How to Lose Weight Without Trying on a Paleo Diet

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Let’s face it – losing weight can be hard. Really hard.

Perhaps you’ve been on a diet before, and perhaps you’ve even lost a significant amount of weight. But more often than not, that weight creeps back on, until suddenly you’re back to the weight you were at when you started dieting.

Sometimes, you end up weighing even more than you did before you went on a diet in the first place!

It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. But why is weight loss so difficult? And why do some diets work in the short term, but ultimately fail after months of hard work and dedication?

Is #Paleo the solution to effortless weight loss?

You probably know that we gain weight when we eat more calories than our bodies can use. But you might not know that this doesn’t need to be a huge excess. Eating just 10% more calories than we need on a daily basis would lead to significant weight gain over time. And that might only be a few bites extra at each meal, which would be hardly noticeable.

If it’s that easy to gain weight, why isn’t everyone overweight? And why is our population suddenly becoming heavier than we ever were in the past?

In the early 1960s only 10% of people in the U.S. were obese. Today, one-third of Americans are obese and another third are overweight. While many have argued that certain nutrients like carbs or fat are to blame, the simple truth is that we’re eating more than we were before.

The problem is that to lose body fat, we need to be in what’s called a “calorie deficit” for an extended period of time. This means that the number of calories entering our body (i.e. what we eat and drink) have to be lower than the calories being used by our body (i.e. general metabolism and physical activity).

Seems simple, right? Just “eat less and exercise more.

Unfortunately, this advice rarely works because the brain has powerful mechanisms for overriding our efforts to lose weight. If you consciously reduce the number of calories you eat, your body responds by lowering your metabolism to match your reduced intake. So as you purposefully eat less calories, your body finds ways to use less calories. All while ramping up hormones that raise your appetite and drive you to eat more at every meal to regain the fat you’ve lost.

In other words, it’s extremely difficult to eat fewer calories than your body uses through sheer willpower alone—and this is exactly why calorie-restricted diets fail.

The holy grail of weight loss, then, is an approach that naturally and spontaneously leads to lower calorie intake. In other words, eating less without trying to eat less. Many diets promise this, but there’s only one diet I’ve seen that actually delivers over the long-term: the Paleo diet.

While my clinical experience is enough to convince me that a Paleo diet is the best choice for weight loss, (even a few minutes searching on Google will show you mountains of testimonials) there is credible scientific evidence to back up this claim.

Research shows that a Paleo diet is more satiating per calorie than both a Mediterranean diet and a low-fat diet. That means it’s more filling for the same number of calories compared to other popular diet methods. This is crucial for weight loss, since it helps you eat less without fighting hunger or counting calories. As I mentioned before, if you’re constantly fighting hunger, your brain will respond by reducing your metabolic rate and increasing your appetite.

A Paleo diet has also been shown to help a number of diverse populations lose weight and improve their metabolic health, including post-menopausal women, patients with type 2 diabetes, and even Aboriginal Australians returning to their natural hunter-gatherer diets.

And not one of these groups were told to reduce their food intake or to count calories.

Not only do you not have to count calories, you don’t have to purposely restrict fat or carbohydrates, though you’ll naturally eat fewer carbs, simply because Paleo eliminates the highly processed and refined carbs (like flour and sugar) that are such a big part of the Standard American Diet. But there’s no need to strictly avoid any particular macronutrient.

With a Paleo diet, you just eat delicious, nourishing whole foods—including foods you’ve been told to avoid, like red meat and eggs—and watch the pounds fall off. This explains why so many of my patients have lost 20, 30, even 60 pounds or more (I have patients that have lost upwards of 150 pounds!) on a Paleo diet without effort, even when they’ve tried and failed with numerous diets before.

Best of all, they’re not hungry, and they’re enjoying their food. After all, who wants to be on a diet that makes them miserable?

A Paleo diet can help you look and feel great without trying. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be diving into even more reasons why a Paleo diet can help you lose weight and regain your health and vitality, all while enjoying delicious and satisfying food. Stay tuned!

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Francesco says

    For very long time i believed, like most of us, that more calories in more fat you are, but it’s wrong. I have tried to change my diet and i have verified that’s wrong. Like you said the weight loss is spontaneous, even without doing sport if you eat right you loose weight.
    When you find what are the foods that are good for you, you can enjoy it without thinking about calories, now i can eat with satisfaction and without gaining a single pounds.
    I think that the major contributors to weight gain are sugar and wheat.

  2. Breadie says

    Why try and pretend that Paleo is very easy for everyone? Some people are vegetarian and eat a lot of bread. This diet would be a nightmare for them. Be honest. Paleo is very restrictive, unless your diet already revolves around meat and little else.

    • Dr P says

      So, trying to quit smoking can be a “nightmare” but does that mean one shouldn’t do so? I’m really failing to see the logic behind your statement. No one said going paleo is “easy.” Any lifestyle change is not easy. I believe that what Chris is saying is that once you make the change to paleo, you aren’t constantly reading labels, adding up “points,” or slaving away on a treadmill for 2 hours at a time in order to lose weight.

      I eat a paleo diet, but I eat a lot of vegetables. In fact, I eat more vegetables than the vast majority of “vegetarians” I know. I also eat a fair amount of starches. I can walk into darn near any restaurant and find plenty to eat while still staying on plan.

      For me, dealing with sticking myself with a needle every day because of type 2 diabetes sounds “difficult.” And having to plan my day around getting to the pharmacy to wait in line for my meds seems “restrictive.” Call me crazy.

      • Carol says

        You said it so well! At first, it seems difficult because you have to retrain yourself to new rules. But after 3 weeks on Paleo, or clean eating, things got better for me. I am hardly ever hungry. Because it is healthy to walk, I log 10,000 steps a day. And I can do that because of increased energy on the Paleo way!!

      • Shindwe! says

        How can you compare Paleo with smoking? One is one of many alternatives. The other kills.

        And the comment was about not trying to make the diet sound easy, which a lot of people do. Not whether it should be followed.

        • Helen says

          And you don’t think food kills you? I had a stroke because I had a silent inflammation caused by gluten in bread goods, two examples here, my sister is size 8 very slender, eats what she wants and is a smoker, I on the other hand eat healthy but until I changed my diet I was always overweight and always poorly.

          Both me and my sister agree that being obese and being a smoker is like having the same addiction both equally hard to give up, I changed diet because of having mini strokes

          • Helen says

            It sent before I finished.

            When I had the stroke (a cluster of mini strokes) I was very I’ll, had a tonne of invasive tests, that were very painful. Giving up bread goods took me over a year to complete, 18 months on, since doing a health plan very close to this diet, I don’t struggle with Aphasia as bad as I did, I can now walk without someone with me, and I got back into employment. And yes this was caused by food intake.

            My sister tries to give up smoking and yes its a hard addiction to give up, unless faced with death ultimateum and then giving up is not a choice.

            My Mum was told to give up smoking and she had smoked for 40 yrs, she was told give up or your be dead in less than a year, she gave up and lived another 20 years.

            So I feel your argument needs some life choices to really know the truth about whether a person can follow a diet of this nature or not.

            • prioris says

              There is a supplement that works to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It is called nattokinase. I have chronic blood coagulation problem. I developed peripheral artery disease over 10 years ago and could barely walk. I walk and move fine. It works and has no side effects.

              For most people, nattokinase should be sufficient. For my situation I needed to add serrapeptase. Research fibrinolytic enzymes. Take on empty stomach before bed and optionally in morning.

              Diets will not work in most people unless one one has removed processed foods anf / or fixed what is broken inside of their bodies. If you can’t lose weight by removing process foods, you may need to try detoxes, lugol’s iodine, supplements etc … basically experiment with different things to try to fix what is broken.

              Your sister’s body hasn’t broken enough so she can abuse her body more.

          • Chris says

            My son suddenly suffered seizures and “Alice in Wonderland” migraines at age 10. After seeing 6 neurologists, including the head of neurology at Children’s Hospital, we were hopeless. He had severe reactions to the drugs they prescribed (6 of them) and missed over a month of school. Guess what? It was gluten. He doesn’t have Celiacs – it caused neurological symptoms instead of gut issues. It took many, many, months of agony, but we whipped it. He’s gluten-free, drug-free, and seizure free now! Food can be dangerous too!

        • Tammi says

          So…let me try to understand your logic. Diabetes, heart disease, lupus, MS, and many other diseases caused by poor diet don’t kill?

      • Mari Miller says

        I so agree.. I lost my father at 43 to diabetes.. I do NOT mess around with my diet anymore.. I love Paleo! I feel GUREATTTTTTTTTT!!!!

      • keat says

        actually the title of this article states effortlessly! And without trying! To me that says losing weight easily….!this is a meat eaters diet not much different from atkins at all. and there is nothing healthy about me whatsoever. The whole you need protein some meat to be healthy is bullshit……animal products are the worst thing on the planet first person to eat!

