Every day brings a new diet fad or food trend, but sometimes these “get healthy” or “rapid weight loss” plans bring more than what the person bargains for: negative effects on their body. One of the biggest diet crazes, the Paleo Diet, is causing concerns among experts.
The diet, also known as the caveman diet, calls for a drastic change in the lifestyles of many. Concentrating on the ancient diet of the Paleolithic man, the menu calls for an increase in protein while advising against carbohydrates and dairy products. While many people have had great results, others have experienced serious health issues, including anxiety and high cholesterol.
Certified holistic coach and personal trainer Jen Bruno of J.B. Fitness says it is important to remember not every plan will work for everyone. In an interview with Bustle, Bruno advises to follow a plan that your body will be able to deal with. If a diet works wonders for your friend but you experience issues, then it is important to stop and try something else.
Since the modern body is not adapted to eat as our ancestors did, there are side effects many experts warn to be aware of when following the Paleo diet, or any change of diet plan. Bustle highlighted several areas of concern.
Potential Side Effects
Decrease in Energy Level – As the diet calls for no consumption of dairy, whole grains, and legumes, you could be at risk for low energy feeling.
Anxiety – Following a strict diet can lead to stress and an unattainable goal. It could also have long-term effects on your health.
Protein Overload – Excessive intake of protein over a long stretch of time could have serious consequences such as kidney damage in the future.
High Cholesterol – Due to the consumption of saturated fats from red meat and other foods on the plan, you could be at risk for cardiovascular disease from elevated cholesterol levels.
Carb & Sugar Cravings – With the low carbohydrate count, you may experience an increase in cravings for carbs and sugar. Ensure you reach for a healthier snack when they hit.
Bone Density Loss – By withholding your body from dairy, you may not be getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D and calcium, which can lead to bone density loss down the road. It is recommended non-dairy diets be supplemented with multivitamins and mineral supplement, as per Erin Holley, M.S., R.D., L.D., of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Low Mental Stamina – Some people experience lack of focus during the day from the low carbohydrate count, which keeps a person fueled throughout their day.
High Acidity – As red meat is very acidic, your body may not be able to process it as it should. You may have digestion and reflux issues.
Paleo Diet Foods
Various versions of this diet exist, but it mainly consists of eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, red meat, and organ meat such as the liver, tongue and heart of an animal. Foods to avoid are processed food, dairy products, legumes, sugar, grains, processed oil, and salt. You are also to avoid beverages such as coffee and alcohol.
The Daily Nutra website supplies Paleo Diet followers with a great list of recommended foods to enjoy.
Living a healthier lifestyle does not mean to try every new fad diet that comes along. Each one varies, and the Paleo Diet plan may work for you or it may not give you the results you desire. If you plan to adopt a different food plan, remember to listen to your body. It will tell you if the diet plan is right for you.
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Baum, I., “11 Ways Eating a Paleo Diet Can Affect & Sometimes Hurt Your Health According to Experts”, January 11 2017, Bustle web site; https://www.bustle.com/articles/196384-11-ways-eating-a-paleo-diet-can-affect-sometimes-hurt-your-health-according-to-experts, last accessed January 13, 2017.
“Paleolithic Diet”, Wikipedia web site; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet, last accessed January 13, 2017.
“The Paleo Diet: Eat Clean, Eat Well”, Daily Nutra web site; http://www.dailynutra.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Paleo-Food-Chart.png, last accessed January 13, 2017.