Here’s 8+ Reasons the Paleo Diet Should be Extinct

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In the past few years, the Western world has seen a wave of followers develop as proponents of the Paleo-style diet. The virtual army of dedicated Paleo-eaters are hard to miss online these days, with any Paleo-related article getting flooded with comments and arguments as soon as they’re discovered. Perpetuated by famous Paleo-endorsers such as Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, and Mark Sisson, Paleo has turned into quite the movement. By the way, you can find their respective blogs here, here, and here.

As with many fad diets in recent years, the opinions are heavily divided by people who see Paleo from a more objective angle, and those who will defend it into the wee hours of the night; some so loyal that they no doubt would be offended that I even mention the Paleo Diet in the same paragraph as the words ‘fad diet’.

The truth is, the concept behind Paleo has actually been around since the mid 1970’s, when a gastroenterologist named Walter L. Voegtlin first came up with the idea. In reality, there is very little difference between the Paleo Diet and countless other low-carb diet fads that have made the rounds in the past decade. The main thing that separates Paleo from its low-carb cousins is the fact that Paleo doesn’t endorse the use of grains – not even the whole wheat variety.

The Paleo Philosophy

Paleo relies on the (unproven) fact that our ancestors from the stone age (circa 10,000 years ago) had inherently healthier diets than us modern-day humans. Paleo claims that they didn’t suffer from modern-day problems such as arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases of affluence. Rather, they were fit, strong, and healthy individuals that were much better off than us. The Paleo premise is simple; if the cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either.

Palaeolithic nutrition is based around the fact that in the 10,000 years that humans have been eating a diet framed by the agricultural revolution, we haven’t had the time to genetically adapt to the modern way of eating; that our body’s are better suited to eating in the manner that our ancestors did for hundreds of thousands of years.

Admittedly, it’s a pretty cool idea. It’s easy to get a kind of romantic attachment to eating like we ‘should’ eat – the way we were ‘meant’ to eat. When I first heard of Paleo and looked into it, it made a good bit of sense, at least at first. Being the research-based guy that I am; I had to look into it further.

For 30 years Paleo has taken a backseat to almost every other diet program around. The Atkins diet, the Hollywood diet, the South Beach Diet, the Mediterranean diet, and so on. It wasn’t until 2005 where Loren Cordain released his book ‘The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance’ that it really came into the spotlight. I’m not really sure why it did, but I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that it was around this same time that the similarly popular “gluten-free” movement began to spring up.

The two’s rise to fame can be paralleled in the past few years, and it’s not really surprising. The two both believe that gluten is off limits – that it is responsible for a host of common medical problems, from autism to migraines. But i’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Continuing on.

the paleo diet

Inconsistencies and the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution

Paleo teaches its followers that the human diet basically took a turn for the worst as soon as the agricultural revolution got under way around 10,000 years ago. Farming, and the processes associated with it, have been the corner stone of the human diet ever since their inception. And, according to Paleo, this is the reason why we’re so obese today. Remember, if the cavemen didn’t eat it – then you shouldn’t either.

Most notably, this means grains (of all kinds), beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and dairy are out of the question completely for the strict Paleo Dieter. Now, if you’re thinking that it doesn’t make much sense that tubers like sweet potatoes and yams have been crossed off the list – you’re right. These were around long before the agricultural revolution, right? Even by a Paleo guru’s own logic, these tubers should be green-listed. After all, yams are an African crop that have been eaten by humans since the beginning of time. Why shouldn’t you be allowed to eat them?

Potatoes have been around for 35,000 years, but apparently this is too short a time span for the hardcore Paleo(er). This is interesting however, since Turkey is acceptable to eat on the diet, although it was only introduced to Europe in the 16th century.

Perhaps the most shocking inconsistency that I came across was on the topic of grains. Yep, a publication by the Oxford University Press called People, Plants, and Genes: The Story of Crops and Humanity tells us there is indeed evidence that shows the nasty gluten-containing food staple known only as ‘cereal grain’ has been processed and consumed by humans as early as 200,000 years ago. A far-cry from the Paleo Diets claim of 10,000 years.

Really puts a dent in the whole ‘haven’t had enough time to get used to grains’ theory.

Some of the inconsistencies are obviously more important than others, but they all tend to discredit the logic of the Paleo phenomenon. Needless to say, I wanted to find out more about Paleo after learning the above. Here’s what I found.


Holes and Science: Dissecting the Paleo Diet

Fundamental Hole #1: The Caveman Diet

One of the first holes that comes to mind when I think of the Paleo Diet is the fact that it relies so heavily on things that are unproven, and to-date, unprovable. The Paleo Diet is based on what some experts believe the cavemen ate. They look at historical studies and modern-day hunter-gatherer societies and combine this with a whole lot of theory. But, do we really know what caveman ate? Is there any definitive evidence that details a caveman’s universal dietary menu? The answer, unfortunately, is no. We use conjecture, educated guesses, and speculation, with only hints of science. But science is not made of “probablys” or “quite possiblys”. Rather, it’s proven, reliable, documented, and peer-reviewed. If only Bob the cavemen left his darn cookbook for us.

Fundamental Hole #2: Location

Not only is much of what “cavemen” ate is still open to interpretation, but it’s highly location dependent. Just because the cavemen of modern Europe (that the Paleo Diet models itself after) are thought to have consumed a diet relatively high in meat (due to a lack of plant availability), doesn’t mean that early man in other areas of the world didn’t have a vastly different looking diet.

Katharine Milton talks about the !Kung people in an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. She says that the !Kung, an African people who live in an almost ideal hunter-gatherer environment, live on a diet that consists of approximately 67% plant food, and only 33% animal foods; significantly different than the ideal proportions laid out by the Paleo Diet.

Likewise, hunter-gatherers in other parts of the world like southeast Asia, for example, no doubt had a very different looking diet again. Due to things like geography, weather, and local vegetation and animal life, what was available to the cavemen was likely highly location-dependent.

Fundamental Hole #3: Alternatives

Another glaringly obvious issue with the Paleo Diet is the fact that we can’t accurately replicate it. We are at the mercy of modern food production and distribution systems that, quite simply, are a far cry from what the caveman would have had access to. These things we find in our supermarkets have been refined over the centuries. The meat we’re buying is not fresh grass-fed mammoths, they’re cultivated hybrids nurtured on artificial fertilizers (yes, even the grass-fed variety).

I had a conversation with a Paleo friend of mine the other day at a breakfast restaurant. It went something like this.

Me: Why are you eating so much bacon with your eggs?

Friend: It was as close as I could get to Paleo on the menu. Sausage is too processed.

Me: Fair enough. But surely, eating that much bacon can’t be healthy?

Friend: Well, it’s the healthiest Paleo meat that I saw on the menu.

…. I had a bowl of oatmeal with berries sitting in front of me, and forgive me Paleo Gods for saying so, but I think that is a whole lot healthier than mowing down a heap of fried bacon. But, that’s just the predicament that Paleo forces people to confront these days. You’re not going to find freshly killed wild boar to eat uncooked. So, you do the next best, modern-day alternative. In this case, it’s a pile of bacon. Paleo? Yes. Healthy? No.

