The Triton


Paleo Pros & Cons


The Paleo Diet, also called the Caveman or Stone Age diet, continues as a hot trend in the weight loss world. The good news is that some preliminary research shows eating like our ancestors can have other health benefits beyond weight loss.

The bad news is that, like other types of fad diets, there can be risks to eating this way.

Lots of lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and healthier fats make up the Paleo eating plan. Foods to avoid include dairy products, grain-based foods, legumes (dried beans and peas), processed foods, salt, alcohol and coffee.

This way of eating was first proposed by Dr. Walter Voegtlin in his 1975 book named the “Stone Age Diet” and popularized more recently by Loren Cordain in his 2002 book, the “Paleo Diet”. It is based on a theory of evolutionary medicine. That is, that the foods we’ve eaten since agriculture was introduced 10,000 years ago are responsible for chronic diseases since there hasn’t been enough time for our bodies to evolve to be able to digest and use these foods property.

No definitive data to date supports this theory, yet that doesn’t mean that eating paleo-style to some extent isn’t beneficial in some ways.


1. Simple eating. An emphasis on lean protein, fruits and vegetables fits what many countries’ dietary guidelines recommend. The modern-day industrialized nation diet represented by an over indulgence on calories, fats, sugars and salts clearly isn’t the optimal way to eat or there wouldn’t be epidemics of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Instead, a simpler way of eating that calls for shopping the perimeters of the supermarket (produce, meat and seafood) instead of the middle aisles (cookies, chips and processed food) is recommended by many government health agencies.

In fact, U.S. researchers published an article in the “Journal of Nutrition” earlier this year that showed eating styles that are Paleolithic- and Mediterranean-like are associated with lower levels of chronic inflammation that can cause cancer and other chronic ills. Also, since the Paleo diet doesn’t allow added salt, it can help people with or who are prone to high blood pressure.

2. Weight loss. Research shows that diets with plenty of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables can create a feeling of satiety (fullness) that can indeed curb overeating and lead to weight loss.

Beyond this, Swedish scientists published an article in “Diabetes Metabolism Research Reviews” this spring that showed eating Paleo-style may help those with Type II diabetes to better control their blood sugar.

However, when Australian researchers looked at blood sugar control, weight loss and heart health indices in 39 women who ate the Paleo way compared to recommendations of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, their article published this year in the journal “Nutrients” reported no significant differences between groups. Australia’s guide, like that of the U.S. and other countries, includes rather than excludes dairy and whole grains as the Paleo diet does.


1. Dollars and time. The sheer amount of protein called for in this diet can put a strain on the pocketbook. The strict forbiddance of processed foods means every meal is a cook-from-scratch effort.

2. Risk of deficiencies. Eliminating any basic food group such as dairy or grains can lead to a deficit of vitamins and minerals. In fact, the British Dietetic Association in its review of Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in 2015 called the Paleo Diet a Jurassic fad, especially because without careful planning, the lack of good groups such as dairy can lead to a lack of calcium and compromised bone health.

Other research shows that Vitamin D, also found widely in dairy, as well as the B vitamins and folate available in grains, can also be dangerously lacking. Therefore, if you definitely want to go Paleo, take a multivitamin-multimineral daily.

Carol Bareuther is a registered dietitian and freelance health and nutrition writer. Comments are welcome at

Related Posts...
Take It In: by Carol Bareuther Selecting healthful foods at Read more...
Take It In: by Carol Bareuther What’s old is new Read more...
Take It In: by Carol Bareuther Is it “feed a Read more...
Take It In: by Carol Bareuther Red and green are the Read more...
Take It In: by Carol Bareuther Pick up a magazine, Read more...

Share This Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Editor’s Picks

PBIBS18: Bigger and better, Palm Beach International Boat Show opens

PBIBS18: Bigger and better, Palm Beach International Boat Show opens

By Dorie Cox Everything is positive for this year’s 33rd Palm Beach International Boat Show, according to Chuck Collins, executive …

PBIBS18: Crew prep for opening day

PBIBS18: Crew prep for opening day

It was "all hands on deck" for the final day of preparations yesterday for today’s opening of the 33rd installment of the Palm Beach …

Yacht crew speak up about rape, assault on board

Yacht crew speak up about rape, assault on board

By Dorie Cox This is a story of two injured crew, a stew and a deckhand. Both say they left good careers in yachting because of what …

Capt. Jim O‘Neill of S/Y Dance Smartly dies at 51

Capt. Jim O‘Neill of S/Y Dance Smartly dies at 51

Capt. Jim O‘Neill of S/Y Dance Smartly died on Feb. 5. The cause and location of his death have not been reported. He was …