Following a Paleo Diet for Weight Loss

The Paleo, or Paleolithic (Stone-Age) diet has been gaining kudos for quite some
time now in health and fitness circles, and not without good reason. The idea of
this style of eating is multi-faceted, not least of all due to its tracing back towards
ancestral diets where many (or all) of today’s modern ailments (caused to a large
extent by the production and consumption of overly-processed, unnatural foods),
were virtually non-existent, and the fact that many of these original, primal
humans would have carried only the body weight and fat necessary for survival
and hunting. The ‘diet’ is based around what might be considered as whole foods
– i.e. unprocessed, and has been proven to be successful in many ways as a tool
for weight loss and also in the prevention of many chronic diseases.
Much research has indicated that the Paleo diet supports and encourages an
increased metabolic rate, which is one of the key factors not only of health but
also of weight reduction (when the aim is to burn existing body fat by ‘using up’
calories). The diet restricts many types of food that have become staples of the
modern-day diet, but have also been shown to be responsible for a variety of
ailments in some people (taking gluten and dairy products as prime examples)
and are also commonly responsible for the gaining of weight in many individuals,
especially those prone to naturally slow metabolic rates.

What foods to eat

The foods recommended to be included in the Paleo style of eating, largely due to
their whole food nature, do actually tend to provide more digestive fibre, and are
high in nutritional density, thereby making them more healthy all-round and also
doing away with the ‘empty calories’ often found in processed ‘junk’ foods, which
are responsible for weight gain without any nutritional benefits as such. This is
just one of the factors why Paleo dietary habits have shown huge benefits in
combatting obesity.
Another aspect that puts this diet high on the list of those interested in healthy
eating styles, as well as those interested in the pursuit of strength and fitness
through specific exercise programs, is the fact that overall, what is considered to
be Paleo food tends to be high in protein and low in carbs (or at least what have
come to be considered by most people today to be carbs – mainly processed
starches and the like). The elimination of processed and refined sugar-containing
foods ensures that calorific intake, at least initially, may be significantly reduced

for some people when embarking on this diet. Like any program or diet that aims
at some kind of weight loss, the Paleo diet needs to be understood fully and
planned carefully, in order to derive the maximum benefit from it and avoid any
adverse effects.
Foods that can be eaten
Although ‘Vegetarian Paleo’ diets do exist, in line with the ancestral ways of
hunting and gathering, the Paleo diet does include meat (although the source of
the meat and what it has been fed on are important issues for strict Paleo
enthusiasts, and it does not cover processed meats in any way). Eggs are also
included, as are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. What makes this style of eating
quite different from many others though (and yes, even for weight reduction), is
the fact that it includes relatively large amounts of fat, albeit ‘good’ fats, which
are rich sources of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 (another massive health
benefit), and are usually obtained from coconuts, avocados and nuts, etc.
Excluded foods
Complex carbohydrates, largely in the form of wheat or some other form of
gluten, simply have to go. This may seem to some to be too restrictive, but really
it is just a matter of perspective and understanding nutrition a little better. Fruits
(largely natural sugars) and vegetables are actually considered by Paleo
enthusiasts as ‘real’ carbs – i.e. the type that your body will actually utilise
efficiently rather than suffering from. Some starchy vegetables such as sweet
potatoes are allowed, although not to the degree that regular ones might
previously have been consumed. Artificial (or refined) sugar alone is a huge
contributor to weight gain and over the past few years research has shown that it
is largely responsible for a plethora of diseases and ailments over the long term.
So no sugar is a massive plus for anyone seriously looking to lose weight.
Grains and beans are excluded as they were not around in caveman days, as are
all dairy products, for the same reasons. Again these two food types are massive
contributors to weight gain for many people, and without them people simply
have to make their meal choices more carefully, often find not only leaner
options, but also much healthier ones. In many ways this makes Paleo eating less
of a ‘diet’ per se, and more of a lifestyle.
The bottom line


The Paleo diet certainly goes some way towards weight loss, along with many
other general improvements in lifestyle and health. It does need to be mentioned
though, that when trying to lose weight by making adjustments to food intake
alone, a calorific deficit is usually required. The plus factor of eating Paleo is that
many of the calorie-dense (and largely not that nutritious) foods responsible for
weight gain in the first place are removed or excluded, meaning that in the long
run there is much more chance of maintaining any weight loss than with other
types of ‘fad’ diets.

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