Why Go Paleo?
Paleo. Vegan. Plant-Based. Keto, Low-fat, low-cal, low-carb.... the number of dietary approaches that are touted to be the "best" can make your mind spin! So what is "paleo" and why is the paleo approach one that is perfect for both weight loss and for reducing disease risk? Let's look at the data...
Popularized in 2002 by Loren Cordain, the Paleolithic diet is founded on the diet of our pre-agriculture hunter-gatherer ancestors. Our proprietary Sugar Snap Shift program is a phased paleo approach that is weight-loss focused. Once you reach stage four LIVE, or maintenance mode your day-to-day diet should be largely paleo. Of course you can choose to have dairy (goat or sheep's milk preferred) bread or pasta as a mindful indulgence from time to time, but your day to day diet should largely avoid these foods.
In a Paleo diet followers consume lean meats, fish, fruit, vegetables, eggs, and nuts, and exclude cereal grains, legumes, and dairy.
SO WHY GO PALEO?
- Counting macros is time consuming, tedious and typically inaccurate. Over 60% of food is consumed outside the home, which makes it nearly impossible to accurately estimate macronutrients. Studies show that following a Paleo approach naturally leads to balanced macronutrients without tracking- usually higher in protein (~25% of calories) and moderate in fat (~35%) and carbohydrates (23–40%) (1). Remember that vegetables and fruits are higher in carbohydrates from a macronutrient perspective!
Studies show the paleo diet to produce superior results in every major metabolic and anthropometric category- A meta analysis comparing the paleo diet to government recommended diets around the world found that the paleo diet produces superior improvements in body weight, waist circumference, and fat mass. The paleo approach also showed superior improvements in metabolic metrics including- blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL and HDL cholesterol, and markers of inflammation (2)
The paleo diet improves glucose tolerance and metabolic health even more than the Mediterranean diet- A study which compared the Paleo diet to the Mediterranean diet in heart disease patients determined the paleo approach provided greater improvements in metabolic health, and subjects found it more satiating (Lindeberg et al., 2007). Both the Mediterranean diet and Paleo diet led to less inflammation and oxidative stress (3)
- A calorie is not a calorie- A study of adults with type 2 diabetes compared a paleo diet to a diet based on the American Diabetes Association recommendations . All food was provided to the participants by the research staff and the diets were completely identical from a macronutrient standpoint. The only difference was the type of carbohydrate (starchy vegetables and fruits instead of cereal grains). While weight loss was identical, the Paleo diet led to superior improvements in nearly every outcome of interest, including insulin sensitivity, glycemic control, and blood lipids. (4)
One of our favorite reasons for going paleo? Once you get the hang of it, it is simple. No counting calories or going hungry. Just a diet that is naturally healthy, balanced and satisfying!