The Paleo diet, short for Paleolithic, mimics humans’ hunter and gatherer ancestry intake, following the belief that they ate meat, tubers (root vegetables), and fruit. Therefore, the plan allows meat, vegetables, fruits, and sweet potatoes, but prohibits processed foods, dairy, grains, and legumes (see graphic below).
Like the vegan diet plan, Paleo does not target a specific macronutrient breakdown. The macro percentages, however, typically end up close to that of the Zone Diet – 40/30/30 of carbohydrate, protein, and fat, respectively. Paleo also resembles the Whole30 eating plan, but with fewer restrictions.
The Paleo diet plan would not be considered unhealthy but could limit calorie intake with its restrictions. Thus, following a restrictive diet plan could hinder performance and recovery, due to inadequate energy and carbohydrate intake.
A “Paleo-Plus” eating plan would be more suitable for NSW candidates. Emphasize whole, unprocessed foods, but include more starches and grains, such as rice, pasta, bread, and other varieties of potatoes.
If you choose to follow any form of a “fad” diet, do so because it suits your individual goals, not because it worked for someone else. Further, monitor subjective and objective information such as body weight, sleep quality, energy levels, and gas/bloating amounts. During that time, stretch your boundaries – try new recipes, new foods, and determine what you can gleam from the diet trial, as any diet plan may offer some benefit.
Keto, vegan, and Paleo effectively span the entire gamut of diet plans, and any of them (or any fad diet) can yield temporary benefits. But treating any restrictive diet plan like a decree falls short of a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Further, any restrictive plan (one with many rules) will be difficult to sustain and likely will provide insufficient fuel for NSW candidates.
Naval Special Warfare Assessment Command