I strongly believe that the way we eat can have a profound impact on our health. As a functional medicine practitioner, I’ve seen patients change their lives simply by modifying their diets. Food truly is medicine!
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about switching to a paleo or keto diet. How do these diets improve health? What does it mean to eat this way? Where do I start?
Let’s break down the basics of paleo and keto dieting, and look at some tips for following these diets safely and successfully.
A paleo diet consists of food that people would have eaten during the Paleolithic era, when people hunted and gathered their food rather than farming it. Other names for this way of eating include the caveman diet and the Stone Age diet.1
The idea behind a paleo diet is that the human body wasn’t designed to eat the way we do now. The introduction of farming drastically changed the type of food people eat, and this change happened very quickly. Some experts believe this rapid shift didn’t give the human body enough time to adapt, which is why conditions like obesity and diabetes have become so prevalent.1
The main components of a paleo diet are:
Following a paleo diet means avoiding these foods:
Potential benefits of a paleo diet include:
Like a paleo diet, a keto (short for ketogenic) diet is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. The goal with keto eating is to cause the body to reach a state of ketosis, where it burns stored energy (body fat) in the absence of energy from carbs. A keto diet appears to offer similar health benefits to a paleo one, particularly when it comes to weight management and blood sugar control.2
There are things you can do to ensure your paleo or keto dieting journey goes smoothly. Here are some suggestions.
As with any diet, you don’t want to eat too much of any one thing. Sometimes people following a paleo or keto diet overdo it on meat and fat, making it hard for the body to keep up. Others are overly strict about caloric intake, and don’t give their bodies the energy they need. Paleo and keto dieting doesn’t mean depriving yourself!
Vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help keep you strong and healthy while dieting. Filling your plate with veggies is also a good way to maintain balance.
With the paleo and keto diets, what you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. To achieve the results you seek, it’s particularly important that you cut out:
Dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese can be highly inflammatory, and are also difficult for many people to digest. Paleo and keto dieters should try to eliminate dairy.
Like dairy products, refined sugar can lead to inflammation throughout the body. Consumption of refined sugar has been linked to many health problems, including obesity and autoimmune disorders. Cutting sugar is key to successfully following a paleo or keto diet.
Resist the temptation to seek out “paleo- or keto- friendly” versions of foods like bread or cookies. These products are often filled with artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients, and don’t adhere to the hunter-gatherer principle.
A medical professional who understands paleo/keto eating can help you fill in any nutritional gaps, and work with you to more accurately measure the results of your hard work.
Nature provides us with the best medicine — food. Whether you’re following a paleo or keto diet, I hope that these tips help you achieve your wellness goals safely and successfully. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at My Pure MD if you’d like to create a personalized paleo or keto diet plan that addresses your unique health needs. We’re here for you!
1.Klonoff DC. The beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2009;3(6):1229-1232.