SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Paleo or “Cave Man” diet has grown in popularity with claims that it is healthy and causes weight loss. Health expert Karen Owoc explains how the Paleo diet can impact overall health.
Karen says proponents of the Paleo diet believe humans should only eat food that our caveman ancestors ate, that is, they think humans have not adapted to a modern diet that includes eating agricultural products.
Paleo advocates believe humans should only eat meat, fish, eggs, nuts, limited fruit, and vegetables and EXCLUDE highly processed foods and oils and farmed products such as whole grains, legumes (beans/lentils), refined sugar, and dairy.
Eating a diet rich in animal-based protein is problematic for three reasons:
- They are high in saturated fat.
- They increase concentrations of TMAO: trimethylamine-N-oxide. A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that elevated levels of TMAO increased risk of death by 63%.
- The elimination of whole grains had an adverse effect. Whole grains help produce healthy gut bacteria which ward off chronic diseases.
Karen says the ideal eating plan is more INCLUSIVE than EXCLUSIVE—it does not exclude whole food groups. When you restrict carbohydrates and/or fat, your body counters the restriction by releasing hormones that cause you to crave those particular macronutrients. That’s because your body requires both carbs and fats to perform key metabolic functions.
The Takeaway: The Paleo diet that’s high in saturated fat and low in carbohydrates may be harmful to long-term health. Karen advises following a more plant-based diet that includes plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, nuts/seeds, fiber-rich whole grains, and legumes.