About our guest blogger:
Elizabeth is a previous 1 Meal – 1 Workout podcast guest that’s lost 150+ lbs by eating Paleo! She not a registered dietitian (unless I missed something), but she’s done the work and educated herself on how to eat healthier! I’ve asked her to share some of her wisdom with us. Thanks, Elizabeth.
First, let me say a big thank you to Aaron for having me as a guest on the 1Meal1Workout podcast and now as a guest blogger. I’ve enjoyed both the podcast and blog for a while now, and it’s exciting to be able to contribute to something (and someone) I’ve admired and been entertained by so much!
Let’s dive right into it, with a little talk about why- and how- eating paleo helps to burn fat and promote weight loss.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) promotes a grain-heavy lifestyle. But grains, along with sugars and other carbohydrate-dense foods, have a high glycemic index (HGI), meaning they raise your blood glucose levels quickly and significantly. This hard and heavy rise in the blood sugar elicits an insulin response from the body (insulin being the hormone secreted by the liver to carry the glucose into the actual cells), with the intent to break down those carbohydrates and convert them into energy. However, the high spike in the blood glucose levels, because it is so strong, can encourage an over-response and an overproduction of insulin. This unused insulin is resultantly stored as more fat. Nice, huh?
After hitting the top of a spike from HGI foods, the blood glucose level then does a roller-coaster dive, falling off equally dramatically once the carb energy is used up. Now, protein, fats, and carbohydrates are all sources of fuel and energy for the body, and the body can switch between converting these different food types to energy. But! Breaking down the proteins and fats is a little more work, requiring more effort. When those easy-to-burn carbs are gone, the body tries to get our attention with complaints for more quick and easy energy (the emphasis being quick and easy). This is why we feel hunger just hours after eating and get food cravings, headaches, nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness and more- the body is signaling that it needs more energy sources to use up that extra insulin and have more fuel. Feed me, Seymour!
By the time the body has really switched to burning fat in the fat stores for energy, we’ve already begun to eat something to counteract those body complaints with more foods- usually high-carb ones. And so, the the roller-coaster ride continues.
Paleo, however, takes the crazy dips and valleys out of the equation, because a paleo diet is low-to-moderate carb, avoiding those High Glycemic Index foods. Most carbohydrates in the paleo meal plan come from fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in carbs and have a low HGI to begin with, so the they affect the blood glucose level in very moderate ways.
Remember that the body can use the protein we eat and the ingested and stored fats for energy too? Because our carb intake on paleo is low, our energy comes from those sources. The paleo body is accustomed to the slow-and-steady release of energy from these foods, and easily switches over to burning the fat stores in between meals without (much) complaint. The blood glucose level rises and falls minimally, insulin is produced in moderate and more exacting amounts (no over-production to be stored as more fat!), and the body can operate as a steady rate, with plenty of energy to sustain us.
With paleo, not only are our bodies operating optimally for fat-burning full time, (especially from those excess stores we have!) we’ve taken the crazy food cravings, the headaches and nausea and lightheadedness from low blood sugar almost completely out of the equation. This helps prevent snacking and overeating, which in turn encourages more weight loss with the consumption of less food overall.
There you have it- a condensed version of how and why a paleo diet yields great weight-loss results. Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading!