The Paleo Diet Debunked?

We’re big fans of the Paleo Diet around these parts.

If you’re not familiar with it, essentially it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ of consuming certain foods based on we’re how we’re allegedly designed to eat from an evolutionary standpoint.

In short: cut out processed foods and grains, load up on veggies, meat, fish, eggs, fruits and nuts.

It’s no shock that Paleo is a hot topic around the Nerd Fitness Rebellion: our Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet has been viewed over three million times and our iPhone App, Paleo Central, has already helped over 25,000 people make more informed decisions on what to eat.

Now, as this way of life has continued to grow in popularity, it seems like more and more critics are coming out of the woodwork to bash it and present arguments as to why the Paleo Diet is a fallacy.

Within the past few months, a TEDx talk on debunking the Paleo Diet has been making its way around the internet, and a recently released book, PaleoFantasy, has brought the “is this Paleo Diet a fad/dangerous/a waste of time?” to the front of the conversations throughout the blogosphere and mainstream media.

Being the nerd that I am, I wanted to respectfully address the most common arguments, explain my experiences with the diet, and then invite you to share your story too.

Let’s do this thing!

The Paleo Lifestyle isn’t realistic

caveman wall painting

First and foremost, critics love to point out that literally living a Paleo lifestyle is impossible in this day and age.

If we’re going to eat like cavemen, then certainly we should want to be living like them as well, right? Strapping on loin cloths, hanging out in caves, foraging for our own food, hunting our own animals, giving up modern day luxury and moving back to a primitive lifestyle.

Here’s the truth: Nobody I know who follows Paleo principles actually wants to live that way! Yeah, we can’t go hunt wooly mammoths or gazelles, so we do the best we can by consuming grass fed beef or bison, free range chicken, wild fish, and so on.

It’s absolutely true that modern day food is different from the food that existed tens of thousands of years ago, so we do the best we can with what we have.  

Ultimately, Paleo people aim to do the best we can to live like we’re genetically designed to live, while also having fun and enjoying the modern luxuries of today’s conveniences.

I love technology as much as the next nerd, and I have no intention on living in a cave any time soon.  I’d certainly consider a hobbit hole, but for now I’ll stick with my apartment.

So, almost nobody takes the “Paleo Lifestyle” literally – it’s instead looked at as a simple blueprint to give us the best chance at having success with weight loss and optimal health.

How we eat isn’t the problem, it’s because we don’t move enough

cat on treadmill  Currently, roughly 70% of the United States is overweight.  Many health professionals assume that in order for us to turn our lives around, we simply need to be exercising more (at least 60-90 minutes per day) and eating less.  Changing up our diet and abandoning food groups like “heart healthy” whole grains is a waste of time, and that we need to just focus on calorie deficits to lose weight and get things back under control.

Unfortunately, in my research and studies on this topic I haven’t found this to tell the whole story: I firmly believe that our diet is responsible for 80-90% of our success or failure when it comes to weight loss or optimal health (exercise plays just a supporting role), that we CANNOT outrun our fork, and that all calories are NOT created equal.

I’ve found these articles found them both incredibly interesting and worth a read, explaining that just moving more isn’t enough, and that all calories are not created equal.

  • A Tanzanian hunter-gatherer tribe was tracked over a series of months.  Despite spending hours upon hours each day exercising, they showed no more energy expenditure than somebody who lived a far more sedentary lifestyle.  This suggests that our bodies adjust to the stresses put upon them and adjust how we spend our energy accordingly; just moving more without changing our diet won’t result in long term success/health.
  • Rats fed high fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight  than rats fed the same number of calories of table sugar.  Not all sugar is created equal, and not all calories are created equal.  Though, it’s not a stretch to believe that a 200 calorie Twinkie will not produce the same results in your body as 200 calories of broccoli.

The Paleo Diet is mainly meat based

Shouldn't you be woolly?

Most critics love to point out that the Paleo Diet is “mainly meat based” (as stated in the TEDx talk referenced above and in this Huffington Post piece).  They then spend the rest of their talk/article explaining that we, in fact, didn’t eat all meat, and that we mostly ate plants!

And thank goodness! As the internet has recently pointed out, meat will kill you (actually, it won’t).

Although some people may choose to follow the Paleo Diet by eating primarily meat, and yes a majority of the protein consumed on a Paleo Diet does come from animal sources, I would argue that a true Paleo Diet is actually mostly vegetable based, supplemented by a protein source which often happens to be meat.  So, the critics and advocates of the Paleo Diet are in agreement on this – mostly plants!

