Diets Deconstructed – The Paleolithic Diet

Today’s post on ‘Diets Deconstructed’ is all about cavemen would you believe?  A far cry from dear Dr. Atkins the caveman diet, more frequently known as the Paleolithic diet, focuses on eating plants and meat in a similar fashion to our Stone Age ancestors.

Cavewoman diet

Certain schools of nutritional thought and research have claimed that this type of diet is super healthy – hailing it as the biologically appropriate diet that suits us best, with the proper balance of nutrients to promote a healthy body whilst reducing the potential for chronic diseases.

Clinical trials have suggested that by eating a Paleolithic diet people can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, help with weight loss, reduce acne and promote optimum health – all of these things sounds beyond incredible to a woman living with PCOS…but is it all true?

As with any diet there are aspects that seem too good to be true – so how about we start separating fact from fiction and get to the bottom of the caveman diet!

The Paleolithic diet has evolved as a reaction to the increasing obesity crisis that proving problematic in Western society.  The diet includes any food that could be hunted, fished, and gathered during the Paleolithic era – meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruits, and berries…grains and dairy however are not promoted in this particular diet.  It is difficult to follow a truly caveman diet due to changes in agriculture and food production – wild game, for example is featured heavily on most menus.

The Paleolithic food pyramid

For those who choose to follow this sort of a diet, a successful modified version of the caveman diet includes food that is gluten-free, full of lean meat, organ meats, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts…of course as with many other diets sugars and processed oils are a big no-no…also in the Paleolithic diet you won’t find any dairy, grains, legumes, potatoes, salt or any drinks that don’t include water, coconut water or organic green tea!

Paleolithic diet

The American Dietetic Association have commented on this diet plan saying:

“This diet has some great aspects, but the limitations make it another diet that people can go on but can’t sustain for a number of reasons, including lack of variety, cost, and potential nutrient inadequacies.”

With potential nutritional issues arising from a caveman diet, WebMD along with many other sources recommend that you supplement the plan with calcium and vitamin D particularly.

Due to the strict nature of the diet – eliminating all grains, dairy, processed foods and sugar it is most likely you will experience some weight loss, although this is difficult to sustain and becomes even more difficult if you struggle with weight as an aspect of your PCOS.

There are some clear advantages to a more natural diet that mimics our ancestors however there is also an increase in the consumption of fat, from meats for example, that will likely have an adverse effect upon our overall health…caveman

It’s often said that the Paleolithic diet is one to try for the short term; say 2 weeks to see if you feel any different, but realistically is not a diet that one can stay on for the long term without seeing some negative side effects – lack of essential nutrients and lack of cash for example!

Let us know if you have tried aspects of the caveman diet – we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on it!

**As with all diet plans the results vary from person to person, I am no doctor so to find out more about if a plan is suitable for you before you begin be sure to talk to your GP or a nutritionist to see if it is right for you.**

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