One larger randomized controlled trial followed 70 post-menopausal Swedish women with obesity for two years, who were placed on either a Paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) diet.  The Paleo diet provided 30% of total calories from protein, 40% fat (from mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and 30% carbohydrates. It included lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. The NNR diet provided less protein and fat but more carbohydrate with 15% protein, 25-30% fat, and 55-60% carbohydrates, including foods similar to the Paleo diet but also low-fat dairy products and high-fiber grains. Both groups significantly decreased fat mass and weight circumference at 6 and 24 months, with the Paleo diet producing greater fat loss at 6 months but not at 24 months. Triglyceride levels decreased more significantly with the Paleo diet at 6 and 24 months than the NNR diet.
Which brings us to my second point: there are few science-backed benefits to getting wrapped up in every nitty gritty ingredient in attempts to truly follow what your ancestors ate. I mean, there are now Paleo-approved packaged snacks, and I doubt cavemen were wandering the aisles of Whole Foods. If you take the basics and tweak them to fit your lifestyle, you’ll be better off.
If you were to eat an unlimited amount of red meat (which the paleo diet technically allows), you may see your heart health suffer. While experts applaud the omission of packaged and processed foods like cake, cookies, chips, and candy — which are well known to be bad for your ticker — they’re not crazy about the fact that paleo doesn’t allow you to eat whole grains, legumes, and most dairy. Whole grains in particular have been linked with better cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (13) These are all comorbidities of heart disease. (14)
Cancer: Disease of Civilization? An anthropological and historical study by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. This classic shows what happens before and after tribes were "civilized." Covers day-to-day experience of Eskimo life. Published in 1960. Used copies are available at a steep price. To read it get it on inter-library loan. Another of his many books My Life with the Eskimo (New Edition) is available.
LOREN CORDAIN, Ph.D., is one of the top global researchers in the area of evolutionary medicine. Generally acknowledged as the world's leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, he is a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain and his research have been featured on Dateline NBC and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. He is the author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, among other books, and makes regular media and speaking appearances worldwide.
For example, although white potatoes were recorded as being available during the Paleolithic era, they are usually avoided on the Paleo diet because of their high glycemic index. Processed foods are also technically off limits due to an emphasis on fresh foods, but some Paleo diets allow frozen fruits and vegetables because the freezing process preserves most nutrients.
We also believe there are benefits in putting an extra emphasis on organ meats, bone broths, Antarctic krill oil supplementation (due to very high EPA and DHA demands on fetal brain development —potentially draining mom’s stores) and 100% organic/fully pastured/wild caught sources of meats, seafood, eggs vegetables and greens. As mother’s milk is an extremely critical source of medium chain triglycerides meant for the rapid growth of the baby’s brain and nervous system, we believe using a little more coconut oil in the diet could be helpful, too. Quality has never mattered as much as it does during this time. Also, in our opinion there has never been a more important and utterly critical time to avoid highly antigenic foods such as gluten, grains and dairy products (except for possibly camel’s milk, which is expensive and a bit hard to come by, but is generally safe from an immune reactive standpoint. It’s nearly identical in its total composition to human milk, and as such may prove useful where supplementing regular breast-feeding might be necessary, as well as a non-immune reactive dairy alternative).
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You by Uffe Ravnskov is a new book which includes updated and simplified sections from his previous one (The Cholesterol Myths). Ravnskov also presents his own idea about the cause of heart disease, an idea that explains all the findings that do not fit with the present view. It is a powerful book. Also see his web site. The Amazon.com reviews average to 5 stars. Published January 26, 2009.
If you're interested in the paleo plan but don't think you want to be so strict, you don't have to be all-or-nothing with your approach. Consider adopting some eating patterns from paleo and skipping the ones that don't work for you. For example, try just eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting down on added sugars. If you feel unsure about grains or dairy, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine what's best for your body.
Like other fad diets, the Paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. There is some evidence that following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects compared with the typical Western diet or compared with diets recommended by national nutritional guidelines. There is no good evidence, however, that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the Paleo diet can lead to an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
With carbohydrates and protein intake already accounted for, fat intake comprises the rest of the Paleo diet. We’ve been taught that fat is something to be avoided at all costs, but it’s actually not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes; rather, it’s the type of fat that should concern you. The Paleo diet calls for moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
A number of randomized clinical trials have compared the paleo diet to other eating plans, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the Diabetes Diet. Overall, these trials suggest that a paleo diet may provide some benefits when compared with diets of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. These benefits may include:
Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious, Primal-approved meals you can make in under 30 minutes by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Every recipe is accompanied by an ingredient list, a nutrient list, clearly written instructions, and a picture of the ingredients and a picture of the finished product. Note that this is a primal book and many recipes include dairy. Published March 25, 2011.