Paleo and Atkins are not synonyms. People that are all-in on a Paleo Diet tend to have 2/3rds of their plate filled up with vegetables, and a small portion of meat added. Yes, some people choose to eat more meat than that, but nowhere in the basic Paleo principles does it state that Paleo Diet is mainly meat based.

A diet that promotes the consumption of more vegetables, and whenever possible eating meat from pasture raised or free range animals?

Sounds like something we can all be in agreement on.

But ancient humans ate grains!

wheat field

Here’s another argument that people love to point out:

Recently, some studies have popped up on various ancient cultures that show that some humans in certain civilizations consumed certain types of grains as far back as 100,000 years ago).

But wait! If the whole point of the Paleo Diet is that humans haven’t evolved much since the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago)…and now you’re telling me that some humans ate grains further back than that, then how does the Paleo Diet make sense??

Shouldn’t this be causing mass hysteria among the paleo camp?

We’re missing the point here. The point is that processed grains, stuff in boxes and bags, is crap. No matter how far back you go in our evolutionary timeline, you’ll never find any ancient human eating dyed white bread or Lucky Charms (now with “heart healthy whole grains!”).  We need to be focusing on eating unprocessed, real food.

THIS is the point.  Not “no grains no matter what ever ever!” – but rather a common sense approach to cutting out processed foods and including more natural whole foods.

We are still evolving

caveman spaceman

A big cornerstone of the Paleo Diet is that humans haven’t evolved drastically since the Agricultural Revolution occurred 10,000 years ago.

Critics argue that we have in fact evolved since then, and that certain cultures have adapted to be able to consume grains or dairy, proving that we are evolving and that the Paleo Diet is no longer valid.

Again, we’re missing the point here: I also believe that we are still evolving. For example, people of Northern European descent tend to have no problem consuming dairy, while people of Asian descent tend to have issues digesting lactose and are often lactose intolerant: it’s because humans have evolved over time to adapt to their surroundings!

The truth is, a lot of people ARE gluten intolerant or lactose intolerant. In fact, at least  65% of the population has “a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy,” and a growing number of people are discovering they’re gluten intolerant.

So, the Paleo Diet helps make people aware of two food groups that many people tend to have an issue with. I don’t think it should come as a surprise then to realize that these are the two food groups introduced most recently into our diets from an evolutionary standpoint.

It would seem that although a portion of the population adapted to consume more starchy/carbohydrate rich diets, it’s far from being a majority; same goes for dairy consumption.

But this study shows that a _________ diet is better

lego veggies

I tend to receive a few emails a week from concerned people who cite books like The China Study or other studies claiming that a plant only diet/low fat diet/fruit only diet/bicycle only diet is the path for optimal health, not Paleo.

To these, I reply: If it works for you, if you are getting a clean bill of health from your doctor, and if you are happy, by all means keep eating that way!  It’s clearly working for you.

I don’t think there is one particular diet that works for everybody – we all have intolerances to certain things or proclivities to others.  I WOULD argue that these studies always tend to mistake correlation for causation (as demonstrated by this refute of the China Study and its findings).

 I encourage people to assume NOTHING, and to always wear skeptic goggles when reading studies.

Here’s an example: these studies often compare vegetarian lifestyles to regular people who say they consume meat.  Somebody that has chosen to live a vegetarian lifestyle tends to be a more health conscious individual than the average bear, and thus aims to make healthier lifestyle choices all around (including exercise and eliminating certain types of unhealthy foods). This group of people is compared to people in the  “meat consumption” category (everyone else), who may or may not want to be living a healthier life, who may not exercise, who may not eliminate certain foods, who may partake in other unhealthy activities, and so on.

The truth of the matter is that there are very few studies that compare a health conscious plant-only diet to a health conscious Paleo Diet (containing grass fed beef, organic chicken, organ meats, and lots and lots of vegetables).  This is the first I’ve found.

If you are against the consumption of meat, more power to ya. If you look good, feel good, and wake up happy – keep doing what you’re doing, because it works for you.

However, if you are worried about consuming this or that due to a particular study, I would advise you to do your research on the study, create your own hypothesis, and conduct an experiment on yourself to find out what works for you!

Use these studies as a starting point for your own research.

Why I believe the Paleo Diet works

solo caveman

Here’s my humble, nerdy opinion as to why the Paleo Diet is so popular and helps so many people have success:

It’s not because ancient humans didn’t eat grains (they might have in small quantities); it’s not because we haven’t evolved (I’d argue that we have never stopped), nor because the diet encourages excessive meat consumption (if anything, it encourages excessive vegetable consumption).  Heck, we can’t be exactly sure what people ate 100,000 years ago (until Doc gets the DeLorean up and running), but that honestly doesn’t matter.

