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Paleo Diet Review - Does This Eating Plan Work?

  • 120 User Comments
  • Rating: 3.3. From 39 votes.
By Summer Banks Mar 16, 2017
120comments

Don’t laugh, but more than 50% of diet plans simply don’t work. Let’s see if the Paleo Diet is one of the good ones. We checked into all the rules, allowed/disallowed foods, side effects and research. We also read every comment we could find to see if dieters are happy with the changes. Then, we narrowed it all down to give you the bottom line.

Paleo Diet Readers: Click here to find out why we're giving away samples of our product, Leptigen.

What is the Paleo Diet?

Firstly, Paleo Diet is an eating plan that focuses on how the first men and women would have eaten. There is a heavy focus on natural and organic choices and processed foods are cut out altogether. You can find hundreds of books explaining the relevancy and details of how to make the change. There’s no one creator, but Loren Cordain, PhD claims to be the founder of the movement.

From a weight-loss perspective, there are mixed feelings about the Paleo Diet. Ancient art pieces depict women with large bellies, which negates the idea that eating this way promotes a “healthy” body. There are also some skeptics who believe severe restriction is difficult to maintain long-term, so support varies, but read on…

Food Restrictions – “Should the Dieter Stick With It?”

The first thing a dieter may notice about Paleo Diet is the list of restricted, or discouraged, foods. “Anything that is processed, in any way, should be cut from the diet,” explains our Research Editor. “Unfortunately, this is where things can get confusing because one author allows something like diet soda and another doesn’t. This is because there’s no definitive structure.”

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, food restriction can have some negative effects on the body. In particular, results, “show significantly lower BMC (bone mineral content) values in women with high CER (cognitive eating restraint) scores.”

Health.gov explains how people should eat. “Healthful diets contain the amounts of essential nutrients and energy needed to prevent nutritional deficiencies and excesses. Healthful diets also provide the right balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein to reduce risks for chronic diseases, and they are obtained from a variety of foods that are available, affordable, and enjoyable.”

Prices – “Is Paleo Diet Affordable?”

With words like “organic” and “free-range” there is the question of affordability with the Paleo Diet. You’re supposed to eat foods as they would be found in nature and those choices are much more expensive than options traditionally chosen as part of a Western diet.

“We’ve read advice from numerous people who follow the Paleo Diet,” offers our Research Editor. “Some suggest starting out with a 50% change to keep costs down. Others claim all you have to do is give up cable or other luxuries to switch 100%.”

After years of research, it’s the smallest of things, like increased food prices, that wreck your chances of long-term success. If the Paleo Diet is just too expensive, the dieter may not be able to stick with it for long.

The Science – “Does Research Say Paleo is Better?”

The Journal of Physiological Anthropology explains that Paleo is about more than just cutting out processed foods. The idea is that living in nature, surrounded by plants and animals supports overall health. “…if green space is associated with mental well-being…it would certainly suggest that it might also be associated with reduced mortality rates.” Though eating natural can improve nutritional intake, there are people who eat common foods and maintain a healthy weight.

The Bottom Line – Does the Paleo Diet Work?

Do we think you should go all-organic and natural? We are all for eating healthy foods rich in all the vitamins and nutrients the body needs. We’re not convinced, however, that the Paleo Diet is more effective than simple changes that cut out anything that’s been heavily processed. We feel it may be an easier, more sustainable, choice to just make healthier decisions.

It’s always a great idea to base your diet on healthy, nutritional foods. We also think you can add a natural supplement with ingredients shown to help spark metabolism so you burn more calories.

Among the best supplements we’ve seen this year is one called Leptigen. It contains four ingredients and all have been researched with results showing they can help improve fat loss and metabolism. The company supports eating right and exercising to lose weight, but organic is not a necessity.

Plus, you can take advantage of a Special Trial Offer from the makers of Leptigen because they are so confident in the supplement.

Previous Paleo Diet Review (Updated September 20, 2013):

What You Should Know

The Paleo Diet is a book that was written by Dr. Loren Cordain. Dr. Cordain works in the Colorado State University's Department of Health and Exercise Science. In this book, Cordain sites works and studies that were conducted by himself and his colleagues as proof why the human diet needs to revert to our prehistoric ancestors, and presents what went wrong with the human diet and how to correct it.

List of Ingredients

There are no ingredients.

Product Features

The concept and premise behind the Paleo Diet is very simple. Cordain maintains that the diets enjoyed by our hunter-gatherer ancestors and those current hunter-gather cultures are much more conducive to the genetic makeup of our bodies. Cordain says that by reducing the number of complex carbs and high glycemic index foods with lean meats, sea food, and whole fruits and vegetables, we can do a great deal in solving the health problems such as heart disease that we are plagued with today. For the first two weeks of this diet, exercise is not recommended. Overall, it seems that exercise does not play a major role in this diet, though it is not discouraged or overly encouraged. There are recommendations for those who participate in a regular exercise regimen. The biggest critics of this diet point to the fact that the lifespan of the hunter-gatherer is not typically all that long, and that they led overly active lifestyles. Cordain responds saying that while the activity level may be true, as much as 10 to 20% of the hunter-gatherers lived to be 60 or older, did not have traditional medicine, and were still free from many of the chronic conditions the western world is faced with today.

