Can The Paleo Diet Help You Lose Weight?

The Paleo diet, also commonly known as the Stone Age diet, caveman diet, and the hunter-gatherer diet is an eating plan which mimics the diet of our ancestors from the Paleolithic period around 10,000 years ago. During this period, our ancestors ate foods that they were able to hunt and gather, like meat and plants (fruits and vegetables). This is why they were so fit and lean.

The Paleo diet eliminates foods that became available after industrialization, such as breads and other processed foods. It is believed that a ‘hunting and gathering diet’ rich in fruits and vegetables is far healthier than the ‘agricultural diet’ rich in cereals and pulses because it has given rise to lifestyle-related diseases and disorders such as obesity, diabetes mellitus and heart diseases.

Principle Components Of The Paleo Diet
** Lean meat such as chicken
** Fatty fish
** Fruits
** Vegetables
** Roots
** Eggs
** Nuts and oilseeds

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Foods That Are Excluded From The Paleo Diet
** Grains
** Legumes
** Milk and milk products
** Salt
** Refined sugar
** Refined Oils
** Caffeinated beverages
** Aerated drinks
** Cakes, pastries, chocolates and icecreams

In other words, if you are on a Paleo diet, you are not allowed to eat processed foods or foods that are made in a factory. Although this diet provides health benefits, it is not free from drawbacks.

Health Benefits Of The Paleo Diet
Helps In Weight Loss
Research-based studies have found that diets low in carbohydrates are far more effective than a low fat diet. As the Paleo diet does not allow intake of grains, its overall carbohydrate content decreases, which helps in weight loss, reduction in body mass index (BMI) and waistline. Moreover, processed foods are not a part of this eating plan, which further helps in shedding kilos. Once you lose weight, the risk of diseases associated with obesity is also reduced, thus the overall quality of life improves.

Controls High Blood Glucose Level
The Paleo diet is rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acid. It is low in glycemic load, saturated fatty acid and carbohydrates. Scientific studies have found that this diet helps in lowering high blood glucose level, body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure and triglyceride levels. A drop in the body weight automatically improves blood glucose levels. Furthermore, dietary fibre present in fruits and vegetables slow down the entry of glucose into the bloodstream, thus, it prevents spikes in the blood glucose level.

Protects The Heart
An inactive lifestyle and consumption of unhealthy foods negatively affects heart health. The Paleo diet helps in lowering high blood glucose level, high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels, which are the major risk factors for heart diseases. Hence, eating a diet rich in healthy unsaturated fat and dietary fibre reduces the risk of heart diseases.

Improves Nutrient Intake
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and eliminating all unnatural and processed foods improves overall health. It increases the intake of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and essential fatty acids, which lowers the risk of nutrient deficiencies and diseases associated with it. Furthermore, exposure to chemicals is reduced and so are preservatives and other additives present in processed foods that otherwise lead to lifestyle disorders.

Drawbacks Of The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet lacks variety. It is a restrictive eating plan and people may tend to get bored of the repetitive options. Hence, weight loss becomes difficult when the
options available are few.
** This eating plan avoids food groups such as grains and legumes, which do offer health benefits. Grains are a good source of dietary fibre and energy and legumes are a great source of plant protein, which can help with weight loss.

** Elimination of milk and milk products can affect the calcium levels. A person following this eating pattern may have to depend upon calcium supplements to meet
his/her requirements.

** As so many food groups are eliminated, people following this eating pattern may not be able to meet their energy demands. They may end up feeling sluggish and fatigued.

** Constipation, headache, nausea and dizziness are some other negative effects of the Paleo diet.

** Once you switch back to your normal diet, you may tend to gain back all the weight you had lost by following the Paleo eating pattern. Hence, it’s always wise to consult a registered dietician for weight loss and follow a balanced diet plan prescribed by him/her for effective weight loss results.

Source: Online Health Magazine

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