I believe the Paleo Diet works for a number of reasons, the most important being something that has nothing to do with anthropology or physiology:

It’s not just because the Paleo Diet teaches your body to use stored fat for energy rather than sugar.  Nor is it just because it’s very difficult to overeat on the Paleo Diet, which almost always leads to weight loss.  It’s not just because it can help with things like diabetes and other physiological issues (like multiple sclerosis).

It’s because it’s damn simple to understand, makes logical sense, removes the need for counting calories, and removes willpower from the equation. Just like a workout, the pretty good routine you follow is better than the perfect one you don’t. Similarly, the Paleo Diet isn’t perfect, but it works for many and it’s easy to follow.

Here’s why: willpower is a finite resource.

How many times have you told yourself “I’ll just have one” or “okay, I’ll only eat half of this” before eating the entire box/bag/entire serving?  Sugary/processed foods can have very addicting qualities, and for people who have addictive personalities (I’d imagine a HUGE portion of Nerd Fitness readers fit into this category), portion control can be incredibly challenging.

Having “just one” is a recipe for disaster, as your brain starts to think “ugh, why are you depriving me of this food that I so desperately want? I just tasted it and now I can’t think about anything else?!”

When you continue to consume unhealthy foods and you have this type of personality, you are a slave to your taste buds and the dopamine released after indulging yourself – your brain has a one-track mind and wants to consume the food you’re only allowed “one of.”

Compare this to somebody on the Paleo Diet.  Instead of “I can’t eat that food,” you say “I don’t eat that food” (as it’s not on the list of approved Paleo foods).  It has become part of your identity, and you need much less willpower to resist that temptation to consume (and most likely over-consume.

Thanks to my friend James Clear for this:

A research study divided people into two groups: one group was told that each time they were faced with a temptation, they would tell themselves “I can’t do X.” For example, when tempted with ice cream, they would say, “I can’t eat ice cream.”  The second group was  told to say “I don’t do X.” For example, when tempted with ice cream, they would say, “I don’t eat ice cream.”

As each student walked out of the room and handed in their answer sheet, they were offered a complimentary treat. The student could choose between a chocolate candy bar or a health bar. As the student walked away, the researcher would mark their snack choice on the answer sheet.

The students who told themselves “I can’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bar 61% of the time. Meanwhile, the students who told themselves “I don’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bars only 36% of the time. This simple change in terminology significantly improved the odds that each person would make a more healthy food choice.

By removing the mental work from the equation, the Paleo Diet puts you back in control, takes out the guess work required to figure out how much exactly to eat,  and eliminates the temptation associated with only having ‘a few’ of something.

The Paleo Diet works because the procedure is easy to follow and to build as a habit…not because it gives away some super secret diet formula…but because it’s simple and thus easy to adhere to.

Do I follow the Paleo Diet?

Steve Elephant

Although I’m a big fan of the Paleo Diet, I make a conscious decision to not follow it 100%.  

Instead, I have adapted the Paleo principles to my life and altered them to fit my lifestyle and goals.

Here’s why: setting aside the fact that there is no one true “Paleo Diet,” whenever I go full Paleo I tend to lose weight very quickly, dropping my body fat percentage down into the 7-8% range.  Personally, my goals these days are to add size and muscle, and improve my athletic performance.  In order for me to do that, I need to be putting ON weight, so I will mix in some non-Paleo foods like whole milk, rice, and oats depending on my training routine for that day.

On top of that, I’ll occasionally eat unhealthy foods, generally around social events, and not think twice about it!  Although it’s possible to eat healthy at a barbecue, I choose not worry about it, drink beer and eat pizza with everybody else, and then get back on track with my next meal.

So, although I don’t follow the Paleo Diet 100%, I’d argue that this is yet another example that shows that it works - when I want to put on weight, I add back in grains and dairy to my diet. When I go full Paleo, I lose body fat quickly and get even more lean, which is the same way Saint got his results after years of struggle.  I know NF Team member Staci is the same way: she constantly adjusts her Paleo “percentage” based on her athletic goals at that time.

The best solution?

Steve NF

I’m in the process of putting together a formal “Nerd Fitness Diet,” that will explain my entire philosophy on what to eat and what not to eat, and when to eat..

Rather than a rigid set of yes’s and no’s, it’ll instead be a simple set of guidelines to live by.  

