Health & Fitness

Is the Paleo Diet a good option?

Followers of the Paleo diet eat like our ancestors probably did: lots of meat, vegetables and fruits.
Followers of the Paleo diet eat like our ancestors probably did: lots of meat, vegetables and fruits. iStockphoto.com

Q: What do you think of the Paleo Diet?

A: According to the Paleo Diet, modern humans would be better off eating like we did back in the caveman days. We should eat meat (lots of meat), vegetables, and fruit; have daily, intense physical activity, and avoid any food that requires agriculture and civilization to produce (like grains, legume, bread, cheese, Twinkies, you get the idea). The diet also emphasizes the need for high fiber, which is ingested through non-starchy vegetables, fruits and nuts.

But any diet that restricts certain food groups and emphasizes others isn’t balanced, and there isn’t strong science to prove that Paleo-eaters live longer, or are healthier than those who don’t follow the diet. The diet also tends to be very low in carbohydrates, which could contribute to suboptimal performance for athletes. It is worth nothing, however, that a Paleo eating plan can be adapted to avoid nutrient deficiencies or support an active lifestyle, but the average person will likely struggle. The average person will also likely eat too much red meat as part of the diet; studies have showed a link between red meat and heart disease.

If you want a simple diet trick, try to abide by the 80/20 rule: have 80 percent of your meals be sensible (fish, poultry, lean red meat, vegetables, good carbs). In the remaining 20 percent, there’s wiggle room for your favorite treats. The key is moderation, and sticking to the plan over time.

Have a question? Email ealvarez@MiamiHerald.com or tweet @eddiemalvarez. To talk to the fitness trainers, email jandmfitness1@gmail.com.

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