What Is The Paleo Diet? – Forbes Health

The paleo food plan relies on the belief that the straightforward meals of our Stone Age ancestors are more healthy than up to date diets, which typically embrace extremely processed meals. The paleo food plan emphasizes lean meat, fish and unprocessed, contemporary meals. It additionally severely restricts carbohydrates, sugar and salt. This approach of consuming can result in weight reduction and different well being advantages, analysis suggests, although it’s not with out dangers. 

What Is the Paleo Diet? 

Fans of the paleo food plan imagine our our bodies are higher suited to eat meals consumed by early people who lived within the Paleolithic age. These meals embrace lean meat and vegetation quite than the closely processed and high-carbohydrate meals many individuals eat right this moment. 

Walter L. Voegtlin, M.D., first put forth the paleo approach of consuming in his 1975 guide The Stone Age Diet as a method to higher well being. It later turned fashionable within the 2002 guide The Paleo Diet by researcher and train physiologist Loren Cordain. 

Paleo diet-friendly meals embrace lean unprocessed meat, seafood, leafy greens, contemporary fruit, eggs, nuts and wholesome oils. Meanwhile, the food plan doesn’t enable grains, milk, cheese, potatoes, legumes, processed meals, added sugar or salt and refined vegetable oils. 

The paleo food plan has been proven to end in well being advantages corresponding to lowered waist circumference, decrease triglyceride ranges (blood fat which are related to coronary heart illness, diabetes and liver illness), in addition to a lower in blood stress, in response to a 2015 assessment of trials in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, lacking out on vital vitamins is a danger—and most of the well being advantages paleo touts could also be attributable to weight reduction incurred from the food plan, versus the food plan itself.  

Types of Paleo Diets

The paleo food plan may be tailor-made to particular person meals necessities. “I typically assist individuals customise it, particularly athletes and lively folks that want extra carbohydrates for gasoline,” says Pittsburgh-based Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian, licensed specialist in sports activities dietetics and writer of Fueling Young Athletes. “Incorporating just a few extra complicated carbohydrates—like oatmeal, potatoes and different complete grains helps to provide the additional gasoline wanted for exercise, whereas nonetheless following a wholesome consuming plan and reaching private targets. The secret’s consuming what you want, and never overdoing it.”

“From my expertise, most individuals who declare to be following the paleo food plan are literally following a modified type of it,” she provides. “That’s okay, although, as a result of following a strict paleo food plan will not be essential to shed some pounds.” 

The Autoimmune Paleo Diet

Variations of the paleo food plan have emerged through the years. One adaptation is the autoimmune paleo food plan. This is an elimination food plan, which requires an individual to take away meals from their food plan one after the other to find out which meals particularly trigger signs related to autoimmune ailments. Here, eradicated meals are these which paleo food plan proponents say are widespread offenders, corresponding to grains and processed meals. 

While analysis evaluating how the paleo food plan impacts autoimmune illness is proscribed, there’s been anecdotal proof of its advantages. Such was the case for Sarah Ballantyne, who has a doctorate in medical biophysics and is the writer of The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body. She discovered that following the paleo food plan considerably eradicated signs she skilled for years, corresponding to irritable bowel syndrome, bronchial asthma, nervousness, migraines and eczema. After switching to the paleo approach of consuming, she additionally misplaced weight and slept higher, she says. 

Paleo Diet Foods

The paleo food plan prioritizes sure unprocessed meals with no added sugar or salt and restricts others. Allowed meals embrace:

  • Fish and seafood. These present protein and omega-3 fats.
  • Lean, grass-fed meat. This provides protein low in saturated fats, nutritional vitamins (B12) and minerals (zinc, iron).
  • Fresh fruit. This supplies antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber. 
  • Non-starchy greens corresponding to broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and squash. These present nutritional vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals however are low in energy.
  • Sweet potatoes. These root greens are touted by paleo proponents for his or her dietary advantages. 
  • Eggs. These provide omega-3 fats (in omega-3 enriched eggs) and protein, in addition to vitamin A and choline from the egg yolk. 
  • Nuts (besides peanuts that are legumes). These present monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, nutritional vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
  • Olive oil. This is advisable for its heart-health advantages and accommodates monounsaturated fats and phytonutrients. 

Foods Not Allowed on a Paleo Diet

The paleo food plan is decrease in carbs. Restricted meals embrace:

  • Grains merchandise, corresponding to pasta and cereals. Refined grains have a excessive glycemic index—which means they’ll trigger your blood sugar stage to rise shortly, triggering the discharge of insulin, a fats storage hormone. Despite complete grains having well being advantages, the paleo food plan limits all kinds of grains (not simply refined grains). 
  • Legumes, corresponding to beans, soy and peanuts. Beans specifically have a reasonable glycemic index. 
  • Milk, cheese and yogurt. These are not allowed as a result of paleo proponents say they typically have hormones and are related to gastrointestinal issues, as many individuals don’t soak up the sugar in dairy.

