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Paleo Diet and Blood Glucose Levels: Help or Hype?

Us humans consume food for our survival. All cells require energy to function effectively. The body gets energy from foods that include carbohydrates, protein, fats, and other nutrients. Fruits, green vegetables, etc., are some of the best sources of nutrition for the body.  Blood in the body transports the sugar or glucose we get from foods to the hungry cells. The pancreas releases the insulin hormone that helps transport glucose to the starved cells. Insulin plays a crucial role in transporting, delivering, and managing glucose levels in the blood.

Your body goes through glucose fluctuations throughout the day. The prominent reason behind fluctuations in glucose levels is diet and physical exercise. For example, people with diabetes should strictly follow a healthy diet and exercise regime to manage their symptoms. Furthermore, continuous glucose monitoring also benefits them. For people with no health concerns or those with normal glucose levels,  it is also advisable to monitor their glucose levels often (as a precautionary measure) to keep themselves healthy in the long run.  

Your diet has an important role to play in keeping you healthy. Everybody reacts differently to different types of food at different times of the day. Therefore, food which suits someone at a particular time may not be suitable for someone else at the same time. In addition, food and diet have a direct impact on lowering and raising glucose levels. Therefore, it is advisable to observe which type of food is suitable for health or which causes an imbalance in glucose levels. The HealthifyPro, with its Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), is an incredible health tech innovation that helps you monitor your glucose levels in real-time. It indicates the effect of a particular food or beverage on your glucose levels. Assessing food’s impact on your glucose levels can help you decide on the foods suitable for consumption and foods you should avoid.

As comfortable as today’s lifestyle is, its adverse consequences are visible in people’s health. A comfortable lifestyle is making individuals sedentary. A combination of a sedentary lifestyle and western food results most often than not in severe health issues like obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, and heart-related issues. To avoid these, keeping track of glucose levels while observing a suitable diet is imperative. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to accurately know which diet affects glucose levels in what ways. By the time accurate observations are out, it may be too late. 

The quantity of food also requires observation. People who have obesity strictly need to keep in check their calorie count along with the type of food they consume. Obese people tend to develop high blood glucose level issues and are more prone to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is essential for people dealing with obesity to reduce weight and bring down their glucose levels. However, with years of research and modern-day scientific developments, various dietary routines improve overall health. One such diet is the Paleo diet.

Paleo Diet: An Overview

The paleo diet or caveman diet got its name from the palaeolithic age. The paleo diet is closely related to the era when people lived in caves. In the stone-age, cultivation was not as advanced as it is now. So, people back then relied on eating naturally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. It is a plant-centred diet and involves unprocessed meat.

A study reveals that approximately 2.5 million years ago, the palaeolithic period began when people used stone tools. The primary source of food back then was lean meat, fish, eggs, roots, nuts, and uncultivated plant source foods. The stone age era, or the palaeolithic, ended approximately 10,000 years ago.

With the advancement of technology and innovation, people moved toward consuming processed food and refined sugar. Unfortunately, as per research, refined sugar and carbohydrates contribute to overweight and diabetes and severe health issues like cancer, dementia, and mental illness. 

The study also shows that heart diseases are not only the outcome of saturated fat and animal products. It also results from consuming refined carbohydrates, including honey, white sugar, maple syrup, white rice, and white bread. In addition, research also claims that consuming fewer calories can increase lifespan.

Recently, it has come to people’s notice that the paleo diet can manage blood glucose levels. However, it is incorrect to say that hunting animals to consume meat as people did in the palaeolithic era is the only way to consume Paleolithic-inspired food and carbs. Furthermore, the alternative option of a better form of starch than refined sugar in the rice and potatoes does not harm glucose levels, as do refined sugar and processed foods.

The HealthifyMe Note

Your basic food consumption mainly involves simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are easier to digest and increase blood glucose levels rapidly as they can quickly enter the blood due to their simple form. On the other hand, the latter (complex carbohydrates) take more time to digest due to their complex nature. This property of complex carbohydrates prevents a rapid spike in blood glucose levels, which is beneficial in the long run. 

Palaeolithic Diet: Growing Popularity

A study shows that due to its potential health benefits, the popularity of the paleo diet is continuously increasing. Furthermore, other research shows that a paleo diet might be beneficial in the improvement of glucose levels, increasing insulin sensitivity, and decreasing insulin secretion. 

The paleo diet is low-carb and rich in protein. The paleo diet is associated with the consumption of fresh foods and does not involve processed food like refined sugar, dairy, and starches. Instead, it lays its emphasis on plant-centred food. The paleo diet helps in promoting the consumption of unprocessed meat and focuses on the intake of healthy fats, healthy protein, and whole foods.

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

One of the reasons why people are increasingly moving towards the paleo diet is its effectiveness in weight loss. In addition, it is beneficial for people who have diabetes to assist in reducing weight, increasing insulin sensitivity, and improving heart health. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor or an expert nutritionist to know if it is suitable for you.

The paleo diet offers the following benefits. 

It helps lower blood pressure.Keeps a check on blood glucose levelsLowers mortality risk due to diseasesImproves insulin sensitivityHelps manage cholesterolAids in Weight LossIt benefits overall inflammation levels as it focuses on consuming vegetables and fibre foods.Increases energy level

The HealthifyMe Note

Weight loss and managing blood sugar levels are the focus of the paleo diet. It incorporates healthy eating habits into a lifestyle. Several benefits include improving blood pressure, regulating cholesterol and reducing inflammation. Nevertheless, it is better to consult a nutritionist before starting a paleo diet.

