Ocnutrition’s Blog

Should We Eat Like a Caveman?
June 30, 2011, 3:06 pm
Filed under: General Nutrition, Weight Management

Getting back to basics and eating only the foods that people could hunt or gather is what the Paleo Diet is based on.  This diet has become increasingly popular with its message that the standard Westernized diet we currently consume isn’t what our body has been genetically adapted to process.  Eating paleo is broadcasted as the most natural way for our body to eat but is this true and is the diet nutritionally sound?

Proponents of the diet believe that people during the Paleolithic time period ate the healthiest and didn’t suffer from today’s
problems like obesity or cardiovascular issues.  This ancestral diet boils down to eating unlimited fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and seafood.  But it would require giving up all grain or dairy products because those foods weren’t around at that time.

At first eating exclusively paleo foods sounds great because of the high amounts of antioxidants, soluble fiber, and “good fats” but at what expense?

  • Not eating any grain products, especially whole grains, would mean missing out on a good source of necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Not eating grains generally leads to a diet that is too low in carbohydrates.  The main carbohydrate sources in the paleo diet are fruits and vegetables and to meet the minimum carbohydrate recommendation for a 2000 calorie diet you would have to eat about 18 cups of fruits and vegetables.  This isn’t realistic for most people.
  • Life without milk can mean low calcium intake.  Calcium plays a major role in our bone health and inadequate calcium can put you at higher risk for osteoporosis.
  • It can take a toll on your pocketbook.  Eating the large amounts of protein that the diet calls for can put a dent in your grocery bill.  Lean meats and seafood don’t come cheap.

A good diet is one that incorporates all the food groups.  By consuming a wide variety of foods, including dairy and grains, you are ensuring that you get all the nutrients your body needs.  If there is anything to learn from eating like a caveman it is that we should eat more fruits and veggies!

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Amanda Sauceda, CSULB Dietetic Intern.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services over the phone or in person in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino Hills and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH,
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788

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