Paleo diet

The main principle behind Paleo diet is eating like our ancestors did in the Paleolithic era, which lasted for over 2 million years and ended about 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture – relatively recently in evolutionary terms. The diet is sometimes also referred to as caveman diet, or Stone Age diet.
There are several different books and diet plans based on this same basic principle. The focus of the diet is on health and well-being rather than just weight loss. Although this diet does not specifically aim to be low in carbohydrates, cutting out grains and sugar will by definition result in consuming fewer carbs than one would otherwise.

In a nutshell

The advocates of the diet argue that human body has not yet had the time to evolve to properly digest foods made available by agriculture, such as grains, legumes and dairy. Any refined foods that are processed using modern technology are even further from the diet’s principles – this includes sugar, sweeteners and any artificial additives or preservatives. Exclusion of grains and legumes also stretches to livestock used in meat production, for example, corn-fed beef would not be suitable. Staple foods on paleo diet would be vegetables, animal proteins (meat, fish, poultry and eggs) and nuts and seeds. Small amounts of fruit are permitted on some plans, as is honey and agave nectar.

Pros

  • The rules are very simple to follow, as all that’s required is the exclusion of certain foods. You don’t need to count calories, or worry about carb content or glycemic index of foods.
  • The diet cuts out sugar, refined flour and artificial ingredients, which may have health benefits beyond fat loss.
  • The diet is very popular, with millions of followers around the world, so there is a wealth of information available on the internet, and multiple support communities.

Cons

  • Although many people report losing weight on Paleo, this is not guaranteed as there are no specific calorie restrictions in place and the rules are flexible. It is possible to consume a lot of calories while following this diet, and so not lose any weight.
  • As legumes and dairy are out, it would be difficult for a vegetarian to follow this diet and get sufficient protein.
  • Fresh organic food that is free of all chemicals and additives can be quite expensive, and harder to source in standard supermarkets, so you may have to rely on finding suppliers online.

Supplementation

Paleo diet is quite varied so getting sufficient amount of vitamins should not be a problem. However, as is the case with any other low-carb diet, it is likely that you will drink a lot more, and so might need to replenish electrolytes. Check out our multivitamin/multimineral formula, designed to support low-carb diets.

Further reading

There is no single author who “owns” this type of diet – the term Paleo is used to describe the approach in general. The most well-known author is probably Dr Loren Cordain, but there are many other authors and evangelists who published their own versions of the plan. Here are some websites and books for further information:
Dr Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet
Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution
Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint
 

2 comments on “Paleo diet

  1. Hi, I am not familiar with the term “Glycemic carb”, however, it sounds like it could be the same thing as “net carbs”, which is the more commonly used term.
    Net carbs are basically total carbs minus fibre:
    Net carbs (g) = total carbs (g) – fibre (g)
    For cocoa powder, this sounds about right – total carb count is around 50g per 100g (depending on the brand), but around 30g of that is fibre, giving you the total 20g net carbs.
    Atkins guidelines for carb consumption definitely refer to net carbs. You can read more about this topic here: http://www.atkins.com/Science/Articles—Library/Carbohydrates/What-are-Net-Carbs–(1).aspx
    Hope this helps!

  2. Hi, although I’ve been doing low carb for a while now, when baking today i noticed that some ingredients only list a ‘glycemic carb g’. most of my other products/foods only list ‘carbohydrate/g’ is this the same thing or do i need to watch out for these. it was organic raw cocoa pwd that lists 20g glycemic carb/100g. if i search cocoa pwd on the net it goes up to 57g carbs per 100g. do I count glycemic carbs or do they differ from i.e. Atkins/southbeach carbs? Please advise. tx

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