Two million years ago, people ate roots, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds. They were in excellent physical shape. Everything changed with the advent of agriculture from the hunter-gatherer stage to them growing their own crops.
The Paleolithic Diet, the food of hunter-gatherers, or the food of the caveman.
What will happen to a modern man if you limit dairy products, legumes, grains, and sugar? Is it worth following the paleo diet, how much, and why?
What is the essence of the paleo diet?
About ten thousand years ago, the earth was inhabited by hunter-gatherers who ate organic food and moved a lot. They were slim and fit.
The followers of paleo nutrition believe that the diseases of civilization: obesity, type 2 diabetes, and diseases of the cardiovascular system began to develop when a person mastered agricultural production: he started growing cereals and legumes, learned how to cook them, and began to actively add them to his diet. According to their assumptions, the human body did not have time to adapt to such a dramatic change in the habitual diet.
Scientists continue to study this hypothesis, but a number of controversial points do not make it possible to assert with certainty that everything was exactly like that. For example, archaeologists have found evidence that during the Paleolithic era, the human diet could already include wild grains. And genetic studies show that “cavemen” quite successfully adapted to changes in diet and could digest grains.
While discussions continue in the scientific world, you can take all the best from the principles of paleo-nutrition and adapt them for yourself.
With dairy, grains, and legumes being restricted, the Paleo diet will help you take a fresh look at your diet and diversify it with new dishes and tastes. Like other whole foods and no added sugars, it can help you lose weight and improve your health.
The hunter-gatherers hunted long-running animals all day and collected herbs and roots. These plants were unselected, so they were less sweet and less succulent, but they contained more fiber than modern vegetables and greens.
The fruits were also different from the ones we are used to: they had a lot of seeds and a rather thin layer of unsweetened pulp – they could only be harvested in season.
How the paleo diet affects modern humans
In recent years, small studies indicate the positive effects of such a diet.
One of them was attended by 14 volunteers. For three weeks they followed the principles of the paleo diet. During this time, they lost weight, decreased waist size, and improved blood counts.
Another experiment involved patients with diagnosed diabetes. They were divided into two groups: the first three months adhered to the paleo diet, the second – the standard diet for diabetes. As a result, patients from the first group lost more weight, decreased waist circumference, improved glucose tolerance, and a number of indicators of improved cardiovascular health.
I want to try paleo. What to do?
There is no single “correct” paleo diet – the composition of the “caveman’s” diet depended on the habitat and season.
According to researchers, approximately 25-30% of energy came from proteins (lean meat of game and fish – during the Paleolithic period, animal meat contained much less fat than in modern production), 35-40% – from carbohydrates (fiber occupied an important place), 20–35% – from fats (mostly unsaturated).
In the paleo diet, there are no restrictions on the size of the portion and the number of meals – it is more important to focus on the feelings of hunger and satiety. The hunter-gatherer had only these tools, and his meals were largely dependent on whether he was able to obtain or collect his own food.
To date, there is no research to support the long-term benefits and safety of the paleo diet, but if you make up your mind, this experiment will help you:
- add whole and natural foods to your diet;
- add variety to familiar dishes;
- learn to eat without counting calories, measuring portions and intervals;
- focus only on the feeling of hunger and the needs of your body;
- and – an important condition for the success of paleo nutrition – to organize physical activity comparable to that of the “caveman”.