    • says

      While I agree that changing your diet from a vegetarian/vegan to a Paleo diet is difficult for many people, it truly takes time for many people to complete their journey. On the flip side, others really don’t have a the luxury of time to facilitate healing. These people need implement a whole foods diet that removes grains and legumes to heal their gut (etc).

      I love Chris Kresser’s approach, in that not everyone is equal in what they can and cannot eat.

      And with healing, comes freedom, not restriction.

      I think the mindset of many people needs to evolve over time. The journey and paradigm shift for each individual is as different as the bio-individuality of each person and what foods they can handle.

    • Wendy says

      I don’t paleo restrictive at all. It seemed like it at first, but I now feel that my paleo meals are so much more flavorful and enticing than eating bread and pasta. They seem so bland to me now. My diet revolves mostly around veggies with meat on the side. Maybe one or two fruits a day and a handful if nuts. I feel better than ever! My fourteen year old daughter Is a vegetarian that eats eggs and dairy, but limits grains. She’s very happy and healthy. Of course, she still eats pizza with friends, but I think that’s fine.

    • Chuck says

      The Paleo Diet does NOT revolve around meat and little else! Plenty of Fresh Organic Vegetables should be 3/4 of your meal every time. The mainstay of the Paleo Diet is the elimination of all processed foods, grains, sugar, and legumes. I’ve been on the diet for 8 months and lost over 25 lbs, and I’m NEVER hungry. Do I crave foods I can’t have, or ‘fall off the wagon’ now and then? Of course I do, but I get back on track ASAP!

    • Phil says

      Breadie, you may be thinking of the Atkins diet a bit more than the paleo diet. If you’re doing the paleo diet correctly, you are eating a massive amount of vegetables. However, in addition to those vegetables, you need a source of good fats and protein to have a complete diet.

      Unfortunately, what our bodies developed to eat over the course of thousands of generations doesn’t align very well with moral/social choice.

    • Katrina Silva says

      I disagree that the diet “revolves around red meat and little else.” I’ve been eating Paleo for the last year and a half. There’s this misconception that all we eat is meat. Do my daily meals revolve around animal protein? Yes, but I’m generally eating about 4 or 5 ounces per meal. The bulk of my meals comes from all kinds of fruits & vegetables. I have a salad with my lunch and dinner. I have some sort of vegetable at each meal, including a starchy veg at least once a day (sweet potato, butternut squash). You have a ridiculous number of choices for veg (cooked broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprout; all sorts of leafy greens, summer squashes, etc.). Every meal includes some forms of fat: butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. And then there’s fruit. And while some say Paleo is expensive because of the cost of organics and pastured raised animal protein, I do what I can do. If I can’t afford organic, then I don’t buy organic. It’s still a better choice than sugar laden, processed garbage that destroys my gut health. You have to make the best choices you can, and for me, an autoimmune former vegetarian, I have found Paleo to be a godsend. I’m healthier now than I was being a vegetarian. My allergies have subsided, my waistline has shrunk, my inflammation is under control, my cholesterol has dropped, and I haven’t had a cold, sore throat or the flu since I started eating this way. And I teach at a public school! I averaged 2-3 illnesses a year prior to Paleo. So don’t buy into the misconceptions out there about Paleo. Do the research yourself & make the best decision for YOU. Everyone is different. We have to remember that a one-size-fits all approach doesn’t work.

      • Anne says

        Katrina, you could have been me posting this! I agree 100% with you. I also was a vegetarian, even trying veganism for a short time and teach at a public school. I eat one starchy vegetable per day, love the vegetable choices, and eat about four ounces of protein three times per day. I have lost weight, have much more energy, my inflammation issues are gone as are depression and anxiety for the most part. I also rarely get sick! This is the first lifestyle change I have made where I no longer experience cravings for junk. It is very exciting and a huge relief. If, for some reason, the only food available is something I am not willing to eat, I can refrain from eating without feeling faint. My anemia and ovarian cysts have diminished. You are right, also, that Paleo can be expensive if you let it. We just do the best we can and eat seasonally. Certain months we have more money and stock up on grass-fed foods. We are able to go hunting, crabbing, and fishing where we live. We can grow our own food. We have farmer’s markets and farm shares we can purchase. I used to work at a grocery store and was honestly repulsed by what people bought to feed their families. Even prior to going Paleo, my family ate whole foods for the most part. These poor kids have to try to learn while trying to live off of factory-made, processed, junk. I work at a lower-income school and many of the students have bags of hot fried cheese curls (not sure if we can mention brand names) for breakfast and/or snack plus a sugary drink. The school does not allow candy but it wouldn’t be any worse! I try to teach lessons that revolve around healthy lifestyles and good food choices but these children don’t have much of a choice in what their parents have available.
        I am glad to know there is another teacher out there spreading their knowledge of a healthy and rewarding lifestyle!

        • prioris says

          I also observe that most people who shop at Supermarket load their carts up with toxic processed and addictive foods. It’s really amazing to watch. People are just unaware or just don’t care.

          Processed foods are at least 3 times more expensive than buying raw healthier ingredients. A person on food stamps or low income can get more bang for their buck buying bulk and raw ingredients.

          • pm says

            GMO, pesticide laden veggies and all the processed food derived from them are by far cheaper because the government gives large subsides to farmers that use gmo seeds and spray Monsanto pesticides.

            Organic farmed food is more expensive. I know because my family is having hard times. We have to supplement more to make up for it.

            • prioris says

              I can buy way more raw food than processed in a super market like costco and samclub etc because there is a very large profit margin on processed food. The local super markets like winn dixie and publix has very high mark ups on their food. If one is on low income, it pays to shop at more bulk places.

              I agree that the government is subsidizing the toxins. It is so blatant.

              They say the reason manufacturers use hi fructose corn syrup is because it is cheaper. That’s a lie. HFCS poison which makes people more obese is subsidized and the less expensive plain sugar is not allowed to be imported.

              People will say that it is all about greed. That is naive thinking. They have hidden agendas to destroy the populations health. The former is more palatable because people don’t want to confront the darkness and sociopaths who rule over them. They refuse to believe the powers that be would want to poison and kill them. The evidence is all over the place.

    • Andrew says

      Breadie,
      we need to be careful not to get caught by assuming “paleo” means something specific. Chris and a lot of the other paleo pundits have gone to great pains to explain that it is more an approach than a diet. It is helpful to view it as being a template for healthy living (see Mark Sisson’s primal blueprint as well as Chris’s work) and can be tailored within an enormous range to give a maximum shot at health taking into account a person’s philosophies, beliefs, priorities and individual makeup. Nobody is saying you can’t eat grains, just that they have been shown to be a problem for many people so a good starting point is to remove them and see how you go.

      Richard Bach sums it up nicely in Jonathan Livingston Seagull where he writes “A name is a label, and as soon as there is a label, the ideas disappear and out comes label-worship and label bashing, and instead of living by a theme of ideas, people begin dying for labels…”

      My two cents worth is to look behind the labels at the totality of the ideas. Chris along with Taubes, Bailor, Wolf, Sisson, Masterjohn, Noakes etc., etc., are all very sophisticated in their treatment of health with a paleo “template.” Not only do they deal with nutrition, they also deal with lifestyle choices, general health and well being and more.

      Knowing that I could be a vegan or an almost total meat-o-saurus (e.g. Kitavan vs Inuit) or anything in between, with appropriate gut bacteria (feed them and they will come), and acknowledging any peculiarities I might have (e.g. gluten, lactose, nut, or other intolerance) I can tailor a lifestyle for myself that ticks all my boxes AND is as healthy as we currently believe it can be.

      Cheers,
      Andrew.

    • says

      I couldn’t disagree more………..
      take a look at my site….

      I agree the transition is a work in progress for many…..but it’s because they have relied on wheat based products for so long instead of exploring foods they don’t recognize…..

      This is evident every time I checkout at a market and I end up educating 2-3 passers by when they say what is that…what are you gonna do with that…. Well I hope this helps;)

      True paleo is what is available to you seasonally… Look at my site for a hot second and tell me it’s limiting when you have vegetables, wild seafood and pastured animals… Bread was never had less appeal…

    • Lisa says

      I respectfully disagree. No one is saying paleo is easy for everyone. But it’s not as difficult as it sounds. I eat lots of fruit, vegetables, potatoes (white and sweet), white rice, eggs, some dairy and meat. I cheat occasionally (mostly at family gatherings), but I feel so MUCH BETTER. That alone makes it easy to stay on this diet. When you’re eating enough fats, protein and safe starches you don’t crave all the sugar, flour and junk foods of the past.

    • pam says

      yes, paleo is restrictive.

      so is a diet based on “bread”
      so is vegetarian diet
      so is low fat diet
      so is calorie counting diet
      so is SAD

      but i think the point is which one satiates hence requires least amount of will power. also it’s sustainable for long term health.

      although i found my constant reading labels (of calories & fats) has been replaced by constant reading ingredients (gluten & bad fat are everywhere)

    • Kris says

      No offense but I always get a kick out of Vegans and Vegetarians that say Paleo is too restrictive. To me, a ‘meat-eater’, the vegetarian/vegan diet seems highly restrictive, much more so than athe Paleo diet. If you’re a Vegetarian and the Paleo diet doesn’t work for you, then you don’t have to eat that way – no one said we all have to eat the same way!

