What Are the Benefits of the Paleo Diet and Why It May Be Right for You

Chances are you’ve heard of the paleo diet: Meals are planned around the way your ancestors ate before the agricultural revolution. As with any diet plan, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding it, and you may wonder if it’s an option for you. Read on to learn the possible benefits and to decide if you want to adopt it as part of your lifestyle.

What is the paleo diet?

The paleo diet is based on the premise that humans do best eating very specific types of foods, mainly meats, fish, poultry, fruits and most vegetables, and unprocessed oils. It maintains that for you to live up to your optimal health, achieve your ideal weight, and avoid chronic disease, you should eat the way your caveman relatives did.

Foods permitted on the paleo diet include fresh fruit, nonstarchy vegetables, plain nuts (but no peanuts), seeds, eggs, plant-based oils, lean meats, seafood, and fish. Foods that are not on the paleo plan include beans and legumes, potatoes, peanuts, grains (whole and refined), and processed foods — especially processed meat, snack foods, and cereals.

What are the benefits?

If you dislike dieting because of the counting and measuring involved, the paleo diet may be just for you. You aren’t assigned a certain number of calories or fat grams per day — you simply eat the foods allowed on the plan until you’re satisfied.

Paleo foods are clean, meaning they don’t have added chemicals, preservatives, or dyes. A diet rich in vegetables, plants, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils is anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is a major contributor to the development of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

The limited food choices mean you may lose weight — you can only eat so much meat and vegetables before you get tired of the taste. The paleo diet is rich in protein and fat, which contributes to feelings of fullness, so you may also be more satisfied and fight cravings on this diet plan.

Is paleo for you?

The benefits of following a paleo diet plan sound like just what the doctor ordered, and it may be. If you suffer from chronic disease and need to lose weight, the paleo diet is a great way to do so without having to count calories.

Research shows that paleo-style eating improves the symptoms and status of many chronic diseases. The emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods is a major improvement over the traditional Western diet, which is high in carbs, fried foods, sugar, and preservatives.

Everyone can benefit from eating paleo style, but not necessarily being overly devoted to the plan. Some foods that are not on the paleo plan have been proven to offer a lot of benefits — such as dairy in calcium, protein and fiber in beans and peanuts, and iron in potatoes.

Many people benefit from adhering to the spirit of paleo by avoiding processed foods and added sugars but still allowing healthy foods not on the plan, such as plain yogurt, quinoa, and oats. But if following a strict set of rules helps keep you compliant to a healthier way of eating, then a strict paleo plan may be for you.

If you have questions about the paleo style of eating, don’t hesitate to start a discussion with the staff at Family Practice Associates. They can guide you if you do decide paleo eating is the right plan for you.

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