Weight Loss on A Paleo Diet

Does Paleo Diet  Work for Weight Loss?


    The paleo diet is a high protein, low carb eating plan that’s modeled after the presumed diet of early humans. The paleo diet based on the belief that these hunter-gatherer ancestors had lower rates of chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and it’s said to be attributed to differences in their diet.
However, while some claim that the paleo diet can improve health and boost weight loss, others point out that it’s overly restrictive and can be difficult to follow.
This blog reviews the paleo diet and whether it works for weight loss.

What is a paleo diet?

People who support the paleo diet claim that it can aid weight loss and reduce the risk of some health conditions. The focus of this diet is on eating foods that might have been available in the Paleolithic era. The paleo diet is also known as the stone age diet, hunter-gatherer diet, or caveman diet.
Before modern agriculture developed around 10,000 years ago, people typically ate foods that they could hunt or gather, such as fish, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

The development of modern farming changed how people ate. Dairy products and grains  became part of people’s diets.
Proponents of the paleo diet believe that the human body has not evolved to process dairy, legumes, and grains and that eating these foods could increase the risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Foods that a person can eat on the paleo diet include:
nuts
seeds
lean meat
vegetables
fruit
fish
eggs
herbs
spices
oils that come from fruit or nuts, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and almond oil

People following a paleo diet tend to choose grass-fed, organic meats because these are the least processed. Foods to avoid on the paleo diet include:
legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts
grains, including wheat, oats, and barley
refined sugars
artificial sweeteners
dairy
trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
low-fat or diet products
salt
People following the paleo diet should drink lots of water. Some people on this diet also drink black coffee or green tea, but they avoid all soft drinks and juices with added sugar.
Getting regular exercise is another vital part of the paleo lifestyle.

The Paleo Prescription for Weight Loss

All of these problems – food reward, nutrient insufficiency, and nutrient partitioning – explain why the advice to “just eat less and move more” doesn’t really work. Eating less can actually make a nutrient deficiency worse, not better. And it certainly doesn’t address the problem of hyperpalatable foods or hormonal dysregulation at all!

This is crucial. Weight loss is not about willpower. Diets based on willpower fail. You cannot lose weight by fighting your body. You might win the battle, but your body will always win the war. You can only lose weight by removing the need to fight your body.
That’s why the Paleo approach to weight loss is different. Instead of just trying to starve your body into submission, the goal is to fix the underlying problems. It’s about working with your body, not working against it.

How to follow the paleo diet

The paleo diet involves limiting any foods that were not available to early hunter-gatherers, including processed foods,dairy products,  added sugar, grains, and legumes.
The plan encourages filling your plate with minimally processed whole foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.
Yet, there are several variations of the diet, each with slightly different guidelines about which foods are permitted. Some modified paleo diets are less restrictive and allow grass-fed butter and certain gluten-free grains and legumes in moderation, as long as they have been soaked and cooked.

Here’s how the paleo diet works:

Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
If you’re eating a solid Paleo diet, you’re eating an amazing variety of nutrient-dense foods, from superstar animal foods like liver and seafood to plant foods like avocados, not to mention the big pile of vegetables at every meal. For most people, Paleo is much more nutritious than anything they were eating previously. In some cases, a supplement might help, but generally speaking, Paleo has you covered for nutrition without really paying much attention to individual vitamins and minerals.
This will eliminate any cravings based on nutrient deficiencies, which takes away one huge reason for your body to fight your weight-loss efforts.

Dried fruit

 Nuts (especially roasted, salted nuts) and Paleo “baking” with nut flours
Sweeteners, even the “natural” ones like honey
Even though these foods are technically “Paleo,” some people find them hard to stop eating; going cold-turkey often helps, at least until you get into better eating routines and habits.
It’s also worth noting that food gets much more rewarding if the rest of your life is not rewarding. Boredom and misery make it easy to look to sugar for comfort. Improve the rest of your life, and food will have a much smaller hold over you.

