If you’re into CrossFit, then you had definitely heard about Paleo diet. A simple search on our good old Google will haze you with loads of articles, studies, testimonials & individual experiences of Paleo diet. The availability of such wealth of info makes it rather hard to distinguish what’s based on sound rationale and science from intelligent marketing gimmicks. So without further due, let’s take a quick look at Paleo: what it is, its pillars and whether you ought to join the Paleo movement or not.
What Is Paleo?
Paleo is exciting in that it truly serves as an acknowledgement & commitment to keeping things natural & simple in the pursuit of gradual, long term health benefits. It’s built on the hypothesis that despite the advancement mankind has achieved in agriculture, preserving products, and processing foods, our genetic makeup hasn’t coped up with such advancement. Hence the emergence of the modern world diseases. It encourages a lifestyle that’s more or less what our ancestors from the Paleolithic era ‘i.e. Cavemen’ followed. That’s not to say we’re moving back into caves per Se but we are mimicking their eating patterns.
With this in mind, Paleo promotes abstinence from dairy, grains, and of course processed foods- claiming that those goods weren’t readily available to our ancestors. It, however, promotes foods like meat, seafood, veggies, fruits & nuts.
The 7 Pillars Of The Paleo Diet:
- It has a high protein content. Protein foods such as meat, non-processed meat products and seafood are the diet staples.
- Carbohydrate intake is low. The carbohydrates that are eaten are those with a low glycemic index “GI”. Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables make up the main carbohydrate source, providing between 35-45% of daily calorie intake. These foods have a low GI, which means that when eaten, they are digested and taken up (absorbed) more slowly by the body, causing less impact on blood sugar levels. Note: potatoes are excluded for they are starchy carbs with relatively higher GI.
- Fiber intake is high. The main sources of dietary fiber in The Paleo diet are from non-starchy fruits and vegetables rather than from whole grains and refined grains.
- There is a high fat content. Fats that are eaten should be mostly mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated rather than saturated and trans fats.
- Potassium salt intake is high “main salt in fresh unprocessed veggies” and sodium salt intake is low.
- There is a dietary acid and alkaline balance provided by the diet. Eating plenty of alkaline-producing foods such as fruit and vegetables in the diet achieves a balance with acid-producing foods such as meat and fish. Which in turn provides a medium that fights bacteria and tumor growth.
- There is a high intake of vitamins, minerals, plant phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Paleo is gaining tremendous popularity especially among athletes; and it comes with no surprise for it promotes high protein intake providing an abundance of amino acids “the building blocks of all proteins in the body” while fighting the acid medium excess protein intake entails via the alkalinity of the veggies and fruits intake.
What is the difference between Paleo and Mediterranean Diet?
A legit question that might present itself to the healthy lifestyle avid is if there are any differences between Paleo and Mediterranean diet or if they are merely different names to the same eating regimen. And if they are different; which is better for weight loss and athletic performance?
If such inquiries raise your eyebrows make sure to keep Get Healthy Cairo, and I’ll be writing a follow-up article comparing the fore-mentioned diets along with my two cents on each.
Until then; work hard, eat right, sleep tight and don’t forget to have some fun while at it!