The Paleolithic diet

Published on 11 February 2013

The Paleolithic diet was never invented as such: it involves eating what our earliest human ancestors ate! In 1985, the American Dr Eaton revived the Paleolithic Stone Age diet as the 'ideal' diet.

The Paleolithic diet

The Paleolithic Diet, also know as the Cave Man Diet and the Paleo Diet, was never actually meant to be a diet.

It simply involves eating what our ancestors ate (a long time ago). Back in the '80s American expert Dr Eaton gave the Paleolithic Diet a bit of a revival when he decided it was the 'ideal' diet for a human being.

Since then, Jessica Biel, Miley Cyrus and Matthew McConaughey have become big fans of the diet.

How it works

According to Dr Eaton, our genes determine what our bodies need nutritionally. Since we have very similar genes to our prehistoric ancestors (there's just a 0.02% difference), our bodies basically need the same food that they ate in the Stone Age.

The Paleolithic Diet is a low-carbohydrate diet, and there's no dairy or wheat. During the diet you have just 20% to 40% carbohydrate, 20% to 35% protein, and 30% to 45% fat.

The good news is that you don’t have to count grams or calories; the golden rule is to simply stop eating when you feel full.

But this diet does more than just help you to lose weight. It also protects against cardiovascular diseases and cancer and aids digestion.

Foods allowed
Lean meat, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, low-starch fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Foods to eat in moderation

Cold-pressed oils, avocado, dried fruit, tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks.

Foods to eliminate

Wheat products, legumes, dairy products, processed or tinned foods, starchy vegetables (potatoes, cassava, yams), fatty meats, salted foods, fizzy drinks.

Breaking with routine

According to Dr Eaton's theory, you can allow yourself one, two or even three meals made up of “non-approved” foods each week. These breaks make easing into the new lifestyle a little less tricky.

A typical day

Breakfast
1 orange, salmon with fine herbs, nuts.
Lunch Salad with selected vegetables, olive oil and lemon vinaigrette, turkey breast, almonds and raspberries.
Dinner Veal escalope, selected vegetables, melon and sunflower seeds.

Results
During the first six months, this sort of diet can lead to more weight loss than your standard low-fat, high-carb diet. However, after six months, people who follow the Paleolithic Diet tend to put more weight back on than those on a low-fat diet.

Plus points
You eat lots of protein, which makes you feel full quickly. Plus, it's not hard to follow the diet as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, seafood, fruit and vegetables can be bought pretty much anywhere.

Downsides
The Paleolithic Diet might cover all your nutritional needs (with the exception of Vitamin D), but it's pretty monotonous so over a long period you might get pretty bored with it, plus you need a lot of discipline and control to follow it in the first place.

It can cause a yo-yo effect because of the rapid weight loss in the first two weeks, and in the short term you might have a Vitamin D deficiency, so you should compensate by taking supplements.

Note
Always consult a doctor before starting a diet.

Other diets to try...

Atkins diet

Lemon dietGluten free dietRaw food dietBlood type dietBikini diet Dukan diet

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