Developed by medical researcher Loren Cordain, the Paleo Diet revolves around the concept that, for better health, humans should eat the same foods as the hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic era 23. This type of diet, Cordain claims, can help reduce common diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cancer and gout, as well as conditions such as acne. This way of eating – which resembles a low-carb diet – is strict and not for everyone. Talk to your health care practitioner before drastically limiting the types of food you eat, as the Paleo Diet requires 2.
A Carnivore's Dream
Not all meats are created equal, however – you are only allowed to consume grass-fed meat because it has a lower concentration of omega-6 fatty acids, along with free-range poultry and wild fish. High-protein meats allowed on the diet include lean beef, lean pork, skinless turkey and chicken breast, fish such as:
You can also experiment with organ meat and game meat such as alligator, bison and elk.
Produce of All Colors
Side Effects of Using Agave Syrup
Fresh vegetables are allowed in limitless portions on the Paleo diet, so long as they’re not starchy tubers like potatoes 2. Around 22 percent to 47 percent of your calories should come from carbs, including fibrous vegetables and fruit. Unlike other forms of a low-carb diet, fruits are allowed as well, unless you’re severely overweight or have symptoms of metabolic syndrome. In that case, you should limit high-sugar fruits such as grapes, bananas, cherries and mangoes.
- Fresh vegetables are allowed in limitless portions on the Paleo diet, so long as they’re not starchy tubers like potatoes 2.
- Around 22 percent to 47 percent of your calories should come from carbs, including fibrous vegetables and fruit.
Eggs are allowed on the Paleo Diet, as they're a good source of protein and healthy fats 2. But you should buy enriched eggs with omega-3 fatty acids and limit your consumption to only six to 12 a week.
Gout and Shrimp
Nuts and seeds are allowed on the Paleo Diet; however, you should only eat 4 ounces a day or less if you're trying to lose weight 2. Purchase only raw, unsalted nuts to avoid taking in too much sodium. If you're unsure about which type to eat, your best bet is walnuts, says Cordain.
Fat Is Back
The Paleo Diet encourages consuming 28 percent to 47 percent of your calories from healthy fats 2. Avoid saturated and trans fats entirely, and watch it with polyunsaturated fats.
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- The Paleo Diet: Getting Started With the Paleo Diet
- The Paleo Diet: What to Eat on the Paleo Diet
- The Paleo Diet Revised; Loren Cordain, PhD
- Challa HJ. Paleolithic Diet. StatPearls [Internet]. Published May 29, 2019.
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- Amidor, T. Ask the Expert: Clearing Up Lectin Misconceptions. Today’s Dietitian Magazine. October 2017.
- Cordain, L. Meal Timing. The Paleo Diet.
- Ganesan K, Habboush Y, Sultan S. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle Cureus. 2018;10(7):e2947.
- Paoli A, Tinsley G, Bianco A, Moro T. The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans: The Role of Fasting. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 28;11(4)
- Pusztai A. Dietary lectins are metabolic signals for the gut and modulate immune and hormone functions. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1993;47(10):691-699.
Kelsey Casselbury is a freelance writer and editor based in central Maryland. Her clients have included Livestrong, School Nutrition magazine, What's Up? Media, American Academy of Clinical Chemistry, SmartBrief and more. She has a formal education in personal training/nutrition and a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University.