Green Dieting: The Paleolithic Diet

First up in our more in-depth look at environmentally friendly eating habits is the Paleo diet. Popularized by gastroen...

First up in our more in-depth look at environmentally friendly eating habits is the Paleo diet. Popularized by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin in the 70s, this diet has caught on with many different groups and relies on the belief that modern humans still have roughly the same digestive systems as their Paleolithic ancestors. This would mean that the ideal human diet would feature no processed foods, refined sugars, dairy products or grains and would instead be based on naturally raised meats and organic fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Health Benefits

The rise of grain consumption starting roughly 10,000 years ago is seen by adherents to the Paleolithic diet as a contributing factor to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and several nutritional deficiencies. By turning to more natural, primitive foods, they gain a higher concentration of vitamins and other trace nutrients and eliminate many food items that contribute to many of the diseases that plague the modern Western world. Further, the low energy density of Paleo foods allow for the consumption of a large amount of food while reducing the overall amount of calories, helping prevent overeating.

Environmental Benefits

Paleo dieters generally focus on purchasing local, organic meat, fruits and vegetables. Grass-fed, pasture raised beef is the preferred meat and is generally purchased fresh from small farms. Due to the way the animals are raised and the fact that they are often slaughtered on the farm, the many environmental concerns associated with factory farming are significantly reduced, if not eliminated entirely. Locally grown organic produce is generally raised in smaller batches and doesn’t use genetically modified plants or environmentally harmful pesticides.

Possible Drawbacks

Some have called the Paleo diet a fad diet, saying that the reason that Paleolithic man was likely so thin was as a result of a caloric deficiency or other factors and not due to an ideal diet. The idea that the last 10,000 years has not been enough time for humans’ bodies to adapt to an agrarian diet has been disputed. Many object to the low-carb Paleo diet, saying that it doesn’t provide the necessary amount of caloric intake and could result in a level of malnutrition. Further, the greater emphasis on consuming met, particularly red meat, has raised the question of whether the Paleo diet contributes to heart disease.

Categories: Green Living | Permalink

28 May 2021, 18:07 | Views: 1772

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