7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of the Paleo Diet
We have all been exposed to years of conflicting information about what constitutes a healthy diet, this is of course increasingly frustrating and confusing. The Paleo approach is emerging as the one dietary philosophy, which is here to stay. It is changing lives and promoting real, fresh and whole food.
We have summarized a few of the incredible, scientifically proven benefits of the Paleo diet.
1) Sustained weight loss (1)
For many of us this ranks at the top of the list in terms of benefits. Weight loss is one great advantage, but studies have proven that the Paleo diet is not just about flash in the pan weight loss, and rather ongoing sustained weight loss.
A recent study showed that even over a 2 year period the Paleo diet comes out on top.(1) This could be due to increased satiety and number of other factors but we love this benefit! (2)
2) Increased satisfaction-less hunger (2)
Being hungry seems to be a common complaint for many of us. Breakfast cereals don’t fill us and so we are hungry an hour after breakfast. Ever found yourself standing at the fridge in the middle of the night? We blame it on hunger and nutrient poor meal choices. Unfortunately never ending hunger often leads to instant gratification and therefore poor dietary choices.
An amazing benefit of the Paleo diet is satiety, which in a nutshell is being satisfied with your meal and not having strange and frequent cravings for food, especially when you have just eaten. The awesome thing about satiety is that you tend to eat less frequently and be more in tune with actual hunger and not other types of hunger, which stem from thirst or emotion.
Researched in a recent study attributed this to an increase in protein in Paleo meals which helps to keep us fuller for longer (2).
Eating less ultimately leads to weight loss or weight stability, which as we’ve already pointed out is the best benefit, a win-win!
3) Reduce inflammation (3)
The Paleo diet is extremely rich in healthy fats and nutrient dense foods such as nuts and vegetables. The Paleo philosophy also encourages grass fed beef, wild salmon and free-range eggs, which are sustainably farmed and ethically sourced. All these factors lead to a higher intake of nutrients as well as the correct ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
The beauty of the correct ratio of Omega’s is the overall reduction of inflammation in the body. If you are young you may not be aware of inflammatory processes but unfortunately as we age these inflammatory processes become more and more prevalent leading to diseases such as atherosclerosis and peptic ulcers.
If you already suffer from any sort if inflammation you will see a huge difference in the reduction of your symptoms and if you are only in your twenties consider it as an investment into the health of your future self.
4) Improved glucose tolerance; decreased insulin secretion and increased insulin sensitivity (5,6,7,8 )
Just like inflammation it might be that you are too young to worry about Diabetes and insulin resistance. This does not mean that it could not happen to you in your future. 1.4 Million Americans are diagnosed with Diabetes each and every year and the worry is that this number is only increasing due to poor diet and a lack of exercise.
The good news is that you can not only prevent insulin resistance but also drastically improve any existing glucose metabolism by following the Paleo philosophy.
Studies have shown that the Paleo lifestyle prevents the advancement of insulin resistance as well as preventing Diabetes (8).
If you have already been diagnosed with Diabetes the Paleo diet can halt the progression of the disease (6). This means that you may eventually be able to stop using medication (in consultation with your doctor) as a result of effectively controlling your blood sugar levels.
5) Boosted immune system (11)
Buying fresh, wholesome and unprocessed food can get quite expensive. What is really expensive though is being sick. Medication and time off work can cost us far more now and in the future.
One of the incredible benefits of eating much more vegetables and fruit with every meal is the strengthening of your immune system. This translates to your body being able to fight off germs and viruses far more effectively than others who eat poorly.
If you have chosen the Paleo way, get used to saying ‘I never get sick!’.
6) Improved lipid profiles (5,6,7,9,1)
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 deaths in America are due to heart disease. It is also the leading cause of death for both men and women. High LDL (bad cholesterol) is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, which can be improved through the Paleo diet.
Various studies have shown that the Paleo diet vastly improves lipid profiles. This means that the risk of heart disease then decreases. HDL (good cholesterol) has been recorded as increasing and total cholesterol as decreasing, which means that the risk of heart disease then greatly decreases.
Stepping away from highly processed sugary food to beautiful, wholesome food is the key!
7) Reduced risk of diseases of lifestyle: heart disease, diabetes and cancer (5,6,7,10 )
This benefit can be seen as a culmination of all the other benefits mentioned above. All in all the Paleo diet reduces our risk of developing the many diseases of lifestyle.
I was diagnosed as prediabetic last year by my doctor. I immediately went on a no wheat, no grain, no sugar approach to diet I follow PaleoGrub and use their recipes and frequently modify my old recipes to meet the requirements of Paleo. After 12 months I had lost 50 pounds, my joints no longer hurt and more importantly my doctor said because of the lifestyle change I was out of the woods.
I sometimes because of company, eating out etc am not able to be pure So I track my calories carefully and try to keep that in bounds and not break the rules very often. I believe in the adage that every diet needs to be modified for your own personal body and objectives.
Starting the paleo diet is an excellent option if you are diagnosed as a pre diabetic or diabetic. The paleo diet is a great way to achieve steady, sustainable weight loss, improve glucose tolerance, and preventing type II diabetes, as well as decreasing inflammation which increase joint pain. When eating out, look for food options that are as close to paleo as possible. Don’t worry too much about counting calories and absolutely make modifications that fit with your body and goals.
Paleo has changed my life in that I have lost to date 57 lbs. I have reached my first goal weight and have now set a new goal of 25 lbs. I love it, because I am never hungry.
