A Dietitian's Take on the Paleo Diet | Carson Tahoe Health

Renee Bauer, CTRH Registered Dietitian

With the recent popularity of the Paleo Diet, many people have questions about what it is and its potential benefits.  Carson Tahoe Health Dietitian, Renee Bauer has the answers.

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet is what cavemen are presumed to have eaten – prior to 10,000 years ago with the beginnings of agriculture.  The means the following foods are allowed: wild game meat, plants, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, roots, fruits and berries. The foods such as milk, grans and legumes are not allowed. Of course, there are variations of this diet that allow foods that may have been grown past 10,000 years. The idea behind this diet is that the hunter gatherers were free of such diseases that plague the westernized world, such as heart disease and diabetes. They have looked at cultures that follow similar habits as the Paleo, such at the population in Papua New Guinea and found them to be free of obesity and high blood pressure.

Is the Paleo Diet useful for long term weight loss?

The diet seems to focus more on decreasing westernized diseases such as heart disease and obesity. In some of the clinical trials done using the diet, it did show weight loss short term. This may be in part due to the low energy density and increased satiety the diet provides. However, no long term studies have shown this diet successful in keeping the weight off. If you’re looking for long term life change this diet might be difficult to follow.

What are the advantages of the Paleo Diet?

The advantages of this diet are that advocates more fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats. Of course since you are following the caveman diet, you will be allowed to eat the organ meats. More fish means more omega 3 fatty acids which are good for the heart. Your intake of such organ meats as the bone marrow and thyroid will increase your zinc, copper, and selenium intake. The increase fruits and veggies will be giving you more fiber, but be careful of the sudden increase in fiber. Warn people in your cave of the possible side effects.

What are the disadvantages of the Paleo Diet?

Can you live your whole life without your Mom’s favorite lasagne dish? This diet is very restrictive.  By narrowing and limiting our diets, it would seem to set people up for failure. If it is to good to be true, then it probably is another fad. Cavemen probably did not live long enough to get the disease we now acquire.

Renee Bauer is a Registered Dietitian at Carson Tahoe Health. For more information on the nutritional services offered by CTH, call (775) 445-5500. Visit our Facebook page to ask your own nutrition questions