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Is The Paleo Diet Healthy Or Controversial?

Updated on December 5, 2016

Modern society has made food available in a way our ancestors could only dream of. Not only in quantity, but also in variety. Hunger still exists in many parts of the world, but on average people eat a lot more than in the past.

As a result, being over weight or even obese, is becoming more and more common. There is a strong need to control body weight and therefore dieting. What and how much people should eat has become extremely important. This is reflected in, for example, the food labels on packaged food to help people control their weight.

To satisfy the huge demand for dieting, many dieting plans have been introduced. One of the more notable is known as the Paleo Diet, Stone Age Diet or Caveman Diet. This in turn has spawned many variants, all promising followers of this diet a better and more healthy lifestyle.


What is the Paleo or Caveman Diet?

The Paleo or Caveman Diet basically suggests to eat as our ancient ancestors did. The diet is based on the eating habits of prehistoric people during the Paleolithic Era, which started around 2.5 million years ago and ended around 10,000 years ago. Hence the name Paleo Diet.

Prehistoric people were primarily hunters and gatherers of food within close proximity. Agriculture did not yet exist and the food on which modern people currently depend on is off limits according to the Paleo Diet.

What variants are there of the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet started during the mid nineteen seventies and has since atracted many followers, which have made changes or additions to the original plan.

  • Some diet plans emphasize emulating the physical lifestyle of prehistoric people, which included lots of body movement out in the open.
  • Wider use of carbohydrates than has traditionally been the case.

There is a tremendous variety available and it is up to the individual to decide which ones they like best.


What are you allowed and not allowed to eat with the Paleo Diet?

What you are allowed to eat depends on what specific plan of Paleo Diet you have chosen. In general, if something was not available to prehistoric people, then that particular item is also forbidden with the Paleo Diet.

Some examples of what is not allowed with the Caveman Diet:

  • all products made using grains such as bread, cereals and others
  • all dairy products such as milk and cheese
  • sugar, although honey can be used as a substitute
  • salt

Some examples of what is allowed with the Caveman Diet:

  • meat from animals fed with grass and not grains
  • fish
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • fruit


Why is the Paleo Diet controversial?

The Paleo Diet promises a better and healthier life to those who follow what it prescribes. By simply emulating prehistoric people in their habits, people can eliminate many of the illnesses that plague large parts of the population.

The Paleo Diet is controversial in that is has both supporters, who think the Paleo Diet is good, and opponents, who think the Paleo Diet is bad. Both sides are of the opinion that they are correct and the other side wrong.

Why is the Paleo Diet good according to supporters?

Supporters of the Paleo Diet are of the opinion that it better reflects out natural eating habits and therefore healthier. The modern eating habits have been distorted because of agriculture and the food products it has made available in modern times.

Supporters also point out that people nowadays suffer a lot more from illnesses such as Diabetes, which were barely known to occur in the past. In their eyes, this proves that current eating habits are unhealthy and that people should go back to what they did in the past and thus regain their former health.

Why is the Paleo Diet bad according to opponents?

Opponents argue that there is not enough scientific evidence to back up what supporters claim. The Paleo Diet is more like a fad that should not be taken seriously in their eyes. It also goes against conventional wisdom what people should normally eat. They are not certain what exactly it is that prehistoric people ate due to the passage of time.

Opponents are not convinced that products derived from modern agriculture has led to many negative consequences for human beings. The increasing occurrences of various diseases could simply be the result of people living longer than they did in the past.

Is the Paleo Diet healthy?

From the previous paragraphs it should be clear that there are different opinions regarding the Paleo Diet. The answer to the question therefore depends entirely on the person answering it. Even experts are not certain on whether the Paleo Diet is good or bad, which can make things quite confusing.

If you're thinking of going on a diet and considering trying the Paleo Diet, it is important that you do your own research. Do not rely on the opinion of a single source, but on multiple ones. Whether someone should try the Paleo Diet for themselves is entirely up to them to decide.


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    • Kloud stryfe profile image

      John 2 years ago from Foster

      Well written. I truly believe that the Paleo diet is something that needs to be experienced before a definitive conclusion can be made. In my case my life did a complete turnaround. There is no other lifestyle other than Paleo for me.

    • johntsang profile image

      johntsang 4 years ago

      Thanks for commenting.

      The food nowadays is definitely much more artificial than it used to be.

    • jravity1 profile image

      jravity1 4 years ago from bellevue, MI

      I have heard a lot of back on forth on the subject. The fact is though that all the extra stuff they are putting into are food is effecting us heavily. Just the use of corn and corn byproducts is now every where in food. Thank you for sharing.

    • johntsang profile image

      johntsang 4 years ago

      KA Pederson, glad my article was helpful.

      Thanks for commenting and voting!

    • KA Pederson profile image

      Kim Anne 4 years ago from Texas

      Was wondering what it was, I figured it was a back to the basics type of program. It has to be healthier than all the processed foods we eat today. Voted up for useful.