Richard Nikoley has the blog Free The Animal. He loves meat eating. His diet is near paleo, with the addition of some gray-area foods that he likes. These days most of his posts are on food. One recent trend in the paleo community is trying to optimize the proportions of the foods eaten. If you've read my definition you'll know that I simply define the diet as foods in and out. One of Richard's posts: Optimality: A Fool's Errand? has produced a long discussion of this trend.
Some randomized controlled trials have shown the Paleo diet to produce greater short-term benefits than diets based on national nutrition guidelines, including greater weight loss, reduced waist circumference, decreased blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved cholesterol. However these studies were of short duration (6 months or less) with a small number of participants (less than 40). [4-6]
According to Adrienne Rose Johnson, the idea that the primitive diet was superior to current dietary habits dates back to the 1890s with such writers as Dr. Emmet Densmore and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Densmore proclaimed that "bread is the staff of death," while Kellogg supported a diet of starchy and grain-based foods. The idea of a Paleolithic diet can be traced to a 1975 book by gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin,:41 which in 1985 was further developed by Stanley Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner, and popularized by Loren Cordain in his 2002 book The Paleo Diet. The terms caveman diet and stone-age diet are also used, as is Paleo Diet, trademarked by Cordain.
Yes, high-quality proteins and fats are part of the equation, but so are lots of vegetables and even (gasp!) carbohydrates. It’s not like I dumped all the grains (which, let’s face it, aren’t naturally nutrient-rich) and processed junk off my plate and replaced it with bacon. Instead, I substituted with more vegetables and some fruit—and I replaced the low-quality, CAFO-raised, steroid-injected meat I used to eat with grass-fed and pastured proteins and sustainable seafood.
[…] I don't like the word "diet", so I'll say that this is more a way of changing what you eat long-term. It's all based around what our ancestor hunter-gatherers would have eaten, and what we've evolved to be able to process and absorb. The very basic level of it, is that you don't eat carbohydrates, processed meats or sugars, and cut out dairy products. You instead eat plenty of fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You can still have oil, provided it's natural – so coconut, peanut & olive oil are all good. The good thing is that you're also allowed to take this to your own level – so if you want a couple of days off a week – say, weekends, you can do it & it will still be a lot healthier for you. This is a really helpful site I've used to make a note on my shopping list of what's allowed: The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List | Ultimate Paleo Guide […]
A Paleo dietary approach, like The Paleo Way program, generally provides greater nutrient density per calorie and is additionally extremely satisfying in smaller amounts. Both of these benefits are especially helpful for someone having had this type of surgery, as you are less likely to develop nutrient deficiencies and also less likely to eat to excessive fullness on this program. You could blend many of the recipes if need be, however once again we strongly advise that you consult your qualified and knowledgeable healthcare professional prior to commencing the program. And if doing the program having previously had gastric banding (or similar), we’d recommend you be properly monitored by your healthcare professional who is aware of your condition.
Lucy is WH’s Digital Editor, Features Writer, social media guru and resident woo. A long black lover and foodie at heart, she considers peanut butter an hourly staple and believes chardonnay is the superior drop. When she's not at the beach, barre or yoga studio you'll find her coming up with new and improved ways to kill her unkillable houseplants
We’ve spent most of our time adapting to the food we ate before the Agricultural Revolution: animal foods, wild vegetables, fruits in season, along with limited amounts of nuts & seeds. Our bodies are built to consume these foods, but this is not what our diets look like today. Paleo is based on the idea that this mismatch between our bodies and our diet might be the reason for modern health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Just like any other animal, humans suffer when we stray from our natural diet, but when we return to it, everything changes. Food stops making us sick, and starts making us strong, energetic, and vibrant with health. More than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
For those not in the know, the paleo diet centres around the ‘caveman’ style of eating, i.e. increasing consumption of meat, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds while restricting grains, legumes, sugar and dairy. And according to lead researcher Dr Angela Genoni, it’s the high quantity of red meats and lack of whole grains that are the source of the problem.