Does the Paleo Diet Work?

While it sounds like another fad, proponents of the Paleolithic Diet (also known in some circles as the Primal Diet) maintain it has existed since the time of early man. According to, the diet seeks to "[mimic] the types of foods every single person on the planet ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution," which include "fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood." What's more, the diet eliminates diary, grains, legumes, starches alcohol, trans fats, salt, and processed foods.

According to Robb Wolf's website (, author of the The Paleo Solution the ideal meal will look something like this:

  • Four to eight ounces of lean protein such as chicken, lean beef, turkey, pork loin, or seafood.
  • Several servings of multicolored vegetables, either raw, steamed, or lightly cooked.
  • Good fats include avocado, olive oil, or a handful of un-salted nuts such as almonds, pecans, macadamias or walnuts.

Lean proteins not only have a higher satiate value, but they help promote the building of lean muscle and healthy bones.

Fruits and vegetables provide a litany of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support proper body functions.

Healthy fats such as omega-3 and monounsaturated fats help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Limiting grain consumption helps the dieter get back to his ancestral eating roots. According to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, the human body digestive system didn't evolve eating grain. The mass eating of grain products, contributed to insulin insensitivity, weight gain, and gluten intolerance.

Does It Work?

While conclusive research is still needed to prove or refute the benefits of the Paleolithic Diet, several articles have been published suggesting its adoption. One such article "The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization," published in the journal Research Reports in Clinical Cardiology, states that the fundamental differences between our modern, western diets and what our ancient ancestors ate "underlies many so-called diseases of civilization, including coronary heart disease, obesity,...autoimmune disease, and osteoporosis, which are rare or virtually absent in hunter-gatherers and other non-westernized populations." The journal suggests that to reduce your risk of degenerative diseases, adopt "the diet and lifestyle that mimic[s] the beneficial characteristic of the preagricultural environment."

While the jury is still out on the true benefits of the Paleo diet, more and more dieters looking for a healthy and sustainable eating philosophy are turning to it. Before revamping your refrigerator, do your research and ask your doctor if a diet such as this could help you achieve your health-related goals.




The Paleo Diet

Robb Wolf

Pedro Carrera-Bastos, Maelan Fontes-Villalba, James H O'Keefe
Staffan Lindeberg, Loren Cordain
Research Reports in Clinical Cardiology
The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization

The Definitive Guide to Garins
Mark Sisson