Whether you’ve heard about it in passing, at the gym, or seen it hashtagged on a fitness enthusiast’s Instagram, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo diet—but what exactly is it?
No to heavily processed foods
Emphasizing whole foods, the Paleo diet necessarily avoids prepackaged and heavily processed foods. This means eliminating unhealthy preservatives, artificial flavours, excessive sugar and sodium, and a wide range of other less-than-beneficial ingredients.
No to empty calories
Empty-calorie foods, such as soda, candy, sweets, energy drinks, and juices that contain added sugar, contain the same amount of dietary energy as any other calorie, but provide little to no nutritional value. But empty calories still require the body to expend valuable nutritional resources on their digestion, but provide nothing (aside from calories) in return.
The Paleo diet emphasizes drinking water and eating whole foods containing beneficial nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fibre, which means empty-calorie junk foods are cut out. This change in diet facilitates weight loss, helps prevent nutritional deficiencies, and increases energy levels.
Yes to sustainable energy
We love our stimulants; our fast-paced society’s dependence on coffee and energy drinks is practically a trademark of Western culture. Unfortunately, consumption of sugary, highly caffeinated beverages causes us to crash—in part because they are metabolized so quickly by our bodies—leading to exhaustion and the need for more of these energy-boosting drinks.
By focusing on consuming foods with naturally stimulating ingredients that are more slowly metabolized, a Paleo diet leads to more sustainable, long-lasting energy levels.
Yes to simple, sustainable weight loss
The Paleo diet also focuses more on balanced eating than on calorie counting. It’s easy to keep calorie consumption in check because Paleo-compatible foods tend to be nutritionally dense and low in calories, making it a challenge to consistently overeat. Overeating is eliminated by curbing consumption of high-sugar foods and refined carbohydrates, which prevents hunger pangs and provides a more long-lasting feeling of fullness.
Yes to improved health and disease prevention
Absent of foods high in trans-fats, sodium, preservatives, and sugar, the Paleo diet eliminates ingredients linked to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart problems. And, the increased intake of fruits and veggies promoted by the Paleo diet means ingesting more antioxidants, which help prevent cancer by neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals in the body.