Focus On: The Paleolithic Diet

Let’s get all caveman up in here….

image Source

and talk a little bit about the Paleo style of eating.

It’s gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and is huge among Crossfit devotees. When I first heard about it while we were living in Valdosta, GA, I diverted my attention as soon as I heard “no grains or goat cheese.”

Um, no thank you.

Here’s what the Paleo food pyramid looks like:


Entirely based on whole, organic foods but no grains, dairy, beans/legumes, sugar or salt.

So what is it: The Paleolithic style of eating is based on the foods that our ancestors, hunters and gatherers, used to ingest before the introduction of agriculture (10,000 years ago). The idea is that humans are intended to eat certain foods, and evolution hasn’t caught up to digest or utilize the highly processed foods we see today. The Paleo diet was first suggested by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, who claimed that a carnivorous diet, high in fats and proteins and low in carbs, would improve health and prevent digestive problems. Since then, many doctors and nutritionists have jumped on the Paleo bandwagon and offer alternatives to the original plan which can include diary and starches.


Paleo emphasizes whole foods, which is always a winner for me. I also think it’s great that many followers of this style of eating also pay close attention to the origins of their food and strive to buy organic products. Wayyyyy back in the day, when we had to hunt for our meat, it wasn’t pumped up with antibiotics and hormones, and fruits and veggies weren’t sprayed heavily with pesticides and chemicals.

Health benefits. No matter what style of eating you follow, eating whole foods will provide health benefits. Whole foods are higher in nutrient value and by avoiding processed foods, you’re also avoiding chemicals that make the foods more difficult for the body to recognize and digest.

Lower carb. I agree with the fact that society eats way too many starches and carbs as a whole, but don’t think they should be eliminated.


Can be high in saturated fat. From what I understand, meat is pretty unlimited as far as Paleo goes. There a ton of lean options (chicken, turkey, bison, elk, etc), but also the potential to consume a lot of saturated fat, thus promoting health complications such as heart disease. Meat is extremely high in protein (a serving will give ya 20g or so) and too much of any macronutrient will be stored by the body as fat.

Activity level. One thing I’ve always wondered about the Paleo diet is that it’s a diet intended for our ancestors who lead an entirely different lifestyle than modern society. We sit at desks and computers all day, they were gathering food and battling mastodons. They had to work for their food, we get in a car and drive to the grocery store. They needed more fuel in general, which includes high fat and protein.

Here’s a video that explains Paleolithic food:

It’s obviously one-sided –many doctors will educate and emphasize whole foods and good nutrition- but breaks it down concisely.

My verdict?

Paleo isn’t something I’ve tried, but I don’t recommend it to my clients or to readers who email asking my thoughts on the diet.

I can totally see that it’s a method that works for many people –otherwise it wouldn’t be so popular- but don’t agree with eating styles that totally eliminate entire food groups. I do understand the beef with dairy, as I don’t consume cow’s dairy myself, but think that starches and grains are beneficial if used in moderation, especially if you’re active. Salt is also a beneficial in moderate amounts.

One of my friends, who is Paleo, told me that by eating so little carbs, you’re tricking the body to use fat as fuel instead. This isn’t something that I’ve heavily researched, so I can’t say whether I know if it’s true or not, but it seems a little unnecessary to me.

Paleo seems to be very hard to follow in everyday life, especially if you’re social and have and non-Paleo friends. I prefer to recommend diets based on whole foods, lean meats, veggies, fruits, whole grains and lowfat dairy if desired. Not only does it provide health benefits, it’s an easy and feasible plan follow.

Do you or would you follow a Paleo style of eating?

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  1. chrissy on March 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Ugh, I dislike the Paleo and how it is interwined with CrossFit. I agree with you Gina, our modern lifestyle is SOOOOO different. However it is also true that saturated fats aren’t THAT bad, but who needs a gutfull of meat working in an office in a climate controlled room? I’d be so constipated on a true Paleo, LOL.

  2. Hillary on March 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I wouldn’t/couldn’t give up grains if you paid me—so I guess this isn’t for me?! Haha!
    I guess whatever works for you, works for you. This just isn’t my style. Like you, I prefer a more balanced, “everything is fine in moderation” approach.

