What is the AIP Diet?

AIP diet, or autoimmune protocol, is a food-based approach designed to eliminate undesirable inflammation in the body in order to relieve signs of autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder is any condition in which a person’s immune system falsely attacks and damages healthy cells and the most common feature of an autoimmune disease is inflammation. 

AIP diet is a very limiting eating plan with a goal to eliminate foods that can cause inflammation in your gut to reset the body’s immune system. The main aim of this diet is to treat a “leaky gut,” which is medically known as altered intestinal permeability. Autoimmune conditions may result from small holes that have developed in the intestines which allow food to leak into the body. This condition can cause your immune system to respond negatively. It is thought that when you eat only foods allowed in the AIP diet, you can help heal the leaky gut. This diet mainly promotes foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. Also, it highlights food with omega-3 fatty acids.

This diet is especially beneficial for those with an autoimmune condition. Although autoimmune diseases cannot be cured, they can be put into remission and AIP diet attempts to reduce some of the symptoms of these conditions.

If you do the AIP diet, you must follow the restrictive eating plan for at least a number of weeks before you are allowed to add food that is not included in the AIP diet. While there are people who try the AIP diet only for a short period of time, others adopt it as their long-term lifestyle choices. Adding foods into your diet takes time as they should be introduced gradually in order to monitor whether you have any reactions to a certain food. If you notice a reaction, you need to remove it from your diet long-term. 

AIP diet is rich in meats and vegetables. The following are the type of foods you can eat:

  • Vegetables, except nightshades, such as peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes
  • Meat and fish, if possible not factory raised
  • Coconut product, including coconut milk
  • Olive, avocado, and coconut oil
  • Fruits, but in small quantities
  • Honey or maple syrup, in small portions
  • Vinegar, including apple cider, red wine, and balsamic (as long as they do not contain added sugar)
  • Non-seed herbal teas
  • Fermented foods that do not contain dairy or dairy-free, such as kombucha, nondairy kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

There is a long list of foods you should avoid since the AIP diet is very restrictive. The foods you cannot eat on an AIP diet are:

  • Grains
  • Dairy products
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed foods
  • Legumes, including peanuts, soy, hummus, and beans
  • Industrially made seed oils, including canola oils and vegetable oils
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds, which includes food you might not think are in this category like coffee, chocolate, and certain spices
  • Food thickeners and emulsifiers.

In addition, you should not consume alcohol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Research also suggests that you should avoid blue-green algae since it can possibly stimulate the immune system.

Many people find the AIP diet hard to follow and tricky to stick to because it is very restrictive and sometimes even interferes with your daily lifestyle. However, you can try a modified AIP diet by removing fewer foods, usually food too high in fat and cholesterol. If you decide to follow the AIP diet, you will find that the benefits outweigh the burden of its restrictions. Since the diet focuses on healthy foods, your body will likely react positively.

Paleo Diet: What is it and Why is it so Popular?

The Paleo diet is one of the most popular diets in the world, as well as one of the most controversial ones. The paleo diet is also referred to as the Paleolithic diet, Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet, or caveman diet, is an eating plan based on foods that resembled a prehistoric man in Paleolithic era might have eaten. It might be impossible to know exactly what they ate in different parts of the world all those years ago, but researchers believe they ate whole foods that people could hunt or gather which included fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, herbs, eggs, seeds, and nuts. 

Modern farming has changed the way people eat. Since the development of modern agriculture, dairy products, grains, and legumes have become an essential part of many people’s daily meals. An idea known as the Discordance Hypothesis stated that the reason for this diet is that the human body has not yet evolved to processes modern diet that began with farming practices. According to the hypothesis, the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet and the rapid change in people’s diet outpaced the body’s capability to adapt. Consuming processed foods can possibly increase the risk of numerous medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Advocates of the paleo diet believe that by following a whole-food-based diet and having a physically active life, hunter-gatherers have fewer health problems than a modern human who eats fully processed foods. 

Many people follow a paleo diet because of the benefit it offers, the diet is believed to help people lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. According to several studies, this diet can result in significant weight loss as well as major improvements in health. The diet is also said to improve glucose tolerance, lower triglycerides, as well as improved blood pressure control. However, it is important to know that this diet is not safe for everyone. Its effects on older adults, pregnant women, or children are still largely unknown. People who suffer from chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease should consult a doctor before trying a paleo diet.

There are various recommendations out there on what to include in a paleo diet. Paleolithic humans lived on a variation of foods, which mainly was dependent on what was available and where they lived. There were people who ate a low-carb diet with lots of animals, but there were also people who consume a high-carb diet with a huge quantity of plants. The simplest guideline to paleo diets is if it looks like the food is made in a factory, avoids it. The following is a general guideline on paleo diets.

What you can eat:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Lean meats (people who follow a paleo diet usually choose grass-fed animals because these meats are the least processed)
  • Fish, particularly those rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oils that come from fruits and nuts, such as coconut oil, almond oil, and olive oil.

What to avoid on the paleo diet:

  • Legumes, including lentils, peanuts, peas, and beans.
  • Dairy products, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Salt.
  • Grains, such as barley, oats, and wheat.
  • Refined sugar.
  • Artificial sweetener, including aspartame, cyclamates, saccharin, and sucralose. You can use natural sweeteners as a substitute.
  • Trans fats, usually called either “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” and can be found in margarine and numerous other processed foods.
  • Highly processed foods, which are everything with “low-fat” and “diet” on the label, or anything that has various additives.

If you are following this diet, you should also drink plenty of water. Some people may drink black coffee or green tea, but do not drink any soft drinks and juices with added sugar. Another necessary part of the paleo lifestyle is getting regular exercise. 

A lot of people are wondering about the dietary concerns of paleo diets. A paleo diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts, which are the elements of a healthy diet. What makes paleo diet very different from other healthy diets is the absence of dairy products, which are good sources of calcium and protein, as well as the lack of whole grains and legumes that are considered as good sources of fiber, vitamins, as well as other nutrition. This can mean that paleo diets have some hidden dangers. For example, dairy restrictions can lead to deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium, which is critical to the health of your bones. Besides, dairy products and grains are normally more affordable than foods that you can eat in paleo diets. Therefore, a paleo diet can be too expensive for some people. 

The bottom line is, while a paleo diet can help you lose weight or maintain your already healthy weight, it also brings more beneficial health effects. Nevertheless, you can achieve the same benefits by leading an active life and eating a balanced diet with a lot of vegetables and fruits.