Nutrition like in the Stone Age - a health trend that has already taken root in parts of our society. This lifestyle is based on the foods that were available thousands of years ago during the times of hunters and gatherers and can still be found in a similar form today. Certain sports principles can also be included. The Paleo diet is said to have various health benefits: body fat reduction, less inflammation, optimized sleep, higher energy levels and greater performance in everyday life are just a few examples 1 .
What does Paleo diet mean?
On the one hand, you can only do that here Paleo diet in which only what is eaten and drunk is in the foreground. Or you can see Paleo holistically as a real lifestyle. Both perspectives assume that our metabolism has changed since then Stone Age has hardly changed and our ancestors from back then ate the things that are still optimal for our genetics. These included Roots, nuts, berries, vegetables and animal protein. milk It was not consumed at all at that time because the Stone Age people were not sedentary and did not keep domestic or farm animals. A lot can also be derived for the topics of exercise, recreation and sport 2 .
The people in Paleolithic Every now and then we had to sprint away from wild animals or briefly climb a tree. There was also more and more often a heavy stone to carry or an animal to kill. Back then, people were physically in good shape because this daily exercise and natural foods did not allow for prosperity. So they were more likely to have good muscles and less body fat. Because they liked to take a nap after physical exertion and continued to play a lot of games even into adulthood, they had good regeneration phases between stressful situations in the wild and the fight for survival 2 . Today's Paleo advocates transfer this to our new world as follows: We need strength training and interval or sprint units, enough quality sleep and fun moments, as well as similar foods to those our ancestors used to eat.
The 10 Laws of the Paleo Lifestyle
Mark Sisson , an expert on the topic Stone Age Nutrition , has summarized the Paleo diet and the associated attitude to life in ten commandments in his book “Health Secrets from the Stone Age” 2 :
- Eat plenty of plant and animal products (vegetables, berries, fish and meat).
- Avoid toxic foods (processed foods, addictive substances, allergens like grains and milk).
- Move with a lot of moderate effort (walks, exercise in everyday life).
- Lift heavy things (strength training).
- Do a sprint every now and then.
- Make sure you get enough sleep (at night and possibly a power nap during the day).
- Play a lot.
- Expose yourself to the sun (Vitamin D is very important for physical and mental health).
- Don't make stupid mistakes (act consciously with responsibility and stay on task).
- Use your brain (keep learning and taking on new tasks and challenges).
The principle of Paleo diet is relatively simple: everything that prehistoric people had available and ate is allowed!
To the typical ones “Paleo products” to count Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, berries, vegetables and roots, as well as Honey and sweeter fruit in sparing quantities . So fewer carbohydrates are automatically consumed, which is why good, natural fats and animal protein serve as energy sources. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are in a gray area, so there are forms of the Paleo diet in which they are allowed, but very strict advocates also say they are taboo. Coffee, very dark chocolate and red wine are also fine in smaller quantities 2 .
These products and foods are taboo in the Paleo diet:
Since it is at the Paleo diet The main thing is to eat natural foods that - at least in their original form - already existed in the Stone Age, all industrially processed products are a no-go. Refined oils and fats , ready meals , Bakery products , additives , Sweets , sweeteners , artificial colors and Sweet drinks So it is important to avoid it.
All kinds of grains should be omitted. This eliminates pasta, bread, pizza, cakes, oatmeal, even pseudo-cereals and even rice. rice However, due to its good tolerability, it is in one again Gray area .
Dairy products are complete taboo , so no cheese, yoghurt, cream, quark or ice cream are on the menu.
Practical any form of sugar is one of the forbidden foods in the Paleo diet. The only exception, as mentioned above, is small amounts of honey and some fruits.
Also at legumes The Paleo experts do not entirely agree: Neanderthals probably already ate them in their original form, but they are still eaten viewed critically . On the one hand, this is because they contain carbohydrates that are relatively difficult to digest and tend to ferment in the intestines and can lead to flatulence. They also contain antinutrients that are actually supposed to protect the plant, which inhibit our digestive enzymes. This means that certain micronutrients cannot be absorbed well and the intestinal lining may become irritated 1 . Peanuts, soy, lentils and beans in particular are not recommended in the Paleo diet. These products are already very widely cultivated today, which is why our digestive tract simply doesn't cope well with them. Chickpeas are still permitted by some Paleo advocates as long as they are soaked overnight and then rinsed well before cooking. This removes at least some of the antinutrients. There is an opportunity, especially for vegans or vegetarians, to get their proteins through the Paleo diet.
What are the benefits of the Paleo diet?
Because the only carbohydrate sources in the Paleo diet If your diet comes from fruit, a little honey and vegetables and no refined sugar or grains are consumed, you automatically stay within a range of 100-150g daily 2 . This is for the blood sugar level an advantage because with these amounts it remains stable and the risk of type 2 diabetes decreases drastically. Stable blood sugar also has a positive visual effect 3 :
Fewer blood sugar fluctuations means fewer cravings and fewer excess carbohydrates that are converted into fats and stored around the middle of the body.
Since the potential main allergens gluten, milk and soy are automatically excluded in the Paleo diet, the Paleo diet a good effect on intestinal health. In people with intestinal diseases, autoimmune diseases or digestive problems, it often reduces the symptoms or even the causes. Because without contact with allergens and the consumption of natural foods and lots of vegetables, the intestinal mucosa can regenerate 1 . You can find out more about this in our article on Leaky gut experience.
The ability to concentrate, general well-being, sleep quality, muscle development and mood usually improve as a result Paleo diet 1 . This has to do with the fact that industrially processed products and too much sugar worsen these points.
Criticism of the Paleo diet
It is often at the Paleo diet criticizes the fact that there are actually many different historical insights into the Stone Age or the various prehistoric people and their eating habits:
Science does not always agree whether the Stone Age nutrition was actually just like her Paleo Advocates describe. In addition, different peoples were in different places in the world during this time. They didn't always necessarily have the same food available. It is assumed that there were also tribes and peoples who ate an almost exclusively plant-based diet and were able to develop and reproduce well with this diet.
Recipes and alternative products
For many who deal with the Paleo diet It's very challenging at first, because at first glance a lot of potential foods fall out of the picture. Nevertheless, there are now tons of creative recipes and alternative products that Paleo principles correspond: pizza dough made from finely mixed cauliflower and egg, bread baking mixes based on grains, seeds or nuts, nut puree, Paleo pancakes made from bananas and almond flour, Paleo muesli made from nuts and seeds or delicious smoothies are just a few examples.
However, you should be careful not to fall into the marketing trap, because there are many supposed ones Paleo products are ultimately not necessarily in the interests of Paleo representatives. For example, there are Paleo bars from the supermarket mainly from dates, which are generally present in the diet, but not in the quantity in which they are consumed in this way. With the high date content, a Paleo bar can contain 30g of sugar, which is far too much for a small snack. The mueslis are also often sweetened with honey - so be careful here!
Tip: On the side – paleo360.de – you can find, for example, great recipes to cook fresh yourself and tips on the topic Paleo diet .
1 Paleo360 (2020): What is Paleo? [https://www.paleo360.de/was-ist-paleo; July 11, 2020].
2 Sisson, Mark (2015): Health secrets from the Stone Age.
3 T. Gedgaudas, Nora (2011): Primal Body, Primal Mind.