Whenever you commit to a new healthy eating plan, you can expect plenty of changes. Some ups and some downs, but once you get past the initial headaches, tummy troubles, and fatigue, hopefully, you'll be flying high on a natural energy boost from all of the nutritious foods you're adding to your diet. When you're going Paleo, here are a few of the side effects you might experience.
Although further research is still needed, a number of smaller trials have suggested benefits in the weight loss and metabolism departments. Experts from the Paleo Plan suggest the following results are what Paleo-ers most commonly experience:
- Weight loss
- Feeling pleasantly full for longer
- Fewer sugar cravings
- Clearer skin
- Increase in energy
- Physically more muscular
- Improved digestion
- Reduced inflammation
- Healthier relationship with food
Depending on what foods you choose to eat on the Paleo, there are some potential health concerns. Less serious ones that are common in the first couple weeks (which, really, are common with most diet changes) include:
- Desperately missing carbs
On a more serious note, the Paleo diet encourages high amounts of meat and eliminates fiber-rich whole grains, so there is a concern that the diet may increase the risk for heart disease and colorectal cancer if followed long-term. Research suggests that both of these chronic diseases may be linked to a diet rich in saturated fat and low in fiber. So Paleo followers should choose lean sources of protein most often and include lots of fiber-loaded vegetables and starches.
Also, without any grains to increase fiber intake, dieters may find themselves facing occasional constipation. When you're going Paleo, include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to meet your 25-38 grams of regularity-promoting fiber each day.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Without careful planning, a diet without dairy may lack vitamin D and calcium, so Paleo dieters will want to make sure they’re choosing bone-building foods like broccoli, almonds, eggs, and salmon, and potentially supplementing their intake if they’re unable to eat enough.
If you find that following the Paleo diet, or any diet, is interfering with your daily activities, then speak to a registered dietitian, doctor, or mental health professional.