Should We Eat Like Our Cavemen Ancestors?

People in Irvine, CA, who want a healthier diet focus on whole foods. Some eat a diet based on food consumed during the Paleolithic era, 2.6 million years to 12,000 years ago. It was during the hunter-gatherer period and before farming. Sometimes, this diet is called the caveman diet. It consists of natural food and doesn’t contain dairy, grain, salts, caffeine, alcohol, legumes or sugars. It focuses primarily on greens, fruits, nuts, roots, and wild game. Paleo supporters say it genetically matches man’s digestion and makes the body healthier.

There are holes in the logic behind the diet.

The basis of the diet is the belief that it mimics early man’s diet so the body can digest it more easily. According to anthropologists, that’s false. Only about 3% of a caveman’s diet came from animal sources. Both man and food sources changed throughout the Paleolithic period. Initially, man ate more like animals. By the end of the period, man used tools and fire. The caveman didn’t have a specific diet but ate whatever was available. People near bodies of water ate fish. Their diet even included grain.

There are many reasons this diet has health benefits.

Giving up sugar, highly processed foods, and added salt is healthy. That’s another health benefit. Eating whole foods is the key to healthy eating. Studies show that initially, you’ll lose weight fast on the Paleo diet. After that initial period, it’s no better than the Mediterranean diet or other healthy options. Studies show that since it helps with weight loss, it can reduce inflammation and many chronic conditions. Fermented foods are also part of the caveman diet. They provide many health benefits.

The caveman diet eliminates grains, legumes, and dairy.

Grains, legumes, and dairy contain nutrients necessary for the body to function. Reducing grains and dairy reduces the amount of fiber, B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium. People often eat far more fatty or red meat, which can cause the bad LDL cholesterol profile to rise and lead to bowel cancer. Many caveman diets are too low in carbs, which can lead to quick exhaustion. If you go on the Paleo diet but limit the red meat, it is a healthier option than the traditional American diet.

  • When it comes to heart health, studies on the Paleolithic diet vary. Some studies show that it’s good for cardiovascular health, while others show it may lead to heart disease. Medical professionals often suggest using the Mediterranean diet instead.
  • The caveman diet, like the keto diet, reduces the carbs in the diet and increases the amount of fat and protein. The increased fat and protein keep you full longer, aiding weight loss.
  • The Paleo diet helps you lose more weight initially, but after 24 months, the amount of weight loss was the same as other diets. The difference was the reduction of waist circumference and visceral—belly—fat with the Paleo diet.
  • Since the Paleo/caveman diet is more restrictive, it’s harder to maintain, making it difficult to assess the long-term benefits or health issues. Always check with your healthcare professional before starting any restrictive diet.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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