- Dr. David Alfaro
Are you a caveperson?
There are so many fad diets out there! A couple of weeks ago I was walking to the gym when I passed a new hipster "Paleo Cafe", which prompted me to giggle and post what I thought was a witty remark about humans catching their food with spears....and of course, some people chimed in how they think Paleo is awesome.
What is the paleolithic diet?
There is a belief that our digestive systems stopped evolving way back when we were hunters and gatherers, so the modern human body is not designed to consume foods such as grains, dairy and processed sugars and added salt. Instead, we should only be eating what was readily available to early man (people-kind) prior to the introduction of, you know, farming.
This concept has many assumptions. There is no proof that hunter/gatherers were actually obtaining the nutrients they needed to be healthy, and we surely do know that they did not have the life expectancy that we have today. Furthermore, it assumes that the human body does not have the capacity to adapt to foods that are acquired through farming or that are processed.
Ignoring the logical fallacies involved in the diet, is there evidence that it works? What does the science say?
There is a surprisingly high number of research studies looking at the paleo diet and various outcome variables, and there are some very promising results. In the short term, a strict paleo diet can result in weight loss, body fat loss, improved glucose and fat metabolism. Long term data, however, is not very plentiful, and most of the studies are done on obese people, or people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, so the results may not reflect the "healthy" population.
One of the main risks of the paleo diet, just like many unbalanced fad meal plans, is that because you are avoiding certain food sources, you may find yourself deficient in certain important nutrients, such as Calcium in the case of the paleo diet, I guess unless you are eating the bones of your prey. Not the best for your teeth IMO lol.
But....do not take my word on things.....check out what researchers have published on the topic:
Paleo diet and the older adult
and even better here is a review of ALL the fad diets:
You may need to find them on Google Scholar or Pubmed for full text.......
Keep safe from the Sabre-tooth Tigers!!!!