Paleo diet

Paleo diet

The Paleo regime, or Paleolithic regime, has been making headlines in recent years. It aims to adopt the same diet as that of our ancestors to respect the physiological needs of the body and help it to function optimally. It is a diet based on proteins, plants and oilseeds. In addition to causing weight loss, it would provide more energy and improve overall health.

Paleo diet: understand everything in 2 min

Characteristics of the paleo diet:

  • Based on the consumption of animal and plant proteins
  • Dairy products and cereals are banned from food
  • Popular among athletes because it would improve performance
  • Rapid weight loss, especially of fat mass
  • Risk of nutritional deficiencies if misconducted

The main principles of the regime

The Paleolithic regime was popularized in 1985 by Dr. S. Boyd Eaton in an article in a scientific journal. It was then supported by a book published by Loren Cordain, doctor of physical education, which gave indications for following this diet in our time.

What is the paleo diet?

The Paleolithic regime aims to return to the diet of our ancestors before the industrial era. Paleo food would be more adapted to our physiobiological needs. In this way, it would allow the body to function at full capacity and improve its physical and intellectual capacities on a daily basis.

The Paleolithic regime makes it possible to achieve the following objectives:

  • Weight loss
  • Building muscle mass for athletes
  • Improvement of general health status
  • Reduction of fatigue
  • Reduction of digestion problems and acid reflux
  • Sinus clearance, disappearance of morning stiffness, normalization of intestinal functions (in some people)
  • Supposed prevention of several diseases: cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, obesity)
  • Possible relief of certain autoimmune diseases: celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Gougerot-Sj√∂gren syndrome

How does the Paleolithic diet lead to weight loss?

The suppression of starchy foods and processed foods is responsible for weight loss in the first instance. At the same time, satiety is satisfied by the high presence of proteins from lean meats and fibres from plants. In terms of transit, it is the large quantity of fruit and vegetables consumed that will cover the need for fibre and thus promote good digestion and intestinal transit. The prevention of cardiovascular disease with the Paleolithic diet results from the consumption of oleaginous plants rich in omega 3 (such as nuts) as well as cold-pressed vegetable oils.

How long does the paleo diet last?

The Paleolithic regime should, ideally, be practiced for life. Its positive effects are observed as soon as the regime is followed. As a result, its followers generally adopt this way of life in the very long term.

Permitted foods

In the Paleolithic diet, the foods to consume are:

  • lean meat
  • fish
  • seafood products
  • eggs
  • fruit and vegetables
  • unprocessed vegetable oils
  • nuts

Prohibited foods

To follow the Paleolithic diet, it will be necessary to remove from its diet:

  • all cereals and legumes
  • dairy products
  • tubers (yam, cassava, potato)
  • sweet and processed products
  • soft drinks

Paleo diet: Program, recipes and standard menu

Menu for 1 week of Paleolithic diet:

BreakfastSmoothie coconut milk, raspberries and banana WalnutsScrambled eggs with
Chia seed pudding, almond milk and red fruit puddingFruitsSmoked salmon omeletteSalad of
raw vegetables and nuts
Homemade vegetable juice2
slices of chicken breast
LunchTomato and cucumber
saladBroiled chicken
Grilled zucchini
with Provence herbsStrawberries
Salad of raw vegetables with lemon juice and olive
with mango and
Thai salad with marinated raw beef, cashew nuts and soya bean sproutsFruitChicken with peanut
butterSweet potato and carrot chipsFruit
Fish curry with coconut milk and seasonal vegetablesFruit
LunchSeasonal soupFillet of
cod in a papillote with spinachFruit
Carrot soup with coconut milkChicken
stuffed with cranberries and hazelnutsFruit
Sea bream ceviche with lime and red
onionCelery, grapefruit and spinach
with walnut oilFruit
Asian shrimp, mint and green vegetable soupFruitCold tomato and pepper soupCourge
stuffed with veal, raisins and almondsFruit

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive points of the paleo regime

  • Fast weight loss
  • Decrease in fat mass
  • Better physical and intellectual performance
  • renewed energy
  • Good fibre and protein intake
  • Possibility to adapt the diet to your tastes

The negative points of the Paleolithic regime

  • Binding and potentially frustrating regime in the long term
  • Monotonous, risk of fatigue
  • Requires cooking to avoid monotony
  • Difficult to reconcile with an active social life
  • Risk of nutritional deficiencies
  • Weight regain when the diet is stopped

Recommendations and precautions to be taken

Are there any risks?

Many meats frequently consumed in France are high in fat and especially saturated fatty acids, if they are poorly chosen and often consumed, they can be responsible for an increase in cholesterol levels and cardiovascular diseases. Red meats are also responsible for the occurrence of digestive cancers. In addition, with totally suppressed food groups (dairy and starchy products), the Paleolithic diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies, especially in vitamin D (and calcium if many vegetables are not consumed) and lead to drug supplementation.

Is this a diet for you?

If you want to change your lifestyle to feel more fit every day, you can take inspiration from a few principles of the paleo diet: more frequent consumption of raw vegetables, oilseeds and the elimination of sweet and processed products. However, the rather restrictive nature of this regime makes it a regime that is not recommended for everyone. It is recommended to consult a nutrition professional before starting this type of diet.

Is it a diet compatible with sport?

Absolutely, it is very popular among great athletes. Physical activity acts in synergy with the paleo diet to significantly reduce fat mass and simultaneously increase muscle mass. Following the paleo diet would improve performance, reduce recovery time and provide more energy around sports sessions.

How can I not gain weight?

When the paleo diet is interrupted, it is common to notice a weight gain. Indeed, the cessation of the regime often goes hand in hand with the reintroduction of sweet and industrial products. To avoid weight gain, care must be taken to maintain a diet that is predominantly vegetable and rich in quality lean protein.

A few figures to go further

What are the results before/after?

People on the Paleolithic diet generally experience significant weight loss, reduced body fat and increased energy. Other benefits are often described by followers of the paleo diet: reduction of seasonal diseases, digestive well-being, better complexion, etc. The benefits are extremely variable depending on the person and their context.

Our opinion on the Paleolithic diet

The Paleolithic diet is relatively popular for weight loss and muscle building. However, for these two objectives, the presence of starchy foods of good nutritional quality would make it possible to optimize long-term results. The Paleolithic regime is, in my opinion, a little too restrictive and may lead to significant frustration. It should also be borne in mind that food today no longer necessarily has the same nutritional quality as it did in the Paleolithic era. Over-consumption of red meat and sausages at the present time can therefore have significant long-term health consequences. In conclusion, I think it may be interesting to draw inspiration from some of the main principles of this regime, without going to the extreme.