The Paleo diet is commonly called the caveman diet, Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet. Based on the dietary principles of human ancestors who lived during the Paleolithic era, the Paleo diet follows a nutritional plan of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries and animal protein sources. While a strict Paleo diet follows an "unweighed and unmeasured" approach to choosing your foods and serving sizes, there are several tips for tracking your daily caloric intake while eating a Paleolithic diet.
The Paleo diet isn't designed to be a fad or weight loss diet, but many people experience weight loss through eating fresh and healthy foods along with controlling overall caloric intake. To lose 1 lb. of body weight, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you consume. Achieve this caloric deficit while following a Paleo diet by reducing your serving sizes and switching high-calorie foods for low-calorie substitutes. Increasing your activity level with a fitness program is another step towards reaching your weight loss and caloric goals.
Measuring your macronutrients -- carbohydrates, protein and fat -- is a simple approach to counting calories on the Paleo diet. One g of carbohydrates and protein supplies four calories while 1 g of fat supplies nine calories. You can find the total amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat listed on the nutrition label. Take the information from the nutrition to calculate macronutrient content. For example, one serving of food containing 50 g of carbohydrates, 20 g of protein and 10 g of fat supplies 200 calories from carbohydrates, 80 calories from protein and 90 calories from fat.
The Zone Diet, developed by Dr. Barry Sears, is an alternate diet that uses blocks to measure foods. Sears recommends using the block system for measuring the foods and meals for your Paleo diet. To use the block measuring system, you must weigh and measure each serving of fruits, vegetables, meat and nuts. By weighing and measuring each food, you control the overall calorie consumption by maximizing the nutritional content of each small meal while eliminating excessive calories.
With the advancement of the Internet, there are many online tracking tools for your nutritional and dietary needs. These tracking tools have Paleo foods built-in to the online database making it easy to select the foods and serving sizes to automatically track your caloric intake. You can also store and evaluate your caloric intake over time to help reach dietary, fitness and weight loss goals. An additional calorie counting tool is the automatic breakdown of macronutrients, which shows the percentage of calories for carbohydrates, protein and fat.
- MayoClinic.com; Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics; Mayo Clinic Staff; December 2009
- Paleo Plan; Counting Calories on Paleo Plan?; March 2011
- Calorie Counting Tips: Calorie Counting Tips for Your Everyday Use
- The CrossFit Journal; Paleo vs. The Zone: Part 4 of the Conversation; Barry Sears; December 2009