  3. ArmyPaisley on March 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    This may have already been addressed… but in order to train your body to use fat as fuel, you’d have to be eating less than 20g of carbs. (20g is a very small amount of spinach – in my opinion.) Paleo encourages lots of carbs (veggies and fruits) therefore this “ketosis” state is not achieved. This is coming from someone who has researched all of this extensively and has tried both. They work, but it has to be STRICT. And I’m with you Gina — I’m a lover of goat cheese, quinoa and the occasional oatmeal. Paleo didn’t last very long for me. Eating healthy (whole foods) does work though. Makes you feel balanced and normal. Not eating something that I want isn’t normal. Moderation = key.

  4. Melissa on March 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I have to agree with you Gina. While it’s interesting to me–I was done when they said no grains or dairy. I eat very little white flour to begin with (except for certain treats) so a little whole grain bread is not going to kill me. Although I have tried some Paleo recipes I’ve seen online and some of them are good. But not full time goo.

    I also couldn’t live without my Greek yogurt!

    I prefer just trying to eat a clean diet with less over processed foods.

    • Steffany on March 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      I agree, I eat clean and few processed foods !

  5. Katie on March 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I agree with Melissa – I prefer just to eat a clean diet with little processed foods. If I ate a bunch of meat and protein, I’d feel sick all the time. I think most people just need to incorporate more fruits and veggies into their diet, cut out processed foods, get more exercise, and be done with it. The weight seriously stays off when you eat clean foods. It’s almost effortless.

  6. Kristen on March 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I’m with you – I don’t believe in any diet that discounts full food groups. I went through a fad diet phase, but the only one that seems to really work (and is actually the easiest to follow) is to just eat whole foods, go with what my body seems to want that day (some days it wants more carbs, others more protein), pay attention to my fruits/veggies and exercise. If you do that most of the time then you can treat yourself to drinks with friends or a decadent dessert here and there. I like that you seem to preach that lifestyle, which is why I read your blog 🙂

  7. Laura is Undeterrable on March 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I am not full paleo, but I would like to be some day. I have to be careful about restrictions given my anxiety and risk for EDs.

    I do agree that whole foods that have been the least processed are best. I think this is one of the main arguments about grain. Flour is heavily processed and specifically the wheat we eat has changed dramatically from it’s natural state.

  8. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on March 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I have never tried Paleo but I am not a fan of any diet that puts the body in a ketogenic state. I agree with you Gina when you talked about not eliminating any food group and any macronutrient consumed in excess can have harmful effects on the body.

    • ilovefetacheese on March 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      its not a ketogenic state.

    • Emmy on March 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Well, there is actually no macronutrient ratio you have to meet. What I like about Paleo/Primal is that it’s intuitive – if you feel that you are consuming too much protein, then simply eat less of it. Also, I do not feel that eliminating grains is eliminating a food “group”. You can still get the carb intake you want by eating fruit and starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes.

  9. Dana H on March 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm
  10. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on March 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    very well said!! i would have to say i agree with everything you’re saying here spot on!

  11. Marisa @ Mind Over Booty on March 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    While I don’t have any certifications to strongly back up my thoughts on the Paleo diet, I am thrilled to see a blogger put it out there! I find it to be a step up from Atkins, but still easily misinterpreted and unnecessary. Diets that overemphasize any food group, let alone animal products, are challenging to maintain and set anyone struggling with weight loss up for failure at some point. Also, does anyone else think the Paleo diet is flawed in the fact that somewhere along the way our ancestors split off into more unique populations that may have gathered more fruits and grains or eaten fish and almost no red meat…

  12. Lea S. on March 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I started crossfit in January, and everyone in the gym is into paleo. It is not more me. I love my beans and rice too much 🙂

  13. grace on March 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I follow the Paleo Diet and thoroughly enjoy it. The biggest benefit is that I feel amazing, even better than when I only avoid gluten and dairy but eat other whole grains and legumes. Other benefits are that my pants fit better and I have a TON of energy when I wake up in the morning, as opposed to feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck.

    If anyone reading this is interested in learning more about it, please, please, please, start with Loren Cordain’s books. He explains the reasoning behind the diet much better than anyone else, in my opinion.

    Also, it’s not nearly as hard to do as you would think, even when you’re out and about and not toting your own food around.

