Following the Paleo diet can provide a person with elevated levels of energy throughout the day, which can curb the need for caffeinated beverages. Many people on the diet find they no longer depend on an energy boost in the morning to jump-start their day. Due to the occasional busy schedule or sleep-deprived night, or simply because they enjoy the flavor, some people would prefer to include their caffeinated beverages while adhering to the diet.
Is Coffee Allowed in the Paleo Diet?
Is a cup of joe acceptable when following the diet? That depends on what is added to it. The beans themselves are a naturally occurring food, so black or unsweetened brew is approved for the diet. Adding coconut milk, honey and other natural sweeteners is stepping away slightly from the Paleo rules, but small amounts of these are still generally accepted. Any type of additive that includes refined sugar or artificial sweeteners is not permitted on the Paleo diet, so keep these out of your drink if you are trying to remain within the guidelines.
Benefits of Coffee Consumption
Some attributes of this drink are beneficial to health. It contains antioxidants and has been shown to offer protection against cardiovascular disease and liver cancer. These benefits have been seen with just moderate consumption, so the occasional serving of java can be healthy.
When refined sugars are removed from the diet, people become more sensitive to sweets and do not require as much sweetness to satisfy a craving. The robust flavor of coffee and its low calorie content can easily be substituted for a more unhealthy dessert. It can actually help one stay in line with a diet because treats that are high in sugar also cause more cravings, which can lead to more splurging on sweet foods. A person can consume one treat that is accepted to be Paleo and satisfy a craving without danger of consuming other treats that are not permitted.
Disadvantages of Caffeine
Caffeine can affect people in different ways, so this is something to consider before making the decision to keep it in your routine. Those with an iron deficiency should avoid tannin, a common ingredient in coffee, because it can interfere with the absorption of iron from other foods. Regular consumption of caffeinated beverages has a harmful effect on the adrenal glands and can lead to a dependence on caffeine as well as sleep disruption, headaches, lethargy and gastrointestinal irritation.
If you would prefer to leave the cappuccino or espresso out of your diet completely, green tea is another caffeinated option that is also accepted on the Paleo diet. Green tea also contains healthful antioxidants but a smaller amount of caffeine, so the detrimental effects are minimized. The same rules apply for any sweeteners added to green tea, with artificial or refined ones prohibited.
Coffee is permitted on the Paleo diet, but the decision to keep it in your regimen or ban it completely is individual. This choice is based on other health factors and lifestyle, and each person will have to decide for himself whether consuming caffeinated beverages is the most healthful option.