      • keat says

        actually the title of this article states effortlessly! And without trying! To me that says losing weight easily….!this is a meat eaters diet not much different from atkins at all. and there is nothing healthy about me whatsoever. The whole you need protein some meat to be healthy is bullshit……animal products are the worst thing on the planet first person to eat!

  3. pm says

    I agree, the paleo diet replaces the processed carbs and sugars with fats, proteins and green vegetable carbs that promote satiety.

    If you are on a limited budget and can’t always afford the organic produce, supplementation is vital in my opinion. For if your lacking the minerals and vitamins that veggies supply you body will make you eat until you get them.

    Some naturopaths even maintain that you should supplement because a person can possibly eat all the food necessary to get all the nutrition you need.

    So to be safe, it can’t hurt to take a whole food multivitamin with ionic trace minerals.

    • Kim says

      There are tons of options with paleo. It’s not just focused on meat as you suggested. You are totally missing the point of paleo. It’s about eating real, unprocessed junk food. If you want to eat lots of bread, go ahead and suffer the consequences. If you want be healthy and perform at your best and heal health issues while losing weight, paleo is a good option. You’re right, it’s not always easy–especially when switching from the standard american diet–but what in life is easy?

      • Breadie says

        I have no consequences, I’m lean and fit and have plenty of energy for workouts. My complaint with the articles is that it claims Paleo is easy and natural for everybody and that is just not the case.

        • John says

          Your criticism is completely baseless. No where in the article does Chris state that a paleo diet is “easy and natural for everybody.” He does state that a paleo diet can lead to easy weight loss, due to the sateity per calorie. And if you are “lean and fit” already, why are you even reading an article about weight loss?

          • Breadie says

            Oh, you are being silly. The title of the article is “How to Lose Weight Without Trying on a Paleo Diet.” “Without Trying” implies easy. Do I really need to explain that?

            And I read a lot of fitness articles.

            • Lisa says

              Yes, you need to explain that. Because usually losing weight implies counting calories, or limiting fat, or “watching” what you eat, or exercising more. Which isn’t the case with a paleo-type diet. I’ve been on a diet since I was 13 years old….I am now 60. I went paleo 3 months ago and for the FIRST time I am NOT on a diet. I eat anything I want, as much as I want, anytime I want, and still lose weight. That is what Chris is saying when he says “without trying”!!

              • Breadie says

                Well it’s a matter of semantics then, because I have a much greater problem eliminating grains than doing portion control. Being able to eat unlimited Paleo foods but not allowed to eat grains would be something that would require a lot of “trying” on my part. It would not come easy. In fact it would be damn near impossible and I’d probably go jump off a bridge …

                • Katrina Silva says

                  Breadie,

                  You know, being a NorCal girl, I thought the exact same thing. How was I going to give up bread, especially sourdough bread?

                  But if you are someone with an autoimmune condition (I have Hashimoto’s), gluten does really bad things to your body. So when I started my journey, I said to myself that I was going to give it 3 months. I figured I was good for 3 months of no bread. So I did, and you’re right, it wasn’t easy. It required a change in thinking. And at the end of 3 months, I ate bread. Yeah, I binged on sourdough (the good kind from Boudin SF, all crusty and delicious. Chili in a bread bowl. Yum.)

                  I was OK that day. And the next. And then it hit. Major joint pain, a return of all my symptoms. Just from a little bread!

                  Congrats to you for being lean and fit. If your diet works for you, then stick with it! But for people like me (and I’m finding many many people with the same issues as me, we just CAN’T eat the breads, the grains, and other foods that mimic the gluten response.

                  Now as for Chris Kresser, I am so grateful to have found his blog. Chris doesn’t make unvalidated statements. He backs up his opinions and suggestions with research. I find this to be a credible website and I’ve directed a number of my friends and family to it. Some of them follow the guidelines, some don’t.

                  So if you don’t like it, if you don’t agree with it, then don’t follow it. But please don’t minimize or dismiss something that helps a lot of people.

                  My intention is not to put you down or dismiss your concerns, but I feel like you are challenging this article just for the sake of challenging it.

                  As for the rest of us, we’re not going to be able to convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced. So let’s just go eat our fabulous food and get healthy!

                • Breadie says

                  Katrina, for some reason there is no “reply” button after your post, which is why my reply is here. As I said before, I am only challenging the claim that Paleo is somehow easy or no big deal, which, I maintain, it is being characterized as such by the title “How to Lose Weight Without Trying … “

                • Kris says

                  Breadie ,

                  I think what you’re not getting is the article is saying the *weightloss* part of eating Paleo is often effortless, because a lot of people lose weight when the cut out the processed junk – I don’t think the article is implying that eating Paleo is easy (though for me it is!!) it is saying that the weight loss part once you make the switch is often without additional effort (calorie counting, exercising etc.). I think you are the one caught up on the semantics!

            • John says

              Agian, you stated “My complaint with the articles is that it claims Paleo is easy and natural for everybody.” My point is that Chris never said that in this article, making your criticism of this article baseless. And your response is to quote the title which clearly applies to people who need to lose weight, and while that may be 60% of the American Population, that isn’t EVERYBODY. And again, if you are “lean and fit” as you state, I don’t understand why you would be trying to lose weight. For those of us who need to, losing weight WITHOUT BATTLING HUNGER would be easy.

                • says

                  Hi Breadie,
                  I love bread too! And I still eat it sometimes- albeit gluten free- (also Hashimotos) and I live in Portland which is apparently the gluten free capital of the world, so I eat delicious GF french bread, that tastes like real french bread…but I digress. What I really wanted to say is: that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, we are all really different and it works for some people to eat grains, etc. I would suggest soaking them in an acid (like lemon or vinegar in the water) to get the most nutrients out of your grains. I think their is a lot of backlash from people because Chris is one of the non-extremists and he’s great at meeting people where they are. In good health, Megan

        • Tim says

          How hard is it to pick up a head of broccoli and chow down? How hard is it to purchase a package of chicken breasts and put them on the grill? How easy would it be to just say “I don’t care about all of this stuff” and throw caution to the wind? It’s only as hard or as easy as you make it out to be. Not sure what point you’re really aiming to make here but you’re obviously not getting out of the article what was intended. Many people DO suffer from eating certain foods, and most people DO have at least one food intolerance, whether you do or not. Can you really argue that Paleo isn’t at least an option in defeating certain illnesses and combating disease in a healthy and positive manner?

      • Dena Saperstein says

        Also, there is a thing known as “skinny fat” meaning you can look skinny, but still be unhealthy from the foods you are consuming.

        Personally, I struggled with my weight fluctuating throughout high school and college. I tried many different diets and counted calories and would lose 10 pounds, then gain 20. I was ALWAYS hungry. It wasn’t until June or July of 2006, when I went to a doctor that practices functional medicine where I found out about my food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, eggs, and yeast mainly) It was a tough transition at first because the food industry isn’t helpful in the healing process! I was 173 pounds and am 5′-1.5″ and within several months, the weight just melted off and I was never hungry. Also, cravings went away. I have been able to keep my weight stable for over 7 years with ease. Most importantly, the way I look at food and nutrition has changed. I look at food as medicine now and love how when I eat a certain way, I feel great. What I love about the paleo diet is that it stresses eating unprocessed foods that are delicious and I am never hungry. There have been times where I have introduced grains like rice and quinoa back in my diet and have had stomach issues. Everyone is different and it is a definitely a process finding out what works for your body and what doesn’t… But feeling amazing and not being inflamed is well worth it!

        If you are bored with your diet or feel there are not many options.. I strongly suggest buying some paleo cook books. You do not have to feel like you are missing out on food. Just make a swap for something that will satisfy you. :)

    • French_expat says

      @Breadie: I think pm was responding to the article, not to the point you were making :)

      Having grown up in France, where bread is its own food group, I got very depressed when I was told that, in order to address my auto-immune condition, I had to go gluten-free, and beyond that, grain-free, dairy-free, and starchy vegetables-free… It most certainly is a very restrictive diet, and I thought I’d never be able to enjoy food again. I went into it kicking and screaming. No joke. NO ONE was more surprised than me that, after following this diet for 8 months, not only do I feel much better, but I do not feel deprived *at all*! It really is possible to make very tasty food on this diet. It did require discipline at the beginning, and it is more expensive and more time consuming, but I’ve always cooked anyway (I’m French, after all!) and my efforts are repaid ten-fold in improvements in my health. I consider it an investment of sorts :)

      That being said, I agree with you that this diet would be almost impossible for someone who is vegetarian or vegan–though I’m sure there are people out there doing it!

    • Jon says

      We all have food habits. Tastes can be changed, though it may take time. It’s no use trying to argue that people “like” certain foods so it will be a “nightmare” to change. People often comment that to go suddenly from whole milk to nonfat – or vice versa – can be very unpleasant. But those same people describe the opposite experience once they get accustomed to other foods. Easy does it.