    • Brooke on March 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      I can’t BELIEVE the energy I have in the morning! I’ve always been someone who hits their alarm 3+ times, and now I wake up before it ever goes off, even if I’ve gone to bed late. 🙂

  14. Nellie on March 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve followed the paleo lifestly since last June and after trying diet after diet over the years, this has been the only eating style that I can effortlessly maintain on a daily basis and feel and look great easily. After reading through all the comments on this post, it looks like there are two categories of commenters here: the ones who went paleo and loved it and achieved results they couldn’t with their previous diet and the second group who simply post a knee-jerk reaction to “elimination of entire food groups”. I urge the second group to keep an open mind and do their research on WHY grains, sugar, legumes and certain dairy are harmful and what benefits can be achieved in eliminating those toxins from one’s diet. Then join the first group in trying out paleo for themselves. Perhaps you be the next person to share a positive experience with paleo but if not, share a negative experience as well. Cause, frankly, it’s very hard to find negative experiences with paleo from people who tried it out and can speak of its benefits firsthand.

    • grace on March 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      I second all of this, Nellie.

    • ilovefetacheese on March 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      love this.

      • jess on March 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

        yes, paleo is awesome!

        • Nicole on March 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

          I am also Paleo and have seen all of the benefits stated above. I find it interesting that those who are opposed to it don’t have their facts straight or know much at all about it. But isn’t that always the way. 😉

    • Diana on March 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I have been gluten free for several years (intolerance), and until recently, vegetarian. As an athlete, I found myself heavily relying on beans and other legumes (soy, lentils, etc) for protein. I added meat back to my diet and have been 95% paleo for several months now. I thought going gluten free had solved my digestive issues, however I think the other (not glutenous) grains and legumes were doing just as much damage! I feel better than ever! However, I am currently training for a half marathon and a triathlon, and have found I need additional carbs to fuel my workouts. Since veggies and fruit were not providing enough, I’ve added white rice, sweet potatoes and non-GMO corn in moderation. I highly recommend anyone who has digestive issues to try paleo out.

      (P.S. I could NEVER tolerate any part of cow dairy: fat, whey, or casein. However, since eliminating grains and legumes from my diet, I can eat yogurt and cheese with no digestive issues. Greek yogurt is back in my life!)

    • Emmy on March 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Well said! The first time I heard of Paleo, I thought it preposterous because it was so contrary to conventional “wisdom”. But as soon as I started researching and considering the arguments and studies with an open mind, it’s been such a positive experience for me – better energy levels, clearer skin, less inflammation. It’s been an freeing lifestyle, and for the most part effortless (the hardest part is actually having to cook/prepare your meals from whole foods, but this is good thing!).

  15. natalie @ southern fit foodie on March 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve actually been mulling over the idea of trying the Paleo diet. Starting Monday, I’m doing an intense 8 week eating plan (it’s not restrictive as far as calories go, but it TOTALLY eliminates sugar and starches). It mainly focuses on lean meat (chicken and white fish), green vegetables, and egg whites. On the weekends, I will be “indulging” in something like a sweet potato or oatmeal. I’m excited to see my results after these eight weeks, and I may do some more research if I really enjoy the non-carb filled diet. However, I think I may always have a soft spot for goat cheese and the occasional frozen yogurt! 🙂

  16. Stephanie on March 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Great summary! I’ve been curious what the Paleo hype is all about since I’ve seen it all over facebook & pinterest lately. I completely agree with your view on it, whole foods approach all the way. Something about cutting out whole grains, beans, and legumes seems not right.

  17. Brooke on March 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve followed the paleo lifestyle since July of last year and I can’t tell you how much better I feel. I didn’t start it to lose weight (although excess weight immediately fell off of me). I started it because I was a healthy 28 year old female with chronic joint pain, chronic neck pain and had horrible brain fog. Benefits of going paleo for me are the following: no more joint pain (amazing!!!), awesome cholesterol results (saturated fat isn’t bad for you!), increase in sex drive, no more brain fog (thoughts are clear and concise), better skin (I’ve always had acne), no more bloating or gas, I’ve been able to go off my chronic pain meds that I was on for 7+ years, lost those last 5 pounds, and that doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    I think people should stay open to this lifestyle change, it has amazing benefits, and they are easy to understand when you do your research on the subject. For a long time I too thought “grains are good” but then I read the science behind it and decided I’d try this paleo thing out. It’s been great. Also, in regards to the saturated fat, it actually isn’t bad for you (unless you’re eating conventionally raised meats). The study that Ancel Keyes came out with saying the the fat is bad for you is flawed at best. He eliminated entire countries because they didn’t fit the story he wanted to tell.

    I’m happy to see other paleo peeps on here. 🙂 I know it’s changed many a life, including mine!

