Paleo Diet: Global trend in nutrition aimed at achieving a healthier lifestyle

Paleo Diet - Principles and ideology

What should we do to obtain the health of the Paleolithic people? To run 15 kilometers a day in search of a prey to kill it with our own hands, cut into pieces and run 15 kilometers back, hiding from the predators? In fact, none of this will not be necessary. It is enough to imitate their lifestyle – active sports and nutrition with natural and familiar to us from the Paleolithic food.

What is the paleo diet (PD)?

Like vegetarianism, the paleo diet is an eating pattern, and not a calorie restricted diet / nutrition. This means that a person can eat both Paleolithic and keeping calorie proportions in a evenly balanced diet.

Paleo diet is also known as the Stone Age diet, diet of the hunter or diet of the caveman. PD is trying to copy the diet of the early humans, originated about 2.5 million years BC to 10,000 years ago.

paleo diet pyramid

Principles and ideology

Essentially PD is based on scientific assumptions, many of which lie on a real scientific basis, and anthropological theories.

Of course, as a diet which is 40 years old, the paleo diet is thoroughly tested and modified over the years.

Evolutionary medicine, which is a basic direction in the study of the origin of the diseases, devotes attention to the paleo diet.


The basic principles of paleo diet are:

  • Consume only real and natural foods that can be found in nature and can be consumed without significant heat treatment.
  • Eat only natural foods product of organic farming, for which cultivation are not used steroids, antibiotics, bone meal, nitrates and genetically modified organisms.
  • Limit the heat treatment processes to basic cooking and baking.
  • Do not use canned food – dry and freeze and respectively do not eat canned food.
  • Do not consume modern spices, preservatives, flavorings and other products.

Perhaps for many of you, these principles seem extreme. So what makes people change their diet on this model?

paleo principles

Ideological motives based on scientific “beliefs”

Followers of this diet most often adopt and implement based on the belief that diet, we have kept in the early Neolithic period, about 2.5 million years certainly has had a major impact on our development.

Certain scientific theories complete the feeling of “rightness” and concrete the faith of the Paleolithic followers.

Rational motives

In the model of cave eating there are concepts from which modern people can and must learn to build a balanced and healthy diet.

Outside beliefs PD is based on some indisputable grounds for health benefits.

Rejecting the products of modern agriculture of cereal, pulses, dairy products and pulses, the paleo diet reject many of the toxic substances present in foods from these groups randomly or under the labels “harmless”, “harmless at doses lower than …” and other.

The paleo diet is ahead of the modern diet with a lower calorie intake, lower intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which have a pro-inflammatory action, poor consumption of salt, consumption o foods with primarily low glycemic index and low to moderate glycemic louding.

Good and bad foods according to the paleo diet

For “good” are considered foods that are in the menu of our ancestors from the Paleolithic and the consumption of “bad” foods occurs after entering the Neolithic period.

Followers of the paleo diet blame the “bad” foods for the deterioration of human health.

Here are the main differences between the cave and the modern diet * in tabular form.

Food / Substances Paleo diet Modern diet
Proteins Thoroughly lean meat, fish and eggs Mixed origin:

a fatty meats, eggs, cheeses, fish, dairy foods, soy

Carbohydrates Mainly vegetables, fruits and occasionally honey Mixed origin of cereals (rice, cereals, maize), potatoes, flour products, refined sugar
Glycemic index Rather low to moderate, with the exception of honey High to moderate
Glycemic louding Low to moderate Moderate to high
Fats Moderate intake High intake
Omega-3: Omega -6 balance Balanced intake of 1: 1 to 1: 3 Proinflammatory intake far above the recommended 1: 6. The balance reaches 1:20
Balance of the fatty acids Dominate saturated  The intake of saturated higher as g / day than in Paleo diet
Fibers About 100 g / day Rarely over 20 g. / Day
Vitamins and minerals High intake Low intake
Cereals and grains Not consumed Daily use
Animal products About 65% of the calories in the menu About 15% of the calories in the menu
Bean cultures Not consumed Frequent use
Dairy foods, including butter Not consumed Daily use
Pressed unrefined vegetable oils Not consumed Daily use
Trans fats There were no sources Fairly often contained in products with added vegetable fats
Alcohol None About 3% of the daily calories

Modern diet * – averaged model based on national dietary surveys among the general public in the US.

what to eat on paleo diet and what to avoid

Effects of the paleo diet on health

The proven benefits are:

  • Paleo diet is more satisfying cravings compared with the popular recommended concept of the Mediterranean diet by people with coronary artery disease.
  • After quarterly surveys it was observed that paleo diet improves the insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes, improves glycemic control and reduces the number of cardiovascular risk factors compared to classical recommended diet for diabetes 2.
  • Reduces insulin production, increasing insulin sensitivity and lowers the C-protein produced by the pancreas.
  • Decreases blood pressure.

