Paleo Diet: Diet Plan and Benefits

What is the paleo diet?

In recent decades, eating habits have changed dramatically. Some studies confirm that approximately 60% of the calories consumed in urban populations come from ultra-processed foods. (1)

The paleo diet or paleolithic diet is the type of diet that prohibits this type of food. This type of diet has become popular in sports communities such as CrossFit.

This article describes how to do the paleo diet, the allowed and prohibited foods, as well as what are the differences with the ketogenic diet.

Paleo diet – allowed foods.

As the name implies, the Stone Age diet involves eating the foods eaten in the Paleolithic period. 2.5 million years ago. (2) The basic rule is to minimize the consumption of industrial foods and weigh natural ones. The foods allowed on the paleo diet are:

  • Meats (fish, chicken, and red meat)
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Edible mushrooms
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Unrefined oils
  • Whole grains
  • Spices (garlic, pepper, cumin, oregano)

The foods allowed in the paleo diet are of both plant and animal origin, except for all foods that have been canned, refined, and with additives or preservatives.

Animal products dominated food in the Paleolithic era: more than 60-70% of calories came from meats and fats. While carbohydrate foods contributed only 20-40%. (2)

If you want to be a Paleo man, take advantage of advances in science, that’s what the ancestors would have done. (6)

Coltan Scrivner testifies in an article on behalf of the University of Chicago.

In addition, the consumption of certain types of vegetables is allowed. Before a transition to agriculture occurred, stone-age men extracted certain kinds of vegetables from nature.

On the other hand, most exotic fruits are not allowed on the paleo diet. The reason: the stone age inhabitants of Europe and Eurasia could not reach the tropics.

Paleo Diet – Forbidden Foods

The foods prohibited in the paleo diet are all industrial, packaged foods and most products derived from agriculture (vegetables and industrial cereals with high starch content). Below is a list of foods prohibited on the paleo diet:

  • Refined flours
  • Dairy products
  • Fast food
  • Bakery products
  • Processed grains and cereals
  • Refined sugars and oils
  • Coffee and sugary drinks
  • Canned legumes
  • White potatoes

The foods prohibited in this type of diet relatively fit the foundations of a balanced diet. However, the proportion of macronutrients is not recommended according to international organizations such as the WHO.

The cetogénica diet vs. the paleo diet

The ketogenic diet and the paleo diet are similar in that they are both low carb diets. However, the ketogenic diet weighs fat. The paleo diet places emphasis on the protein of animal origin, as well as allows the consumption of fruits.

Both diets limit the consumption of refined sugars and foods high in simple carbohydrates. However, the ketogenic diet allows a maximum of 20-30g of net carbs per day. At the same time, the stone age diet does not set exact limits.

As for the effects on losing body fat, the ketogenic diet has better results. However, it does not allow the combination of strength or high intensity exercises. In ketosis, the muscles do not have enough energy in the form of muscle glycogen.

The paleo diet is more flexible in terms of the ratio of macronutrients. There is no strict ratio, although there is a tendency to increase the amount of protein.

In summary, both types of diets are effective in shedding body fat. However, it is essential not to keep them for long periods. Studies do not recommend this diet for periods longer than 12 months. (5)

Benefits of the paleo diet

The opinions of nutritionists regarding the benefits of the Paleo Diet are divided. Most consider that refusing to consume dairy products and sugar can be highly beneficial to health. (1.8).

One of the benefits of this behavior is the prevention of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, being overweight, and obesity.

However, international organizations such as the FAO have stated that high consumption of red meat can increase the probability of certain types of cancer. (8)

As well as some investigations affirm that an excess of proteins can lead to hormonal problems. (4) So … Who to listen to?

The paleo diet is safe if it is not prolonged for long periods.

The benefits of the paleo diet are limited for those with a tendency to diabetes and lead an active lifestyle. However, it cannot be considered the number one diet for healthy eating.


The paleo diet is an effective diet to regulate body weight; let’s not doubt it. However, is it healthy?

The answer to this question has generated controversy in the scientific and medical community. Based on the FAO and WHO recommendations, the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is not ideal.

It is considered a high protein diet. These types of diets can have adverse effects on testosterone and cortisol levels. (3)

While the paleo diet is one of the most popular diets in Crossfit and is an excellent strategy to burn body fat, the best results in increasing muscle mass should not be expected. In particular when it is kept for long periods.

Also, the vegetarian version of the paleo diet would be reduced to a couple of fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. So it is simply not a possible diet for vegetarians and vegans.


The paleo diet is a type of diet that limits processed foods.

The foods allowed in the paleo diet are meats, fruits, mushrooms, and some vegetables.

The foods prohibited in the paleo diet are dairy products, refined sugars and oils, cereals, legumes, and all industrial products.

The Paleolithic diet supposes “the return” to the ancestral Paleo man.

Regarding the benefits of nutrition, it is not an ideal diet.

The stone-age diet is effective in reducing body fat levels and reversing insulin resistance, making it useful for those with a tendency to diabetes.

Prolonging the paleo diet for long periods can cause metabolic disturbances and an increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

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