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The Basics About What is Paleo Diet-friendly?

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Quick Answer

The paleo diet involves eating modern foods that are similar to those eaten by people from the Paleolithic period, who were hunter-gatherers. Some believe the diet will help them lose weight and prevent common diseases.

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Full Answer

Protein
The paleo diet is a high-protein diet. Hunter-gatherer diets were approximately 19 to 35 percent protein, as claimed by paleo diet founder Loren Cordain, Ph.D. As a result, the diet suggests that followers eat animal-based proteins, such as grass-fed beef, pork, poultry, organ meats, shellfish and wild-caught fish. Dieters shouldn't worry about consuming the fat from these animals, either, as it is also beneficial to the body's natural processes. In addition to the meat of animals, other animal-based proteins like eggs are also believed to be paleo diet-friendly. It is also beneficial to make stocks and broths from the bones of these animals since they can also be consumed alone or used to make other dishes for additional protein content.

Vegetables
Vegetables that are not starchy should make up approximately 35 to 45 percent of the paleo diet, notes Cordain. These types of vegetables provide the majority of the diet's carbohydrates as well as an abundance of dietary fiber, which is necessary for good health. Fresh and frozen produce replaces whole grains as a source of fiber and carbohydrates because they are believed to contain more nutrients overall. Vegetables should be eaten raw or cooked and consumed with a healthy fat to aid in the absorption of essential nutrients. Dieters should avoid starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and beans.

Saturated Fats
The paleo diet touts the importance of saturated fats in the human diet. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, which are believed to be beneficial to many of the body's processes. Healthy saturated fats that are paleo diet friendly include clarified butter, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, lard, duck fat, beef and lamb tallow, avocado oil, walnut oil, macadamia oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil. Oils that come from fruits and nuts should not be heated or used for cooking foods. Instead, use them to dress salads and flavoring food after it has been cooked.

Fruits and Nuts
Fruits and nuts should also be consumed on the paleo diet. Fruits have lower glycemic indices than other sweet or sugary foods, so they are absorbed and digested more slowly, which helps you to feel full for longer. Eating fruits doesn't spike a dieter's blood sugar like consuming candy or other processed foods. Followers of the paleo diet should aim to consume fruits that are lower in sugar and provide other benefits to the body like antioxidants. Berries are a good example of fruit that is high in antioxidants. Similarly, dieters should consume nuts in small quantities that are high in omega-3. Peanuts are actually legumes so they shouldn't be eaten on the paleo diet. Instead, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds should be eaten in moderation.

Restricted Foods
Paleo dieters should refrain from eating grains, legumes, processed foods, refined vegetable oils, salt, refined sugars and dairy products. These foods are believed to cause an acidic environment within the body, which promotes high blood pressure, kidney stones, muscle loss and bone loss.

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