Protein sources in the diet

The diet is rich in proteins of animal origin only. The doses are 2.5 to 3 g / kg by men and 2 to 2.3 g / kg for females. We are talking about people with higher physical activity and high energy expense.

Most accurately can be calculated according to the active mass of the individual. Different authors unite around the following percentage of the presence of proteins in total daily calorie: 19 to 35%.

Carbohydrates, fiber, glycemic index and louding

Carbohydrates come from vegetables and fruits. Here is the moment to say “no” to:

  • legumes: beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, chickpeas and their seedlings and sprouts;
  • sweet corn and potatoes (potatoes still debated);
  • cereals, cereal products, flour and pasta products;
  • rice and rice products, flour and bakery products.

The food should be natural and without preservatives and nitrates. The truth is that this can not happen in countries with moderate climate.

Glycemic index fruits and vegetables are low to moderate. Uploading calories from carbohydrates requires portions of at least 800 grams of food for a 80-kg man, for example.


Fats remain a major part of the menu of the paleo diet and are often overrule the protein and carbohydrates,  in terms of all calories consumed. We are talking about 35 to 45% of the daily energy of the cavemen.

10-15% of the energy was due to saturated fatty acids. It should not surprise you. In diet based on consumption of meat, red meat, fish, shellfish and eggs dominate the saturated animal fats.

The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 rarely exceeds 1: 3 parts by weight.

Calorific value

The daily need of calories of a 80-pound caveman in days of hunting (in that era that was a big man) varied between 2700 and 3500 kcal according to the daily activity.

In practice, this energy can not be consumed by the above-mentioned food sources, since fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories per gram.

The only snack that these hunters were able to afford is  fresh or dried meat and nuts. This is sufficient, but only to slow the loss of weight.

The paleo diet counts on:

  • fruit juices and honey;
  • nuts;
  • oil dried meat or fat.

If you deal with sports requiring high power consumption such as tennis, football, cycling, skiing, swimming, choose other diet or calculate your calories intake.

Micronutrients – vitamins and minerals

If it is properly prepared the paleo diet can deliver moderate to high doses of all vitamins, mineral nutrients.

The only risk is the appearance of a lack of vitamin D. This vitamin, we can synthesize by ourselves if a large part of our skin is at the sunlight at least within two times for 30 minutes per week.

As you might guess, the modern people this happens only if you work outside or are relaxing outdoors, andfor the Palaeolithic people is every day.

Acid Alkaline Balance

The paleo diet is a pro acidic diet. The lack of sufficient amounts of calcium in the menu hides a potential risk of diseases associated with calcium deficiency: osteoporosis, kidney stones, kidney failure, muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass. Women are twice as threatened because of their higher need for calcium.

Can you lose weight with the paleo diet? Will it make you strong and active as a Palaeolithic man / woman?

Rather yes, although there is no firm guarantees for that. Guarantees for weight loss are two:

  • Calorie balance;
  • Moderate to high physical activity.

People who have their best results with the Paleo diet are actively exercising and have good food culture know the amount of the daily calories, even if they do not count them precisely.

The low average calorie diet compared to other methods of nutrition helps the reduction of subcutaneous fast even in the absence of calorie control.

Even so, the paleo diet provides only one guarantee – caloric restriction. Without practicing sports or active energy consumption you cannot rely on a major change in your weight.

how to lose weight with paleo diet

Does the Paleo diet is based on actual scientific facts?

Here we look at two questions. The first is: is it based on the theory of real anthropological facts how he ate Paleolithic man? And the answer is: rather not.

The second question is whether this feeding method is satisfactory biomedical basis to recommend. Fortunately, yes.

The best Palaeo diet is the balanced one, and it can only be guaranteed by a specialist. If you have chosen this diet, get help early. Buying a book is not enough.

With what type of training should combine or not to combine the paleo diet?

You can combine the Palaeo diet with all training schemes, if you track the calorie balance and the balance of macronutrients in the diet.

Otherwise, avoid sports where the load with an intensity sufficient to keep you sweat, jumps over the border from hour to hour and ten minutes a day.

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About Jane Peterson

Jane Peterson is a supportive nutrition and fitness coach and registered dietitian nutritionist known for her health advices and innovative ideas to inspire and motivate people to reach their goals. She has a passion for personal training and enjoys motivating people, using specific exercise programs and track their progression for success. As a parent herself, Jane Peterson knows what it means to have to work hard to keep a good shape during pregnancy and after having a baby. She is interested about improving the way children eat, pediatric nutrition and family meal planning. Jane has several years of personal and professional experience and is practicing as a freelance food and health writer. She works personally with a small number of hand picked clients, transforming their health and their physiques using her four key elements of wellness: lifestyle, exercise, nutrition and supplementation.