There are many Paleo dieters who enjoy some indulgences occasionally, such as coffee, alcohol and chocolates…without minding if these are Paleo or not. There are others who say a true follower would not indulge at all.
However, dieters should really be asking whether these foods and beverages are healthy enough to add to their diet, as Paleo is a dietary lifestyle and not a religion.
If you are new to Paleo dieting and are considering the thought of enjoying alcohol, coffee and chocolates you might want to check the disadvantages or side effects that you may have from ingesting these foods and beverages.
Health conscious individuals and chocolate connoisseurs would prefer to enjoy chocolates that are made from a high ratio of chocolate solids that contain only a very small amount of sugar. They totally avoid cheaper varieties of chocolates because these often contain lots of milk solids and sugar.
However, is it really okay to consume chocolates as a healthy Paleo dieter? Unfortunately, chocolates have high levels of phytic acid that may bind to calcium, magnesium and iron thereby making these minerals unavailable to the body.
Even dark chocolates, which most people believe are “healthier” options also contain some sugar. These chocolates also contain oxalates that are known to prevent the absorption of calcium and increase your risk of having kidney stones.
There are also instances when chocolates are cross-contaminated with gluten grains and this is definitely bad news for your gut health. Eating chocolates can trigger your tendency to binge and crave for more which can be detrimental not only to your weight loss efforts but to your overall health as well.
Coffee has natural psychotropic or mood-altering compounds. It also has caffeine which is a stimulant that can trigger dependency and withdrawal problems. While the effects of coffee may vary from one person to another the fact still remains that it can cause one’s cortisol levels to soar which can lead to over-stimulation and dependency. Elevated cortisol level is commonly associated with disturbed sleep patterns, weight gain and depressed immune system.
The tannin content of coffee can hinder the absorption of iron in the body. Coffee has also been found to irritate the gastrointestinal tract which may worsen the symptoms of gastritis, IBS, ulcer and other problems related to the gastrointestinal disorder.
Alcoholic beverages fall into three categories: spirits, beers and wines. Although these alcoholic beverages went through different processes they all contain some amount of alcohol which is a hepatotoxin which means it is harmful for the liver. When taken in excessive amounts, alcohol can damage the liver and cause alcoholic liver damage.
In addition, alcohol is also a form of drug that can lead to loss of coordination, fine motor skills and inhibitions. Drinking alcoholic beverages can cause electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.
Unfortunately, alcohol can also lead to addiction as it damages a part of the brain which will then increase one’s risk for substance abuse. Also while even mildly affected by alcohol we are much more likely to be tempted by poor food choices, to be regretted the next day.
Alcohol, coffee and chocolates have all the potentials of an addictive substance. If you think you are the type of person who finds it hard to consume these foods or beverages in moderation then making a firm decision to always abstain may be a wiser choice. After all, the absence of any of these in your diet will not hamper but instead rev up your chances of achieving a healthy body.