Fundamental Hole #4: The Cavemen Suffered Much Less Diseases

A frequent claim made by the Paleo Dieter is that cavemen were largely free of the symptoms of chronic diseases, included, but not limited to high blood preasure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance. These are also known as the diseases of affluence, or civilization. While this statistic is largely believed to be true, it can be attributed to the fact that, due to a variety of reasons, cavemen simply did not live long enough to develop such diseases which are associated with old age. This fact is substantiated by numerous sources, including researchers from the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago.

One of them goes on to say, “ there is neither convincing evidence nor scientific logic to support the claim that adherence to a Palaeolithic diet provides a longevity benefit.”

Paleo followers are quick to combat this research, saying that modern hunter-gatherer communities share their paleolithic counterparts luck in the sense they seem to be immune or have very little diseases of affluence, despite a significant number of elderly citizens above the age of 60.

Once again, this is countered by science. Geoffrey Cannon, Science and Health Policy Advisor to the World Cancer Research Fund says that humans are designed to work very hard physically to produce food for subsistent living, to survive periods of food shortage, and that we’re not adapt to a diet rich in energy-dense foods (like sweets, sugary drinks, bagels, donuts, ice cream, butter, steak, sausage, and fried meats). Likewise, William R. Leonard, professor of anthropology at Northwestern, states that the problems facing modern post-agricultural revolution societies stem not from deviations from a specific ancestral or ‘Paleo’ diet, but rather from an imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned, a state of energy excess uncharacteristic of ancestral lifestyles. In other words, we as a society simply eat too much these days.

Fundamental Hole #5: Who Says We Haven’t Evolved?

Scientists from the Department of Food Science from the University of Hanover question the notion that 10,000 years is not enough time to ensure an adequate adaptation of the human genome to be able to properly handle the products of agriculture, assuming that there was indeed enough selection pressure to warrant evolutionary change.

The scientists turn to examples of increased lactose tolerance in Europe and increases in the number of copies of the gene for Salivary Amylase (which digests starch) which have both occurred in the past few thousands years, to explain that the body, when necessary, can indeed adapt in a relatively short period of time.

Fundamental Hole #6: Who Says Our Digestive Physiology Changes Significantly At All?

Following on from the last fundamental hole, Katharine Milton, a professor of Physical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley disputes the fact that there was enough selection pressure to warrant an evolutionary change to our digestive system at all.

Relying on many of her publications, Milton states that “there is little evidience to suggest that human nutritional requirements or human digestive physiology were significantly affected by such diets at any point in human evolution.”

In other words, she believes that to date, at no point has any particular food group caused any significant change (like that proposed by the Paleo Diet) to the human digestive system. Food for thought.

Fundamental Hole #7: The Animal to Plant Ratio

This is more a personal gripe than anything else, but according to strict Paleo Dieters, the ideal Paleo Diet has approximately 67% of its total calories come from animal sources, and only 33% (again, approximately) from plant sources. In other words, they believe that that most cavemen ate that way.

Now I don’t know about you, but I highly doubt that all, or even most cavemen were able to supply roughly two-thirds of their diet with animal sources. Once again, I think this is highly presumptuous and location dependent. Sure, those societies which lived in significantly colder environments often had only animals to choose from, since plant life didn’t survive well. But in lower latitudes, I think that a great deal more calories would come from plant scavenging, both due to availability and ease of retrieval.

There is some research to support my thoughts. A publication in Evolutionary Anthropology titled Hunter-Gatherers and Human Evolution discusses how, excluding cold-climate foragers, the typical Paleolithic diet was probably closer to 50% from plant calories, 25% from hunting, and 25% from fishing. Those numbers sway even more in favor of plant calories when you go further back into the Stone Age, since fishing didn’t become common place until 35-40,000 years ago.

Observations of modern hunter-gatherer tribes in New Guinea show that large animals are only killed a few times in a hunters entire career. And unlike all but the very late Stone Age humans (either late Palaeolithic or early Mesolithic), modern-day tribes have access to bows and arrows and other more advanced stone tools. An average days hunting of modern hunter-gatherer tribes in this region consists of one or two baby birds (not even half an ounce each), a few frogs, and a lot of mushrooms. Those that made these observations hypothesize that it’s unlikely that Stone Age hunters in this same area had greater success with hunting and thus most likely had a diet which loosely mirrored those of their ancestors.

Fundamental Hole #8: Why Idolize the Caveman Diet, Anyways?

What’s the big obsession with the diet of a caveman? I mean why should we, with all our food availability and variety, choose to idealize the diets of those who were forced to eat whatever their local environment provided for them? They weren’t eating to ‘be healthy’. They were eating to survive, eating anything they could get their hands on. Why is this healthier than the healthiest options of a modern diet? Why is this better than an egg on 100% wheat toast with a glass of milk for breakfast?

The truth is, the idea that the ‘Paleo Diet’ is inherently healthier – simply has no scientific basis whatsoever. I’m sorry if I just broke your heart.

The Dynamic Duo: The Paleo Diet and the Occupy Gluten Movement

As I touched on at the beginning of this article, I suspect that much of the popularity of the Paleo-style diet has a lot to do with the recent rise in popularity of the gluten-free movement. Both nutritional groups share the gluten-free philosophy – and swear by it.

People on the Paleo Diet will tell you that they feel better than ever. That they have more energy, have better sleeps, less headaches, and a whole lot more. And I don’t think they’re lying, either. I truly believe that they think the Paleo Diet is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Behind the scenes, I think what’s actually happened here is that the Paleo Diet has won over many food-sensitive individuals who didn’t realize that they are in fact food sensitive. What do I mean by food sensitive? I mean anyone with a food allergy or intolerance. Whether it be peanuts, lactose intolerance, or gluten intolerance, the Paleo Diet covers by far the most common food allergies and sensitivities. Recall that peanuts, dairy, and grains are all on the Paleo no-fly list.

It’s very common for people to be mildly sensitive to a certain food group and have it undiagnosed. Some people can live their entire lives and not realize that the gluten in grains actually caused them to feel unwell, that it gave them a mild case of IBS, or headache. When an individual like this switches to the Paleo Diet, they suddenly feel phenomenal, and proceed to sing the good diets praises.

In these cases, I’m all for the Paleo, or gluten-free approach. However, for normal people who lack food insensitivities, I can’t with good conscious tell them that the Paleo Diet is healthier than a balanced and nutritious modern-day diet. It’s interesting to note that Paleo was first created by a gastroenterologist – someone who had to deal with IBS and a host of other conditions that are all the result of food sensitivities. Paleo would be a safe diet and ‘cure-all’ for many gastroenterologist patients.

Pro’s of the Paleo Diet

That said, while I believe the fundamental concepts and basis of the Paleo Diet are flawed, I don’t completely condemn it. In fact, I strongly agree with many of the principles laid out in the diet, and think that many people would benefit from them. Paleo advocates eliminating any excess sugar in your diet, places a good deal of importance on protein consumption, bars the use of alcohol, and tells you to avoid refined sugars and vegetable oils. I whole-heartedly support these aspects of the program.

I completely agree with the Paleo Diet when it comes to eating more natural foods. In general, I think the less processed the food is, the better it is for you. However, I don’t turn a blind eye to things like cottage cheese and whole grains which have been proven to be healthy for the average person simply because cavemen didn’t have access to them. I believe it is silly to shun certain food groups when there is no tangible evidence whatsoever to support it.

