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Paleo Diet Review - 6 Things You Need to Know

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.

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Paleo Diet Video Review

Overview

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

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

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.

Research

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.

What Users Are Saying

“Book has a lot of good on living a healthy lifestyle.”

“Junk – Couldn’t live on this diet.”

“Interesting book but hasn’t made a difference with my system.”

Bottom Line

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 program with clinical support is ideal to get you on track while teaching you long-term tools to lose weight and keep it off.

Among the best products we’ve seen this year is one called Noom. It with clinically-tested and proven methods of weight loss that this app works. Unique tools like an extensive food database that’s managed by nutritionists, expert health articles and the knowledge that the app was created by doctors are all welcome benefits.

Plus, you can take advantage of a 14-day trial from the makers of Noom because they are so confident in the program.

Learn More About Noom »
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Paleo Diet

Q:
What does the Paleo Diet consist of?
A:

The Paleo Diet consists of food that can be hunted, gathered, or fished. A few items that can be categorized with hunted foods would include meats. Gathered foods include berries, fruits, and things that come from the land. Fish, Salmon, Seaweed, and shrimp fit well into the category of foods that can be fished.

Q:
How do you lose weight on Paleo?
A:

To obtain your goal weight focus on lean meats. Chicken, vegetables, and eggs will also be the key to getting down to your goal and maintaining it. Try to stay away from nuts and fruit as well. Their fats are not easy to burn and can easily be over consumed.

Q:
How does the Paleo diet work?
A:

The Paleo diet excludes all processed foods. Processed foods are difficult for the body to break down and extract vital nutrients from, which causes it to sit in the body for long periods of time.

Q:
What is the main purpose of the Paleo diet?
A:

The Paleo diet contains natural foods that were consumed thousands of years ago. It limits food like dairy and grains because they emerged in society fairly recently, and do not have a good track record with the digestive system.

Q:
What is the Paleo diet plan?
A:

It is lean meats such as chicken, lamb, goat, etc. It also includes fish, shrimp, oysters, etc. The Paleo Diet plan is basically all foods that are not processed. Dairy is included in modern Paleo diet plans.

Q:
What is the Caveman diet?
A:

The Caveman diet is just another word for the Paleo diet. It comes from the notion that everything in the original Paleo diet is what a caveman would consume.

Q:
What is the Paleo diet all about?
A:

The Paleo diet is about eating as healthy as possible. It consists of natural things from the Earth that can be hunted, fished, and gathered.

Q:
Can you have cheese on the Paleo diet?
A:

Many people avoid processed foods all together while on the Paleo diet, but cheese is okay to enjoy because it is mostly saturated fat and will not effect lactose levels at all.

Q:
How do you start the Paleo diet?
A:

You can start the Paleo diet whenever you are ready! It ideally consists of low amounts of animal protein and carbohydrates, along with a bunch of good fats. Good fats include butter and oils (such as butter and coconut oil).

Q:
What are the benefits of the Paleo diet?
A:

Your body will have more protein from all the red meats on the Paleo diet. You will also have less bloating because the foods will not be processed at all. Nothing will contain the harmful chemicals found in additives and preservatives either.

Q:
Why is the Paleo diet good for you?
A:

The Paleo diet is good for you because it focuses on healthy fats, lean meats, and untouched fruits and vegetables.

Q:
Is Squash Paleo?
A:

Yes! It is a great choice to include in your Paleo diet because of the manganese and potassium in it.

Q:
Can you do the Paleo diet as a vegetarian?
A:

Yes! Excluding the meat portion of this diet, you can certainly still get all of your nutrients and have a successful diet.

Q:
What did the Paleolithic man eat?
A:

They consumed all foods straight from the Earth. They ate chicken, shrimp, berries, water, fish, nuts, and many other unprocessed foods.

Q:
Is corn on the Paleo diet?
A:

No, corn has little nutritional value.

Q:
What you can't eat on the Paleo diet?
A:

Anything processed, containing chemicals, or is not easily digested.

Q:
Are chickpeas Paleo?
A:

They are not, but they have good enzymes in them that are great for consumption.

Q:
Are beans Paleo?
A:

They are found in nature but they are not specifically recommended for the Paleo diet.

Q:
Who made the Paleo diet?
A:

In 1975, gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlinn wrote a book about the perfect diet for the digestive system, which is the Paleo diet.

Q:
Is Paleo the same as gluten free?
A:

No, not all gluten-free foods qualify for the Paleo diet.

Q:
Are bananas Paleo?
A:

No, they are also high in starch which assists in accumulating weight.

Q:
Is goat cheese on the Paleo diet?
A:

It has grains and legumes, which are not a part of the Paleo diet.