I’ll be expanding upon this topic in a future article, but these are the rules that I believe will help you have the most success with weight loss, a healthy checkup from the doctor, and happy life:

  • EAT REAL FOOD. The less ingredients, the less steps it took to process, the healthier it will most likely be for you.
  • Minimize consumption of grains and dairy if your goal is weight loss.  Consider eliminating foods completely and then add them back in after a few weeks to see how your body responds.    
  • Understand that you can’t outrun your fork. Your diet will account for 80% of your success or failure.
  • Eat more vegetables.  No, corn doesn’t count :)
  • Try to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight each day.
  • Minimize liquid calories.
  • Don’t have cheat meals – instead, make conscious decisions when to eat ‘unhealthy foods’ and then get right back on track.
  • Focus on building permanent small changes rather than sweeping changes that only last for a few weeks.
  • Relax! Do the best you can with what you have, where you are.

Have you tried it?

Lego Sherlock

I often find that those who are overly critical of the Paleo Diet have never actually given it a shot, nor tested for themselves how their body responds to these changes.

I encourage EVERYBODY to think for themselves and question everything – it’s even one of the Rules of the Rebellion!  I also encourage everybody to understand how their body works by getting hard facts whenever possible.  Take the time, save up the few bucks required, and get your blood work done. Then change your diet for 30-60 days and get blood work done again. See how your body reacts!

Not interested in getting blood work done?  Then go with look and feel – spend 30 days trying out a new diet, take before/after pictures and measurements, and compare how you feel (energy levels, exhaustion, etc.) before drawing your own conclusions.

I’d love to hear from you:

What are your thoughts on the Paleo Diet?  

Have you tried it?  What were your results?

If you’re against it, what are your concerns?

Leave a comment and let’s get the conversation started!  As always, thanks for keeping things civil :)

-Steve 

PS – If you are interested in the Paleo Diet and want more information, check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet which links to a number of great resources. If you want even more direction, our Nerd Fitness Guides are grounded in Paleo principles, applied in a way that you can slowly make changes rather than going all in. Cheers!

###

photos: caveman fast food, caveman wall painting, cat on treadmill, wooly mammoth, wheat, caveman spacemanlego veggiessolo caveman, steak and asparagus, lego sherlock.

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  • faroq

    i’ve been following the Fit For Life eating philosophy since 1993, my early days of college (the book was published back in 1985). it promotes many of the same principles that the Paleo Diet (maybe it should be called Paleo Philosophy, or Paleo Principle, Paleo For Life) also recommends. when i met my (then future) husband back in 2001, he spend 3 – nights sleeping upright in and easy chair due to what was diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (acid reflux/GERD). as he changed his eating habits (much processed food) to better match mine (i did all the cooking when we first moved in together, so he had little choice) the nights in the easy chair dropped to 1 per week, and then to none. his esophagus healed and he dropped 30 lbs which he’s kept off for over a decade. we now have 2 kiddos and we feed them according to the Fit For Life/Paleo Diet/Real Food Movement philosophy. the benefits have been that our children know what dozens of kinds of veggies and fruits look like (of course, knowing what something is and liking to eat it are two completely different things), we are able to grow many of our own spring/summer/fall veggies (saving us money), the kiddos know where food comes from – not only what animal but where on the animal the meat comes from, and we all are at healthy weights and feel really good!
    one last thing – we found that when we apply Zero Waste principles (do an online search for the Zero Waste Home to find the blog about it) to buying our Fit For Life/Paleo Diet/real food, we not only are kind to our bodies, but also to our natural resources. which makes it even more satisfying.

  • faroq

    p.s. steve, i forgot to say “thank you” for a good post and thoughtful discussion about the Paleo Diet. i enjoyed reading it.

  • Nat

    Good stuff. It’s very hard these days but just eat less processed, more nutritious foods, drink water (hydrate), exercise and rest. Then adjust the diet to your own needs for a healthy lifestyle. It’s not rocket science. Cheat days will happen just get back on board the next meal.

  • Annette

    Thanks a million for writing this article. It is 100% dead on! There are many critics out there confusing people about the Paleo Diet. The truth is no diet that encourages eating more fruits & veggies is bad for anyone. I hope more articles like this can help people become better informed. Perfection!!!

  • Jason

    Been Paleo since January 7, 2013. Total weight loss is 46lbs. Dropped 4 pants sizes. No more acid reflux, asthma, high blood pressure or joint pain and I have continued energy. I don’t crave anything anymore. If I want to eat something, I do but I don’t need/want anything processed. After sticking with this LIFESTYLE not “diet” (in the modern sense of the word) for over a year now and seeing the results stick too, my wife and I have brought my parents, sister and brother-in-law into the Paleo circle and they are loving it. Critics of this Lifestyle simply adhere to what they’ve been brainwashed to believe their whole lives; that fat is bad and whole grains are good for the heart. When confronted with these arguments, I simply nod and say I just don’t eat that… My other sister always says, “I’ll eat what I want and just workout a little more.” I don’t even get into the why’s of how what she and her family eat is bad because I will never convince her. That’s just how she is. But when someone genuinely seems interested, I am right there ready to help.