I also give credit to the Paleo Diet when it comes to calorie density. Many of the foods acceptable under the Paleo philosophy, particularly vegetables, are very filling and yet contain relatively few calories, giving them a low energy density. In modern energy-dense diets, it’s very easy to overeat and gain weight. For this, I praise the Paleo Diet. I think everyone should replace heavily refined sugars and oils with more vegetables and other healthy options. This will cause people to feel more full on less food, and make it easier to shed those unwanted pounds. This is also the main reason why many people who go on the Paleo Diet lose weight at first – but it’s important to note that people can do this as part of a normal, balanced, non-Paleo diet as well.

Successful weight loss comes down to, at the simplest level, a calorie deficit. If you’re eating less than your body needs to maintain its weight in a day, you will lose weight. The Paleo Diet makes it easier to eat less than your body needs during a day than a typical Western modern-day diet due to it’s low energy density, but it’s certainly not the only way to achieve this.

If you take anything at all away from this article, it’s that you should try to eat more naturally. Avoid the cookies, the bacon, the cake, and the soda. Instead, eat more vegetables, choose whole wheat over highly processed white grains, and beware everything you read on the internet. When in doubt – do your own research.

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  • I think you missed the point, my friend. This diet is so much more than that. Where did you get your research from? Online sources or books? I read your entire article, and honestly, I can understand the arguments made from someone who doesn’t really know what the Paleo diet is all about. There is far too much to explain to post here, but know this: it is far less about eating like the cavemen and much more about healing the gut. Also, there is no cookie-cutter paleo diet. It’s different for everyone, depending on what triggers each individuals’ issues. For example, I consider my diet to be Paleo, yet I consume grass-fed, cultured dairy. Why? Because my body is totally fine with it. Every once in awhile I even consume a little bit of sprouted grains… *gasp!* What one eats on a Paleo diet is extemely personal to their needs. There are guidelines and recipes, but those are for folks who choose to not consume any of the type of foods that might be causing them issues. Foods excluded are usually foods that cause issues for a lot of people when they don’t even realize it. When these foods are left out for awhile, it’s easier to narrow down what’s causing problems. Then it’s about healing & possibly even re-introducing some of those foods. Obviously, anything ridiculously processed or full of junk is not going to be friendly to the belly… ever.

    • Josh Vales

      “There is far too much to explain to post here, but know this: it is far less about eating like the cavemen and much more about healing the gut.” – Healing the gut from what, exactly?

      So, by your own self admission, you don’t really follow a “paleo” diet like any laid out by one of the main Paleo authors. You sort of wing it, and even eat grains at times. What, then, is it that you’re trying to defend?

      As far as excluding problem foods – that’s all the Paleo Diet does. It eliminates nearly any potential food that has the potential to cause an issue in a small part of the population, and then claims responsibility, almost giving the Paleo Diet some sort of healing status amongst those less informed. In reality, most of these people just have some sort of gluten sensitivity that has gone undiagnosed. I talk about it in detail here:

      The bottom line is, there is nothing inherently healthier about the Paleo Diet for the vast majority of the population.

    • I couldnt have put it better myself!

  • TOM


    • Josh Vales

      Where do you get this statistic? Please back up your claim with some evidence. I think you’ll find that there isn’t any.

    • In Denmark where there are almost no GMO grains gluten intollerence is occuring in some individuals, and has always been.

  • Great read. I think it’s important for people to read articles like this – even if they end up disagreeing and staying paleo. I did paleo for a few months and was one of those people that felt great. It just became more and more unrealistic in my lifestyle and I found when I started adding whole grain back in – I felt fine. I’m fairly sure it was a slight gluten sensitivity I was dealing with. I’ve been slowly adding foods back in to see what triggers that feeling I dislike. Everyone at my gym swears by Paleo so I’ve stopped talking about food there – but you’re right when you say a lot of people make these claims about paleo but really don’t have the science to back it up. On a side note, I know a lot of people on paleo that swear by having a cheat day or cheat meal…not sure how that makes any sense at all – but to each their own. 🙂

    • Josh Vales

      Thanks for the comment Britt! I can certainly relate when it comes to keeping your mouth shut about food in the gym. Sometimes it’s better to make it out alive than to try and point out some of the shortcomings of their diet philosophy 🙂

      I’m glad you’re feeling better now!

  • No Josh, where is YOUR evidence?! If you were writing an article properly and utilising sources then you would have a bibliography at the end with studies and facts to back up your ‘arguement’. Ta Ta for now!

    • Josh Vales

      The sources are there where they’re needed. I’m not writing these articles in Chicago style, partly because they’re a bore to read and partly because they’re a pain, so any references are simply linked as I speak about them. If you’re not happy with this, you’re welcome to double check my claims. Also, see this article: – it’s full of references to scientific papers and studies that completely shatter the foundations of the Paleo Diet – you just need to click on them to see them. How’s that for backing up an argument?

      Oh, and it’s spelled “argument”. Reference included. Ta ta!

    • Josh Vales

      P.S. You still didn’t provide any evidence.

  • I agree with you that there are some “holes” in the paleo diet, but I’ve been on it for a couple of months now and I feel the best I’ve felt in years. Mind you, prior to going on the diet, I was already eating very healthy and was in excellent shape (i do triathlons) so to feel better is saying something.

    So in any event, until I read something that says it somehow will negatively affect my health, if I feel better and look better, why not continue?

    • Josh Vales

      You have a great point. This article is mainly about proving why it’s not necessary to be on a Paleo diet to be healthy. The Paleo diet is, for the most part, probably not a particularly bad thing for your health, though experts do argue that it would be better to include some whole grains in your diet as discussed here:

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Pingback: Is it really healthy? Bread « The Hungry Runner()

  • Dan

    Nice article, Josh. I was looking for couter-arguments for the paleo-solution after watching a ‘documentary’ called ‘The Perfect Human Diet’. It focused on many of the points that you dismissed such as the ban on refined grains and dairy. My initial thoughts on the documentaty initally where, ‘Oh shoot, I’m going to die prematurely as I eat muslei and berries with milk for breakfast and not a t-bone steak’, however, after reflection I realised that they (the authors) failed to include any balance to their view; that is, they didn’t recognise other approaches to eating (and living) healthily. I’m a fitness instructor and at the moment coach a bunch of 1st grade school rugby union sides; having the ability to explain to them that the paleo diet that their older, Arnold wannabe, mates are on to ‘get massive’ has as many flaws as it does merits.
    Thanks for doing some research into what is sure to be a contentious issue for years to come.

    • Josh Vales

      Muesli and berries is a great breakfast! Don’t stop eating it because of some silly documentary that has no evidence to back up their claim. I’m glad the article could help!


  • Lori Maravilla

    He is not looking at the agriculture aspect of the grain diet. It is killing off so much of the lands vegetation and the biggest reason for global warming there is. If animals are eating a variety of foods in their diet we will benefit when eating them. Agriculture is killing this life source. If you want to understand this read “The Vegatarian Myth” And Lierre Keith does the research to back it up. Grains cover how much of this land? Does anyone know that question? I do because I became a farmer. Did you know that tilling the ground is not natural and to do it you have to kill all the other life to put those grains in the ground? Get the truth, grains are killers in more way then one. And I do agree people eat to much they need to do fasting. Also there is evidence of native diets from living people not dead. It was from Dr. Weston A. Price he studied indigenous people back in the 30’s, and shows pictures of people in tribes moving to a grain diet and what they look like after the change. Not one group but several people across the continents. When we leave the land alone and have limited or no row crops (one crop only) what grows? a cover of many things, right now the land is split open sometimes twice a year with tilling. exposing the dirt. The cover is killed leaving the earth with no skin to protect it self. The dirt needs that cover crop, it feeds ever living creature on it including you. Namaste Lori Maravilla-Hot Box Yoga.