    • grace on March 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Oh yes, how could I have forgotten to mention brain fog – that is, the fact that the Paleo Diet got rid of the brain fog I’d been experiencing for years. I should also mention that when I do eat non-Paleo foods, I feel like I’ve been drugged or that I’m drunk.
      It’s interesting to see how your body reacts to foods once you’ve eliminated them for awhile. (Of course, you can experience this by doing a less intense elimination diet, too.)
      Anyway, the main point is that we can’t say enough great things about our experiences with the Paleo Diet. 🙂

    • grace on March 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      And, yeah. Lots of saturated fat studies are flawed.

  18. Lina on March 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Nothing I ever tried. However, I have friends that swears by it, and yes, they are crossfitter’s… Myself, just like you, have a hard time to eliminate something completely out of my diet. But whatever works I guess. Good post!

  19. Jessica on March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Personally, I think every body is different. I follow a primal/paleo style of eating, and I’ve seen VAST improvements in my health (coming from being a strict vegetarian). However, I know many people who thrive on vegetarian diets, even vegan diets. Therefore, I think the key is finding what works best for YOU & your specific needs. But you’re definietly correct in that you can NEVER go wrong eating whole foods! That’s pretty universal…mmm veggies!!

  20. Lena @Fit on the Rocks on March 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you for writing about this! I’ve been seeing it all over the blog world and then happily go on eating my grains. I could see myself following aspects of it, but I cringe at the thought of eliminating entire groups of food. Ummm…no thanks!

  21. Rachel on March 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you! I’m a CPT and you summed up my thoughts and fooding philosophy beautifully! I’m pro food groups all the way…unless for medical reasons.

  22. Amanda on March 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I completely agree with you, Gina. I don’t like diets that totally eliminate food groups.. plus, I don’t think I could ever give up dairy or beans/legumes. Both figure prominently in my diet and I just love them way too much to give them up! If anything, I’d be okay with giving meat up because I don’t really eat a lot of that anyway.

  23. Mama Laughlin on March 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Great info!
    I do the Paleo diet to jumpstart fat loss or to “lean up”.
    I never do it more than 30 days, as it’s not a very convenient lifestyle for me, but I do enjoy the energy I get from it when I do do it.
    I gotta have my carbs though!

  24. Jenn on March 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Gina I completely agree with you. Carbs is so important for brain function, you just can’t avoid it.
    I love steaks and red meat, but I only enjoy it once every 3 or even 4 months. I just cannot imagine myself eating a piece of steak, or ribs everyday.

  25. G.G.R on March 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I eat LCHF – low carb, high fat – which is similar to paleo and I can tell you I have never felt better in my life. I am never bloated, never have any issues with IBS anymore, my skin is marvelous and my mood is just much better as well. I eat a lot of chicken, cheese, heavy cream, hamburgers wrapped in lettuce and salads. I eat a lot more salad now than when I ate carbs actually, which is kind of funny to me. The body can actually create it’s own carbohydrates to feed the brain (where the carbs are primarily needed) so there’s no “carb deficiency” risk. It’s all about how YOU should eat for YOUR body. If I ate even close to as much fiber as you’re “supposed to” I wouldn’t have any life quality because my stomach would be torn apart – I stay away from fiber as much as I can. I think people tend to forget that bodies are different and thrive on different things – that’s why I would never label any type of diet “bad” because I am sure it’s the perfect way for somebody.

  26. Jen@FoodFamilyFitness on March 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Nope, couldn’t do it. While I do think that certain foods should be limited or eaten in moderation, I don’t think it’s ever healthy or a good idea to cut out an entire food group.

  27. Tina on March 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    VEGAN. while i eat lots of nuts, fruit, and veg, and other whole foods regularly, i would never swap my legumes for meat. no thanks.

  28. Devonshire on March 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with you that our lifestyle is vastly different than that of our ancestors but, for the most part our bodies are not, which i think is the biggest reason why some people push the paleo diet. I tried the paleo diet for a week (i’m a sugar addict so that 7 days seemed like eternity to me! lol) and i felt amazing! I tend to have a lot of stomach problems and by day 3 those were gone, my GI was moving stuff very efficiently and i just overall felt much better. I discontinued after a week (it was my birthday and the chocolate cupcake won!). Would i recommend it to everyone, nope, it’s a very difficult to stick to over the long term and expensive (my grocery billed doubled that week). I did like your lowdown on it though, a lot of people get it wrong and for the most part you hit the nail right on the head! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Kate @ The Little Spoon Blog on March 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    My theory is that if you eat as simple (low ingredient list) as possible the healthier you will be. Also, everything in moderation, because I can NOT live without my sweets 🙂

