 days. At the end of the study, major improvements were seen in blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The next study directly pitted the paleo diet against the proven Mediterranean diet with no calorie restrictions on either group. At the end of 12 weeks, the paleo diet produced greater improvements in waist circumference and blood sugar than the Mediterranean diet.

The final study we’re going to consider looked specifically at what a paleo diet could do to the liver fat, muscle cell fat and insulin sensitivity in 10 obese women. All of the women lost weight, with major reductions in liver fat. Of course, they also had several other health benefits like those mentioned in the other studies.

Find Out More

Ultimately, despite some disagreements about exactly what a paleo diet consists of, it’s pretty clear that eating clean, high-protein foods can only do you good. Gnarly Nutrition offers clean, high protein supplements that provide similar health benefits to the paleo diet. Learn more about this product line by visiting our products page at https://gognarly.com/shop/.

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