    • Josh Vales

      I think I better stay out of the farming discussion, I’m really not qualified in the area. Though, I’m not sure what that really has to do with the Paleo Diet.

      • Paleo Diet is a native diet indigenous not only from the stone age caveman.
        Read this story and you will understand that the Paleo diet is basically the work of Dr. Weston A. Prices studies on the subject. Namaste

        • Josh Vales

          I am very familiar with the work of Dr. Price. In my opinion, he is a classic example of the “myth of the healthy savage”. The belief is that more technologically primitive peoples lead healthier lives than those who live in modern societies. Also, Price was a dentist, and most of his observations pertain to tooth decay, and not other aspects of human health.

  • I’ve been eating paleo for almost 2 years, (not strictly, but at least 80%) and I can give you a list of problems that just went away, and quickly.
    shoulder pain, from an injury
    colds that last longer than a couple days
    hunger in the morning/between meals
    racing heart after meals
    about 5 more lbs.

    These things all return when I am eating more than a serving of grains–wheat, especially. Rice is not as bad, but it does cause shoulder pain the next day.
    Also, and this part I love, I am so much stronger and keep my muscle tone longer between workouts.
    So it’s not a fad for me– it makes me feel great. I agree with Robert K.

    • Josh Vales

      Well if it works for you and you believe in it, that’s great. As I said, it may benefit some people with food sensitivities.

      • Josh Vales you seem like a nice person, and I think that most people are like you out there trying to understand what is going on with the diet and how so many people are sick. That is why I ask you to read “The Vegatarian Myth” by Lierre Keith she explains more then Dr. Weston A. Price on how the grain diet effects our brain and over all health. She did all the research, and if you are going to have a clear picture it would do you some good to understand this topic fully. And no you are wrong this issue is not only people who are food sensitive that is only the beginning stages of illness. Namaste Lori Maravilla

        • Josh Vales

          I wouldn’t say that whole grains or any other foods that are banned by Paleo are the beginning stage of illness, that’s far too simplistic and to claim to make those connections without proper scientific evidence to back it up is nothing more than opinion.


      • I have been reading the palo diet book. I find his book very well done and explanatory on the what and the why things happen in the body. I personaly am a nationally ranked bodybuilder who has tried ever diet out there since i started back when i was 16 i am now 38 i have found cab cycling is the way to go i eat tons of fat 170 grams good amount of protein 230 grams about 1 gram per lb of body weight and 30 carbs 5 days per week then carb load 2 days. This diet is more for getting super lean but the concept is the same. On this diet i and those i train get down to 3% bf and lose very little muscle. After doing this diet multipal time i found bf levels went down and stayed down even when off diet im off diet and never get above 9% bf. i also after the first 2 weeks on diet felt like energy levels jump up and over all well being goes up as well. So what im saying is that these diets work for burning fat as well as better health as my morher has is a type 2 diabetic and with in one week on diet here blood levels went back to normal she lost 10lb in 2 weeks. So lower carbs i agree is better for people. You want hard eveidence on a this diet well then you would need to do a double blind study on this diet. Once you do this you can get proof one way or the other. As of now look at those who show improvemnet on these diets then look around at how fat everyone is in the usa then look at what they eat. For anyone who knows how the body works these types of diets are the most logical and sound diets one could follow. To keeping body fat down lower body fat 90% of the time equals less health problems. This is a fact and i dont think anyone would dispute this and these diets give the greatest amount of fat loss with low muscle loss. I lnow this because when i contest i mesure bf weekly. This shows me fat to muscle lose week by week. Me and those i train have less muscle lose on this type of diet then on low fat high carb aproach.

        • Josh Vales

          Hey Eric,

          In this article I never stated that the Paleo diet won’t work for weight loss, or that you can’t get super lean on it. You most certainly, absolutely can. I was more responding to the claims of superiority in terms of health that Paleo gurus try to claim. No doubt, when getting super lean for competition, a diet high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates combined with carbohydrate cycling will give you the best results. Thanks for dropping by,


  • “If you take anything at all away from this article, it’s that you should try to eat more naturally.” Totally agreed. What is more natural: eating real unprocessed foods or grains (yes even whole grains go through a process, often lengthy).

    “beware everything you read on the internet.” Couldn’t agree more – everything you sight in ‘your research’ are artilces published by others, the overwhelming majority being just that – articles – not published scientific research. Have you done any research yourself in this field? What are your qualifications? What journals have you been published in?

    “When in doubt – do your own research.” Again couldn’t agree more. And I’m sorry Josh but yours is not research. Yours is data mining the internet to find information that supports your viewpoint. Many paleo enthusiasts are just as guilty of purpoting their viewpoints with the same weak methods. Your defiant and hostile tone further discredits you, as it does with ‘all-or-nothing’ paleo adherents.

    • Josh Vales

      I’ll respond to your points one by one, in bold.

      “If you take anything at all away from this article, it’s that you should try to eat more naturally.” Totally agreed. What is more natural: eating real unprocessed foods or grains (yes even whole grains go through a process, often lengthy).

      What is it that makes grains not real, exactly?

      “beware everything you read on the internet.” Couldn’t agree more – everything you sight in ‘your research’ are artilces published by others, the overwhelming majority being just that – articles – not published scientific research. Have you done any research yourself in this field? What are your qualifications? What journals have you been published in?

      Very few people have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to do the required research on this matter on their own. So, we make do with the next best thing. That is, to trust those who do. Any articles that I’ve linked to are papers that have been written based on scientific publications with proper references. Attacking me because I’m a writer instead of a researcher in a lab doesn’t make what I say any less valid.

      “When in doubt – do your own research.” Again couldn’t agree more. And I’m sorry Josh but yours is not research. Yours is data mining the internet to find information that supports your viewpoint. Many paleo enthusiasts are just as guilty of purpoting their viewpoints with the same weak methods. Your defiant and hostile tone further discredits you, as it does with ‘all-or-nothing’ paleo adherents.

      “The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.” – The definition of research from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I used the internet, as well as University library databases to collect and study material in order to establish facts and reach a conclusion. Call it what you wish. I didn’t write this in a hostile tone, though perhaps at times I mirrored the fervour of the Paleo authors I was addressing.

  • Dan


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  • Hi,
    I want to start by saying I am not paleo or vegan or anything really, I try to eat a healthy diet that contains as few processed products as possible. I’m stating this I don’t want to be labelled as a cult follower by your other readers. I read and try to filter through the garbage to find good information about food. That’s how I ended up here. For the most part I think this is a well written article. Thank you.
    I do have to comment on your “Fundamental Hole #3”. I don’t believe that any of the paleo literature I have read has stated that bacon is paleo in any way, shape or form. It is heavily salted (a paleo no-no) and very fatty (another no-no). I don’t believe you should have based this part of your article on an obviously uniformed friend. I agree with him that sausages are too processed to be healthy for any “diet” (I hate that word!) but when I was attempting a paleo diet bacon was not an option. For a restaurant breakfast I would be more likely to order a couple of poached eggs, some fresh fruit and (if possible) some steamed veggies.
    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

    • Josh Vales

      Hey Amara,

      Yes, I agree that Bacon should not be a regular part of your diet – but MANY Paleo followers do indeed include it in their diets. If the bacon is untreated, there is no reason why a Paleo follower wouldn’t eat it.


