weight loss / medical weight loss

The Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet

By Dr. Abdul Ahad Hayee

April 22nd, 2021

Last updated: May 5th, 2021

Is Eating like a Caveman Right for You?

One popular diet option right now is the paleo diet, which is growing in popularity and has been endorsed by celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Kanye West, and Christina Aguilera. Additionally, a study in 2018 found that 7% of Americans claimed to be following the paleo diet.

When trying any type of diet, it’s important to understand how it can positively and negatively help you achieve your goals. Here are a few pros and cons.

Pros of the Paleo Diet:

There are a number of medical and health benefits to the paleo diet. Many of these explain why eating unprocessed foods help with weight loss. The paleo diet can also improve your overall wellness.

· Potassium Richness: Potassium boosts metabolism which helps the body burn more calories, hence losing weight faster. It also helps with keeping a healthy blood pressure, kidney, and muscle function.

· High protein content: The adequate amounts of lean protein in the Paleo diet contributes to a healthy body composition and lowered insulin response. A lowered insulin sensitivity leads to easier weight loss as your body reacts less to storing blood glucose.

· Less likely to get cancer: According to Loren Cordain, PhD who wrote the book on The Paleo Diet, eating like prehistoric ancestors will make us leaner and less likely to get heart disease and cancer.

· Improved blood sugar: The diet includes the elimination of processed foods, which means less salt and sugar is consumed. This reduces risk of diabetes and related cardiovascular disease.

Cons of the Paleo Diet:

While there are medical benefits, the paleo diet may not be for everyone. This includes those with underlying conditions, life changes, or other specific weight loss goals.

· Eliminating entire food groups could mean missing out on essential nutrients and vitamins that are not included in diet. Those on the paleo diet are most at risk for vitamin D deficiencies.

· It is impossible to fully implement the same diet people did in the Paleolithic periods, that’s because plants and animals have evolved compared to what they would have been 10,000 years ago.

· Americans get most of their calcium intake from dairy: milk, yogurt and cheese. By following the Paleo diet they are at risk of having a low calcium consumption which leads to low bone and tooth density.

· The food portions allowed by the diet exceed the recommended daily portions for certain foods. Without medical advice, excessive portion consumption may cause flare ups of other symptoms or undiagnosed issues.

What Can I Eat on Paleo Diet?

When dieting, having a meal plan is critical and a lot of recipes exist to help when making a major dietary change. Foods that you can eat on the Paleo diet Include: · Fruits · Vegetables · Seeds · Nuts · Lean Meat · Fish · Eggs · Spices · Herbs · Oils from nuts and fruits (Olive oil, Coconut Oil)

Foods you cannot eat on a Paleo diet include: · Salt · Artificial sweeteners · Low-fat or diet products · Refined sugars · Dairy products · Trans fats · Legumes such as beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts · Grains and Whole Grains including wheat and oats · Sweets including all forms of candy · Artificial sweeteners

More Information on the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet, or paleolithic diet, is the nutritional approach that targets eating foods that are unprocessed, and high in nutrients. These types of foods made up the entire diet of people during Paleolithic times, also known as the stone age. It involves eating whole foods that people could have found through hunting and gathering.

The main idea of the Paleo diet is that if the human body was not able to consume certain foods prior to industrial agriculture, domestication of animals and modern-day food processing, then humans are not supposed to consume these types of foods today. The argument is that the human body is not made to consume these types of foods.

Research shows that by following the Paleo diet, someone would expect to lose weight without putting so much emphasis on cutting calories. Weight loss occurs because anytime you restrict entire food groups, your calorie intake tends to be lower according to Dr Lona Sandon,PhD,RD. But can a paleo diet be successful in weight loss? Based on Dr Maximiliano Hyon, DO, MPH, senior endocrine fellow at City of Hope National Medical Center, the average Paleo diet weight loss in 3 months is usually 5 to 20.5 pounds.

What Does WellHealth Say About Paleo?

If you or a loved one are interested in weight loss or improving your overall health, the paleo diet could be a perfect fit for you. WellHealth recommends including a primary care provider to make sure you are approaching all of the factors behind weight loss, not just the diet. Click here to schedule your next appointment.


By Dr. Abdul Ahad Hayee