The Paleo Diet – Weight Loss Diet By Paleolithic Man!

Palaeolithic woman hunting for food

Hunter-Gatherer Diet

The paleolithic diet, also known as the Stone Age Diet or Caveman Diet, is simply a return to eating the foods that humans would have consumed before agriculture and farming became common. Also, it emphasizes eating raw foods, as cooking would have been a rarity. It is the oldest known diet to man!

The paleolithic diet is intended to emulate the ancient diet of wild plants and animals that humans consumed up until the end of the stone age, which was about 10,000 years ago.


It is based upon commonly available modern foods, including lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. It mostly excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils. Some salt and dairy (fresh goats milk etc.) may have been consumed, but not on a large scale. Although fire was used in cooking it may not have been a daily luxury.

Walter L. Voegtlin

The Paleo Diet was first popularized in the mid 1970s by a gastroenterologist named Walter L. Voegtlin. Building upon the principles of evolutionary medicine, it is based on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors and that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, and therefore an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.

This dietary approach is a controversial topic among nutritionists and anthropologists. Advocates argue that modern human populations subsisting on traditional diets similar to those of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers are largely free of diseases of affluence, and that such diets produce beneficial health outcomes in controlled medical studies.

Supporters point to several potentially therapeutic nutritional characteristics of pre-agricultural diets. Critics of this nutritional approach have taken issue with its underlying evolutionary logic, and have disputed certain dietary prescriptions on the grounds that they pose health risks and may not reflect the features of ancient Paleolithic diets. It is not a realistic alternative for everyone.

Why is the Palaeolithic Diet The Popular New Approach to Weight Loss?

Since the end of the Paleolithic period, foods that humans would have rarely or never consumed during previous stages of their evolution have been introduced as staples in their diet, namely dairy products, beans, cereals, alcohol, salt and fatty domestic meats.

In the last 150 years agriculture has boomed, with the production of refined cereals, refined sugars and refined vegetable oils, as well as fattier domestic meats, which have become major components of Western diets. These dietary compositional changes have been implicated as risk factors in the many of the “diseases of civilization”, which include obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune-related diseases and cancer. In many ways following a caveman / paleo diet is very much like following a more conventional low GI diet plan.

Healthiest Foods to Eat on the Stone Age, Hunter-Gather Diet

There are too many foods that can be eaten, and that should be avoided, to list here. For a full list of foods you can eat download a Paleo Cookbook. Some of the allowed foods are also super foods, so we shall concentrate on these for now:

  • Salmon: Salmon packs a great source of protein coupled with omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is also a good source of vitamins B6 and B12. Choose wild salmon whenever possible.
  • Blueberries: A powerhouse of vitamins, antioxidants which neutralize cell damage that can lead to heart disease and cancer.
  • Kale: One of the best leafy greens. It is proven at fighting cancer and detoxifying. Kale provides a good source of Vitamin A and beta carotene; both essential for eye health and to prevent degenerative macular conditions like glaucoma. Kale contains 88% of the RDA of Vitamin C.
  • Apples: Healthy, high in fiber. The sweetness of an apple is due to fructose, a slow-digesting sugar that won’t spike your blood sugar. Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar and can control appetite better than other fruits. Apples are one of the foods we strongly recommend you purchase organic, and be sure to eat the peel.
  • Grass Fed Beef: Organic grass-fed beef makes our list of the ten healthiest palaeolithic foods. The beef produced from grass-fed cattle is lean and comparable to the wild meats in a classic cave man diet. Grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3 essential fatty acids and beta carotene.
  • Almonds: High in monounsaturated fats, decrease cholesterol levels and aid in preventing heart disease. Eaten with a meal decrease the post meal blood sugar spike.
  • Beets: Red color gives them cancer-fighting properties. They lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease. Also full of antioxidants.
  • Avocado: Source of potassium and folate, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They also help you absorb more of the fat-soluble vitamins from the other vegetables.
  • Garlic: Great for your heart and reduces blood pressure. High in vitamin C, B6, selenium, and manganese. Choose fresh garlic over powders or even garlic sold pre-chopped in jars.
  • Carrots Cheap, versatile, full of vitamins and nutrients. One of the richest natural sources of carotenoids, have been linked to the prevention and fighting of several common types of cancer. Can be enjoyed raw or cooked.

So, time to act more like a cave man (or cave woman) and less like a junkie. Eating a natural diet like this will strengthen your immune system as well as your body. Bone strength and density is related to diet, as is a healthy cardiovascular system. If you want to be strong like a caveman, then eat like Captain Caveman!

