What is the Paleo Diet

The Promise:

Lose weight easily by eating like a caveman.

Loren Cordain, PhD, writer of The Paleo Diet, claims that this style of prehistoric eating results in fat loss, lean mass retention, and lots of health improvements, including a reduction in diabetes and heart disease.

Our processed food diets are the cause of our poor health in recent years. Real health comes from the foods that were once hunted and gathered. If we return to the hunter-gatherer eating style, then our ailments will disappear.

Effectiveness:

Very High – There’s a reason Paleo has rocketed to such popularity. Most people report seeing and feeling results on Paleo.

The Good:
  • The focus on “real foods” is a refreshing change of pace from the fad-like silver bullet weight-loss diets
  • Focuses on more than calories, this diet goes beyond just body composition
  • These natural foods are highly satiating.
  • You don’t need a branded product to get by (SlimFast, Nutrisystem, WeightWatchers, I’m looking at you…) The focus on a wide variety of healthy fats and a good Omega-3 ratio makes this diet well-rounded.
The Bad:
  • You’re removing whole food groups (grains, legumes, dairy), which you either have to live with or incorporate sparingly.
  • Avoiding cake, pancakes, and other treats is originally difficult, but becomes easier over time.
  • Breakfast is going to be very egg, meat, and veggie centric on this diet
  • Many of the “Don’t Eat” items hold cultural significance – e.g. rice for Asian cultures.

The Diet:

Eat
  • Lean meats
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils (macadamia, olive, coconut, walnut, flaxseed, avocado)
Don’t Eat
  • Grains (rice, wheat, pasta)
  • Legumes (beans, peanuts)
  • Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Processed things (refined sugar, cupcakes, anything with ‘artificial’)
  • Refined oils (vegetable, canola, corn)
  • Too much salt

My Verdict:

One of the better diets to come out of the low-carb movement. Paleo does one thing very well: it defines high antioxidant, satiating foods. The natural result – weight loss due to decreased calorie consumption. The popularity of the diet means a variety of recipes are easy to find.


Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? Leave a comment below and I’ll answer in comments, and amend this post for future referencers. Thank you for contributing to a stronger world.

 

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About the author

Aaron Dear

Aaron Dear is a fitness advocate, bodyweight athlete, and product manager from Berkeley, California.

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