    • Victo says

      Paleo foods are just real foods. Food we have evolved to eat and properly digest. So if you don’t like paleo food, then you don’t like food. And being vegetarian is a personal choice unrelated to any medical condition. So get over your personal biases and eat real food.

    • Breadie says

      And if you didn’t like bread, but were told “This diet is great! You can eat as much bread as you like!”, you’d think, “So what,” right?

      • Diane says

        Breadie, there’s a change that takes place in many people when switching to a paleo diet. I’m 55 and up until about 3 years ago, when I discovered the paleo diet, I LOVED bread (and pasta, and other forms of grain). I tried to eat a “healthy” diet (think “whole” grains), but by this time in my life I was so metabolically deranged that I HAD to make some changes if I wanted to have any kind of quality of life. Osteoarthritis was kicking my butt and I was facing a knee replacement operation among other things. I pretty much started eating paleo out of desperation. I thought there was no way I could give up my bread, among other foods, but I did so out of desperation. What surprised me the most was that after a few weeks of eating a very clean, paleo diet, that “need” to eat bread and grains (and sugar) completely disappeared! I’d been on several different kind of “diets” over the years (such as Weight Watchers), and they were excruciating for me to follow, because they were allowing me to continue eating those foods I was addicted to (and didn’t realize at the time were harming my body). Completely eliminating the grains and sugar was quite eye opening to me, and now from what I understand those foods have an opiate affect on people. They stimulate the pleasure hormones and make us want more. I have not had to have the knee replacement, and my health has improved in COUNTLESS ways since adopting this way of eating. I feel better now than I did through my 30′s and 40′s! I think the changes that happened to me regarding food and how it makes me feel happen to most people who switch to paleo. And I think those who have not experienced that physiological “switch” (such as yourself), cannot understand how life altering it can be. I’m happy that you are in good health now, just be aware that the affects of eating grains can and often do catch up with folks over the years. If that ever happens to you, don’t despair because it really IS possible to live life without bread!

  4. Lynn Therrien says

    I have found this to be true and just in time, I’m pre-menopausal at 46. I don’t want to gain a lot of weight! Can you address tummy weight as you age. This is the REALLY tough nut for MANY people as they get older!!! :)

  5. rs711 says

    Hey Chris,

    “we’re eating more than we were before.”

    Didn’t Taubes, Bailor and others pretty much refute this? In the sense that, yes, we are eating more than before, but the “more” doesn’t equal the levels of obesity we see today.

    Put simply – if calorie math is correct, then how come we’re not all wwwaayyy more over weight?

    So, technically, you are right, but it seems to me like you’ve stretched that concept past its explanatory capacity.

    Please set me straight or put me to data suggesting otherwise, thanks! :)

    PS: congrats on the success of your book – hopefully it’ll affect change positively the way you’ve intended it to

    • Chris Kresser says

      No, Taubes and Bailor have definitely not refuted the considerable amount of hard data showing that we are, in fact, eating more. Whether that is the cause of the obesity epidemic is a subject for debate, because correlation never equals causation. However, based on my review of the evidence, I believe it is the predominant factor (among others, including changes to the gut microbiome).

      • rs711 says

        “[...]we are eating more than before, but the ‘more’ doesn’t equal the levels of obesity we see today.”
        +
        “So, technically, you are right”

        This is me agreeing with your premise that total calorie consumption has gone up and is a contributing factor the obesity epidemic.

        I’m asking you to explain why you think the calorie increase cannot COMPLETELY account for the obesity levels we’re seeing…or if you think it actually is the overarching factor, by far, to then to point me to evidence suggesting that as it has been strongly argued against from Taubes & Bailor with pretty convincing data and logic.

        Thanks

        • prioris says

          The idea that people are eating more than people in the 60s and 70s is so absurd. Americans were more wealthy back when.

          Everyone in France during the early 2000s must have been eating less also. French people must be alien genetic mutants with the lowest obesity rate in the world or maybe it is because they had the world’s healthiest food supplies.

          People eat to satiate that hunger. The idea that this changes is absurd. This was brought about through artificial means by the powers that be with addition of chemicals in food that make people addictive to food and cause people to retain more fat. Also the water supply got toxic with fluoride. It helps the powers that be that people tune out reality around them.

    • Andrew says

      Jonathan Bailor didn’t try to refute the observation that we’re eating more. What he said was that given that we know we’re eating more, the calorie ‘math’ would lead us to expect to be much more overweight than we are. He’s not saying we’re not eating more, but that the simplistic treatment of calories leads to the wrong predictions.

  6. Kierstin says

    Breadie (and other high carb eaters), one missing piece here is that tastes change as you switch your eating patterns. Just because your tastes now make this way of eating appear unappealing, over time, more vegetables and other foods now become more appealing. Also, really, let’s be absolutely clear about the diversity of food choices on the Paleo diet. Right, it ‘restricts’ you to all the huge spectrum of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and meats. If you don’t think you can find something ‘tasty’ to eat, and somehow the bland starches and grains are what’s appealing, then you need to take another look and discover what the breadth and depth of tastes are really there. The cup isn’t half empty. Or just go ahead and eat the bread and muffins, and enjoy and accept the consequences.

  7. MEP says

    Paleo doesn’t always mean “just meat” its eating whole foods – vegetables, berries , nuts and meat. Actually, you should restrict the amount of meat you eat and focus more on eating healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil and avocados. The whole “Meat Only” tag that has been attached to this diet is a misnomer. Wheat (specifically gluten) consumption is the main cause of weight gain in society today.

  8. says

    I think there’s two factors to consider as well here in light of these great points:

    (1) The departure from a calorie-centric approach to weight control means that a greater attention to the chemistry of food & the body will yield more lasting results. Understanding how the energy & nutrients and foods affect the balance of hormones in the body, replaces the obsession of “how much do I eat” with “what kinds of foods should i eat,” and many of the other beneficial effects follow from that shift.

    (2) Everything is worth trying. The retention of weight is mostly attributed to diet, so if a given person has “tried everything else” and they haven’t found lasting results, then perhaps reforming their tastes is the most viable, or even the only, solution. In other words, they may not like certain foods on the Paleo menu, but if they are truly dedicated to losing weight and are seriously considering the Paleo approach, they may need to challenge themselves to develop a taste for the staple foods that make this approach successful (if they physiologically cannot tolerate certain foods, that is a different story). It’s a cost-benefit exercise weighing their quality of life overall against the foods they enjoy eating which may be inhibiting their progress.

    • prioris says

      The powers that be have brainwashed the public to view weight loss as a calorie problem.

      Weight loss programs that don’t satiate hunger are a complete failure.

      Weight loss programs which require people to exercise more than lightly continuously will fail in the long run. The reality is that besides health fanatics, no one goes to gym their entire life.

      Any weight loss program needs to utilize foods that don’t contain those processed ingredients. They will fuel obedity and food addictions. GMO foods will aggravate the problem. If one looks at the top chefs in the world, they will use the best ingredients and we’re not talking expensive either. That is the basis to good food.

      Some people who have weight problems but are borderline healthy will be able to tip the balance with some calorie and exercise but that is not really addressing what is broken in the body or if they are eating a lot of processed foods.

      One may need to detox their bodies in various ways to remove the build up of toxins in their bodies.

      If the body isn’t keeping trim on it’s own on a diet that minimizes processed foods then something in the body is broken whether it is an infection or weakened organ etc.

      Any weight loss program must be able to diagnose and address what is broken internally. Limited exercise can be an adjunct to this if they diagnose and treat correctly. The problem with most weight loss programs is that they can’t diagnose what is wrong internally. Most ignore the tainted food supply and have people stupidly focus on calories. The more healthier people will have success. The less healthy won’t.

      The only weight loss program on TV that ever truly addressed weight loss was a British program called “You are what you eat”. They had the most success out of any TV program.

      Most people are not even aware of the severe taint to the general food supply so it is a steep uphill battle to inform people.

  9. greekyoghurtlover says

    Breadie,

    Restrictive in which way? In the way of not enough nutrition?

    Paleo is not restrictive because it eliminates grain products.

      • Meatie says

        Than keep eating grains it they make you happy. I don’t think the article is saying that everybody should quit eating grains!

        • Steph says

          Breadie, Have you read Chris’ book “Personal Paleo Code” or even tried to cut grains or processed foods out of our diet? I was vegan for a short time and felt that was way more restrictive than a Paleo style diet. My autoimmune disease became much worse on a vegan diet and became better on a Paleo style diet. I just think you might want to try and read Chris’ book, before you claim Paleo is restrictive. He does believe that everyone is different and some tolerate some foods better than others. There isn’t one template that works for everyone.

          • Breadie says

            I have not read it nor will I ever try to cut grains out of my diet. I like grains and they give me no problems. I’m not one to jump on every bandwagon that comes along just because it’s all the rage.