  • Devin Shade

    I started the Virgin diet in December 2012. It’s an elimination diet that eliminates wheat, soy, corn, dairy, sweeteners, eggs, and peanuts. The most highly allergenic staples in the American diet. You do that for 3 weeks then re incorporate each one of these foods. The first 3 weeks I lost 25 lbs, my cholesterol dropped from 285 to 180 without meds, my IBS went away, and so did the acne on my back. Severe hunger cravings went away and my diabetic markers went down to normal. I didn’t exercise at all during this period. Prior to that I was following the Macrobiotic which was a disaster. During re incorporation I found that gluten and dairy were messing me up. Never was into soy but during the soy challenge I experienced headaches and decreased sex drive.

    Today, my diet is near paleo. I still eat legumes a few times a week but right now I’m off all grains.

  • himurastewie

    You read the blog post that you’re responding to, right? I mean, actually read it? Because it doesn’t sound like you did. For instance:

    “If you are against the consumption of meat, more power to ya. If you look good, feel good, and wake up happy – keep doing what you’re doing, because it works for you.

    However, if you are worried about consuming this or that due to a particular study, I would advise you to do your research on the study, create your own hypothesis, and conduct an experiment on yourself to find out what works for you!

    Use these studies as a starting point for your own research.”
    That basically addresses everything you just said. Paleo works for the author, it’s his site, and he’s decided to pass it on to his readers who may also find it beneficial.

  • archaeolover

    This evidence is connected with the agricultural revolution, aka domesticated plants/animals. Part of it is that domestication leads to sedentary lifestyles, crowding that result in different types of diseases (which can lead to malnutrition), reliance on fewer crops (often bad for diet, but also means that you are much more severely affect by local weather or larger climatic changes). What Michael was referring to before is that, as more research is being done on Paleolithic peoples, we are finding out that they actually did eat a fair amount of wild grains and starches (even Neanderthals ate more than we used to give them credence for). Heck, a recent article in Science found very high rates of caries (aka cavities) in pre-agricultural peoples, most likely from eating high amounts of acorns. But the short story is that the two of you are talking generally about two different time periods, along with two different types of subsistence.

  • Archaeolover

    Horses are obligate herbivores. Our teeth don’t look much like theirs at all (I am a zooarchaeologist, so yes, I have looked at horse teeth, as well as those of most other domesticates, and wild animals from the Southeast region). If you want to see what animal our teeth look like, go pull out some pig teeth. Seriously. Omnivores. Those are the animals our teeth look the most similar to.

  • Nathaniel79

    Just live healthy people! Good God. Haha. Seriously though it’s a solid diet – http://www.shebudgets.com/health/diet-fitness/paleo-diet/34482

  • Doug Wyatt II

    I just found this article, so I’m a little late on the draw… I started eating Paleo just after Christmas and I have to say that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was at my heaviest weight ever of 357lbs!! It’s been exactly a month and I’m already at 324lbs!! I’ve been to the gym twice, so for me, I’d say Paleo definitely works :)

  • Chris

    I agree that it is possible to eat very unhealthy and still be fully considered a vegan. However, in my experience, most vegans choose to be so for ethical reasons AND are generally disciplined enough to eat an abundance of healthy fruits and vegetables and what they deem healthy protein alternatives. Though I do see cases of vegans who care little about the nutrition of their diet but simply care about the ethics involved…which is all a vegan is technically required to care about. It is not specifically a diet, making it impossible to “abuse” the label as you either abstain from the use of animal products or you do not. However, Paleo IS an eating regiment (I prefer to steer clear of the word diet as it is so misinterpreted and misunderstood in our society), and I fail to see how it would be possible to abuse the Paleo label. I understand that you are suggesting people can eat relatively unhealthy yet still exist under the blanket of Paleo foods. How though could you possibly eat poorly with Paleo? The food lists are relatively black and white. Hormone and preservative free fruits and vegetables and natural fed animal meat/fats. How could someone abuse the Paleo label eating these foods? There are no unhealthy options given the acceptable food lists. This leads me to believe you think it is possible to over consume one specific food group while neglecting others as that would be the only possible way to eat healthy food options in an unhealthy manner. For example, perhaps you’re suggesting that a person could only eat massive amounts of fruit and that is all. Or that one could only consume bacon and almonds. Well this wouldn’t be Paleo as it calls for fruits, vegetables, and healthy meat/fats in proportionate quantities. Please explain to me how it would be possible to adhere to a Paleo eating plan, and simultaneously be unhealthy as you suggest.

  • http://islandinthenet.com/ Khürt L. Williams

    Agree 100%.