A Paleo Diet Meal Plan 

The paleo food plan consists of a wide range of meals, so with some culinary creativity, every day meals needn’t be uninteresting. Based on the advisable and restricted meals outlined within the paleo web site created by Cordain, right here’s what every week of meals may appear like, even for somebody who will not be an professional prepare dinner.

Benefits of the Paleo Way of Eating

The paleo food plan touts a slew of well being advantages, together with: 

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a significant good thing about the paleo food plan, analysis reveals, although calorie counting and portion measuring will not be known as for. For obese or overweight individuals, shedding further kilos may be helpful to their well being.  

Glucose Control

Consuming much less sugar, processed meals and refined carbohydrates (processed carbs with out the fiber) is a should for individuals with diabetes, and the paleo food plan could assist enhance glucose management, in response to a small research by researchers on the University of California San Francisco. “Eliminating sugars and limiting salt is by far the largest good thing about following a paleo food plan,” says Mangieri. “In reality, most individuals can have success shedding weight in the event that they give attention to lowering these vitamins alone.” 

Improved Body Fat, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

The paleo food plan may also help management weight and waist circumference in addition to help in managing some power ailments, in response to a 2019 assessment of research in Nutrition Journal.

And one small 2015 research discovered that after 4 months of consuming paleo meals, individuals with excessive ldl cholesterol confirmed enhancements of their ldl cholesterol and triglyceride numbers, that are key to stopping coronary heart illness.

Furthermore, the paleo approach of consuming resulted in short-term enhancements in waist circumference, triglyceride ranges, blood stress, ldl cholesterol and blood sugar ranges in comparison with different diets, in response to one other assessment of randomized trials in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Risks of the Paleo Diet 

There are dangers related to happening a paleo food plan, corresponding to:

  • Eating an excessive amount of saturated fats. “A real paleo food plan is wealthy in greens, berries, candy potatoes, nuts and seeds. If you eat sufficient of these meals, you will get sufficient fiber,” says Mangieri. “The drawback is most individuals don’t. Many individuals take what they need from the food plan, like consuming all of the meat they need, and fail to give attention to the greens. That can undoubtedly end in a food plan that’s excessive in saturated fats.”
  • Not getting sufficient nutritional vitamins. “Because the paleo food plan doesn’t allow any dairy meals, getting sufficient vitamin D and calcium [is] undoubtedly a priority,” says Mangieri. Furthermore, with so many meals on the do-not-eat listing, some individuals could merely discover it too laborious to keep up this consuming sample. 

Pro Tips to Maximizing a Paleo Diet

As with many diets, how you place a paleo food plan into apply issues.

Get your omega-3 fatty acids.

The paleo food plan recommends consuming numerous fish and lean meats, primarily for his or her omega-3 fatty acid  contents—with good cause. Omega-3s can cut back danger of coronary heart illness and stroke, in response to the American Heart Association.

Replace junk meals with wholesome treats.

The paleo approach of consuming provides loads of alternate options to sugar and salt-laden meals. Instead of sweet, strive consuming just a few dates. Instead of salty chips, strive a mixture of nuts and seeds flavored with spices like garlic powder and cumin.


Voegtlin, Walter L., M.D., F.A.C.P. The Stone Age Diet. New York/Washington/Atlanta/Hollywood: Vantage Press, Inc.; 1975.

Cordain, Loren, Ph.D. The Paleo Diet. Revised version. Hoboken, New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2002, 2010.

What You Should and Should Not Eat on the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet. Accessed 03/04/2021.

Manheimer EW, van Zuuren EJ, Fedorowicz Z, Pilj H, et al. Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015;102(4):922–932.

The Autoimmune Paleo Diet. Mindd Foundation. Accessed 03/04/2021.

Melberg C, Sanberg S, Ryberg M, et al. Long-term effects of a Palaeolithic-type diet in obese postmenopausal women: a 2-year randomized trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014;68:350–357.

Magkos F, Fratterigo G, Yoshino J, et al. Effects of moderate and subsequent progressive weight loss on metabolic function and adipose tissue biology in humans with obesity. Cell Metabolism. 2016;23(4):591–601.

Masharani U, Sherchan P, Schloetter M, et al. Metabolic and physiologic effects from consuming a hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic)-type diet in type 2 diabetes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015;69944–948.

de Menezes EV, Sampaioi H, Carioca A, et al. Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition Journal. 2019.

Pastore RL, Brooks JT, Carbone, JW. Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations. Nutrition Research. 2015;35(6):474-479.  

Genoni A, Christophersen, CT, Lo J, et al. Long-term Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentrations. European Journal of Nutrition. 2020.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Adrian

Leave a Reply