  30. Tracey on March 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for this post! I got the book, read it…and thought that it sounded fine, but there’s no way I could maintain it so it would be pointless. I feel awesome when I’m just eating clean with whole grains and small amounts of dairy. So apparently I’m not sensitive to these things. But some people are, and so they feel great on Paleo-good for them too! I just hate (and not everyone is like this) when certain people change their diets in this way and start preaching about how “grains and dairy are bad!!!” because they are NOT bad for everyone!! And I’ve read the “science” on these things and I’m still skeptical. For every study telling me that Paleo is good, there’s one telling me Mediterranean diet is the best, etc. etc. on and on. I say just go with what makes YOU feel best. Just don’t tell me that I’m doing it wrong. 🙂

  31. Katie O on March 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I love this post – you expressed a lot of the same hesitations I’ve had about the paleo way of life… of course, I’m also the type who refuses to completely cut things out of my diet. My diet plan is ‘eat generally whole food and make healthy choices, but don’t deny yourself food – everything is ok in moderation!’

    of course, I have problems when it comes to chocolate….

    • Fitnessista on March 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      you and me both, ma dear 😉

  32. JennP on March 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    My diet philosophy is buying and growing healthy, organic foods that I enjoy and that I feel good about feeding my family. I’ve never felt a need to put a label on my diet or strictly eliminate any food groups. Of course, it would be an entirely different story if I had allergies, intolerances or other health issues that necessitated a stricter diet regimen.

    At this point in my life, I feel super fortunate that I can eat hummus, yogurt, oats/grains, cheese, beans, and still feel great, so why the heck would I cut them out??

  33. Lindsey @ Sound Eats on March 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    OK, I haven’t read the previous comments, but I have to leave my $0.02. First of all, ultimately we can not “trick” our bodies to use fats instead of carbohydrates. Metabolically, we NEED carbohydrates in our body. Yes, we need fat and protein, too. But certain parts of our bodies (i.e. brain and red blood cells) rely on glucose for their energy. If we consume a diet too low in carbohydrates, and we don’t consume enough glucose for our body, our bodies will attempt to use protein from muscle and some fatty acids. Yes, this will burn some of our fat stores, but it will also break down our muscles, too. Plus, this can produce a ketogenic diet, which can result in things ranging from dizziness all the way up to death in extreme prolonged ketogenic diets.

    That said, the whole paleo fad diet is ridiculous. I left a comment on another blog recently, but the thing about the fad is that it really isn’t 100% accurate to what our ancestors ate. Never mind the fact that we don’t have to forage and hunt for our food, and that I’m pretty sure things like coconut flour and almond flour were NOT a part of the legit paleolithic diet, but our lives are so different today. Except in their cases of some hardcore athletes, we don’t have nearly the energy demands for our bodies as paleolithic men and women did. Additionally, I had a guest speaker come to one of my classes (*dietetics student*) last week, and she talked about the role evolution has played in things like obesity, and touched on the REAL paleolithic diet. And I’m talking scientific studies utilizing carbon dating to determine the type of carbon present in skeletons (some carbon was from corn, some from other grains, etc.), selenium content (meat), and more, plus scavenging the surrounding area for more information and clues from things like camp sites. Bottom line, she stated that based on evidence she’s student, the real paleolithic diet that our ancestors NEEDED was around 3000 kcal, not a ton of protein, the protein that was consumed was very lean (think like deer that have spent their lives actively running around), a lot of carbohydrates (unrefined), very low in fat, and they also consumed around 100 g fiber/day. Also interesting to note, but they got a LOT more sleep than we do. I don’t know about you/ your friends, or anyone else out there, but a lot of people that I’ve known who have tried paleo diets do NOT eat like this. They use it as an excuse to eat way too much protein (our bodies really only need a certain amount, and the rest gets put into storage, just like excess carbs and excess fat would), including a diet much higher in saturated fats and lower in carbs/ fiber than it possibly should be.

    Ok, stepping off the soapbox now. 🙂

    • Emmy on March 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      I just want to comment that Paleo isn’t about being in a ketogenic state. Most followers of Paleo eat 100-150 grams of carbs, which is a realistic amount. People who eat Paleo are aware that the brain and heart run primarily on glucose.

