If you tried paleo, you eliminated processed foods and packaged sugary snacks, so you probably noticed a difference pretty quickly. When you’re eating real, nourishing foods that feed your cells, you feel better. But, it’s a common complaint that people don’t always lose weight on the paleo diet, or worse, they gain weight.
Read on to find out why you’re not losing weight eating paleo diet foods, and what you can do to make paleo work for you.
WHAT IS THE PALEO DIET?
The Paleo diet focuses on what our ancient ancestors ate – things they could hunt and forage, like meats, plants, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Grains, dairy, and legumes are out. The idea is that if humans didn’t have the equipment, the ingredients, or the preparation methods to make and eat a particular food thousands of years ago, your body isn’t adapted to that food and your biology doesn’t know what to do with it.
The paleo diet is a fantastic basis for someone who is transitioning from the standard American diet, eating tons of empty carbs and processed everything. But if you want to lose weight and perform at your best, and that didn’t happen, here are a few reasons why.
YOU ATE TOO MANY CARBS, PREVENTING WEIGHT LOSS
Technically, you can drink a bottle of honey and still be paleo. That’s a bad idea on multiple levels, and it’ll derail your weight loss goals for sure.
If you want to lose weight, you have to control your blood sugar, and to do that, most people have to keep carbs down. It works like this: when you eat something, your body breaks your food down and some of it enters your bloodstream as sugar (glucose). Glucose provides energy for your cells. While you’re eating, your pancreas releases insulin, the hormone that tells your cells to open up for a delivery of fuel.
If you’re eating too many carbs, things can go wrong.
Hangry feelings and sugar crashes. A lot of carbohydrates causes blood sugar fluctuations that make you hungry, cranky, and tired throughout the day. When sugar goes from your bloodstream into your cells, your blood sugar drops, which can signal hunger if you’re running almost exclusively on glucose. Since sugar is quick to either burn or store, your body wants to replenish it as fast as it’s depleted.
More fuel than you can use. Glucose that just hangs out in the bloodstream causes problems, so your body wants to either burn it or store it as quickly as possible. Your cells only accept so much, which leaves glucose in your bloodstream. Eventually, glucose in your bloodstream gets stored as fat.
Insulin resistance. Too many carbs can cause insulin resistance. If your body is accustomed to excess carbs, your signaling mechanisms get messed up. Your pancreas could be pumping out so much insulin that your cells don’t as readily respond to it by opening up and accepting the delivery of glucose. That leaves too much sugar in your bloodstream, which once again gets stored as fat.
On paleo, you can eat with abandon as long as the food was likely a part of your ancient ancestors’ lives. That might make positive shifts in your vitamin and mineral levels, but it won’t do a thing for your muffin top. Here’s how to find your ideal carb intake.