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Is the Paleo Diet Right for You?

Updated on November 23, 2011

When you finally get fed up with being overweight and it's time to choose the one diet right for you, your quest for weight loss may lead you to the popular Paleo diet. You may have heard of this diet referred to as the caveman's diet, the Stone Age diet, or the hunter-gather's diet. If you hadn't guessed, "Paleo" is short for Paleolithic, and the basic premise is to eat foods the cavemen who lived in the Paleolithic era ate.

How the Paleo Diet Works

The idea behind this diet is that the foods eaten are restricted to reflect the diet of the Paleolithic man. For those who don't follow the various theories of the evolution of man, a common belief is that the Paleolithic man was pre-agricultural. This assumption is reflected in the foods allowed on this popular diet.

Foods Allowed on the Paleo Diet

This basic list gives you an overview of what you can eat on the Paleo Diet. If you wonder whether or not something is allowed, ask yourself whether someone in prehistoric times would have eaten it. If it is processed, the answer is no.

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Cold-pressed plant oils such as olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pork
  • Raw fruits (dried fruits in small amounts)
  • Raw vegetables
  • Seafood
  • Turkey
  • Water

Foods the Paleo Diet Eliminates

The Paleo Diet eliminates refined sugars and processed foods, so at first glance it looks like a sensible approach to losing weight. Here's a short list of foods to avoid on the Paleo Diet.

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugar

Exercise

Unlike many fad diets, the Paleo Diet does recommend regular exercise. After all, the pre-agricultural society in which the hunter-gather lived was very active. They had to hunt and forage for food if they expected to eat. That is just one element in what they did to survive. With this in mind, the Paleo Diet recommends whole-body exercise, and today many cross-fit gyms offer paleo exercise routines.

Is It a Fad?

The Paleo Diet is a fad. It's built on a gimmick. It says it is based on the caveman's diet and then makes assumptions as to what that diet consisted of. Research shows that these assumptions are not on target. In fact, remains have been found that show crop production was practiced between 10,000 and 7000 C yr B.P. Implements found include stone hoes, grinding stones, and irrigation canals.

While the Paleo Diet may help you to lose weight, because it is low carb in nature, it is not a sensible approach to eating. When diets are complicated and hard to follow for the long-term they often fail because people return to an easier way of dieting…or they just give up and gain the weight back. Don't fall for a gimmick or a fad. Choose a balanced diet and learn to eat reasonable portions. This not only helps you lose weight, but keeps it off.

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    • Donna Sundblad profile image
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      Donna Sundblad 5 years ago from Georgia

      I agree that process foods contribute to poor nutrition. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment!

    • ma45frost profile image

      ma45frost 5 years ago from USA

      Modern diet is probably the cause of our modern day health problems. There are more processed food than natural food these days. Thanks for the good info.

    • Donna Sundblad profile image
      Author

      Donna Sundblad 5 years ago from Georgia

      All those things are unhealthy, but remains and artifacts have shown that prehistoric people did eat grains. We've turned eating into something complicated when it really is basic. Eat balanced and don't overeat. Thanks for the comment and the vote up!

    • Faceless39 profile image

      Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Voted up, useful, and interesting. I'd never heard of this diet before, but it makes total sense to me. Though our bodies have adapted in the last few thousands of years, I don't see why going back to our original diet wouldn't work well. Modern diets are generally unhealthy, especially processed foods, sugars, neurotransmitters, injected hormones, and so on--not to mention pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. We should go as natural as possible! :)