Book health & wellness appointments instantly
 

Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet (Paleo is short for Paleolithic) is founded on the notion that a healthy diet should only contain foods that humans have been "genetically programmed" to digest since the dawn of time.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Paleo Diet Overview

The Paleo Diet (Paleo is short for Paleolithic) is founded on the notion that a healthy diet should only contain foods that humans have been "genetically programmed" to digest since the dawn of time. That's why this diet is also sometimes called the "Caveman" or the "Hunter and Gatherer" diet.

The Paleo Diet includes only foods that hunters and gatherers might have collected. Lean meats, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables are all acceptable food choices. These kinds of foods are naturally rich in healthful nutrients, including fiber (which aids in digestion), antioxidants, phytochemicals, omega-3, monounsaturated fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates.

Individuals following the Paleo program refrain from consuming refined sugars, grains, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates and saturated and trans fats found in processed and pre-packaged foods. The only form of carbohydrates allowed are those that come from fruits and vegetables. Dairy products, including cheese, are forbidden.

Above all, the Paleo Diet takes into account the restrictions of the modern world, understanding that not everyone has the resources to eat according to Paleo standards all day, every day. While it'd be ideal to fill your shopping cart with endless fruits and vegetables, not everyone can afford to do so—and cereal tends to be the most economical way to get through the morning. That said, supporting local farms can also help to boost the economy.

It is also important to remember that, as the researchers behind the Paleo Diet put it: "The best way to get your child to eat junk food is to completely restrict it." A Paleo Diet may not initially be fitting for children, as they don't yet understand why processed and packaged foods can be detrimental to their health in the long-run. Adults who are trying to teach their children the value of "healthy" or "natural" foods can only hope to instill them with the knowledge of which foods are considered "good" and "bad"—and why.

When invented: The Paleo Diet was first recognized as a diet in 1975.

Who invented it: Walter L. Voegtlin, a gastroenterologist, published The Stone Age Diet in 1975, introducing the Paleo Diet. Dr. Loren Cordain, a member of the faculty of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, is one of the biggest advocates of the diet today, researching the effects of the diet on human health and disease prevention. Dr. Cordain has published many scientific articles as well as three well-known books, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, and The Dietary Cure for Acne.

Length of diet plan: The Paleo Diet is intended to be a permanent lifestyle change.

Celebrity Devotees

"True Blood" actor Ryan Kwanten, aka Jason Stackhouse, reportedly follows the diet.

Find expert nutritionists near you

Find expert personal trainers and yoga/Pilates instructors near you