If you’re looking for a diet that you can use to lose weight, then you’ll quickly find that there are no shortage of options available. The problem is that each of these options all claim to be the best and there’s really no way to know for sure which one is right for you unless you’re some kind of diet expert.
In this post then, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most popular and common options for losing weight: the paleo diet. This is a diet that claims it can not only help you to shed the pounds but also build muscle, prevent disease and generally feel your very best.
But does it really deliver on that promise? And is it a practical and sensible option that you can fit into your routine? We’ll answer those questions and see how to lose weight on paleo.
The basic idea behind the paleo diet is simple. The clue is in the name: the objective is to eat exactly like our Palaeolithic ancestors. The Paleo part is fairly unimportant though actually to be honest. More to the point, the aim is to eat only food that you could find naturally.
If the ingredients could not be foraged, grown or hunted, then they are not okay to eat.
This means you’re saying goodbye to all of your modern junk food like Candy Bars, chips, candies, milkshake, sausage rolls and even things like breads. This is why the paleo diet for weight loss works so well.
Instead, you’re going to be eating an awful lot of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, eggs and greenery. And the aim isn’t just to not eat like people do today but to be more active in eating as people would have during our evolution. That means you’re also looking to consume more things like organ meats. Because if you were to kill an animal in the wild, you would not have left the brain and the heart just because it was a bit ‘icky’.
And if you want to go even further and live the full ‘Paleo lifestyle’, then you can back this up with trail running and other outdoor exercise, along with plenty of fresh air and ‘functional’ movement.
The Purported Benefits
So, the next question you should be asking at this point is… why? What is the potential benefit of eating in this way? Why would it be a good idea to avoid today’s foods? What’s so good about organ meat?
Well, the idea is that by eating foods that are naturally occurring, you are eating in a way that is closer to the diet we are designed to eat. Our bodies are the result of millions of years of evolution and that evolution encouraged changes that helped us to survive. During that evolution, certain foods were available to us and as such, we have evolved to thrive on those foods. It’s not that the food is right for us – our bodies are literally built around the fact that those foods were available at that time.
That’s the theory at least. Fortunately, when you look more closely you quickly realize that the science backs up the idea.
Food is not just fuel. The point of eating is not just to give us energy. It is also to give us sustenance. Our body uses the amino acids and the nutrients in our diets in order to create our tissues, the neurochemicals and hormones that control our mood, our muscles, our bones…
And many of us are deficient in all manner of important vitamins and minerals. That’s because we eat foods that have been heavily processed. And by processed, we mean they’ve had all of the goodness essentially sucked out in order to give us little more than a hit of sugar. Something like a sausage roll will contain barely any protein for building muscle because it’s made from the worst parts of the meat. It’s packed with extra sugar and covered in pastry, which is barely a ‘real food’. It doesn’t fill you up and it doesn’t help your body.
The reason that the paleo diet for weight loss works so well, is that it provides the body with real food that will make you feel fuller for longer. It supports a healthy metabolism, increases testosterone and muscle strength and helps you to avoid malnutrition.
Most of us are essentially undernourished and over-fed. The paleo diet for weight loss might just be the answer to that.
Is the Paleo Diet Right for You?
The paleo diet helps us to eat much more healthily then without having to learn any complex rules or follow a detailed spreadsheet of what we can and can’t eat. All we are doing is simply avoiding things that aren’t natural.
But no diet is perfect and it’s important that we always view diets with a critical eye. One criticism that can be leveled against paleo in principle for instance, is the simple fact that we actually weren’t that healthy during our evolution! We would have been riddled with parasites and lived very short lifespans.
Many foods and supplements available to us today can actually be beneficial. There’s no harm in consuming a multivitamin for example and the demands of our lives today are different from way back when.
Likewise, there’s no reason that you need to avoid bread. Bread is a carb but so is fruit and bread is a very useful way for us to get energy and to pad out meals. More recent research now shows us that Palaeolithic man actually would have consumed bread and took part in basic farming.
Then there’s the practicality of going ‘full Paleo’. Very few meals in most restaurants will cater to the diet and it’s a sad thought that you might never eat a chocolate bar again.
In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and remember to be a little moderate in your approach. The best way to go paleo is to take the principles on board and then to adapt them into your lifestyle in a manner that will be convenient and practical.