The Paleo diet – otherwise known as the paleolithic diet – is a reference to the diet of people 100-50 thousand years ago. Man fed then what he caught, hunted or collected.
Research shows that the health of hunters – pickers was much better than the health of modern people. It was characterized by a low incidence of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer.
Hunters – gatherers fed on fresh, mainly unprocessed food sources. They regularly spent time in the open air, had a very active lifestyle and did not live in constant stress, like us, now. Short stressful situations mobilized them to fight or escape.
The modern Paleolithic diet model proposed by Cordian is based on allowed and forbidden products. The first group of products includes meat (preferably grazing), fish and seafood, eggs, fruits (preferred berries), vegetables – including starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn) nuts and seeds (preferred nuts with low content of omega fatty acids) -6 ie almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts) and in limited quantities – rapeseed oil, coconut oil, honey, wine, coffee and tea. Products forbidden in the Paleo Diet are all kinds of cereal products, milk and its products and legumes. All highly processed products and foods with the addition of refined oils, simple sugars and salt are also found on the so-called black list, because all appeared only as a result of the development of civilization.
The result of research carried out between 2007 and 2010 (Lindeberg, Frasseto, Jonsson) confirms the pro-health application of the Paleolithic diet. It has a beneficial effect on glucose tolerance, waist circumference, lipid profile and blood pressure. The Paleo diet is slightly different from the standard balance of basic nutrients. It is a diet with a reduced amount of carbohydrates (they cover about 39-40% of the total energy supplied with the diet), a higher protein content (about 25-29%) and the currently accepted principles of a healthy diet with the amount of fat (about 30-39%) .
As with any alternative diet, Paleo’s diet also causes a lot of controversy. The main argument of her opponents is that the current nutritional value of food is significantly different from the one from several dozen thousand years ago. Vegetables and fruits have lost their content of vitamins and minerals, animals do not feed themselves naturally, and meat is packed with antibiotics and pesticides. It is also emphasized that too much meat supply in relation to fruits and vegetables can cause acidification of the body. Supporters of the Paleolithic diet point out a favorable limitation in the consumption of anti-nutritive and pro-inflammatory ingredients (eg gluten, phytic acid, lactose), a favorable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, high supply of antioxidants and branched chain amino acids.
It is difficult to state clearly whether the use of the Paleo Diet may cause beneficial health effects or, conversely, contribute to the intensification of certain diseases. Certainly, it is worth to follow the rules of its operation and try to implement certain elements in the daily diet. Do not forget that the diet is also to meet our taste preferences, which in the case of Paleo Diet are quite limited. The nutritional model presented above is clearly unsuitable for people on a vegetarian diet.