The Paleo diet is the diet our ancestors used to eat. It is known as the “caveman” diet. This is based on the premise that our bodies functioned the best when it was provided foods that existed in the Paleolithic era. This is way before agriculture came into being.
The paleo diet has quite a few restrictions. You are not allowed to consume any pulses, legumes, grains, dairy or beans. No sugar or processed foods are allowed either. What is allowed is meat, fresh vegetables(starchy ones are not allowed) and a bit of nut and seeds.
Is this kind of diet good for sportsmen?
Here is a list of pros and cons:
#1. Weight loss:
When you’re on a diet that makes you eat more protein and healthy fats you definitely will lose weight. Because of the foods you can eat on the paleo, you feel very satisfied and achieve a sense of feeling full. This makes sure that the person isn’t hungry and consumes a limited amount of food. Hence people tend to lose weight on this diet.
#2. Cleaner diet:
On the paleo, you aren’t allowed to eat any processed and calorie-dense, sugary foods. You are supposed to cook with natural and fresh ingredients. Hence you will feel like you are eating clean and living a healthier lifestyle. Unwanted chemicals and preservatives aren’t going to be present in your food.
#3. Anti-inflammatory benefits:
Studies show that eating more vegetables and fruits as well as nuts and oils, contain nutrients that possess anti-inflammatory benefits.
#1. It excludes legumes, pulses, and grains:
For athletes, pulses, legumes, and grains are a very important group of food. These pulses, grains, and legumes provide necessary carbohydrates that an athlete requires throughout the day. This is important as athletes depend on carbohydrates for energy.
#2. Not consuming pulses and whole grains has another disadvantage:
Grains have proven to reduce the risk of getting diseases, it improves insulin sensitivity and even helps in neutralising blood sugar levels.
#3. Cutting out dairy:
Cutting out dairy from an athlete’s diet isn’t necessarily the best move. Dairy products contain calcium, protein and other nutrients that can help fuel an athlete.
#4. It can get too expensive:
Constantly buying fresh meat, fruits and vegetables can become a very costly affair. Not being able to buy pulses, grains and legumes which are relatively cheaper, means one has to rely on eating more meat and vegetables. For an athlete to fit this lifestyle in their budget may be asking for too much.
#5. Hard for vegetarians:
Vegetarians do not eat meat and meat is a big part of the paleo diet. When you cut out meat from the paleo diet, you are left with fruits, veggies, and nuts. These 3 alone are not enough to support an athlete’s life. Some form of carbohydrates is required to balance out the fruit and veg. It is not advisable for vegetarians at all.
Now you know the positives and negatives of following a paleo diet. Make a careful assessment of whether you want to follow this kind of diet or not, especially if you’re an athlete.