Advantages

  • Encourages healthy eating.
  • Very professional website that includes information on the book, the research that went into the book, and user testimonials.

Disadvantages

  • Does not address the genetic or hormonal issues related to weight gain.
  • May not fully take into account the lifestyle of our prehistoric ancestors.
  • May cause constipation. (See reader comments.)

Conclusion

This book is definitely backed by scientific research and user testimonials. The problem lies with a person's ability to stay dedicated to a new eating habit because of cravings and the ease of obtaining the foods they are not supposed to have. Weight loss is a problem for many people, and the fact that there are so many diet scams out there only makes the problem worse as people try to lose weight and end up gaining it back plus some. The fact is, a healthy eating plan with a good amount of exercise must be followed no matter what. The addition of a supplement that contains proven ingredients to both suppress the appetite and burn fat will help a person along the way.
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Dietspotlight Author
About the Author:

Summer Banks, a content strategist at Leptigen, has researched over 5000 products in the past 10 years. She has years of nursing training, experience as a manager responsible for 15 supplement brands, and completed coursework on Food and Nutrition from Stanford University. full bio.

Rating: 3.3. From 39 votes.
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User Comments

120 Comments on "Paleo Diet Review"

 
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Geraldo Caroline

It’s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you just shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

Tina

I’m a mother of four beautiful children! Two of them have recently been having health issues, my 17 year old has kidney problems and my 15 year old son was recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure! Would this be a good life change for all of us?

Your Name

Maybe you need to be more creative preparing foods in the list. Im just saying. My whole family started the plan a week ago and we love it. We find the cost about the same or less given we don’t buy junk foods or beverages other than water. So far we each have lost between 4-5 lbs. We eat colorful, tasty and satisfying. Still have my cup of coffe and not adding cream or sugar helps drink less of it this coming days I will reduce it to 1/2 cup.

Patricia Carrasco

I started the paleo diet 2 days ago, i am a diabetic and trying to get off of insulin. the elimination of salt in the diet alone dropped me almost 7 lbs in these two days. I drink lots of water which helped but i feel great and yes i am craving bread, which is my weakness. But god willing i will be able to stick to it and keep me away from the bad carbs. I love that you are able to eat vegtables and fruit unlike the no carbs diets i have tried. Too much meat and no fiber is not for me. Wish me luck.

Sabine

LMAO!!!! I am trying to determine if this would be a good diet for me to try. Richard, you absolutely made my day….. You reminded me of when I went totally vegetarian once. No eggs, no dairy, no meats of any kind. Did that for 9 months. While I felt great, cooking took forever and I dumped a number of meals, such as carrot soup LOLOL

bjo

Buyer beware. This whole diet is a con and not based on any good evidence. As soon as your credit card information hits their site your order is placed – and you have no option to confirm or submit. They try to up-sell you and even if you return the item you probably will not get your money back. Not a good company.

Your Name

What site are you talking about? You can eat Paleo without ever going online and buying anything… It’s mainly about eating lots of vegetables (& some fruit) and adequate, clean protein, cooked in healthy fat, as well as moving (training appropriately for the individual) each day, getting some sun and sleeping enough. I’ve done it for about 7 years now, and love it. I own a gym and have seen fantastic transformations year after year, and often see people not have to buy medicines that they were on for years.

Oracle

Huh? The paleo diet is not a product, it is essentially a way of life. Food is the only thing you really need to purchase.

lgrullon

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and adore finding out additional on this topic. If feasible, as you acquire expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with much more details? It is extremely useful for me.

Lisa Such

Its way cheaper then meds!!! Ive been paleo for almost 2 years now. Ive lost 85lbs and kept it off. My Dr. is incredibly impressed with my blood results in all areas. I never eat food I don’t love. I started a support group that helps people to learn more about the amazing foods we eat. We share recipes and food sites that are fantastic for educating yourself. The best thing you can do is take the time to learn more because I wouldnt eat what you described iether! You’re right… Yuk! Learn more my friend and if you need help, stop by Whole Foodies on facebook for support.

