Eating paleo for weight loss is becoming a popular diet strategy with the publication of best sellers like "The Paleo Solution" and "The Primal Blueprint". While there is no one, strict way to eat paleo the basics almost always involve starting on a restricted anti-inflammation diet and then adding food types to assess your tolerance.
Recommendations in most magazine articles indicate that there is no medical reason to restrict weight loss to only 2 pounds a week. Recent studies published in the New England Journal Of Medicine show that more aggressive weight loss is possible and indeed can be safe. Paleo diets are popular with endocrinologists because of this very reason. It is non uncommon for someone to lose 50 pounds or more of fat within six months on a paleo eating plan. This is fat loss -- not just weight loss caused by water and glycogen.
Why does this happen? While the science is still uncertain in some parts it seems that inflammation plays a large part in being overweight. The bottom line is that many people are allergic to many popular foods to one degree or another. Another reason has to do with how the body regulates metabolism. People are not overweight because they eat too much. People eat too much because they are overweight.
This can be a complicated concept to understand but it underlies the value in eating paleo foods. For years we've been told that calories make us fat. Eat too many calories and your body stores this as fat. This is nice, simple explanation. Unfortunately it isn't telling the whole story. In a normal, non fat person the body knows how to manipulate hormones to process and eliminate food. These hormones also control appetite regulation. With someone over fat, this is not happening.
So while calories are important, they aren't the controlling factor in weight loss. Hormones like insulin and cortisol are. Eating paleo for weight loss works because it naturally restricts most foods that cause hormone regulation problems in people prone to being fat. Paleo eating also helps reduce food based inflammation.
An example anti-inflammation diet would be to avoid grains, legumes, and dairy for 30 days. The popular MLB diet - meats, leaves, and berries - is a simple example of this eating strategy. While fruit is generally restricted because of its high sugar content, a handful of berries is a staple of most paleo eating plans.
Fat is a staple as well. Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and butter are popular fat options. Proteins like meat, fish, turkey and chicken can be trimmed of fat for cooking but are encouraged to be full fat varieties. Saturated fat does not need to be avoided. Supplementing with fish oil for the EPA and DHA content is also usually recommended.
You'll hear some doctors and professionals refer to paleo eating as being "low carb." This is not strictly true. Paleo eating is usually high fat but there are no real restrictions on carb intake. You can eat as many green and other colorful vegetables as you want. Endurance athletes and others in need of more dietary carbohydrates can eat sweet potatoes and other root vegetables, and tubers. What is being restricted here is mostly grains, sugars, and processed food.
For some people, eating paleo for weight loss is pretty easy. Just eat meat, vegetables, and some berries. Take fish oil supplements and use "EVOO" and "EVCO" in cooking. That's it. Don't worry about how much you're eating. Don't count calories. After 30 days you can try to introduce dairy products like cheese and milk. You can see how your body reacts to corn.
While it's popular to say everything about eating should be balanced, this is just political correctness speaking. People who are overweight need to regulate the hormonal imbalance in their bodies and often deal with emotional issues causing undue stress. The paleo diet approach provides a simple template to follow to start someone down this path and see great results.