    • Hi Amara,
      I’ve been trying to eat as healthily as possible, not following any particular “diet”, simply just avoiding as much processed food as possible, don’t eat junk food or takeaways (apart from special occassions when I want to treat myself), but I have also been trying to restrict my “diet” as little as possible. Yes, and I have chocolate or ice-cream sometimes.. why not? I belive there are very few people in this world who can honestly say that they stick to their “diet” (especially if it’s too restrictive) 24/7.
      I was curious and attended a Paleo seminar and was told that BACON is actually OK, even smoked one! That FAT is good – especially SATURATED. Salt ?? Yes, good, but must be a quality one like Himalayan etc.
      And I could go on like that. So it looks that everybody tweaks the Paleo concept the way it suits them.

      I myself lost over 2stone and just by changing my diet to a healthier one + counting calories to make sure I was eating just about the right amount of food for my activity levels. It worked for me. It worked for other people I recommended it to. It may not work for everyone.
      But if somebody tries to convince me (Paleo seminar) that Paleo isn’t about calories and you can eat as many as you like, I am sorry, but I can never believe that as it simply goes against basic science (energy in > either burnt or stored).

      Thank you for a great article.
      I believe that everybody needs to find their own way to achieve their own goals, whatever they are, and it should be something they can maintain long-term.

  • Hey Josh,
    I personally loved your article. To me, it just put a different spin on the whole Paleo thing. I think people seem to be very attached to their “diets”. I am not sure why. Maybe it makes them feel less alone in choosing to eat healthy. Maybe it has to do with fitting in and belonging and all that jazz. For me, I don’t follow a “diet”. I go with what feels good to me. If my body aches when I eat grains or meat or dairy, I simply stop eating it. I don’t need some book or diet guru to tell me what to eat!

    It makes perfect sense that people would feel better on the Paleo diet as – as you said – grains and dairy are often the biggest contributors to pain and discomfort in the body. I reckon they often have Candida overgrowths or other fungal overgrowths happening because of the excess grains they have been eating and then, when they cut them out, they feel better. Most people know the effects of eating dairy, gluten and grains and that they cause inflammatory reactions in our guts.

    As to the whole meat thing…. well that is hugely debatable – LOL!
    I did read however that in most cultures that ate meat and probably in the case of our “caveman”, they didn’t just eat the muscle of the meat but the whole thing! They ate ALL of the animal – including the organ meats. The interesting thing about this is that these contain far more folic acid and other nutrients which lower the effects of the high Omega 6 content within the muscle meat of the animal. It is this excess Omega 6 which is attached to all the heart problems and too high cholesterol etc.
    Now, as Paleo dieters, should it then make sense that as “caveman” eaters, they should follow this within their meat eating regiment – eating the whole animal and not just the muscle?
    Hmmmmm….. a different spin?

    I am just not a fan of labelling a particular diet. Just eat what feels right to you 🙂 Stop following a group of people and being a “sheep”. Develop your own instincts with foods and what feels good to you!

    • Josh Vales

      Hey Melissa,

      Thanks for the dropping by and commenting. People definitely seem to let themselves be almost defined by their diets. They become so invested in them that when someone brings up a potential flaw in it, it’s like we’re pointing our a flaw in them. And I also agree that people need to tailor their diets to what works best for them! We’re all different.


  • Hi! I read your article and had to respond. It was quite interesting, although I felt that many of your points were pretty nit-picky. It seems like it is probably obvious to everyone that we really don’t know what the “cavemen” ate back in the day. I’ve been loosely following the Paleo diet for the past few months and yes, I would also be one of those that would say I feel a little better. Probably not significantly, but better…

    Basically, I don’t understand why you are attacking a diet that makes more sense than any other diet that I have ever heard of. The whole point is to help people make more healthy decisions about what they eat. Yes it is true that a pile of bacon probably isn’t that healthy. Again, people should use a little common sense. Maybe we should wait to really make a judgement on the Paleo diet until some studies have been done on the effects of eating a strict paleo diet. I would be interested in some real data on it, rather than just various opinions and online emotional arguments. The information that I tend to be interested in are the things that I hear and read about how much better people feel when they are eating paleo, as opposed to vegan or otherwise.

    Also, I would like to point out that the research of Dr. Price was definitely just on the condition of people’s teeth. However, it is also generally believed that the health of the teeth stems from overall health of an individual, so his research probably is pretty relevant.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the paleo diet. I thought they were interesting, although somewhat irrelevant in some cases. I guess it is discussions like these that can help us to move towards an even healthier way of eating.

    • Josh Vales

      You’re probably right that a couple of the points are a little nit-picky! First of all, I agree that the Paleo Diet makes sense – in that it sounds good when you hear about it. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the end of the story. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to back up its claim that it is a superior form of eating. It is, when you get right down to it, just another low-carb diet that is in an extremely pretty package.

      Is the Paleo Diet more healthy than what many people are eating in America today? Without a doubt. Is it better than a healthy, varied diet that it moderately balanced? Unless you are gluten sensitive, the answer is no. Thanks for the comment!

  • There is a book out there from before the current paleo craze, “The Paleolithic Prescription,” published in 1988 by several authors including Melvin Konner (an M.D. and anthropologist) and Marjorie Shostak (anthropologist). The two of them lived with and studied the !Kung people of the Kalahari. Their book discusses the hunter-gatherer pattern not just for diet but for childrearing, exercise, etc. Their advice for incorporating a ‘paleo’ take on nutrition for current-day humans? 60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat, “Carbohydrate should be mainly complex, with little simple sugar and abundant dietary fiber. Protein should come primarily from animal sources which in our society means poultry, seafood, and low-fat dairy products: vegetarian protein-balancing is an acceptable alternative.” Their suggested diet also includes whole grains and legumes. So even those who think our current diet should follow a hunter-gatherer model have come to very different conclusions about what that means.

    • Josh Vales

      It seems like much of the early beginnings of this Paleo-style thinking began in the 80’s. Thanks for this comment, I think it brings some much needed information to the table!


