Following the Paleo diet may help you lower your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure levels and improve your glucose tolerance, according to a study published in "The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in August 2009. It may also help if you need or want to avoid gluten, since it doesn't allow consumption of most potential gluten sources.
Main Gluten Sources
On the Paleo diet, you aren't allowed to consume any grains, meaning the main sources of gluten -- wheat, rye, triticale and barley -- are all off limits. Other names these grains may go by include farina, kamut, spelt, graham flour, semolina, bulgur and durum flour.
Most processed foods contain ingredients that wouldn't have been available to people in the Paleolithic area, such as preservatives, additives, added sugar and salt, making them foods to be avoided on the Paleo diet. Avoiding these foods will also help you eliminate gluten from your diet, since processed foods can be hidden sources of gluten, including lunch meats, brown rice syrup, modified food starch, malt flavoring, imitation meats, miso and marinades.
Potentially Contaminated Paleo Foods
Foods you can eat on the Paleo diet include fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds. Choose your foods carefully at the grocery store, since vegetables with sauces, self-basting poultry, dry roasted nuts, sausage, seasonings, herbal teas, french fries, broths, soups and salad dressings can all be hidden sources of gluten.
Since you won't be eating dairy products, legumes or grains on the Paleo diet, you should pay extra attention to the nutrient-content of your food to make sure you get enough of the essential nutrients. The Paleo diet can be too high in saturated fat and too low in vitamin D and calcium if you don't plan your diet carefully. Eating fatty fish and spending time in the sun will help you get your vitamin D, and eating bone-in fish like sardines and green leafy vegetables will help you get the calcium you need.
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Metabolic and Physiologic Improvements From Consuming a Paleolithic, Hunter-gatherer Type Diet
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Should We Eat Like Our Caveman Ancestors?
- MayoClinic.com: Gluten-free Diet: What's Allowed, What's Not
- MayoClinic.com: Are There Whole-grain Options That Are Gluten-free?
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.