The Paleo Diet is taking the internet and weight loss industry by storm, but what is it and is it okay to continue eating jerky and biltong whilst going Paleo?
The Paleo Diet is based on the principle of the early human diet, which is thought to consist of foods such as vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Basically, any type of food that would have been available before livestock and manufacturing. Whilst there are various ways that the diet is applied, people usually follow the opinions of the so called ‘gurus’ of Paleo, Dr Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson. All of whom have written literature on the benefits of losing weight on Paleo.
The goal of the Paleo diet is to cut out or down on dairy, cereal products, refined sugar, heavily processed foods, potatoes and vegetable oils. There is some disagreement amongst the paleo community regarding some of the ‘taboo’ foods, such as potatoes and low-fat dairy products. The majority of paleo followers claim that white potatoes are not paleo as they are high in carbs and low on the glycemic index (GI), despite potentially being pre-agricultural. This goes for other root vegetables too.
Ultimately, paleo dieters are looking to eat foods that are rich in protein, low in carbohydrates, , high in fiber, high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Paleo food should also be low score on the glycemic index.
Considering all these factors, can we say that jerky and biltong are suitable for the paleo diet?
Biltong is a dried meat that originated from South Africa. It was an outcome of a meat preservation technique that dates back to ancient times. The Indigenous people preserved the meat by slicing it, curing it with salt and hanging it up to dry. Not much has changed since then- we just add a little flavour using herbs and spices. Cruga Biltong is a great option for paleo dieters, as it’s high in protein and low in carbs (54.3g of protein and 3.4g of carbs per 100 grams). However, biltong does contain salt to help preserve the meat, which some dieters may deem problematic.
Jerky was also a meat preservation technique that is believed to originate from the ancient Inca empire in South America. It was originally meat that was cured in salt and then cooked in the sun for preservation. The process of jerky has changed over the time, and it is now slowly cooked and smoked in an oven at a low heat. Wild West Jerky is also high in protein and low in fat which is great for a paleo dieter (37.8g or protein and 3.5g of fat). Similarly to biltong, jerky also contains salt to help with preservation.
So, are jerky and biltong paleo? It truly depends on what version of the paleo diet you are following. If you don’t mind a little bit of salt in your diet, then jerky and biltong are a perfect addition.. They follow the paleo principles of being high protein, low carb, and they score low on the glycemic index.
Let us know what you think.
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