  • Grace T

    I am starting to transition to a Paleo diet as an attempt to cut out/reduce my migraines–I have chronic pain 24/7. A friend of mine recommended the book by Josh Turknett called The Migraine Miracle, and I am in the process of trying to understand it all–the book is easy to read, but a lot of the information about diet is totally new to me. I almost hope it doesn’t work for me because I really, really love buttermilk pancakes!

  • Lisa

    Gonna do a presentation about the paleo diet in school in a couple of days. Really looking forward to it. All this searching for information have made me so interested. Excited to learn more! Great post btw!

  • TV53

    It should be no mystery as to why cholesterol goes up when you eat more meat. This has been established in literally hundreds of studies. Hundreds of studies also show higher cholesterol associated with higher death rates and heart disease. Paleo’s like to call meat a “protein” but it is also a potent source of cholesterol and saturated fat. People with the lowest cholesterol counts in the world are populations that eat little meat (Okinawans, most of rural Asia, Tarahumarans as examples) and who also tend to live longer than any of us. Cut down or eliminate the meat and other saturated fats and watch your cholesterol go down. Or you can ignore the mountain of scientific evidence linking meat consumption and high cholesterol to early death, heart disease etc., (because it’s one giant conspiracy I know) and see how it all works out.

  • Blippety

    Great to hear that you’ve had success with it; thanks for sharing. :)

  • amy

    I’ve been 100% paleo compliant and my results were amazing. Not only did I lose weight but even better I felt great. More energy, felt happy and positive, less achy. Overall well being. My problem is I tend to be 100% with everything I do. I can be 100% compliant or 100% non-compliant, as in I eat anything I want, whenever I want and usually over do it. and then I feel rotten. I tend to cycle this way. I’m not sure how to stay on the right track. If I have something sugary or carbs I completely lose it. Any suggestions as how to become a bit more balanced?

  • ChoobFoob

    I’m still a growing teen, which is what made me realize eating all the sugar and grains i was eating was not going to help with my growth so WHOOSH! Out the window they went. Sugar always makes me feel like I’ve been hit by a large truck, pasta always made me feel hungrier and hungrier than i should have. I have a serious problem with allergies and i do drink 3 glasses of milk everyday, but only eat cheese as a treat. I’m not going to cut dairy out of my diet completely, milk is going since im not crazy about it at all, but cheese as a treat shall stay. If my allergies improve, ill stick with it. If i feel bad without it, I’ll put milk in my diet again. I love collard greens and know those have plenty of calcium! Collards are my favourite, absolutely. I eat poultry whenever i crave it, but i eat mostly fish for protein. I love fruit too, i mostly eat apples. I gotta say before on my high sugar, high grain diet my head was not clear, i was too tired all the time, and felt pretty dopey. Believe it or not my grades have improved, ive been thinking on my quizzes so much better. My sinus is plugged all the time though, i assumed it was because of the weather but the weather is fine, so im going to cut it back on the dairy. My cravings for bread and sugar are gone, but now i really want some carrots….and turkey. Er…mom can we go to the grocery store? Lol

  • Wholesale Nuts

    Philippine pili nuts from the Bicol region in the Philippines is a great Filipino or Philippines food orsnack. Pili nuts are very healthy and nutritious indeed, being a source of energy, potassium and iron.They also have protein, dietary fiber / fibre, and calcium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. I know they have no cholesterol, no trans fat, and the unsalted ones have no sodium. What is great about the pili nut snack or treat is that they are so crisp, rich, and delicious.

  • DocRobby

    Great article! Well balanced and makes sense.

  • Sarge

    just another fad diet.

  • WarwickE36

    It’s about time we started listening to logic regarding diet. This article is to the point and well written. I too follow the same basic guidelines in regards to the Paleo Diet. As an endurance athlete diet is very important to me … (actually it’s important to all of us.) Now if we could just get 100% of Americans, scratch that, humans, on board we would be a much healthier species.

  • Micheal Clark

    Great details here, better yet to discover out your blog which is fantastic. Nicely done!!! Garcinia Cambogia Extract

  • Snail

    Anytime there is a valid point against you say besides the point… a very bias article.

  • Sarah

    So I’m frustrated. I have been following the paleo diet for about a month now with the results being no weight loss & maybe even gaining a little weight. I am currently average in body weight &. Body fat percentage. I love working out and do a variety of workout classes at least 3 days if not more a week. Despite my frustration with not losing weight or inches amid sooo many others claiming drastic results I have felt better and totally experience the yuck feeling whenever I have processed food every now and again. I watch how many nuts & fruit I consume to no avail. Not sure if I just need to give it more time to see results or if I’m doing something wrong. Any thoughts?

