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Debunking the Biggest Myths About The Paleo Diet


Woman making a salad in her kitchen

We’ve heard a lot of criticisms about The Paleo Diet®, but the fact is, many people judge it by common misconceptions. Let us take a moment to cut through the noise of Paleo Diet myths. No, we’re not a carnivore diet, and we’re not a low-carb diet, either. We also don’t believe in being overly restrictive—so there’s no need to say goodbye to your favorite foods forever!

What Is The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet mimics the types of foods our ancestors ate prior to the agricultural revolution, about 12,000 years ago. These foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood, which are high in a variety of beneficial nutrients that promote good health, like soluble fiber, antioxidant vitamins, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, and key minerals such as magnesium and potassium.

Foods added to our diets since the agricultural revolution, such as refined sugars and grains, trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods tend to be low in healthy nutrients and contain many antinutrients. These foods may contribute to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and numerous other health problems.

Paleo Diet Myths

The Paleo Diet isn’t just a fad. It’s the scientifically proven way to eat the foods your body needs to thrive. That’s really it. Below are the nine biggest Paleo Diet myths we’ve heard, and why they aren’t true.

  1. You have to live like a caveman. We’re all about eating whole, unprocessed foods just like our ancestors did. That doesn’t mean you have to live in a cave and scavenge for meals.
  2. It’s a meat-centric diet. While we encourage you to eat animal products, it’s not the only thing on the plate. In fact, you should be eating a lot more fruits and vegetables by volume.
  3. It’s just a fad. Going Paleo isn’t a fast weight-loss scheme. It’s the only diet that focuses on eating the foods that our species is genetically adapted to—making The Paleo Diet pretty timeless, if you ask us.
  4. It’s expensive. You don’t need to limit yourself to expensive prime cuts of steak. To keep costs low, look for organ meat, frozen veggies, and seasonal produce. Even better: join a CSA or buy in bulk.
  5. You won’t get enough calcium. We have a lot to say on this topic, but the short of it is this: You’ll get a lot more of this mineral from green veggies than you would from milk. While it may seem odd that you’d be able to get enough calcium while eliminating dairy products from your diet, you’ll improve your calcium balance, which is far more important.
  6. You have to cut carbs. Nope! While we encourage you to stay away from simple carbohydrates like bread and pasta, you’ll get plenty of complex carbs from sweet potatoes, squash, and other fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
  7. You have to count calories. We’ve challenged people to try to overeat on The Paleo Diet, and they can’t do it. Think of it this way: one slice of pizza is 450 calories—that’s as many calories as six apples! We encourage you to replace dairy products and grains with nutrient-dense alternatives, like fresh fruits and vegetables, that will keep you feeling full for longer.
  8. You have to say goodbye to your favorite foods. Our 85/15 rule says that as long as you eat Paleo 85% of the time, you can reap all the benefits. So go ahead and have your favorite non-Paleo foods the rest of the time!
  9. Your lifespan will shorten. Quite the opposite! Yes, our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t live as long as us, but life was pretty dangerous back then. Now that a broken leg isn’t a death sentence, we can expect to live long, healthy lives on a diet that naturally strengthens us and wards off disease.

The Paleo Diet is meant to nourish your body for the long run, and counting calories, restricting carbs, or cutting yourself off from your favorite foods isn’t sustainable over time. Going Paleo is about eating a balanced variety of foods that are optimal for your health. Once you start on your Paleo Diet journey, you’ll see improvements in all aspects of your life.

Is It Paleo?

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