Paleo Diet Criticism

The Paleo Diet is more than a diet. For many people, it is a lifestyle: a return to our genetics to eat and sleep as our ancestors did. In recent years, it has gained a lot of praise and recognition. However, because of its popularity, the Paleo Diet has come under fire from anthropologists, dieticians and other critics. From questioning the diet’s basics to criticizing its cost, these opponents bring up several arguments that Paleo dieters should examine and understand rather than ignore. To that end, here are the top 5 criticisms of the Paleo Diet.

Paleo Diet Basics

There are many characteristics of the Paleo Diet that critics choose to attack, but the majority settle on questioning the diet’s fundamental foundations and claims. The Paleo Diet bases its fitness plan on the concept that rapid changes (due to agricultural and technological revolutions) has not given our biological bodies the chance to adapt to the alteration. It took humans millions of years to develop our modern makeup, and it was only within the last 10,000 that we transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one that was agriculturally-based. Because of this genetic similarity to our ancestors, proponents of the Paleo Diet suggest a “back to basics” lifestyle that best resembles how our old relatives ate, slept and exercised in the Paleolithic Age.

The Paleo Diet recommends its users to avoid foods that, for millions of years, these ancestors hadn’t access to: processed foods like dairy products and grains. Likewise, the diet recommends its users to consume foods that best resemble what hominins did eat: natural foods like vegetables and grass-fed meats.

Critics attack the diet’s basics by pointing out that humans have, in fact, evolved since the Paleolithic Era, and that basing a diet on what was available so long ago is a superfluous way to stay healthy. They also point out that several early civilizations—as far back as 100,000 years ago—did consume different types of grains. This is where the critics misunderstand the basics of the Paleo Diet. Advocates are aware the human body is constantly evolving and do not claim that the human is exactly the same as the hominins of the Stone Age. They only assert that we are still very similar to these ancestors. Regardless, grain consumption was rare and eating processed food was virtually nonexistent. And since our ancestors evolved without packaged or processed goods, the Paleo Diet’s claim that we are healthier without them still rings true.

Paleo Diet Plan For Weight Loss

Paleo Diet for Weight Loss – Alan Cleaver

Since we need to burn more calories than we consume in order to lose weight, the best way to ensure that we drop unwanted weight is to eat a healthy, well-balanced and low-fat diet. While other diets simply restrict your intake of certain foods, which leaves you hungry and at more risk of relapse, the Paleo Diet avoids these pitfalls by focusing on the long term. The Paleo diet’s imitation of our ancestor’s ingestion provides users with a large quantity of fruits, vegetables, protein, monounsaturated fats, and healthful omega-3. And because of protein’s thermic and filling effects (which is greater than both carbohydrates and fats) the diet boosts metabolism, speeds up the process of weight loss, and satisfies appetite. Within the first two weeks of the diet, significant weight loss is seen right away—which immediately lowers one’s risk of pre-diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Obviously, owing to the diet’s restrictive nature and low allowance of carbs, critics do not deny that the Paleo Diet is successful way to shed unneeded body fat. However, they do claim that it is very far from a healthy and long-lasting weight loss solution. Critics of the diet say that there certain nutrients excluded from the Paleo Diet that are vital to our health, and that regardless of potential weight loss they should not be excluded. These are the nutrients found in dairy, legumes and whole grains; and critics say that, without them, one develops an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and unhealthy weight gain.

What critics seem to forget, though, is that the essential nutrients that humans get from these food groups can be found elsewhere in the Paleo Diet. For instance, skeptics maintain that the Paleo Diet lacks necessary minerals like the calcium found in dairy products. What they don’t seem to realize is that calcium can be found in kale, spinach and many other green leafy vegetables.

Paleo Diet for Athletes

Athletes – DVIDSHUB

Much like their reaction to basic health and weight loss benefits, critics also deny that the Paleo Diet has anything special to offer athletes in lieu of other diets. More than anyone else, athletes need energy and strength in order to accomplish their physical and mental goals. Some critics say that the majority an athlete’s needed nutrients lies outside the Paleo Diet’s boundaries, but they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the Paleo Diet can often be the key to improving and perfecting an athlete’s performance, as well as extending his or her career. Because of a greater micronutrient content than the standard high sugar and starch diet, the Paleo lifestyle offers an enhanced and healthier long-term recovery—letting athletes train longer and with a increased stress load. Furthermore, there are many athletes in training who live off of nutrition bars and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade. For them, the Paleo Diet not only improves their performance, but introduces a healthier structure as well.