  • Thanks for writing this! I search for anti-paleoist theories because I’m hopelessly devoted to the paleo theory and I think it’s always a good idea to try not to be a fat head about things you believe in. And if that sounds like I’m talking about religion then I definitely AM! I think diet beliefs are definitely a religion to people these days since we just don’t really KNOW what’s going on in there where it’s too dark to read. If you dig long enough, you can find claims to support any position. And scientific studies are just as unreliable — they’re pretty much 50/50. I’ve read books on going vegan that are written by Bill Nye just the same as I’ve read just as credible books on how good animal fat (bacon 😉 is for you. And so, I guess just like religion you have to ‘find what’s best for you’ and be nice on the playground (although, after everything I “know” about healthy choices, I want to beat my head against the wall when I see people choose pasta alfredo over a salad with bacon fat in the dressing because the pasta has fewer calories). And by, “find what’s best for you” I mean research all sides and experiment with what works with your body. And since I have, I must say, Josh ….I’m still on Grok The Caveman’s side. From point 1: “Uhh, grains are bad, mmkay?” Even if we don’t know for sure what they ate, we know a lot about what they didn’t eat, based on the tools they didn’t have. Most sciency-people sources say Grok only ate wild grass grains if he was lucky. He wasn’t farming or milling anything, and our grains today aren’t similar to what he would have eaten anyway since we’ve killed all of our top soil Point 2: Good point! I think it should be taken into consideration more than it is. Alaskan Groks would have eaten tons more protein from fish than Costa Rican Grok who probably ate pineapple (Personally I hate them all for never figuring out how to make mac n’ cheese). Which again all leads back to, say it with me now, “find what’s best for you!” It’s starting to sound like a children’s song. Point 3: Them Bacon-Hatin paragraphs is fightin’ words among the paleo community. They write songs about how they’re allowed to eat bacon. So back up your contempt for it. I’ve read that it’s 40% saturated, 45% monounsaturated, and 12% polyunsaturated. Poly is the only one that’s bad new bears and ONLY in high amounts. Those good fats make your brain happy. If your friend’s breakfast bacon was all he had that day then he’s most likely better off than you and your empty, lectinny, fructosy oats. (and you were probably hungry again an hour later. You WERE WEREN’T YOU!?) Point 4: So does this admit that the paleo diet is probably great for athletes and just not them, ‘only-exercise-is -the-walk-from-the-bed-to-the-car-to-the-desk-to-the-car-to-the-couch-to-the-fridge-to-the-bed’ people? And a lot of people ask me how the paleo theory makes sense when the cavemen had such short life-expectancies, and I usually ask them how well they think they could outrun a saber-tooth tiger in their 40’s. (JK, it’s the antibiotics). But I’ve also read from the edumacated that the Groks that DID make it to old age (and hunter-gatherers now) are very healthy. Point 5 and Point 6 seem to contradict each other. 5 says we HAVE evolved to eat twinkies and 6 says the belly hasn’t evolved and never ever ever has? I think of it like this: a goat can eat a boot and he won’t die. Grok did not have a boot for Billy the Goat to eat, but billy has evolved to be able to survive a day of eating a lot of random crap. And so has Grok. Billy can probably eat a boot AND a tire once a week and be a happy goat (hence the cheat meal). But if you feed either of them boots every day, they’re gonna be really sad. You can’t feed a horse meat, and you can’t feed a cat hay. It just makes sense to me that there’s a blueprint for this. And once again it’s not universal, but it definitely doesn’t extend to boots. And if we’re not designed to eat a boot, and we haven’t evolved, how are we designed to eat anything we found in the last eye-blink of our history? Just my musings. Point 7 goes back to your location argument. Seems likely that it varied. And recently I’ve read that the smart people are re-evaluating their math and some think the protein intake was only 50%, which sucks for people who hate broccoli *pout*. Point 8: All I have to say to this is “Buh?” The answer to your question is what you just spent 8 points talking about. Well, 7. You spent the eighth one confusing me. Now I, personally, just think Grok is dead sexy in that loin cloth and want to look exactly like him but MOST paleo dieters (again, what we…have been discussing) do it based on the theory that what we ate for basically our entire existence as a species (minus the donut-era drop in the bucket), is what our bodies are suited to eat. There’s a great paleo site that has an essay that brings up almost every single one of your points and talks about the sillies of trying to perfectly mimic Grok. And it has a very happy ending that sings our song! Here’s a quote from it:

    “In that sense, it makes more sense to think of a Paleo diet more like a general idea of the dietary milieu available to humans before grain agriculture and chronic disease epidemics.”

    Here’s the link:

    Here are the results of my paleo experimentation: I didn’t feel bad before I started. You know that breakfast you had that day, Josh? I used to eat that blueberry oatmeal every morning because I thought it was the healthy thing to do. And apart from having anxiety my whole life, I was totally fine. So I don’t think I had an intolerance to anything that the paleo diet solved. But after I started I lost everything about me that looked smooshy. I’m 26 and have always worked out but could never get rid of baby fat in my face and on my belly. My body fat percentage is 17% which I could never get close to before. I’m kind of like Rambo now. I was also deathly allergic to some non-food things like cats. A few weeks after the paleo diet I visited a friend who has THREE of man’s weird, reclusive roommate that poops in a box, and I was floored. Nothing. I was only planning on hanging out in the doorway for about 7 seconds (usually all I get) until it hit me, and it never came! I ended up moving in with her and I now LIVE with those weirdos sleeping on my face. I was there a month before the diet and it was just as bad as it had been my whole life. ..Yeah, I don’t even know? Another good part: hunger is completely different. On the paleo diet you never feel hunger pangs. Each meal leaves me full and satisfied forever. On oatmeal, I used to go to work and be ravenous by 10AM. I also never feel tired during the day. I can’t remember the last time I took or wanted a nap. And after a few weeks, you don’t crave sugar any more, which was a BIG deal for me. I also just feel much more positive and motivated every day, which in turn helps the anxiety, which was my goal in the first place. And so, I recommend folks give it a try. Now I’m off to grab a guitar and build a campfire so I can write my “find what works best for you” song.


    • Josh Vales

      I enjoyed reading your reply! While I disagree with your Grok-loving philosophy, I do agree that everyone needs to find something that works for them. I’m glad it’s working for you Abby.


  • Just wondering how many planets you are going to need to supply 7 billion people with the amount of meat and animal products expected to be consumed in this Paleo diet?
    OK maybe just this one if you load up all your animals into tiny stalls, sheds and cages. Really? Cavemen sure weren’t doing that…

    And the argument that agriculture is bad for the environment!?… No doubt monoculture farming is terrible, not to mention the use of fertilisers etc, but farming animals IS agriculture, and what do you expect to feed those animals that you need to eat??
    They eat grass and grains that come from agriculture! And a lot of it!!!!
    BTW look up stats on cows and methane production….great for the environment. Not.

    By the way, you CAN have agriculture that does work and isn’t as bad for the environment and doesn’t rely on chemical fertilizers and monoculture but if you are farming in the US for example, it’s a dying art. Look up things like permaculture.

    Gonna mention (without providing examples as I am lazy and you can look it up yourself) it has been proven without a doubt, in hundreds, if not thousands of scientific studies, that eating meat and animal products, particularly at the rate we Westerners do, can significantly contribute to the causing of various cancers, heart disease and diabetes. Look in your local newpaper and see all the death notices….how many people in their 40’s and 50′ are dying often of treatable, lifestyle and diet related illnesses. It’s insane.

    • Josh Vales

      I love that you pointed out that farming animals is indeed agriculture as well! Many Paleo peeps don’t seem to recognize this. Thanks for the comment Michaela,


  • Lots of things to think about here. Does anyone ever follow a diet completely? Seriously, is there anyone out there that doesn’t cheat at least a little? I’m sure the Paleo lifestyle could help people, like my friend who has celiac disease. She tries to eat gluten free, knowing how she will feel when she doesn’t, but still she cheats. To me, each person needs to see what works for them, and fits their lifestyle.
    Is this wrong?

    • Josh Vales

      No, it’s not wrong! To be honest, I don’t even like the idea of diets. Diets, by definition, imply that they are temporary in nature. What people need to do is adopt a permanent change in lifestyle and eating habits. Something that they can maintain day in and day out. It’s easiest to do that when you include a little bit of everything in your diet – everything in moderation. But, you are correct, everybody is different and needs to find out what works for them.


  • Can you walk into a field and pick a ‘wholegrain’ and eat it?


    Then it’s a processed food.

    We are predators, not birds!!

    • Josh Vales

      We’ve always been scavengers, too. And yes, you can harvest grains from a field!


