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The Paleo Diet Food List

Is The Paleo Diet Healthy

Paleo Diet for Beginners // Food List & Rules

Long-term studies dont offer much information on how the paleo diet affects health. However, the diet has the potential to be a healthy way of eating. The typical paleo diet focuses on naturally raised meat and fish, as well as vegetables and fruits. It promotes avoiding dairy products and grains.

This diet can put you at risk for deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, which are critical to bone health. At the same time, you may consume saturated fat and protein far above recommended levels due to eating so much meat. This can cause an increased risk of kidney and heart disease and certain cancers.

Complete Paleo Diet Food List

The paleo diet also known as the caveman diet, the hunter-gatherer diet, the Stone Age diet, or Paleolithic diet is considered by many as a natural eating habit that helps you get in touch with your ancestral roots. But how do you shop for paleo in the modern world? Weve got you covered with this paleo diet food list! Did you know you can skip the whole shopping thing to make paleo even simpler? By getting chef-curated paleo meals delivered straight to your door every week, you can have ready to go meals in minutes without grocery shopping OR cooking! Looks like there ARE some perks to modern eating.

What To Drink When Youre Thirsty

When it comes to hydration, water should be your go-to beverage.

The following drinks arent exactly paleo, but most people drink them anyway:

  • Tea. Tea is very healthy and loaded with antioxidants and various beneficial compounds. Green tea is best .
  • Coffee. Coffee is actually very high in antioxidants as well. Studies show that it has many health benefits .


Make water your drink of choice when following the paleo diet. Many people also drink tea and coffee.

This sample menu contains a balanced amount of paleo-friendly foods.

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Foods Allowed By A Modified Paleo Diet

If youre following paleo to a strict T, there are some thingslike legumesthat you wouldnt eat at all. However, some paleo followers have modified the diet to include foods like gluten-free grains, grass-fed dairy, and potatoes.

Here at Noom, we support this flexibility. Many non-paleo foods are full of nutrients. And, of course, many are delicious, too.

Why Is The Paleo Diet So Hard

Paleo Diet Grocery List

Some genetic rules that made sense for cavemen and did not cause any problems for them can really mess up a person’s diet in today’s society.

In the book Mean Genes: From Sex To Money To Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts, authors Dr. Terry Burnham and Dr. Jay Phelan make the case that we developed our survival-minded genes in a time of scarcity, and today those genes cause all kinds of problems in a modern society of affluence.

For example, for a caveman, it was necessary to have the genetic imperative that said load up on sweets like there is no tomorrow since sweets in those times were rare and most of the time not available. That same genetic imperative in today’s 24/7 society of instantly available sweets causes real problems.

It is helpful to keep this in mind as you begin the Paleo diet. Especially in the beginning, it may be incredibly challenging for you to give up carbs, the sweets and dairy .

It should get easier over time, but there may be moments when your genetic imperative takes over, and you will want to load up on sweets.

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What Can I Eat On The Paleo Diet

Eating like ancient humans sure sounds cool. But it brings up a lot of questions:

  • Is grass-fed cattle similar to the wild game Paleolithic people hunted?
  • Are potatoes okay? What about sweet potatoes?
  • What cooking oil should I use?
  • Do I have to give up all sweets?

It can also be tricky to figure which foods fit into which macronutrient categories. Like bacon, for instance. Is it a protein? Or a fat? Or both?

Questions like these are why we created this handy, Paleo food list infographic for folks who want to give it a go.

Fair warning: Most Paleo food lists give you a lot of hard-and-fast rules. So you might notice that our list is a bit different.

First, we showcased minimally-processed foods typically encouraged on the Paleo diet in an eat more section. If youre a Paleo purist, youll want to choose most of your foods from that category.

If youre more flexible, youll see that weve sorted highly-processed foods as well as some foods typically seen as Paleo no-nos into eat some and eat less buckets.

Take ice cream. Ancient humans didnt have freezers. Nor did they have Rocky Road. But maybe you want to have a small scoop once a week with your kids. Are you still on the Paleo diet?

According to our Paleo food list, you are.

Plus, as you put more focus on the eat more category, youll probably find that you naturally eat less from the other categories.

and use the step-by-step process to decide which foods match your Paleo goals.

Shop Outside The Aisles

If all else fails, this simple rule of thumb may make it really easy to shop for paleo foods. The layout of most grocery stores is quite simple: in the inner aisles, you will typically find packaged, processed foods. Things like bread, pasta, cereal, flour, sugar, etc. For the most part, many of the foods stocked in the inner aisles of a grocery store will probably be “non-paleo approved items.”

Every now and then you may find some “paleo” food items in the inner aisles , but that is an exception, not the rule.

Typically, if you are shopping the outer aisles of a grocery store there will be produce, meat, poultry, eggs, and bulk food section. All of these areas tend to provide you with the foundation of a paleo diet, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats.

