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Some people call it the caveman diet, the primal diet, or the hunter-gatherer diet. But it’s actually not a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle that incorporates a diet of whole, unprocessed food, a healthy sleep schedule, and plenty of movement. Are you curious about why somewhere between 1 million to 3 million Americans—that’s 1% of the population1—eat a Paleo diet? Read on to learn more.
A: To answer this question, ask, “What would a caveman eat?” Our ancestors’ diet consisted of animal proteins and plants, straight from the earth: lean proteins, grass-fed meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and fish oil. This is what people on a Paleo diet eat.
A: In short, any foods that hunter-gatherers didn’t eat! Most notably, refined foods that come in a box, bag, or jar. That’s because these foods tend to be processed and contain trans fats, refined sugars, starches and alcohol as well as pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals that didn't exist in the Stone Age.
A. People who follow this diet want to eat in a way that works with human genetics and how our bodies were designed to process foods. Their objective is to maximize their vitamin and nutrient consumption and optimize the balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates in their meals and snacks so they feel and perform at their best. Here are the main health benefits associated with following the Paleo diet2:
Many of the above can make an impact on conditions like diabetes and heart disease, plus autoimmune disorders. Additionally, following the Paleo lifestyle’s dietary guidelines can result in weight loss if a person adopts a healthier diet and eliminates refined foods and unhealthy fats that are associated with weight gain and obesity. 3
A: The non-Paleo food list prohibits foods that were unavailable to Stone Age humans, including dairy, grains and legumes—and this is where the diet raises red flags for many people. These foods have been shown to help lower the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases and promote a health weight. Avoiding these foods denies people the benefits of modern methods of eating and keeps good sources of calcium, fiber, and protein off the menu. What’s more, “too much meat” can result in consuming too much saturated fat. 4,5
A: As with any health-related question, it’s best to ask your doctor. This ensures that your diet and other lifestyle choices are based on what’s best for your body and take into account your particular health conditions and dietary needs. So before adopting a Paleo diet—or any other eating plan—consult with a professional to achieve the results you’re looking for.
1 Paleo Diet Basics | Paleo Lunch Ideas | Paleo Meal Plan. (2017, March 30). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://thepaleodiet.com/a-few-paleo-diet-statistics-to-start-your-day/.
2 What Is The Paleo Diet? (2017, January 26). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from https://robbwolf.com/what-is-the-paleo-diet/.
3 Weight Loss on a Paleo Diet: 18 Expert Tips. (2017, February 03). Retrieved August 02, 2017, from https://paleomagonline.com/weight-loss-on-a-paleo-diet/.
4 Jabr, F. (n.d.). How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked [Interactive & Infographic]. Retrieved August 02, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/.
5 Fetters, K. A. (2014, February 26). Everything You Need to Know About the Paleo Diet. Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20786451,00.html.
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Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL Illinois) is a leading provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health, and life insurance products and a Chubb company. With a tradition of nearly 100 years of success, we have an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and are one of Ward’s Top 50® Performing Life-Health Insurance Companies. Combined Insurance is also the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the over $1B revenue category for 2019 by VIQTORY. This is the company’s eighth consecutive year on the top 10 list and fifth consecutive year in the top 5—Combined Insurance was previously named the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the nation for 2015 and 2016. In New York, products are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY).
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