There has been a lot of talk going around lately about the Paleo diet. Even if they haven’t read about it in their favorite magazines, most consumers will at least have noticed many new “Paleo-friendly” products hitting the shelves at their local grocery stores.
Despite its mounting popularity, few consumers are completely aware of what the Paleo diet is, what it entails, and how it works. They can read on to find six facts about the Paleo diet they might not know about or read about popular diets online to get a more in-depth view.
The Health Benefits Are Unproven
While some who try the Paleo diet find it’s easier to lose weight, it’s unclear whether the weight loss is actually the result of cutting out carbs. In reality, dieters may lose weight because of calorie restriction rather than dietary changes alone.
There Are a Lot of Unanswered Questions
Advocates of the Paleo diet often pretend that since the diet mimics that of humanity’s ancestors, it’s proven to be safe. In reality, there are a lot of unanswered questions.
No studies have evaluated the long-term side effects of omitting whole food groups and researchers do not understand whether the Paleo diet is beneficial for all populations. Dietitians don’t yet know whether there’s a potential for developing nutrient deficiencies on the Paleo diet.
It Provides Short-Term Weight Loss
While short-term studies of the effects of the Paleo diet show that it supports weight loss, long-term studies don’t show a statistically significant difference between the Paleo diet and other calorie-restrictive diets. Some consumers may see long-term benefits from following this specialized, restrictive diet, but modern science has yet to test how effective it really is for keeping weight off.
Dieters Should Avoid Paleo Products
Given that one of the main tenets of the Paleo diet is to avoid processed food, it’s surprising how many expensive “Paleo-friendly” products are now available in grocery stores. There’s no way to tell whether these products follow the diet’s strict restrictions, and it’s much cheaper for dieters to make their own food. Those who are insistent on giving the Paleo diet a try should skip the expensive specialty products and learn how to cook some new meals using whole foods and raw ingredients.
Cutting Out Processed Foods Helps with Weight Loss
While the benefits of following the more restrictive Paleo diet have yet to be proven to outweigh the costs, one thing is clear. Cutting out processed foods can definitely help consumers lose weight. It can also reduce consumers’ risks of developing other potentially serious health problems.
There is Such a Thing as Too Much Protein
It is possible to eat too much protein. A protein overdose can increase the risk of kidney damage and osteoporosis, and if that protein comes from meat, it can also increase the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is technically caused by saturated fat, but today’s meats are much higher in this fat than the hunted meat eaten by humanity’s ancestors.
The Bottom Line
While there is some evidence that the Paleo diet can help with weight loss, it can be dangerous if consumers don’t pay attention to their micronutrient and macronutrient consumption. It may also be inappropriate for consumers with certain health conditions. It’s best for dieters to speak with their doctors or dietitians prior to beginning a Paleo diet to make sure they’ll be getting the nutrients they need.