Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet

Unless you’ve been living in an actual cave, you’ve probably heard all about the Paleo – or “caveman” – diet.  Maybe you’ve even tried it. A little meat here, some fresh veggies there. Perhaps going grain- or processed-food-free. It’s a cool idea that captures the imagination. But is it healthy? And does it work?

This diet was developed by Loren Cordain, PhD, a researcher from Colorado State University, who started doing studies in the 1970s. He says that the paleo diet is the way humans were genetically designed to eat.

Paleo Diet Food List

Lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, pork, lean beef, and buffalo (bison)



Fresh fruit

Nonstarchy vegetables, such as lettuce, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach

Nuts, like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and pistachios (no peanuts)

Seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower


Plant-based oils, such as olive, walnut, grapeseed, and coconut oil


What Can’t You Eat on the Paleo Diet?

Grains, such as oats, wheat, barley, and rice — which means no cereal, bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, or granola bars

Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, as well as potato and corn chips, tortillas, and popcorn

Legumes or beans — so no peanuts or peanut butter; no soy foods, such as soy milk, tofu, or edamame; no hummus or beans of any kind

Dairy products — so no milk, yogurt, cheese, or ice cream

High-fat meats, such as salami, bologna, pepperoni, hot dogs, ground meat, rib roast, and ribs

Sugars, such as in soda, honey, jam or jelly, syrup, candy, cakes, cookies, and sports drinks

Processed foods or trans fats, such as doughnuts, french fries, fruit snacks, or macaroni and cheese

Salty foods, such as crackers, chips, pretzels, soy sauce, added-salt foods, or sports drinks


Paleo Diet Benefits

You are more likely to eat a clean diet without additives, preservatives, or chemicals.

There are anti-inflammatory benefits from the plant nutrients in fruits, vegetables, oils, nuts, and seeds.

If you are eating more red meat, you will get more iron.

You may see improved satiety — a feeling of fullness between meals, due to the higher intake of protein and fats.

Many people lose weight primarily due to the limited food choices.

Negative Effects and Disadvantages of the Paleo Diet

It can get expensive.

You don’t eat any grains or dairy which can be good for health and energy.

This diet can be difficult for vegetarians, especially since it excludes beans.

Most athletes need between 3 to 6 grams of carbs per pound of their body weight, per day. This would be very hard to do with just fruits and vegetables.

Remember that if you take away foods and nutrients and don’t find suitable replacements, you can create a nutrient imbalance.


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This article was written on 29 Jun 2017.