The latest fad diet in Hollywood is Paleo. It promises to help you gain lean muscle and increase your energy, so no wonder so many celebrities are jumping on the Paleo bandwagon. Paleo, also known as the Caveman Diet, has become en vogue among upperclass Cross Fit buffs, beauty pageant contestants and the Hollywood elite alike.
Among its rumored devotees are Jessica Biel, Megan Fox and Matthew McConaughey, and who wouldn’t want to look like them? But before you start following this new fad, you have to figure out if it’s for you. Here’s a brief summary of how the Paleo Diet works.
Think Like a Caveman
The concept behind it is quite simple: You don’t eat anything a caveman wouldn’t eat. That means no processed foods, no dairy, no peanut butter, no wheat and, alas, no alcohol. Legumes and refined sugar are also no-nos.
Instead, the diet relies heavily on meat (organic and grass-fed, if possible), fish, vegetables, fruit and roots. It is generally a high-protein, low-carb diet, so if you’re a bread fiend, this may not be the right plan for you.
How the Weight Comes Off
You may wonder why people on the Paleo diet lose weight, considering there’s no calorie counting or exercise requirements. The reason is that in many ways the diet is naturally low-calorie.
You don’t have mounds of empty calories from pasta or bread to fill up your belly. And sweets such as candy, cake and cookies are largely off limits. Plus, many Paleo devotees are also Cross Fit nuts (the disciplined design build of the diet has gained popularity with these super-fit athletes), and so they’re getting more than enough exercise to burn off any extra calories anyway.
The Diet Downside
But the Paleo diet is by no means a cure-all or perfect fit for everyone. Many critics say that it’s too restrictive. They claim that whenever you’re following such a strict diet, it will inevitably lead to binging on “forbidden” foods, because it is too hard to stay away from them. Others also criticize the lack of complex carbohydrates on the diet. They say that the fiber in such foods is sorely lacking in Paleo and can lead to intestinal difficulties.
Critics also warn that the complete lack of dairy can result in calcium deficiencies. That is why some people choose to do a modified Paleo diet, which incorporates many of the ideas behind the plan (less sugar, fewer processed foods) but doesn’t put any one food group off limits. That way you don’t feel like you’re restricting yourself and you reduce the likelihood of binging on those naughty off-limits foods.