      I would definitely encourage you to read the previous comments. We may not all agree, but if we did, what fun would life be? 😉

      • Lindsey @ Sound Eats on March 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm

        Thanks for the reply! Just to clarify, I said that it CAN produce a ketogenic diet, not that it automatically does. If someone is getting the recommended 130 g of carb/ day, they should be fine. 🙂 But, food for thought – even someone who is losing weight is going to have elevated ketones in their body, even if they’re consuming enough carb, simply because their body is burning fat, which is what produces the ketones.

        My concern is that while “most” people may be aware of their carb needs/ the body’s need for glucose, I’m concerned about the few who aren’t in the most. As with every popular/ trendy new diet (new just in light of the attention…obviously it’s actually a theoretically “old” diet), some people jump on board without knowing what’s going on or doing their research. What about a teenage boy who decides he just wants to bulk up and decides to cut carbs out completely after hearing about the paleo diet? Things can easily be taken out of context, and someone like that could get themselves in a lot of trouble.

        Anyway – I won’t take up any more space on G’s blog. 🙂 I think I’ll think about this a little more tonight, and you may have just inspired me to write my own post/ take on the paleo diet tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks!

        • Heather on March 16, 2012 at 3:47 am

          If your argument was true, the indigenous populations in the uppermost regions of the planet would have died out long ago. Inuit people aren’t out harvesting corn or growing wheat. Humans are omnivores and we can adapt to many different ways of eating. So are Vegans ‘ridiculous’ because they eliminate a certain food group? Really, a teenage boy will be just fine without his Wonder Bread and Twinkies. Or are you concerned because he’s not getting his government sanctioned 6-10 servings of whole grains a day? 6-10 servings of ‘bread, pasta and other whole grains’ a day? Now that’s ridicous!

        • Sam on March 16, 2012 at 7:20 am

          If this way of eating (eating REAL food) is so bad for us then how would you explain how so many people are finding that the paleo “diet” is curing so many chronic illnesses? Its really hard to argue this way of eating when people are finding so much success with it and I’m not even talking weight loss – I’m talking about diabetics having completely normal blood sugar with paleo, decreased psoriasis flare-ups, greatly reduced joint point from RA (enough to get off meds), huge decrease in symptoms in Autistic children and so much more!

          Everyone that commented on this post should read this testimonial – it’s quite touching!

          This link also offers up a ton of awesome testimonials – its definitely worth checking out even if paleo isn’t your thang 🙂

  34. Jen R. on March 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Saturated fat should not be a con. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it – we are actually brainwashed into thinking that there is. I’m a certified holistic nutritionist and firmly believe that this style of is 100% healthy and beneficial. Also, using fats as fuel is actually pretty awesome. I recommend checking out the book “Primal Body, Primal Mind” by Nora T. Gedgaudas for more info. I could go on forever…. 🙂

    • Rachel on March 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      +1. Saturated fat is not bad! Sometimes I really want to scream that from the mountaintops.

      Question conventional wisdom. Do your own research. Make your own conclusions.

  35. Aylin @ Glow Kitchen on March 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I could never do the diet. I think we’ve evolved a lot since hunter-gatherer times and making protein the most vast component of the diet is pretty dangerous these days, especially with studies out that our protein intake is way exaggerated and doesn’t need to be much more than 2% of our daily consumption. Also, getting high quality meat is extremely difficult, even when it’s the creme de la creme of the market. And goat cheese? I need that ish!

  36. Noelle on March 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I don’t and wouldn’t follow the diet because I don’t happen to really like meat enough and I’m allergic to eggs, but from what I understand from courses I’ve taken in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, our ancestors relied heavily on vegetables, fruits and nuts, and meat was a rare occasion. It was just a lot easier to gather our food. Actually hunting and killing an animal was infrequent because it was harder to do and there was less opportunity. So from a realistic point of view, the paleo diet isn’t anthropologically accurate. Is it good for you? I couldn’t say because I’m not a nutritionist, but we all have different things that work best for us and we have to find our own way. I do know that eating a lot of nuts and meat makes me gain weight, but that might not be so for everyone.

  37. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on March 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I am sorry but I could NEVER go Paleo! I would miss all my favorite foods! Grains, legumes, and dairy!!! I couldn’t do with out them! And they are still whole foods and very nutritious. I don’t know…to me this type of eating seems a bit restrictive.

  38. Laura on March 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve been doing Paleo for about 5 months now and I love it. It really forces you to only eat whole foods, and there’s nothing wrong with that! I know meat is on the bottom of the pyramid there, but for me, veggies are at the bottom! I don’t find eating out to be too hard. It was an adjustment at first, but I can find something Paleo-friendly at almost any restaurant. I usually go for a salad with grilled chicken or some sort of fish entree. If all else fails, I get a side salad and a chicken sandwich or burger without the bun.