            • lchfer says

              You could also “make your own version” of the Paleo diet. If you don’t want to, don’t exclude grain products but try to limit processed foods like fake meats, pizzas, maybe white bread? Just bring more variation by adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet (eggs if you’re not vegan) and limiting added sugar, instead of limiting grain products. No one says you have to be 100% strict Paleo to see positive results, there’s a lot of people who don’t exclude dairy or beans from their Paleo diet

              • Kris says

                Breadie, If you’re ‘lean and fit’ (and don’t need to lose weight) and you think the Paleo way of eating is too restrictive…I’m wondering why you’re on this site…and as to your comment above about Paleo being restrictive if ‘you LOVE grains’ – the Vegan and Vegetarian diets would be ‘too restrictive’ to someone who likes to eat meat – so whats your point?

      • Vex says

        I believe low carb, paleo anything, is hard and sometimes slightly restrictive. Even being on low carb for 4 months in the past was very hard for me. Always hungry, never truly feeling satisfied. That could be some other problem though. I don’t know. But all I know is that I strongly believe the only way I could possibly lose some weight sitting on my ass is doing very very low carb. No bread or fruit or starch for me. It’s horrible. I don’t have any health problems so it’s basically just vanity with me. I pretty much don’t eat any carbs at all. You lose weight faster but it’s very tough. I was never fat growing up and I don’t plan on being fat much longer. I admit, I am taking the extreme route. Each to their own right?

  10. Carla Flaim says

    I must be the odd duck. I have managed to gain weight instead of losing like I wanted. Frustrating doesn’t even sum it up. I am grain free, sugar free, legume free, etc.. following paleo for a year and have managed to gain instead of losing the 30 pounds

    • Debbie says

      The truth is, calories do count, even on Paleo. I don’t actually count them, but know if I’m starting to gain (I lost 80 pounds years ago) I’m eating too much, and cut back. But, I’ve found this to be an easy diet to stick to. For the first time in my life I’m not hungry all the time and my energy is great. But, that doesn’t mean I somehow know when to stop eating automatically like a regular skinny person. I’m not even skinny. I think it’s a mistake to tell overweight people they can just eat what they want as long as it’s on the diet. No. So, a little self guidance and discipline is necessary. Knowing that at the beginning eliminates surprises and a sense of failure on this diet.

    • Emily says

      I also gained weight on Paleo and I was hungry all the time. I felt miserable and had no energy for my workouts and yoga. As soon as I added grains back in, the symptoms and the weight went away. I am accustomed to being fit, so this was not acceptable to me. I think if we base our diets on whole, real foods and get away from mainstream processed junk, the particulars of what we eat simply vary depending on each person’s own unique physiology.

  11. Marina says

    This is the best way of eating for me, real food, delicious, nourishing and the side effects are amazing… clear mind, no hunger, more energy, beautiful skin, no menstrual pain, beautiful hair, no cravings for carbs…

    Thank you Chris for all the amazing and important information that you share with us.

  12. mims says

    I’ve gained on paleo too…..I cannot seem to handle all the fat. If I follow paleo guidelines minus animal fat (olives. avocado coconut oil seem fine) then I can maintain a good weight without trying to hard. But as soon as I start enjoying fattier cuts of meat or using butter, duck fat, lard etc. then the weight slowly creeps up.

    I think everyone is unique and some snippet of my DNA makes me less efficient at burning fat. After living in my body 50plus years I see what works for me. Personally I don’t full sated when I eat fat. I just want to eat more. But a whole plate of steamed brocolli or cauliflower. Then I feel full.

    So paleo for me is an ok compromise and I would not say it is effortless, it takes alot of effort to have the self control to turn down the foie gras or the bacon wrapped scallops or the butter drenched green beans or salmon skin avocado roll ups my husband enjoys. It’s important to remember in a research piece on diet that shows a statiscally relevant outcome (ie: fat helped folks feel more satisfied), there were people in the study who did not feel that way. Different strokes for different folks.

    • Marta says

      Cabbage cauliflower broccoli kale are anti thyroid goitrogens they lower your metabolism .Does anyone have cold hands cold feet insomnia thinning hair .I did paleo felt great at first for a year or so .I wish I had known how goitrogenic so many vegetables are.My body was stressed and running on adrenaline which is why I felt so good,then crash .

      • Marta says

        I feel better now ,I eat white rice and potatoes in moderation.I know I need thyroid the doctors don’t seem to think so.

    • Terri says

      Why “it takes alot of effort to have the self control to turn down the foie gras or the bacon wrapped scallops or the butter drenched green beans or salmon skin avocado roll ups my husband enjoys”

      I would enjoy all those yummy nice high fat why are you restricting them on paleo?

  13. Laura says

    I’ve been eating Paleo for 16 months now, and have close to a dozen health improvements! However, one major problem is that I’ve actually gained about 9-11 lbs. of FAT. Yes, fat, not just overall weight! I used to eat whole wheat products, low fat dairy and low calorie foods. When I switched to Paleo and replaced those with REAL food, I lost muscle definition, gained a spare tire around my mid-section, went up 1 pant size, move slower when sprinting, and I’m just baffled, and scared to continue eating Paleo foods while gaining more and more fat. How long must I wait to see a fat LOSS??

    • prioris says

      I’m not on the paleo diet but you may benefit by taking CLA. I would bet you will gain the muscle and body definition back with it. If it is working, you will gain weight in the beginning. Don’t mistake that gained weight for fat increase.

  14. says

    Think it might be useful to bring hormone optimization into the equation.

    Been reading the work of various MDs such as Drs. Weil, Hotze, Smith and Hyman, and they cite some alarmingly high statistics about % of the population w/ poorly functioning (too low or too high) insulin, thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, etc.

    Apparently, it’s really tough to get lean if one’s hormone’s are outta whack (yes, an exacting scientific expression).

    Re Paleo… I read extensively on diet, nutrition, exercise (and blog about it), but remain confused about the merits of eggs, meat, saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, etc.

    Paleo supporters think all that’s good, and cite some new studies to support such, but some pretty bright research-oriented MDs (Hyman, Ornish, Fuhrman, Gregor) are adamant that a plant-dominate diet is healthier.

    On Dr. Gregor’s site, http://nutritionfacts.org/, he has over 1,000 videos where he examines studies that examine the best foods and supplements, and it all comes down to plants.

    I’ve tried different diets to see what works best for me. It’s hard to do, to make yourself a science experiment. But what I feel is working best for me is to be very moderate with meat (and make sure it’s pasture raised, grass fed), somewhat moderate with eggs (again, pasture raised), moderate with high-sugar fruits (many more berries than bananas, for instance), very moderate w/ grains, less so w/ beans/legumes (soak them first) and abundant w/ veggies.

    My 2 cents.

    -Joe

    • BicycleGuy says

      “Plant Based” is a $5 version of “vegetarian” as a useful simplification.

      There are three motivations for “Plant Based”.

      1) “Morals – not wanting to kill or cause the killing of an animal in order to eat.

      2) Environmental – the world can feed a lot more people by eating plants, as animal tissue formation is a very inefficient use of either plants or other animals.

      3) Health – it is more “healthy” to eat plant foods than animal foods.

      Of course, for many “Plant Based” believers, they maintain one, two or all three of these beliefs and may have others as well.

      Evolution has resulted in carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. It is undeniable that humans are omnivores, not herbivores.

      The Ornish “scientific” approach originally involved five factors in lifestyle: a) Plant Based Diet, b) smoking cessation, c) exercise, d) stress management, e) psychological support. Later Ornish generally claimed that literally all of the benefits resulted from the Plant Based Diet, without any data to state that this factor actually had greatest weight. It was a “Plant Based” belief, at the time.

      His claim of “some decrease in narrowing of arteries (stenosis) was also found in various medical treatments and other diets of various kinds. “Some” is usually just “small” reduction in stenosis and has often been at the very edge of experimental resolution and occurs in “some” participants.

      Ornish may be the same kind of “Scientist” as Ancel Keys – a man seeking proof of his ideas, rather than objective knowledge. Some “scientists” cherry pick the data to provide “proof”. It is a constant problem with fame and money involved.

      It is amazing how much good opportunity for thinking is wasted by preconceptions of “Paleo”, when those original paleo folks neglected to write down and preserve their recipes for our use. :-) :-) :-) :-)

  15. Kari Canary says

    My biggest “ah-ha” in switching to Paleo was when I cut out all the baked goods and pasta how many more vegetables I was eating for snacks and with meals to fill up on. Great switch if you ask me :D

  16. maria says

    Hi Chris,
    My blood sugar is always 100 at 2am. everyday. But in the morning its in the low range of normal – My Fasting Blood Sugar is 70.
    I was hypoglycemic and LC is what is saving my life. what’s really confusing me now is that when I eat moderate carb my BG plummets. I thought improved insulin sensivity.
    This happened three times this week, usually at breakfast or dinner. I use coconut oil per day so could that be inducing ketosis and physiological insulin resistance? I have low FBG so that wouldn’t make much sense. I’m worried with this random spikes and I can’t think of any plausible reason why this happens…
    For eg: two days ago I ate beef, avocado, veggies and half potato for dinner and my BS was 153 1h after
    this morning at breakfast I ate eggs with coconut oil and yogurt with a banana, 1h after 158. I immediately ate an apple and 1h after it was down to 110. What the heck?
    Again, so sorry to bother you I’m worried I am progressevely becoming diabetic and I want to prevent that while it is still possible (while I have FBG of 70).
    Best regards and I wish you all the best.

