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The Paleolithic Diet, more often referred to as the Paleo Diet, focuses on lean proteins, vegetables and fruit, and healthy sources of fat, such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish, grass-fed and game meat, and avocados. The Paleo Diet omits all added sugars and processed foods high in sugar, starch, sodium, hydrogenated fats, and artificial flavors and colors, as well as all grains and legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils). In the words of Robb Wolf, one of the best-known advocates of the Paleo Diet, “if it’s not meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, fruits, roots, tubers or nuts…it’s a ‘no-go.’”
Paleo Diet advocate Dan Pardi has outlined five “versions” of the Paleo Diet, as presented in five popular books:
Best bets: Base your diet around lean meats and fish, and eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and other colorful vegetables and fruit. Add in healthy fats from avocados, nuts, and seeds, and avoid all processed foods and food and beverages with added sugars.
The Paleo Diet was first popularized by Loren Cordain, PhD, a faculty member in the College of Health & Human Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His original book, The Paleo Diet, was first published in 2002, and was revised, updated, and republished in 2011. Loren Cordain has published additional Paleo Diet books including a cookbook, and versions of the Paleo diet for weight loss and for athletes. The Paleo Diet surged in popularity when it was joined together with the CrossFit approach to exercise and fitness.
Other Paleo Diet variations emphasize lowering carbohydrates, though the exact amount that would be considered acceptable is not clearly defined. One possible definition of “low carbohydrate” could be anything below the United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, which states carbohydrate intake should be 50 to 65% of total calories (250 to 325 grams of carbohydrate per day for a 2,000-calorie diet). Other advocates feel that the amount of carbohydrates in a Paleo Diet is less important than avoiding the “wrong” type of carbohydrates, such as grains and beans.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.