The Meaning of Paleo
Paleo in terms of science means relating to the geological past. In terms of food and a way of eating, paleo refers to eating foods that have been as minimally processed as possible. This refers to the way that our ancestors would have eaten in the distant past. A good example is that those on the paleo diet try to avoid any heat in the preparation of their foods including meats. The idea being that heat removes vital nutrients from the food, therefore minimizing the health benefits of the food that you are eating.
What is a Paleo Diet?
A paleo diet is a diet that is simplified and that removes much of the preparation that we today use to cook our meals and ready food to eat. Instead of cooking vegetables for an hour as you might for a dish, you would either eat them raw or use the heat of the sun and natural methods of cooking them.
The main tenant of a paleo diet is that you reduce the exposure of your foods to heat and artificial cooking methods. With a paleo diet, you are going to try to eat your food as close to its natural state as you possibly can. Someone that is on a paleo diet is not going to go to a steak house and get a well-done steak. In fact, someone on a
In fact, someone on a paleo diet is likely to prepare all their food and is likely to eat it as naturally and unprocessed as possible. Many that adhere to a paleo diet actually grow their own food and even raise their own animals for consumption. For those following a paleo diet, meat is even eaten as close to its natural state raw if safe or minimally cooked if it cannot be eaten raw.
How Paleo Diet Works
For those considering a paleo diet, it is helpful to first look at how it works. Though those that go paleo often do lose weight, weight loss is not the main goal of a paleo diet. Instead, those going paleo are working to get the most nutrients from natural foods as possible. They do not eat processed foods, refined sugars, packaged foods, and foods that have had the nutrients sapped from them by cooking or making something from them.
Instead, those on a paleo diet are going to cut out as much processed food as possible and stick to natural foods if possible. This means tons of fruits and veggies, dairy that has not been made into cheese or any other products, and meats in their natural state. This is a great way to cut out all processed foods entirely but it is difficult for many to take on without the help of someone else that has gone paleo or a dietician. Those on a
Those on a paleo diet are going to lose weight quickly because they are no longer eating processed sugars, breads, cheeses, and other high-fat foods. There are some concerns about eating raw meat but in the proper preparation, it can be safe.
Is Paleo Diet Low Glycemic?
For those that are worried about glycemic diets and spikes in blood sugar, the paleo diet is low glycemic. The foods you are eating are going to be low in sugar, low in processed sugars, and low in refined sugars. Also, since your foods are not cooked and are often high in fiber like veggies and fruits, you can expect a steady energy rather than a spike that you would get from eating a donut for example.
If you are hyperglycemic, it is important that you find a diet that is going to be low in sugars so that you can manage your blood sugar on your own. If you are looking for a very low glycemic diet, the paleo diet may be for you. This is a diet that is going to stress natural foods, veggies, fruits, and protein so you are going to get steady energy that is slowly released as you need it.
Humans have adapted eating to their benefit and to help make sure that each and every meal we eat is going to benefit us in some way or other. Those that follow the paleo diet are mimicking the diet of cavemen so to speak who had to make every meal count and that is what the paleo diet does.
Benefits Of The Paleo Diet
A paleo diet may be just what you are looking for. There are tons of benefits to eating paleo that you might not even be aware of.
1. Balance Blood Glucose Levels
The foods we eat tend to be high in starch, high in refined sugars, and high in carbohydrates, all things that contribute to blood sugar spikes that can cause a real issue. Those that have type 2 diabetes can benefit from less sugars and the paleo diet helps to cut sugar completely out of your diet.
Since the foods you eat with a paleo diet are not processed, this means there are no added sugars and that the foods you are eating are going to provide slow and steady energy.
2. Stay Fuller Longer
One of the best ways to lose weight is to find a diet that keeps you feeling fuller longer and the paleo diet does just that. Since meat and vegetables are a staple of the diet, you are going to be getting the protein that helps to give you lasting energy while veggies and the fiber they have is going to give you lasting fullness.
These are both great ways to stay fuller longer and to eat less and lose weight so that you can gain lean muscle.
3. Easy to Follow
Since the main tenant of the paleo diet is to eat unprocessed foods, you do not have to count, to follow diet plans, or worry about points or calories. You are allowed to eat unlimited veggies and fruits and are allowed meat as well. You do not have to focus on things like how many calories you have left for the day and you truly have the freedom to adapt the plan to what you like to eat and when you have the opportunity to eat it.
4. Avoiding Processed and Fast Foods
Fast foods and processed foods are one of the biggest contributing factors to added weight and diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. With less processed foods, no fast foods at all, and less chemicals in your body, you are going to lose weight, sleep better, and be healthier overall. You may even be able to avoid diseases like heart disease and can even help you get more energy to go about your day to day.
5. Detoxing Effects
Though a juice cleanse or a detox might not be in the cards for everyone, the paleo diet gives a similar feeling. You are going to be avoiding chemicals that are in processed foods, avoiding sugars, and avoiding any excess chemicals that might be in your foods. By minimally preparing your foods you are able to get great foods that are good for you. You are also going to be getting more antioxidants in your foods, more water, and more vitamins for a rejuvenated and exhilarated feel that is going to keep you up and moving. These are just a few benefits to look forward to if you try this diet.
You are also going to be getting more antioxidants in your foods, more water, and more vitamins for a rejuvenated and exhilarated feel that is going to keep you up and moving. These are just a few benefits to look forward to if you try this diet.
For those considering a paleo diet, there are plenty of added benefits not discussed here but the real issue is finding a diet that works for you. The paleo diet is far more forgiving than some other diet plans and just might be what you are looking for in terms of diets.
How Many Carbs Should I Eat on the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet is mainly focused on reducing your carbs, reducing sugars, and helping you to eat balanced food that has not been robbed of nutrients by overcooking or over processing. That being said, you can still have carbs on the paleo diet, you just have to figure out what balance is right for you. The first step is to consider your intent. If you are just starting a paleo diet to get healthier and avoid processed foods, you can have more carbs than someone that is using the diet to lose fat for instance.
There are a few different categories to consider in the paleo diet. The first is very low carb. This is going to be good for people that have severe blood sugar issues and are trying to get something like type 2 diabetes under control. With the very low carb intake, you are going to want to eat less than 65g of carbs for men and less than 50g carbs for women.
Low carb is great for weight loss and great for keeping you on track if you have always been fond of carbs. For those in the low-carb category, you are going to want to eat between 65-100g for men and 50-75g for women.
For those that are not really trying to lose weight and want to maintain weight for instance, you can eat moderate carbs. This is great for those that are already in good shape and simply want to keep balance. For men, you should aim for between 100-200g carbs and for women between 75-100g carbs. For those that are carb-loading or that are athletes, for instance, you are going to want to eat far more carbs for energy and muscle gain. For men in the high carb category, you are going to want to aim for over 200g of carbs and for women over 150g carbs.
No matter what category you fall into, it is important that you learn what foods are going to be best for your goals and what foods you enjoy eating. The best way to determine what carb range is best for you is to simply start out and see how you feel. If you want to lose weight but are not losing, try lowering carb intake.
If you feel bloated, change how many carbs you eat. The only way to determine how your body is going to respond is to try out the diet and see what happens.
What To Eat
What To Avoid