  17. says

    I’d love to know more about the nitty gritty behind weight loss and paleo. I see many people say how the pounds just melt off…. Not for me. I’ve been following a Paleo diet for almost a year, and I have not lost any weight. Before switching to Paleo, I was already sugar and gluten-free, so giving up grains and legumes was not such a big deal.

    I also practice Chinese medicine, and I’m interested in hearing more about the the connection between weight-loss and paleo from this point of view.

    Funny enough, the most weight loss I ever experienced was when I switched off the “SAD” (standard american diet) to Macrobiotics–about 15 years ago–giving sugar and dairy–and meat–but focusing on lots of grains and legumes. It’s strange to me that with THAT diet, I shed 25 pounds in a few months without trying…and yet, with Paleo, Nothing.

    Maybe it’s my metabolism, I don’t know. One thing is for sure, I’m much healthier now then I was then–Kidney and Spleen function much better, and generally speaking, far less dampness.

    • says

      Dee, I’m with you.
      Glad you found what works for you.

      Unfortunately, I have yet to find a guideline that works for me.

      When I focus on a low-carb diet, my body needs a good amount of fats and proteins to feel satisfied. This makes my body super damp, very uncomfortable and many physical side effects.

      When I go on a low fat diet, with not so many ‘heavy’ foods, I end up needing more carbs to calm my appetite, and this helps dry my body, but I can tell my body is not happy being on carbs as primary fuel, something feels off. I don’t lose any weight either.

      I would so love to find some solutions!

  18. prioris says

    Chris says “the simple truth is that we’re eating more than we were before.”

    Hearing Chris say this is like a plumber announcing that the problems are in the pipes and an electrician announcing that the problem is in the wiring etc.

    If one looks around the world’s population you will notice that in the last 10 years, France had the lowest obesity rate at 10%. What is different about France – they have the highest quality food supply in the world. Their food supply will eventually go to crap.

    The increase in obesity problems in US correlate with the introduction of more toxins and addictive substances into the US food supply since the 70s. The US had only 10% obesity in the 60s.

    Not only will these toxic processed foods make them gain weight but overtime their bodies will become more sicker. This will cause many to seek help from conventional medicine which will give them medications toxic to their bodies.

    If that is not enough, Americans get brainwashed into thinking that the problem is calorie consumption and exercise. What a mind fu–. They set people up for failure.

    Those core 10% I have always viewed as having internal medical problems like thyroid, metabolism etc. They get brainwashed also with the lies. They also make their problems worse with processed foods.

    On top of that, we have GMO foods. This will create a lot more health damage in the population.

    It hurts Chris’s credibility to talk about paleo diet and eating too much while a massive biological, chemical and genetic warfare assault is being carried out on a large scale.

    Too many people I bring up the problem of a tainted food supply problem just say – we all got to die sometime. I ask them what about their kids and they just look at me. Yes, these same people will feed their kids the crap they eat also.

    People who are obese will need put those speeches about calories and exercise into a waste basket and wake up. Even those weight plans on TV use toxic substances in their food. People need protect themselves from the assault and stick to natural remedies. They need to smarten up.

    • T Gregory says

      I do agree that our food nowadays is crap! Its a shame that it takes a part time job to afford high quality organic foods but its now getting to the point that with GMO we might not even be able to avoid it even with our best intentions. Yea, its scary scary stuff and its all based on greed.

      • prioris says

        You brought up a good point. Economics can make it difficult for people to get healthy. Their geographic location and what’s available around them can have an effect. If people are in survival mode all the time, their mental energy can be weakened. Their are invisible negative psychic forces that effect people also.

        As far as processed foods, they are at least 3 times more expensive than buying the raw ingredients so ultimately more economical. I also have a membership to places like sams club to buy in bulk.

        The best place to buy things if you can present them with some business card or even create a corporation having to do with food or if you know someone in restaurant business is Restaurant Depot who allows you to reference their account when you buy things. They sell food dirt cheap compared to super markets.

        The other aspect is finding quality ingredients. I have many stores around me but there is only this one small Spanish store in low rent district which sells good hamburg. The reason it is good is because they grind it up frozen. The quality of the meat everywhere else tastes like crap. It’s learning these little things. I also have found out that not all rice is created equal. A basmati kind I buy is only sold at a chinese store. Good quality ingredients raise the quality of the meal. You have to experiment and try things.

        The obstacle to cooking with raw foods is learning how to cook. Many bookstores will sell really great bargain basement cook books for less than $10. The best cookbooks will have nice colored pictures of the cuisine to be cooked along with nice print. They will even have pictures of the ingredient and an explanation on how to use them. They will have them on sale on and off so you have to check the bookstores intermittently. The hardest place to get find recipes is on the internet. It requires knowledge and experience to find the correct recipe. I watch the cooking shows on TV with the good chefs also. There are only a few items that really can’t be made well at home like high quality fried chicken since it requires a commercial fryer to be done well. I braise all my meats.

  19. Katherine S. in Seattle says

    Thank you for starting this series. Your interviews with Stephan Guyenet helped me quite a bit.

    My history: I lost about 80 pounds on low carbohydrate at a rate of only 15-20 pounds per year at most, starting in 2005. I went backwards in 2011 due to extraordinary sad life circumstances. In 2012, I decided to push on and reverse 2011. I tried a protein-sparing modified fast plus endurance exercise (and thought I was having a heart attack) – my doctor had to tell me these things can’t go together. I dropped 20 with the protein-sparing tatic until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I dropped 10 easily upon reading the potato hack craze….I was thinking I was trapped into continuing with these tricks until I heard your podcasts with Stephan Guyenet. I dropped another 10 pounds after I read his blog and following his recommendations coupled with long, flavorless windows fuelled only with MCT oil (Seth Roberts – Shangri-La style–which I learned about also from Stephan Guyenet when he mentioned that Seth Roberts operates on the same principal, different method – so, I just combine them). I know I can lose weight with using nutrient-dense bland paleo foods plus long flavorless windows using MCT oil without having to resort to unsustainable things like a protein-sparing modified fast or potato hack. The interesting thing is that I didn’t have to go super low carb to do this – I did utilize a little plain potatoes and it worked just fine.

    After reaching about a 120 pound weight loss, I went backwards again at the end of last year, again due to extraordinary stress. I regained 20 and am now anxiously looking to lose this plus more.

    It was great to see you, Chris. Thank you for visiting Seattle on your book tour. I thought the example of the woman in her 40s you put up in your talk was much like what I do – I really only eat from 11 am to 7 pm on a fairly low carbohydrate diet.

    I thought the best tip that you gave was that there is more to health than just dialing in the diet. I never get any sun, no exercise, no play, and am under chronic stress to the point now that I am having to go to the doctor for help with the stress.

    • Katherine S. in Seattle says

      I should add that I lost this weight throughout my 40s.

      When I hear people say that they tried a diet and it did not work, I find that they tried it for a few weeks maybe a month. If I had done that, I would still be up over 300 pounds. Looking at what usually happens to people my age through their 40s, I would probably be around 350 pounds now and really unhealthy.

      Weight loss may happen very slowly. Most days when I get on the scale I see nothing but the usual water weight fluctuations. All I can say is that some time during the year, I will drop 15 or 20 pounds. Do you think you could detect a weight loss of 1/2 pound per week? Probably not when you fluctuate a few pounds daily anyway.

      What does your paleo diet look like? If it has been molded to look like cheese cake, tacos made out of bacon, pancakes made out of almond flour, yeah, guess what, you have made it too tasty and calorie-dense and you are probably not going to be dropping any weight, especially if weight loss is hard for you like it is for me. If it looks like voluminous salads, bone broths, reasonable servings of meats balanced with plenty of vegetables, and berries and no more than a handful of nuts per day and maybe a square of dark chocolate for a treat, and if you tolerate them, some PLAIN potatoes or sweet potatoes, then you have a fighting chance.

      • prioris says

        When I took the CLA , it took 7-8 months for it to notice it was working because of my chronically ill health. It required no exercise. For some people it works real quick. It will likely take way less time for most other people. You don’t use a weight scale to see if you shed pounds. Pinching the fat and seeing how many inches there is is more reliable method because weight scales don’t separate fat weight and muscle weight. Muscle weighs more. I actually weigh more but my body is very slim. I am 60.

        I noticed weight gain at the beginning but that is a tip off that it was working. This will scare people. Most people will stop it and give up because their weight scale tells them it’s not working. Some things require time.

        The only downside to CLA is that it is gotten from sunflower seed oil. The ideal CLA would be gotten from grass fed animals. It would be more safer and healthier since that is the kind most research of CLA is based on.

