Eat Like A Caveman: Is The Paleo Diet Healthy Or A Hoax?
Is The Paleo Diet Low Carb? Exploring The Link Between Paleo And Low-Carb Diets
Kevin McGivney of Loomis didn’t know what he was getting into when, a few months after joining CrossFit Loomis, he accepted the group’s paleo challenge. After eating “normally” for 35 years, he says, “the first two weeks were very, very difficult.” The term “paleo” refers to the Paleolithic age, a period of about 2.5 million years that ended around 10,000 B.C., when there was no such thing as processed food—hence the name “caveman diet.”
What Is The Paleo Diet?
The paleo program generally eliminates processed foods, refined sugars, and the most common allergens like soy, wheat, corn, dairy and peanuts; it includes naturally harvested fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—grown without pesticides or additives—plus meat. Agriculture, with resulting cultivation of highly developed grains and legumes and domestication of dairy animals, came after the Paleolithic era. It’s a pretty simple diet, according to Niki Young, N.D., with Revolutions Natural Medical Solutions in Folsom. “I think anybody would benefit from it,” she says. “Definitely people who have inflammatory disorders, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and thyroid issues.”
Making The Commitment
McGivney had no serious medical problems, but he was tired of feeling tired, and was working to get himself into shape and lose some weight. As superintendent for Helix Electric, he leaves the house at 4 a.m., is on the job all day, goes to school two nights a week, and to the gym usually three nights; he’s rarely home before 7:15 p.m. He observed the program strictly for the two-week challenge, not even having a piece of his wife’s birthday cake. When the two weeks ended, he felt so much better that he continued.
Many people are turning to a more natural diet, as evidenced by the media’s attention to the subject. Heather McGivney, Kevin’s wife, uses a lot of recipes from a friend’s “mostly paleo” blog, and has converted her daily menus to be compatible with the program. “I thought, this is easy—fruits and vegetables and any meat you want,” Heather says. “[However], it’s not so easy, because you can’t have barbecued chicken and salad every night.” She plans ahead so that she has the right kind of food to prepare, buys local produce when possible, and in the summer grows what they can. “It’s kind of like going back in time to how my grandma used to cook,” Heather says.
One of the reasons for the shift to whole foods is the increase of allergies and illnesses in the population, which may be due in part to diets high in packaged and processed foods and the prevalence of fad diets. “There are more and more people becoming intolerant to wheat, because it has been hybridized to the point where it has about four or five times the amount of protein it used to have,” Dr. Young says. “That’s great for feeding hungry populations in parts of the world where wheat will grow in abundance and nothing else really will, and they need more protein source…but the downfall of that is it’s created a lot of highly allergenic qualities…and it’s in everything.”
Amy Kubal, M.S.R.D., masters in nutrition and a registered dietitian, was a competitive runner and “did the whole vegan thing for a while, always very high carb, low fats and that whole craze.” She ended up getting diagnosed with celiac disease (sensitivity to gluten). Eating by the paleo protocol, her health has greatly improved. She now speaks out for paleo as a consultant dietitian working with Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution. “The first step is to clean out the pantry and refrigerator,” Kubal says. “Commit to 30 days free of gluten, grains, concentrated sugars, soy, legumes and dairy. I have a lot of people that come to me with more advanced autoimmune and health conditions where we take a stricter approach in order to manage and improve the conditions. For optimal health and quality of life, a paleo/real food approach is key.”
While McGivney didn’t begin the program for medical reasons, in just over two and a half months, without eating specifically to lose weight, he shed 32 pounds and was able to go off of his blood pressure medication. “Regardless of whether you want to call it paleo or not, it’s hard to argue with the advantage of a diet consisting of foods found in nature rather than those found in packages,” Kubal says. Whether or not you believe you should eat like a caveman, it makes sense that there must be nutritional benefits to eating natural foods as opposed to packaged and highly processed ones.
