The words “diet” and “food” used to be often used in the same context. The dictionary definition of “diet” is “a periodic regime of eating generally for the purpose of preventing weight gain and preserving health.” Thus, a “diet” was defined as a way to eat, in order to prevent weight gain or preserve health. However, recent studies indicate that dieting is not always the best method to lose weight.
A “healthy” diet is simply a diet which helps sustain or improve general health. A healthy diet offers the body with essential nutrients: carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. In recent years, many people have begun to focus on what they eat – or don’t eat – instead of just calories. Thus, healthy meals might consist of vegetables and lean meats, as well as dairy products and other lean protein sources.
The “Paleo Diet,” a recent sensation in the weight loss and health-conscious population, consists of mainly fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, sea foods, and dairy products. It also consists of up to 25 percent saturated fats. The concept behind the Paleo diet is simple: limit your calorie intake while increasing your nutrient intake. For instance, lean meats have a higher nutrient content than meats cooked in butter or oils, such as bacon and beef. Nuts are high in fiber and protein, but are low in calories. And fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as grains and seeds, provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, many of which you may now not get any more from your grocery store or health food store.
Lean meats, fish, sea foods, dairy products, and nuts are all high in protein. Protein is necessary for building and repairing muscle tissue, but some food types are higher in protein than others. Lean cuts of meat have less fat, but may contain higher calorie contents. Whole grains, such as brown rice, are a good source of both carbohydrates and fats, with lower calories. Vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits all provide some nutrients without excess calories.
While avoiding saturated fat is an important part of the Paleo diet, dairy and animal fat are also problematic. Most dairy products, which are mostly pasteurized milk products, contain large amounts of saturated fat. The fats in milk are not bad for you; they just have different nutrition effects. Saturated fats in vegetable oils are not bad for you, but some oils are better alternatives than others.
Whole grains, nuts, and fruits should be the primary source of carbohydrates, with preferably some healthy fats sprinkled in occasionally. When choosing carbohydrates, you will find that the healthiest choices are legumes, which are high in fiber and protein, and unrefined grains, which are high in vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. In general, avoid refined or processed sugars, including those in “low-fat” or “low-sugar” snacks and drinks, as well as any condiments or yogurts (dairy, egg, or vegetable) that are labeled “low-fat.”
The Paleo diet emphasizes healthy food choices over having a single, highly processed food item for every meal. As you become familiar with this type of eating plan, you will learn to pick and choose from the five food groups. Each one will provide its own nutrition advantage and drawback. Nuts and seeds are considered to be healthy diet foods.
Vegetables, beans, and whole grains are considered to be healthy eating options. Grains and nuts are considered to be healthy eating options. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are considered to be healthy eating options. Milk and dairy products, while high in calories, are not bad for you, provided you choose low-fat or skim versions. Nuts, seeds, and vegetables are considered to be the most nutritious choices in a Paleo diet.