The Paleo Diet® | Defining The Paleo Diet
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.
0 cart-active Created with Sketch. noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.

Defining the Paleo Diet

You’ve likely heard of The Paleo Diet®, Paleolithic nutrition, or the hunter-gatherer diet to describe a way of eating that mimics the diet of our ancestral past. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation about the diet, but when you get down to the basics, it's just eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, eggs and some nuts and seeds - what you find at your local farmer's market.

Expand For More

The basic argument for following this way of eating is that, for most of human history, it is how we ate, and it subsequently shaped our genetics.

This is particularly true in terms of how we, as humans, respond to the foods we eat, to the prevention of disease, and the vitality of our species. While there have been massive changes in the food supply—starting with the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, then, the advent of dairy farming 5,000 years ago, and the more recent industrial revolution—our genetic makeup has not kept pace.

Humans do adapt to changes. For example, the genetic mutation that led to the development of adult lactase persistence (ALP) - allowing some of us to digest lactose in milk into adulthood - took place very recently, from an evolutionary standpoint. But when looked at in terms of human generations, we actually adapt very slowly. This can result in an incongruence between our physiology and our environment. That is the case with the typical modern diet in the Western world. Over 70 percent of the foods we eat were introduced since our last major evolutionary change and we simply haven't caught up.

There are many nutritional advantages to following a more ancestral nutrient-rich diet comprised mainly of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fish, shellfish, grass produced meats and organ meats, free-range poultry, free-range eggs, nuts, and certain healthful oils.

The Paleo Diet avoids or eliminates processed foods containing refined sugars, refined grains, refined vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, salt, and added chemicals. Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, good sources of healthier carbohydrates, are consumed ad libitum in lieu of refined sugars, refined grains, and processed foods. As a result, The Paleo Diet is a low glycemic load diet which promotes normalization of blood glucose, insulin, and helps prevent the metabolic syndrome.

In addition, the foods that constitute a modern Paleo Diet contain few problematic dietary anti-nutrients such as lectins, which can lead to a host of health concerns, including autoimmune diseases.

Ultimately, providing our physiology with foods that match our genetically determined nutritional requirements is why The Paleo Diet will provide you with long lasting health.

noun_chevron up_1746113 Created with Sketch.
The Paleo Diet - What We’ve Learned in the Past 20 Years

We evolve along with science.

By Irene Jay
Our Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All your burning questions, answered.

By Trevor Connor, M.S.
Forget the Macronutrient Ratios. Here's Why.

The focus of the Paleo Diet is not on finding an ideal macronutrient ratio, but on eating the foods we evolved to eat and avoiding anything processed.

By Trevor Connor, M.S.
The Paleo Diet® Premise
Quite simply, The Paleo Diet® is the only diet to which the human species is genetically adapted. In other words, when you eat a Paleo Diet, you are eating the optimal foods for your body, literally programmed into your DNA.
By The Paleo Diet® Team
What You Should and Should Not Eat on The Paleo Diet®
If you’ve heard of The Paleo Diet, but don’t know where to start check out our simple guide to what you should and should not eat on The Paleo Diet.
By Lauren Fellows
How to Apply The Paleo Diet 85/15 Rule

Need more wiggle room in your diet? Try this categorized approach to dieting that will get you results while allowing you to enjoy your favorite off-limit foods.

By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Is The Paleo Diet Meat or Plant-Based?

A common misconception about The Paleo Diet is that it is a meat-based diet. However, there is difference between calorie and volume - and by volume Paleo is plant-based.

By The Paleo Diet® Team
Explaining the 85/15 Principle

Make your diet sustainable with the 85/15 rule: 85 percent of your calories should be from Paleo foods while 15 percent can be from non-Paleo foods that you enjoy!

By Aimee McNew
Podcast with Dr. Paul Saladino

Dr. Saladino interviews Dr. Cordain, Trevor Connor, and Mark J. Smith to debate the composition of the "real" Paleo Diet.

By The Paleo Diet® Team
Ten Questions about The Paleo Diet with Dr Loren Cordain

Read a transcript of Dr. Cordain’s recent interview in which he answers 10 questions about the history and the basics of the Paleo Diet.

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
The Paleo Diet: Designed by Nature, Built By Science

The Paleo Diet is the diet we evolved over a million years to eat and there is still a lot of science to show why it is still the best human diet.

By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Eliminating Non-Paleo Foods Improves Nutrient Density

We compare the nutrient density of Paleo foods to non-Paleo foods to show the health benefits of eating natural foods.

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Paleo Leadership
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark J. Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.