Health & fitness: Going caveman!

Health & fitness: Going caveman!

Sometimes it seems like there are almost as many diets in the world as people, and that every month brings a new ‘must-do’ fad diet that’s guaranteed to lose pounds fast. Well, most of the diets do what they claim, since by restricting your diet in some way, either by total calories, or by cutting out certain food types, is usually going to result in weight loss in the short term, but as for the long term? Forget it!

I’m sure we all remember diets like the South Beach, The Atkins, and, err, The Grape? What is that last one?’ I hear you all ask. Well, you will lose weight, that’s for sure! A client came to us and told us that he was doing the grape diet. The plan is simply this: eat as many green grapes as you want through the day, then you get to have a salad for dinner! It sounds like something that supermodels should have been on in the ‘80s, needless to say, we advised him to get off it, pronto!

On a serious note, any diet that severely restricts your calories is going to result in weight loss – that’s common sense – but starving yourself is not common sense, and in fact a diet where you’re getting less calories than your body needs to function could actually cause you to put on fat, even while you’re losing weight. It’s an evolutionary thing, harking back to the days where we roamed the plains looking for mammoths to eat. If food sources are scarce your body goes into starvation mode: the muscles are cannibalised for energy, and fat is laid down as it’s the most easily converted stored energy source for your body. Probably not the result you’re looking for with a diet.

An interesting diet we’ve come across recently is the Paleo, or caveman diet. The science argument behind this diet is that agriculture is a recent evolutionary event, and that our bodies, in particular our digestive systems, have not yet evolved enough to cope efficiently with cereals, grains, pulses, and products like bread produced from cereals. Hence the diet proposes you stick to only what our ancestors would have had access to (though they didn’t get to pop to Eroski!): meat, fish, poultry, game, vegetables and limited fruit. Avoid dairy, grains, pulses sugar, processed foods.

This actually means you can have quite a varied diet, as long as you plan ahead for your meals. Proponents say you’ll live a lot healthier, your gut will be less inflamed and as you’ve restricted carbs, you’ll tap into your body’s fat sources and lose weight.

Here at M Wellness we have our own caveman in the shape of our Personal Trainer Brian, who’s currently following a Paleo routine – we’ll let you know how he gets on, and if you’re interested in learning more please contact us and Brian will be happy to talk to you.