Can the paleo diet help you with weight loss? Here you will find the true answer if the popular paleo diet will really help you lose weight.
The paleo diet reached its peak in popularity in 2013. Yet it’s still quite popular today, especially amongst the CrossFit community.
With the paleo diet you’re eating the same real foods as your hunter-gatherer ancestors did back in the caveman days.
Proponents of the paleo diet say this is how we genetically evolved to eat food. Meat, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and nuts were the only foods your ancestors were eating.
This means you can’t eat sugar, dairy, artificial sweeteners, grains, soy or legumes.
Even though the paleo diet is popular there haven’t been a lot of studies proving its effectiveness for weight loss. But by getting rid of processed foods and sugar you can expect to lose some weight along with improving your health.
One of the benefits of using the paleo diet to lose weight is it makes it much more effortless to lose weight compared to most other diets.
It can be tough to severely restrict calories when you’re trying to lose weight. This is why using the paleo diet can help as the food is more filling.
You’re instantly eliminating the junk foods that make you gain weight. These include sugar, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates.
The paleo diet is a much better choice than most other diets out there for weight loss including low-fat diets. And the paleo diet can help with the “skinny fat” look. This is when you look in the mirror and not like what you see.
I’m sure you agree it can be confusing to know whether or not the paleo diet will help you with weight loss.
Here you’ll find out if the paleo diet will help you lose weight and what you should eat to enhance your weight loss results.
Paleo Diet Guidelines For Weight Loss
If you try to use the paleo diet to lose weight then you should increase your protein, fiber, and good fats too.
Most of the Western US eat way too many high glycemic carbohydrates and vegetable oils. This is also why there is a high rate of obesity and insulin sensitivity which can lead to diabetes.
The awesome part about using the paleo diet is that it can help you naturally reduce your caloric intake without focusing on restricting them.
Just by eating the simpler foods found in the paleo diet you will instantly be eating less. And the fewer calories you’re eating the more weight you’re going to lose.
The KISS method for weight loss is what I’ve found to be most effective long-term. The more difficult you try to make your diet the harder it is going to be to follow and to get results from it.
The essential guidelines for the paleo diet are to eat a meat, non-starchy veggie and a healthy fat. This is as simple as it gets.
This study in the Journal of Medicine followed 10 overweight and healthy women on the paleo diet. After five weeks they ended up losing almost 10 pounds. And they also lost 3.1 inches off their belly.
Here is a contrasting study finding there was no weight loss difference statistically high enough for the paleo group. But keep in mind the participants in the study were not allowed to restrict their calories. But their glucose intolerance improved and they also lost belly fat.
Here’s one more study to prove that paleo diet can help you lose weight. The researchers tried to keep the paleo group from losing weight the best they could by keeping their calories up. But they kept finding those on the paleo diet kept losing weight.
Paleo Food List For Weight Loss
In a short three week study those eating the paleo diet ended up losing 5 pounds. They also lowered their BMI by 0.8 along with losing 0.6 inches of belly fat.
So this proves you can definitely get some quick results for weight loss with the paleo diet.
Here are the foods you can eat on the paleo diet:
- grass-fed meats
- fresh fruits
- fresh vegetables
- fish + seafood
- good oils
And here’s a quick list of the foods you can’t eat:
- highly processed fats
- dairy products
- processed foods
- alcohol (some exceptions)
- artificial sweeteners
How The Paleo Diet Can Help You Lose Weight
With the paleo diet, you’ll naturally lower your caloric intake for the day.
Most people are already eating more than they should. This will clearly result in them gaining more and more weight over time.
Calories definitely aren’t everything when it comes to weight loss. But somewhat of a caloric deficit needs to be created to drop unwanted pounds.
Eating the nutrient-dense foods in the paleo diet can help. Eating these foods will be more nutritious than the junk you were eating before. Cravings will also be reduced from nutrient deficiencies.
Your hormones will improve on the paleo diet. Insulin causes your body to store fat. Too much of it is released from eating sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Insulin resistance has been proven to lead to weight gain and diabetes.
While on the paleo diet you’ll be cutting out refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugars. All of which cause your body to release a lot of insulin.
Your glucose tolerance will improve as you quit processed foods.
This study found paleo diet followers had a big improvement in glucose intolerance. The paleo group ended up losing 11 pounds and 2.2 inches off their belly.
You also improve your digestion and gut health leading to better absorption of nutrients. The health of your gut is linked to weight gain so it’s important to keep it as healthy as possible.
Your body will lower inflammation levels on the paleo diet as well. This comes with the elimination of the bad foods that cause inflammation.
Inflammation is linked to weight gain. So the better you can reduce it in your body the more weight you’ll end up losing.
Your heart health will also improve on the paleo diet. This study found the pillow diet help to lower systolic blood pressure 3 mmHg.
The study found the participants lost 6.6 more pounds than the control group. Not to mention they also lost 1.6 inches of belly fat.
