The Paleo Diet is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. The following seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets will help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and lose weight.
Higher protein intake – Protein comprises 15 % of the calories in the average western diet, which is considerably lower than the average values of 19-35 % found in hunter-gatherer diets. Meat, seafood, and other animal products represent the staple foods of modern day Paleo diets.
Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index – Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables represent the main carbohydrate source and will provide for 35-45 % of your daily calories. Almost all of these foods have low glycemic indices that are slowly digested and absorbed, and won’t spike blood sugar levels.
Higher fiber intake – Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and despite what we’re told, whole grains aren’t the place to find it. Non-starchy vegetables contain eight times more fiber than whole grains and 31 times more than refined grains. Even fruits contain twice as much fiber as whole grains and seven times more than refined grains.
Moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats – It is not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, but rather the type of fat. Cut the trans fats and the Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in your diet and increase the healthful monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats that were the mainstays of Stone Age diets. Recent large population studies known as meta analyses show that saturated fats have little or no adverse effects upon cardiovascular disease risk.
Higher potassium and lower sodium intake – Unprocessed, fresh foods naturally contain 5 to 10 times more potassium than sodium, and Stone Age bodies were adapted to this ratio. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. Low potassium is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke – the same problems linked to excessive dietary sodium. Today, the average American consumes about twice as much sodium as potassium.
Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid – After digestion, all foods present either a net acid or alkaline load to the kidneys. Acid producers are meats, fish, grains, legumes, cheese, and salt. Alkaline-yielding foods are fruits and veggies. A lifetime of excessive dietary acid may promote bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, and increased risk for kidney stones, and may aggravate asthma and exercise-induced asthma.
Higher intake of, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals – Whole grains are not a good substitute for grass produced or free ranging meats, fruits, and veggies, as they contain no vitamin C, vitamin A, or vitamin B12. Many of the minerals and some of the B vitamins whole grains do contain are not well absorbed by the body.
Eat To Live – Dr. Joel Fuhrman: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained
I believe I can never know enough about living healthy. I’m constantly learning more about eating healthy. I’ve adopted a plant-based diet, a vegetarian diet, but it is amazing to me how much more there is to learn?
I suggest reading the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Even if you believe your diet is good, it’s great to get more validation. It helps me continue to make good choices and when I do make a decision to eat something fun and as good as cardboard is for me, at least, I understand it.
Excerpt: After years of examining the accumulating evidence, eight top health organizations joined forces and agreed to encourage Americans to eat more unrefined plant food and less food from animal sources, as revealed in the dietary guidelines published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
These authorities are the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, the American Dietetic Association, the Division of Nutrition Research of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Their unified guidelines are a giant step in the right direction. Their aim is to offer protection against the major chronic diseases in America, including heart disease and cancer. “The emphasis is on eating a variety of foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, with very little simple sugar or high-fat foods, especially animal foods,” said Abby Bloch, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the American Cancer Society at the time. Based on a culmination of years of research, these health experts’ conclusion was that too much animal-source food is one of the leading causes of heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, obesity, etc.— all the major chronic diseases that cost 1.4 million Americans their lives each year (more than two-thirds of all deaths in the United States).
Fuhrman, Joel (2011-01-05). Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss (pp. 71-72). research lifestyle tips health & wellness diet & nutrition cardiovascular disease.
Conclusion in a few random studies by men and women who ate a Paleo diet did reduce their waist circumstances and some of their blood lipids.