Pegan diet is a type of hybrid diet program that promises gradual weight loss through eating cleanly and healthily. This program was patented by Dr. Mark Hyman, a nutrition advocate, and Internet personality.
Pegan diet is based on Paleo diet, but the difference is that the former is heavily reliant on fresh, organic vegetables and some animal fats. Ideally, a pegan plate should have a glycemic index of 55 to 69.
Paleo is big on lean red meat, but pegan is more focused on sustainable meat, no dairy, and selected grains. All types of processed foods are absolutely off limits. Paelo and pegan are so similar that some dieters transition from the former to the latter to lose more weight. Just like most diet programs, pegan diet is extremely restrictive and there is only a list of foods you can eat.
Characteristics of a Pegan Diet
Dr. Hyman is extremely particular as far as the rules of Pegan diet goes. The list below will give you an idea how a pegan diet works:
Vegetables and Fruits
Pegan diet is largely fruit and vegetable based. As long as the produce does not fall above or below the 55 to 69 glycemic index range, you can include it on your list of pegan-friendly foods. To check the glycemic index of a certain food, you can go to the Harvard Medical School’s glycemic index. From there, you can check if your favorite fruits or vegetables are allowed in the pegan diet.
Most diet programs limit animal protein and pegan diet is no different. A pegan diet consists of 25% animal protein. You need to get your protein from healthy, low-calorie sources such as eggs, fish and lean beef. Also, not all types of animal protein will do. You need meat from grass-fed animals. The meat should be 100% free from antibiotics too.
Healthy Grains and Fats
Grains and healthy fats are a part of a balanced diet. These foods are also included in a pegan diet, albeit in very limited amounts. The allowed sources of healthy fats include plant oils (olive oils and nuts) as well as avocado. For grains, only wild rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet will do. This diet program does not allow processed grains and flours of all kind.
Pegan Diet No-nos
As with most restrictive diet programs, certain foods (even healthier ones) are not allowed in a pegan diet. These foods include dairy, soy and legumes. These food groups are restricted because they are harder to break down. And when the body breaks down these foods, they cause bloating, excessive gas and constipation.
Grains with gluten are also banned from a pegan diet. This means barley, rye, spelt and semolina are off-limits in a pegan diet. Incredibly, some veggies are also restricted from this diet program. Any forms of wheat and starchy root crops are eliminated from the diet. Any fruit or vegetable with high glycemic index is not allowed in a pegan diet.
… but does it work?
Because it’s a restrictive diet, sticking to a pegan diet will help you lose weight. This program promotes weight loss because it limits your sugar intake. It helps that pegan diet is all about organic, healthy eating. However, health experts say sticking to this diet completely isn’t as effective in shedding weight as customizing the diet to fit your needs.