The Truth About the Paleo Diet for Beginners: Who it Works for and Why - Healthy For 40

The Truth About the Paleo Diet for Beginners: Who it Works for and Why

By Jennifer | Try a Diet

Nov 22

It’s hard to keep up with all the different diets these days. Prior to 40 hitting the horizon, I never paid any attention. It was all background noise.

Then I needed to get rid of a few pounds. One of the first plans that caught my eye was the paleo diet. It caught my attention for the simple non scientific reason that I heard someone call it the “Caveman Diet.”

Well, turns out there’s more to it than that. The good news is that it’s still pretty simple. We’ll break it down for you here to give you an idea of how it works and whether its a good fit for you. Plus, we’ll point you in the right direction for some good resources.

What is the Paleo Diet? (The Simple Answer)

The paleolithic, or simply paleo diet – is a fairly popular diet which revolves around the concept of only eating foods that humans could’ve eaten in primal times, basically an all natural, no processed foods diet.

In a paleo diet, you can’t have any foods that prehistoric humans couldn’t have gotten. This means you can only have foods that are completely natural, either coming from animals or from plants and trees.

This diet has a lot of benefits to it. Since you’re cutting out processed and factory-made foods, you’re cutting out a ton of unhealthy foods from your diet. This alone will yield weight loss and health improvement results almost immediately.

Additionally, the lack of processed foods containing harmful ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup can lead to you having more energy and even an increased life span.

The paleo diet is supposedly how our bodies were meant to live, so we perform better on it. The meals you’ll eat on the paleo diet will leave you feeling more full, which helps prevent you from overeating, a major contributor to weight gain in the United States.

As long as you keep your portions controlled under this diet, you won’t be hungry, and you’ll be plenty satisfied. A paleo diet still allows you to have enough food options that you’ll never quite be bored of the meals, but is restrictive enough that you won’t be overwhelmed by options or be allowed to just go overboard.

No unhealthy food means you’re most likely going to lose weight, but just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you can have as much of it as you want. For example, you can have just about as much broccoli as you’d like, which fits within the limits of the paleo diet.

However, if you were to eat an excessive amount of almonds, which is also allowed, you’d be taking in too many calories. One of the few drawbacks is that this diet can get to be a bit more pricey than a diet full of junk food.

Processed factory foods are often far cheaper than real natural foods, but there are a few ways around that if you know how to shop smart. However, the increased cost is worth it given the results.

The paleo diet can even help with inflammation pain, as naturally occurring foods like vegetables and fruits can help immensely with that. They contain all of the right nutrients to help your body fight disease, whereas the chemicals in factory foods can lead to increased risk of disease.

Is the Paleo Diet a Good Fit for You?

The paleo diet isn’t necessarily for everybody. For many people, it can be an effective way to lose weight and cleanse your system of overly processed foods and chemicals. However, given the restrictive nature of the diet, some groups of people may find it a bit too difficult.

For example, this diet isn’t particularly suited to vegetarians. The paleo diet involves a fair amount of meat, and if you don’t eat meat, you’re going to be left with fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Vegetarians could normally have things like grains instead, but you can’t have that on a paleo diet. Another group that might be affected by the paleo diet is those who are active on a regular basis.

The paleo diet doesn’t really allow major sources of carbs like pasta, bread, or legumes, so if you require a lot of carbs for your exercise, you’ll find it pretty difficult to get the carbs you need.

That being said, the average non-active person will find the amount of carbs adequate for their daily needs. If you work an office job and don’t attend the gym regularly, then you won’t need as many carbs as someone with a physically demanding job who works out multiple times per week.

It might be a difficult diet for beginners, but not necessarily impossible. This diet cuts out a lot of things that we’re used to eating almost daily, like bread, chips, soda, and more. Some people aren’t really used to a diet without these common processed foods, but it’s not too hard to make the change.

If you don’t live near a place where you can easily get access to natural and organic foods like eggs, chicken, and vegetables, you might find the paleo diet to be a bit tough. It’s very easy to walk into your local Walmart and grab a bunch of processed food at a low price, but consider going to a nearby farmers market and getting more natural foods.

This diet can actually help people affected by diabetes – both type I and II. It can greatly lessen the effects of the condition, especially the obesity that accompanies type II. By cutting back on carbs and increasing the amount of fats, it actually helps your body fight back and increases insulin sensitivity.

If you’re planning on going paleo while pregnant, it’s best to wait until after you give birth to start this diet. According to various research, your baby could suffer from a variety of birth issues if you don’t get enough carbs in during pregnancy.

Given that the paleo diet is very low carb, this makes it unsafe for pregnant mothers. In general, though, the paleo diet is safe and helpful for a majority of people. If at any point during your paleo diet you start to experience signs of sickness, try stopping and trying out another diet.

 


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