        There are cases where some people have problems with their livers while taking CLA but that tends to be rare. We don’t know if they were on medications. Many people on medications will have a negative reaction to astaxanthin and other supplements. Some people do well with coconut oil but then their health gets worse and needs to stop. We don’t know why. It is just something to be aware of.

        Whichever method ones uses, one needs to experiment and understand that a particular method can take time to work and may entail weight gain in the beginning.

      • Lisa from Boston says

        thank you Katherine for your input. I’m in a similar situation… I’m 49 and about 80 lbs overweight. I’ve been slowly moving toward eating paleo for the past year… some life challenges resulted in times where my diet went out the window… now for the past month I’ve been doing well and cooking more than I ever have (LOVE bone broths!). I saw about a total 7 lb weight loss and then had a major slip weekend and gained back 5 (sigh).

        Weight loss is hard… while I’m a big fan of Chris’ and appreciate his wisdom and knowledge (and attended his book signing here in Boston), I think the tagline “without trying” is a bit of a stretch and misleading.

        I just wanted to say that I appreciate your taking time to write about your experience here… it gives me hope that I’m on the right path and that this will take time.

        • prioris says

          Losing weight is really hard only if you haven’t addressed what is broken inside of you.

          The term weight loss really is too vague. If you gain muscle, that is good weight gain. If you gain fat, that is bad weight gain. People need to distinguish. Most people don’t.

          The foundation of any weight loss is cleaning up your food supply and minimizing the toxins. You need to operate from a base. You don’t have to have a perfect. Just make sure your main meals are nutritious. You may consider doing different detoxes also.

          The next thing is trying to fix what is broken in us. In most cases we just don’t know. So we need to experiment with supplements and foods that address various organs and health conditions that could effect us. You need to experiment and come at the problem from different angles. Of you are persistent, you may come across something that fixes that unknown broken thing. When that happens, weight loss happens easy. Keeping off the weight will likely be way easier also.

          The body has the ability to fix itself with the right stuff. No diet plan will truly address the weight problem especially if the underlying internal problems are serious enough.

        • Katherine S. in Seattle says

          Hang in there, Lisa!

          I’m sure all Chris means by “without trying” is that horrible experience we have all gone through, cutting calories and going hungry, eventually that fight cannot be won, and we end up nutritionally deficient, fatigued, and all that fabulous weight loss then boomerangs into rapid weight gain, plus more. It actually takes quite a big dose of trying to lose weight that way, and that is what most people have experienced.

          Hang in there! I expect that until I address things other than just the diet, I am going to have trouble progressing. I need to address sun, play, gut health (things in the diet I have failed to honestly address as well), stress, anxiety, etc.

  20. Katy says

    I gave paleo a good try for a few months but didn’t lose any weight. At all. I maintained very well indeed, but no loss, and to do so for me wouldn’t be ‘without trying’ as I so fervently hoped.

    So I’m currently losing following more traditional techniques of weight loss (with weekly success) and plan to switch to a more paleo diet once I reached my target weight as I do believe in the health principals of this way of eating.

    Anyway, just my two cents

  21. BicycleGuy says

    In one narrow interpretation of of Paleo, you would have to reject all foods called “Stir Fry”, be they any combination of meats, grains, vegetables, nuts or fruits.

    In a broad interpretation of Paleo, you would welcome an awful lot of “Stir Fry” combinations.

    It depends on how closely your mind focuses on sitting in a cave with stone tools as your means of grubbing found food out of the ground or personally killing animals yourself.

    It is amazing how much good opportunity for thinking is wasted by preconceptions of “Paleo”, when those original paleo folks neglected to write down and preserve their recipes for our use. :-) :-) :-) :-)

  22. Jess says

    Hi Chris,

    I am on the waiting list for your book at my library. I am gluten, lactose, refined sugar and potato intolerant according to tests my naturopathic doctor did after presenting with fibromyalgia and chronic insomnia. I did a Whole 30 two years ago and gave up gluten and dairy 100%, as well as refined sugar and potatoes. I eat rice occasionally and corn tortillas occasionally too (like twice a month). Otherwise I eat meat, veggies, fruit, coconut products, some nuts, olives, avocados. I also do HIIT twice a week. I have not lost any weight. It’s amazing and I don’t understand it. I eat better than anyone I know and yet I cannot seem to lose weight ever, even on the Whole 30! However, I no longer present with chronic pain, my sleep has improved, and overall I feel better. I look forward to reading the rest of your articles because I’m stumped and frustrated. Thanks!

  23. John McDonell says

    Gosh, there are many wonderful insights here. But perhaps a little bit of biochemistry MAY clarify. Chris talks about using Paleo for weight loss. Most ‘diets’ are for weight/fat loss and the use of the word ‘diet’ means so much more than fat-loss for eg. getting-healthier thru better food choices;. Excess fat (obesity) is only one (of several) indicators that something is wrong here and we say its our food. In Paleo-times people were without any way to preserve food for extended periods of time and their method of transport meant that food variety (beyond wild-foraged) was limited. So the present-use of the word ‘Paleo’ is-a-tongue-in-cheek-bow-to-what-our-ancestors-actually did eat.
    For example, many grains and lentils use phytates; oxilates and phylates kind of like storage walls to keep the oils, the minerals and the proteins – in separate compartments. These chemical families are destroyed by water allowing the compartment-held nutrients to mix …. we call this germination of seeds during spring rains. Our Paleo ancestors ate only seasonally based food … ate their animal-based-foods, gestated during winter months and like-all-animals often nearly starved and ate a mild ketosis-type diet. Life is so much different!!! Our ‘oils-in-diet was only fat/blubber/ from-marine-animals and only from avocadoes walnut, tree-nuts … there were no cold-pressed organic anything.. For many folk those three can cause digestive trouble … and kill-the-plant-enemy(us and we call these staples)) … by introducing a food that will cause fat deposits.
    Now from 1950′s chemistry aka Watson. There are 3 categories of catalysts in ALL biochemical reactions. The 3rd is ENERGY and we in our modern medicine (food strategizing) DO A HUGE DISSERVICE by insisting that the only kind of ENERGY is heat measured in joules. Silly me, ‘insisting’ is such a poor word-choice. We ignore most of ‘humanities’ diet strategies because the experiments done were often not circadian and seasonal (because Californian weather is non-drastic/non-seasonal).

  24. Lilian says

    I have been looking for a healthy way of eating after finally coming to terms with sudden weight gain. I have gained 27lbs within the last 2 years, (from 138 to 165) and frankly, I would rather lose it than buy new clothing. I went o the gym 5 days a week for 3 weeks with only a 2lb loss to show for it.

    After reading about #paleodiet, I have made the decision to give it try. Stay tuned for my progress. I welcome any tips to help me in my journey.

    • Breadie says

      What are you doing at the gym? Are you just doing a bunch of cardio? Because that is kind of an ineffective method of fat loss. Are you lifting weights and trying to build muscle? Doing so will not only improve your metabolism but will also give your body an improved shape.

      Regarding the weight gain, have you checked thyroid and cortisol levels? Are you on any new medication?

      If I were you I would focus on the reason for the sudden weight gain rather than just jumping on a new diet.

  25. Frieda says

    Every diet guru raves on about how their diet keeps one from getting hungry. Being hungry is not the issue. for most of us, emtional eating is the issue. it has nothing to do with hunger and changing up what you eat has no effect on it. It is an emotional issue that cannot be treated with dietary change. For those of us who use food to satisfy our emotional needs, diet alone is not the answer.

    • Katherine S. in Seattle says

      Check out Chris’ podcast 15 with Jaminet where they talk about inflammation in the brain and the regulation of mood.

      I think mood regulation issues and obesity may well be symptoms of the same problem.

  26. says

    It’s true. I have been following the Jaminets’ Perfect Health Diet for 3 months and have lost 16 pounds AND I am a post-menopausal woman! Is that TMI? I hear it’s very hard to lose weight in this time period of my life yet I have done it and it’s not been hard at all. Even hunger is different now. No longer do I have that gnawing hunger that used to cause me to reach for something sweet or a bag of chips – which made things worse.

  27. peggy says

    great discussion. a paleo template is a great plan to do the best for good health. it takes personal tolerance for food and likes into consideration with resultant improved health and gradual weight loss. after all, all that extra weight we are lugging around with us was not gained in a week or two but. over a considerable time whilst we ate more than we needed of food which was nowhere near real or natural. I have been on paleo for approx 3 years due to medical conditions – gluten intolerance soy and dairy allergy – and now i am so much healthier – no joint pain less digestive pain and problems and I am gradually shedding the last six kilos my heart specialist advised me to lose and this would bring me to my best weight for my height and body build. I find that paleo is very straight forward to follow and very free-ing – no calorie counting or weighing portions of food. and. no constant counting of points and preoccupation with food all day. overall I have lost 27 kilos over two years and have kept it off and am still losing gradually – I do tai chi, shi bashi. and weight training
    and look about fifty years old and I am 70. if you want good health than it is worth striving hard for it And do the very best you can for yourself no one else can do it for you.

