Growing in popularity, the Paleolithic diet, sometime referred to as the caveman or Stone Age diet, has helped thousands of people return to a normal body weight. The diet focuses on mimicking the foods eaten by our hunter-gatherer ancestors before the advent of agriculture. Modern paleo diet foods include fish, domesticated grass-fed meats, vegetables, fruit, and nuts, while avoiding refined sugars and grains. Although the diet does have its critics (some of whose research is funded by large agriculture businesses), scientific research, as well as the increasing number of dieting successes, has pushed the paleo lifestyle closer towards popular acceptance.
One area of research shows the decline in human health and body mass starting around 10,000 years ago. The fossil record shows a general decrease in body stature and an increase in the occurrence of bone deterioration (especially with teeth). The decline in health occurred simultaneously with the introduction of domesticated plant foods, such as cereal grains. Whether or not the health decline in the archeological record was due to dietary changes is still being debated amongst nutrition academics.
Observational studies of modern hunter-gatherer groups also lead credence to the Paleolithic diet hypotheses. Elderly individuals in these technologically primitive societies rarely show signs of chronic diseases like obesity and high blood pressure that almost universally afflict senior citizens in western societies. Furthermore, when these cultures switch to the western diet, they begin to display the symptoms of these agricultural diseases.
Critics of the Paleolithic diet contend that hunter-gatherers have shorter average life expectancies than modern human populations. The individuals pre-disposed to the so-called diseases of civilization would have died much younger and not exhibit strong signs of these diseases. Many of these critics argue that excess food energy, not a specific food group, is responsible for the upsurge in modern-day diseases.
Nevertheless, the paleo diet has exhibited great success in clinical trials. When compared with a standard diet for type 2 diabetes patients, the Paleolithic diet resulted in better measures for triglycerides, blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, and cholesterol levels. In addition, studies comparing the Paleolithic diet with the Mediterranean diet discovered that it performed better at correcting glucose intolerance and that participants thought the paleo foods were more satiating. Animal experiments with pigs and mice confirm that the Paleolithic diet conferred lower blood pressure and higher insulin sensitivity than a traditional grain-based diet.
The Paleolithic diet has performed admirably in helping people achieve a normal body weight. Moreover, research shows that the diet has numerous health advantages over other food regimens. Whether it’s physical health or effective weight loss, the Paleolithic lifestyle can help you enjoy a better body.