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Is the Paleo Diet an Effective Weight Loss Option?

Find out if eating like people did in the days of yore is right for you

If you have been struggling to lose weight, you’ve probably done a fair amount of research into diets – and there is certainly no shortage of information available on the topic. Just typing “diet” into a search engine will bring up thousands of pages filled with articles about every meal plan under the sun. But with so many options, figuring out which one will work for you can be difficult.

Through the course of your investigation, chances are you have come across the Paleo Diet. Here’s what you need to know about it:

First of all, what is the Paleo Diet?

If hearing about the Paleo Diet immediately conjures images of the latest Jurassic Park movie, you’re actually not that far off. Also called the Caveman Diet, this nutritional regimen is focused on eating the types of food people ate during the Paleolithic era. This means chowing down on things that were hunted and gathered, including meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The Paleo Diet is all about eliminating processed foods, as well as sugar, grains, legumes, refined carbs, and, in its stricter interpretations, dairy. 

The theory is that our ancestors must have eaten well because our species has (and continues to) successfully evolve. At the same time, what we’re eating these days is often drastically different, and includes a lot more processed foods, farmed carbohydrates, and overall calories than our bodies used to consume. By going back to our roots with our diet, we can get stronger, leaner, and healthier.

Is the Paleo Diet good for you?

There’s nothing wrong with getting more protein and ratcheting up the healthy stuff like vegetables. However, the restrictive nature of the diet could be a detriment. For example, by most standards, legumes and whole grains are good for us. And without any dairy products (if the strictest form of Paleo is observed), we can miss out on some potential food sources rich in “calcium, magnesium, folate, B1, B2, B6, B12, and vitamins A, D, and E” not to mention probiotics(good bacteria) that are beneficial for good digestion, lowering inflammation, and boosting the immune system.

So, does the Paleo Diet work?

It really depends on whom you ask. Many people swear by the regimen and report dropping a lot of pounds. For others, it just didn’t work. While the overall tenets of the diet are healthy (drastically reducing sugar intake may be one of the most beneficial aspects), there is a lot of individual variation among humans.

Some individuals say that switching to paleo has cleared their mind and improved focus (again, this may be linked to sugar reduction), whereas others report higher anxiety, something that could be tied to how an individual body reacts to a different mix of macronutrients, a decrease in probiotics, or a host of other complicated factors.

Paleo may be something you need to try yourself in order to see what kind of results you achieve. If you do give it a go, be sure to ease into it slowly. You also may need to modify certain aspects of the diet based on your lifestyle.

An alternative to the Paleo Diet

Any highly-restrictive diet where you are forbidden from eating certain foods is not ideal. Even if some of these items aren’t great for you anyway, just the fact that they are banned can cause failure. For example, if you love pizza – a big no-no in the Paleo Diet – and one day you decide to cheat, you may decide to quit your regimen completely. While it may have been working for you otherwise, a slight slip-up has now derailed your progress. 

This is why with any good eating plan, long-term consistency, moderation and enjoyment are key. You can still lose weight and delight in many of your favorite foods, if you are conscious about consumption. Feel free to take some eating tips from our cavemen and -women ancestors, but keep in mind that most of us now hunt and gather down at the supermarket.

Looking for more information about nutrition? Learn all about Lifestyle Weight Loss and what it could mean for you. Get in touch with us at 954-452-4590 or through our online contact form. Our medically-developed program can help you optimize your diet for great results.

Dr. Nina Coletta has been practicing Podiatric medicine for nearly 20 years and is the owner of Lifestyle Weight Loss Clinic. For the past 30 years, Dr. Coletta has been a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. Her passion for health and wellness, along with a strong desire to help her patients live healthy lifestyles, led to the selection of Ideal Protein as her platform of choice for weight loss.

Nina L. Coletta, DPM, PA

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