The Paleo diet is the ultimate regression back to the Stone Age. I mean, really: who would think that reverting back to the ways of Neanderthals would be a successful way of revolutionising our diets?
A lot of people, it turns out.
The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, is an approach to food that actively encourages people to only eat things that a caveman would eat. These foods include simple, real food – meat, fish, vegetables, fruits – which is great.
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But according to a new study, it’s not very good for your health.
The research from the University of Melbourne shows that the Paleo diet can lead to weight gain and pre-diabetes symptoms.
“Researchers observed that following the caveman style diet for eight weeks could increase the incidence of weight gain, health problems and speed up pre-diabetes symptoms for those already overweight,” reports The New Daily.
Worse still, it can have mental health impacts, as Associate Professor Andrikopoulos confirmed that the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet resulted in 15% weight gain and soaring levels of insulin, which “will increase blood pressure and the risk of anxiety and depression, and may cause even cause bone issues and arthritis”.
If Paleo has sparked alarm bells for professionals, it should ring alarm bells for everybody, because the Paleo diet encourages people to completely aim to avoid any form of processed food.
Can’t see the harm in cutting out processed food-like products? In theory, I agree – we could all do with less processed fruit-like sticks and more apples and bananas.
But it’s the extremes that Paleo people go to in cutting out all forms of dairy, grains and sugars that has health professionals concerned.
It is fair to say that any extreme diet, Paleo included, is rather drastic (not to mention socially limiting).
And the fact that the cavemen approach to dining is able to speed up symptoms of diabetes in overweight people is a pretty worrying side effect. It goes to show that sometimes, a traditional, balanced diet and regular exercise and is far better for us that we give it credit for.
So here’s a crazy thought: learn to eat in moderation instead.
Don’t cut everything out, but don’t eat everything in sight either.
And enjoy ice-cream and chocolate – just not every day.