44 Paleo Diet Reviews

  • Love paleo diet and I am doing cross fit
    jeannie (Verified Purchase)

    Love the paleo diet and I am doing cross fit. I have been doing it for 2 weeks now and i lost 2 lbs. I use to be 211 lbs went on weight watchers which i think it is a great diet/lifestyle but having to count and feel hungry was an issue. I dont run as much as i use to. I lost 70 lbs on weight watchers and i have gained about 15 lbs back. now i have started the paleo and i never have a prob with using the bathroom. I only eat about 2 meats a day and the rest is berrys and veggies. about a handfull of nuts.
    I think the only thing i miss is vinagar on my salad and cucumbers. I love the apple cider vinagar. but oh well no more salt.

    Jen

    Reply
  • How to get the diet plan?
    Carron

    How do I get the diet plan to get started? At the book store?

    Reply
    • lulu

      there’s lots of info online, and you can eat whatever you want except for anything with wheat, soy, or any type of beans/grains. Dairy is controversial but lots of paleo lifestyle followers include it. You don’t really need any special books or recipes.

      Reply
  • Seeking solution for constipation.
    sible (Verified Purchase)

    Started the diet, and I think its a good way of eating healthy, however I cannot go to the bathroom, what is the solution for this part?

    Reply
    • lolo

      you need to eat more good fat. try some coconut oil take it 2-3 times a day. i promise you will end up going if you’re consistent. also it helps to include omega-3 too.

      Reply
    • hemikat

      First off I believe its the meat making you constipated. Working as a surgical nurse for an intestinal surgeon who works entirely with colon and intestine issues and seeing the result of meat eating individuals and the putrid blockages due to eating meat may change your mind. I believe in this diet excluding the meat. Just be a vegan to be extremely healthy,drinking plenty of water, eating fresh fruits, veggies and nuts and you will not ever be constipated.

      Reply
    • Sean

      Psyllium Husk…Mix with water. It’s like a chimney sweep for the intestines.

      Reply
      • ThatsY

        Leafy greens, everyday will keep constipation away…..

        Reply
    • Kristen

      Be sure to drink LOTS of water throughout your day and walk more too.

      Reply
  • Loved the product
    Rudy (Verified Purchase)

    Unfortunately, you can not feed 6,5 billion people on Paleo. And you talk about clean fresh meat as if it is at every corner. Just the opposite, 99% of the meat is unhealthy, full of chemicals and from GMO grains and soya fed animals. Paleo was necessary in Paleo times. Now it is not even possible. And it is not universally accepted – acidity, too much protein-toxicity, stressed excretion, shorter life span and so on. Fruits, vegs, seeds and nuts are OK but even the fish is partly farmed. Organic is not sustainable due to high cost (and not popular at all for that reason) and a lot of poor people, and the sheer size of the population. Even the wild fish is getting contaminated (the only viable meat source around here). Sad story.

    Reply
    • lrc

      You’re correct – we are unable to produce enough real food to provide the global population with adequate nutrition, thus we rely on ‘hunger abatement’ – feeding people a large volume of low quality, low nutrient food (mostly grain – rice, wheat and corn). Look at health in America, and you can see how that’s working out for us.
      However most of the people on this forum are rich by global standards, and living in the western world where grass fed meat can be ordered online, and organic produce is now sold at every grocery store.
      The global situation is tragic, but as long as I can access real, nutritious food, that’s what I’m going to eat. (and for your wild fish, stick with little fish – like sardines, which don’t concentrate PCBs and mercury in their tissues the way tuna and salmon do).

      Reply
    • ohhh

      The thing with organic fruit and vegetables your can grow in your own yard. And If you dont have a yard you can grow on a patio or planters in the house. Easy access to your own veggies. Unfortunately meat is another story but you shouldn’t be eating a whole bunch anyways.

      Reply
    • Mike Logghe

      You might look at the Holistic Resource Management argument about value of grass fed animals along with the Permaculture system for our ecology. The current corporate management of our food system is based on cheap oil, without that we will have to return to the old systems. Permaculture and HRM suggest that we can feed our people both well and adequately. Of course, birth control makes sense more and more these days.

      Reply
  • food info
    Sally

    PS To “Barbara”, You can find Coconut Creamer for your coffee at Earth Fare or Whole Foods or other health food stores. It’s near the soy and nut milk in the refrigerated section. It has no dairy, no soy, and no rice/grain, so a little should be OK to use…

    Reply
    • Reanna

      Yes! I like a brand of coconut milk called SO Delicious. I get the plain, not flavored, because it’s less processed.

      Reply
    • D.K.

      Um, all the praise for coconut replacements for dairy products have: agave-processed, and or evaporated cane juice-SUGAR. have you seen these without added sweetners?

