Paleo Diet Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

There is a lot of confusing and contradicting information out there when it comes to the Paleo diet. With dozens of self-proclaimed experts, and hundreds of interpretations of what it means to eat Paleo, it’s only natural that this would happen.

Here are clear answers to some of the most pressing Paleo questions so you can sort it out and get started.


What foods are recommended on Paleo?
Think like a hunter-gatherer and you’ll be on the right track. All types of meats, preferably organic, grass-fed, range-free, or wild game. All types of vegetables. Some fruit. Daily nuts and seeds.

What foods should I avoid on Paleo?

Processed, man-made foods of all types. Anything that requires cultivation and that came online with the dawn of agriculture. Grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar, many types of oils, fried foods, junk food, soda.

Is Paleo right for me?
If you can get on board with the idea that Paleolithic man had it right, and humans have been getting it wrong ever since, you might find a lot of happiness and success with the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo diet may not be the right diet for you if you’re against eating meat, or if you don’t want to be restricted from eating entire food groups like grains and dairy.

Keep in mind that there are many creative workarounds that allow you to still eat your favorite foods while on Paleo, substituting Paleo friendly ingredients for items that aren’t allowed.

Many are happy to stick with Paleo once they discover they can have pizza or cookies while still following the plan.

Where Can I find the best Paleo recipes?
Paleo recipes are scattered across the Internet, and aren’t always labeled as “Paleo”. You may find vegan and vegetarian recipes that are Paleo, Gluten-Free recipes that are Paleo, and even some traditional dishes that meet Paleo standards.

Any Whole30 recipe is also a Paleo recipe. At Paleo Grubs we try to bring you the best Paleo recipes from around Web, as well as from our own Paleo chefs.

Here are the 100 Best Paleo Recipes to get you started.

Does the Paleo diet work?
For most Americans the Paleo diet will show results because it will represent a great reduction in the amount of processed foods being eaten.

Becoming conscious of just how tampered with and tinkered with the “food” we’re sold is represents a big step forward for many new Paleo eaters.

Being more aware and more selective of what you eat can immediately start paying dividends in the way you feel and the amount of energy you have.

If you are patient enough this plan is sure to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, but just like any quality, long-term diet program it is not an overnight process.

How do I get started?
It’s as easy as cooking your next meal according to Paleo guidelines.

The great part about Paleo is there’s no equipment to buy, no book to read, or any one authority that is making up the rules.

You can start by eating more Paleo meals, and gradually phasing out your old way of eating, or going cold turkey on bad habits like junk food, fast food, and other sources of empty calories like sodas.
paleo comparison
Paleo and Other Diets

Is Paleo Whole30?
Whole30 starts with Paleo as its base, and then gets more strict from there. So the two are similar but not the same. 
Whole30 is based on a 30 day program that addresses several areas in your life, with your diet being just one area. It’s one way to get a strong Paleo foundation, but you don’t have to follow Whole30 in order to do Paleo. You can use Whole30 recipes, as these are inherently Paleo friendly.

Is Paleo just like Atkins?

Atkins focuses on a low-carb approach, and Paleo isn’t concerned about carbs at all. 
The Atkins approved food list shows you exactly what you can and can’t eat, and is to be followed to the letter.

Paleo is left more to an interpretation of what they would or would not have eaten in the days of cavemen, with only a few broad-sweeping no-nos like grains and dairy. 
A plate made up of Atkins foods and a Paleo meal might look the same, but essentially and philosophically they’re different.

Is Paleo better than Atkins?

For many, the Atkins diet will provide results in the short term, but as far as long-term stability goes the Paleo diet seems to be more effective. 
It doesn’t involve shortchanging yourself in any one area, and doesn’t make an enemy of carbs. It has a strong focus on bringing your eating back to a simpler time and using high quality ingredients. For that reason, in regards to sustained weight management and health, Paleo comes out on top.

Is the Paleo diet like the South Beach Diet?

The South Beach Diet follows a Mediterranean approach to eating, and a Mediterranean diet is akin to a Paleo diet because it is based off of eating what is available in local region.

There are of course some stark differences, including a Mediterranean diet allowing grains, dairy, and legumes while reducing the amount of meat being consumed. So while the two share some similar practices, they are very different. Success can be had with either diet when followed properly.

Is Paleo the same as gluten free?

Paleo is inherently gluten-free because it is grain free, and that includes wheat. It’s possible to eat a gluten-free diet that isn’t Paleo, because dairy, legumes, and other foods are gluten-free but not allowed on the Paleo diet.

Is Paleo or vegan better?
This really comes down to your own feelings on animals and whether or not you want to eat them as well as the things they produce.

Both a Paleo and vegan diet would be preferable to eating tons of refined and processed foods. Paleo may be easier to follow for the long term because while they both exclude a large number of foods, Paleo is meat-centric and there are always plenty of meat dishes you can cook up, and meat is always easy to find.

Is Paleo or vegetarian better?
A vegetarian diet has been shown to reduce the likelihood of heart disease and cancer.

While the same can’t be said for Paleo because research into the diet is forthcoming, there is reason to believe that eating the Paleo way also helps in these areas.

This basically comes down to your own feelings towards eating meat. Paleo will exclude things like grains and dairy, which a vegetarian would consume, and which more and more evidence points to these being detrimental to your health. As long as you don’t mind eating meat, Paleo appears to be the winner here.

Is Paleo a low carb or no carb diet
Paleo is not about counting carbs or limiting your carbs for the sake of losing weight.

For many this diet plan will likely be a reduction in the number of carbohydrates consumed because Paleo does away with foods that are laden with carbohydrates, and has you getting your carbs from better sources.

Paleo is not a calorie-counting diet, but when compared to the Standard American Diet it will contain fewer calories.

Compared to a diet centered on reducing calories, it is not a low calorie diet because many of the foods that are recommended, meats for example, are calorically dense.

Is Paleo low glycemic?
While Paleo doesn’t set out to be low glycemic, when you eat according to the Paleo recommended food list you’ll be choosing foods that rank low on the GI scale.

Is Paleo a weight loss diet?
One byproduct of following the Paleo diet is typically weight loss, and many use the diet for this result. But Paleo is more of a philosophy, and more about giving your body the fuel it needs to live your life to the fullest.
Is Paleo just another fad?
Paleo has the potential for being a fad because it has reached mainstream consciousness and awareness. 
This means that a large number of people will try it for a little while, and eventual want to stop because it is a “diet” and they’ll feel like they are being restricted from eating the foods they want. 
At that point it runs the risk of being written off by a large number of people as not working. However, this way of eating as stood the test of time, over 10,000 years, so it can hardly be considered a passing trend.

Does Paleo get rid of belly fat?
One of the main concerns of many dieters is belly fat. This is often the last stubborn spot of fat to go, even after successfully getting rid of other problem areas. 
While Paleo doesn’t specifically target belly fat, many Paleo followers have reported losing weight from that area in conjunction with being active and getting regular exercise.

What Paleo Is and Isn’t
what it is and isnt
Is Paleo too much meat?
Paleo is meat-centric, but it’s also vegetable-centric.
A popular misconception is that this is a meat-only diet, and a typical Paleo plate will just have a slab of beef on it, but this is not the case.

A properly portioned Paleo plate will have roughly the same amount of vegetables as meat, and many believe that vegetables should trump meat as the most important component of any meal, as meat would have been a random luxury for early hunters.

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Is Paleo unhealthy?
With any diet it’s possible to make it unhealthy by abusing certain privileges.

On Paleo you could take advantage of some of the authorized foods and overload yourself with bacon and other meat, or not eat enough vegetables.

But when you follow the diet accordingly and subscribe to the basic principles and philosophy it is not an unhealthy diet by any means.

Is Paleo vegan?
No, Paleo is not against eating meat or other animal byproducts like eggs or honey. It’s not possible to be a vegan and do Paleo, as meat factors heavily into most Paleo meals.

Taking out all animal products and byproducts from Paleo would make it not Paleo anymore.

Is Paleo vegetarian?
No, Paleo involves eating roughly equal portions of meat and vegetables at your main meals. It’s not possible to be a vegetarian and follow the Paleo diet, as you’d basically just be a vegetarian that doesn’t eat grains or dairy either.

Is Paleo wheat free?
Yes, Paleo involves getting rid of all grains, including wheat. It is one of the core foods that get dropped from a Standard American Diet and flies in the face of what is recommended by the USDA.

