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Do you know what Paleo diet is and how it helps with weight loss?

Do you know what Paleo diet is and how it helps with weight loss?

Last Reviewed : 12/23/2020
Do you know what Paleo diet is and how it helps with weight loss?

Paleo diet is also called as hunter-gatherer diet or cave-man diet as it resembles the diet of a primitive man. The philosophy is that eating completely natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables and meats with less consumption of processed and refined foods keeps us healthy. Proponents of Paleo diet believe that our ancestors did not have chronic health conditions because of their healthy diet. The modern man is suffering from several health conditions because of heavy consumption of cereals and other refined foods. There are several advantages of Paleo diet, however, it also comes with certain disadvantages. Our ancestors diet has the main characteristics -

  • The diet of our ancestors in pre agricultural era.
  • It illustrates the importance of naturally available foods.
  • They were dependent on grass fed animals (such as goat or sheep) as meat.
  • They include large amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet.
  • They used whole grains as food.
  • The lean protein and plant foods are source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phyto chemicals.
  • Fats are derived from fish, other sea foods and livestock.

 

The importance of paleo diet is mentioned in the book written by gastroenterologist Dr. Walter L Voegtlin in his book “The Stone Age Diet”.

Paleo diet has many advantages:

  • Helps in weight loss
  • Improves blood sugar levels
  • Decreases the risk of heart disease
  • Has anti-inflammatory effects
  • Promotes clear skin and better health
  • Promotes good sleep
  • Decreases allergies.

 

However, Paleo diet also has accumulated several disadvantages over the years. Such disadvantages were/are:

  • Our ancestors were physically active and they spent lot of calories in search of food which aided in weight loss. This is not taken into account by the modern man. Just change in the diet alone without physical activity may not be very beneficial.
  • Consumption of only whole grains omitting legumes: Peas, beans, peanuts and lentils are NOT included in Paleo diet. These legumes are rich in vegetable protein. There is heavy focus on animal protein in Paleo diet and completely eliminates healthy legumes.
  • No dairy products were included in the diet. This results in the serious deficiencies of calcium and Vitamin D. If meat is not consumed in adequate quantities, it may also result in Vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Difficult to be compliant: Paleo diet is very difficult to stick to for a long time. Several foods are not recommended by Paleo diet making it tough to follow consistently.

 

Paleo diet and weight loss – rationale:

  • Paleo diet completely eliminates the use of processed foods, refined sugars, grains, and dairy products. These are the major sources of calories. They constitute about 70% of modern man’s diet. By eliminating these foods, one can reduce the amount of calorie intake thus aiding in weight loss.
  • Replacement of carbohydrate-rich diet with protein-rich Paleo diet (meat and sea foods). Protein rich foods decrease the appetite, and maintain the sense of fullness. This decreases the craving for other foods.
  • Fruits and vegetables are not processed which contributes lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals etc.
  • Overall, consumption of low calories and some physical activity is required to achieve the desired weight loss with paleo diet.

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