Skip to main content

Food Trends: Eating Like a Caveman? (The Paleo Diet)

Everywhere you turn, people are talking Paleo! Here at Kindred Nutrition, Paleo is the eating plan clients ask about most.

What is Paleo?

Websites, magazines, even entire books are devoted to Paleo. The diet is especially popular among people advocating the Crossfit exercise plan. But what, exactly, is Paleo? Well, descriptions vary depending on who you ask. But most advocates generally define the Paleo diet as those foods eaten by our hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic) ancestors. This translates to lots of animal protein and lots of plants (veggies and fruits). The rationale for the Paleo diet, loosely explained, is that we should eat those foods humans evolved eating, as opposed to the grain-heavy, processed diet of more modern times. The argument seems logical enough, and lots of fresh produce is a no-brainer, right? Let’s take a closer look.

Paleo Basics
To “eat Paleo,” avoid all processed foods and sugar, and limit (but do not eliminate) carbohydrates. Specifically, avoid grains (wheat, corn, etc.) and focus on animal protein, non-starchy vegetables, and fruits. Paleo advocates often differ on whether any starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.) are appropriate. Some Paleo eaters embrace beans and lentils, while others do not. 

A Paleo diet is likely to be full of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and low on the Glycemic Index. It’s entirely possible that many people will feel great and lose weight eating this way. I am somewhat concerned with the long-term, however. Eliminating dairy and grains means eliminating main sources of calcium, fiber, and other nutrients, which opens the door for nutritional deficiencies. And, this diet is restrictive and will require advance planning to maintain day in and day out. The burnout potential is high. If you haven’t been practicing portion control and continually are “sneaking” non-Paleo foods, weight maintenance is likely to be a problem.

So, what’s the takeaway on the Paleo diet?

Ø  Advantage: The diet dramatically reduces sugar and sodium consumption, which is a great benefit. Another plus is that there is a lot of support for this diet. A quick Web query will bring up tons of information, book titles, sample diet plans, and forums for followers to share experiences.  And, protein is filling, so it’s unlikely you will go hungry on this diet.

Ø  Challenge: The Paleo diet prohibits dairy and grains. Restrictive diets are difficult to adhere to long-term and require monitoring to ensure your diet provides vital nutrition. For example, whole grains provide much-needed fiber and are also fortified with nutrients. You’ll miss out on all of that by eating Paleo. As a dietician I’m always concerned when a diet eliminates entire categories of foods like this.

Ø  For Your Consideration: If you choose to follow the Paleo diet, be sure to identify your calcium sources and consider a Vitamin D supplement. Also, have a plan for how you will handle eating when you can’t easily supply or control your meals (e.g., social dining situations, restaurants). If possible, consult a dietician. He or she can review your Paleo food choices and help tweak them to ensure optimal nutrition.


For More Information



paleoaholic said…

I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next..

healthly meals

what is paleo

paleo guide

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

You are what you eat BUT it takes longer than a day!

Recent research by Cornell University published a week ago in the New England Journal of Medicine proves that holiday weight gain does happen and most of it is from October to about ten days after Christmas.  The study analyzed 3,000 individuals over a years time focusing on daily weights that were collected and analyzed by a wireless Withings Scale.

Although the average weight gain from October to November was only 1.3 pounds this may prove that holiday weight gain is not a myth. Of interest, the study also showed that fifty percent lost the weight shortly after the holiday season while it took the other fifty percent about five months to lose the excess weight, shortly after Easter.
Author Dr. Wansink advises “Instead of a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, have an October resolution not to gain too much weight in the first place. Then you won’t have to worry about five months of struggling."
At Kindred Nutrition we tend to agree with Dr. Wansink's advice.  Our society is s…

Make it Happen

Parents, I see you. I see you putting everyone else's needs in front of yours. I see your dark circles under your eyes, your gray hair, that your wasting away, or that you've collectively gained weight over the years. It's time to put yourselves first because if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around to keep taking care of everyone else.

So often friends, acquaintances, or clients say to me, "I don't know how you find the time to exercise." "How can you take the time away from everything else and get away to exercise?" "I wish I could actually focus on myself and exercise."

Exercise to me is self care. It produces endorphins faster than any other activity I engage in. It  reduces my stress, keeps me healthy, increases flexibility, and gives me more energy to be on point with my busy kids and my demanding job.

My exercise isn't extravagant and it doesn't take too much time. Here's my secret. I always work e…