The Paleo diet, also referred to as the caveman or Stone-Age diet, includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Proponents of the diet emphasize choosing low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. There is debate about several aspects of the Paleo diet: what foods actually existed at the time, the variation in diets depending on region (e.g., tropical vs. Arctic), how modern-day fruits and vegetables bear little resemblance to prehistoric wild versions, and disagreement among Paleo diet enthusiasts on what is included/excluded from the diet. Because of these differences, there is not one “true” Paleo diet.
Combining higher protein intake and fresh vegetables leads to another major benefit: blood sugar stabilization. Between 35 and 45 percent of the average Paleo diet is comprised of non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables that won’t spike blood sugar levels, making it an optimal diet for diabetes prevention. This is because nearly all of these foods have low glycemic indices that are slowly digested and absorbed by the body.

“Wild rice is seed of an aquatic North American grass and completely different species from ordinary rice. The seeds are long, thin and covered in black, brown or green husks. They are dried after harvesting, then hulled, separated from their covering, and ‘pearled’ (polished using traditional methods). They are an expensive delicacy because they are found in relatively small quantities in America and China – though these days, they are cultivated by Americans using modern technology.”

Most nutritionists consent that the Paleo diet gets at least one thing right—cutting down on processed foods that have been highly modified from their raw state through various methods of preservation. Examples include white bread and other refined flour products, artificial cheese, certain cold cuts and packaged meats, potato chips, and sugary cereals. Such processed foods often offer less protein, fiber and iron than their unprocessed equivalents, and some are packed with sodium and preservatives that may increase the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Primal Body-Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life by Nora Gedgaudas advocates a diet that our paleo ancestors ate. Meat, lots of fat, and seasonal fruits and berries when available. Basically, sugar and starchy carbs are discouraged. You can download a chapter from the author's site. She has a Primal Body, Primal Mind Radio weekly show on Voice of America. It started May 20, 2009, so there are many shows you can listen to. Published June 30, 2011.
It’s easy to find more guidance online, but a book also makes a handy reference. "The Paleo Diet," for example, outlines basic Paleo principles and offers three “levels” that allow for different degrees of cheating – three “open meals” per week on the “entry level” plan, two on “maintenance” and just one on “maximal.” Depending on the level, you might also get “transitional” condiments (low-fat dressing and salsa) and drinks (coffee, beer or wine in moderation) to wash down the meat and plants. You can use the levels as you like. Start with the first and move gradually to the more restrictive – or just stay put. For more dramatic changes, head right to the third. 

Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious, Primal-approved meals you can make in under 30 minutes by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Every recipe is accompanied by an ingredient list, a nutrient list, clearly written instructions, and a picture of the ingredients and a picture of the finished product. Note that this is a primal book and many recipes include dairy. Published March 25, 2011. 

4. Raw food is for the birds (too much of it, anyway). There’s paleo, and then there’s the raw diet. Folks who eat raw tout the health benefits of the approach, saying that they’re accessing the full, complete nutrients available because they’re not heating, and thus destroying, their dinner. But that’s simply wrong. We cook to get our hands on more nutrients, not fewer. According to Wrangham, the one thing absolutely all cultures have in common is that they cook their food. He points out that women who move towards 100 percent raw diets often stop ovulating, because even if in theory they’re tossing sufficient food into the blender to fulfill their caloric needs, they simply can’t absorb enough from the uncooked food.
When a client following the Paleo diet comes in for a visit to discuss weight loss or other health issues, it's important for dietitians to use the opportunity to build rapport and trust even if they're not 100% on board. "Paleo practitioners are dedicated and committed to their beliefs," Taub-Dix says, "so taking an approach that just presents the negatives could turn them off from listening to your words of wisdom. Try to present the rationale behind how the diet could be followed but perhaps enhanced."
The following links tend towards news reports of scientific studies that point out some positive aspect of the paleo diet. If you are looking for current news reports, I suggest signing up for Google Alerts for the Type: News. I have three set up, for: "caveman diet," "paleo diet," and "paleolithic diet." You can also set them up for blogs and/or websites. 

The Paleo diet, also referred to as the caveman or Stone-Age diet, includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Proponents of the diet emphasize choosing low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. There is debate about several aspects of the Paleo diet: what foods actually existed at the time, the variation in diets depending on region (e.g., tropical vs. Arctic), how modern-day fruits and vegetables bear little resemblance to prehistoric wild versions, and disagreement among Paleo diet enthusiasts on what is included/excluded from the diet. Because of these differences, there is not one “true” Paleo diet.
But how can we convince folks to give it a try? “I think we have to lead with pleasure,” he says. Aside from the many health benefits, cooking is also “one of the most interesting things humans know how to do and have done for a very long time. And we get that, or we wouldn’t be watching so much cooking on TV. There is something fascinating about it. But it’s even more fascinating when you do it yourself.”

