There are many fad diets that appear and disappear just as fast because they most often lead to zero results in weight / fat loss and if they do initially show promising results, the weight lost seems to be gained right back. However, there seems to be one possible fad diet that is claiming scientific evidence that it creates lasting results and that it is not a fad diet but in fact, a lifestyle change. This way of eating is called “The Paleo Diet.” Is this really a healthy way of eating and healthy way to lose weight?
The Paleo Diet is based on the ancestral human diet, hence why it is sometimes called the “caveman diet.” This model is using the people’s diet before the invention of agriculture and therefore, it eliminates all processed foods. Anything that comes out of a box is off limits. This is a high protein diet and it includes meats, fruits, vegetables, as well as nuts and eggs. Besides this, anything with syrup, sugar and sweeteners are not allowed on this diet . Anything made of grain (pancakes, pasta, bread, etc.) and any dairy products (butter, cheese, cream, etc) are also off limits.
The claimed benefits of this diet: Because of the high-protein diet, the average person would lose between 10-15 pounds in 6 months without exercise. Of course, add exercise in and this weight loss could be much more. But is it healthy?
According to the 2011 ranking by US New & World Report, the Paleo Diet came in last place of the diets evaluated based on factors of health, weight loss and easy to follow. Although, due to the fact that it eliminates processed foods, sugars and refined grains, it can result in weight loss. These dietary items contribute mostly to the excess belly fat and therefore, eliminating them from one’s diet would result in fat loss in the belly area. It also encourages a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which are obviously a healthy part of one’s diets.
Despite, these positive aspects of the diet, there are many disadvantages that results in the low ranking of this diet. The elimination of whole food groups, such as dairy and grains, is a real concern. Dairy provides calcium and vitamin D, as well as an additional source of protein. Although, it would be a good idea to eliminate refined grains, whole grains are also not allowed on this diet and whole grains provide a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and heart healthy fiber.
Probably the most negative aspect of the Paleo Diet that could make it very difficult to continue long-term would be the expense of the diet. It can be a very expensive diet since the meat can only be grass-fed and everything from fruits and vegetables must be organic.
One thing that I would take from this diet is the protein intake. If you are following an exercise regimen, most would recommend the protein intake to be between 0.5 and 1 grams per lean pound of body weight. Therefore, if you’re goal weight is 150 lbs (even if you’re not there yet), that would be a good estimate of how much protein you need; you would need between 75 and 150 grams of lean protein per day. This will speed up your metabolism and put your body into the fat burning and muscle building zone.
Resources: Paleolithic Diet