The Paleolithic diet: Understanding the paleo lifestyle

The Paleolithic diet: Understanding the paleo lifestyle


A few key paleo diet information points:

Choose nutrient-rich foods like wild-caught fish and berries. And skip processed, artificial sweeteners.

The diet also emphasizes quality meats, such as grass-fed and free-range cuts and avoiding additives like nitrates and nitrites in cured meats.

The paleolithic diet is one of the most popular diets that involves eating foods in the same way as our ancestors consumed in the Paleolithic era. It’s also known as the caveman diet or the stone-age diet.

The paleolithic era dates from around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, and the eating habits were meat based since agricultural practices evolved at the end of this era.

In this article, we bring all you need to know about the paleolithic diet and the paleolithic lifestyle along with a list of paleo diet foods to include and avoid.

What is the paleo diet plan? Understanding the paleolithic lifestyle

The Paleolithic diet recommends the consumption of meat (Image via Unsplash/Eiliv Aceron)Mediterranean diet, except for the fact that the paleo diet recommends lower carb intake. All types of freshly sourced meat and animal fats are allowed in this diet, just like our ancestors ate several thousands of years ago.

As per historians, people during the Paleolithic era did not have the lifestyle disorders we have now. AIlments during their time were infectious diseases and serious illnesses. The Paleolithic lifestyle largely contributed to this and is believed to prevent lifestyle disorders.

One of the very important aspects of the paleo diet is the exclusion of ultra-processed foods and seed oils. Seed oils, including sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil and safflower oil contain omega-6 fatty acids that are susceptible to oxidation and cause inflammation in the body, leading to heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

These oils also increase the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL and VLDL) produced by the liver.

The paleolithic diet: Paleo diet foods to include

The Paleolithic diet should include unprocessed and freshly sourced foods, mainly animal-based or animal-derived.

Foods allowed in this diet are listed below:

  • Fresh meat: Red meat, including beef, lamb and pork. Chicken, turkey, and other meats.
  • Fish and seafood: salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, tuna, herring, shellfish, etc.
  • Eggs: Hen eggs, duck eggs, or any other free-range or pastured eggs.
  • Vegetables: Preferably low-carb ones, including broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
  • Fruits: Organic pears, avocados, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Healthy fats and oils: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, animal fats, etc
  • Salt and spices: natural salt, thyme, parsley, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc.

Paleo diet foods to avoid

Ultra-processed foods must be avoided in the Paleolithic diet (Image via Unsplash/Towfiqu Barhbhuiya)ultra-processed foods, including:

  • Sweteneds beverages, including soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, pastries, ice cream and many others
  • High-carb foods and refined flour, including bread, pasta, wheat, cereal, rye, barley, etc.
  • Beans, lentils and similar pulses
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Seed oils, including soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, etc.
  • Certain artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin and acesulfame potassium.
  • Ultra-processed foods, including instant meals and other packaged food.

If you’re looking for a sugar substitute that’s not harmful and allowed on the Paleolithic diet, try out stevia or stevia-derived ones.

As long as you’re consuming foods that are natural, fresh and minimally processed, you’re following a healthy lifestyle that can prevent several disorders, including heart disease, fatty liver, type 2 diabetes and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

Indranil Biswas is a nutritionist and personal trainer with a diploma in dietetics and personal training with a specialization in sports nutrition and strength training.

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Edited by Bhargav


Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

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