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What basics do beginners need to know to start a Paleo diet?

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Quick Answer

The Paleo diet emphasizes animal protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy fat sources such as avocado, ghee and coconut oil, according to John Berardi, Ph.D. for the Huffington Post. Variations of Paleo may include legumes and dairy; however grains, heavily processed oils and processed foods are not included.

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Full Answer

The concept behind the Paleo diet is that Paleolithic humans were stronger, fitter and leaner than individuals who follow a modern diet, explains Dr. Berardi. Generally, they consumed three times more produce than the average American, as well as more fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fat. Additionally, their diet ensured they consumed plenty of vitamins and minerals and less sodium. In comparison, the modern diet that emphasizes baked goods, sweetened beverages, yeast breads and alcoholic drinks is associated with a significant increase in chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity within the last 50 years.

The major benefit of the Paleo diet is that it incorporates healthy whole foods, lean protein and fresh produce into a regular eating lifestyle, states Dr. Berardi. The downside of Paleo is that there isn't enough scientific evidence, as of July 2015, indicating that grains, legumes and dairy are bad for most people. Additionally, a diet with many restrictions can be harder to follow in the long term.

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