The primal diet is following the dietary habits of the primitive humans. It focuses that people should prefer eating raw and fresh foods, avoiding all processed foods. This diet mainly uses fruits, vegetables, certain oils, and dairy products.
You can eat cooked meats but try to use the foods in their natural form i.e. vegetables, fruits etc. Also, you can consume milk in its raw and unpasteurized state.
What makes this diet healthy?
Going through the checklist, you will see that the primal diet includes eating nuts, seeds, fruits, grains and much more. Foods that primitive humans were not aware of or they had no access are not a part of this diet.
All the processed foods such as hot dogs, baked goods, and others are completely prohibited. Primal diet is ideal for those who want to maintain their weight but have no time to spend at the gym.
The increase in adverse health conditions is sometimes linked with diet. The modern humans consume processed foods in a high quantity and are not eating anything raw. Many additives such as sugar have been linked with drastic long- and short-term consequences when consumed regularly.
As an alternative to the processed foods choices, the primal diet is here to help. It emphasizes to get nutrition from natural food sources. It believes that natural food sources provide all the nutrients that a person needs to live a healthy life. And that’s how the primitive humans were healthy and less prone to diseases.
What can you eat in a Primal diet?
There are so many food choices that you can make while following the primal diet. Some of the recommended foods are as follows.
- Maple syrup
- Starchy veggies
- Wild rice
All these foods should be eaten in an appropriate quantity.
Which food items are not allowed in the Primal diet?
Like foods that you can eat on a primal diet, there are certain foods that you cannot eat when on a primal diet. These foods include peanuts, soy, any grain, and sugars. Ideally, you should not use any food that you think was not available to our ancestors.
While selecting your food sources, avoid all such foods that are not made directly from a naturally growing plant or animal. It will give you an idea of what to eat and what to avoid in the primal diet.
For your convenience, here is a list of foods that primal diet should avoid.
- Processed Oils
- All processed foods
All the people who follow the primal diet find it easier to cook yummy foods by themselves. There is no technicality involved and the recipes are very simple. Also, the packaged food/processed food sometimes contains additional ingredients i.e. preservatives that are dangerous for health. When you are avoiding packaged food, the risk to health automatically reduces.
Is Primal diet healthy?
The growing desire of weight loss is directly related with what you are eating. Diet plays a larger part in a weight loss plan than exercise. Also once your weight loss is completed, there is still a need to look for healthier alternative high-calorie food so that you don’t gain all the lost weight back.
All the foods allowed in primal diet fulfills the complete requirement of nutrition for the body. Usually, no one prefers eating vegetables or fruits and they may miss out on many essential nutrients, especially fiber. On the other hand, when vegetables and fruits are a part of the daily diet, it gives an overall health boost.
The effects of primal diet depend upon how a person is following it. It also relates with standard portion eating. For best effects, a person should consult a consultant dietitian to start the primal diet.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Primal diet
The major health benefit of primal diet is that it removes the unhealthy food sources from your diet. Despite the limits on such foods, when we are eating, no limitation is followed. It is better to completely avoid them and substitute them with foods that have high nutritional value.
- Primal diet particularly benefits in the following cases.
- It helps diabetic people who should avoid or limit their sugar intake.
- It suits people who have multiple food allergies.
- It is ideal for people that food-related conditions (example: celiac disease, lactose intolerance)
- Anyone who wants to lose weight
- Anyone who wants to maintain his weight.
Research studies suggest that a primal diet helps to lose weight, reduce waist size and stubborn fat loss. Another diet called the paleo diet is somewhat similar to it. Paleo diet has received a lot of criticism from nutritionists for the exaggerated benefits and less research. But in the case of both these diet, some limited scientific resources suggests that it has potential benefits for users. (Read more about it by clicking here)
The benefits of primal diet are
- Weight loss
- Lesser waist size
- Controlled blood pressure
- Better lipid profile
- Improved digestion
- Low cholesterol
One particular study on the diet given to type-2 diabetic and cardiovascular patients showed that the diet improved their glycemic control and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease as compared to people with type 2 diabetes who didn’t follow it. (Read the complete research here)
Similarly, another study on type-2 diabetic people on a paleolithic diet for 12 weeks showed an improved cognitive function, reducing the risk of dementia. (You can read it online by clicking here)
However, the science is not 100% sure that following primal or paleo diet is the best option for everyone or just for the patients. There is a need to do more research on how this diet impacts a person’s life. One similar study on women after menopausal phase told that they became iodine deficient after following the Paleo diet for 2 years. Iodine-deficiency is linked with hypothyroidism and goiter. (Here are the complete research findings)
Overall, the primal diet shows a potential to be the best choice for a healthy life that doesn’t use any otherwise unhealthy foods i.e. processed foods.
What is the difference between the Primal diet and the Paleo diet?
Like the primal diet, the paleo diet also uses the food sources that primitive humans used to eat. It is very similar to primal diet but with a few differences. Some of them are as follows.
- You can not consume all types of dairy in a paleo diet.
- You can not eat nightshade vegetables in a paleo diet.
- You can not take coffee in a paleo diet.
The final word
Before you start any new diet, it is better to evaluate yourself by a medical doctor. You must be clear on your targets so that an according to a diet plan is followed. The primal diet offers a healthy alternative to the modern diets that use lots of processed foods, additives, and unnatural food ingredients. If followed correctly, the primal diet will provide a variety of nutrients, experience improved health, and potentially lose or maintain weight.