    • By that logic, butchering is also a process.

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  • Great post, it just confirms my own thoughts, diet is totally an individual thing and I do find some people preach and get very superior when on diets like these so much so I just wrote a blog post on how healthy-eating authors cater for those on a higher to middle income and ignore the rest of the population. Good work! And thanks for sharing.

  • Interesting article, even for a paleo eater like myself. You did focus on strict or original paleo thoughts though. At least in the communities I’m in it’s changed a lot from original thinking anyway. Just thought I’d clear up what the common thing to do is in case anyone reading the article doesn’t know.

    Although strict/old fashioned paleo does seem less healthy (not unhealthy, just less), it’s not the modern paleo that most people use today. The very basic idea is avoid processed foods, processed sugars, alcohol, dairy and grain. The very people try a “whole 30” where they only have meat, fish, veg, fruit, and nuts for a month, then go on a 85% paleo to 15% “cheat” meal plan. Yes, there is quite a bit of meat and saturated fat such as eggs but you do tend to crave fruits/veggies more and have a lot of salads and stuff too. The key to paleo eating, in my opinion, is to look at the more basic rules (good/bad foods) and pay attention to how you feel on the diet. If you think you need more veg, up it, same goes for. Also, I think I saw this brought up somewhere but yams and sweet potatoes are generally accepted as good. May not have been in the 80s/90s versions but everything I’ve read said they’re okay.

    Just wanted to point out some of the differences of modern vs traditional paleo since you focused on the more traditional sense. If there’s anyone interested in paleo I’d definitely recommend looking into the more modern diet, or a quazi-paleo/primal type. The older stuff definitely has faults. Also wanted to tell people that you can eat unhealthily or have a high-calorie diet while on paleo. There was a pro-paleo article that I read all about how some people automatically thing that junk food like paleo pancakes are healthy, I wish I could find it. I do think that some people need to use common sense about it, a pile of bacon, although paleo, is a lot less healthy than say,, some fruit salad with an egg on the side or something, also paleo.

    Interesting article and arguments on your part. I didn’t really agree with all of it (which is fine) and I think you should look at the more common adaptations people are taking as paleo, though.

    • Josh Vales

      Excellent comment! You’re absolutely right that I did focus on the original, and strictest form of Paleo. Also, I’m glad you brought up the point that just because something is “Paleo” – doesn’t mean that it is inherently healthy. A pancake is still a pancake. Thanks for dropping by,


  • I honestly enjoyed reading this article, and the only point that made me think “hmm” was this one

    “Fundamental Hole #3: Alternatives”

    It’s really not hard to find alternative, I am Paleo although i chose the way of eating based off an emphasis on whole foods not the belief in cavemen eating only certain things. I eat more veggies than other Paleo folk but can you blame me? Spinach is yummy!

    I eat wild boar, pheasant, grass feed beef that i obtain from a friend with a farm. Line caught fish, eggs from friends and hopefully eels when i finally catch one! I eat heritage vegetables that are grown free from pesticides from my local farmers market. Or heritage varieties i grow myself in my garden. When i go out for breakfast I menu read and go to the best possible place for me, often thats a raw/organic/vegan cafe or i head out for sashimi or simply ask for the cafe to put my poached eggs on slow cooked field mushrooms instead of bread with a side of avocado and spinach. Yum. Safe in the knowledge that the food they are using is locally sourced, organic and quite often grown on site.

    Its not hard, tricky or problematic for me at any point and I’m yet to choose a plate full of bacon over anything. I find it strange that your friend would and i’m only making comment because so many people say similar things. About how Paleo seems to be a hassle, hard to do, and is unrealistic. And for me.. it just hasn’t been.

    Maybe thats down to my location however, I live in New Zealand and none of this is hard to obtain. It takes planning however but I feel like eating shouldn’t be a throw away easy thing to do. I feel like planning, researching and taking time out to make a meal is what all eating should be like.

    • Josh Vales

      Thanks for the comment Anya! You’re right, with planning, research, and taking some time out of your day to think about it, it is doable to achieve some alternatives that aren’t too far off. Stay well,


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  • Josh, the comments are hardest part about reading your article. Maybe I am nitpicking, but grammar and proper spelling are key to making any argument. Both sides of the “paleo” discussion have horrible grammar. The spelling and typos shattered any interest I had in a specific discussion (note; your grammar and spelling have been splendid).

    As for your article, I appreciate the candor and simplicity of your thoughts on the subject. I was looking at the “paleo” diet to change my lifestyle and to try to lead a healthier life. After weighing your words and those of other web sites, I have decided to try the diet to see if it will work for me. I will then try to add in the missing food groups until I find what is causing my discomforts and weight gain.

    Thank you for the informative words and warnings, I will take them into consideration during my trials of the “paleo” diet world.

    • Josh Vales

      I agree with you Phil in that poor grammar and spelling can be a major put-off! I try my best when I write to maintain this basic requirement. I hope your trial with the Paleo diet works out for you and you can find what it is that has been causing your troubling symptoms. Let me know how it goes for you, and thanks for dropping by!


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  • Dan

    I actually thoroughly enjoyed this article and the people responding to it on either side. I have a degree in Exercise Science and I’m also a Registered Nurse and played a college sport and have been a gym rat for as long as I can remember. My wife is a cross-fitter, however we both are skeptical of strict paleo. I think either way you look at it, Life is terminal and it’s not so much the poison as it is the dosage…and that goes for anything and everything. Too much water or oxygen can be bad for certain people with certain diagnosis’. For the people on either side of the coin who are throwing “research” out there, I would suggest to be careful. Most research out there is all correlation based and very little has tangible results if not done properly. You can prove almost anything you desire from correlation based research. Kind of like “most people who wear bras are more likely to end up with breast cancer”…well no kidding–women more than likely wear bras. Catch my drift. As far as for me, I am not a paleo diet follower. Each person’s goals are different, and plus the body gets rid of excess protein it doesn’t need anyway (that’s why you can always tell where the meatheads are in the gym because their gas smells like hot trash). Thanks for the great read regardless and keep em coming for sure.

  • Joe

    Hmmm I have to say that paleo people are a little nutty, so let me get this straight paleo people cant eat corn, bean and potatoes among other thing, but what I find highly ignorant just because the cavemen didn’t eat it we cant eat it, that makes no sense are they saying cavemen were only isolated to one part of the world? What really gets to me besides there ignorance it for example corn and beans have been eaten for thousand of ears, parts of the American content and to be more accurate (unlike paleo) Mexico, central America and south America there diet have been always full of corn and beans besides other food items but the staple still remains as corn and beans. Now for the narrow paleo mind eating corn will result in sugar to be carried too rapidly into the bloodstream “” hmm if this is true can you explain to me how after eating tortillas almost everyday for almost all my life by blood pressure is super low can it be that unlike the ignorant crowd of paleos I’m not intolerant to the might spooky word GLUTTEN. And if you eat beans “They contain lectins, saponins or protease inhibitors that are bad news for our hormonal and immune system” again from the same source, hmm again if its true about the immune system can you explain to be how come I eat bean about 2 to 3 times a week I hardly ever get sick and I mean from anything cold, stomach problems, etc.