  • Natootle0511

    I really appreciate this article. I have been struggling with my weight for about 8 years now, and after 3 kids, turning 31, and having a high-stress job, all of a sudden I have found that my struggles have intensified. I feel exhausted and pretty much just not good most of the time. I have a lot of interest in organic foods, gardening, and green living but have found (as with the weight), that my hectic life has been my excuse to do little to nothing. A co-worker of mine changed her diet to exclude gluten and dairy after having some tests performed, and her testament and physical change is what prompted me to look into this diet. I needed some information though – just to be sure I had all the facts. This is exactly what I needed to help me start my journey! Thank you!

  • Margaret

    I just started this diet on the suggestion by a friend. I workout 5 nights a week and currently at 18.3% Body fat. My goal is to lose a small amount of fat, while building muscle and get my bf% down to 16%. I don’t find it hard to follow and do make small exceptions here and there especially on training days. So far so good!

  • cyb pauli

    The objections here are so weak I suspect they are strawmen. The Paleo diet is not scientific in many respects. We do not know down to percentages what Paleolithic people ate or if it was consistent in all parts of the world. We did not cease evolving at the Paleolithic era so basing a diet today on what you suspect Paleolithic people ate while claiming we are not adapted to modern food is not logically or biologically defensible. Grains, which the Paleo diet attempts to eliminate, have been consumed widely by our species for thousands of years, yet supposed ill effects are recent and demographically specific (Western diet, diseases of affluence, etc). Is it true that Japanese people of say 4000 years ago suffered from diabetes and obesity from consuming rice? Most nutritionists will suggest increasing whole, fresh fruit and vegetable intake, reducing saturated fats, adding polyunsaturated fats, decreasing sugar and dairy intake and eating processed foods sparingly if at all. So the Paleo diet is almost identical to the basic recommended diet, except it isn’t down on meat and it excludes grains when nutritionists will suggest eating whole grains. There may not be anything dangerous about the principles of the Paleo diet, but the anthropological basis has not been verified.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/

  • LadyBligh

    Bottom line, if it works, then who cares what they say?

  • Angela

    My “beef” (intended pun) with the Paleo Diet is that its not based on sound science. Paleolithic humans lived approximately 30-35 years, yet I hear people tout Paleo eating as a way to increase health and longevity.

    You do not site peer reviewed, well designed research to support your perspective, and there are massive bodies of peer reviewed, well designed research (for many years back, rather than the few you claim) which show humans didn’t eat much animal protein at all.

    Have I tried it? No. For 2 reasons. 1. I don’t need lose weight, and if I did, I know from past experience that higher protein/animal derived plans do not work for me. 2. I don’t guinea pig my body. There are a lot of research dollars, not funded by Paleo opponents, which show carbohydrate restrictions to be unsafe.

    Where I agree: processed foods are garbage. There are so many chemicals in processed foods that we are not designed to eat, I honestly do not understand how its allowed to be sold.

  • Hifi1

    Seem like all of this hinges on how you define ancestors. If we are talking early primates, then this should be all about eating vegan.

    If we are talking humans far back enough to have evolved to thrive in a sufficiently isolated environment, then the optimum diet is the many varieties of ethnic.

    In that case, my northern European ancestors evolved to eat grains, legumes and dairy. The same way they evolved lighter skin to maximize vitamin D production. In fact, if your ancestry is agricultural as far back as 1,000 years, which is most people, then grains (whole grains) are one of the best things you can eat. For northern Europeans, think Mediterranean diet. And if further north add lots of dairy (because if your ancestors hadn’t been able to thrive on that through the long winters, you wouldn’t be around – same as their brethren who nature selected against).

    I have an M.S. in clinical nutrition and during my research what I discovered is that all of these limited diets (another example would be macrobiotics) that garner selected rave reviews have one thing in common: they work, really well… but only for people with the specific, relatively recent ancestry that is being targeted.

    For everyone else, it takes them off-track.

    And let me add that an actual nutritionist will always tailor your diet to who you, uniquely, are – to your particular biological, cultural, and environmental strengths and challenges.

  • Richard J D’Souza

    Amusing and informative post. Unless you have health issues, just eat in moderation. ‘Nuff said!

  • Rachel

    I have been doing paleo since February. It definitely has worked, that also mixed with crossfit 4-5x wk. But, I’m wondering if it’s okay to add in toast or an eng muffin in the morning with eggs. I’m so sick of just eggs and bacon.