Foods that You Can Consume in a Paleo Diet

The paleo diet primarily focuses on consuming healthy foods like grass-fed meat as people had in the stone age by directly hunting them and then cooking them. However, in the current world, the palaeolithic options are eggs, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils like olive oil, walnut and coconut oil.

Here is the categorisation of different foods that you can consume in a paleo diet:

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies are rich sources of vitamins, fibre, minerals, and antioxidants. However, vegetables and fruits like potatoes and bananas contain high starch and sugar, respectively. So, it is advisable to consume potatoes and bananas in moderate quantities while following a paleo diet to lose weight or balance glucose levels. 

The primary key element in a paleo diet is the consumption of unprocessed whole fruits and vegetables. So, consuming frozen vegetables without adding any sauces is also allowed in this diet.

Here are a few examples of fruits and vegetables that you can consume in the paleo diet:

Fruits

ApplePeachesPlumsBananasCitrus FruitsGrapesWater MelonStrawberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries

Vegetables

SpinachCauliflowerCabbageButternut SquashSweet PotatoesBrussels Sprouts

Healthy Oils

The paleo diet allows the consumption of oils directly extracted from plants. A study recommends consuming flaxseed oil while following the paleo diet because it has a rich content of high alpha-linolenic acid(ALA), fibre, and lignans.

The below oils are advisable while on the paleo diet:

Coconut OilWalnut OilOlive OilFlaxseed OilAvocado Oil

Nuts And Seeds

Nuts and seeds are rich in fibre and protein and contain healthy fat. Below are some of the nuts and seeds that you can consume in the paleo diet:

Chia SeedsSunflower SeedsFlax SeedsPumpkin SeedsHazelnutsPine NutsWalnutsBrazil NutsCashewsAlmonds

Eggs

Eggs are a rich source of B vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antioxidants that make them a part of the paleo diet. However, it is even better if you can get eggs from grass-fed chicken, as that goes with the ideology of the paleo diet. 

Meat and Seafood

Meat and seafood are rich sources of proteins. It contains lean protein that is advisable for consumption in the paleo diet. Wild seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, therefore recommended over farm-based seafood. The following are some of the meats and seafood that the paleo diet includes:

SalmonPorkTunaBaconChickenCodTurkeyBeef

Food to Avoid in Paleo Diet

The paleo diet does not allow consuming certain foods. Generally, refined sugar and processed foods are strictly not allowed. The following are some foods that do not fit in the paleo diet:

LegumesRefined SugarCereal GrainsSodaArtificial SweetenersSaltSoda and Sugary Drinks

The paleo diet recommends certain food items for consumption at times. Therefore, it is advisable to substitute the below-mentioned food items. The reason behind recommending these food items in moderation is that some foods contain high starch and sugar that don’t go well with weight management and blood sugar levels.

The food items in the above category are:

AlcoholHigh Sugar Fruits and Starchy VeggiesDairy Products like milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt, and sour cream

Paleo Diet And Blood Glucose Levels: The Association

The most significant benefits of following a paleo diet include increased insulin sensitivity, weight management, and improved heart health. It is expected for blood glucose levels to vary at different times in the day or after consuming specific meals. This fluctuation is different for different people. The imbalance in the glucose levels can result in issues like type 2 diabetes. Obesity and heart issues are also possible due to an imbalance in glucose levels. 

The paleo diet can be a healthy solution to the problems arising from an imbalance in blood glucose levels. The association between the paleo diet and blood glucose levels comes from the consumption of healthy fats and low carbs, which act as a catalyst in lowering glucose levels and weight reduction. However, different food affects different people in different ways. Therefore, it is best to follow the paleo diet after consultation with the doctor or under the guidance of a healthcare coach.

Is the Concept of the Paleo Diet Hyped?

Several studies claim that the concept of the palaeolithic diet is quite controversial. People are exaggerating this diet concept. Hence, it is creating a lot of hype. The paleo diet is gaining popularity nowadays because celebrity chefs and social media bloggers are talking about it. However, the paleo diet is showing satisfactory results in solving blood sugar level issues.

Research says that the paleo diet does help in weight loss due to low carb and no sugary food. In addition, the paleo diet helps prevent significant blood glucose spikes due to the consumption of these foods. However, it does not show significantly effective results in solving the issue of inflammation. So, the effectiveness of the paleo diet in preventing various health issues is still subject to research. However, with low carbs and no sugar, the diet helps improve glucose levels.

Conclusion

While the paleo diet is showing promising results in weight reduction, especially for obesity and balancing glucose levels, accurate results are still awaited to claim this confidently. The exclusion of unhealthy fats, refined sugar, and processed food from the diet makes it a healthy diet that one can incorporate into the routine. But this comes with a condition for people who are dealing with diabetes. Not all foods suit everyone, so this requires thorough guidance and observation.

The paleo diet concept is still controversial due to the lack of satisfactory results in inflammation and other health issues. In addition, the palaeolithic diet is an under-researched topic. Therefore, claiming anything strongly about this diet as helpful needs more research and observation.

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