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Paleontology Diet

By Lindsay Boyers ; Updated July 18, 2017

The paleontology diet, more commonly referred to as the paleo diet, is modeled after the Paleolithic era, when our ancestors used hunting and gathering as a sole means to obtain nourishment. The basic theory behind the paleo diet is that if your ancestors didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either.

Foods to Avoid

The paleo diet shuns grains, like wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, millet and rice, and any foods made with these grains. Dairy products, like butter, milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream are also excluded from the diet. You may not consume starchy vegetables, such as white potatoes, sweet potatoes, tubers and roots. Fatty meats, sweets, fruit drinks, processed foods and foods that contain excess salt, like bacon, deli meats and commercial condiments, are also not permitted on the paleo diet.

Foods to Eat

The basis of the paleo diet consists of vegetables, fruits and various lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, lean beef, pork loin and any fish. You may consume eggs on the paleo diet, but intake should be limited to 6 per week. When buying eggs, you should opt for the varieties that are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts and seeds are also permitted while following the paleo diet.

Considerations

Although your Paleolithic ancestors did not have access to diet soda, coffee, tea and alcoholic drinks, these beverages are allowed in moderation while following the paleo diet. You may also consume some oils, such as olive, flaxseed, walnut, avocado and canola. However, intake should be limited to less than 4 tbsp. per day, especially if weight loss is your goal.

Criticisms

While many people advocate for the paleo diet, some health professionals shun it. Each food group offers different kinds of nutrients, so avoiding an entire food group eliminates important vitamins and minerals. Sometimes it's not the food itself, but the variety chosen that makes a difference. For example, many people choose refined grains, like white pasta, white rice and white breads, which are lacking in many important nutrients. Replacing these grains with healthier options, like whole wheat pasta, brown rice and whole wheat breads increases the nutritional value of your diet. In addition, grains are meant to complement a meal, not provide the basis of it. Instead of filling your plate with pasta and sauce, stick to the serving size of a half-cup of pasta and fill half of your plate with nutrient-rich vegetables. Removing dairy products, which contain calcium and vitamin D, and fiber-rich foods, like beans, is also thought to be detrimental to your health, rather than beneficial.

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