When asked if he considers this program one his family will continue, McGivney replies in the affirmative. “Absolutely, it’s a long-term change; maybe a little variation on holidays…but it will be long-term.” With the McGivneys mostly paleo, their children are also involved. Son Kenny, 14, likes the food his mother prepares using the paleo program, though he still takes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school for lunch. Christopher, 12, is not sure yet. “Of course I don’t like it,” he says, “because it’s good for me.” But he does admit to liking the meat and fruit. Daughters Chloe, 2, and Paige, 11 months, are too young to comment. “If you’re on the fence, give it a try,” Kubal suggests. “If you don’t feel better, you can always go back to what you did before—but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll want to.” •
If you’re interested in following a low-carb diet, you might be wondering if the Paleo diet fits the bill. After all, the Paleo diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods and avoids many high-carb options like grains and sugars. But is it truly a low-carb diet? We’ll explore the link between the Paleo diet and other low-carb diets like Keto, Atkins, and the Mediterranean diet. We’ll also dive into the history of the Paleo diet and its evolution, as well as the role of carbs in the Paleo and low-carb diets. Finally, we’ll discuss how to design a low-carb Paleo diet plan, including which foods to eat and which to avoid. So if you’re curious about whether the Paleo diet is low-carb, keep reading!
The History Of The Paleo Diet And Its Low-Carb Connection
The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, is a dietary approach that mimics the eating habits of our paleolithic ancestors. This way of eating emphasizes whole foods and avoids processed foods, legumes, and dairy products. The Paleo and keto diets share similarities in their low-carbohydrate approach, as both aim to restrict carbohydrate intake to induce ketosis, a metabolic state that promotes fat burning. While the Paleo diet doesn’t necessarily require strict low-carb eating, it tends to be naturally low in carbs, with many followers limiting their carb intake to around 50-150 grams of carbs per day. In contrast, the keto diet allows for only 20-50 grams of carbs per day, and focuses on high-fat, moderate-protein foods to induce ketosis. Both diets can result in weight loss and improved health, but the strict low-carb approach of the keto diet may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with higher carb allowances or who prefer a more flexible approach for long-term weight management.
The Role Of Carbs In The Paleo And Low Carb Diets: What You Need To Know
Carbohydrates are a major macronutrient that provides energy to the body, and their role in the Paleo and low-carb diets can vary. While the Paleo diet emphasizes whole foods, including healthy fats and natural sources of carbohydrates, it tends to naturally limit carb intake and may not be as strict in its low-carb approach as the keto diet. In contrast, the keto diet limits carb intake to induce ketosis, a metabolic state that promotes fat burning. Both approaches can help with weight loss and improving health, but it’s important to consider individual needs and preferences when choosing a diet plan. People with type 2 diabetes, for example, may benefit from a low-carb plan, while those following a Paleo lifestyle may prefer eating whole foods like bacon and vegetables.
Comparing The Paleo Keto Diet With Other Low-Carb Diets: Pros And Cons
The Paleo and Keto diets are popular low-carb eating plans. While Paleo emphasizes eating like our ancestors, Keto focuses on high-fat and low-carb foods to help you lose weight. The Paleo diet tends to be low in carbohydrates but doesn’t limit them as strictly as Keto. Following the Paleo diet means eating natural foods and avoiding packaged foods with added sugar or other carb sources like honey. Both diets aim to promote weight loss and overall health, but Keto restricts carbs to about 20-50 grams a day while Paleo doesn’t have a strict carb limit. Ultimately, the best approach for weight loss and health depends on different factors, including the amount of weight you want to lose and the types of foods you like to eat.
Designing A Low-Carb Paleo Diet Plan: Foods To Eat And Avoid
A Low-Carb Paleo Diet Plan can be a healthy and effective way to lose weight. Eating paleo involves consuming foods that are high in protein and fat while being low in carbohydrates. This diet plan emphasizes natural foods and avoids processed foods and sugars. Foods like vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and seeds are encouraged while high-carb sources like grains and legumes are avoided. The amount of carbs consumed on a Low-Carb Paleo Diet Plan is typically around 50-100 grams per day. This diet plan has gained popularity due to its focus on nutrient-dense foods and potential for weight loss results. As with any diet, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying to lose weight.