Kim

My husband and I started this diet one week ago. It is perfect for us because he is and hunter and fisherman and I am a gardener and have chickens. My neighbor gave me the book to read and it all made perfect since. The cost is minimal for us and actually will save us money because we won’t be spending money on processed foods. I love the lists for shopping and the seasonal eating list. The food is beautiful to eat and it has restored my love of cooking. I plan ahead and fix frittatas, venison meatloaves and wonderful salads for his take to work lunches. The website is wonderful and there are many out there with great recipes. I too have not been as regular as usual but realize too that the food I’m eating is being utilized more efficiently. I do plan to add more summer squash and collards to my vegetable intake though to be sure. I have nonstop energy, my self diagnosed ADD is deminishing and I just am really excited about this diet. I know you aren’t suppose to weigh the first 30 but I have and showed a 5 pound loss. My mom even asked me if I had lost weight and she didn’t know I was eating differently, sooooo….I say this diet is a no brainer for me!

Liz

Your ADD is diminishing because meat contains a lot of amino acids which heal your intestines. You have leaky gut syndrome if you have a learning disability or a mental illness. If you look up the GAP DIET online, you will find it is almost exactly the same as the paleo diet and stresses a lot of fermented foods to increase gut flora. Carbohydrates in the form of grains destroys gut health. The more you stay away from sugar and caffeine and carbs, the more your intestines absorb nutrients from your food and you are no longer nutrient deficient. I cured my schizophrenia using diet and supplements alone. There is no such thing as learning disabilities or mental problems. All health is in the gut.

Your Name

So how would you explain a bipolar person whose symptoms have not even diminished, let alone completely abated while on this “diet”? Careful with those unproven declarations. You could kill someone.

Casi

So I started this diet about 6 days ago and I am in fairly good shape just wanted to drop those last ten pounds. But my stomach is just rolling every morning and I am pooping a lot. It’s quite painful. How much longer should this last?

Candy

Your body is basically ridding itself of the toxins that it has in it. I started this diet about 3 weeks ago, and it stopped after the first week and a half. Now I am completely regular (poop wise) lol loving this diet

Paul

Hmmm, I’m sceptical, wary of all prescriptive diets and simplifications of nutrition. It’s a complex area full of contention and different things work for different people depending on a vast array of factors.

That said, there are some basic things that work: getting educated so that you understand the basics of nutrition then trying out different balances of good quality carbs, proteins and fats in your diet. Those proportions will vary depending on your individual physiology and lifestyle. Also, pretty much all sources agree that fruit and veg are good news.

As a vegetarian of some 24 years I’m particularly sceptical about the avoidance of beans and grains in the paleo diet. Sure high GI foods aren’t good but there’s substantial evidence that animal protein (at least from farmed meat rather than hunted game) is problematic for health.

Of course if you don’t do a reasonable level of exercise then it doesn’t matter how good your diet is, you will still have problems.

I’m a 41 year old man and have dropped weight steadily over a few months, reducing bf% whilst increasing my overall fitness and strength/musculature. I’ve also got my blood pressure and cholesterol to healthy levels.

This wasn’t complicated or very hard, it just takes a bit of discipline to follow a balanced workout schedule and eat sensibly. Overall it’s quite enjoyable and you can get hooked on the exercise.

There are plenty of healthy and fit vegetarians around and there are even impressive vegan body-builders, strength athletes and MMA fighters. One thing they have in common with non-veggie/vegan athletes is a thorough understanding of the importance of nutrition.

Information on all this stuff is out there and freely available, there’s no need to pay for a book or a course or a dvd.

Best wishes to all for achieving their goals and living healthier, happier and longer lives. smile

paleo meg

I have been on Paleo for over a month and am still struggling with cravings that I seem to be fulfilling with almond butter, lots of it! (and various nuts and seeds)It is important to note that I am an athlete and work out about 2 hours a day, 6 days a week doing both cardio and strength training. Although I have not gained weigh on the scale since starting Paleo, I have gained some fat in my belly. It seems I am carrying some weigh there that I did not have before. I am assuming that my crazy over indulgence of almond butter and nuts is the problem??? Since I seem to be over doing it on these things and cant control myself, especially after a workout, I guess I am wondering if I need to put dairy and or wheat back into my diet. I eat correct Paleo meals but am still left unsatisfied. Im not trying to lose weight but I want to avoid this shift in where I am carrying weight! I weigh 115. I truly believe in Paleo but maybe it is not for me??? HELP!!!!

Anonymous

Paleo Meg, sorry to say, but common sense tells me that you will gain weight by eating lots of butter. Whether it’s almost butter or any kind of butter…..as an athlete, I’m surprised you are this confused.

Anonymous

Try looking at the Paleo for athletes book.

Anonymous

Have you looked into paleo blocks? It explains the right amount of fats, carbs and proteins. Because of the increase in nuts in your diet, you may be eating too many “fats” compared to carbs and proteins. Good luck!

An educated person

if this is such a good diet then why are people experiencing problems like constipation? People shouldn’t even need to diet, we have four food groups for a reason, eat all of them in moderation.Any diet period is nonsense, work out, eat healthy and enjoy life instead of obsessing over what some less-evolved homo sapiens ate, there’s a reason that they were living in cave and we, being more nourished, evolved and educated, are living in houses.

