What is the Paleo diet?
Also known as the Caveman Diet or the Stone Age Diet, the Paleo Diet resembles the diet of our ancestors in the Paleolithic Era or the stone age. It involves the consumption of high-protein and high-fibre foods, which can reduce weight and the risk of cardiovascular conditions.
The purpose of the Paleo diet is to consume foods that early humans followed. Paleo diet works on two principles:
- Research says that this primitive diet has the potential to address modern-day illnesses.
- Our genetics and anatomy have not adjusted well since the Stone Age, so eating primitive food can promote good health and prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
What are included in the Paleo diet?
Like all other diets, the Paleo diet has a framework of food-to-eat and food-to-avoid.
What to eat in the Paleo diet:
- Nuts and seeds
- Lean meat
- Fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna)
- Olive oil
- Walnut oil
What to avoid in the Paleo diet:
- Whole grain (wheat, barley, oats)
- Legumes (beans, lentils)
- Milk or cheese
- Starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn)
- Processed foods
The controversial foods in the Paleo diet:
- Grains: Wondering what is the surrounding debate? From the agro-history perspective, some experts believe grains are a product of post-paleo agricultural technology, while others believe Paleolithic men cultivated some grains. From the standpoint of health benefits, some dieticians believe grains contain carbohydrate, gluten, lectins and phytates, while others believe whole grains are a substantial source of nutrition.
- Legumes and lentils: Legumes and lentils are controversial for the same reasons as grains.
Does the Paleo diet help with type 2 diabetes management?
The popularity of the paseo diet has increased since its introduction. Because of its low-carb regimen emphasizing high-protein and high-fibre intake, doctors are interested in this diet. But does it help with blood sugar management? Let us find out.
Many type 2 diabetes patients reported experiencing a remarkable improvement in their blood sugar levels with this diet. These reports state that their blood sugar levels are consistently in the normal range. Some could even stop their regular diabetes medications while on a Paleo diet.
In a study, 14 participants with type 2 diabetes could stabilize their blood glucose levels and cut down cholesterol significantly after two weeks of following the Paleo diet. Meanwhile, other participants who observed the traditional ADA-approved diet saw a slight improvement in their condition. However, the study focused on the short-term results only. The long-term effect of this diet is yet to be determined.
Another argument against the Paleo diet focuses on the disadvantages of missing essential nutrients such as dairy products, soy and lentils.
Is it safe for diabetes?
Although the Paleo diet has notable effects on blood sugar levels, it is not a long-term solution to managing diabetes. Most experts argue that the paleo diet may not be as safe as the Mediterranean diet.
Some health experts are skeptical about this diet, as research has been inconclusive. There are two key factors that best explain the drawback of the Paleo diet.
First, the Paleo diet has many versions and controversies. Some experts include saturated fat, such as red meat, in this diet list, while others do not. Saturated fat is a big NO for diabetes patients as it increases cholesterol levels and the chances of heart disease.
Second, experts say that the Paleo diet lacks nutritional balance because of the absence of certain food groups, such as dairy and soy products. Milk is an essential source of calcium, while soy is an excellent source of protein – both are essential for a diabetes patient. Eliminating these nutrients may hurt diabetes management in the long term.
Consider both advantages and the disadvantages of this diet before following it. Not all bodies are alike, and each of us has different dietary needs based on our underlying health conditions. Only your doctor can identify the right nutritional choice for your body.