With every New Year comes a slew of fad diets, and every year they seem a little crazier than the last.
So what’s the big thing for 2015? Eating like a caveman, of course! And no, we’re not kidding. The so-called ‘Paleolithic diet’ or Paleo diet has been adopted by a number of big names in celebrity circles, including people like Megan Fox and Jack Osborne, but does it really work? Or does it amount to nothing more than a pile of rocks? Let’s find out.
The Paleo diet in a nutshell
The whole concept behind this diet is the idea that humans should revert to the diet eaten by our cave-dwelling ancestors. It’s based on the assumption that the humans who were around before about 10,000 years ago actually had a better diet, and one that our bodies are still best adapted to. This diet includes several key features of a ‘forager’ type menu: lean meats, nuts and berries are all to be found here. The ‘no-no’ foods include anything with a lot of dairy as well as any highly processed foods.
The theory behind the Paleo diet
As mankind domesticated animals and developed more modern agriculture techniques, our diet changed to include foods such as grains and dairy products. According to proponents of the Paleo diet, this marked the moment when maladies such as obesity and heart disease began to rise in the populace. These folks believe that by following a diet that pre-dates this change, they will live longer and healthier lives. Scientific evidence? Who needs that? The Paleo diet requires followers to only eat the following:
- Lean meats, seafood, or other animal products (but not dairy)
- Plenty of fibre and roughage (but not from grains)
- As few carbs as possible (roughly 35% of the daily intake total)
Why Paleo diet fans might be wrong
We’re not the type to throw around wild accusations like ‘the Paleo diet is a load of tosh’, so we’ll keep such sentiments to ourselves. There are, however, a number of reasons that the Paleo diet might not be the best choice for modern man. First off, a study carried out the US News & World Report in 2014 evaluated the health benefits of this diet (for things like weight loss and general wellbeing) and found that it came dead last at number 32. On top of this, there is plenty of historical evidence to show that pre-Paleolithic man did in fact eat things like legumes and grains – nullifying one of the central beliefs of the whole shebang.
So what do you think about the Paleo diet? Is this a return to form for mankind’s diet, or is this simply another case of celebrities jumping on the bandwagon? One thing is for sure: if you want a healthy, nutritious diet, you’ll need to focus on balance. And when you’ve got to eat like a caveman, that’s not always easy.