  28. says

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  29. says

    Personally I’m convinced that the word ‘diet’ means ‘way of living” and “regular (daily) work”, so if you decided to keep your diet you must keep your way of living. Losing extra pounds is a long and hard process and you don’t have to suffer while dieting. I agree somebody may like Paleo diet, but I’m not. So I follow simple rules the most important for me – drink a lot of water every day, eat healthy organic food and avoid fast-food. Hope this artcile about junk food will be interesting and useful whether you keep Paleo diet or you don’t http://fatlossfactorsreviews.com/beware-of-junk-food/

  30. shane says

    Ive been doing strict paleo diet now for over a month with Sundays as my only day to have carbs. I’m not losing weight. I’m not having dairy either.my typical day i have a protein shake with 1 tbls spoon of raw almonds bfast. and then lunch and dinner is a lean protein veggies steamed or salad (lettuce and tomatoes oil and vinegar ) and maybe sliced avocado. when im hungry ill eat only approved paleo food Ive cut out my apple daily as well. i sleep 10hours a day and work as a bartender witch is physical. no extra exercise. any suggestions

    • Dena says

      Hi Shane,
      I was having issues losing weight last year even though I thought I was being really good with my diet and avoided gluten, and dairy for example and mainly eating paleo. It was frustrating because I was feeling very inflamed. Anyways… I had an appointment with my doctor who ran some tests and retested me for food sensitivities.
      It turns out I was showing I developed antibodies for eggs and was still being exposed to gluten and dairy somehow. This was eye opening to me. Somehow even though I was not eating gluten, diary, etc… it was still getting in my system. Perhaps due to cross contamination from restaurants? I assumed if I was ordering grilled chicken and a side of veggies that I was fine. If you are eating out.. I would say be careful and ask what things are cooked in. Some places thicken sauces with flour or cook in butter.

      -Another possible cause of keeping the weight on is a food allergy that you are unaware of like eggs. Apparently, a lot of people are sensitive to eggs even though they are good for you and okay on the paleo diet. Since I discovered that I have this sensitivity, I eliminated eggs from my diet last March and the scale finally budged! If you are eating eggs, maybe try eliminating and see if this helps?

      -Lastly, my gut flora was out of whack. I was prescribed an antibiotic to eliminate bad bugs in my gut and was given a probiotic to take which seemed to help.

      Those are my two cents and my personal experience. Let me know if this helps!

    • Dena Saperstein says

      I just thought of something else. You may already be aware, but whey protein is dairy…I know I was eating protein in shakes and wasn’t even considering that. Hemp protein, and pea protein are a good option I think to use.

      • shane says

        Dena thank you! maybe its the whey protein and i never eat eggs. i do have issues with dairy hence i went strict paleo. no butter,cream,cheese,.I’ll check to see where to find a doctor that test food allergies thanks you Shane…

    • shane says

      As in my above post its a very strict paleo diet.my typical day i have a protein shake with 1 tbls spoon of raw almonds bfast. and then lunch and dinner is a lean protein veggies steamed or salad (lettuce and tomatoes oil and vinegar ) and maybe sliced avocado. when im hungry ill eat only approved paleo food Ive cut out my apple daily as well. i sleep 10hours a day and work as a bartender witch is physical. no extra exercise.thanks Beverly

  31. Kelly Frater says

    i definately recomend everyone who wants to lose weight fast but the proper way and not the way that damages your body, this weight loss program: http://tinyurl.com/qc8579p

    i’ve been using it for about two and a half months now and i couldn’t be happier with the results. of course you gonna have to make some effort to maintain a strict diet and do alot of exercise, remember nothing falls from the sky, besides do exercise is good, and after a few weeks after your body starts to adapt to its new “habits” it all starts to go from a daunting task to a thing that makes you feel good, makes you feel lighter and then you start to see the results which are booster up by this amazing weight loss program, probably the best out there, at least that i’ve tried. i couldn’t believe it myself before i try it. and now after 2 and a half months with alot of dedication i’ve already lost 45 pounds, i’m getting my self-steam back again, gotta keep on going :)

    good luck to you all and hope you check the program out and in case you do try it i hope it do for you as much as it has been doing for me

    all the best

  32. Marianne says

    Hi! I have been on the paleo diet for almost a month now! I feel amazing! I do not have cravings. I really think it is a lifestyle change for me and one that I will keep! I am 57 years old and exercise 6 days a week. I swim 3 days a week and practice Bikram (Hot Yoga) 3 days a week. I feel fine when I am swimming but am not doing well in Yoga. Bikram is not new for me, I have been practicing for 7 years.

    I want to know, if you think my body will adjust to the paleo diet eventually and allow me to continue doing Bikram? Can you give me any tips on how I might improve my practice.
    Bikram is never easy but I am now feeling fatigued, nauseous, low energy, etc. while in class. Never felt this bad before in class!
    Thank You!

  33. Sonia Hamberger says

    Dr. can you explain to me why it is better for me to try to stick to 3 meals a day while on Paleo rather than snacking in between? I am eating Paleo to be healthy but also to try and lose some weight, we aere always taught to eat frequently if you want to lose weight, but the Paleo diet goes against this.

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  35. Scott D says

    I was a binge drinker, junk eater, and loved food and alcohol and thought diets were stupid, simple just eat healthy and excercise. I WAS WRONG!! Eating healthy (my idea of eating healthy) was multigrain breads, potatoes, veggies, lite sauces, lite dairy products etc and yes it was healthier than going on some stupid shake diet and yes a lot healthier than eating KFC, or McDonalds.. however I still liked to binge on the weekends and thought on night or one day wont hurt (which usually it wouldnt) but along with the alcohol and the junk food nothing was working. SO I decided to go to the gym for 6 months.. I was doing very well, started running around 3-5Ks and that was awesome for me because I couldnt run more than 1k before. And eating healthy was great, I was feeling good however weight wouldnt come off all that quick and took ages to get down 12Kg in around 10 months. Well, I decided to get into Paleo, first I did the whole30 plan (which is paleo but a little more strict) I had to stop alcohol completely, stop all carbs and just stick to a very simple diet, fresh meat, veggies, little fruit here and there, and water and tea/coffee… just cut out empty carbs, sugar and grains. The most simple diet I have ever gone through, I have not craved much over the 30 days, and at the end of the whole30 which is in 2 days from now, I will be carrying on with Paleo for the remainder of the next 3 months to see how I go. I will be treating myself to a few alcoholic beverages next weekend for someones birthday but back on the wagon immediately. in just 28 days I have dropped 3 belt holes, put on clothes I havent worn for over 4 years, feel amazing, loving my dinners and recipes I come up with and I cant see how else I will eat from now on, amazing diet and great results… people are coming to me and saying wow have you lost wieght? motivated and feeling good!! If anyone is thinking of this diet to get thier body back on track and losing weight then I recommend for sure!!

    My weight 1 month ago 115Kgs, 28 days later 104kgs and dropping. (I think this has a lot to do with the no alcohol intake as well but still you will see differences in the 3rd and 4th week especially)

    Good luck people

    Scott D

  36. says

    The Paleo Diet is a very healthy meal plan for anyone. It increases your energy levels and significantly improves your digestive health. Based on our ancestors’ dietary habits, the Paleo diet can easily be incorporated into our modern day lives. With a wealth of information available out there and delicious recipes to try, the Paleo diet is a must for anyone.

  37. says

    There are many advantages to this kind of diet. While I have been on a somewhat more restrictive diet (bulletproof), the same principles apply. I wasn’t very overweight, but heavier than I had been in my life, about 180 pounds. Historically, I have lost weight by restricting caloric intake, especially fats, and exercising more. It has worked, but the weight slowly creeps back on. Since the birth of my second child, there was less time to make my usual adjustments so I gained about twenty pounds. On the paleo diet, it was very easy to lose 25 pounds. I never feel deprived. I can eat nuts, vegetables (drenched in butter), grass fed lamb and beef and fish as much as I desire. I feel better physically, I recover from exercise faster, my blood pressure has dropped and I sleep better. I really never though I would get my weight back down to 165, let alone 155. I also thought that giving up bread and cakes would be a real hardship. So far, it is not.

    The weight came off pretty rapidly, about 2 pounds a week until my weight reached the mid 150s. In the past several months it is pretty stable — it doesn’t shift a lot whether I exercise or not. In any case, those struggling with weight should forget about other diets that leave them starving and always lead back to the weight returning. This is the way to go.

  38. says

    Interesting read. Having struggled to lose weight (on Paleo) for a number of years I think it is a far more complicated issue. I’ve just started my journey, but a big part of my issue is in my blood test results…

  39. Patty says

    Great article, but could you please, oh please stop using photos of already thin, healthy, young and beautiful people for your articles on weight loss. That young woman looks like she’s never had a weight or health issue in her life. Please use real people.

  40. Lisa says

    Go to marksdailyapple and read success stories of REAL people and see before and after photos….amazing!

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