What is the Paleo Diet? Does it Work for Weight Loss?

What is the Paleo Diet? Does it Work for Weight Loss?

The Paleo diet is based on what people ate long ago, like millions of years ago when the cavemen lived. It includes foods that were around during the Stone Age, which is when anthropologists study how people lived a long time ago. The diet focuses on eating whole foods that haven't been processed much, like the ones our ancestors could have hunted or gathered. By avoiding the sugary and salty stuff added to today's processed foods and eating more as our ancestors did, we can avoid getting sick from diet-related diseases that were not common back then.

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet has rules and guidelines which tell you what you can and can't eat. It gives you a structure and limits on certain types of foods. Unlike some other diets, there aren't specific goals for counting calories or tracking macros (which are things like carbs, proteins, and fats). Instead, the Paleo diet focuses more on "clean eating," which means choosing less processed and more natural foods. It's a bit like the ketogenic diet because it emphasises high protein and low carbs but doesn't suggest eating as much fat as the keto diet. The Paleo and keto diets have lists of foods that are allowed and not allowed. People in fitness might find the Paleo diet appealing because it focuses on high protein and limits sugar and carbs, which will help them have better workouts and perform at their best.

How Does the Paleo Diet Work?

Unlike other diets, the Paleo diet doesn't have strict rules about how much protein, carbs, or fat you should eat. However, it suggests having roughly the same amount of protein, carbs, and fat, with the smallest portion being carbs. People might have different opinions about whether certain foods are allowed, but here are the commonly agreed-upon things to do and not to do in the Paleo diet.

Allowed Foods:

  • Oils from nuts and seeds

  • Fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, wild caught

  • Vegetables

  • Fruits

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Some honey

  • Eggs

  • Meat, specifically wild game or grass-fed and antibiotic-free beef, is to be closer to what our ancestors ate.

Foods Not Allowed:

  • Legumes


  • Added sugars

  • Added salt

  • Dairy products

  • Processed foods

Paleo Diet and Weight Loss

The Paleo diet is known for being famous and good for your health, but it may not be the best way to lose weight. Some studies show that people who follow the Paleo diet can lose a bit of weight, but most of these studies only look at small groups. For example, one study found that postmenopausal women who followed the Paleo diet lost about 11% of their weight after 6 months but didn't regain it after 24 months. But this study only had less than 35 participants. Another study looked at overweight adults and found that they only lost about 1.8kg after a year of following the Paleo diet. This study had about 45 participants. So, while some people might lose weight on the Paleo diet, it's not guaranteed for everyone.


In both studies, many participants found it hard to stick to the Paleo diet, and many dropped out. In one study, a few participants chose not to follow the Paleo diet when allowed to select other diets.


Health experts agree that eating whole foods low in salt and added sugars is essential for a healthy diet. The Paleo diet includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. However, the strictness of the Paleo diet may not work for most people. It can be challenging for those who don't eat meat to get enough protein because the diet limits grains, legumes, and dairy. Also, the cost can be a problem because high-quality meats, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, which are a part of the Paleo diet, are usually more expensive than lower-quality meat, processed foods, and produce. Meeting the needs for fibre and calcium may also be challenging since dairy products, whole grains, and legumes are not included in the Paleo diet.

Before You Go on Paleo

The Paleo diet can be a helpful approach to weight loss, given its focus on high-quality unprocessed foods. However, it may be challenging for many people to maintain for the long term. It is important to note that embarking on any diet, including the Paleo diet, is best done with the guidance of a medical professional. As a Weight Loss Coach, you work 1:1 with a doctor and Registered Dietitian who support your weight loss journey by providing expert advice, personalised nutrition and exercise plans, and weight loss medication.


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