    When I started, I had been stuck at the same weight for months and in the first month I lost 10 lbs without altering my workout habits at all. I don’t necessarily think grains are evil, and I’ll have a few bites of dishes with grains here and there, but it’s working for me right now and I’m going to keep it up for now. I also find the scientific arguments for it pretty fascinating. I’d recommend reading Mark’s Daily Apple or anything by Gary Taubes.

  39. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on March 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I totally agree with what you said – I don’t agree with any diet that cuts out entire food groups. I think that all these diets are making eating too complicated. There’s no need to cut out food group or eat foods in certain orders or detox or whatever. It’s as simple as eating a balanced diet of mostly whole foods!

  40. on March 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Great post, and well-timed too! A friend just asked me about the Paleo diet, so I referred her here! I don’t have much experience with it, other than the fact one of my favorite granolas is grain-free and therefore “paleo!”

  41. Joey on March 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I have to jump in here. I am following a semi-paleo diet recommended by my very successful naturopath. He believes grains and sugar create inflammation in the body making for all kinds of health problems. I can eat full fat dairy but not fruit. No grains/carbs, fruit or legumes. It has been VERY easy for me. The hardest part is making sure you have options in your pantry. Eating full fat dairy has changed my life. I am NEVER hungry. I can’t say I have been 100% every day of the last 6 weeks but very close. I haven’t gone near a starchy carb but have indulged in some sweet treats and I think that will be okay. The new blood work will tell. I can tell you I have no bloat. The muffin top has completely disappeared and my brain fog is diminished in a huge way. I honestly think my naturopath is on to something with respect to grains. I think they are the culprit and while I will eventually incorporate them back into my diet sparingly, I think avoiding them as much as possible may be the ticket. Sorry to disagree!

  42. Jen on March 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    There is nothing wrong with saturated fat. Which you seemed aware of during your egg eating pregnancy, but somehow changed your mind!?! Our population hasn’t gotten much sicker with the low fat, high grain products. I am surprised you gave this diet such a negative review without doing your research.

    Low sugar = PRO
    Steady Insulin Levels = PRO
    Heavy on vegetables = PRO
    Grass Fed/Pastured Meats = PRO
    Against Factory Farming = DEFINITELY A PRO

    It’s really not that difficult or weird to eat things from the earth. I am rather proud of the lack of processed foods in my house. I feel good about driving out to the farm and picking up a quarter of a cow that has not been stuffed with grains and whose omega 3/6 profile has not been messed with.

    • Fitnessista on March 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      i didn’t change my mind. saturated fat is fine (and healthy!) in moderate amounts. anything in excess is unhealthy, and with a diet very meat-oriented, it would be very possible to get too much

    • Caitlin on March 16, 2012 at 12:42 am

      There’s barely any saturated fat in eggs. There is a good amount of cholesterol, but a fairly small amount of saturated fat.

      • Jen on March 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Again, I would do further research on saturated fats. There are quite a few recent cases of even cardiac surgeons admitting they were wrong about it. I’d rather eat fat from a healthy animal than touch soy oils that are filled with Omega 6s. Our omega 3/6 profiles are so out of whack due to our country’s cooking oils of choice.

        And sure a single egg itself is fairly low, but it’s still 33%. Breast milk is also fairly heavy in saturated fat and there are reasons for it. If it helps a baby’s brain grow healthy and strong then why wouldn’t saturated fat help maintain our brains throughout life and prevent things like dementia?

        There are reasons we are seeing increases in dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety etc. Sure we are living longer because of modern medicine, but the cases of these mental diseases is only going up.

        Natural foods from healthy sources are not unhealthy for us. Would I eat a fatty prime rib from a factory farm grained fill cow? No because when an animal is fed an unhealthy diet that shows up the most in its fatty parts. Would I eat it from a grassfed cow? Absolutely and I wouldn’t feel a bit guilty.

        There is a lot more to nutrition than what the USDA and their corporate sponsors would like us to believe.

