Expert nutritionist explains what the paleo diet is – and why it is so popular

Expert nutritionist explains what the paleo diet is – and why it is so popular

At the start of 2024, many of us will be embarking on New Year resolutions, and they often include making more effort to exercise and lose weight – especially after the excesses of the festive season.

But what is the best diet to follow?

Karen Preece Smith, a registered nutritional therapist, believes we should go back in time to a more traditional approach – reverting to how we used to eat roughly 2.5 million years ago.

The Paleo diet is based on eating foods that were available in Caveman (Paleolithic) times.

It cuts out processed food and alcohol and focuses on plants, meat and some grains in their natural form.”

“Paleo is typically low carbohydrate, So we’re eating more natural foods and limiting those – without ditching them completely, ” Karen says.

Nutritional therapist Karen Preece Smith tells why the Paleo diet is best to follow in 2024
Nutritional therapist Karen Preece Smith tells why the Paleo diet is best to follow in 2024
Emma Jackson Photography)

Why does it work?

“Lack of carbs makes our body go into Ketogenesis and we start burning fat for energy. In the short -term simply following a low-carb diet can be good for weight loss but longer-term we want to include some carbs in our diet for energy and brain fuel.”

“Paleo is a healthy longer-term diet that I think is easier to stick to all year round.”

The diet consists of (organic) meats, fruits, vegetables and some grains. As typically low carbohydrate, so encourages our body to go into its backup way of creating energy- Ketosis. This means our body burns our fat stores for energy. This way we burn extra body fat, so it can be a good diet to follow for weight loss. “

We know other low-carb or no-carb diets such as Atkins and Dukan.

But Paleo is different in that it does not advocate lots of fats – such as bacon, cheese and fried eggs like Atkins does and does allow you to have some carbohydrates and it is not as restrictive as Dukan says Karen: “Dukan is a very low-carbohydrate and low-fat meal plan and there are lots of rules to follow. Paleo is the one I use mostly with clients – because it’s easier to follow – so something you are likely to stick to. “

Paleo encourages a set pattern of eating and strictly no snacking!

Cavemen were too busy hunting and foraging for foods such as wild blackberries and mushrooms – to have any time to graze throughout the day.

The paleo diet uses the same principles. Karen says: “Snacking is discouraged in favour of eating two to three larger meals a day.

Raw steak
A big weight-loss trend is the Paleo Diet
Getty Images)

“Lunch and dinner is important but something is breakfast is fine too as long meals are spread out,” says Karen.

This approach is not only good for weight loss but also our general digestive health – as it helps ourMigrating Motor Complex – MMC.

Karen explains: “MMC is a system of electrical waves that “migrate” throughout the small intestine, serving to sweep up contents along the way – but only when the body is fasting – so if you’re eating every four hours – it has time to do that. It also regulates daily bowel movements and is preventative of IBS and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).

“However snacking and eating too often – even a couple of peanuts doesn’t give your system a break.”

Cooked asparagus with ham. Appetizer with vegetable and meat, paleo food concept
Many of us will be looking to shift a bit of weight in the New Year
Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We may not be foraging and hunting throughout the day, but Karen advises taking on Paleo as a lifestyle – by moving as much as possible through the day and taking walks: “If you’re desk-bound, try and do stretches in your chair and when taking a break – go for a walk around the block.

“Foodwise – as well as reduced snacking, ensuring you’re eating with the seasons is beneficial – if you change your eating to suit what’s in season, you will never get bored of the diet.”

However, she doesn’t recommend it for everyone.

“I wouldn’t say it is ideal for perimenopausal women because they need hormones. If they are looking to lose weight. I’d probably make it more ketogenic or more Atkins-leaning, but just be careful about the fat. All female sex hormones are made from cholesterol. If your cholesterol is low, you’re gonna have a hormone imbalance.”

Ir generally recommended that you consult a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a dietitian, before starting a weight loss programme.

A typical Paleo diet:

Breakfast: 2 eggs and lean, nitrate-free bacon with broccoli

Lunch: steak with steamed veg

Dinner: steamed wild salmon fillet with quinoa and sprouts.


Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

Add comment

19 − 15 =