With all the hoopla and hype on using the Paleo diet for weight loss, it’s high time to take a deep look at the diet to uncover if it’s going to get you the results you’re after.
There are a lot of pluses and some minuses with the Paleo Diet.
The Paleo Diet will help you lose weight as you’ll be cutting out processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar.
Eliminating those bad foods from your diet will help you lose weight. But do you have to go on the Paleo Diet to do this?
One thing I really have a gripe with is their all or nothing stance not allowing any modifications based on individual needs.
You’ll know you’re around a hardcore Paleo follower when they instill guilt onto you for eating some beans or give you death looks when they see you eating a slice of bread.
It’s true I’ve had my fair share of encounters with those adamantly following the Paleo Diet to the point of rabid fanaticism.
Yet, you can use the Paleo Diet for weight loss and get some real results.
Does The Paleo Diet Work For Weight Loss?
Essentially, the Paleo Diet is about eating the same foods our knuckle-dragging ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period.
The theory is we should still eat these foods since our genome has remained the same since that era.
This means you’re going to be eating a lot of meats, vegetables, nuts and some fruits.
I definitely agree with what the Paleo Diet says you should be eating for the majority of your diet.
What I really have a problem with is the some of the stuff they tell you not to eat.
If it has sugar, gluten, dairy, grains, trans fats, artificial ingredients or has been processed in any way then you should chuck it directly into the garbage can.
This also means no rice, raw milk, beans, peanut butter or supplements.
Although some less hardcore Paleo enthusiasts are willing to eat sweet potatoes and dark chocolate there are many hardcore followers who stick strictly to the Paleo guidelines.
Even if you’re on the Paleo Diet you’re still going to have to watch your calorie and macronutrient intake.
Otherwise, going on the Paleo Diet won’t help you with weight loss but you will reduce inflammation and feel better.
The Good Part Of Going Paleo
There’s no doubt eliminating processed foods and ingredients like sugar, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats is going to shed fat, boost your energy and better your health.
The focus on eating real foods from Mother Nature is undeniably the key to a fit, lean, healthy and energetic body.
The Paleo Diet is going to be very effective for the average sedentary, overweight and insulin resistant individual looking to lose weight through dieting.
Those who aren’t following a training program will see fast and impressive results sticking to Paleo diet.
Plus they get to eat bacon while “dieting” so who can complain about that?
The Paleo Diet will help to:
- Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
- Drop Weight
- Improve Your Immune System
- Boost Energy
- Your Body Will Thank You For Relief From All The Years Of Fast Food And TV Dinners
Most people welcome its simplicity as all you have to do is follow the Paleo Diet’s basic “eat this but don’t eat that” methodology.
It’s pretty obvious the more complicated things are made the less likely people are to follow it, and this is right on the money when it comes to nutrition.
Unfortunately, for decades most weight losses focused diets and vegans berate you to not eat meat because eating fat is going to make you fat.
But we need those natural saturated fats and cholesterol from animals for optimal hormonal production.
I grew up learning the fallacy of the Food Pyramid, which told us to make the majority of our diets grains while minimizing fat to just a very small amount per day.
This was absolute poppycock, and I’m proud I didn’t have the obedience back then to unquestionably follow their guidelines.
How Much Weight Can You Lose on the Paleo Diet?
This study found the Paleo Diet also helped subjects improve their glucose tolerance better than the Mediterranean Diet.
Heart disease and type 2 diabetes both increase the higher the blood sugars you have circulating in your bloodstream.
The group on the Paleo Diet ended up losing a significant amount of weight as well as losing their belly fat.
This study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found participants lost weight, reduced their belly fat and lowered their blood pressure after 3 weeks on the diet.
One more study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found obese women ended up losing 10 pounds and 3 inches off their belly on the Paleo Diet.
They also lowered their liver fat by 49%. When fat surrounds your organs like the liver it could lead to serious health problems such as metabolic disease.
You can see the Paleo Diet will help you lose weight and belly fat even though these are only a few studies proving it can.
The Big Problem With The Paleo Diet
The problem with the Paleo Diet, like all diets, is it can be too cookie cutter to really appeal and maximize efficiency for everyone.
Take athletes and workout enthusiasts for example.
If we’re training that day our bodies really need those starchy carbs such as potatoes, rice and steel-cut oatmeal to fuel our anaerobic system efficiently.
We also need fast digesting protein such as a grass-fed whey protein supplement, which isn’t technically allowed or at least in the gray area on the Paleo Diet.
I like to use this grass fed low carb protein shake.
I’ll agree that our bodies did evolve to largely consume the foods our ancestors ate throughout the caveman days.
Yet, restricting our diets to solely prehistoric times would also mean neglecting all modern advancing in nutrition.
To me, it sounds like having your Neanderthal buddy knock out your bad tooth with a club instead of going down to the dentist.