If you find yourself lacking a clear direction when grocery shopping, using this simple rule should help you create a clear path and help you avoid the variety of temptations within the aisles.

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Did Cave People Really Eat Mostly Meat

People living in the Paleolithic period, or cave people, ate whatever their surroundings offered them. When surrounded by fish or marine life, thats what they ate. In tropical habitats, people ate a variety of plant and animal foods. Calling a diet that consists mostly of protein the paleo diet isnt accurate. Also, people living in earlier times simply didnt live to the age when chronic diseases typically emerge.

Paleo Diet: What It Is And Why It’s Not For Everyone

Ultimate Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Food List

The popular Paleolithic diet, or paleo diet, centers on the idea that eating like our ancestors aligns with our genetics and promotes good health. Its also known as the caveman, Stone Age, or steak and bacon diet. A paleo dieters food choices are limited to what could be hunted, fished, or gathered in prehistoric times such as meats, fish, and vegetables.

The theory is that the rise in chronic diseases in modern society stems from the agricultural revolution. It suggests that adding grains, legumes, and dairy to meals may lead to a host of chronic diseases and conditions from obesity to allergies.

UC Davis Health registered dietitians answer some of your questions about the paleo diet.

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Forbidden Foods On The Paleo Diet

One helpful way to figure out if the food is forbidden is to imagine the foods the cavemen/women had access to.

Basically, you can’t eat anything that wasn’t readily available 300 generations ago by people living in caves.

No Sweets

Technically, the only source of sugar allowed in the Caveman diet is fresh WHOLE fruits. In the book The Paleo Diet, Dr. Cordain prohibits even freshly squeezed fruit juices since they lack fiber and have a higher glycemic index.

So ALL OTHER TYPES of sugar, including the below types of sugar, are forbidden.

Tip: If you ever have a sweet tooth and must eat something sweet, we recommend using a safe, natural herbal sugar substitute that has been used for hundreds of years, called Stevia.

No Grains

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or other cereal grain is a grain product.

Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products. That includes corn and corn products.

The average caveman may have come across the occasional wild grain, but that would have been rare and probably not very popular.

Nibbling on raw wheat kernels is not that tasty. Bread is tasty, but that is a wheat product that cavemen did not have access to.

No Cereal-Grain Like Seeds

These include amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa.

No Starchy Vegetables

This means no potatoes, no sweet potatoes, and no yams.

No Legumes

Peanuts, peas and beans are forbidden on the Paleo diet plan.

No Dairy Products

No Salt-Containing Foods

Paleo Diet Food List: Foods To Consider And Consume In Moderation

  • Starchy Tubers: Because these foods cannot be eaten raw, they were not included in the ancestral diet. Starchy tubers include potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, and manioc. Beets are debatable.
  • Salt: The modern diet contains far more sodium than what our ancestors consumed. Most Paleo experts feel the imbalanced ratio of sodium to potassium is of critical importance. Eating more potassium-rich plant foods and choosing unrefined sea salt can provide a blend of minerals closer to what Paleos consumed.
  • Alcohol: Paleos were thought to have consumed fermented fruit as a source of alcohol. However, strict Paleolithic diets disallow alcohol completely.
  • Coffee & Tea: Paleos did not consume coffee or tea. Green tea is considered the most Paleo of commonly consumed hot beverages.

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The Ultimate Paleo Diet Food List: The Paleo Grocery List You Need


The Paleo diet is a nutrition plan based on the types of food that are thought to have been eaten by our ancestors back in the day. The Paleo diet eliminates all refined, processed foods that contain GMOs, added sugars, and avoids food that is farmed. Weve provided a Paleo grocery list to help you get started.

In this Guide:

Who Shouldnt Try The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet: Eating Modern Daily Foods in the Paleolithic Lifestyle ...

Before you try the paleo diet, be sure to discuss any underlying health issues with your doctor. For example, people at risk for heart disease, those who have kidney damage, and those who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes should avoid the paleo diet.

But if your doctor has given you the green light to try the plan, nows the time to toss the foods that arent allowed and stock up on the ones that are.

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What Foods Can You Eat On The Paleo Diet

Fresh fruits, vegetables, meatthese food items are all on the menu when youre following a Paleo Diet. This diet is all about eating foods that come straight from the earth . It is recommended that you buy grass-fed and organic varieties of as many food products as possible to limit the intake of pesticides, antibiotics, and toxic chemicals that didnt exist back in the day.

What Is The Evidence Behind A Paleolithic Diet

In general, the studies and research that have looked into Paleolithic diets so far have only involved very small numbers of people. Many have not involved long-term follow-up or control subjects .

A study published in 2014 brought media attention because it did include control subjects. It also involved slightly larger numbers of people and followed up participants for a little longer. The study involved a group of 70 women who had gone through the menopause. The women were split into two groups: a group who followed a low-fat Nordic diet that did not exclude any food group , and a group who followed a Paleolithic diet. The two groups of women were followed up for two years.