Is the Paleo diet unbiblical?
From a biblical standpoint of Adam and Eve being the first humans, the Paleo diet might be unbiblical because it acknowledges that there were cavemen 10,000 years ago and we evolved from them.

But as far as what is eaten on the Paleo diet, it is pretty close to other Biblical diets that recommend bringing your diet back to an earlier time, such as basing your diets around the foods that were available during the time of Jesus.
paleo diet health questions
Paleo and Health
Is the Paleo diet good for diabetes?
It’s still inconclusive as to whether Paleo is effective at preventing diabetes, or managing it if you already have it.

When followed correctly Paleo should help stabilize blood sugar levels, as it does away with refined sugars and starchy carbohydrates and focuses on meats, vegetables, and some fruit, as well as an intake of nuts and seeds with healthy fats.

Is Paleo good for high cholesterol?
Paleo can help bring down cholesterol levels when it is followed correctly. Even though you are eating meats which contain cholesterol, you are balancing it out with plenty of vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds that contain healthy fats which have been shown to lower levels of bad cholesterol.

Is Paleo heart healthy?
With the consumption of meat and fat that is so prevalent on Paleo, it seems counter intuitive that this could be a heart-healthy diet.

But the meats that are eaten are mostly lean, and the fats that are consumed are healthy fats, which have been shown to be part of a diet that is conscious of heart health.

Is the Paleo diet good for acid reflux?
There is anecdotal evidence that Paleo helps with GERD, although few scientific studies have confirmed this.

If you are suffering from acid reflux and looking for a non-pharmaceutical cure the number of people that have reported success with Paleo is too convincing not to try.

Is the Paleo diet good for acne?
For those whose acne is caused by or worsened by wheat or dairy, Paleo can help clear it up.

There are many causes of acne, so it’s hard to say whether Paleo will work to clear up a specific case. There isn’t any part of the Paleo diet that would cause acne to get worse.

Is the Paleo diet good for inflammation?
The Paleo diet is not exactly an anti-inflammatory diet, as it mixes plenty alkaline foods in the form of vegetables, with acidic foods in the form of meat.

For this reason it shouldn’t be considered if you’re looking for a diet that helps with excessive inflammation.

Is Paleo good for arthritis?
While some have reported that the Paleo diet helped with their arthritis, there isn’t enough compelling evidence to suggest that it’s a diet that will ease arthritis pain and symptoms.

Is Paleo good for gout?
Paleo allows for shellfish and other foods that can bring on a gout attack, so the gout prevention diet from your doctor supersedes any Paleo recommendations.

Following a modified Paleo diet that excludes the additional foods your doctor provides should help reduce the number of gout attacks experienced, and help manage your weight, a contributing factor for gout.

Is Paleo good for high blood pressure?
Losing weight and cutting out the iodized salt found in high amounts in processed foods should result in a natural reduction in blood pressure.

Keep in mind that you’ll also be eating a generous portion of vegetables as well as some fruit each day, so your fiber intake will increase.

An increase of fiber helps lower blood pressure, all else being equal. Always consult with your doctor regarding your blood pressure and follow their advice.

Does the Paleo diet get rid of cellulite?
Cellulite can be one of the peskier things to get rid of once you have it, and the Paleo diet can contribute to getting rid of your cellulite, but can’t be relied on solely to fix the problem.

Eating a diet like Paleo while taking additional steps to get rid of your cellulite may be effective.

Does the Paleo diet help fibromyalgia?
Those suffering from fibromyalgia have reported that the Paleo diet helped get rid of the symptoms.

Though no scientific evidence can back up these claims, it could be a good idea to follow the Paleo diet in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations.

Does the Paleo diet help keratosis pilaris?
By most accounts it appears that the Paleo diet can help with instances of keratosis pilaris.

One of the contributing factors to this skin condition is gluten, and Paleo is gluten-free thanks to its exclusion of all grains. The diet could also help fill any nutritional gaps that were causing the problem to worsen.

Is Paleo good for insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance occurs after years of bombarding the body with high amounts of carbohydrates typically found in the standard way of eating in America.

A diet low in carbohydrates, like the Paleo diet, will help to increase sensitivity to insulin, which is another reason why so many have experienced weight loss when they switch over to the Paleo way of eating.

