Paleo foods are high protein, low sodium and low sugar. While there are lists regarding which foods are accepted in the Paleo diet and which are not, we will discuss below the basic guidelines on what makes a food a “Paleo food”.
High protein – our bodies need protein for growth, maintenance and the repair of our cells. Protein is mostly what makes up our muscles, organs and tissues which is why it is very important in every single process that occurs in our bodies. It is also what makes our bones strong as well as our nails and hair. Protein is important in the production of antibodies, which fight off illnesses and infections.
Good sources of protein are meat, poultry, dairy and fish but since the Paleo diet restricts eating of dairy products, it makes up for it by being a high protein diet and requires protein in about every meal.
Low sodium – salt is not something that one would think of when considering what's harmful to the body and it really is not. It can only be harmful when it is being taken in amounts not tolerable by the body. Unfortunately though, the majority of us take too much of it. Too much is more than one teaspoon. Too much salt accounts for almost half of fatal strokes and many cases of heart disease.
You may have tried to limit the amount of salt that you add when flavoring your meal, but the salt that is dangerous is the salt that you are not aware of. We are all unconsciously consuming excess amounts of salt from processed foods, canned goods, and even from condiments. There are even loads of salt in tomato sauces, canned soups and just about everything else that is pre-mixed and ready to cook that you find in the grocery store.
Low sugar – The average American consumes two to three pounds of sugar every week. This is just way too much for our bodies to handle. We all know that too much sugar can cause diabetes but this is not the only disease that can stem from excessive intake of sugar. Basically, we can become very unhealthy when we consume too much sugar and this can lead to a lot of complications and malfunctions in the body.
This is why the Paleo diet is a low sugar diet. As much as possible, one should only get the sugar that the body needs from fruits. This way, the sugar that goes into the body is all natural. In the effort of people to lower sugar intake, they opt for sugar-free foods but this can be harmful to the health, because artificial sugar is of no good and can not be processed by the body in a healthy way.
Reading labels is another conscious effort of people to control what they eat and when looking for sugar in food labels, you may not see exactly what you are looking for because sugar is labeled as sucralose, agave syrup, stevia and so on which can be quite deceiving but they are all just different forms of sugar. This is why the Paleo diet is a low-sugar diet, to eliminate as much as possible the intake of sugar whether it is artificial or natural sugar.
These are the reasons why the Paleo diet is what it is and following it will less your risks of the many illnesses that come with an uncontrolled diet. These rules are established based on facts and with the best intentions of providing optimal health to those who follow it. Now that you have a better understanding of the restrictions and freedom of the diet, you will find it easier to stick to the diet and enjoy the process of becoming healthy.