Is the Paleo Diet Good for Weight Loss?

Is the Paleo Diet Good for Weight Loss?

Question:

I want to lose about 20 lbs. The Paleo diet is attractive to me as I like the idea of whole, simple foods. I also try to avoid dairy, as it sometimes causes gas, even though I’m not lactose intolerant. All that considered, is the Paleo diet an ideal option for me?

Answer:

Thanks for reaching out with your question! Your interest in the Paleo diet is not uncommon. While the Paleo diet is not meant specifically for weight loss, many people achieve weight loss success on it for several reasons. Since the Paleo diet focuses on foods that our ancestors could have eaten, there is an emphasis on whole, protein-rich foods. Additionally, it eliminates processed foods which can help keep your carbohydrate intake down. Together, all of these attributes make the Paleo diet ideal for weight loss!

Increase in Protein

While the Paleo diet does not emphasize specific macronutrient ranges, it tends to be higher in protein than other foods. The Paleo diet encourages quality protein consumption from meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Protein is an essential component of weight loss for its satiating power. It also promotes muscle growth and helps us hold onto lean body mass when losing weight. Incorporating protein throughout the day can also help reduce food cravings. So try to add protein to each of your daily meals and snacks!

Low-Carb Intake

The Paleo diet is naturally lower in carbohydrates compared to the standard American diet because it eliminates grains, legumes, refined sugar and processed foods, which are all typically higher in carbs. Again, the Paleo diet does not specify macronutrient ranges. Instead, it focuses on quality ingredients, which, in this case, lends itself to a lower carb diet. A low-carb eating pattern can often assist with weight loss. Carbs hold onto water, therefore lowering the number of carbs you consume can also help shed water weight. Additionally, lessening your carb consumption can help eliminate excess calories from your diet. While it’s not always necessary to lower your carb intake to lose weight, it has been shown to help many people struggling with weight loss.

Real, Whole Food

The Paleo diet encourages the consumption of whole foods rather than relying on highly processed products. Paleo’s focus on real, whole foods often helps increase your fiber intake. Similar to fat and protein, fiber helps you feel full. Fiber is also able to slow down digestion and reduce your overall appetite, which can help with your weight loss efforts. [1]

Eliminate Processed Foods

In the Paleolithic era, processed foods were not available which led to the exclusion of refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and many harmful oils. Highly processed foods are high in calories but low in nutrients. When we fill up on highly processed foods, we miss out on the nutrients that whole foods offer. Processed foods tend to be primarily composed of simple carbohydrates that quickly break down leading to rapid blood sugar spikes which can contribute to cravings a couple of hours later. [2]

Dairy Intolerances & Hormones

Since our ancestors did not milk cows or other animals, the Paleo diet eliminates dairy. Dairy can sometimes contribute to hormonal imbalances and digestive problems. Conventional dairy typically uses hormones to encourage cows to produce more milk which can cause these types of hormonal imbalances. Additionally, dairy can lead to excess gas because of the fermentation of lactose in the colon. However, the significance of the gas produced in the colon will vary from person to person. That said, not everyone has issues digesting dairy products. As such, it can be an ideal option for protein and other nutrients for those without an intolerance. For those who are not lactose intolerant, look for dairy that is organic, grass-fed and full-fat as this approach will help ensure that your dairy won’t contain any added hormones, antibiotics or other unnecessary ingredients. [3]

In Health,
The Factor 75 Nutrition Team


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