Paleo diets are a set of eating patterns that limit or exclude foods that were unavailable to our Paleolithic ancestors. Randomized trials suggest well-formulated paleo diets may be as effective as other healthy diets for weight loss and improving markers of metabolic health. Risks of a well-formulated paleo diet are minimal, but more restrictive versions can cause nutrient deficiencies and health issues.
Paleolithic Diet is most often used for
Paleolithic (paleo) diets are a group of dietary patterns that approximate what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. They are usually minimally processed, whole-food diets full of plants and animal products. Paleo diets commonly limit or completely exclude grains, dairy, legumes, starchy root vegetables, and processed foods.
While paleo may be considered a panacea in some popular circles, randomized trials have shown that paleo can be used for modest positive effects on weight loss, glucose regulation, blood lipids, and other markers of cardiometabolic health. These effects are comparable to those seen with other healthy diets, but paleo may lead to greater weight loss, especially in the short term.
Moderate paleo diets are generally safe, but more extreme paleo diets may pose risks.
Extremely carbohydrate-restricted paleo diets can lead to lactation ketoacidosis (a rare condition that may arise when a lactating woman’s energy needs are not being met through diet) in breastfeeding women.
Paleo diets that are very high in protein (>2.5 grams protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, or about one-third of calories from protein) may increase risk of kidney stones and kidney dysfunction. The relationship has not been confirmed in more rigorous randomized trials, and does not apply to paleo diets with more moderate levels of protein.
A balanced paleo diet should include sources of iodine, calcium, and vitamin D to prevent nutrient insufficiency or deficiency.
Paleo diets may lead to weight loss by making calorie restriction easier with nutrient-dense, highly satiating foods that emphasize fiber, protein, and fat. The positive effects on blood pressure, blood lipids, and other cardiometabolic outcomes may be due to the inclusion of particular nutrients (omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium) and the exclusion of others (sugar, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, excessive saturated fat).
- Ancestral diet
- Paleo diet
- Hunter-gatherer diet
- Carnivore diet
- Ketogenic diet
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