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by WorkoutHealthy  on November 24, 2012Comments(0)

Does The Paleo Diet Work or is it Another Fad?

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If you’re someone who’s hoping to shed weight quickly, one approach that you may be considering is the Paleo diet plan.  The Paleo diet is one diet plan that many people are quickly jumping on the bandwagon for as it promises to not only help you lose weight, but dramatically enhance your health as well.

But, what’s the real truth about the Paleo diet? Is this diet really what it says it is or is it just another passing fad that’s going to leave you astray?

Let’s give you a quick run-down of what you need to know about the Paleo diet plan.

What The Approach Focuses On

The very first thing that we need to address is what the Paleo diet approach focuses on.  The entire objective of the Paleo diet is to shift the focus of your eating away from modern times and back to caveman days.

Back in the caveman era, there was very little obesity and disease rates were very low. This is largely attributed to the type of diet plan that people followed during this time period.  There were no processed foods, no restaurants, and people lived off the land.

The idea behind the Paleo diet is that by shifting our focus back over to foods that come straight from the ground or from animals, you can control your blood sugar levels better, reducing the insulin release you experience, and therefore help to reduce the risk of fat gain while also warding off diabetes as well as heart disease.

So what do you eat when you’re on the Paleo diet approach?

The main foods that you’ll be turning to include lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish, as well as red meat and game, along with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  These will form the bulk of your carbohydrates, so you will want to make sure to try and consume as many as possible so that you’re taking in sufficient carbs throughout the day.

In addition to that, to fuel the body, healthy fats are key.  Nuts, oil, and avocadoes along with the fatty sources of fish that you’ll be eating for your protein are a must-have for success.

Since fruits and vegetables are rather low in calorie energy, it’s imperative that you are eating sufficient healthy fats to sustain yourself.  Those who don’t will end up feeling highly fatigued throughout the day and may begin to lose too much weight, or unwanted weight if you aren’t using the Paleo diet for fat loss purposes.

You’ll notice that all grains and high-carb foods are omitted in this plan, which is a key factor that makes it as successful as it is.

Who The Paleo Diet Is Best For

So who is best served by using the Paleo diet approach? This diet is really a great diet for just about everyone because it includes all three macronutrients – proteins, carbs, and dietary fats.

For that reason, it’s hardly a ‘fad’ diet, but rather, a healthy lifestyle approach that will help provide good nourishment to the body and help reduce your risk of disease.

The only people who this diet may not work so well for are those who prefer to follow a vegetarian approach.  Since vegetarians won’t be consuming the meat, poultry, and fish that the diet calls for (and a high percentage of the diet does consist of these foods), it’s very likely that those who are vegetarian will fall short with meeting their protein requirements.

Important Points To Note About The Paleo Diet

One very important thing that you do need to note and keep in mind with the Paleo diet approach is the fact that for those who are aiming to lead an extremely active lifestyle and participate in regular strength training or cardio training, the Paleo diet approach may not support these goals.

Since for intense physical activity you do require carbohydrates as a fuel source, those who aren’t taking in carbohydrates will struggle to keep up with their workout routines.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use the Paleo diet approach, it just means that you may want to consider making some moderations so that you can ensure that you are including a few more carb-dense foods in the plan including brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.

This will ensure that you maintain adequate energy levels for your workouts and also make a quick recovery by ensuring that you are able to re-saturate the muscles with glycogen.

Transitioning To A Paleo Diet Plan

So if you’ve decided that you want to switch over to the Paleo diet approach, how do you make the transition?

Some people will prefer to make it slower, cutting out their carbohydrate rich foods at a moderate pace while replacing them with healthy fats.  This generally does tend to be the better way to go about things and makes the process a little smoother, but it is the longer approach to use.

On the other hand, you could just dive right in, omitting all the grains, processed snack foods, and cereals that you were eating and adopt a 100% pure Paleo diet.

Just keep in mind that if you do that, you may find during the first couple of weeks that your energy level is slightly lower and you just don’t feel your best.  This is the body getting used to switching over to running on fat as a fuel source, so just do your best to push through it.

If you can stick with the diet, these feelings will usually subside in about a week or two and you’ll be back to feeling well again on the diet plan.

So there you have the main points to note about the Paleo diet.  If you want a diet that’s relatively easy to sustain over the long term and that helps to reduce disease while assisting with body weight control, it’s a very good diet to consider.

 

About the Author
Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology.  In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.

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