Dieting in my opinion is no longer a fad. For many of us, it’s become a way of life.
Very few people can say with complete honesty that they don’t diet at all. In fact, even the people who look really amazing and appear to be ‘naturally skinny’ are usually dieting to maintain their physique.
Maybe it’s not a low calorie diet, but a diet nonetheless.
Now, even though the idea of dieting is no longer a fad, there are still some fad diets out there.
These are diets with absolutely no science behind them. And, if you do follow them you’ll probably end up becoming heavier than before you started.
As a fitness model, I understand the importance of maintaining a lean physique and tracking my calories. Although I’m not currently on a diet (really, I swear), I make sure I eat more on days when I’m extremely active and less on days that I’m not.
I’ve had many friends that have been on the Caveman Diet and they’ve had some pretty impressive results.
Let’s take a look at some of the facts of this diet and figure out if it is right for you.
What is the Caveman Diet?
The Caveman Diet is actually one of the most controversial diets out. In fact, when experts were asked to rank different diets, the Caveman Diet, or the Paleolithic Diet as it is more “scientifically” known, came up last in the list. It’s not hard to see why this happened.
First and foremost, the diet of a caveman is really unknown.
We can theorize and debate all we want, but we’ll never know for certain what a caveman ate (until we develop a time machine, and I don’t see that happening any time soon).
So, this being the case, how can anyone say with any degree of certainty what a caveman diet is? And if you don’t know what a caveman diet is, how can you go on one?
Second, some proponents behind the diet question whether humans have had time to adjust to the kind of food that we eat today.
Diets that once consisted predominantly of fruits, roots, leaves, insects and small animals have changed to now include legumes, grains etc.
While this is something to consider, recent studies have proven that a couple of generations is generally all that is needed for people to adjust. Therefore, this argument is not very valid.
So, just because the reasoning behind the diet is in question, does it mean that the diet itself isn’t good?
Let’s take an impartial look at it.
Most proponents of the caveman diet say that between 35 – 45% of daily calorific intake should come from carbs, about 30% from fat and 25 – 35% from protein.
While this may or may not tally with the diet of a Paleolithic caveman, it’s actually very good for your body.
Most diets are under the assumption that carbs are the devil and that if you consume a large quantity of them you will become fat. This is not necessarily the case. Your body needs “good” carbs to operate efficiently and give you energy as long as you are actually using those calories and not creating a surplus..
Does The Caveman Diet Work?
If you choose to follow the Caveman Diet, not only do you get the amount of carbs, fat and protein that your body needs daily, you get it from wholesome foods and not processed ones.
As most everyone knows, processed foods are one of the main culprits contributing towards obesity today. Just removing this one facet from our diets will go a long way towards getting our society into shape.
According to current data, most Americans get 70% of their daily calories from dairy products, cereals, refined sugar, vegetable oils and alcohol.
This is an alarming percentage and it’s no wonder so many of us have become lazy, fat, obese, and depressed.
None of these products are good for the body.
And what about exercise?
If you take the average Paleolithic human being, it is estimated that their daily output in net calories was somewhere around 1000 kcal per day.
This translates to roughly about 1 to 1.5 hours of moderate to high intensity exercise daily. With this amount of activity, coupled with good natural wholesome food it’s no wonder their bodies were much better off than ours.
If you’re interested in body building or bulking up, the Caveman Diet is quite good for that.
It may seem that the amount of protein consumed is not sufficient enough to help the body build a good amount of muscle.
But, if you delve deeper into the subject, you find that the body doesn’t really need so much protein.
I’ve had many friends who were on the Caveman Diet while preparing for fitness and bodybuilding competitions and they’ve had great success with it.
It fueled their bodies properly for intense workout sessions while other diets did not.
Current day hunter-gathers, like the Nunamiut of Alaska, have diets that range anywhere between 25% and 95% protein.
It’s not the percentage of protein or carbohydrate in the diet that matters most, but it’s more the food you get these nutrients from. For instance, you can get carbs from processed flour or whole grain flour, but whole grain flour is healthier.
And, you can get protein from processed meat or freshly butchered meat, but the fresh is the better choice.
There are a number of diets purported to be Caveman Diets that you find online, but many of these really don’t follow the principles behind what the author of the original diet had in mind.
Many variations include changing the percentages of carbohydrates and proteins or including sugar drinks, alcohol, caffeine or even tea.
These are not true Paleolithic diets.
Of course, nobody wants to return to the time when men were cavemen, but if you want to enjoy sugar in your diet, you can’t very well call the diet a Caveman Diet.
Some people go to extremes and eat only raw, uncooked food because they believe that was how the cavemen ate. While this may be true with regards to fruits, leaves and such, men started cooking meat very early in history.
So, is the Caveman Diet healthy?
Well, if you cut off all industrially produced food and get in 45 minutes to an hour’s exercise every day, it’s more than enough to keep you trim and in shape.
For this reason, I highly recommend the Caveman Diet to anyone who is looking to lose weight and/or gain lean muscle mass.
What do you think about the Caveman (Paleo) Diet? Share your thoughts below!