Debunking Common Misconceptions About Low-Carb Diets: Sugar, Fat, And Health Risks
Low-carb diets have been the subject of many misconceptions over the years. One common misconception is that all low-carb diets are high in fat, which is not necessarily true. While some popular low-carb diets like Keto do emphasize high-fat foods, other low-carb eating plans like Paleo are not as strict about fat intake. Another misconception is that low-carb diets mean cutting out all sugar, which is not accurate either. While added sugars should be avoided on a low-carb diet, natural sugars found in fruits and some vegetables can be consumed in moderation. Additionally, there is a misconception that low-carb diets are unhealthy, which is not the case if you are consuming nutrient-dense foods high in protein and healthy fats. As with any diet, it’s important to research and understand the different foods and sources of carbs to make informed decisions about your health and weight goals.
How To Get Started With Low-Carb Paleo: Tips And Keto Diet Plans
Getting started with a low-carb Paleo or Keto diet can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you get started: First, research and understand the differences between Paleo and Keto, including the amount of carbs allowed per day and the types of foods to eat and avoid. Next, make a list of ingredients and foods you can eat on the diet, including foods high in protein and healthy fats, and those low in carbs and sugar. Planning meals and snacks ahead of time can help you stay on track and avoid impulse eating. Finally, consider using a meal delivery service or a Keto diet plan to help you stay on track and ensure you are consuming the right amount of carbs per day. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise routine.
In conclusion, a low-carb Paleo or Keto diet can be an effective approach to weight loss and better health, but it’s important to understand the differences between the two and choose an approach that works best for your individual needs and preferences. While both diets limit carb intake, they have different approaches to fat intake and the types of foods allowed. Regardless of which diet you choose, it’s important to pay attention to the number of carbs you consume each day and prioritize whole, natural foods while limiting added sugars. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise routine, and remember that the key to success is consistency and balance in your eating habits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’ve still got questions about the paleo low carb diet, then these may help:
What Do You Eat For The Atkins Diet?
The Atkins diet is a popular low-carb diet that typically involves consuming around 20-25 grams of carbs per day during the first phase, with a gradual increase in carb intake over time. The diet typically emphasizes high-protein, high-fat foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and cheese while limiting carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, pasta, and sugar. Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower are also encouraged. It’s important to note that while the Atkins diet may be effective for weight loss, it may not be sustainable or suitable for everyone, and it’s always important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet.
What Is A Keto Paleo Diet?
A keto paleo diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that combines the principles of the ketogenic diet with the foods recommended on the paleo diet. The diet aims to keep carbohydrate intake low, typically around 20-50 grams of carbs a day, and to increase the intake of healthy fats and proteins from natural foods. Like the paleo diet, the keto paleo diet excludes processed and packaged foods, as well as sources of carbs like sugar and grains. However, the keto paleo diet tends to be higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates than the paleo diet. This approach may help with weight loss and improving overall health by reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar control.
What Is The Difference Between Keto And Ketogenic Diet?
The terms “keto” and “ketogenic” are often used interchangeably to refer to a low-carb, high-fat diet that puts the body into a state of ketosis. However, the ketogenic diet is a specific type of keto diet that typically involves consuming very low levels of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein, and very high levels of fat in order to induce ketosis. The keto diet, on the other hand, can vary in terms of macronutrient ratios and may not necessarily be as strict in terms of carb intake. Both diets have gained popularity as effective weight loss and health improvement strategies, but the ketogenic diet is typically considered more medically therapeutic and may require closer monitoring for certain individuals.
What Foods Are Not Allowed On The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a popular and healthy eating plan that emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods. While it doesn’t restrict any food groups entirely, it does limit certain types of foods. For example, processed and refined foods are discouraged, including sugary drinks and desserts, white bread, and processed meats. In addition, saturated and trans fats are limited, and instead, the diet emphasizes healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. Red meat is also limited, while seafood, poultry, and plant-based proteins like beans and lentils are encouraged. The Mediterranean diet is not strictly low-carb but emphasizes complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
What Is High-Fat Diet Induced Model?
A high-fat diet induced model refers to a research model in which animals are fed a diet that is high in fat content in order to study the physiological effects of such a diet. This model is commonly used to study the impact of high-fat diets on various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The high-fat diet typically consists of a low-carbohydrate and high-fat composition, similar to the ketogenic diet, with a significant percentage of calories coming from fats. The use of this model allows researchers to better understand the relationship between high-fat diets and disease development, as well as potential interventions to prevent or mitigate these effects.