I once overheard a Paleo follower enthusiastically proclaim he was going to fry his food in bacon grease.
Whenever you take things to extremes like this then you should have someone give you a good hard slap across the face to get your common sense back.
I know not every Paleo follower does this, but keeping your common sense when things sound fishy is absolutely necessary.
Just because you’re Paleo doesn’t entitle you to eat mounds of bacon and then sip the grease through a straw like it’s a milkshake.
Never allow anybody or anything to brainwash you into becoming a non-thinking cult follower.
Now, this doesn’t only apply to the Paleo population because a lot of those who are on it aren’t crazy. You should always use your common sense and do your own research instead of blindly following someone else’s.
Fixing The Paleo Diet
Overall, the Paleo Diet has it’s core principles right by eating a diet varied in meats, vegetables, some fruits, and nuts.
But if you’re working out then you’re going to need to eat those starchy carbs such as rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, steel-cut oats, etc.
Without these carbs our bodies become depleted and when combined with intense anaerobic workouts it’ll cause you to actually lose muscle and slow down your metabolisms.
This essentially means you’ll be busting your butt in the gym only to see your body get worse.
I have mixed thoughts on gluten and I try to minimize it in my diet because I noticeably feel better without it.
You should be limiting your grains in general. I personally try to only eat grains with gluten on my Cheat Days.
Try going off gluten for a week or two and see how you feel without it. If you feel better then don’t eat it. Simple as that.
If you’re really overweight or focused on dropping weight then you probably shouldn’t be consuming dairy as it causes an insulinemic response.
If you’re an athlete or physically active then consuming some raw milk here and there isn’t going to kill you.
I personally think it’s hilarious when anti-dairy crusaders say humans are the only species that drinks milk other than their own.
I reply, “Yes, this is true but we’re also the only species that can critically think too.”
If I was following my dog’s diet I’d be in the backyard eating my own poop. Seriously though, stick to raw and full-fat dairy products and don’t go overboard with them.
See my writeup answer the age-old question, “Does milk make you fat?”
Is The Paleo Diet Right For You?
If you don’t work out (which I definitely do not recommend), sedentary, obese and insulin resistant then the Paleo Diet will undeniably help you lose weight and get healthier.
If you workout then you should be on a more modified version of the Paleo Diet for weight loss.
Include the starchy carbs, raw milk, supplements and other foods I talked about in this blog post combined with the foundations of the Paleo Diet.
Having a Cheat Day or some Cheat Meals isn’t going to kill you. It can actually help you burn more fat and increase your metabolism if you’re strictly sticking to the diet.
There are some supplements out there when combined with a badass nutrition plan will enhance your health, and should be taken regularly.
Highly efficient MCTs like the ones in Keto Elevate, whey protein, BCAA’s, fish oil and a good multivitamin are the foundation for an enhanced fit and healthy body.
I consistently use these few supplements year round, and would noticeably feel a decline in my health, body, and energy if I stopped taking them.
If the Paleo Diet interests you then you might also want to check out my guide on using intermittent fasting for weight loss.
Paleo Diet For Weight Loss Meal Plan
If you’re interested in using the Paleo Diet to lose weight then you should on all in.
Most people starting off with the Paleo Diet can have a hard time sticking to it.
The trouble with going on the Paleo Diet is it can be time-consuming to make the food. As well as having your food end up tasting bland.
Both will ensure you end up failing.
Instead, I’d recommend going on a specific Paleo Diet meal plan that makes your meals easy and fast to make while also tasting delicious.
This will ensure you actually stick to the Paleo Diet if you have all the fast and tasty recipes ready at the go.
I’m a big fan of the program PaleoHacks has put together.
Their Paleo program includes a 30-day jumpstart designed to get your results immediately.
PaleoHacks also includes a variety of food choices so you’ll never end up having a lack of choices.
Along with their cookbook, you’ll get a full meal plan. They even include a bonus guide on how to eat at restaurants and stay Paleo.
Does Paleo make you lose weight?
Yes the Paleo diet will help you lose weight since your cutting out most processed foods, refined carbs and sugars from your diet. You also be eating more fruits and vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats which have all been found to enhance the weight loss process. With that said you also have to make sure you watch your calories and not overeat.
The Last Word
Long story short, you can definitely use the Paleo Diet to help you lose weight fast.
But just because a particular diet worked for a friend of yours doesn’t mean it’s going to work well for you.
Everybody is different and with that come different needs.
I would never recommend blindly following any diet plan before doing your own research.
The best part of being a human that can critically think is being able to try a diet, measure the results and then analyze to see if it works for you.
Something our caveman ancestors didn’t have the luxury.
Yet, if the Paleo Diet sounds like its worth trying for you then I’d give it a shot. The only thing you really have to lose is your weight.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.