There are a few different reasons for adopting a Paleo diet. In could be for health, fitness, ease of use or even to simplify things in a complex modern world. One of the big reasons for many is to lose fat. Why is the Paleo diet so good for fat loss and what should you be doing to make sure it works?
Maybe the first thing to understand is just how modern men and women got so fat! Obesity is spiralling out of control and it has got drastically worse in the last 20 years. This isn’t some genetic change. We are adept at storing body fat.
There have been times in human history when this has stopped us from starving. Being able to use fat stores when food was scarce was vital. Unfortunately for those of us living in developed countries, we have kept this ability whilst having access to an abundance of high-calorie food sources. I mean, do you really think that you need to store your morning Starbucks until you can reach McDonalds at lunchtime and then that giant plate of pasta in the evening? Of course not!
Whilst we are surrounded by the opportunity to graze on food, very little of it is of high nutritional value. So as well as gaining body fat we actually manage to fall short of what we need in terms of vitamins, minerals, and other essentials. Simply cutting down on what we eat to try to lose weight is going to make this shortfall even worse and lead to health problems.
This is where following a Paleo lifestyle makes sense and can be ideal for healthy weight loss. By focusing on protein (grass-fed meat or lean meats), fruit and vegetables you are getting rid of all those empty calories and replacing them with Paleo diet food that will satisfy and nourish.
So changing to the Paleolithic diet should solve all your problems and see that weight just falls off, right? For some people, actually yes, this is all it takes. However, most of us have been slowly damaging our bodies with years of modern eating and it needs a little more thought to keep things moving.
Obviously, it is important to keep an eye of the quantity of food you eat. Counting calories can be a pain and isn’t really necessary anyway. There is more to losing weight than the simple calories in vs calories out calculations. Keeping portions reasonable and not grazing all day long is a good start. When your meal consists of a nice portion of fish containing healthy fats and some well-prepared vegetables it is actually difficult to eat thousands of calories before you are satisfied anyway.
But the real key to losing fat is something called nutrient partitioning. Put simply, this is how your body uses what it eats. Is it used to build muscle, for energy or stored as body fat for example? This can be quite a complicated issue as it will be dependent to a large degree on the hormone insulin.
However, you don’t necessarily need to understand nutrient partitioning to improve it. Insulin profiles can be improved simply by changing the way you see food. Lots of modern foods are made to over-stimulate our taste buds. Think of all those things we happily eat when we really aren’t hungry at all. You need to train yourself to stay away from this type of food. The answer? Start replacing crisps and sweets with raw fruit and vegetables. Start getting used to natural flavours and gradually re-calibrate your senses to appreciate these tastes.
This is going to make things a lot easier. Your body is smart. It doesn’t want to lose weight beyond a certain point. Traditionally, calorie-restrictive diets are also nutrient-poor. Your body is going to send messages that increase appetite if essential nutrients are missing. Even low-calorie diets are going to be stored as fat. By eating nutrient rich Paleo food as you lose weight, you body will partition better, storing less fat and your brain will send messages that everything is fine.
Paleo for weight loss makes a lot of sense. Not only because it is a great way of controlling the amount of food you eat. It is also the food quality that will make a real difference and will keep fat steadily falling off without the cravings that most diets can cause.