The Paleo Diet has proved to be especially effective with endurance athletes like bikers and runners—the best results appearing when the diet is paired with high intensity and resistance training. The exclusion of grains, minimization of carbohydrates, and increased animal fats allows athletes to use fat as fuel, maintain high testosterone levels, and increase their strength without increasing their weight. In short, it is a diet that grants athletes all the power and nutrients they need to recover in multistage and multiday games, races and competitions.



Paleo Diet Cost

Physical health aside, one of the top criticisms of the Paleo Diet is its price tag. Whether they are pro or anti-Paleo, almost everyone agrees that a diet centered around fresh fish, choice cuts, grass-fed meat, and organic fruit and vegetables can run up quite an expensive grocery bill. As a result, many critics consider the Paleo Diet a nutritional plan for a primarily rich and upper-class demographic. Surveys show that the typical Paleo Dieters are 21 to 40 year-old college graduates without children. Therefore, they have a higher income, less mouths to feed, and more money to spend on the types of food that the Paleo Diet recommends. What else would one expect when all the diet allows is high quantities of produce, fresh fish, organic nuts, expensive oils, rare flours, and grass-fed meats? When it comes down to it, the claim is that normal people simple can’t afford to commit to the lifestyle.

In some respects, this is right. The Paleo Diet calls for the freshest and best-quality food that our bodies can get, and that means a higher price. Nevertheless, the price you pay doesn’t have to come via your wallet. There are dozens of vigilant tricks and tips that you can implement to get your hands on the best foods without digging into your life savings. These include prioritizing your finances, executing a budget, watching for sales, purchasing meats, fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers, scheduling meals, buying in bulk, buying in season, buying the cheapest items, couponing, and storing excess food by freezing, fermenting and drying. You don’t have to squander money in order to benefit from the Paleo Diet. You just have to shop harder and smarter.

Paleo Diet Snacks and Brea kfasts

Paleo Snacks: Finger Steak Makeover @CabooseSpiceCo

The final criticism of the Paleo Diet is the problem of snacks and breakfasts. These are the meals that we have been conditioned to think of as heavily dairy and grain driven. Meals and snacks that consist of milk, toast, bagels, cereal, cookies, candy, granola, and other pastries have no place in the Paleo Diet—so what do we do? As far as customs go, the Paleo Diet is obviously lunch and dinner friendly with its meats and vegetables, but it can be snack and breakfast friendly as well.

One of the dangers of any diet is to have things on hand that are quick and easy to snack on. If you don’t, you might be tempted to eat something unhealthy just to satisfy your cravings. If you are on a Paleo Diet, some popular snacks to stock up on are nuts, seeds, olives, fresh fruit, dried fruit, peppers, pork rinds, chicken hearts, jerky, cans of tuna, cans of sardines, banana chips, salad shrimp, and organic hotdogs just to name a few. Breakfast can be just as challenging if you are new to the diet. While you can always eat leftovers from the day before, there are lots of “breakfasty” options to choose from. Some ideas and ingredients to consider include smoothies, herbal tea, onions, mushrooms, peppers, olive oil, grapefruit, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, kiwi, coconut milk, breakfast salads, ham, banana-nut pancakes, steak, Paleo donuts, waffles or pancakes, breakfast casserole, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken, turkey, nuts, olives, avocadoes, bacon, and eggs however you like them: boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, omelets, etc.





Due to individual bodies and lifestyles, there will never be a diet that is perfect for everyone. Based on these criticisms and people’s personal body types, many dieters tweak the Paleo Diet to fit their own personal needs. Despite its focus on the Stone Age, the Paleo Diet’s rules are not set in stone, nor are they free of criticism. And, in the end, that’s a good thing.

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