Anonymous

If “any diet period is nonsense”, why are you reading this? “Diet” means what you eat, good, bad or indifferent; it doesn’t always mean eating to lose weight. Your diet should be what makes your body work and feel well. It’s great that people pay attention and make educated changes – that’s evolution!

really?

An educated person??

Really, why don’t you educate yourself on the governments financial ties to the food industry? Get a clue

really?

we are now more nourished with nutrient depleted foods than cave men were with unaltered fresh, whole foods? you are right though… we do have the four food groups for a reason. it’s because they are they are big industries that have ties with the government, NOT because they are actually healthy for us. the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have financial ties to the food industry. get a clue.

Cassi

I need to lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks. This diet was recommended to me. Im two days in and i just LOVE it. I see this being a life style change for sure. Anyone have suggestions as to optimize my first 4 weeks for optimal weight loss?? THANKS!

Cass

I need to loose 10 lbs in 4 weeks. This diet was reccommended to me. Im two days in and i just LOVE it. I see this being a life style change for sure. Anyone have suggestions as to optimize my first 4 weeks for optimal weight loss?? THANKS!

derren

for my part, been paleo for about 18 months. will never look back.

protein wise
you should be getting ample from your diet – lots of meat and fish. but protein powders are great for a rushed meal, or in a bottle when ou’re out and about.
egg protien avoids dairy and soy, but i use hemp seed protein for its extra nutritional benefits. not the most apetising as it doesn’t mix, and tastes like mulch, but i hide it in berry smoothies.

Since being paleo, i initially lost a bit of weight and energy, but then i added alot more fat into my diet – coconut oil, and animal fats and heaps of avocado, my weight leveled off, and my body fat stays at about 10% regardless of my activity level.

just remember to add the fats

Jerry

Ok just started the Paleo diet. So far so good. BUT what if I want to GAIN weight?
I am pretty lean as it is and I want to grow muscle. Should I incorporate potatoes etc? What are the GOOD fats?

Kat

Increase your good proteins, if you get tired also increase your good fats to assist the proteins. this is the formula for building more muscle.

Maggie

Are there any acceptable protein powders out there that would fit the parameters of the Paleo Diet?

Pat

If you think Paleo diet is expensime just wait for your doctor bill on your grain diet

Carla

I am currently starting on the paleo diet, I’ve been on a strict regimen for almost two weeks now. I’ve cut out dairy, sugar, legumes, and grains completely.

I’ve had periods during the day where I’m feeling really tired. The second week of the diet I have been really constipated, bloated, and gassy! I feel great after breakfast, but it goes downhill during the day. I feel heavy and weighted down from my meals at lunch and dinner. I also go through periods where I’m so hungry I can’t be satisfied, even after a full meal.

I believe I’ve been following the diet well. For breakfast I usually have a breakfast scramble with spinach, tomato, zucchini, or butternut squash, and some kind of meat like turkey bacon. For lunch I’ve been eating green salads with leafy greens and veggies with chicken or canned salmon. I have nuts, carrot sticks, blueberries, or coconut flour muffins for snacks. Dinner includes either chicken, turkey, or beef (grass fed) with veggies. And drinking water and herbal tea throughout the day.

Am I doing something wrong? Why do I feel this way?

Kat

Try eating upside down for a few days. Eat you dinner in the mornings and your breakfast in the evenings. See if this helps the heavy feelings.

Anonymous

Have you looked into zoning with the paleo diet? It works with what you’re eating but doesn’t allow your body to get to the sugar spike and subsequent crash. It focuses on eating smaller portions, more often throughout the day. I typically eat 5-6 times a day (every 3 hrs or so) and I get grumpy if I don’t get to follow that so when I do eat after an extended time, I feel like I gorge, which then leads to me feeling tired and groggy.

Carla

I think it takes a couple of weeks to ‘bed down’. I was the same, but into my 4th week and all is well. Breakfast for me is a two-course affair, melon with other fruits and/or raisins, then meat/fish with something, sometimes omelette, sometimes with veggies. You seem to be doing the right things, maybe eat more fruit with your meals, fill up everytime. Good luck !

Mira

I love this diet! Been on it for last 2 weeks and already lost 10 lbs! I’m not strict – because I’m afraid of having too little calcium in the diet I eat Greek-style yoghurt and occasionally some cottage cheese.
I have no problem with constipation – I think the answer too it is drinking a lot of water and eating nuts. Maybe dried plums(if they are allowed)? I exercise as well but not more than 10-15 minutes of cardio daily and try to walk more. I have much more energy and I have no problem with not eating sweets(I have a sweet tooth) and it used to be a problem on other diets.

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