Thats fantastic!! i know what its like to lose 32kgs, but i must admit over the last 5yrs due to a happier life i have gained back 6kgs and hate it…..i started living the Paleo lifestyle but found i couldnt find a great substitute for bread and anything with coconut oil doesnt mix with my post menopause situation.. Any tips would be great, keep up the good work.
It is always important to find balance and happiness when following the paleo diet. Have you tried any of the bread recipes on the site? There are many different recipes that do not include coconut oil, but are paleo and taste great!
Steady weight loss is one of the many benefits of the paleo diet. Remember to be patient with your new weight loss goal as eating paleo doesn’t always cause a quick loss, but it is sustainable. Congratulations on your weight loss!
I started the Paleo Diet on July 1st 2015 and lost 75 lbs. with basically no effort. I say no effort because once you are educated on what is Paleo and what is not, you simply need to purchase and cook the right food and then enjoy – with no counting calories or skimping on meals – just no effort at all. It’s now been 9 1/2 months and I’ve kept the weight off and look and feel better. I take absolutely NO prescribed medications. Not even an occasional aspirin although at my age (68) I have been diagnosed with several health issues and have been listening to the advice of Dr.’s who have done nothing for me but fleece me and my insurance company for money. Now I’m Dr. and Med. free and feeling the best I’ve been in 25 yrs
Courtney, I just started with Paleo 2 days ago. I’m so impressed with your weight loss. I’m 66 and would love to lose like you did. What do you eat for snacks???
There are great paleo recipes and meal ideas throughout the site for you to look through for snack and recipe ideas. Different proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all great snack options.
Sustainable steady weight loss is one of the many benefits to following a paleo diet. It is not necessary to count calories when following the paleo diet, just have a good understanding of what foods are paleo. An improved immune system and decreased inflammation are important benefits of the paleo diet that will keep you from many ailments, whether it be a headache, joint pain, or a cold. Eating quality meats, fruits and vegetables will all build your immune system, while eliminating grains and sugar, will decrease inflammation.
I started eating pescatarian paleo about a month ago. I find myself snacking less and no longer craving something sweet after a meal. I’ve significantly reduced my carb intake, yet still allow myself my favorite treat – organic popcorn cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with brewers yeast. I’ve lost the boated feeling and feel leaner. Thank you for a great blog!
Sugar can be addictive and starting a paleo diet is a great way to break the addiction. The paleo diet shouldn’t be too restrictive and including paleo treats, like organic popcorn in coconut oil, is a great way to maintain balance.
Keep up the good work Jess! I was a type 2 diabetic for 12 years but my latest blood tests say that I no longer have Diabetes I have been on the Paleo way for 7 months now.regards rob
Great to hear that the paleo diet has kept your diabetes under control!
I am 53 and started my Paleo lifestyle on Feb 8, 2016. The positive mental and physical benefits are mind blowing.
I sleep better!!
I feel physically better with less joint pain and more energy.
My mind is clear all the time.
I have lost 16 pounds and am never hungry.
I went from a 38 pant size to a 34. All in 8 weeks.
I have little to no anxiety!!
Bottom line…I feel FANTASTIC!!!
I definitely feel way better and lighter! I now have a vege smoothie or eggs for breakfast and it keeps me going until midday no problem. Previously I was having home made bircher muesli every morning but now realise it made me feel bloated. I eat veges 3 times a day with some protein at least and feel great. I only needed to lose around 3kg which I have done quite easily 🙂 I am not one to catch colds or flu etc so I have been lucky in that respect and look forward to carrying on feeling super healthy and full of energy!
Whole30/paleo has reversed my Graves disease to normal thyroid function without medication or surgery. I found out on the reintroduction phase of Whole30 that I have non-Celiac gluten intolerance and intolerance to legumes, gluten-free oats and other gluten-free flours. As long as I eat paleo, I do not have any of my prior autoimmune joint pain flares. It is great to be pain-free. The M-spike on my blood work went down from a 4 to “barely detectable,” said my hematologist, and that is because I have reduced the inflammation in my body so much. Paleo continues to do wonders for me.
I started on Paleo 9 months ago and to date Ibhave lost 45lbs. But the best news is my weight plateaued at 170 lbs around month 5; However, over the past 4 months I’ve lost 2 inches off my waist. I started with a 38 inch waist and now it’s a 33. I’m 49 yrs old and like others have mentioned feel great, sleep great and never get sick. Following Paleo has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life!!!
Happy birthday to me. I have a year on paleo. I have much less joint pain and swelling with the arthritis that comes with Sjogren’s . Many fewer episodes of angioedema and hives. And I can eat around some tough allergies.
Friends took me to lunch today and they picked a place where I could eat paleo. That is definitely progress.
Thanks for the articles, support, and recipes.
I’m much better on the paleo, and I’m enjoying what I eat and learning more recipes. However I don’t agree with feeling fuller and I’m constantly starving and I’m eating us out of house and home. The other problem I had was not wanting or needing to loose weight. I have lost weight and haven’t been able to put back on but luckily this has stabilised. I do feel great and better for it and it’s definitely worth it.
All this weight loss created a dilemma for my family: My wife and I are doing great but the kids, who started off as skinny-minnies in spite of eating huge amounts of food– fats included, are being eyed by teachers and drs because they are not fat like their peers. Of course they never get sick either and have great energy levels and mental focus. They know enough to be mindful of food offered to them by well-meaning folks, but the attention and lack of good fitting clothing is creating a problem. Anybody else have this issue?
Can someone explain why honey and maple syrup is better than sugar? I thought they were equally bad