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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 2 of 2, 29 total comments)

Lierin

How can you live on the paleo diet forever? I have been on this diet 3 years ago. I have lost incredible 50 pounds n half a year .. HOWEVER I have gained 40 back right after I started eating normaly (mind you I do not eat fast food, frozen food etc. I am mostly vegetarian! ) I also work out 6times a week. On this diet my cholesterol went sky high, so even though I was thin, I was full of nasty meat inside and bad blood. I think people should eat everything, but not over eat themselves .. work out and it will be all good, without any retardet diets.

posted Oct 18th, 2011 9:40 pm


Kelly

@Dave:

Those on the Paleo diet do NOT say they don't eat carbs. They simply don't consume the volume of carbs pushed/accepted in the Standard American Diet (SAD), as they avoid processed foods in general and harmful carbs in particular, such as grains, legumes, sugars, and dairy, and products made from these things.

Of course vegetables and fruits are carbs and contain sugars, but they also contain an abundance of nutrients and water soluble fiber. And they are less calorie dense; it would be tough to over-consume carbohydrates eating fruits and veggies alone.

Folks who ascribe to the paleo and other low-carb diets would probably tell you, though, that it is possible to live without carbs all together, if it was necessary. There are essential amino acides (proteins) and essential fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by the human body, but there are no essential carbs.

That might be worth a look up. Keep up the good search!

posted Oct 18th, 2011 6:47 am


Emily

I feel SOOOO much better after switching to the Paleo Diet! I was taking allergy pills everyday for airborne allergies and as long as I stick to the diet, I don't have to take any more pills! Plus, after seeing the change in my health, I looked into triggers for rheumatoid arthritis and found which foods exacerbate it. Once I cut out those additional foods, my arm, which had pretty much crippled me for the last 8 years, stopped hurting! Who knew food could make such a difference in how I feel!

posted Sep 7th, 2011 2:32 am


Ann

Not all versions of Paleo say you can't have dairy. Some site evidence that paleolithic man did have access to milk. I really don't see how limiting grains and beans means your diet is "strict" or lacks variety. ^__^ For me, rice, bread, beans and pasta have been filler food. I instinctively take off the bread on my burgers and instead of the side of rice, I get more veggies. This was all before I heard about Paleo. I just never felt great eating those things, come on, who feels energized after a big plate of pasta?! ^__^

And even if you do avoid milk, it's not the only way or the best way to get calcium! I think we are all used to that old food pyramid with the ridiculous amounts of grains on the bottom. That guide was meant for a generation of people that needed cheap, calorie-dense filler-food to fuel hours of labor intensive activity. Additionally, you can get all the vitamins and minerals from other sources.

And as for people eating more meat having a higher risk of diseases: I bet those people are sitting on their butts too. I bet they don't add many fruits and veggies either. Diet is a bigger picture. I think a bit of beans and grains might be fine for someone who can tolerate it. But I don't want to "tolerate" my food. I want it to be the optimum fuel for my body. I just don't feel that way about eating so many grains (6-11 serving as per the guidelines) . Everybody is different though. Some may have a mutation that helps them do better with grains, just as some have a mutation that helps them with lactose intolerance.

posted Jul 14th, 2011 12:23 pm


Dave

Those on the Paleo diet say they don't eat carbs... Yet, they eat fruits and veggies - aren't these carbs? This is confusing. Example, A medium gala apple is about 70 calories and 19 grams of carbs, no fat, no protein.

posted Jun 28th, 2011 1:03 am


Jaci

This is largely how I eat in general and I don't call it a "diet" at all. I do eat carbs, but usually only in the first half of the day. I don't add sauces or oils unnecessarily and I always try to only eat foods that I find delicious for their own flavor, not the flavor of what I smother it in. It's neat to know that there's a diet that is based around a belief similar to mine: we evolved to eat certain foods!

posted Jun 21st, 2011 7:36 am


raquel montoya

i didnt like this diet because u hurty alot of animals,,, go vegans!

posted Mar 9th, 2011 3:41 pm


Kevin H

Paleo diet solved my health problems within days! Now I blog about how I'm making my whole life paleo.



posted Oct 27th, 2010 8:35 pm


DJ

I know many people who have lost plently of weight on this diet. On in particular lost 6 lbs in the 1st week. It is hard, but after 1 week I felt more alert throughout the day, I slept better at night, and I had a mood change (for the better). My exercising improved dramatically as well! Great diet!

posted Oct 5th, 2010 1:14 am



 

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