The Paleo Diet, Debunked

What Is the Paleo Diet, and Who Can It Benefit?

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The paleo diet is based on one simple premise: thousands of years ago, our hominid ancestors ate a drastically different diet than the highly processed, high-fat, and high-sodium diet we eat today. Therefore, according to paleo practitioners, our emotional and physical health would drastically improve if we returned to some of the same dietary restrictions our ancestors used.

It's easy to see the benefits of cutting chocolate cake, pizza, and fizzy drinks out of our diets - but what other health benefits can you get from going paleo? Keep reading to see whether paleo will work for you and what benefits you can expect to see if it does.

What Can You Eat on the Paleo Diet?

Just because you want to eat as people did in the Paleolithic Era doesn't mean you have to turn hunter and gatherer. Instead, paleo focuses on cutting out enriched-wheat, high-sugar, and high-sodium products developed in the last century and substituting them with more natural food options, including:

  • Fish and other lean meats like chicken, pork, and turkey
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables like broccoli that lack starch
  • Seeds, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and other natural foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Most people on the paleo diet cut out grains, legumes, processed sugar, dairy, and high-fat meats.

Who Should Try Paleo?

Paleo can be an ideal diet for those who are looking to lose weight and increase muscle mass, but it can also help those who experience frequent aches and pains. The diet emphasizes anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables that can reduce joint pain and improve overall health, wellness, and pain relief.

Not sure if you're ready to go full paleo? Start small by reducing your carb, sugar, and fat intake. Add a serving of lean protein to two meals per day, and make an effort to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Like all diets, paleo works best for weight loss and pain relief when combined with a robust exercise schedule, so make sure you're getting at least a few hours of exercise in each week.  

Are There People Who Shouldn't Try the Paleo Diet?

Like all other specialized diets, the paleo diet isn't necessarily right for everyone. Certain groups should exercise a bit more caution before they fully commit to eating paleo:

  • Pregnant women may need a more rounded out diet than the paleo diet provides.
  • People going through medical treatments like chemotherapy might have special dietary instructions from their primary physicians that preclude a paleo diet.

Of course, depending on the individual, the paleo diet could be the right call for people in the higher risk groups listed above. For instance, your doctor might recommend you try something closer to the paleo diet if you were overweight before you got pregnant and need to carefully regulate your body's weight gain over the next nine months.

And if you already went paleo before your pregnancy and saw multiple health benefits, your OBGYN might recommend you stick to your diet for at least the next nine months to maximize your health.

You should also bear in mind that paleo cuts out legumes and whole grains, a dietary practice that can benefit some people. However, without your doctor's approval, you shouldn't consider cutting legumes and whole grains if you belong to a high-risk group or if your dietician has recommended you increase your legume and whole grain consumption.

How Can You Get Started?

Diving into a new diet is tricky, especially if you feel the burden lies on you to do all the dietary research and create an entirely new eating schedule. Luckily, you don't have to go paleo alone unless you want to. It's easy to find a medical support system and paleo experts who can guide you along the path to a healthier diet.

At Williford Chiropractic and Wellness, we specialize in improving our clients' health through chiropractic treatments and paleo counseling. If you're interested in seeing what a paleo diet would look like for you, get in touch with us onlinetoday.