There are two types of dieting for weight loss: the one is plain calorie restriction, and the other one is cutting down specific parts of the normal human diet (e.g. carbs for low carb diets, or fats for low-fat vegan diets). Research has shown that the second way is a better way to lose weight and keep it off too. Many have gone either keto or vegan and have lost weight and seen health changes (at least for a while, because after a few months, it backfires due to lack of specific nutrients — these diets shouldn’t be followed for more than 3 months IMHO).
Speaking for me, while I’m Paleo for life (since it has fixed most of my health ailments), one thing hasn’t worked: weight loss. Men do lose weight faster on Paleo, without effort. They can eat what they want, as long as it’s on the approved list. For women, who are genetically designed to keep on their fat for evolutionary/birth reasons, it’s a hit or miss thing. For some women it works, for others, especially those with metabolic disorder, it fixes the rest of their health in general, but it doesn’t make them lose weight (in other words, it doesn’t clear the metabolic disorder completely). Even worse, 2/3 of women who go keto, end up with thyroid problems (like I have).
The only diet that works for weight loss for these women, is again, calorie restriction. Which of course, in the long run, also doesn’t work. Research now and again has shown that people on a calorie restricted diet end up getting all their weight back within a few months, plus an additional 10%.
So after a quick test with a low calorie Paleo diet (1200 calories per day, I’m very short), it soon became clear that it was unsustainable, since it made you think of food 24/7. Keto fucked up my thyroid, and plain Paleo simply doesn’t make me lose weight.
However, the real problem of low calorie diets exists elsewhere. The real danger is in malnutrition. When you go down to 1200 calories from 1800-2000 calories per day, it’s not just calories you minimize. It’s nutrients. IF the kind of food we had today was as nutrient-dense as it was in the ancient times, then going down to low calorie would not be a problem. In fact, many praise the traditional Japanese diets for being small-portioned. But the point these people are missing is that even if they were eating small quantities, they were getting A LOT of nutrients. They didn’t NEED to eat more!
Today, with modern, selected varieties, this is simply not possible. And the sad part is, that if you don’t OVER-EAT, you will NOT get enough nutrients. 2000 calories a day are bare minimum to acquire the right nutrients! And that’s an amount that doesn’t help with weight loss at all. In fact, in some research paper recently, they found that tribal diets are up to 15 times more nutrient-dense than western diets, and up to 10 times more nutrient dense than the Paleo diet. So basically, going Paleo helps your health, but since we don’t have access to ancient varieties anymore, even Paleo won’t ultimately save you.
This situation has given me quite some depression to be honest: Eat little, get malnutritioned. Eat more, get fat, and still remain malnutritioned. There’s no winning in the West.
These aren’t good times for food and health. The only thing that could work is to buy a farm (somewhere where the water is still clean), find ancient heirloom varieties for your garden, and non-selected breeds of animals, and take the matter 100% on to your own hands. Simply buying organic broccoli or kale at the farmer’s market will only get you so far. Father than the standard western diet, but not as far as some people must go to battle their medical issues.