  • Donal

    I’m intending to do the Paleo Diet ‘Strictly’ for the month of June and then if it works for me, ie I find it sustainable, sticking to it strictly for say 5 days a week, then being less strict on the other 2 days. I have a concern though, does all meat eaten have to be strictly free range organic etc. While I will try to incorporate some free range, organic stuff into my shopping list over the period, it’s just so damned expensive. I’m obviously not going to be eating Southern Fried Chicken or fast food style burgers while I’m doing this, but I can get away with regular chicken,, pork, mince etc?. As I say, I will try to incorporate some free range/organic stuff, but as a low paid clerical officer, doing it all the time, just isn’t viable. Can I still consider this Paleo?

  • BlakeDC

    You’ll notice that the money wasted on grains, breads, milk etc will start to balance out that “expensive grass fed” meat cost. It’s a replacement diet, and it will reflect upon your receipt ;)

  • BlakeDC

    If you miss breads and stuff, just cook/bake paleo stuff! You’re already working out 4-5 times a week so you’re obviously not lazy. Take the extra half our to prep some paleo bread. http://ultimatepaleoguide.com/7-best-paleo-bread-recipes/

  • BlakeDC

    Moderation is key, but once you give up paleo and start researching foods and what they actually do to you (lectins, phytic acids etc) then you’ll start to realize how much you’re not even taking in when you eat certain things, or how they actually make minerals bio-unavailable.

  • daveblog

    It’s well known in
    evolutionary terms (ie. pre-homo sapien) that our forebears ate more grains,
    nuts, and roots. This is known because of larger molars and jaw muscles, and
    the patterns of wear on teeth. Hunting large and wild animals was dangerous and
    energy intensive, so ancient hunter-gatherers were more gatherer than hunter.
    Tools such as spears and arrows were developed relatively recently in
    evolutionary terms. Funnily enough ancient diets were used in the 80′s to
    dismiss large amounts of meat in our diets.

    Fact: The Paleo
    Diet, for its underlying theory, is simply wrong. It’s based on facts that are
    cherry-picked to conveniently support it, but overlook the facts that disprove
    it. Unfortunately, that’s not how theories or science works.

    For example, some
    of the healthiest populations are in Asia, such as Japan where life expectancy
    is long and heart disease is low. A paleo supporter would point to the high
    amounts of fish and low amounts of dairy consumed by the Japanese, but then
    completely overlook the massive amounts of white rice – a product of the
    agricultural age. ** The success of the Japanese diet with its high rice
    content clearly disproves the Paleo Diet theory. **

    A more obvious and
    better supported theory is that people do much better when they avoid processed
    and sugary ‘junk’ foods. Basically anything which is nutritionally void when
    compared with its caloric level. The one thing all the fad diets, from paleo,
    to vegan, to Atkins, to raw foods, to organic, to whole foods, to Japanese, to
    Mediterranean, have in common is no coke, no maccas, no lollies, no crisps, and
    lots of variety.

    All that fad diets
    like the Paleo do, is create an opportunity to sell books.

    If you want to live
    long and healthily, just avoid (as much as reasonably possible) foods that come
    out of a factory and are processed. These foods are have been generated,
    synthesised, enhanced, watered down, preserved, flavoured, and worst of all,
    promoted with exaggerated benefits. If it comes out of a factory, eat it as
    rarely as possible (eg. only at birthdays) and you’ll automatically be forced
    to eat the right foods every other day.

    … diet and of
    course regularly going for walks and occasionally challenging yourself to the
    point of building a sweat.

  • Erik

    My fiance and I are going to start this very soon (like payday when we go shopping). She told me that before she met me her personal trainer had her on something like this and she dropped a lot of weight. Unfortunately, she was alone at the time and with no accountability and desire she quickly fell off. That makes it easier for me since she’s completely on board. Being financially challenged, to say the least, I am not willing to throw everything I have in the trash. What I’m planning on doing is working into paleo while getting rid of my food. Hopefully I’ll be so disgusted with what I’m eating I won’t be able to wait to go full board.

    What I find refreshing about what you describe here is it doesn’t seem to be completely rigid. The goal seems to be getting healthy and to adjust your diet as you need to. Even if I fail or have a slow start I now know more about what I’m eating and am more conscious about what I’m doing. My only concern is as far as Paleo is concerned I cannot find a consensus on what is allowed and what is not. one site says no legumes. another says they’re ok. et c.

    Thanks again for all the work you have put into this.

  • Justin

    Day 2 of Paleo. Kind of feeling hungry between meals. I’m guessing it’s the lack of carbs I’m use too.

  • Beth

    I have been doing the paleo lifestlye for 8 days now and today I got up to worse joint pain than normal. Is 8 days too early to expect to be better? Can anyone answer this for me?

  • beth

    Yes, that is why. If you honor the rules you should see a drastic reduction in appetite around day 5.