Paleo diet has been around for many years and has gained a very large following of fans who are fond of this hunter-gatherer inspired eating protocol. Even though it is called Paleo Diet, it’s not really a structured diet like the Atkins or Dr Bernstein, but a way of looking at food through the eyes of our ancestors from the Paleolithic era. During that time, which is about 40,000 years ago, humans haven’t yet discovered that farming was the way to go if you don’t want to be hungry all the time. Our forefathers represented nomadic tribes that extracted food mainly from hunting animals, fishing and gathering fruits and vegetables from trees and bushes.

Paleo followers make a valid point by saying that avoiding eating whatever does not run, swim or grow on trees should be excluded from the humans’ menus, as it is unnatural for us to eat it. Many of them report that they feel energetic and healthy by excluding non-Paleo food items. A diet that is loaded with fruits, vegetables and protein provides tons of vitamins, healthy fats, fiber and protein, which all play a role in maintaining good health. In fact, eating clean, unprocessed foods on a daily basis will improve your immune system, shield from diseases and will eliminate the harmful effects of the manufactured foods. I find that this is one of the few approaches that really makes sense and personally have tried it and loved the way I felt on it.

Paleo Diet is very clean and will keep you alive and kicking for longer, but the question is whether or not it is possible to lose weight (and preferably body fat) on it. To answer that, we will have to make a clear distinction that eating healthy does not necessarily mean that you will be losing weight. In fact, there is nothing natural in losing weight and body fat at all. Your body is fine-tuned for survival and will gladly store those extra calories for an “emergency” where the food supply may run low. If global food shortage does take place, then the fitness models you see on the cover of magazines will probably perish first, just saying. To get rid of extra fat in your body, a few factors like meal timing, number of meals per day, total amount of calories, portion control, all play a huge role in weight loss. Again, keep in mind that doing any of these things are natural, our ancestors did not try to figure out how many calories are in broccoli, or whether they should switch from mammoth meat to a leaner protein source to minimize the calories.

Another reason why Paleo is not the best weight loss diet is that Paleo allows for an unlimited amount of fruits. The sugar contained in fruits is called fructose and is linked to elevated uric acid, and other toxins, in blood (source). So while a meal of 10 bananas would count as completely Paleo, it would not be healthy at all and your waistline will suffer from the carb overload. Eating too many fruits too often may spike your insulin level, which has been linked to diabetes.

While eating whole foods is great for you, there are also some healthy non-Paleo food available for us. For example, Paleo approach excludes eating any vegetables that grow underground. That would mean we would have to kiss our beloved sweet potatoes, carrots and radishes goodbye. These root veggies are extremely nutritious and pose absolutely no harm to the human body. Also, since our ancestors did not cultivate crops, grains like rice, barley and oats are out of the question in Paleo view. While they contain a good amount of starch, these crops represent a great source of carbohydrates and if eaten moderately will help you keep your energy up throughout the day.

When I work with clients, I always recommend them to eat as much unprocessed, whole foods as possible. Let’s face it, processed food will just not cut it, if you want to lose weight. With that being said it also important that all of them follow a strict routine designed for weight loss. All of my nutritional plans are structured around losing weight and include portion control and meal timing. I think it is important to understand the distinction between eating healthy and eating healthy to lose weight, which is completely unnatural for your body. Weight loss is a delicate process and needs to have clear guidelines of what foods to eat and when, otherwise it is easy to slip into eating too much “healthy junk food” and stall your results.