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The paleolithic diet (Paleo Diet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era - a period of that lasted about 2.5 million years - that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture.
There are a couple schools of thought on the benefits of the paleo diet, one of which is that the human body was not built to consume certain foods, like oils or refined grains, and that the consumption of these foods is the primary cause of most, if not all, of our ailments and diseases. Therefore these paleo dieters consume only those foods that existed in their natural state during the Stone Age. They also tend to eat them uncooked, a method known as “raw dieting”.
Another thought on the paleo diet, and one that is far more popular, and gaining popularity everyday, is the nutritional benefits as it relates to macronutrient ratios. Since paleo dieting limits the dieter to only those foods that exists in their natural state, it eliminates many of the foods that many consider bad for the diet, like grain and dairy products and ingredients that came into production during the iron age, like oils and salt.
For this reason, the diet tends to be very low in carbohydrates (with the exception of fruits and veggies, which are allowed) and very high in protein. This is ideal for many who looking to lose weight by cutting back on carbs, and for athletes, as large amounts of protein are essential for muscle growth and maintainence.
So, what can and can’t you have on the paleo diet? The paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.