The Paleo diet – Is it really as good as it is popular?

The Paleo diet was firstly designed as a type of diet which would fight against modern illnesses and then became known as a weight loss program which restricts certain groups of food. Although it has been around for years, it appears that it only became popular these last years, especially when many celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kobe Bryant and Megan Fox publicly said to have been following it.

The Paleo diet i.e. the Paleolithic Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet is based on food that used to be eaten by those who were living in the Paleolithic Era. It includes meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts whereas grains, legumes, dairy products, salt are forbidden since they appeared after the development of agriculture, which introduced toxins into the food.

In 2013 this diet was considered to be the most popular diet and most searched diet term on Google. However, being controversial among nutritionists, it hit the bottom place of “Best Diets Overall” list. To be at the top, one diet needs to be nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against heart diseases and diabetes.

The opinions are divided. Some nutritionists embrace the Paleo diet as healthy, others as harmful.

According to ones, the diet which forbids certain food groups is not balanced, and they also claim that those who follow the Paleo diet do not necessarily live longer or are healthier.

According to others, among whom most famous defenders are Chris Kresser and Kellyann Petrucci, this diet not only improves their health, but it improves their whole lifestyle. Kresser has treated around 1000 people and claims that the Paleo diet has made people experience a profound transformation.

Anyway, several studies have been done to humans, and accordingly, conclusions have been reached.

The first one was to check if the Paleo diet improves the glucose tolerance. In two separate groups, one being treated with the Paleo diet, the other with the Mediterranean-like diet, the first group met an improvement in glucose tolerance. Concerning the weight loss, both of them lost weight, but the difference was more statistically significant in waist circumference, in favor of the Paleo diet group. Also, every patient of the Paleo group had normal blood sugar and ate fewer calories per day compared to the patients of the other group.

Generally, the Paleo diet was well tolerated without adverse effects. No firm conclusions could be based but scientists claim the evidence that is, is promising.

However, alongside all these pros, the cons of it are of course its restrictiveness to pasta, bread, potatoes and desserts, its family unfriendly and not recommendable for social occasions and in fact it is based on speculation since it is not possible to claim what Paleolithic ancestors actually ate. Also it is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

The motto of the Paleo diet supporters is “If it can’t be eaten raw, you should not eat it at all, although it does not mean it must be eaten raw”.

It is up to you if you want to follow this.