However, while some claim that the paleo diet can improve health and increase weight loss, others point out that it is overly restrictive and can be difficult to stick to. Therefore, in this article, we will review the paleo diet in detail to find out whether it works for weight loss or not.
The paleo diet is a food style designed to mimic the diet of the ancestors of Neanderthals. Although the concept emerged in the 1970s, it gained wide popularity in 2002 after scientist Lauren Cordin published a book advocating this diet, which encourages the consumption of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry.
Meanwhile, it blocks processed foods, grains, legumes, and artificial sweeteners. According to proponents of the paleo diet, it may help prevent chronic diseases and improve overall health. On the other hand, critics point out that it can be too restrictive and prevent many food groups from being rich in nutrients important to human health.
The paleo diet is a pattern of food based on the diets of early human ancestors of hunter-gatherers. It is believed to help prevent chronic diseases and improve overall health.
How to follow the paleo diet
The paleo diet involves limiting any foods that were not available to our Neanderthals, including processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy, and added sugar. Instead, the diet plan encourages eating as little processed whole foods as possible, such as meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats.
However, there are many variations of the diet, and each has slightly different guidelines about what foods are allowed. For example, some modified diets are allowed in moderation, and herbal or vegetable butters are allowed in food along with some gluten-free grains and legumes in moderation, as long as they’ve been soaked and cooked.
The paleo diet includes limiting processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy, and added sugar, and encourages eating whole foods instead. However, there are many differences to consider.
Does paleo diet help in losing weight?
The Paleo diet encourages eating whole foods that are rich in nutrients, as they are high in protein, which can reduce levels of ghrelin – the “hunger hormone” – to keep you feeling fuller for longer. They also limit processed foods, which are often high in calories and can contribute to weight gain.
In recent years, several studies have found that the paleo diet may actually help increase weight loss. For example, one study of 70 women observed that following a paleo diet for 6 months resulted in an average loss of 14 pounds (6.5 kg) of body weight, and a significant reduction in belly fat in particular.
Another review of 11 studies concluded that a paleo diet may aid weight loss, noting that participants in these studies lost an average of nearly 8 pounds (3.5 kg) in trials that lasted between two months and two years in all studies.
The paleo diet focuses on whole foods that are rich in nutrients and limits processed foods. Studies have shown that this way of eating may help with weight loss.
Benefits of the paleo diet
The paleo diet has been linked to many potential benefits. Like:
1. Promote heart health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly a third of all deaths worldwide. Promising research shows that the paleo diet may help improve heart health by reducing many of the heart disease risk factors.
In one study, 20 people had elevated blood cholesterol levels, and when they followed a paleo diet for 4 months, they had increased HDL (good) cholesterol and lowered triglyceride levels, as well as decreased total cholesterol (LDT) and LDL (the bad one).
Another study in 34 people found similar results, noting that following a paleo diet for just two weeks reduced blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels — all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
2. Strengthening blood sugar control
Some research suggests that paleo may help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, and increased sensitivity to it can improve your body’s ability to use it properly. Effective and support the proper management of blood sugar.
In addition, one study in 32 people with type 2 diabetes found that following a paleo diet for 12 weeks improved blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity by 45%. Similarly, another small study in 13 people with type 2 diabetes indicated that this diet was more effective in lowering hemoglobin A1C levels — an indicator of long-term glycemic control, than a conventional diabetes diet.
Research suggests that the paleo diet can help improve heart health and promote blood sugar control.
Possible side effects of the paleo diet
Although the paleo diet offers many potential health benefits, some disadvantages should be taken into consideration. Like:
First, it eliminates many of the highly nutritious food groups that can generally be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. For example, legumes are rich in fiber, protein and a wealth of micronutrients, such as iron, zinc and copper. Meanwhile, studies suggest that whole grains may be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Given that the paleo diet sees many other food groups off-limits, those with dietary restrictions, including vegetarians, may find it difficult to stick to it. What’s more, it can be difficult to eat out or attend family gatherings, as you may not be sure that the ingredients used in some dishes are suitable for your diet.
In addition, the paleo diet may be more expensive than other diets, because it requires a lot of fresh produce, meat, fish and poultry — which can be expensive.
The paleo diet restricts several groups of healthy foods. It can also be expensive. In addition, those with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians, may find it difficult to stick to it.
Foods to eat and avoid on the paleo diet
The paleo diet encourages eating a variety of whole foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. Meanwhile, avoid grains, legumes, added sugar, and processed and refined foods.
Foods to eat
Here are some foods you can enjoy as part of a paleo diet :
- Meat: beef, lamb, goat, venison, etc.
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, geese, duck, etc.
- Seafood: salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, trout, cod, haddock, catfish, etc.
- Eggs: egg yolk and egg white.
- Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, apricots, melons, cranberries, strawberries, grapes, etc.
- Vegetables: sweet peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, onions, garlic, spinach, watercress, zucchini, squash, etc.
- Nuts: cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, etc.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
- Fats: olive oil, avocado oil, palm oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, etc.
- Herbs and spices: cumin, oregano, basil, pepper, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, ginger, etc.
Read also: What do you eat on a BRAT diet?
Foods to avoid
Here are some foods to avoid as part of a paleo diet:
- Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, etc.
- Dairy products: milk, yoghurt, butter, kefir or kefir, cheese, etc.
- Grains: bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, barley, rye, buckwheat, farro, etc.
- Potatoes: white potatoes, french fries, potato chips, etc.
- Refined vegetable oils: canola oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, grape seed oil, etc.
- Processed foods: chips, pastries, cookies, easy-to-cook foods, fast food, etc.
- Artificial sweeteners: sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, etc.
- Added sugar: baked goods, candy, desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, table sugar, etc.
Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and poultry are encouraged when following the Paleo diet. On the other hand, processed foods, legumes, grains, dairy products, and added sugars should be prohibited.
3 day paleo diet schedule
Here is a sample menu of the 3 days allowed on the paleo diet:
Breakfast: omelette with garlic, onions, tomatoes and spinach.
Lunch: zucchini with turkey meatballs and marinara sauce.
Dinner: Oven-baked salmon with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fingers.
the second day
Breakfast: Grain-free granola with almonds, walnuts, pecans, coconut flakes, and dried fruit.
Lunch: burger with lettuce and a side salad.
Dinner: grilled chicken with vegetable soup.
the third day
Breakfast: Chia pudding with coconut milk, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries and cinnamon.
Lunch: Egg, avocado, and vegetable salad with mixed fruit.
Dinner: burrito bowl with cauliflower rice, beef, and guacamole – a dip with avocado, peppers, and onions.
The sample list above provides some ideas for meals that can be included as part of a paleo diet .