by Mike Geary, aka – The Nutrition Watchdog
Certified Nutrition Specialist, Best-Selling Author
If you want to eat truly healthy, lose body fat consistently, normalize your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, prevent cancer, and even boost your brain health and energy levels, you may have heard all over the news that the Paleo Diet has been found to be one of THE best methods of achieving all of these benefits compared to any other popular “fad” diets out there.
The truth is that the Paleo Diet will NEVER be considered a “fad” because it’s just simply the way that humans evolved to eat over approximately 2 million years. And eating in a similar fashion to our ancestors has been proven time and time again to offer amazing health benefits, including prevention of most “diseases of civilization” such as cancer, heart disease, alzheimers, and other chronic conditions that are mostly caused by poor diet and lifestyle. One of the biggest misunderstandings about the Paleo Diet is that it’s a meat-eating diet, or a super low-carb diet… This is NOT true!
There is no one single Paleo Diet, as our ancestors from all over the world ate dramatically different diets depending on the climate where they lived, their landscape, accessibility to water bodies, and the latitude that they lived.
In some cases, a Paleo Diet may be 90% plant foods and 10% animal foods, and in other cases, a Paleo Diet may be 90% animal foods and 10% plant foods…
For example, our ancestors that lived near the equator had year-long access to more plant materials such as root vegetables and various fruits, veggies, and nuts.
On the other hand, our ancestors that lived at higher latitudes further away from the equator only had access to fruits and vegetables seasonally at one specific time period per year, and had larger periods of the year where they ate a higher % of meats, organ meats, fish, and other animal-based foods, or fermented foods that could be stored for winter.
However, studies of tribes or isolated groups of people still living off the land and eating a hunter-gatherer diet (such as the research conducted by Dr Weston Price) consistently shows the distinct LACK of modern western diseases of civilization such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and alzheimers… and this distinct lack of degenerative disease occurs regardless of what % of their calories came from protein, carbs, or fat. This is one of the biggest misunderstands of Paleo eating…
Some of these tribes or groups of people eating an ancestral diet do indeed eat a very high % of their annual calories from protein and fat (such as the Masaai and Samburu tribes, or the Inuit people), whereas on the other hand, there are also examples of isolated groups of people such as the Kitavans that eat as much as 60-70% of their annual calories from carbohydrates (mostly from starchy roots) yet still display robust health and a lack of disease.
And there are also other tribes that supplement their regular meat eating with various amounts of honey, berries, and nuts at certain times of year, and once again, display almost perfect health on their ancestral diet. It’s important to note that modern-day factory farm animals are a far cry from the wild game that our ancestors ate, so if you want to be truly healthy, you must choose pasture-raised meats and eggs (or wild game) instead of factory farm raised meats and eggs.
Another characteristic of our ancestors that ate a hunter-gatherer diet (Paleo) is that they always ate the entire animal (unlike modern humans that mostly just eat the muscle meat), without wasting anything, including eating the organs, cartilage, and other collagen-rich parts. This was very important for health, as organ meats are THE most nutrient dense foods on the planet (more nutrient-dense than most veggies), and the collagen protein is important for slowing the aging process, protecting our joint health, and preventing cancer. (I have another full article on the amazing benefits of collagen coming soon!)
As you can see, the Paleo Diet isn’t necessarily a low-carb diet per se, and it’s not a meat-based diet either, although it can be weighted more heavily in favor of protein and fats in certain cultures. The most natural and healthy diet for humans is an omnivorous diet, and not a plant-based diet, or a meat-based diet per se. The Paleo Diet can be very widely varied and omnivorous for the most part, but the most important thing is that it’s unprocessed, and avoids the worst foods that agriculture brought mankind… refined inflammatory vegetable oils, refined grains (some are worse than others), and sugar!
As you can see, the benefits of adopting a Paleo way of eating can be incredible! I’ve been eating 95% Paleo for the last 5-6 years and I’ve never felt better. I have dozens of friends that have adopted a more Paleo way of eating too, and have seen all sorts of health problems disappear, including eliminating acne and other skin problems, digestion problems, improving brain clarity, and of course, losing a lot of body fat!
I should also clarify that a Paleo Diet is NOT the same thing as a “Ketogenic Diet“… A ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet (as low as 5% of calories from carbs, 10-15% calories from protein, and 70-80% of calories from fat) that has been proven to have therapeutic benefits for treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s, type 2 Diabetes, and even obesity. However, despite the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for various health conditions, a Paleo Diet is generally quite different than ketogenic, since a Paleo diet does include some fruits, small amounts of honey, starchy roots, and other starchy vegetables, so a Paleo Diet can have various ranges of carbohydrates as I explained earlier in this article.
Last thing for today about eating Paleo… If you want TONS of ideas on how to eat Paleo for incredible health benefits, but do it in an exciting delicious manner where you enjoy mouth-watering meals and desserts every single day, you MUST try out this new Paleo cookbook here.
You will REALLY enjoy the meals in there! Plus, you’ll enjoy the improved energy levels, skin health, digestive health, brain clarity, and fat loss too!