The Paleo diet has emerged as one of the most popular options for weight loss over the last five years, rivaling the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, and the Mediterranean diet in buzz and popularity. The diet, which only includes foods akin to what our ancestors of the Paleozoic era would have ate, is apparently designed to work in tandem with our genetic makeup to keep us fit and energetic. When we look at what comprises the Paleo diet (vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats), there’s no question that if used as an approach to weight loss, the Paleo diet will certainly help individuals achieve their goals. But is the Paleo diet a sustainable lifestyle approach? Hussain al Nowais, an international salesman that frequently travels abroad or works on location in the UAE, combines his passion for healthy living with what he experiences as an on-the-go business professional to take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Paleo diet.
- The Paleo diet’s emphasis on consuming lean meats like turkey, pork, grass-fed beef, and chicken offers followers a key source of protein, which can be highly advantageous for those with busy schedules. Protein is not only what builds our muscles and bolsters our immune system, it’s what keeps us full. A diet rich in lean protein will therefore limit snacking and make a long work day more bearable. Swapping out most red meats for lean meat also lowers fat consumption, and in turn, improves heart health.
- Among the Paleo diet’s ability to help followers lose weight, it also affords many other health benefits, including clearer skin, a reduction of autoimmune diseases, better sleep patterns, fewer allergies, sustained energy levels, and more efficient work outs. Again, for the working professional who seeks to make the most of their day, any diet that can eliminate hindering conditions like poor sleep and allergies is worth looking into.
- The Paleo diet excludes food groups that are a part of many typical diets. These include all dairy products, (most) red meats, starchy vegetables, grains, legumes and beans, processed foods, sugars, and salty foods. These restrictions may prove too limiting for those that don’t always have time to prepare freshly cooked meals or who are frequently on the go and simply don’t have access to these foods.
- Because the Paleo diet excludes any processed food, followers of the diet may see their grocery bills rise in cost. The reality is that fresh organic foods are more expensive than packaged, processed items; for those on a budget, fully-committing to the Paleo diet simply may not be feasible.
- For athletes and those that are highly active, the Paleo diet’s exclusion of carbohydrates may not provide the energy needed to make it through the day. What the diet does include will definitely help sustain energy levels, but for some, carbohydrates will remain a key part of their long-term diet.
- The Paleo diet doesn’t make any recommendations for portion sizes; this means that even though the foods it includes are healthy, followers prone to snacking may find themselves consuming too many calories over time.
Ultimately, while the Paleo diet offers many health benefits, the contents of its diet can be both limiting and costly. For those that have the means to purchase and prepare Paleo foods, the Paleo diet is an attractive lifestyle choice, but for those like the UAE’s Hussain al Nowais, who don’t always have access to exclusively fresh meals, the tenants of the diet are perhaps something to partially incorporate, rather than wholly adhere to.