The aim of this assignment is to critically evaluate Paleo diet also known as Paleolithic diet and its health benefits. The word Paleolithic itself originated from Greek meaning ‘stone age’, during this period, members of our species relied on stone technology to sustain their scavenging and were limited to consuming the plants and animals they could hunt or gather. This circumstance provided a diet high in lean protein from meat, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial phytochemicals from plants. What Paleolithic diet differs from an urban diet is Paleo diet excludes refined grains, dairy products, refined carbohydrates of a wide variety, readily available food products, separate fats and oils, and legumes.
The main proposed benefits of the Paleolithic diet are weight loss, health optimisation as well as the prevention or control of many so-called diseases of civilization, including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, auto-immune disease, and cell cancer which are rare in hunter-gatherers (Manzel, et al., 2014). Animal meat is complete and high in protein containing all the essential amino acid that human body cannot make. Amino acids are important building blocks for most tissues such as muscle, skin, and enzymes. The plant is an excellent fibre source, vitamins that are essential factors for disease prevention, and optimal health and well-being. The effects of the Paleo diet assessed in a study published online in the European journal of clinical nutrition, support a conclusion that a Paleo diet improves blood pressure and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles which all prevent above diseases (Frassetto et al., 2015).
However, the Paleo diet does not take into consideration of portions and calories. Although the food choices in a Paleo diet are healthy, there is no limit to how much of it you can eat, which can cause problems. According to Dr. Michael Greger, protein and fat rich foods induce substantial insulin secretion. Any type of meat such as beef, chicken, and pork produced as much insulin as pure sugar. Insulin encourages adipocytes also known as fat cells to store fat and prevents the release of fat from these cells. High level of insulin promotes obesity. Furthermore, in a study carried out by Eric Trexler, paleo diet’s impact on blood lipids was not only significant, but substantial enough to negate positive effects of exercise on blood lipids increasing low-density lipoproteins in the body. Low-density lipoproteins known as bad cholesterol causes blockages in arteries which increases risk of cardiovascular diseases. These findings contradict the main promoted benefits of Paleo diet.
Paleo diet provides the essential nutrients that are necessary for the human body to grow and function properly. When Paleo diet is balanced, with controlled portion and calories can bring health benefits. Therefore, Paleo diet restricts dairy and legumes which is suitable for individuals that are lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant.