Paleo DietIn all the buzz about the Paleolithic Diet lately, there are lots of questions and differing opinions on just what it is and why you would actually want to “eat like a caveman”. With so much disparate information out there, getting a balanced view of this new-kid-on-the-diet-block can seem overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to help!

What is the Paleo Diet?

Unlike many other “diets,” the Paleo Diet is meant to be more of a change in lifestyle than a temporary solution to shed some pounds. It is based on the idea that humans existed as hunters and gatherers for over 2 million years before the Agricultural Revolution introduced grains and dairy products as staple foods to the human diet around 10,000 years ago.

Since our genetic makeup is nearly identical to what it was prior to the introduction of farming (it’s only changed about 0.02%), the Paleo Diet suggests that we are predisposed to eating things you could either hunt for or gather – game meat, roots, berries, nuts, etc – but are not meant to eat things like grains that have to be heavily processed before consumption. In a nutshell, we should be eating like our ancient caveman (and cavewoman) relatives. .

But what does it mean to eat like a caveman? Depending on who you ask it could mean a lot of things, but the basic idea is to only eat foods that can be found in nature and consumed in their raw states or with very minimal preparation. Essentially, anything that has to be refined or cooked extensively to be edible is out.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you should and shouldn’t eat on the Paleo Diet:

Good Foods

  • – Lean meats
  • – Fish
  • – Vegetables
  • – Fruit
  • – Nuts/seeds (no peanuts, though…they are legumes)

Bad Foods

  • – Grains
  • – Beans and other legumes
  • – Dairy products
  • – Potatoes

Now, you might be scratching your head a bit: the good foods list has a bunch of quality consumables that you’ll find on just about any nutritional blueprint – no problem there; however, the bad foods list axes out a good chunk of the typical modern diet including some foods that are widely considered healthful (whole grains and yogurt, for example). Is Paleo throwing the baby out with the bathwater? This is the crux of the debate…

The Paleo Diet | Good Caveman vs. Bad Caveman

At face value, the Paleo Diet uses some pretty solid reasoning as to why these foods are verboten, but on further review, it can begin to seem a bit simplistic and overly-restrictive. Like so many other things in life, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle so let’s take a look at the no-fly list and see if we can’t find some common ground.


GrainsTaking front and center of the Paleo controversy is whether you should even be eating things like wheat, rice or corn, let alone making them the base of your food pyramid. Paleo advocates will point out that grains are not only difficult for humans to digest in their raw states, but they can actually be quite toxic.

Found on uncooked grains, a type of protein called “lectin” serves as a natural insecticide to plants, but also interferes with digestion in humans and is a significant cause of food poisoning around the world. Cooking reduces, but doesn’t completely destroy these toxins, which is why they are strictly off the Paleo menu…

Take into consideration, though, that the rice-based diet of the Japanese people has made them the healthiest and longest-lived population on the planet.1 Also keep in mind that a lot of top athletes and trainers swear by starting every day with a big bowl of steel-cut oats, which are packed with vitamins and minerals and are generally considered one of the healthiest foods around.

Grains may or may not be the villain that hardcore Paleo proponents make them out to be, but one thing both sides can agree on is to stay away from refined grains (white flour, in particular). The refining process strips the grain of most of its nutrients and leaves only a high-carb, calorie-dense powder. Whole grains are much more nutritious and also packed with fiber.

Beans / Legumes

BeansLike grains, many beans are rife with lectins and are only edible if cooked extensively or fermented. Kidney beans and soybeans 2, especially, can be quite toxic if eaten raw. In fact, as few as 4 or 5 raw kidney beans can bring on typical symptoms of food poisoning – and undercooked beans are thought to be even more toxic!3 4

Peanuts5 are actually edible in their raw state, but are very susceptible to mold and fungus. Of particular interest is aflatoxin, a poison produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus. Twenty times more toxic than DDT, aflatoxin is known to cause liver cancer in lab animals and is thought to be a significant contributor to liver cancer cases in Africa where peanuts are a dietary staple. Improved handling and dry roasting have greatly reduced the risk of aflatoxin, but the Paleo Diet again says we’re better off without Mr. Peanut.6

If you’re sad now because you love peanut butter and chili (preferably not together), you will be comforted to know that a) peanuts undergo rigorous testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make sure no aflatoxins find their way to your belly and b) proper preparation greatly reduces the chances of beans making you feel not so magical. 7 Boiling kidney beans for 10 minutes almost entirely mitigates the toxins, but be careful when using a slow cooker, as the temperature may not get high enough to do the job.

Most beans, though, are considered quite healthy since they are a good source of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Cutting them out entirely limits your nutritional arsenal, but may be an option if you’re going the low-carb route. Peanuts, on the other hand, are not only a great source of monounsaturated fats and protein, but recent studies have shown that they rival berries, apples and beets for their antioxidant properties. Can you really turn your back on a food that’s been shown to protect against gallstones, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers?

Dairy Products

Dairy ProductsCan you guess how many animals besides humans drink milk after weaning? Zero. That’s because mammals only produce milk long enough to get their young through infancy, at which point they are weaned from their mothers and lose the ability to process lactose. In fact, most humans around the world trouble with dairy – it is estimated that over 75% of the adult population is lactose intolerant to some degree. 8

Dairy did not even play a factor in the human diet until early Europeans began domesticating cattle for about 10,000 years ago. If you can make it through a cheese pizza with no problems, you are likely descended from those pioneering individuals and part of the other 25% that has what is called “lactase persistence”.

While lactose (with an “o”) is the type of sugar in milk, lactase (with an “a”) is the protein your body produces to digest it. Everyone starts out with the genes to make lactase, but they stop working after infancy in most people. If you are descended from those early milkstache-wearing farmers, though, your body continues to produce it and you’ll typically have no problems with dairy.

The Paleo Diet doesn’t really make this distinction, though. It figures since humans were not originally intended to drink milk, you shouldn’t either. That is not necessarily bad since milk is fairly high in sugar and a lot of people have problems with lactose, but you’ll also be missing out on a good source of protein and calcium. Additionally, yogurt has been shown to promote gastrointestinal health, boost immune response, lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol and increase fat loss. If you’re not intolerant, that sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

Potatoes & Starchy Vegetables


Starchy vegetables, potatoes in particular, are a matter of some debate when it comes to the Paleo Diet. Many advocates say true root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are okay, but regular potatoes and other tubers are not. Others say any starchy vegetable is okay in moderation. Still others say no starchy vegetables at all because they can be toxic (like cassava and green potato) and require too much processing to eat.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say carrots and sweet potatoes are ridiculously good for you, but regular potatoes are not quite as cut-and-dried. Many people will point to their high glycemic index and carbohydrate load as proof of their evilness, but if you live an active lifestyle, that’s actually not a bad thing. If you’re just going to sit in front of the TV all night, you might want to pass on the potatoes and have a salad instead, but that certainly doesn’t make them unhealthy. In fact, potatoes have lots of vitamins and minerals and have been shown to help protect against cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems. So there’s no need to be afraid of spuds in moderation, just don’t overdo it with the butter and salt!

So, Should You Eat Like a Caveman or Not?

It might seem like I’ve come off as overly-critical of the Paleo Diet but I’m actually a pretty big fan of the concept. Getting back to a simpler, more-natural diet is really conducive to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but as usual, the devil’s in the details.9

Saying that our ancient tribal ancestors ate a particular way is a somewhat superficial endeavor since they were much more worried about survival than whether or not something was Paleo-friendly. What they ate also varied greatly by region – the traditional Inuit diet, for example, is almost entirely comprised of meat with 50-75% of calories coming from fat. Ancient Polynesian diets, on the other hand, were more balanced with fish, coconut, taro and breadfruit. The Maasai tribes of Africa survive mostly off of raw meat and milk and blood from cattle. There is no singular tribal diet.

Humans are resilient, adaptive creatures. We do anything we can to survive, whether that is picking berries from a bush or running down an antelope. One of the biggest problems today is that we no longer have to expend any energy to get our food. It’s processed, packaged, and shipped to convenient locations that we spend only minutes driving to. We consume massive quantities of easily-accessible, non-nutritious, refined foods, then spend all day sitting at our desks, in our cars, or at home on the sofa and wonder why the world is getting fatter.

The real benefit of the Paleo Diet is not in the canon of what particular foods we should be eating, but in reminding us of how we are meant to live. Humans evolved to thrive on an active lifestyle eating all-natural foods – no Burger King, no Easy Mac, no gallons of carbonated sugar water. Our ancient cousins had much shorter lifespans due to things like infection, exposure, and being eaten by predators, but overall were much healthier and stronger than today’s typical city-dweller. Imagine how healthy and long-lived we could be with access to modern medical care and things not trying to eat us! With obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rising out of control, maybe it’s time to look at our roots and get back to basics.

Show 9 References

  1. Lee, M. What Are The Effects Of Eating Raw Rice? . 2012.
  2. Did You Know That Raw Soybeans Are Toxic?. Were You Wondering. 2008.
  3. How Lectin In Undercooked Red Beans And Rice Causes Food Poisoning . Medical News Today. 2007.
  4. Why Are Raw / Undercooked Beans Toxic? . Softpedia. 2012.
  5. Peanuts . The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2012.
  6. Weil, A. Perplexed About Peanuts? . Weil Lifestyle. 2012.
  7. Lee, L. Cucullu, A, Franz, A, Pons, W. Destruction of aflatoxins in peanuts during dry and oil roasting . J. Agric. Food Chem., 1969, 17 (3), pp 451–453.
  8. Milk and the Modern Man . Tech Museum: Stanford Univ. 2012.
  9. Venuto, T. 1 Flaw of the Paleo Diet. Burn The Fat. 2012.


  1. profile avatar
    Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 06, 2012 - 10:06 #

    Hey Nate, awesome job distilling the key points about the Paleo Diet into an easy to understand article while making it well balanced.

    I’ve read a lot about the Paleo Diet and experimented with it on and off the last few years. I agree with you, I’m a huge fan of the Paleo Diet as a concept, rather than a diet. As you point out, certainly there was no singular paleo diet, which is where I think many people get confused. This concept of how humans used to live in nature will continue to have a very big impact on BuiltLean and how it evolves.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 21:23 #

      Thanks, Marc! Yeah, I think there are some great concepts in the Paleo Diet, but I also think some people tend to focus too much on the details and lose the big picture, which is living a more active, natural lifestyle.

  2. profile avatar
    Marty Aug 06, 2012 - 10:31 #

    Excellent article! Very balanced and informative.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 21:23 #

      Thanks, Marty!

  3. profile avatar
    Aleks Aug 06, 2012 - 17:43 #

    Very informative and timely. Thank you.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 21:24 #

      Thanks, Aleks!

  4. profile avatar
    mike h Aug 06, 2012 - 21:29 #

    the foods in the paleo diet make sense, but i never quite understood the argument for it, sure we can eat like cavemen, but doesn’t technology and modern methods add SOMEthing to our diets?

    i mean, i don’t think cavemen lived much past 40, although i realize they had predators and other such things to contend with, like climate, starvation, disease, etc.

    our genetic makeup might not be much different, but they looked rediculous and were like 4’8″, i’m supposed to follow a similar diet? they aren’t exactly a specimen of physical fitness, ha.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 21:47 #

      Modern methods have definitely improved storage, production and sanitation of food, but we’ve also added a lot of chemicals that are bad for you and processes that strip the nutrients out of things. Natural foods are much, much nutritious than modern processed foods.

      Also, early Homo sapiens definitely had shorter life spans, but a lot of that was due to high mortality of both the mother and baby in child birth, traumatic deaths from accidents or predators, complications from infection and even starvation. Prehistoric man definitely had to deal with disease and sickness, too, but most of it can be attributed to the nature of their active lives (e.g., osteoarthritis from carrying heavy loads) and not problems with their diet. Lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension were virtual rarities.

      I’m not sure about how ridiculous they looked, but early humans were actually only a hair shorter than modern humans, on average. In fact, check out the following article that talks about how people’s height and health declined as farming replaced the hunter/gatherer lifestyle:

  5. profile avatar
    Bryce Aug 06, 2012 - 23:06 #

    Great article on the Paleo diet. It sounds to me like the Paleo diet is mostly against any modern foods or food processes. IMO, I think that just because something is new, like grains or dairy products, doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad. Cavemen used to eat their meat raw, but then learned to cook it with fire. Does this mean we should go back to eating raw meat? I would assume cooking the meat substantially reduces the risk of contamination.

    Over the years we’ve learned new methods to produce food, problem is a lot of those methods these days are bad. IMO, I think we need to focus on cleaning our foods and processes, like growing foods organically, rather than cutting out whole food groups.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 21:59 #

      Thanks, Bryce!

      Actually, a lot of people are starting to realize the benefits of eating raw meat: it’s easier to digest, has more vitamins and minerals, and contains a lot of beneficial enzymes that are killed off when cooked. You definitely have to be careful, but it’s generally our handling and processing of the meat that introduces bad stuff so if you have a quality source, you should be fine – or give it a quick sear to kill all the surface baddies to be sure. Oh, and you should never, ever eat raw ground meat…it’s a breeding ground for bacteria.

      Check this out:

  6. profile avatar
    Chris Aug 06, 2012 - 23:46 #

    I think an important part of the Paleo diets’ reasoning behind cutting grains and other foods lies in two things. One being the principle of balancing the acidic/alkaline level in your body, an secondly the diets’ focus on whole foods and eating with a semblance of balance and variety in the foods one may eat. The example of recommended calcium for optimal bone health comes to mind. We eat diets which are heavily fortified for calcium, ( it is hammered into out heads from a young age to drink milk for strong bones, what is left out is how that bowl of cereal we are earing with it is causing you to lose calcium) we also excrete a large amount of calcium in out urine due to these same foods. When we eat a Paleo based diet we may be ingesting less calcium but also we are losing a lot less also, leaving us weighing in on the positive calcuim side. **researched personal opinion warning**. I feel people may be doing themselves a disservice by flip flopping on this diet. As stated in the original article, this diet is intended as a lifestyle change. It is not a quick fix way to drop the pounds, it is meant for your body to find it ideal weight and best health an individual can achieve. There are built in “fail safes” of a cheat day or meals and is not a cut and dry, eat one way and not another diet plan. But with that said, I do feel by following Paleo and yet still having lets say dairy regularly, an individual leaves them self open to health problems. This does not mean do not eat pizza once a week or have some ice cream. It is more a problem only if done routinely because your body chemistry and acid/alkaline levels will we further disrupted leading to calcium loss. Again, this is just one example that came to mind. I am by no means an expert on Paleo eating, just a very interested individual on the chemistry behind it.

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 22:04 #

      Great point, Chris! At some point I’d like to do an article on this very topic. I’ve actually seen a slight increase in bone mass since cutting milk from my diet. Acidity/alkalinity of our bodies is an often-overlooked subject, but also very important.

  7. profile avatar
    Simon Aug 07, 2012 - 06:44 #

    Recently i have been more into the paleo diet thing, although i wouldn’t say i stick to it religiously. I think there is a lot of scope on what people do inside this eating methodology, as although we might be evolved to live like cavemen, our modern lives dont resemble them at all. Mapping the paleo concepts onto our modern lives leaves a lot of room for scope. Personally i like this guys site . He explains many of the concepts of paleo eating clearly and the reasoning behind them. He is reasonable though, like he says eating fermented foods is good (they certainly arnt paleo), says rice is ok in moderation as its lower in leptins than other grains, milk he says is also ok in moderation as long as your not intolerant. etc

    I think the thing with grains is that many people are intolerant to them, ranging from slight bloating to full blown ibs. Some of us have adapted to eating them more, and although they are certainly not the worst thing you could eat, they shouldn’t form the bedrock of our diet. Overall eat lots of fish and meet along with a big variety of vegetables. Treat all vegetables equally, don’t have a plate of potatoes, have a mix of different vegetables, sure have the odd potato in there but not half the meal. And reduce the amount of grains your eating. If you are active, sure eat a few more white carbs, u may need the energy, but if you are sedentary a low carb diet is sufficient. Overall i think decent rules to live by, and not particularly hard!

    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 07, 2012 - 22:14 #

      Yeah, I definitely like Mark’s site. He has a good perspective and a lot of great information on the primal lifestyle.

      I totally agree – I think people need to reevaluate their nutritional priorities, especially here in America.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Simon!

  8. profile avatar
    Emilia Aug 08, 2012 - 12:27 #

    I think it’s pretty clear: people need the myth and there always will be someone willing to sell it at a (not very) reasonable price.

  9. profile avatar
    Thomas Aug 08, 2012 - 14:28 #

    While i don’t personally have experience with the paleo diet, it is possible to see that many aspects of it make sense. However, i feel the part about milk seems particularly absurd if you, like me, am one the 25 % of people who has no trouble with milk.

