What is a paleo diet?
A paleolithic (paleo) diet is a dietary plan based on the prehistoric human diet. The dietary plan is modeled on eating similar foods that would have been eaten during the Paleolithic era which dates back to prehistoric times approximately 25 million to 10,000 years ago. The paleo diet is also referred to as the stone age and caveman diet.
The paleo diet is characterized as a high-fat diet of ‘good fats.’ The eating plan is modeled on the basic hunter-gatherer diet with foods that would have been either foraged, hunted.
These would have included meat, fish, fruits, vegetables. Farmed foods such as dairy, legumes, and grains are restricted to ensure the consumption of high fats and low carbs.
The purpose of the paleo diet is to reintroduce a way of eating that was similar to the way early humans ate. The idea is to go back to the basics as the human body is genetically misaligned to the modern-day diet as a result of modern farming.
The introduction of farming introduced dairy, legumes, and grains which have become a staple food source. The rapid change from the basic meat, fruit, and vegetables is said to be a contributing factor to the increase in health conditions amongst humans today.
For many, the paleo diet is a way of detoxing, losing weight, or improving health. Research has found that the paleo diet promotes weight loss, improves glucose tolerance, improves blood pressure, and manages appetite.
However, whilst many turn to the paleo diet to lose weight, many have found that they gained weight on taking up the diet, therefore defeating the objective for many. This post will explain the reasons why the paleo diet may cause some to gain weight. It will also provide all the information you need, with tips on how to avoid this.
The Quick Fix
Many turn to the paleo diet as a quick and effective solution to losing weight. Switching from a carb-heavy diet to a low calorie, high protein diet can be a shock to the system but it should get the job done as the body is no longer taking energy from carbohydrates but rather healthy fat. So, how is it possible to gain weight on a paleo diet?
Where The Problem Starts
The paleo diet can be difficult to maintain. For many, the energy starts high as people are eager to see weight loss results and so are motivated to stick to the diet. However, the pitfalls start when momentum runs dry. Sticking to the paleo diet requires endurance and consideration.
So, for those with busy schedules, who are consistently on the move, it can be easy to slip up by grabbing food on the go or snacking a little more than usual.
In addition, an extra strain is added. The paleo diet excludes the consumption of legumes such as beans, and grains such as oats. The expulsion of these food groups leaves a body lacking in fiber, iron, and vitamin B.
The result of which is exhaustion and fatigue. These feelings can lead to heavy carb cravings and cause binge eating of unhealthy foods.
The paleo diet is a high fat, low carb diet based on consuming healthy fats such as nuts and oily fish. The problem of weight gain starts when too many carbs are added to the diet consequently causing an intake of an excessive amount of calories which inevitably leads to weight gain.
Having too many carbs can result in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when your body’s signaling mechanism is messed up due to it becoming accustomed to an excessive amount of carbs.
When your cells don’t respond to the delivery of glucose from the carbs, too much sugar is left in your bloodstream which is not registered and then gets stored as fat.
Consuming Too Much Protein
A common misconception is that switching to consuming lots of protein will help with the weight loss process. Whilst protein does help with protein, the intake of too much protein can have similar effects to an excessive intake of carbs.
When too much protein is consumed, a strain is put on the liver. This results in toxins being released that essentially slow you down. If the protein you have consumed is not used up in time, the body treats the protein like a carb and it is converted into glucose and stored as fat.
Where do your meat and fish come from?
Unlike our ancestors whose meat and fish were untouched by contaminants, our choices of meat are factory farmed and crops genetically engineered and sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.
Consuming toxic foods can contribute to weight gain. Therefore it is advised that you go for foods that are free of toxins and ideally as natural as possible.
A reason for weight gain on a paleo diet can be down to portion control. Not all paleo foods will work well with you as staple foods. Eating calorie-dense foods in large amounts may not be sustainable in maintaining weight loss and should not take up most of the space on your plate.
Calorie-dense Paleo foods such as nuts and dried fruit are quick and easy snacks to go to. Whilst they are a part of the paleo diet it is advised that they be eaten in moderation.
A gauge of what your plate should consist of is majority vegetables and then some meat or fish. If your plate consists of 90% meat or fish, then you might need to rejig it.
Avoiding Weight Gain
Other than excessive carb and protein intake, other factors contribute to experiencing weight gain and increased inflammation. These include stress, hormones, and fatigue.
To avoid these contributory factors, it’s important to make sure you drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and move often. Doing so will boost your energy and leave you feeling motivated and rested.