      Reply
  • It's always good to get some exercise
    Sally

    It is a very nutritionally sound food plan. Plenty of fresh protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seed. No mammal needs dairy after infancy much less from a different mammal than they are and no one needs grains much less refined grains. It’s always good to get some exercise, but that’s another subject all together. Many MDs give this two thumbs up! Try it before you knock it. It’s NOT Atkins!

    Reply
  • is is a bad diet and no one should be doing it
    Common Sense (Verified Purchase)

    This is a bad diet and no one should be doing it. It is resulting in several health problems for many individuals. The bottom line with losing weight and feeling good, is eating RIGHT and a good WORKOUT/CARDIO program. This is just another fad diet and the bottom line is that it is bad for you and your body.

    Reply
    • Alicia

      Why do you think it’s a bad diet? From the reviews I’ve read, most doctors consider this to be a healthy diet because of the high volume of fruits and veggies it requires, not just meat. And the meat it recommends is grass-fed, hormone free stuff. So there is eating right built into the diet itself…I mean, that’s what it’s based on. So if MDs are recommending it, which many are, then what health problems are you referring? Do you have a site where we can check out these problems? Are *you* unsatisfied? You list nothing that anyone can discuss with you about this diet, just a blanket statement. This diet seems to be very balanced, and I don’t know why you mention the workout/cardio aspect, because no one else mentioned it, and that it’s…kinda a given when we’re talking about weight loss. Incidentally, most people are on this diet as a life-style change, not as a “diet” in the modern way that we use it. Weight-loss is a benefit, but the overall goal is optimum health, and longevity. So I guess my real question is…where do you get off?

      Reply
    • Jon

      I’m curious as to why you feel this diet is bad as well. The concept of this diet is different from fad diets,such as the atkins and south beach diet, in that you don’t need need a nutritionist, or a doctor, or a book to figure it out. A person can logically trace a path back through time, and rightfully assume that the technological innovations that have allowed us to process foods the way we do now, did not exist. Follow this path far enough back and we arrive at a time period when the *only* thing to eat was vegetable matter and animal meats(no breads, pastas, grains, etc.). Which is exactly what the paleo diet promotes.

      The hallmark of evolution is selective pressure, weeding out what doesn’t work, and promoting that which works well. Anthropology has shown that humans (including their ancestors) have been around for about 3 million years or so. By virtue of your being here, it stands to reason that the diet of your ancestors (one of vegetation and meat) did in fact work. Any human ancestor who’s diet or lifestyle for that matter, did not work, is not here to tell their story today.

      Nutritional science has largely muddied the waters, and taken the simplicity out of what we should be eating. No other species needs a dr. or nutritionist to figure out what’s good to eat so why should humans?

      Reply
    • KIM

      I’t apparent by your non-response to the others, that you have no clue what you are talking about. Respond so people know why you are so against it. I just ordered the Paleo book so I can start it. doesn’t sound bad for anything.

      Reply
      • Viola

        This diet fails to account for all the genetic development of our species since the Paleo period, which are evident on why most of us dont have room for wisdom teeth, and why we have almost no hair in our bodies compare to the Paleos… we have changed over time! Genetically! You might all want to jump on the time machine and go back to eating RAW meat. But reality is you Cant turn back time

        Reply
        • James M

          Nobody is advocating eating raw meat. Though wisdom teeth and body hair are minimal changes and equate to just about absolute zero genetic or DNA change.

          Reply
        • Danielle

          The point is that our bodies cannot genetically “catch up” to all the advances made in our processed food today. The point is to go back to un-processed, low-sugar, healthy foods that don’t contain corn syrup or an excess amount of starches etc. The point is NOT that we are trying to eat EXACTLY like cave men. A lot of people have benefited and even corrected illnesses from this diet. The only downside to this diet is the debate about calcium deffeciency, and greens have plenty of that. So eat plenty of greens and you’ll be fine. I think the people who are completely against this diet haven’t actually done their research.

          Reply
        • Robert K.

          Viola,

          As a biologist with a good deal of genetics and evolution training, I would have to strongly disagree with you.

          The hairy and wisdom teeth-possessing individuals were not of the same species as us. We share a common ancestor, but have since diverged. Humans have not significantly changed genetically since the rise of Homo sapiens. It may be true that we have on average grown in stature, but that is most likely due to modern nutrition and medicine. In other words, environmental factors are affecting us, not genetic factors.

          Reply
    • Paco

      Common Sense,

      Isn’t it common sense that eating vegetables, lean meats, fruits and nuts with minimum to no sugar or refined and processed foods is healthy?

      Think about it.

