The paleo diet, hunter-gatherer diet, or caveman diet is an extremely popular contemporary diet based on the notion that Paleolithic humans ate foods less processed than those consumed by later humans, allowing for a much higher nutrient intake than any other diet known to man. Proponents of this diet believe that people from the Paleolithic age, who lived in what is today’s United States and Europe, had much less fat, significantly less calories, and ate much more fruits and vegetables than does the average person today. Proponents also claim that their diet can fight heart disease, reduce or even eliminate certain types of cancer, and that it is the only diet known to man that can help you lose weight and keep it off. While these claims are not entirely false, and in fact there are a number of problems with the paleo diet that make it a poor choice for the majority of people. The first problem with the paleo diet is that it was designed for health buffs, who already know that it is not a sustainable and healthy way to eat, but who also are unaware that the health benefits associated with the diet are extremely limited.
The first problem with the paleo diet is that it is primarily a vegetarian diet. While it does allow for some nuts and seeds, it limits most of the nuts and grains included in the typical American diet in such a large amount as to make them unhealthy. Because it is primarily a vegetarian diet, there are virtually no carbohydrates included in the typical paleo meal, which leaves most people starving when on the diet. Since carbohydrates are the source of energy for the human body, not eating them leaves the body sluggish and tired.
Another problem with the paleo diet is that while it promotes eating natural foods, it severely restricts eating any processed foods. This includes most processed food like most sugar laden foods, most vegetable oils, most baked goods, and all other food that contain artificial preservatives and flavourings. This includes even ”healthy” fats like coconut oil and olive oil. Processed grains also count as a type of food, so the diet requires you to eat a lot of grains – which are lacking in most people’s diets – and very little else. Because of these problems, the paleo diet can actually be pretty harmful to your health.