  43. Keren on March 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve been strict paleo for 9 months now and I’ve never felt better. It sounds restrictive but I have never thought less about what I eat. There are no junky cravings or deprivation. My taste buds are trained to LOVE and crave the taste of real foods. I don’t find super sweet doughnuts or mega salty burgers appealing at ALL anymore. Instead, the thought of fresh carrots with almond butter makes my mouth water! I don’t think it’s wrong to avoid the entire grains or dairy or legumes food groups…vegans do the same to meat and dairy, vegetarians do the same to meat. It all depends on what works for your body:)

    Besides the paleo diet is more of a template. People can adjust it according to their personal requirements. Alot of paleo diet followers eat green beans or rice or fermented soy, but the focus is on eating unprocessed foods in abundance not on eating only meat and non-starchy veggies.
    Personally, I think everyone should give it a try before they decide it’s not for them. The results can be shockingly positive:)

    • Karen P on March 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      I’m using a modified Paleo/Primal to maintain a 73 pound weight loss and it’s been very helpful. I did not loose the weight this way, but this is my 3rd attempt at maintenance and removing grains and
      Processed sugars has been helpful.

      Another Karen for the paleo/primal template. It truly is a template for eating and can be adapted from person to person. Vegetables never tasted so good. I learned about Paleo/Primal from the book Refuse to Regain by Barbara Berkeley, MD. Truly helpful for maintaining my weight and my health. What worked in my 30’s didn’t really work in my 40’s. Never say never.

  44. Jenny on March 15, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I wouldn’t do Paleo. I agree with grains in moderation, esp whole grains that provide nutritional benefits. I had heard of the diet but didn’t know much about it so thank you for educating us about it.

  45. Allison on March 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    isn’t it so weird that when you take notice of something or first discover a new diet, you ALWAYS hear about it? just recently, as of the past weekend I looked into paleo diet and have been doin it since Monday, I’ve been really liking it so far and am reading “The Paleo diet for Athletes”

  46. Amanda on March 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Wow I’m really shocked with all of the controversy – being that I have never heard of The Paleolithic Diet. While I can see a couple of advantages (after reading the comments), I would NeVeR do this diet! I just believe that legumes, carbs, and dairy are important for us to consume in their own ways and I could never consume that much meat. I would be super sick because I have a sensitive stomach. Plus I love cheese and bread way too much 🙂 We shouldn’t limit ourselves to any food group – I feel moderation is key! I’m Italian and have been to Italy and have learned to appreciate food so much because of my trip – food is too wonderful to give up an entire group!

  47. Krystal on March 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    It’s interesting to me to hear people say that they could never cut out an entire food group. How many years have grains been classified as a food group? Not many. This post would have been much more interesting if the author would have had solid facts about CrossFit and Paleo. It’s obvious that she hasn’t done any research into either.

    • Fitnessista on March 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      i actually admitted that i’ve never tried the diet, nor do i have a desire to. grains have been consumed for a long time- quinoa since 3000 b.c.
      this post has nothing to do with crossfit. here’s the focus on post for that:

      • Krystal on March 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        I read both your Paleolithic diet post and also the CrossFit post. What you provided was incredibly one-sided and lacked support.

        • Fitnessista on March 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm

          I didn’t write the crossfit post, but thought it was extremely well done. Sorry you didn’t enjoy them

    • JennP on March 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      Krystal, surely you realize that dairy and grains are both food groups…? I’m not really understanding your complaint there. I was one of the people who said that I’m not (personally) interested in cutting out any particular food group, and I stand by that statement.

      I thought this post was informative. I’d be interested to know what all of these “solid facts” are that you feel were missing!

  48. Amy on March 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    As someone who works in research and has a graduate degree in molecular biology, the “science” that the paleolithic diet is based on is absolutely laughable. Even more laughable are the ferocious supporters of this diet who seem to be popping up everywhere these days, louder than ever. Gina, I could write out an extremely long post on how ridiculous this fad diet is, but I’m tired, and the thought of spending that much time debunking it is unappealing. Please educate yourself on it, Colleen does a great job explaining it here. Happy listening:

  49. Marsha on March 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    The pyramid kind of surprised me. We studied this in my medical anthropogy class in college and vegetables, leafy greens etc. we’re definitely the basis of the paleo diet according to my professor. In a nomadic hunting lifestyle the whole point is that you don’t have access to meat everyday, you have to spend days finding it and outsmarting the animals with primitive tools. This is the whole reason humans crave fatty foods–they provided more energy when the source of your next meal was uncertain.

  50. Christina R on March 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I love all these focus on posts! and i think one of the reasons they are great is because even if you dont agree with them you still put all the pros & cons to let people decide on their own if its something that works for them. Thanks so much for these – i look forward to them and i think they are great!

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