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The paleo diet was created to replicate what hunter-gatherer diet people consumed during the time of early human history. Scientists theorize that the people lived on a variety of natural whole foods. By adopting the regimen and increasing physical activity, people have the chance to greatly reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or obesity.

Allowable Foods

Early people sustained themselves on naturally growing plants and the animals they hunted. The cultures had not developed the farming techniques commonly used in later centuries. Many believe that our bodies are not genetically designed to remain healthy while consuming the foods produced on farms today. Instead of eating the natural foods that were common to our ancestors, today’s culture generally recommends an abundance of dairy products, grains and legumes and many other foods that were not available during the hunter-gatherer societies

Foods to include on the Paleo diet:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fish
  • Lean meat
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oils providing a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which includes olive or nut oils

Foods to avoid on the Paleo diet:

  • Dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Processed sugars
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Whole grains

Benefits

By eating the recommended foods, individuals have the chance to lose weight or better maintain a healthy weight, as the menus do not contain high-fat, high-sugar or processed products. The paleo foods are high in nutritious fiber, minerals and vitamins, which leave you feeling fuller longer. The satiety effect reduces cravings and the urge to snack on unhealthy foods. By eliminating the suggested list of restricted foods, dieters also consume fewer calories, which helps balance weight.

Drawbacks

The regimen requires that individuals must also exercise regularly, as ancient people spent extensive amounts of time and calories in order to obtain their foods. Eating the suggested foods without increasing physical activity may no offer the same degree of benefits.

A typical hunter-gatherer diet is also relatively bland and restrictive, which people may become bored with over time. Many of the foods are also supposed to be organically grown or come from free-range animals. These foods are generally more expensive or may not be readily available in some areas.

Several randomized studies indicated that individuals following the diet routine were better able to maintain a healthier waistline and regulate their fasting blood sugar. However, many nutritionists and researchers also do not believe that a sufficient quantity of evidence exists to prove all of the benefits of the diet.