Diet trends come and go, but the Paleo Diet has proven to one of the few with some real staying power. While it is not a great option for vegetarians and vegans, its followers span a wide range from suburban soccer moms to powerlifters.
Proponents and critics alike agree that giving up all processed foods is, of course, a good thing and a strategy that everyone should follow. After that, there is a lot less agreement on the benefits of this diet, as opinions from various experts fall all along the spectrum from amazing to awful.
If you have been on the diet or are interested in giving it a shot, it is important to understand its limitations. Many people find that the reliance on meat is a major turn off and can even make them feel sluggish and overly tired. Other people swear by the diet and report that they have never felt more energetic!
Like so much else in life, everyone’s experience will differ, and one size does not fit all. Before starting any new diet plan it is important to review your plans with your doctor and make sure that the meal plan is sufficient to meet all of your nutritional needs.
As mentioned above, everyone agrees that eliminating processed from your diet is a great idea. However, there are concerns that the Paleo diet is too restrictive and excludes many foods that are healthier than the so-called “approved” items.
It is a bit ridiculous to determine that some grains are better than others simply because they were available a million years ago. In fact, there are many whole grains that contain more nutritional value than those that are approved for a Paleo diet. Because of this, many in the scientific community do not take the diet seriously. It’s their belief that people should eat the most healthful and nutritious option that is available to them now rather than what was available during the time of cavemen.
Evolution is another factor that is not considered by Paleo enthusiasts. Our bodies have changed in the many, many years since the Paleo Era, and when people claim that the human genome is basically unchanged from that time period they tend to lose their credibility. There is common sense in a lot of the questions that surround this diet, and many people have found greater success when the adopt a type of modified diet that includes many of the tenets of the Paleo mindset.
As long as you are meeting your nutritional requirements and feel that you have enough energy to make it through the day, it shouldn’t matter if the whole grain that you are eating is ancient or not! Diets work because people are able to stick to them and if you find that the Paleo meal plan is too restrictive or does not make sense to you the chances that you keep with it are slim.
We have found that small modifications to the allowable foods have helped us to keep to the diet while also meeting our nutritional needs and maintaining an adequate energy level. If you are starting to feel burned out by the diet you may want to consider adding a few different grain options to your diet.
Scientists agree that the most beneficial aspect of Paleo is the exclusion of processed foods that have little nutritional value and can actually be detrimental to our systems. The most important thing is to eat healthfully and do what works for you!