      Reply
  • I have tried many diets, but cravings always seem to bring the weight back
    Carol (Verified Purchase)

    I have tried many diets, but cravings always seem to bring the weight back. I have lost 10 pounds on the Paleo Plan in a little over 2 weeks with no cravings. I do not even get hungry. Either water consumption or dairy elimination has eliminated constipation. This is a delicious and simple way to eat good food and feel good. I do keep a calorie diary and I do exercise.

    Reply
  • Can you eat black beans on this diet?
    Terry

    Can you eat black beans on this diet?

    Reply
    • Stephen

      The book says no beans of any kind, they are considered toxic at their dried state & all the toxins aren’t removed with cooking, so no beans.

      Reply
  • Is an initial weight gain usual or unusual?
    Barbara Fry (Verified Purchase)

    I am in my 3rd week of the Paleo diet. Constipation is a problem. How can this be corrected without laxitives? Also, I gained 2.5 pounds the first 2 weeks. I have adhered to the diet with the exception of about 1/4 c. of fat-free milk for morning coffee. Is an initial weight gain usual or unusual?

    Reply
    • Ron

      Barbara..ZERO dairy products and dairy based products..no exceptions..I have been on the diet 11 weeks,I have been fat since childhood,I cheated too at first,now I have lost a total of 31 pounds..DON’T CHEAT!

      Reply
    • Stephen

      Are you eating all of the coniferous veggies you can? cauliflower, broccli, brussell sprouts? This is a huge amount of natural fiber & constipation is not a problem for me. FYI!

      Reply
    • Janie

      I suspect your problem is more from doing fat-free milk than doing milk at all. Whole milk is a better option – there are people, including me, who do Paleo + dairy. Fat free and reduced fat milk still have lactose, which is a sugar – whole milk does as well, but it’s got fat to counteract. I know it sounds weird to want whole milk instead of fat free, but fat is integral to Paleo success.

      Reply
      • Maria

        Janie,,,, what about having soy milk?

        Reply
        • ERF

          I am pretty sure that any soy product would be extremely frowned upon in the paleo diet. First of all, soy milk is highly processed, with many additives. Paleo dieters are encouraged to stay away from processed foods. Second of all, soy is known to contain high levels of phytoestrogen, which locks onto your own estrogen receptors and can wreak havoc on your endocrine system. I’m with Janie – go for whole milk, and if you have a trusted source, go for whole, raw milk.

          Reply
      • Lisa Ann

        WHAT ABOUT ALMOND NONSWEET MILK

        Reply
    • Anonymous

      your not supposed to have milk or cofee so just from what u have wrote i think u need to do more research to see how weel your actully following the diet…almond milk is fine

      Reply
    • TheDietGeek

      Barbara –
      I just started the diet as well – I usually get tons of fiber from grains, so I bought & watered down prune juice. Also, coconut flour (paleo friendly) & pumpkin are exceptionally high in fiber

      Reply
  • DID OUR ANCESTORS NOT EAT FISH
    CLAY

    DID OUR ANCESTORS NOT EAT FISH – IS THAT TO BE TOTALLY REMOVED WHILE ON THE PALEO DIET. I ASK BECAUSE I AM JUST STARTING OUT TODAY 1/9/10

    Reply
    • Lessa

      Clay, Fish is not only allowed but encouraged due to the high levels of the Omega-3 fatty acids it contains. So go ahead and eat the fish. The book and your body say it is all right.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      You should eats LOTS of fish!

      Reply
    • Steve

      There are very detailed lists of which fish contain high levels of mercury, it is encouraged to eat fish (seafood) as the Omega-3 that your body is lacking is found primarily in Fish. For those interested in more information, read Robb Wolf Paleo Solution. Remember this isn’t a diet, so much as a change in living.

      Reply
  • It is extremely easy to follow
    Barb (Verified Purchase)

    I am trying the Paleo Diet, and so far am liking it very much. It is extremely easy to follow, and I can even eat out and still be compliant. I feel well on the diet and am seeing weight loss, even tho’ I am eating quite a lot of food… I don’t feel hungry on this diet.
    I do disagree with the statement in the review under “Disadvantages”, “Does not address the genetic or hormonal issues related to weight gain.”
    The entire premise of the diet is that we are not GENETICALLY programmed to eat the processed carbs and starch that are in today’s accepted meals. And, I have to question how much of my own weight problem is genetic. I come from a line of very fat people. Not surprising… we all pretty much eat the same way. So, is obesity truly genetic, or have we simply passed down bad eating and lifestyle habits?? For my self, I have been able to “break the mould”… I don’t eat like the rest of my fat relatives, and can control my weight. Food for thought.

    Reply
    • Boe Campbell

      Couldn’t agree more! I’m educated, in Healthcare, and started this Nutritional path 6 weeks ago. I’m probably a Level III, but am a new man, in all the physiologic categories.

      Reply