The decision to buy groceries is at least partially linked to the kind of diet we want to consume, whether we choose to buy them from our nearby superstore or through an online grocery delivery in Karachi.
There are all sorts of buzzwords around diet plans and most of us barely understand what they mean, like gluten-free, paleo, ketogenic, etc. Let’s first wrap our heads around the idea of gluten-free and paleo diets so we can start understanding the basics. Gluten-free diet is basically a smaller subset of paleo diet as the latter excludes all gluten based grains along with other grains and legumes including oats, corn, rice, soy, beans and peanuts. The Paleo diet also excludes a bunch of other stuff that we will take a deeper look into right after considering where the idea emanated.
Time to hit the reset button
The dietary plan gets its title from the Paleolithic era because of the foods that it is based on. The era is dated from 2.5 million to 10000 years ago, so the food that is predicted to have been available all those years ago basically makes up the paleo diet. It generally consists of lean meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, seeds and nuts, all of which could be acquired by our hunter gatherer ancestors. It naturally excludes all the other stuff like dairy products, grains, legumes, sugars and refined oils since most of them emerged after the development of farming techniques and practices. Some people also refer to the paleo diet as Stone Age diet, caveman diet, hunter-gatherer diet or Paleolithic diet.
It's all in the genes
Paleo diet follows the line of thought that our bodies are not attuned to the way contemporary diet has evolved by the virtue of settled farming and this genetic asynchrony if referred to as “discordance hypothesis”. The primary objective for pursuing this diet is to retreat to the olden days and start eating like our predecessors. The hypothesis posits that grains, legumes and dairy were added to our staple diet relatively late as a result of farming while our bodies have not had the chance to adapt to these changes. It also correlates the pervasiveness of diabetes, heart diseases and obesity such changes in our diet. However, it is still only a hypothesis and not hard science as such.
Let cavemen be your dieticians
Several proponents of the paleo diet recommend it for maintaining a good BMI, weight loss and disease prevention – even though research data is unavailable on the matter. The food items included in the diet plans vary among different sources in terms of the strictness of the guidelines and most of them can even be found in a cheap grocery store in Karachi. Still, some of the common constituents are:
Is there a point to this retro facade?
Advocates of the paleo diet propose a number of benefits of these diet plans. It revolves around eating too many vegetables and fruits which helps increase potassium intake. Potassium is associated with maintenance of healthy kidney and muscle function along with the regulation of blood pressure. Supporters also tout that the diet contains healthy fats, high protein content and no processed foods. Nuts and unrefined oils have unsaturated fats which contribute towards a better lipid profile. A balanced amount of lean protein leads to better skin, muscle and bone development thereby giving you a better overall composition. While the fact that whole foods are added and processed ones eliminated improves blood sugar levels and cardiac function.
Let the naysayers in
The critics however say that most of the empirical evidence suggests that one should not go about excluding entire food groups from their diet, even for a limited amount of time. They posit that this could remove some essential nutrients from their intake thereby disrupting the overall balance. For instance, most people get their calcium from milk or dairy products, fiber from whole grains and important nutrients from legumes – all of which are eliminated from their diet if they follow such a plan. They also propose that we are not exactly the same as our cavemen ancestors and have evolved according to the changing environment. There is also no proof that these were the only foods available back in that time and we have no detail available of the amounts in which they were consumed. The opponents also conclude that there is a vast array of factors in which we as a species along with the animals and plants around us have evolved in all this time. It may never be fully possible for us to replicate the same diet and conditions as we had back in the past.
- Especially valuable varieties "Antonovka" and "Semerenko", in which all nutrients are stored for several months after they were removed from the tree.