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What is the Paleo Diet

Guides — Posted 19/12/13

The ins and outs of the caveman way of eating.

What is it?

The Paleo Diet is based on the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our Paleolithic ancestors. It espouses that by eating foods that were available during the Paleolithic time, our bodies will be more attune to digesting them and function at their peak. Eliminating processed food and embracing foods of the earth and sea, it’s a movement that champions going back to the basics and a cleaner way of eating.

What’s in?

Meats – including poultry, beef, game, lamb, pork,
Fish – including sardines, swordfish, salmon, trout, tuna
Seafood – including scallops, prawns, oysters, lobster
Eggs
Vegetables – including asparagus, avocado, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli
Oils – coconut, olive, avocado, macadamia
Nuts – including almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds
Fruits – including apples, peaches, mango, strawberries, watermelon

What’s out?

Dairy – including butter, cheese, skim milk, yogurt, ice cream
Soft drinks
Fruit juices
Grains – including cereals, pasta, oatmeal, wheat
Legumes – beans, peas
Processed meats – salami, ham, hot dogs
Snacks – chips, cookies, pastries, biscuits
Starchy vegetables – including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, yucca
Energy drinks
Alcohol – including beer, whiskey, rum, vodka, mixers
Sweets – chocolate bars, sugars

The response?

The diet’s key omissions - diary, grains and legumes - have earned it criticism for being nutritionally incomplete. Health experts have raised concerns around whether the diet offers adequate fibre intake and meets daily calcium allowance.

Despite this, it is gaining in popularity and Huffington Post wrote it was the most searched-for diet of 2013. In Australia, the movement has spawned a franchise business of Paleo cafes dedicated to serving meals that embody its philosophy.

From the experts

While the omission of highly processed foods and refined grains is a welcome inclusion, Australia’s revised dietary guidelines launched by the National Health and Medical Research Council in 2013 advocate for a balanced diet that includes reduced fat dairy, wholegrains and legumes. Watch a run down of the guidelines here.

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