Pretty much everyone has heard of the Paleo diet meal plan by now. It has gone through many name changes over the years (I first heard it referenced as the Caveman Diet), but it’s basically the same.
The premise? You’re a hunter gatherer and you should act like one. To put things into perspective, remember that our genetics change very, very, very slowly, over the course of thousands of generations. With this in mind, know that we have spent:
- 2 generations in the digital age
- 7 generations in the industrial age
- 350 generations in the agricultural age
- A whopping 84,000 generations as hunter gatherers
Kind of puts it into perspective, huh? Merely a blink since we left the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
So what is the general idea of a Paleo lifestyle? If a hunter gatherer didn’t eat it, neither should you. That means that Twinkies and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are off the list. It means you are eating unprocessed foods as close to organic as possible (Roundup didn’t come along until, well…”today” as far as “generations” are concerned).
Here’s where almost every Paleo guy gets it wrong. You know the “hunter” part? If I gave you a spear and sent you out to get your animal protein, I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t coming back in an hour dragging a boar or elk.
Let’s face it. You’d be lucky to nab a squirrel or an injured bird. Seriously. Have you ever tried to catch a mouse empty handed?
And don’t forget bugs. Another likely source of protein for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
Regardless of whether or not you can hunt, a back to basics lifestyle with unprocessed foods is not a bad idea. But what happens when you put a small group of obese postmenopausal females on a Paleo diet consisting of 30% protein, 40% fat and 30% carbohydrates?
We get a chance to find out in this particular study. Here’s what the researchers found after just 5 short weeks:
- Energy intake dropped by 25%.
- BMI as well as waist/hip ratio decreased.
- Diastolic blood pressure dropped an average of 7 mmHg.
- Other markers that dropped were fasting glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL/HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B (ApoB) and apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1).
- The amount of triglycerides in the liver decreased by 49%.
Not too shabby overall for a mere months’ worth of dietary change. This just shows had bad for us our heavily processed, everything-out-of-a-box-or-can lifestyle is for us.
Have you “gone Paleo?” If so, what were your hardest challenges?