Debunking The Paleo Diet

Posted on Jan 31, 2019

What is Paleo and What Does it Involve?

Paleo is based around how our ancestors supposedly ate.

Every time you go to put something in your mouth, you have to ask yourself the question:

“Would a caveman have eaten this?”

If the answer is “Yes” then go right ahead and have it.

If not, then you’d better leave it on the table. (This being said, there are certain situations where seemingly non-Paleo foods become Paleo, and we’ll go through those a bit later.)

What Can You Eat?

If it’s come from the land, sea, or air, you can eat it.

Paleo followers typically have the mantra that if you could catch it, kill it, or grow it, then it’s fine to consume.

That means your diet will largely be based around any kinds of meat – chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb and game, as well as any kinds of fish or shellfish, eggs, fruits and vegetables.

You’re not allowed to consume any types of grains (which means ALL bread, pasta, rice, cereals, and so on.)

Dairy is also off the menu, as Palaeolithic man would not have been able to make milk, cheese, yoghurt, or anything like that, and you’re not even allowed beans.

Supposedly, the phytoestrogens and anti-nutrients in the likes of kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils are damaging to your body, and in the days of the caveman (or cavewoman) the cooking and preparation methods needed to prepare beans for human consumption hadn’t been discovered yet.

Clearly, alcohol, junk food and coffee are also off the menu.

What Might a Typical Day Look Like?


  • Organic eggs cooked in coconut oil with 2-3 servings of vegetables, such as tomatoes, mushrooms and kale.


  • Huge salad with plenty of raw mixed leaves, a locally reared piece of meat (perhaps steak or chicken) along with some mixed nuts and seeds, olive oil for dressing and a piece or two of in-season fruit.


  • Similar to lunch, only you might swap the protein source for some game or fish. (This would have to be organic, wild caught, and preferably local.) Different vegetables would be a good shout too, so perhaps broccoli, sprouts and carrots.


  • Fruit (again, local and organic, and in-season.)
  • Coconut and coconut milk
  • Mixed nuts and seeds.
  • Paleo protein bars or protein shakes! (Get ready for a rant on these coming up.)


There’s no doubt that switching to a Paleo diet makes you think about where your food comes from, and gets you to support local producers and suppliers.

It also complies with the “JERF” principle – Just Eat Real Food, which, while in itself isn’t enough to get someone seriously lean, or into contest shape, is a good place to start for most people looking to lose a few pounds and slim down, as by eating more natural foods and less junk, you’ll automatically lower your calorie intake.

Paleo diets also typically tend to be pretty high in protein, as well as containing lots of fruits and vegetables for the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


You’re going to seriously struggle to get a decent amount of carbs in with Paleo.

Apart from fruits, green vegetables and some starchy vegetables like sweet potato and squash, carb sources are few and far between.

There are also a number of contradictions with Paleo, and over the years, certain foods have gone through phases of being allowed, after being banned.

Take white potatoes for instance – they were demonised by the Paleo community for years, then all of a sudden, they were Paleo-approved.

It seems like if Paleo followers can find even the slimmest reason to make a food Paleo-friendly, they will do.

I also take issue with the fact that it’s very easy to over-consume calories with this approach, seeing as you don’t need to weigh, track or monitor anything, and it’s very easy to eat several hundred calories in a short space of time when you’re snacking on nuts, using fatty meats and fish and putting coconut oil in your eggs and your coffee.

Finally, there’s the fact that a huge new market has sprung up offering Paleo baked goods and supplements.

It’s like people realise Paleo is boring and unsustainable, so come up with fancy ways of bending the rules.

Are you seriously telling me cave people would have sat down on a Sunday afternoon to knock up a batch of Paleo muffins, or had a Paleo protein shake after a workout!?

Not only that, but research is coming to light all the time to show that Paleo man did eat grains and beans in some form. By banning these perfectly healthy foods (as well as dairy) you run the risk of nutrient deficiencies and developing food phobias.

Should You Do Paleo?

Probably not … unless you enjoy following a Paleo style plan.

If, actually, you feel better omitting all the non-Paleo foods, and don’t feel deprived skipping the rice, pasta and cheese, then go right ahead.

For the average Joe or Jane who wants to drop some body fat, Paleo guidelines (without buying into the whole strict philosophy) is a good way to clean up your diet without having to track macros strictly.

I’d still advise tracking your macros, so you don’t over-consume calories, but if a Paleo plan suits your preferences, and you can stick to it without a weekly cereal and ice cream binge, why not!?

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