Ian Chan, HK BioTek Nutritionist
More and more alternative diets have become popular these days, examples including Gluten-Free diet, Ketogenic diet, Low-carbohydrate diet, and DASH diet etc. Among all of this variety of dietary patterns, this article will show and explain you the details about the Paleolithic diet (as known as paleo diet, stone-age diet, caveman diet, primal diet, and hunter-gather diet).
“I’ve seen great result from it from when I started doing it last year  … Watching your sugar intake, making sure you’re eating healthy fats. You’ve got to find a balance in that system. It’s worked well for me.” said Kobe Bryant – former NBA player with five championships won.
What Is The Paleo Diet?
The idea behinds the Paleo diet is to encourage people having more natural foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meat while excluding those “not-to-eat” foods such as dairy, grains, legumes, and artificial seasonings. Similar with other dietary approaches, the Paleo diet promotes healthy eating in terms of the prevention on multiple chronic diseases; but unlike other diets, this stone-age diet focuses more on the nutrients intake, than the energy consumption. In a standard Paleo meal, the dish should contribute high protein, moderate to high fat (healthy fat like omega-3 fatty acids), and low carbohydrate content as well as various types of micronutrients.
This concept may sometimes make people confused however, before you asking the “why”, let us think about “what were the Paleolithic humans supposed to eat in million years ago”.
Paleo-Approved Foods: To-Eat versus Not-to-Eat
This, in a nutshell, the paleo-approved foods should be:
– high protein
– low carbohydrate
– high potassium but low in sodium
– high fibre
– low glycemic index (GI)
– rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemical
– moderate to high fat intake (mostly mono- & poly-unsaturated fatty acids)
Why no Dairy in Paleo?
Looking back to the diets that our Paleolithic ancestors used to have, newborns at that time were fed breast milk but children and adults never consumed milk products. Nevertheless, dairy products which we could find in the supermarkets are indeed undergone several steps of food processing procedures, for instance, pasteurisation, homogenisation, fermentation, and blending etc.
Why no Grains and Legumes?
The reason why grains and legumes are not on Paleo is due to its carbohydrate content and “anti-nutrients” characteristics. Paleo diet followers focus on the quality of nutrient levels in their every dish, any potential factor that leads to nutrient lost should also be eliminated from the diet.
Some Paleo experts discussed upon this topic and they agreed that, grains are very simple carbohydrates which, may escalate the the blood sugar level quickly and result in a spike in insulin level. And despite both grains and legumes are rich in protein and other nutrients, some particles such as lectins, phytates, and gluten in there may restrict the overall nutrient absorptions, or even trigger several burdens to our systems. Therefore, the Paleo diet followers just classified these two foods as contrabands.
Stay tuned for the more info on paleo diet!