Address Food Reward Issues

Another reason why your body might be fighting you is the “confusion” caused by high-reward foods. Again, you can fix this with Paleo.
If you’re hungry, Paleo food is delicious. But if you’re not hungry, then it’s not very “more-ish:” it’s not like a bag of chips, where you can just keep reaching into the bag again and again without ever realizing what you’re doing. Try to eat a plate of broccoli or scrambled eggs that way, and it just doesn’t work out.
This almost automatically takes out the problem of “hyperpalatable” or overstimulating foods. There’s nothing in a typical Paleo diet that shouts down your body’s hunger and satiety messages like that, so there’s no need to try to use “willpower” or anything else to eat absurdly tiny portions of foods deliberately designed to be addictive.
If a basic Paleo diet isn’t quite getting you to that point, some extra tweaks might help; try eliminating:

Manage your stress.

Avoid extreme and punishing exercise, and make sure you recover properly from your workouts.
Limit nuts and seeds, and eat plenty of fish (for the science geeks in the audience, this improves Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios).
A third strategy is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting mimics the benefits of carbohydrate restriction: for example, it lowers insulin, prompting your metabolism to use stored body fat for fuel. Since you aren’t taking in any calories during a fast, your body runs entirely on the stored fat. As icing on the fat-burning cake, fasting also raises the levels of several other fat-burning hormones like growth hormone and adrenalin.
Like a standard Paleo diet, intermittent fasting also lowers your calorie intake without forcing you to think about calories: you might eat a slightly larger meal to break your fast, but if you fast for 24 hours you’re hardly likely to eat an entire extra day’s worth of food at the end. A word of caution, though: fasting isn’t for everyone, and there’s no requirement to do it if it doesn’t work with your body.

Optimize Nutrient Partitioning

Another huge reason why you might be fighting an uphill battle with weight loss is nutrient partitioning. Remember that this refers to whether an individual calorie gets burned for energy or stored as fat, and it requires healthy levels of hormones like insulin and leptin. For weight loss, you’re obviously hoping it gets burned for energy. Here’s how to make that happen:
First, find a carb level that works for you. When it comes to weight loss, carbs are complicated. If insulin is a fat storage hormone and carbs raise insulin, you’d think that completely avoiding all forms of starch and shooting for ketosis would be the fast track to metabolic healing. For some people, it works that way. But on the other hand, not everyone does well with low-carb; some people actually lose weight faster with a moderate-carb diet. You can read all about this in detail here; the short version is: Paleo works because it lets you find the carb level that fits your own body, not because it prescribes one carb intake that everyone has to follow.
A second way to optimize nutrient partitioning is to manage inflammation. In the short term, inflammation is a perfectly normal immune response to injury. But when it goes on for too long, inflammation stops being beneficial and starts being downright dangerous. Chronic inflammation creates a hormonal environment that elevates hunger and impairs carbohydrate metabolism: it’s a recipe for overeating and then storing those calories as fats. To reduce inflammation…

Get enough sleep.

Finally, you can improve nutrient partitioning through that most old-fashioned of weight reducers: exercise. Exercise is not good for fat loss because it “burns calories.” It works because exercise improves the hormonal environment in your body, making it more conducive to good nutrient partitioning (burning calories for fuel instead of storing them as fat).
It doesn’t have to be extreme, either. Just walking is fine. Take the dog to the park, ride your bike to the grocery store, or park a mile away and walk to the office. No extreme burpee-studded hill sprints required.

Summary

People of the paleo diet aim to eat in the way that our prehistoric ancestors did. They seek out whole, unprocessed foods and avoid processed foods, grains, legumes, and dairy.
Paleo advocates argue that our bodies are unable to process foods that emerged after the development of farming.
A paleo meal plan may support weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce blood pressure in the short term. The results of small, initial studies support some of these health effects, but more research is necessary to confirm them.
The paleo diet may not be safe for everyone, so it is best to speak to a doctor or dietitian before making significant dietary changes.

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