Are you tired of trying regimes that require the greatest sacrifice and don’t really make you lose weight ? Then you need to know the Paleo Diet.
Millions of Brazilians just like you read food tips, face diets that promise worlds and funds, make a huge effort to lose weight and be healthier.
But unless you truly understand how the human body works, you will never be able to lose weight and be healthy following outdated ideas like counting calories, eating low-fat foods or killing yourself on the treadmill.
What if we said that there is a better way? What if we said that all you have to do to have the best body of your life comes down to just one sentence: eat real food?
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is the definitive solution for anyone who wants to have exceptional levels of health, lose weight, gain muscle mass and get rid of modern diseases like diabetes, stuck or irritated bowel syndrome, inflammation and many others, once and for all.
And all this wonder can be summed up in just one simple sentence: eat real food, the food that our body has evolved to digest for the past million years.
The Paleo Diet argues that we should eat as our longtime ancestors, those who lived before the discovery of agriculture. This means more or less between the years 9,000 and 7,000 BC.
In practice, in this type of food, you can only eat what our ancestors could hunt or collect in nature:
- Nuts and chestnuts
Obviously, industrialized products loaded with sugar, trans fat and chemical additives are excluded, but there are also absent foods that, by common sense, are classified as “healthy”: cereals (rice, wheat, corn) and legumes (beans , lentils, peanuts, chickpeas).
The Paleo Diet got its name in the 1970s from doctor Walter L. Voegtlin. More recently, it received a boost from the research of dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet, a master’s in Exercise Physiology from the University of Nevada-Rento and a PhD in Exercise Physiology from the University of Utah.
This diet has been quite successful for two reasons: first, you don’t need to count calories or food quantities. Second, the result for fat loss, muscle gain and improved health is impressive .
How the Paleo Diet Works
Loren Cordain explains that our ancestors, before the Agricultural Revolution, were tall, strong, agile and athletic. They were able to hunt large animals, travel great distances on foot and survive in adverse conditions.
After we dominated agriculture – probably the most important fact in the history of mankind – we started to face health and energy difficulties and we saw a great number of new diseases appear. The situation has worsened considerably in recent decades, with processed foods.
The problem is that our body has never adjusted properly to consume so many grains and refined carbohydrates.
For a better understanding: if the history of humanity was only 100 years old, in the first 95 years we would be hunters / gatherers and only in the last 5 years we became farmers. And only in the last minutes do we know industrialized food.
The conclusion is that we would be eating and living as farmers, but our bodies are still adapted to the previous lifestyle. We are cavemen eating frozen lasagna with soda!
Observe how modern food is based on grains: wheat, rice, corn and everything derived from cereals (cake, biscuit, bread, pasta, savory, patty, pancake, crepe etc.).
Now ask any livestock farmer how best to fatten an ox. He will tell you, without blinking, that it is making him eat more and more grains.
The Paleo Diet is an effort to get back to eating the way we are genetically prepared to eat. And that produces unbelievable results.
What to eat on the Paleo Diet: allowed foods
On the Paleo Diet you can eat anything that is considered real food. And you can eat in the amount you want, at the time you want, in the combination you want.
Forget that story about eating every three hours, counting calories, weighing food, trying out crazy combinations.
Simply choose the foods below that suit you best and eat whenever you are hungry, in the amount needed to pass your hunger. Nothing more than that.
- Nuts and chestnuts
Those who know a little about nutrition must have noticed that in the foods allowed in the Paleo Diet, there are not many sources of carbohydrates.
All contemporary scientific research claims that carbohydrates – especially those from sugar and wheat – are largely responsible for the obesity epidemic plaguing the Western world.
The low consumption of carbohydrates in the Paleo Diet explains much of its success for those looking to lose weight.
Excessive consumption of carbohydrates means extra energy that we will not use (especially with a much more sedentary lifestyle than in the past). Unused extra energy is stored in the body in the form of fat, as explained in the following video.
Video: Why do we get fat?
Contrary to what they have wanted us to believe in the last decades, we do not put on weight due to excessive consumption of fat, but because of excessive consumption of carbohydrates.
If you want to delve into this subject in detail, read the book Why do we get fat and what to do to avoid? , by Gary Taubes.
There he explains, in detail, the whole story that led us to make the mistake of vilifying the fat and start consuming more and more carbohydrates. The result was an increasing number of fat, sick and energy-deprived people.
In fact, most of the books on the Paleo Diet are concerned with explaining the most controversial point of this style of eating, which is the exclusion of grains. According to the aforementioned authors, there are two major problems:
- The intolerance of most humans to gluten (protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye – and consequently in all foods that derive from these cereals); and
- The lectins present in the grains, which damage our digestive system, impairing the absorption of nutrients.
Without grains, without sugar and without any type of processed food, the Paleo Diet takes a big step towards a healthier life.
Getting energy without carbohydrates on the Paleo Diet
Carbohydrates are known to be the “main” source of energy from modern food. Robb Wolf explains, in The Paleo Solution , that our bodies are prepared to act with much less carbohydrates than we started to consume after the Agricultural Revolution.
One fact cited by the author is the fact that – unlike proteins and fats – there are no essential carbohydrates.
If there are no carbohydrates available, our body will obtain energy using fat as fuel. Both the fat we eat and the fat stored in our body.
In good Portuguese: you will become a fat burning machine!
It is important to note that the Paleo Diet is not a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Except that, based on the allowed foods, you will naturally start to consume much less carbohydrates than the average of modern society. And, when you consume, these carbohydrates will come from natural sources like fruits and sweet potatoes, which also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Researchers and those who have tried the diet say that you will feel much more willing, with much more energy, when you give up fake “foods”, like sugar and wheat products.
The amount of carbohydrates you will eat depends specifically on your goals.
In the book “Energia Paleo” ( The Primal Blueprint ), Mark Sisson specifies some ranges of carbohydrate consumption.
Keep in mind that these ranges are an average, serving as a reference for most people.
Let’s get to know them:
300g or more a day: Health hazard and super accelerated weight gain
For most people, consuming more than 300g of carbohydrates per day is a sure recipe for rapid weight gain, and unfortunately also for an exponential increase in the chances of health problems of all kinds.
The traditional diet recommended by the food pyramid and the like is around 300g of carbohydrates per day as the basis of your diet. It is under this value that most macronutrients in product / etc packaging are calculated and it is an easy value to consume on a daily basis if you continue to consume sugar and wheat.
from 150g to 300g per day: Continuous and fast weight gain
This range is where the same health hazards and weight gains happen, albeit more slowly. The insulin release stimulus your body has in this consumption range inhibits fat burning even if you exercise. This area is where most people who eat less and exercise more fall, with no success in losing weight.
from 100g to 150g per day: Range of maintenance or weight loss
It is possible to maintain weight or even gain muscle and lose fat in this range easily by exercising. In this range you can, for example, exercise harder without problems. This is the interesting range if you are physically active, are satisfied with your weight and do not want to lose weight.
from 50g to 100g per day: Weight loss effortlessly
This is the great weight loss band. It is the range where you lose body fat even without exercising intensely, as long as you consume a good amount of quality protein, good fats and some carbohydrate from Paleo sources.
from 20g to 50g: Ketosis and super accelerated weight loss
The body goes into ketosis when we consume so few carbohydrates that the body changes completely to use fat as the main source of energy. Diets like Atkins, South Beach or Dukan encourage followers to go into ketosis because this is where weight loss occurs most quickly.