  • Nic

    I liked the article, it’s calmly written despite the teeth some of the paleo responders are baring at it. It freaks me out how eating patterns and diet can become this religious cult of sorts. The diet does have it’s points, the cutting sugar (particularly fructose) is wonderful, as is debunking the fat phobia myth. Additionally, eliminating the common source of food allergens is probably a boon to some; yet I really don’t want to have to worry THAT much about a delicious slice of garlic bread or one too many glasses of wine, there’s just a finite amount of energy to devote to life in general as it is.

    • Josh Vales

      Well said Nic.

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  • weight loss tips

    I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  • The thing is about most popular diets, I feel like the people who are on them feel that their diet is the only way to truly be healthy, and that you should to.

    People are very individual, and diet is never one size fits all. This is a phrase I repeat over and over.

    The thing is, paleo dieters are really healthy, so are vegan dieters. I think both diets work because they cut out the junk like sugar and vegetable oil (well, a vegan diet can still be high in junk food, but most of the time, it’s not), and then both dieters will attribute their newfound health to the removal of meat/grain.

    I think the paleo and vegan diet are both healthy. I’m not pro-meat, but in my ideal diet, here are the “no” foods

    processed vegetable oils (such as canola, soy or corn etc.)
    hydrogenated oils
    refined grains
    fruit/vegetable juices
    excess sodium

    my diet would be centered around whole foods.

    • I forgot, artificial sweeteners are on the naughty list too.

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  • My husband got me into Paleo when I was facing lots of health issues at only 27. I was sick for most of my 20’s really. I did not buy into it right away, but my problems disappeared one after the other. First cervical cancer and HPV that had stuck around for 8 yrs. went away, then my Hashimoto’s bettered and finally went away, I also had a pituitary tumor which caused raised prolactin levels which is gone. I am not even going to start about the small aches and twinges that are also gone…well, I was never a fan of any diets. Prior to Paleo I ate a standard healthy diet with lots of organic and home grown foods. But this baffles me. How am I suddenly cured after 2 1/2 years on Paleo. I don’t want to call it a miracle diet, but it must be doing something right. You mentioned that many people are gluten sensitive but don’t know and then go Paleo. Well, I was tested thoroughly in all ways possible and am 100% not gluten or dairy intolerant. Yet cutting them out I feel better. Dairy causes problems with my period (hormones I assume) and cause my skin to get bunpy and grainy….and grains cause me to feel unwell overall. The body aches return first usually.
    Like others have mentioned there is not just one Paleo diet. I don’t think everyone does well with low carb/ high fat. I don’t, I gave it a try and lots of health issues actually returned. So cureently I am eating with 170g of carbs from fruits, roots, tubers. It seems that after a strict phase of eating Paleo it does not cause me health problems if I cheat on my diet once in a while. Something like Pizza or cake I will eat on special occasions, something like rice even every 2 weeks. I figured if these foods are somewhat toxic to us then a small dose and plenty of time o detox from one meal will make a difference. Btw. I do believe in “Gluten sensitive people” and the like. But my belief is that some people are just not as well adapted to modern foods and others never develop problems eating grains.

    • Patricia J Masterson

      i had basically the same experience in my 20s (adrenal failure, panhypopituitarism, ovarian cysts, bladder & kidney issues, chronic fatigue, anorexia (not nervosa), and more…) and recovered by going strictly vegan with low/no refined grains or sugars, in the mid-90s. later i added seafood and stuck with that for a couple of years. i am now able to eat dairy and occasional meat products, but stick to mostly vegetarian…but the 3 years of a vegan diet made me healthy for the first time in my life. we are good anecdote showing how everyone’s bodies are different.

  • Oh and I wanted to add that the Paleo diet is almost unheard of in my country and I am considered the weirdo for eating this way 😉

  • I would like to add my bit and just say that I agree with Abby, it’s what they didn’t eat, thats important and we know one thing for sure the principal food was animal and vegetable. Being modern humans has no relevance to how our digestive systems work. Going back to basics is actually thinking sensibly not the other way around. 🙂

  • Gary McLeod

    Paleo is not a religion, it is a template, an elimination diet. Test every blood marker you can think of for health and wellness as a baseline. Then try eliminating grain, dairy and legumes. Get 8+ hours of sleep in a pitch black room every night and get a good combo of strengh and metabolic conditioning at varying volumes and intensities. Retest and post your results. Add back grain, retest. Add dairy retest, legumes, retest. You may be lucky enough to not be sensitive to any of that. All that being said when you get someone like Dr. Terry Wahls who was bed ridden with multiple sclerosis then applied paleo principals with a few tweeks and she put her MS into remission. Read the “Wahls Protocol”. Look to the pilot study she just finished with huge success. Its hard to argue with all of that.
    I also read your grain blog. If you want some pretty definitive science based food advise check out “The Calorie Myth” by Jonathan Bailor. Harvard Medical Cannot promote grain consumption and this “anti grain” book.
    At best grain grain is a high calorie low nutrient food item. At worst the conversion of starch to glucose in the liver causes your liver to flood your body with VLDL cholesterol, exorphins to promote addiction to said starch and gluten to destroy intestinal lining. What a bad idea. Test it out, post your blood markers prove us paleo hacks wrong.

  • Suzanne

    Sorry, as soon as you equated paleo with low carb you lost me. Although many paleo proponents recommend eating low carb (especially if you have metabolic syndrome) many if not most have come to realize that that version of paleo was not only *not* optimally nutritious, it isn’t particularly grounded in evolutionary/anthropological science.

    And the rest of the points in your article have been addressed, by various people. Here’s one short article by Chris Kresser, one of the smartest brains in the paleo movement:

    Here’s a much longer piece, a podcast with Kresser and biochemist Mat Lalonde, going into different misconceptions by paleos about the paleo diet:

    The points you raise have already been thoroughly debated in the paleo community, which tends to be one of the most honest, scrupulous and scientifically grounded bunch of people I’ve ever read. Sure there are some people who are like “Cavement were healthy and they didn’t eat grains so neither will I” but most of them are not like that; they do their best to understand what is an incredibly complex subject, with great variation between and among populations. By and large it was following the evidence which brought them to paleo, and they’re willing to change their minds if the evidence points that way… and many already have on various issues. Like the low carb thing.

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  • The ENTIRE PREMISE of the Paleo Diet is incorrect. Only people without any understanding a of evolution promote it.

  • Hannah Wilker

    The article was very well written. But I have done quite a lot of research on the Paleo diet and I would like to point out a couple of flaws.
    1) You refer to the Paleo community in a way that suggests that it has one universal opinion. There are many different philosophies on the Paleo diet, not just the uber-strict traditional style.
    2) As mentioned before, there are many opinions on “Paleo foods” but many that are encouraged by the newer community include yams and sweet potatoes. Also animal to plant ratios very by person.
    3) Many people on Paleo who are not lactose-intolerant and/or gluten-intolerant end up adding some dairy and grains back into their diet and become more “primal” (like me).
    I got into being Paleo to be more fit for soccer. Before switching I ended up with headaches, random bouts of nausea, and sudden cases of muscle weakness.
    With Paleo I’ve found that I get less headaches and no nausea, and that I don’t have muscle weakness or as many cramps. It even makes my periods more bearable.
    I am a very active individual, between soccer, running, and weightlifting I get over 10 hours of exercise weekly. Paleo allows me to support that lifestyle while being stronger, faster, more flexible, and even less-sick than before.
    But overall I do think you made some excellent points, and that everyone who is or is thinking about going Paleo should read the article. (And I apologize for grammar and spelling errors).