References

Dietary Shifts and Human Health: Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in a Sustainable World” by S. Lindeberg.

A paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease” by Tommy Jönsson, Yvonne Granfeldt, Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, Bo Ahrén and Staffan Lindeberg. NUTRITION & METABOLISM, Volume 7, Number 1, 85, DOI: 10.1186/1743-7075-7-85

A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease” by S. Lindeberg, T. Jönsson, Y. Granfeldt, E. Borgstrand, J. Soffman, K. Sjöström and B. Ahrén. Diabetologia. 2007 Sep;50(9):1795-807. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

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  8 comments for “The Paleo Diet – Weight Loss Diet By Paleolithic Man!

  1. Unconditional
    July 2, 2010 at 12:00 am

    He is actually following a diet set out by Mens Health magazine. They do say that the plan is to allow him to lose fat while building muscle. He has a low body fat percentage already so needs a really strict diet. Certainly will be interesting to find out if he stayed on the diet for 6 weeks and if it was effective in reducing what little fat he had.

  2. David Wilkinson
    July 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I would like to quote that this diet is absolute BS, cave men did not consume a high animal protein diet as meat was sparce, do not have the impression that cave men were running around with spears tying to kill wooly mammoths. so Mens Health ‘Cave Man’ diet stating that Peter Andre should be consuming fillet steak for breakfast is absolute crap. A diet high in animal protein is depremental to our bodies health as our bodies can NOT break down high amounts of red meat, as it will just sit in the bowl undigested. The diet also states that fruit should not be consumed due to a high sugar content an if it not grown locally to you, yet in the foods that you can eat it reccomends you eat blueberries, apples and in season local fruits… is this not fruit?

  3. MotleyHealth
    July 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    The diet Peter Andre has been put on does not allow fruit, the original palaeolithic diet does. You are right, what Peter Andre is on not really a “caveman” diet. The “recommended foods in the caveman diet” are the types of food that we believe prehistoric man would have eaten, and are not the foods that Peter Andre was eating as part of his diet. I have updated the article and this hopefully explains this better.

  4. grant
    August 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I agree this is not the caveman diet considering we would of lived of fish and fruit more then a nice fillet of steak, which would not of been available back then as even the herbivores were 3 times the size of a normal cow cavemen ate what ever they could gather which would usually mean shell fish deer and fruit.

  5. MotleyHealth
    August 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Oh, I think cavemen would have easily eaten any meat on the go, it was “cavemen” that are responsible for killing all the mammoths remember, and they were pretty big herbivores. But there would have been a fruit and shell fish too.

  6. catherine
    February 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

    you forgot to mention that even though all the food was balaced and had a reasonable calorific value that one conclusion was that the people were hungry most of the time as they couldnt stomach consuming all their daily allowance – which is why they all lost weight – the benefits or their health were good short term but it was concluded that it was not healthily sustainable in the longterm for humans due to pur digestive systems and the ongoing lack of proteins in the diet plus the fact that they needed to be constantly eating all day

  7. MotleyHealth
    February 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I wonder for how long people would feel hungry all the time though, if this form of eating was adopted for longer term. Grazing is possibly a more natural way for humans to eat. Although some theories are that we developed to run long distances to hunt too.

    Maybe a really natural diet would be a few days of easy grazing followed by a 24 hour endurance run with a massive plate of animal protein at the end.

    But, a lack of protein may also have been simply because we are fussy eaters now. Prehistoric humans probably would have been happy to eat grubs, worms and insects – many societies still do today.

  8. Tierney
    December 29, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Everyone needs to chill out. Obviously the person writing this didn’t mean to literally copy everything that the cavemen did. None of us were around when the cavemen were, so obviously nobody knows exactly. It’s an assumption of what they would have eaten, how much they would have eaten, and incorporating it into the modern human diet.

    What you people also need to understand is, yes, back then, cavemen did not eat every day the way we do now. However, their bodies were already adapted to not eating every single day. They were not starving every day. Wild wolves only eat every three days or so, and they’re not running around starving. However, god forbid if you don’t feed your dog for one day, right? People adapt to their environments just like every other animal does. Back then, people were used to not eating as much or as often as we are now.

    Also, if they were hungry all the time that they didn’t eat, they would have gained weight due to the inconsistency of diet. When you don’t eat to the point where you get hungry or starved, the body stores the food that you then feed to it as fat. It’s a natural reaction to the body’s feelings of starvation, and it’s a survival reaction. If you’re starving, the body knows that the person is too thin; therefore, whatever food it gets, it immediately stores as fat. Therefore, if the cavemen were always hungry they would have been fat, or at least, not thin.

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