LOREN CORDAIN, Ph.D., is one of the top global researchers in the area of evolutionary medicine. Generally acknowledged as the world's leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, he is a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain and his research have been featured on Dateline NBC and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. He is the author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, among other books, and makes regular media and speaking appearances worldwide.
Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason. The book shows you how easy it is to take any dish and Make it Paleo! Adapted from Chinese, French, Mexican and classic American meals, the over 200 recipes are each accompanied by good photos and notes to ensure you recreate each dish with ease. Most recipes are ones that can be found in an ordinary cookbook. Butter and vinegar are also used, which I do not consider paleo. Published October 20, 2011.
A very strict 30 day elimination diet founded on Paleo principles, the goal of which is to fight food addiction and help identify problematic foods on an individual level. Promotes whole, real foods, shuns all processed foods, including those made with “Paleo” ingredients. Check out the books It Starts With Food and The Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig for more information.
The Paleo diet includes nutrient-dense whole fresh foods and encourages participants to steer away from highly processed foods containing added salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. However, the omission of whole grains, dairy, and legumes could lead to suboptimal intake of important nutrients. The restrictive nature of the diet may also make it difficult for people to adhere to such a diet in the long run.  More high-quality studies including randomized controlled trials with follow-up of greater than one year that compare the Paleo diet with other weight-reducing diets are needed to show a direct health benefit of the Paleo diet. Strong recommendations for the Paleo diet for weight loss cannot be made at this time.
The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook by Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz presents evidence for a diet of vegetables, fruits, and pasture-fed animal products. Provides a practical plan and 250 delicious, family-friendly, grain- and dairy-free recipes. Buy from the author's page The Garden of Eating. Rachel's blog The Healthy Cooking Coach. The cookbook maintains a perfect rating at Amazon.
The Paleo diet is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. Though there are numerous benefits eating a hunter-gatherer diet, there are seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets that help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and to lose weight and keep it off. 

By latest count, about 800 Hiwi live in palm thatched huts in Colombia and Venezuela. In 1990 Ana Magdalena Hurtado and Kim Hill—now both at Arizona State University in Tempe—published a thorough study (pdf) of the Hiwi diet in the neotropical savannas of the Orinoco River basin in Southwestern Venezuela. Vast grasslands with belts of forest, these savannas receive plenty of rain between May and November. From January through March, however, precipitation is rare: the grasses shrivel, while lakes and lagoons evaporate. Fish trapped in shrinking pools of water are easy targets for caiman, capybaras and turtles. In turn, the desiccating lakes become prime hunting territory for the Hiwi. During the wet season, however, the Hiwi mainly hunt for animals in the forest, using bows and arrows.
Drop Grok into the Hiwi's midst—or indeed among any modern or ancient hunter–gather society—and he would be a complete aberration. Grok cannot teach us how to live or eat; he never existed. Living off the land or restricting oneself to foods available before agriculture and industry does not guarantee good health. The human body is not simply a collection of adaptations to life in the Paleolithic—its legacy is far greater. Each of us is a dynamic assemblage of inherited traits that have been tweaked, transformed, lost and regained since the beginning of life itself. Such changes have not ceased in the past 10,000 years.
Dr. Lauryn Lax is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Functional Medicine Practitioner, author and speaker, with over 20 years of clinical and personal experience specializing in gut health, intuitive eating, food freedom, anxiety, hormone balance and women’s health. She is also a published journalist, and her work has been featured in Oxygen Magazine, Women’s Health, Paleo Magazine, Breaking Muscle, CrossFit Inc, USA Today, ABC and CBS News. She operates a virtual Functional Medicine & Nutrition practice, Thrive Wellness & Recovery, LLC, working with clients around the world to reinvent the way their body looks, moves and feels.

Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective these questions can be nearly impossible to answer.
It’s hard to improve upon banana bread, but adding chocolate chunks does just that. This Paleo loaf stays nice and moist from plenty of mashed banana. Just mix the wet ingredients and then add in a coconut flour and cinnamon mixture. Though the recipe calls for letting this goody cool before slicing, it might be even better when those bits of chocolate are still melty.

Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids by Paleo Parents. The Book is a colorful children's story describing the paleo diet, chock-full of recipes without grains, dairy, soy or refined sugar. For those with food allergies, the top 8 allergens have been visually marked on each recipe for children to self-identify recipes that may contain eggs, nuts, fish, or shellfish. Published March 20, 2012.


The trouble with that view, however, is that what they’re eating is probably nothing like the diet of hunter-gatherers, says Michael Pollan, author of a number of best-selling books on food and agriculture, including Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. “I don’t think we really understand…well the proportions in the ancient diet,” argues Pollan on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast (stream below). “Most people who tell you with great confidence that this is what our ancestors ate—I think they’re kind of blowing smoke.”
Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective these questions can be nearly impossible to answer. 

Overall, the diet is high in protein, moderate in fat (mainly from unsaturated fats), low-moderate in carbohydrate (specifically restricting high glycemic index carbohydrates), high in fiber, and low in sodium and refined sugars. [2] The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA) come from marine fish, avocado, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.

With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet.
Oils are trickier. Loren Cordain, Ph.D., founder of The Paleo Diet Movement, breaks down which oils are healthy on the paleo diet: olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado and coconut oils are all allowed because they were gathered directly from the plant. While our hunter-gatherer ancestors probably did not consume flaxseed oil, it is allowed because of its content of high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid.
In Cooked, Pollan describes how bread might have been first created: Thousands of years ago, someone probably in ancient Egypt discovered a bubbling mash of grains and water, the microbes busily fermenting what would become dough. And unbeknownst to those ancient Egyptians, the fluffy, delicious new substance had been transformed by those microbes. Suddenly the grains provided even more bang for the bite. 

Joel Runyon is the founder of Ultimate Paleo Guide and CEO of Paleo Meal Plans. He's a precision nutrition, and Gym Jones Level 1 certified, and helped millions of people get healthy and lose weight since 2012. Joel is also an ultra runner and endurance athlete - and in 2017, he became the the youngest person to run an ultra marathon on every continent in the world to build 7 schools with Pencils of Promise in developing countries.Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Athlinks and read his full bio here.
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