There is a seemingly endless amount of different versions of the “paleo diet”, all of which appear to be based on bad science (I’m putting it nicely) and fear mongering for the “unapproved” foods. For fun, let’s explore how you can use some Paleo disapproved foods to support your fat loss goals. Now, of course no food has magical fat burning properties (just like no food has magical fat storing properties). However, individual food choices can make a profound impact depending on the overall context of your diet.
Two of these ‘tricks’ are strategies that help to minimize fat calories. This isn’t to imply that fat calories are “bad”, but rather that they’re easy to over-consume – and many people certainly do – especially for people coming from a “Paleo” background.
Totally Un-Paleo Fat Loss Trick #1 – Snacking on Granola
Having a granola bar before a meal – approximately 20 to 60 minutes beforehand – can be an effective means of helping to reduce calorie consumption at the next meal. This can be especially helpful if your work situation prevents you from taking breaks for lunch at times of our ideal choosing and your appetite is then inclined to ‘fly off the rails’. Sneaking in a granola based snack could help keep your appetite to a more reasonable level. The more fiber here, the better. And be careful that you’re not adding too many calories. If you can have 100 calories via a snack and that helps you to not overeat by 250 calories at your next meal, that’s a big win. If on the other hand, you have a 250 calorie snack and it only helps reduce your next meal by 100 calories, that’s not as helpful.
Totally Un-Paleo Fat Loss Trick #2 – Swapping Some Usual Fat and/or Carb Calories for Beans
Out of 240 calories of black beans, 60 calories is from protein (15 grams). This isn’t a huge amount, but if used in addition to a primary protein source such as animal proteins, it certainly helps to support adequate protein intake while keeping meals more interesting than just grilled chicken breast all the time (yuck).
On a practical level, I like to make sure I include carb sources that are tasty without adding fat. Of course this depends on your taste preferences, but this is one reason I like beans (and fruit, for that matter). You’re probably not going to drizzle a black bean with olive oil and throw it the oven to make black bean oven fries.
And last and far from least, legumes help to stabilize blood sugar, which can help keep your appetite from going crazy. This is likely due to the high concentration of dietary fiber, which is helpful for maximizing satiety (how filling a meal is per calorie, basically).
Totally Un-Paleo Fat Loss Trick #3 – Including Low Fat Dairy
Again, I’m not trying to vilify dietary fat here. It’s just easy to over-consume. In contrast, it can be tough to get enough protein to support your goals. And before you ask, I like 100 grams of protein as a baseline practical target to start with. If you’re not hitting that (and I see very few people who are), then you have no business doing a more complicated formula yet to figure out protein needs.
Using low fat dairy is a great way to sneak some lean protein in. Some examples include lower fat cottage cheese or greek yogurt. I personally will often add cottage cheese to baked potatoes, which helps to reduce the amount of butter ‘needed’ for flavor. The idea sounded kinda gross to me at first, but I have to say I find it delicious personally. When having a higher fat protein source (like a fatty steak), I like to have cottage cheese and fruit on the side with that meal. Of course, this also works with yogurt.
Depending on your overall diet, these ‘tricks’ could be helpful to support your goals. They also might make some cavemen jealous.