The Paleo Diet

The overarching theme of the paleo diet is very good: eat more vegetables and protein, eat less processed food.

This is an excellent place to start optimising almost anyone's nutrition.

However, the justification that the Paleo diet delivers optimal human health because it omits modern foods that we haven’t evolved to digest is weak, both in terms of logic and research.

Weight-related issues aren’t caused by being unable to process or digest foods - it’s the fact that we eat too much and then digest it perfectly well that leads to weight gain.

In fact, if we couldn’t process these foods, then it wouldn’t lead to weight gain.

Do people overeat dairy, grains and other nutrients that weren’t in abundance in the paleolithic era?

Definitely.

Is it possible to omit these foods and still gain weight if an energy surplus is present?

Yes.

Do many people struggle to adhere to the diet after a couple of months?

Indeed.

The Paleo diet is a solid philosophy in terms of increasing vegetables and protein, which are good moves for the majority of people.

However, the claims that it is necessary to omit certain food groups are unfounded and represents a prehistoric mindset, possibly even pre-dating the development of the prefrontal cortex.

A good way to use the paleo diet is to eat ‘more paleo’ or to reduce food intake of food that comes in packaging.

Alternatively, next time you go into the supermarket try to buy the majority of your food from the outside/edge of the store.

Typically this is where the fruit, vegetables, fish and meat can be found.

Replacing processed foods with whole foods will often make it easier to create an energy deficit, but it’s not necessary to omit them completely if weight loss is the goal.

Provided an energy deficit is maintained, there is room for any foods in a nutrition plan that still facilitates weight loss.

Tom Fitzgerald