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The Paleo Diet

A diet that follows the eating style of our primate ancestors.

BACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

The Paleolithic Diet, also known as the Paleo Diet or the Caveman Diet, is one that includes eating the foods that were consumed by those living during the Paleolithic times some 10,000 years ago.

The concept behind the Paleo Diet rests on the hypothesis that our bodies are genetically and evolutionary designed to survive and thrive on the foods that were available to our early Paleolithic ancestors.

The main foods within the Paleo Diet are meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts. There are no grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar or processed oils because this type of eating took place before the development of agriculture.

The Paleo Diet was very first made popular in the 1970s by Walter L. Voegtlin, and has since been revised and recreated by numerous authors and researchers throughout several books.

The diet has been classified as a fad diet by the American Diabetic Association.

Those who support this plan believe that much of the obesity epidemic as well as the increase in weight-related health conditions are the result of the consumption of grains, flours and sugars, which are all kinds of carbohydrates.

PRO
  • Diet reflects the evolutionary purpose of how our bodies were first designed to eat and metabolize food
  • Focuses on eating foods that come from the earth and animals, rather than processed foods
  • Low carbohydrate eating plan will assist in weight loss
  • Supports clean-eating and eating a whole-foods diet
  • High fat and protein content of diet makes it a very satiating eating plan
  • Scientific studies have shown positive health benefits from following the Paleo Diet
  • Naturally gluten and casein free
CON
  • Strict and limited eating plan may be impractical for today's living
  • Deemed as a fad diet by some health experts
  • Diets high in meat and saturated fat are associated with health risks
DIET and NUTRITION

The Paleo Diet consists of foods that can be mainly hunted or gathered. Foods that were introduced after agriculture was developed are not allowed on the Paleo Diet. Some of the foods that can be consumed on this program include:

  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables (excluding potatoes and sweet potatoes)
  • Nuts (excluding peanuts and cashews) and seeds

The following foods are not allowed:

  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Legumes
  • Flours

A typical diet might look like this:

  • Breakfast might be scrambled eggs with a side of fresh berries.
  • Lunch might be a green salad topped with grilled chicken breast or shrimp.
  • Dinner might be beef tenderloin, raw or steamed vegetables and stewed fruit for dessert.
  • Snacks include raw nuts, veggies, hard-boiled eggs and fresh fruit.
EXERCISE

Although some books on the Paleo Diet may include an exercise regimen, the general scope of this diet does not cover that.

Since our ancestors were constantly moving, it is recommended that you engage in as much as physical activity as you can, particularly if you are trying to lose weight.

CONCLUSION

The Paleo Diet is one that takes eating back to how our hunter and gatherer ancestors ate. Eating only foods that are from nature, such as meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits, the Paleo Diet has shown promise not just for those who want to lose weight but also for those who want to improve their risk of diabetes.

But critics argue that this type of eating is unsafe and can deprive your body of some of the nutrients it needs such as calcium. Also its highly restrictive nature can lead to quick burnout.

Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you are interested in following the Paleo Diet.

Common Misspellings

paloe diet, paleo deit, plaeo diet, stone age diet, caveman's diet, paleolithic diet


Related Diets: Caveman Diet, Dr. Gott's No Flour No Sugar Diet, High Protein Diet, Low-Carb Diet, Natural Foods Diet, The Whole Foods Diet


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(Page 1 of 2, 29 total comments)

Carol

I started this Paleo thing 8 days ago. My mother in law bought a book and I started reading it and realized I had never looked at food the way that they were describing it. I always thought bread and grains were suppose to be a staple in a healthy diet. I am overweight and have tried so many diets. I wanted a new way of life. I found it. 8 days ago I started and took the plunge. 2 years ago I had back surgery and have had back pains every day since. My dr's have had me on pain meds and anti inflammatory meds on and off since. I cannot remember the last time I actually jumped out of bed...until this past week.
2 days in I had no pains....NONE!!!!!! I was so excited. It turns out my pains were not my back at all.....it seemed to be more intestinal. I feel like my body is healing itself with no meds....for the first time I feel like I am alive and I can move without pains. I will never look at foods the same and my grocery list will never be the same. I just cannot believe that giving up grains and dairy would make such a huge impact on my body. I started gluten free a few months ago and was always struggling with what I can and cannot have and what I wanted.... Now..... I feel like I can make a more educated guess on what I want and my body actually craves fresh veggies and fruits and nuts and meats...... and I lost 7 lbs in 6 days????? I cannot wait to weigh myself this week. I am so excited to live again.
its like someone woke me up into a new life...and I LOVE IT!!!

posted Apr 14th, 2014 5:58 pm


Hayley Reed

I have been using this program http://www.weightlosslifeline.com/paleo-burn/
Paleo burn for 4 months now cutting out the bread and pasta was hard at first and i felt tired for the first few weeks now my body is used to it and I have never felt better

posted Nov 21st, 2013 3:22 am


Matt

The Paleo diet is definitely a huge lifestyle change from what I've experienced growing up. Using this plan has given me great feedback. http://goo.gl/xLKndq

posted Oct 15th, 2013 7:25 pm


David Moss

Slight misleading phrasing above: paleo diet was consumed "10,000 years ago" and ALL the time before that.

posted Jun 26th, 2013 8:00 am


Kat

Since switching to the paleo diet I've lost 15 pounds, my doctor verified that my cholesterol levels are improving, my hair has gotten much longer and healthier, my skin cleared up and my energy levels have greatly increased.

