The basic theory behind the Paleo Diet is that your body is evolutionarily and genetically and designed to thrive on caveman-era foods. The diet is purported to have several benefits, though you need to check with a doctor before trying it.
Taking grains out of your diet doesn’t mean that you will have to suffer from constipation. Grains are actually not the only source of fiber and you can get plenty by including non-grain plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits and tubers, at most of your meals. A typical day of eating real foods by following the Paleo diet principles can easily add to up to 42 g of fiber (based on a 2,200-calorie diet).
So what does cause your fat tissue to accumulate and hold on to fat?
In a word: carbohydrates.
In essence, overeating and excess weight could be viewed as a symptom of an improper diet, because when you consume too many sugars and carbs, you set off a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that makes you hungry and craving for sweets:
- First, fructose is metabolized differently from glucose, with the majority being turned directly into fat because fructose stimulates a powerful “fat switch.”
- This rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
- Dietary carbohydrates, especially fructose, are also the primary source of a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate (g-3-p), which causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue
- At the same time, high carb intake raises your insulin levels, which prevents fat from being released
- Fructose further tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. Fructose does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in feeling hungry all the time, even though you’ve eaten. As a result, you overeat and develop insulin resistance, which is not only an underlying factor of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but also many cancers (source: By Dr. Mercola)
Potential Health Benefits
The diet may put you in synch with your genetic requirements and thus boost your health if its theory is correct, says Jack Challem in the Nutrition Reporter article “Paleolithic Nutrition: Your Future is Your Dietary Past.” Eating a modern diet, on the other hand, makes you more susceptible to cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many other modern-day diseases, says Challem, also the author of “Stop Prediabetes Now” and “The Inflammation Syndrome.”
Agriculture was introduced just 10,000 years ago, with people starting to refine grains and sugar about 1900 with the advent of the Industrial Age. From a genetic perspective that means 100,000 generations survived as hunter-gatherers, 500 generations utilized agriculture, 10 generations have followed the industrial age, and only a couple of generations have been exposed to highly processed and fast food. If nothing else, the diet eliminates foods that are known to increase risk for many of these health conditions.
The American Heart Association recommends you eat fewer processed and fast foods that are of little nutritional value, or nutrient poor, including those with hydrogenated oils and trans fats, foods with added sugar and foods with lots of salt.