Author: Nicholas Gregory, MA, CSCS
What is the Paleo diet?
The aim of the Paleo diet is to mimic the eating style of our Paleolithic ancestors. The diet hypothesizes that a whole foods approach to eating, paired with a highly active life, resulted in much lower rates of disease and obesity in our hunter-gatherer predecessors. To give followers of this diet the same hypothesized health outcomes as our ancestors, the Paleo diet encourages followers to focus on unprocessed whole foods.
Can simply eating whole foods lead to weight loss? We will get to that soon!
What can (or can’t) I eat on the Paleo Diet?
First, let’s take a look at the food choices on the Paleo diet.
- Fruits: Most fruits are fair game. Some paleo favorites include lower sugar fruits like blackberries, apples, and avocados. The Paleo diet encourages followers who want to lose weight to cut back on fruit and focus more on vegetables, simply based on the higher sugar content.
- Veggies: Similar to fruits, most of your favorite vegetables are allowed. Followers are encouraged to limit starchy vegetables like potatoes and squash and to focus on getting a colorful plate of leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Nuts/Seeds: A staple of the Paleo diet, followers are given free reign of almost all nuts and seeds. Some paleo favorites include almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds.
- Meat: If it is meat, it is most likely allowed on the paleo diet, except for highly processed hot dogs or meat products. Followers are encouraged to get grass-fed meat when possible.
- Eggs: Eggs are a staple of the paleo diet and encouraged daily!
- Fish: Rich with Omega-3 fatty acids, fish of all kinds are encouraged. If it’s found in water, you can’t go wrong.
- Oils: Restricted on most diets, oils such as coconut, olive, and avocado oil are encouraged on the paleo diet!
Although these lists seem to allow followers to have their choice, it’s important to remember that there are a fair amount of foods that are not allowed on the paleo diet. These include:
- Dairy: Based on the premise that hunter-gatherers did not milk animals, all dairy is off-limits for strict paleo followers.
- Grains: ALL grains are off limits. Followers of the diet often say that pretending they do not exist or that they are evil makes avoiding them easier…
- Legumes: Legumes encompass most beans, peas, and peanuts. Legumes are off-limits for their high content of lectins (naturally occurring proteins found in food).
- Sugar/High fructose corn syrup: Since a majority of sugar is processed, most foods with a high sugar content (even naturally occurring) are off limits.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Anything with artificial sweeteners is also off limits. If it ends with an ‘ol (glycerol, xylitol, erythritol) or an ‘ose (sucralose, tagatose) it is most likely an artificial sweetener and should be avoided.
A Sample Paleo Meal Plan
So given the good and bad when it comes to Paleo food choices, what does a day of eating really look like?
- Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil, 2 pieces of bacon, and 1 cup of berries.
- Snack: 1/4 cup almonds.
- Lunch: Salad with 1 avocado, tomatoes, peppers, and 4 oz. chicken breast.
- Dinner: 4 oz. grilled sirloin, 1 small potato, and asparagus.
Will I lose weight eating a Paleo diet?
We don’t know about you, but this looks like a pretty tasty day of eating! It’s no secret that the Paleo diet allows followers to eat good quality whole foods that help with satiety. The real question is can you lose weight following the Paleo diet? Of course, if done in a mindful and calculated way!
Too often, followers of the Paleo diet think the foods they choose on the diet possess magical weight loss powers. This leads many followers to actually gain weight as they begin consuming more calorically dense foods on the Paleo diet (things like nuts, meat, and oils). This leaves followers frustrated and confused. The fact is, you simply can’t eat as much of these Paleo foods as you want and expect to lose weight! Calorie balance and energy expenditure are still vital to long-term weight loss success!
This is where Noom comes into play!
At Noom, we know the importance of whole foods. We are all about #unprocessing your diet and finding foods that both fill you up and provide you with important nutrients. We also understand that mindfulness around caloric density (the number of calories per serving of food) is vital for successful weight loss. Want to eat Paleo and try Noom? Go for it! We don’t believe there are good or bad foods, but rather foods that best fit your goals!
Interested in learning more about caloric density and finding a sustainable approach to reach your weight loss goals? Try 14 free days of Noom today!