Weight Loss and the Paleo Diet
Hunter-gatherer societies and other less Westernized populations routinely exhibit superior health markers, body composition and physical fitness, when compared to western populations. Indeed, our hunter-gatherer ancestors were lean, healthy, fit and free of the signs and symptoms of most diseases of civilization.
The evolutionary template thus tells us that to achieve optimal health, body composition and physical fitness we should try to emulate our ancestors’ diet and lifestyle.
People who follow the Paleo Diet lose weight without counting calories, measuring portions, or going hungry. There are many reasons why this way of eating naturally leads to a lean body composition. Here are some of them:
1. The Paleo Diet is higher in protein than most Western diets. High protein diets are more effective at reducing hunger than reduced-calorie diets that people typically follow when trying to lose weight. Protein has a two to three times greater satiety value than either fat or carbohydrate, so people spontaneously eat less when they consume more protein. In fact, 3 of the 4 intervention studies with a Palaeolithic type diet have shown exactly that!
2. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fat, which means it requires more energy to metabolize than the other macronutrients
3. A high-protein diet (especially one that contains high amounts of the amino acid leucine) will help you maintain your muscle mass, which is very important in terms of fat loss.
4. The second reason the Paleo Diet favors fat loss is its low glycemic load. The glycemic load is a measure of how quickly a given serving of a certain carbohydrate containing food raises blood sugar levels. By focusing on fruits and vegetables as the main carbohydrate sources, The Paleo Diet has a lower glycemic load than most cereal based diets. Hundreds of scientific studies show that high glycemic load foods cause hormonal and blood chemistry changes that increase appetite and promote fat gain.
5. The Paleo Diet has a lower omega 6/omega 3 fatty –acid ratio than most so called healthy diets. Emerging evidence suggests that omega 6 fatty acids may promote obesity and that adding omega 3 fatty acids to your weight loss program may lead to more fat reduction and less muscle loss
There are other important and very interesting mechanisms, including leptin sensitivity, and vitamin D, which we go through in the Paleo Diet Implementation Program. Below are some of the emails we’ve received on this topic.