    But then again, you did address most of the other over the top and seemingly absurd parts of the paleo diet, so still, good article. You should probably have mentioned that there really is no reason not to eat (unprocessed) oats under the grain section.

    So like Mark and a few other commenters, i find the mindset a good one but also see that the diet itself is far too strict and at best is over complicated and at worst can be throwing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. I guess “middle ground” is the key here.

  10. profile avatar
    Alec Aug 09, 2012 - 10:00 #

    Hey Nate,

    Great article, I really enjoyed the presentation and analysis of information. A quick question: if raw kidney beans are such a hazard when consumed, why isn’t there a warning on the label? I’m just intrigued because this is the first I’ve heard that raw kidney beans could present such a problem.


    1. profile avatar
      Nate Morrow Aug 09, 2012 - 10:34 #

      Thanks, Alec!

      That’s an excellent question, but so far I haven’t been able to find any explanation for why there are no warning labels. Most of the time people use canned beans, which are already cooked, but you would think that would be good information to know if you’re cooking the raw beans yourself.

      This is a pretty good article about kidney beans and the comment section is full of people with first-hand experience with the bad side:

  11. profile avatar
    Nicholas Aug 09, 2012 - 12:52 #

    I am in agreement with the author that the Paleo diet has a great concept but I feel is a little simplistic. It gets into what you can and can’t eat without much discussion on why certain foods can be bad which the author does cover pretty well I might add. I have been doing a lot of reading on nutrition and learned an interesting fact that a human can live perfectly fine without carbohydrates. Without protein or fat for that matter you would eventually die, without carbs you can live, and actually live quite well. I keep my diet pretty simple, I eat any kind of meat, fat included, preferably grass fed meat, a piece of fruit a day and green veggies with no limits. The fruit and green veggies provide all the missing nutrients meat doesn’t offer. I have not eaten any refined carbs or even complex carbs for months and I have lost 30 lbs in 3 months doing nothing differently in my workouts. Most people don’t understand that dietary fat has no effect on the storage hormone insulin and more than likely will not be stored (unless your insulin is high from carbs) but rather burned. After eating like this for three months I had my blood lipids work done and it was a huge improvement from eating low fat and “heart healthy” carbs like oatmeal which is still a starch. I don’t count calories, I tried that but after a couple days it was to tedioius and although I am not totally against calories in and calories out, it is a best guess at best what your body needs and how much it actually burns. Protein, Fat and Carbs all have different effects on the body. Certain foods take more calories to even digest than others. Calories in and calories out basically assumes you process all calories the same, like a furnace burning every calorie equally which is nonsense if you understand human biology. The only days I find where I may need quick carbs are when I tried doing 2 a day workouts, which is completely unnessary in my opinon. I am Native American and our people have thrived on high fat diets for generations, it wasn’t until agriculture when we started to have major problems. Now eating a typical american diet has cost this demographic the highest type 2 diabeties rate in the nation, which is basically insulin insensitivity, which is a result of too much carbs in the diet! Anyways I just wanted to throw in my two cents, great article overall.

  12. profile avatar
    Thomas Aug 10, 2012 - 09:09 #

    But what i’d really like to know is; as good a method as the paleo diet supposedly is, can you still get lean while eating carbs (in moderation, like with everything)?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 16, 2012 - 07:04 #

      @Thomas – Yes. Check out this post on Carbs to learn more – Carbohydrates: A Complex Subject Made Simple

  13. profile avatar
    Priscilla L. Martin Aug 10, 2012 - 11:33 #

    Nice article, Marc. Lifestyle change and temporary dieting is certainly food for thought.

  14. profile avatar
    Adam Aug 10, 2012 - 11:38 #

    Nice article Marc and Nate. My question is where do food oils such as olive oil fall into all of this? I have tried the “Atkins” diet which is not too different from this one. I have found I plateau on the Atkins and cant seem to lost the last 10 to 15 lbs? Do you feel oils contribute to weight gain since they are so high in calories and “from nature” but actually have to be processed to be made?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 16, 2012 - 07:08 #

      @Adam – That’s a tough one, Adam. There are two schools of thought related to weight loss calories vs. carbs. Some believe calories make you fat, others believe carbs. Books have been written about both subjects and we will be exploring both concepts in much more detail very shortly. So if you are eating too many calories even if you are eating less carbs, it may prevent you from losing weight. My own opinion is that both carbs and calories matter.

