What is Paleo Diet – Get Healthy and Lose Weight

what is paleo dietMore than one third (34 percent) US Adults are obese. Add to this around 9 percent obesity rate among children and we see that around half of US population is obese. Naturally, we are looking for different diet plans to shed some weight and trim our waistlines.

One of the most popular and searched diets is called Paleo Diet. When you see so much interest in this diet, it is quite natural that you will want to know what is Paleo diet. This main idea behind this diet is that we should eat like what our earliest ancestors did (2 million to 10,000 years ago) before the pre-agricultural era. It asks us to eat a caveman diet and promises weight loss in the process.

Another name for this Paleo Diet is the Caveman Diet. It is basically a high fiber and high protein diet which promises weight loss without placing restrictions on how much you eat. Other names of this diet are hunter-gatherer diet and Stone Age Diet.

Is Paleo Diet Backed By Science?

A 2007 study concluded that those following a paleo diet experienced a weight loss of 5 KG in 3 months. More importantly they also reduced their waist size by up to 2.2 inches. [1] Another 2008 study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed that those following Paleo diet lost weight by up to 5 pounds in 3 weeks and their waist circumference also went down by half an inch. A drop in the blood pressure was also noted. [2]

Another research study published in Cardiovascular Diabetology showed a weight loss of of about 3 kg in 3 months on paleo diet and 1.6 inches reduction in waist. [3] Another study published in Journal of Internal Medicine showed a weight loss of 4.5 kg in 5 weeks when following paleo diet. The subjects also reduced their waist size by 3 inches. [4]

Main Purpose of this Caveman Diet

Paleo diet wants to take us to eating ways of the earliest humans. Farming added legumes, grains and dairy to our staple diets, though our ancestors did not eat all these three things before agricultural farming took root. The hypothesis is that this addition outpaced the body’s adaptation process. And this mismatch between what body is tuned for and what we eat has been linked with diseases like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes.

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How Does Paleo Diet Work

It works on the simple premise that if the caveman did not eat a food, you should also stay away from it. So all refined sugars, processed foods, dairy, grains and legumes are out. And paleo diet recommends that you eat meat, poultry, fish, lots of vegetables and fruits.

Details of What is Paleo Diet

Different commercial Paleo diets have different recommendations about what you can eat and what you should avoid. They also have Paleo Diet Recipes of their own. But generally speaking, these Paleo Diet Plans follow these dietary guidelines:

What you can eat

  • lean meat, especially wild game and range-fed animals meat
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Fish like salmon, albacore tuna and mackerel
  • Olive oil and walnut oil

What to avoid

  • All grains like wheat, barley and oats etc
  • All dairy products
  • Refined sugars
  • Salt
  • Legumes like beans, peanuts, lentils etc
  • All processed foods
  • Potatoes

Paleo Diet Recipes

The general principle for cooking with Paleo Recipes is very simple. If the caveman ate it, you can too. Paleo diet menus are full of meat, fruits, vegetables etc. Grains, dairy, sugar and legumes are out of these recipes.

Preparing food is very simple like the caveman himself. Steam veggies, cook meat or grill it. Toss together the salad. Food is prepared without any sauces or seasonings because caveman also did not.

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Will You Lose Weight on Paleo Diet

Since all the ingredients in this diet plan are quite healthy, therefore, you are definitely going to lose weight on Paleo Diet. How quickly you will lose weight and how much is all up to your effort. The best results will come if you follow Paleo plan with a calorie deficit diet – which mean eating less daily calories than the recommended ones or burning the extra calories by exercising. However, do not expect magical results from the Paleo Diet if you do not link it with reducing your calorie intake and at least 3 hours of moderate intensity exercise a week.

Criticism of Paleo Diet

This diet plan has come under criticism because of nutrition and health concerns. The reviewers contest that by dropping whole groups of healthy foods like dairy and grains, dieters risk a chance of not getting all the healthy nutrients they need for normal working of their bodies. The experts consider this diet to be nutritiously incomplete and potentially unsafe to follow.

Another thing you need to watch out for is that you should eat lean meats because otherwise, you are even more exposed to risks of developing heart disease because a major portion of this food is meat.

However, you may follow it under the guidance of an expert and you might not be exposed to much harm and still lose weight. One good reference book you can use is “The Paleo Diet“. It offers three different levels for following this diet plan. You can start with the entry level to ensure that you do not get any sudden nutrition deficit. For more dramatic weight loss changes with the Paleo Diet, you may start with the level 3 in the book.

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