Paleo Diet For Weight Loss – Is It Just a Fad?

The Paleo diet is one of the more interesting diet fads to pop up in the past few years. I was skeptical at first, but it turns out that there is a lot to benefit from when you switch to this diet. If you don’t know what it is, or what exactly it involves, I’ll help you out and show you the basics.

The Paleo Diet

Paleo-Diet The Paleo(lithic) diet was introduced in the 1970s, but it was closer to 2012 before I had ever heard of it. It is based on the kind of diet that a hunter-gatherer would have eaten and centers around the idea that we haven’t evolved since then, so why should we be eating a new kind of diet?

Among some dietitians and anthropologists, this is a controversial topic but in fact even if this isn’t the kind of diet that a caveman would have eaten if it provides benefits, why not give it a shot?

In any case I’ll cover the basic idea. You are going to eat foods that are unprocessed and nutrient rich. If it can be hunted or gathered, you can eat it. Unfortunately, that leaves out a lot of your favorite foods. It certainly removed most of my favorites from my diet.

Immediately that’s carbohydrates for the most part and soda. What’s left? Plenty if you think about it.

This is a favorite among athletes, so put your mind at ease if you’re worried about not having any energy from a lack of carbohydrates. Protein and fats are all your body needs for the most part, and vegetables provide carbohydrates that won’t make you gain weight. You can eat as much as you want and never worry about gaining a pound. Sound good to you? I was obsessed with the idea of eating what I want and it being healthy for me.

What Can You Eat?

  • Lean Proteins
    • Grass Fed Beef
    • Poultry
    • Fish
    • Turkey
    • Lamb
    • Venison
  • Vegetables
    • Avocado
    • Asparagus
    • Artichoke hearts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Eggplant
    • Spinach
    • Sweet Potatoes
  • Oil/Fats
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Grass fed butter
    • Avocado oil
  • Nuts
    • Pecans
    • Almonds
    • Walnuts
    • Pine nuts
  • Fruits
    • Apple
    • Grapes
    • Oranges
    • Watermelon
    • Basically any fruit, but only once in a while

What Can’t you eat?

Anything processed or refined in any way. There are some exceptions, so pay close attention to these:

  • Dairy
    • Milk
    • Cottage cheese
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
    • Pudding
  • Fruit juices
  • Grains
    • Cereal
    • Bread
    • English muffin
    • Oatmeal
    • Hash browns
    • Pasta
  • All Legumes
  • Fatty Meat
    • Spam
    • Hot dogs

If it is something that is close to any of the DO NOT EAT items, it is probably best that you stay away.


The Benefits

There are plenty of benefits to the Paleo diet, but the weight loss one really stands out to me. With a paleo diet, you won’t have to count calories or anything. You just eat as much as you want of the acceptable foods and you’ll stay skinny. Working out, being lazy,  eating out and having too much. None of it matters if you want to lose weight with the Paleo diet.

Other than that, though, look at these:

  • Reduced bloating
  • Alleviation of hyperglycemia
  • Healthy brain function
  • Improved cardiovascular system
  • Stable energy levels
  • Sleep better
  • Clearer skin
  • Reduced depression
  • Better food and nutrient absorption
  • Reduced inflammation, including arthritis

The Side effects

I always have a hard time switching diets. Every side effect you can think of hits me a couple of days into a big switch. That is an even more common problem with the Paleo diet. When you switch like this, your body is suddenly out of all of the delightfully unhealthy foods that it has gotten used to over the years. Just like drugs, your body gets addicted to certain amounts of sugar and junk food. Once you take it away, your body won’t be very happy about it.

Although not common some experience:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue

Most of these are caused by your body getting used to burning fat instead of carbohydrates, a lack of water due to the diuretic effect of low carb diets, or even a withdrawal effect from a lack of grains.  For the vast majority of people these are all gone in 4 weeks at max. I had a rough week, but it was gone after that. Stick with it, drink plenty of water, add more salt to your diet, and make sure that you eat at regular intervals.

My Final Word

The Paleo diet and its cousin the Slow Carb Diet are both very interesting and work great for a lot of people. It isn’t perfect, but this is a great way to make dieting easy and sustainable. This is a diet that you can stick to for the rest of your life if you choose. That is something that can’t be said for a lot of them. No crash diet, no crazy rules, just a straightforward plan that you can use to get into the leanest shape of your life.

Here is a pretty interesting TedTalk regarding Paleo diet. Christina Warinner attempts to debunk this diet.

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