Paleo diet – Diets. How to lose weight. All about effective diets

Earlier, as you know, the grass was greener and the girls were younger. The golden age has long ended, and now homo sapiens, cut off from their natural habitat, lives in concrete boxes, breathes a mixture of harmful gases and eats on something unknown. In order to neutralize at least one of the harmful factors, in recent decades, many methods and nutrition systems have appeared, aimed at improving the body and maintaining health until old age. For example, supporters of the paleo diet believe that the achievements of civilization (from the wheel to the computer), which make our life easier, richer and more interesting, are to blame for many problems of a modern person, since they radically changed his diet, forcing him to switch to products that are unusual for him. Evidence that in the Paleolithic era the average age of a person was about 30 years old, supporters of the paleo diet are considered only in the light of life full of dangers: predators, the vagaries of nature, and other troubles. With a successful outcome, hunters and gatherers who lived to old age were full of strength and health precisely because of the perfect combination of products.

Paleo dietTo prove the truth of this theory, its supporters cite the example of the tribes of hunters and gatherers that have survived to this day, feeding the same way as 10,000 years ago. These tribes do not know the “diseases of civilization”: diabetes, arthritis, depression, schizophrenia, obesity. Supporters of the paleo diet believe that these tribes owe their endurance and health to a balanced diet, ideal for humans and all other primates. What does the “ideal” nutrition of the Paleolithic times consist of? Everything is simple – from what can be obtained by hand and primitive tools and subjected to only minimal culinary processing. The main food of hunters and gatherers: meat of wild animals and birds, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, herbs and tubers. Such food provides the human body with all the substances it needs: proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and a minimum amount of animal fats.

MeatSupporters of the paleo diet consider dairy products, cereals, legumes, potatoes and animal fats to be the main “enemies of humanity”. With animal fats, everything is clear – no food system approves of fatty foods in large quantities. Milk is a controversial product, however, many dairy products are considered healthy for both children and adults. The most interesting are cereals, potatoes and legumes. Given what we know about their nutritional properties, the calls to exclude them from the diet of modern humans sound more than strange.

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A fishThe paleo diet explains the harm of these foods by the fact that they entered the human diet in the Neolithic era – only about 10,000 years ago – too short time for evolution (about 500 generations) for the species to fully adapt to the new diet. In their raw form, these foods are not only inedible but also toxic. It takes hard work and a fairly long cooking time to make porridge, chips, or bread. This became possible only with the transition to settled agriculture and animal husbandry. Instead of hunting and gathering wild plants, man began to feed animals and grow cereals, potatoes, corn and legumes. The new, hard-earned food consisted mainly of carbohydrates. It was much more nutritious than the gifts of nature, however, it was significantly inferior to vegetables and fruits in the content of fiber, vitamins (A, B, C) and minerals (iron, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus). In addition, complex carbohydrates, and especially starches and sugars, which are rich in potatoes, beans and many grains, have the ability to dramatically increase blood sugar levels, which over time leads to excess weight, high blood pressure and a whole bunch of typical diseases of civilization. The carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables do not have this property. Another interesting feature: fruits and vegetables can be quickly satiated, but they cannot be overeat, since the volume of the stomach will not allow too much fiber to hold. Carbohydrates and fats take up less space in the stomach, which means that the feeling of physical satiety can come when it’s too late.

Vegetables and fruitsAnother, as yet little studied feature of cereals and legumes is the content of toxins. From the point of view of evolution, the raison d’être of all animals and plants is to multiply as much as possible. Therefore, cereals and legumes contain toxins (enzyme blockers) that make them inedible and even poisonous for many animals, including humans. Indeed, if it is “profitable” for an apple to be eaten, since the seeds will go to another place and sprout there, there is “no interest” in cereals and legumes to supply people with food. But man is an intelligent animal, capable of turning inedible seeds into delicious cereals and other products with the help of fire and the simplest culinary methods. The cultivation of cereals and legumes was an important step towards the development of society, because there was enough food to feed numerous offspring. Thanks to agriculture, a surplus of food appeared, and the division of labor became possible, as well as the division of society into classes, but that’s another story …

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EggsThe paleo diet advocates are convinced that farming was the first deviation from a healthy, optimal human diet. However, according to modern scientists, it cannot be categorically asserted that cereals, legumes and potatoes are harmful to human health. They are only inferior to vegetables and fruits in the content of nutrients. One can speak of their dangers only when the human diet consists entirely of carbohydrates – cereals, legumes, potatoes – and contains too few proteins and vitamins.

A similar problem arose in the Neolithic era with animal products. Wild meat contains very little fat, except in autumn. (But even the fall fat reserves were not fully utilized for food — the fat was needed for lamps and other purposes.) After the transition to animal husbandry, meat became increasingly fatty, as the animals received enough food all year round. There was a custom to feed cattle with surplus grain, which had a good effect on its growth and fat content, but the content of nutrients in the meat was steadily decreasing. (For example, caribou meat contains only 0.5% fat for 7 months of the year, while the meat of modern domestic animals contains about 30% fat.) In addition, ancient hunters ate not only meat, but also entrails animals (tongue, liver, heart, lungs, bone marrow), rich in polyunsaturated fats that are good for the brain. And, of course, in Paleolithic times it was not customary to smoke meat or deep-fry it; its preparation consisted in frying over an open fire or drying for long-term storage. There were no sausages, margarine, mayonnaise, deodorized butter and other high-fat gastronomic delights.

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RootsAfter the domestication of cows and other animals, man could receive milk almost all year round, whereas during the Paleolithic period milk was the privilege of nursing infants. (By the way, babies in that “golden time” were breastfed by mothers up to 2-3 years old, gradually introducing complementary foods in the form of chewed vegetables, fruits and meat. Thus, children received already semi-processed food and quickly got used to the adult feeding model.) cow’s milk and early rejection of breast milk significantly increased the caloric content of food, but reduced the amount of nutrients that children received. Cow’s milk is low in omega-3 fatty acids and other substances necessary for the development of the brain, because this is not the main thing for the calf. Agriculture and animal husbandry, especially in those distant times, required a lot of effort and left little opportunity for gathering and hunting, thus, the human diet gradually became impoverished, which led to the deplorable state of health that we now observe.

NutsToday, a massive return to the Paleo diet is impossible, as grains, beans and pets have already become an integral part of our diet. Avoiding wheat, rice, soy, lentils, beef and pork would mean hunger for most of the world’s population. However, if you want to lose weight, recover from chronic diseases or just feel close to nature, there is no better way than the paleo diet, if only because it is rich in fresh natural products and excludes animal fats, processed foods and foods with preservatives and dyes. …

Olga Borodina

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