The Paleo diet is based on the concept that refined sugars, fats, and excess carbohydrates are damaging to human health. In early times, human hunter-gatherers were only able to eat fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and unprocessed fats. Since many health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems are tied to an unhealthy modern diet, it makes sense that going back to a “primal” diet would help to alleviate these issues.
The Paleo diet works on the same principle as other diets. The overall calorie levels consumed are reduced and healthy foods replace refined sugars and fats. Paleo is a low-carbohydrate diet, making it appropriate for those with diabetes and other health conditions.
Can You Lose Weight on a Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet is a proven way to achieve lasting weight loss. One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008 found that healthy volunteers lost 5 pounds over 3 weeks when adhering to the Paleo diet for weight loss.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015 found that the Paleo diet for weight loss provided greater short-term results than a conventional calorie-restricted diet. Waist circumference, triglycerides, blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar were positively impacted. When a diet has these scientific results behind it, you can be reassured that you are doing the right thing for your body.
A third study compared the Paleo diet for weight loss to the “Mediterranean” diet and found that it had better outcomes for glucose tolerance. This makes the diet great for diabetics and for those who need to watch their blood sugar.
Safety of this Diet
This diet is nutritionally balanced, so it is considered safe for all dieters. Vegetarians should be careful to add enough protein to their diets. Dieters should make sure to eat enough nutritious carbohydrates to keep up their energy. When carbs are completely eliminated, your health can be at risk.
Practical Tips to Losing Weight on the Paleo Diet
Cutting out empty carbs and sugars gives people a better sense of well-being and more energy overall. One mistake that new dieters make is not consuming enough food. Calories should be restricted compared to the previous diet, but not slashed. When enough whole foods are consumed, dieters feel full and satisfied.
Another mistake made by Paleo dieters is creating “Paleo” versions of high-carbohydrate treats. Paleo pancakes, cookies, cakes, and brownies should be avoided. These foods will only create a desire for more sweets and unhealthy carbs.
A third mistake made by novice dieters is including potatoes. While potatoes are nutritious, they are not part of the diet. Sweet potatoes, with their lower glycemic index, can be substituted for white potatoes in your diet.
Paleo Meal Ideas
When planning meals without unhealthy fats and carbs, some people may feel overwhelmed. Here are a few tasty alternatives to satisfy everyone in the family. These meals will feel complete and satisfying even without heavy carbs and processed fats.
Brown chicken breasts with honey and sesame seeds. Serve over green beans that have been sprinkled with slivered almonds.
Stuff a sweet potato with a Southwestern-style beef and broccoli mixture. This is a satisfying meal that is great for a weeknight.
Make a large salad topped with the meat and vegetables of your choice and avocado slices. You will avoid commercial salad dressings.
Make mashed sweet potatoes and top them with pulled pork. Again, make sure not to use bottled sauces that are high in carbohydrates. Make your own rub or healthy sauce.