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

Nutrition Tips: Fat Isn't the Enemy (FITE)

We hear so much about carbs and protein.  Some people claim a high protein diet is the best way to lose weight, or there are people who insist everyone should only eat carbs from the low glycemic list. But fat doesn’t make the conversation much, and that’s because we all know we need to avoid it, right? Fat is evil.  Almost as despicable as gluten...but not quite. 
Dietary fat (I wish we could come up with a better word for this) is found in animal products - meats, dairy - yogurt, cheese, milk, and eggs, but we can also find it in nature with our nuts, seeds, and avocado.  Of course, our baked goods like muffins and cookies have fat are included in the ingredients to make them moist and tasty!  
Food companies have made it entirely POSSIBLE to eat a fat-free diet.  And why wouldn’t you want to? Fat (okay, I’m thinking of a new word now) has been demonized during the past few decades.  We’ve heard that eating too much fat, or any at all depending on who you listen to, will cause us to b…

Insightful Intern - Eating to Lose Weight

In order to lose weight, we often are told that energy out must be greater than energy in.   In other words, calories taken in must be less than the calories we use in all of our daily activities.  So, to lose weight we cut calories and try to increase activity.  (Granted, there is more to weight loss/maintenance than just an exchange in energy.  What if we cut too many calories or don’t eat enough?
Since I started at Kindred Nutrition, I’ve heard many of Amy’s or Dawn’s clients talk about how they’ve cut back on calories to lose weight but have hit a weight-loss plateau.  Many a time when a client discusses this occurrence, we eventually come to the conclusion that the client is not eating enough.  This probably sounds foreign but you do need to eat in order to lose weight!  If you’re not eating enough your body goes into “starvation mode.”   Then whenever you do eat your body automatically stores those calories as fat because it is worried that it is not going to get enough calorie…

The Insightful Intern - Katie Wanger

The insightful Intern: Katie Wagner – Bio: I’m a dog fanatic.  I have three brothers.  I love the outdoors.  I’m a huge advocate of good nutrition and exercise, but I am also an ice cream connoisseur of sorts.  Contradicting yes, but I figure balance is important in all aspects of life.  
How did I get here?
Upon beginning my junior year at Virginia Tech, I had set a goal to find an internship by the end of that school year doing something which would involve what I ultimately wanted to do with my life.  I was looking for something dream-fulfilling, if you will… Paid or unpaid – it didn’t matter to me.   I thought that if I could just find an internship I would better my chances at eventually being able to find a job which would aid me in paying off the mountains of debt I currently owe Virginia Tech (seeing as at this rate I will owe them my first born son) and I wanted to find something that might also bring a little joy to my life.  The only problem with this goal is that at the b…