  15. profile avatar
    Jason Aug 10, 2012 - 13:19 #

    A well balanced article. My wife has been experimenting with this concept and trying to get me to join her. As a restaurant owner, I rely heavily on quick foods and snacks. I never know when I am going to be able to stop and eat or how long I will have. I have to prepare each day in advance and know that I have enough healthy options to get me through my day. Paleo does not seem to provide quick and easy, certainly not affordable, and I can’t see how I can maintain my current weight and continue to build muscle on this diet. Milk is a huge source of protein for my lifestyle along with some whole wheat breads and grains. My body fat is already at 8% so I am not looking to lose weight. I guess all this rambling can be summed up by saying that I do not see how you can meet your fitness goals of building lean muscle, while living an active lifestyle, and maintain such a strict diet. And if you are already lean, not lose muscle and look gaunt and malnourished.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 16, 2012 - 07:09 #

      @Jason – I agree with you, it’s not easy.

  16. profile avatar
    Lisa Aug 10, 2012 - 17:25 #


    I very much appreciate your balanced, well-thought out article on this subject. You’ve just gained even more respect points!!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 10, 2012 - 17:26 #

      Hi Lisa, Nate did a really great job on this article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  17. profile avatar
    Maximus Aug 10, 2012 - 21:19 #

    I follow the principles of the Primal Blueprint. Found at

    Eliminating grains from my diet has significantly improved my health and how I feel. No more lethargy and fatigue. I think a lot of people don’t truly understand the concept, so they resort to bashing it.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 16, 2012 - 07:17 #

      @Maximus – Very happy to hear it worked out for you Maximus.

  18. profile avatar
    Charl Aug 11, 2012 - 21:49 #

    ” Oh, and you should never, ever eat raw ground meat…” Ever had steak tartare? ,,, with the added raw egg??

    Nate, seems like you’re an actual proponent of the paleo eating philosophy, but had to tone it down due to where your article’s being published?

    It also appears that some of the comments by various respondents are more based on personal opinion than fact. You CAN build muscle with this eating pattern and dairy is NOT a requirement for us. Actually we’re the only species that consumes the milk of another species even after we’ve been weaned.

  19. profile avatar
    Charl Aug 11, 2012 - 21:53 #

    Dang, knew I was trying to cram too much in one comment – there’s also a school of thought that potatoes are bad for you, not from a carb point of view, but due to the fact that it’s part of the nightshade family.

  20. profile avatar
    Sanjay Aug 12, 2012 - 13:59 #

    Thanks Nate for an excellent article. IMO, a strict interpretation of the Paleo diet would assume that “grains” did not exist in the wild before farming became prevalent. That may not be entirely correct. The safer assumptions, IMO, that food sources were local, fresh (or maybe dried or even fermented), and generally raw.

    Those should be handy guides to choosing foods for the Paleo diet. As a vegetarian, fish and meat are ruled out; I would be interested to know how that can influence the choice of foods.

    In this post and related comments, I am a little intrigued to discover that excluding milk can actually help bone density. Moreover, I have noticed that a heavy carb diet certainly causes my body to bloat a little and so I try and consciously reduce that from my diet.

  21. profile avatar
    Sam Aug 13, 2012 - 10:42 #

    I don’t totally want to cut out grains. Would it work to do a 50% fat, 30% protein and 20% carb. I love having my oatmeal in the morning and I don’t want to cut out all carbs. Will I be able to lose bodyfat and maybe gain some lean muscle with these percentages? Is the best way to lose fat by restricting carbs?


    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 16, 2012 - 07:44 #

      @Sam – As I stated in a previous comment, controlling calories is likely more important than simply limiting carbs, but a combination of the two should work well. We will explore the calories vs. carbs debate in a future article.

  22. profile avatar
    Tyler Aug 14, 2012 - 19:01 #

    Great Article! Very straight forward.

  23. profile avatar
    Jai Aug 17, 2012 - 23:41 #

    Hey guys,

    How does one tell if they are lactose intolerant? I’m 20 now, and my whole life I’ve had around 2 glasses (500ml) of milk a day, along with (Greek) yoghurt with at least 1 meal a day (about a 1/4 of a pot). I have no trouble eating cheese pizza – essentially, I’ve never felt like I was sick or whatever after having dairy, and I never felt supercharged with energy on the few days that I skipped milk for one reason or the other.

