Friday, 17 July 2015

Outline of the Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is one that is gathering momentum almost as fast as the interest in going gluten free! There are many reasons why people choose to live the Paleo way. It can be a way to lose weight. But for many it makes life much simpler.

It’s not an easy diet to follow. Food choices are parred right down to the basics and much of the wide variety of food choices available today are no longer allowed. However, it can seem healthier and indeed, many people have found living on a Paleo diet has helped them regain their health.

So what is it all about?

The Paleo Diet is a low carbohydrate diet which is also known as The Caveman Diet, the Hunter/Gatherer Diet, The Primal Diet and the Stone Age Diet. It is considered to be a diet native to the human race, the way we ate ten thousand years ago and the way in which we were genetically adapted.

The nutritional science behind the theory of the Paleo diet is based on the hypothesis that humans have not adapted to the dietary changes over the last ten thousand years. These changes are mainly to do with the agricultural development and the subsequent inclusion of grains in our diet.

What Can You Eat?
  • Fresh and natural food as close as possible to the way nature presents it
  • High quality, lean meat, preferably grass fed, poultry and game
  • Fresh fish, ideally wild
  • Fruit
  • Non-starchy vegetables (e.g. not potatoes)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds (nut butters but not peanut butter as it's a legume)
  • Honey, Stevia (occasionally)
  • Animal fats: butter, ghee, lard
  • Healthy oils: olive oil, coconut oil/coconut butter, walnut, macadamia, avocado
  • Herbs and spices.

What Can You Drink?
  • Water
  • Coconut Water
  • Minimal wine
  • Herbal teas and green tea (for the antioxidants it contains)
  • Decaffeinated coffee sparingly while converting to the Paleo diet
  • Homemade nut milks

What Can’t You Eat?

  • All grains
  • - Wheat, corn, rice, other grains and legumes (incl. peanuts)
  • Refined sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners
  • Vegetable oils: soy oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil
  • All processed foods
  • Salt.

What Can’t You Drink?
  • Caffeine based drinks – coffee, tea
  • Fizzy drinks or energy drinks
  • No drinks with sugar or sweeteners
  • Hot or cold chocolate drinks
  • Fruit Juice (it doesn’t contain the fruit fibre). Can drink occasionally
  • Processed dairy alternative milks
  • Dairy based smoothies.

Benefits of the Paleo Diet
  • It is generally healthy because it includes natural, fresh, unprocessed foods
  • It can lower blood pressure
  • It can improve glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity
  • Weight loss if necessary
  • Improves glycaemic control
  • Reduce cardiovascular risk factors e.g.
    - Lower blood pressure
    - Improved lipid profiles
    - Reduce abdominal circumference.
    Drawbacks of the Paleo Diet
    • Restricted food choices can make it difficult when eating out and at social occasions
    • The diet can become monotonous so keeping informed of new recipes is a must
    • The high protein content is not suitable during pregnancy
    • Low carbohydrate intake may lead to reduced energy during training and high intensity exercise
    • May not be suitable for those suffering from adrenal fatigue.
    Because the Paleo Diet is so restrictive, there are several more relaxed versions around. Some allow you to drink the occasional cup of tea or coffee and eat moderate amounts of dairy products. Pulses are sometimes allowed as long as they are thoroughly soaked and rinsed prior to eating.

    Useful Reading Material

    Further information

    Paleo Drinks Allowed
    The Paleo

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