I highly recommend going paleo to anyone who suffers from any ailment. It has helped my Aunt through chemo and she's now doing wonderful. Also, it fixed my Husband's leaky gut. My Mother switched and her joint pain has disappeared. Evidence is all around me. Paleo works!!

posted Apr 1st, 2013 5:05 pm


Emilyn Bledsoe

I used this Paleo system and loved it!!
Click Here!

posted Mar 20th, 2013 6:41 pm


Allie

I would like to comment on a remark that someone else left concerning milk. My family is eating according to the dietary guidelines above. they love the "Paleo Diet" and the benefits they are reaping from this way of life. However, we do NOT partake of milk and dairy products for one reason. Could you picture yourself walking up to a cow and helping yourself to their milk right then and there? if you have not noticed, their milk is not produced for human consumption. The purpose of milk is to feed and nourish their young so that they might be sustained long enough to learn to eat other food sources. The nutrients that are found in milk are for the growing body of a calf that helps them develop and grow. We as humans DO NOT need milk by any means. As a matter of fact, one can find more calcium and vitamin D in vegetables than in a glass of milk. By the time the milk reaches us it has been treated and pasteurized, eliminating most of the beneficial properties anyways. The best vegetables are leafy greens. Broccoli is considered to be a super food for the simple fact that it contains high levels of vitamins and is a great source of calcium.

posted Mar 1st, 2013 1:48 pm


Mary

Can I go on Paleo diet without loosing a great amount of weight as I am already slim? I would like to try the Paleo diet for health purposes but do not need to loose weight. Is it possible? Everyone keeps saying they have lost weight. Would like to see if it helps with my osteoposoris, irregular heartbeat and my ulcer.

posted Jan 21st, 2013 9:07 pm



Brandon Blain Schwebs

I have been living the paleo lifestyle for the past 6 weeks. My energy levels have shot through the roof and I feel better than ever. My cholesterol went down when I had my last set of blood tests. As well as dropping 40lbs in those 6 weeks. I think I found the winner for me.

posted Dec 28th, 2012 12:43 am


Scott

I've been on the Paleo diet for one and a half years. Lost 85 pounds. Feel great. First time in years blood work was good. Cholesterol dropped 30 points and blood pressure medication reduced. Hoping to get off of medication completely.

posted Nov 27th, 2012 2:11 am


Gloria Solomon

Sounds good and doable. I'd like a menu for a week I can repeat for the following 3 weeks.

posted Oct 27th, 2012 5:13 am


Sarah

1 1/2 weeks in, 10 pounds lost, mind has cleared, mood swings disappeared. Tons of energy!!!! Craziest part is, I went from devout vegetarian to this. I have become so overweight on carbs, grains, and meatless soy products that I can barely find clothes to wear and am tired of shopping at 'fat people' stores. I want my body back! If you're worried about the strictness, it's not hard, you get to eat a lot of stuff that tastes good, and the sugar cravings disappear within a week. If you have an iphone, download the paleo apps with recipes and also the "paleo to-go", which has food you can eat at popular restaurants. I'm still doing some dairy (cheese), but am giving it up now too. Yay paleo!

posted Jul 11th, 2012 6:33 pm


Joe

I am 1.5 years on the Paleo Diet. Lost 50 pounds of fat and I am in the best shape of my life (better than when I played college football) not restrictive or hard. eat real food, skip grains and sugar. Limit Dairy. my exercise is: walk all the time, lift heavy things (weights, body weight, etc ) 1 or 2x's a week. and sprint occasionaly.

posted May 22nd, 2012 6:55 pm


Lisa

I have pcos and don't get periods normally ..and they are all over the place...I have tried this diet many times and I find it amazing that every time I go on it within 4 to 6 days I get a period ! This diet even helped me to regulate my periods and helped with my infertility...I tried 5 years to get pregnant...as soon as i realized I would get regular periods on this I became pregnant with twins....I have more energy to raise them too when i follow it...I am now back on it..I want to lose 60 lbs I just hope it works as I had my thyroid out..and I have type 2 diabetes...I have been on it 5 days and have lost 4 lbs...also got my period ..lol soooo wish me luck....and cheers to everyone else who is on it..

posted May 20th, 2012 5:07 pm


Amy Snyder

Melissa,
Perhaps you did not have trouble with grains but with the gluten in the grains. Many diseases respong favorably to reducing or eliminating gluten in the diet.

posted Feb 15th, 2012 4:37 pm


Melissa

I have been on the Paleo Diet for the past 2.5 weeks and I have already lost 15lbs.! My Fibromyalgia flare-ups have decreased considerably and I have been able to be more active due to more energy. Whenever I ate grains, pasta and beans I would experience bloating, acid reflux and sluggishness - not to mention craving a dessert after because of the heavy carbs. My only advice is to try it for a solid 3 weeks! You could follow the regime in The Paleo Diet book from Rob Wolf, which can be expensive, or use the many resources on the net for recipes. Not only do I feel better but I am cooking everyday! Normally after a day of "normal" eating, which wasn't fast food or processed foods, I never had the energy to go home and cook.

posted Jan 27th, 2012 8:15 pm


ian

This is my standard way of eating for a year now. Lost all excess weight, migraines almost gone, 3 autoimmune conditions gone, cardiac arrhythmias gone, buckets of energy, very clear headed and feel better than when I was a kid. This is not simply a weight loss plan, or a diet (you do not go hungry eating this way). This is a way to actually live life properly, I heartily recommend it.

posted Jan 18th, 2012 4:22 am


stacyJ

I couldn't stay on it very long

posted Jan 4th, 2012 5:12 pm



JimmyC

Seems a bit extreme to me

posted Jan 4th, 2012 5:11 pm


ruth0725

When this diet program was introduce to me by a friend I was a bit hesitant to try it. After a month of practicing the Paleo Diet program with some of the best Paleolithic Diet Food List that he gave me. I started to like the diet and has been following it for almost a year now.

posted Dec 13th, 2011 3:00 am



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