    But I’m Indian (south Indian, and quite dark-skinned), and so it’s unlikely I’m descended from those Europeans who domesticated cattle – so am I lactose intolerant or not? (By the way, my whole family, as in including grandparents and further back, have had similar amounts of lactose in their diet).

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 23, 2012 - 08:48 #

      @Jai – Lactose is the sugar found in milk that some people are unable to digest. The signs you are lactose intolerant can include bloating, abdominal cramping, excessive gas, nausea, and/or diarrhea. These symptoms can occur after 30 minutes to 2 hours of ingestion. If you don’t have any of those issues, you may not be lactose intolerant, or you may be partially lactose intolerant, meaning that above a certain threshold of lactose will cause issues. You can get tested by your doctor for lactose intolerance by (1) blood test, which measures how well your body absorbs lactose and (2) hydrogen breath test. I became partially lactose intolerant in my 20’s, and I think it had to do with the fact I stopped drinking milk for a few years because I had a busy job and any milk I bought would spoil. For more information, you can check out this article => Lactose Intolerance 101.

  24. profile avatar
    beeah Aug 26, 2012 - 07:08 #

    I’ve been eating like this for about 3 months…however my stomach is always in a state of gas and I always seem to have diarrhea since eating this way…I want to eat this way… I’ve lost weight and my blood pressure went way down.. will I eventually get use to such a high fiber diet??? I do eat some lean protein, but so far no grains what so ever

  25. profile avatar
    Dj Gibson Sep 11, 2012 - 13:42 #

    This was a really good article! I will be forwarding this to others to read. I’m still in between whether i should eat strictly Paleo or not. My diet isn’t too bad but i’m guilty of legumes, peanut butter (natural – smart balance), frozen vegetables, brown rice and quinoa. I’ll do more research on the topics and see what’s best for me. Thank you again for the great article.

  26. profile avatar
    Billybob Oct 10, 2012 - 01:17 #

    I guess the issue I have with this “Caveman” diet is this:

    The premise is that it’s healthier to eat the foods our ancient ancestors ate, and exclude those they didn’t… However, the diet is designed by nutritionists and trainers, people who may have done some reading on the subject, but are by no means authorities on the matter.

    Right off the bat, cavemen ate potatoes, beans, wild grains, and yes, occasionally milk from women in the group and possibly nursing animals they killed. This is established; there is no debate on this. How MUCH of this they ate is certainly debatable. But how much of ANYTHING they ate is up for debate as well… The recent discovery of the so-called “starvation diet” and how beneficial it appears to be, coupled with the fact that it seems to fit right in with food availability during the ice-age lends credibility to the theory that it is perhaps how our ancestors ate, and how we should too.

    I guess my point is that basing a diet off an erroneous (not to mention fairly cliched) idea of how a group ate and then holding it up as some sort guide isn’t a very bright idea. It’s a bit like looking at how thin French people are compared to Americans and saying “Hey, the French eat nothing but croissants, brie, and wine… Let’s go with that.”

  27. profile avatar
    sumit Oct 16, 2012 - 18:50 #

    hello marc,
    your articles are definately very intresting,apt and informative.I would like to know that since i am intending to work on a fat loss workout program, should i be drinking low fat milk as a good source of protein or it will prevent my fat loss results due to its fat intakes.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 19, 2012 - 20:24 #

      @sumit- low fat dairy is a complete protein source, but ideally go for organic variety if you do drink milk. There are some detractors who don’t believe humans should be drinking milk, like paleo dieters. We haven’t tackled the topic yet, but I hope to tackle it in the next 3-6 months. Losing weight is primarily about calories in vs. out, so higher fat intake doesn’t mean you will gain fat.

  28. profile avatar
    Ronny Oct 21, 2012 - 10:01 #

    Good article. I agree that the concept of the diet is good, yet it does need some modifications. I started the diet 2 days ago and have decided to include all food groups but in moderation. It seems to be working. I’m keep my potatoes/grains intake to 2 servings a day. And dairy at 2 servings as well. With the modifications, this diet can be sustained forever and it’s very healthy.

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