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'Paleo Diet' boils down to healthful eating

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 8:39 am

Google’s most searched-for diet in 2013 was the Paleolithic Diet, which is more commonly referred to as the Paleo Diet.

The Paleolithic era is the period of time that started 2.5 million years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago with the development of modern agriculture. Before modern agriculture, humans were hunters and gatherers. The Paleo Diet consists of only eating the foods that hunters and gatherers would eat. Humans in the Paleolithic era were also known as cavemen, and this diet is also called the caveman diet.

While newly popular, the caveman way of eating was first written about nearly 40 years ago. In 1975, Walter Voegtlin first wrote the book “The Stone Age Diet.” In 1985, the first paper on Paleolithic eating was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Paleolithic eating was overshadowed by the low-fat diet, and later by the Atkins and South Beach Diet.

But in 2002, Loren Cordain, who is considered the founder of The Paleo Movement, first published the book, “The Paleo Diet.” And since 2002, the Paleo Diet has slowly been gaining in popularity.

This is what typically encompasses the Paleo Diet: Lean meat, less salt, little to no grains, no dairy, fewer carbohydrates, more protein, no refined sugar, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, eggs, increase in healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fats and higher fiber.

I have to admit, before writing this column, I had never researched the Paleo Diet. But looking at the components of the Paleo Diet, I thought calling it a diet isn’t accurate as I feel it is just common sense healthy eating.

I found the research on the Paleo Diet to be too small to make any firm conclusions. But I did come across some very positive studies on the health benefits of the diet; — although these studies were rather small. Some of the health benefits in the research on the Paleo Diet were decreased blood pressure, decrease in “bad” cholesterol and increase in “good cholesterol,” and weight loss.

Why I am for the Paleo Diet is because it advocates “good” or low glycemic carbohydrates and “good” or omega-3 and monounsaturated fats. I could write two columns on this: One on “good” vs. “bad” carbohydrates, and “good” vs. “bad” fats — which is what I plan to do. So this article will be the first in a three-part series. Stay tuned for next time.

David Freidson is a licensed chiropractor and works out of the Synergy Health & Rehabilitation office in Minnetonka. To learn more, visit www.synergyhealthmn.com or call 952-475-4080.

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