Even though those who were following a Paleolithic diet had lost more weight at six months, at two years weight was the same in both groups. There was a difference in triglyceride levels between the two groups at two years. . The women on the Paleolithic diet had better triglyceride levels at two years. However, the women in the control group still had levels of triglycerides that were thought to be safe.

The bottom line is that it is very difficult to draw specific conclusions from the studies carried out on a Paleolithic diet so far. Studies involving larger numbers of people that look at the more long-term health effects are needed before health benefit claims of Paleolithic diets can be backed up.

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Paleo Diet Food List: Choosing Meats Fish & Eggs

  • Grass-Fed Meats, Pastured Poultry & Wild Game: Meats, seafood and eggs are the cornerstone of the Paleo diet, comprising up to 70% of the daily plate. But these foods were nutritionally very different than the supermarket variety animal foods that account for 90% of what we consume today. In Paleo times, there were no growth hormones or antibiotics, no grain feeding of cattle and no feedlots animals were pastured or grass-fed. The meats and eggs from animals that graze on grass and pasture provide a different fat profile and more nutrients than the animal products most people consume today.
  • Wild Fish: Fish provided a rich source of nutrients in the ancestral diet. But unlike 80% of the fish we consume today which comes from fish farms Paleo fish were wild fish. Like grass and pasture grazing land animals, wild fish provide a very different fat profile than farm-raised fish. Plus, no chemical contaminants like antibiotics and polychlorobiphenyls hormone disrupting chemicals linked to diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.

What Is The Paleo Diet

A Better and Easier Paleo Diet Food List

The premise behind “eating paleo” is that the current Western diet is contributing to the rise of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and cancer. Paleo diet proponents claim, eating this way can reduce inflammation, improve workouts, increase energy, help with weight loss, stabilize blood sugar and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

The pros of paleo are that it focuses on increasing intake of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and healthy fats and decreasing consumption of processed foods, sugar and salt. For those looking to eat a more well-rounded diet, these “guidelines” sound familiar and altogether healthy.

However, the paleo diet also advocates cutting out grains, dairy and legumes, and this has caused controversy among scientists. These foods, despite what paleo advocates claim, are healthful and can be good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Get Inspired:Healthy Paleo Recipes

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Sample Paleo Meal Plan

Let’s take a look at a simple, yet satisfying one-day paleo meal plan to show how easy it is to enjoy delicious food on the paleo diet:

  • Breakfast: Omelette made of two eggs with onions and green peppers
  • Lunch: Oven roasted chicken breast with steamed asparagus
  • Snack: An apple or pear and a handful of walnuts
  • Dinner: Pot roast with carrots and celery, gravy, and a side salad

Eating Out on Paleo

But How Can I Lose Weight If I Can Eat All I Want

A diet limited to the foods mentioned above will make it difficult for you to overeat in the long run. It is natural that your appetite will decrease, while at the same time, your metabolism will increase.

In most cases, the foods we crave and can eat in excess are starches, fats, and sugars combined. You can always have some extra ice cream or cake after dinner, but probably not as much raw carrots or meat.

You will naturally eat less and your metabolism will improve, burning more calories , if you limit yourself to food items that are really hard to overeat.

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The Paleo Diet Beginners Guide Including Best Vs Worst Foods

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

In the past few decades, our diets have changed dramatically. Highly processed foods are more common than fruits and vegetables, as Americans opt for convenient choices that fit in to their busy lifestyles. Enter the Paleo diet plan, which seeks to ditch processed options in favor of the foods eaten by our ancestors.

The Paleo diet has been associated with many health benefits, from better blood sugar levels to reduced inflammation. Its considered one of the best diets to lose weight because its high in protein and fat and emphasizes the consumption of nutrients.

It may also increase satiety and help correct nutrient deficiencies. Still, the diet has remained the subject of much controversy in recent years.

Despite this, the Paleo diet plan remains very popular, and there is a massive community of people who swear by it, claiming that it can be a convenient, easy-to-follow and effective way to attain better health.

So what is it, and does it work? Heres your Paleo diet beginners guide.

The Paleo Diet Food List

Losing the Baby Weight: How This Mom Does Paleo

The nice thing about being on the Palo diet plan is that you won’t be hungry. You may be dissatisfied because you can’t eat your favorite foods , but you won’t be hungry.

If you do some research, there are several versions of the Paleo diet food list. The below lists are compiled based on Dr. Cordain’s book The Paleo Diet.

For example, fatty meats, bacon and sausages are prohibited according to the book, but you will see many online Paleo recipes that include bacon and sausages.

It’s probably easier not to sweat the details and use common sense and your best judgment. It is far more critical in this diet to eliminate sweets, grains and dairy than to eat the right type of meat.

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