The participants good HDL cholesterol improved and triglycerides went down by 35 mg/dL.
This last study found the paleo diet group lowered their total cholesterol by 16%, lowered LDL cholesterol by 22% and lowered their triglyceride levels by 35%.
How To Lose Weight On The Paleo Diet
The best part about the paleo diet is you do not need to starve yourself to lose weight.
Most diets out there have you severely restricting your caloric intake. This, of course, can help you lose weight but is incredibly difficult to do.
In my experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I’ve found the harder you make the diet for people the less likely they are to follow it.
The foods on the paleo diet will leave you feeling fuller longer than foods on just about every other diet. This will help to reduce your hunger cravings that can end up leaving you binging on your diet.
I like to follow the 80% method.
Eat until you feel like you’re 80% full and then try to cut yourself off. Then wait 10-15 minutes for your brain to register you’re full. Then you can go back and eat a little bit more if you’re still hungry.
This study found the paleo diet was more satiating per calorie compared to other diets. The paleo diet also improved their blood sugar profile.
When you eat bad foods like refined carbs and sugar your body will go on a blood sugar and insulin roller coaster ride.
This is when you’re constantly craving more and more sugars and carbs to bring your blood sugar levels back up.
Next thing you know you’re binge eating on potato chips and bonbons. The paleo diet will help to keep you on track.
Paleo Dieting Tips
Make sure when you get started with the paleo diet to take it one step at a time. This will help to increase the odds you stick with the diet and don’t give up because it’s too hard.
It’s always a good idea to prep your meals and snacks beforehand to make it easier on yourself later.
If you already have your food ready to go it’ll instantly increase the odds you stick with the diet. This study found having your healthy foods ready to go improved dietary adherence.
There’s nothing worse than being hungry and then knowing you have to go cook paleo healthy foods.
If you have a lot of weight to lose then restricting your carb intake will work the best.
But if you’re physically active and work out a lot then you’re going to need carbs. HIIT workouts need carbs for fuel and you should be matching your carb intake with your exercise.
Just because you’re eating some carbs for exercise doesn’t mean you can eat junk carbs. Sweet potatoes are my favorite carbohydrates to use that are paleo friendly.
The paleo diet may be “pro-meat” but that doesn’t mean you should be eating meat 24 seven. I’ve known a guy who used to dip his vegetables in bacon grease… it doesn’t work like that.
Since you won’t be eating dairy on the paleo diet it can be hard to get enough calcium in your body. Low calcium levels are linked to weight gain so it’s important you get them into your diet even if you have to supplement them.
It can be hard for you to turn down your friends all the time who want to eat pizza, but it will get easier with time.
Eating out can be tough but once you get the guidelines down for the paleo diet it will become a little easier.
You can also modify the paleo diet to meet your needs. I found this is usually the best approach for most people.
You can even have a cheat day or cheat meal here and there to fulfill any cravings you might have. Then you’ll be re-motivated to jump back full steam on the paleo diet.
A modified paleo diet is what I use in The Flat Belly Formula system, which has gotten the quickest and longest lasting results for those who have used it.
Why You’re Not Losing Weight On The Paleo Diet
So you’ve been on the paleo diet for four weeks now and you haven’t gotten any results.
There can be a few reasons why you haven’t lost any weight on the paleo diet even though you been following it strictly.
The biggest one is you’re most likely eating too much food. Even though you’re on the paleo diet you should still be watching your caloric intake.
Start a food journal for a few days and track your calorie and macronutrient intakes to make sure they are within adequate levels.
I include a calorie and macronutrient calculator for weight loss in The Flat Belly Formula you can use to instantly find your numbers.
Also, keep in mind you could be adding some muscle while you’re losing fat. Most people only think about losing weight when it comes to leaning and thinning their body.
But if you’re working out then your body will also be gaining toned and lean muscle. Muscle weighs something too so this may explain why there are fluctuations with your weight.
Try measuring your inches instead of stepping on the scale.
Your girth measurements will give you a better overall picture of your body transformation compared to weight.
If your clothes are fitting better too then that’ll be a sign you’re losing inches and shaping your body.
You can find more reasons why you can’t lose weight here.
With the paleo diet, you can expect to get some quick results even after a few weeks.
Along with losing weight you’ll also decrease bloating, increase your energy levels and feel better than you ever have before.
Keep in mind the paleo diet is not a flash in the pants diet. There are studies finding following the paleo diet leads to long-term benefits.
Researchers found that fat mass lowered, belly fat lowered and triglycerides were all better after two years.
I personally follow a modified paleo diet as I found it’s the best for long-term weight loss and health improvements.
Following a modified paleo diet means you don’t have to deprive yourself all the time, which will mean it’ll make it easier to stick to long-term.
Plus there are foods the paleo diet doesn’t allow that are quite beneficial to your body and mind. You can find these foods in my Food List Cheat Sheet.
You can definitely get some great weight loss results following the paleo diet as long as you’re following the tips and guidelines above.