Is Paleo good for PCOS?
It’s not bad for it, and in many instances can provide relief from some of the symptoms you’re experiencing.

The Paleo diet cuts out many of the foods that can worsen PCOS, which will provide short-term relief. As far as Paleo being a long-term solution, the jury is still out, but it is recommended to try the Paleo diet to see if it can be of some help.

side effects and contradictions
Side Effects/Contraindications

Does Paleo cause acne?
There isn’t anything in the Paleo diet that should be a cause of acne. Many Paleo followers report an improvement in their acne because they are cutting out foods that have been contributing to the acne problem.

There may be an initial acne outbreak when starting Paleo as it does represent a big dietary shift for most people, which could trigger more acne for a short time.

Does eating Paleo cause bad breath?
A low carb diet often produces bad breath, and the Paleo diet qualifies as low-carb because the carbohydrates you’ll be getting come from vegetables and fruit, so you won’t be getting too many.

That being said, there isn’t any reason why you’d have particularly worse breath because you’re eating Paleo, the same foods that cause bad breath on any diet plan will cause bad breath on Paleo. A cleaner digestive system may also help to counteract any bad breath worries.

Does the Paleo diet cause gas and bloating?
As long as you are following the diet correctly and getting your necessary vegetables there should be less gas and bloating because you’ll be avoiding foods that have been known to be harder to digest.

Cutting out grains, dairy, and legumes means you’ll be less likely to experience the stomach discomfort that often accompanies these food groups.

You’ll have an easier time identifying which Paleo-approved food is causing a bloating problem and avoid that as well, or eat them at midday, when your digestion is strongest.

Does Paleo cause cancer?
No scientific evidence exists to suggest that eating a Paleo diet causes cancer.

The exclusion of man-made chemicals and additives most assuredly makes you less likely to develop cancer. A diet that provides you with essential minerals from lean meat, and plenty of vitamins including phytonutrients and antioxidants from vegetables and fruits is going to help you prevent cancer.

You also cut out refined sugar, which may be linked directly to the development and growth of cancer cells in the body.

Does the Paleo diet cause constipation?
As long as you are eating the right amount of vegetables each day you should not experience constipation on the Paleo diet.

While there is a good amount of meat being eaten, which contains no fiber, there is also a plentiful amount of vegetables being eaten along with that meat to help the digestive system do its job.

You should also be drinking plenty of water throughout the day to help your digestive organs stay lubricated and able to do their jobs.

Does eating Paleo cause diarrhea?
Eating Paleo should not cause diarrhea, although you may have some digestive issues when you first make the switch over.

If you’ve been running a fiber deficit for several years you may notice a problem when you start to get the necessary amount of fiber into your system.

This shouldn’t be a long-term problem by any means, and may only occur once or twice.

Does the Paleo diet cause hair loss?
There’s no reason to suspect that the Paleo diet causes hair loss. The body may respond to a drastic change in diet with stress, which could lead to a period of hair loss.

But eating a balanced diet of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds would not cause hair loss in a person that was not otherwise prone to it.

Does Paleo cause headaches?
You may experience headaches when first starting Paleo, but Paleo is certainly not the cause.

Once you cut off all of the chemicals and additives that you’ve been consuming on a daily basis, things like MSG, caffeine, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Genetically Modified Organisms, artificial flavors and colors, refined sugars, iodized salt, and a host of other harmful ingredients, you may notice withdrawal symptoms which includes a headache.

After a few days to several weeks your body should acclimate to your new way of eating and headaches will be a thing of the past.

Does the Paleo diet cause heart disease?
It’s hard to determine if eating a Paleo diet causes heart disease, as Paleolithic man didn’t live long enough to develop it, and we don’t have records from that time period documenting causes of death.

Today eating Paleo as a diet is relatively new, and long-term studies have yet to be conducted on individuals that have eaten this way for most of their lives.

Judging from what is being eaten on a proper Paleo diet, lean meat and vegetables in roughly the same ratio, some fruit, nuts, and seeds to round it out, a Paleo diet seems in line with what is recommended to prevent heart disease, not cause it.

Does the Paleo diet cause stomach problems?
The Paleo diet is designed to correct the dietary imbalances that lead to stomach problems, not cause them.

For those that have trouble digesting grains and dairy, going Paleo usually makes those symptoms subside. Your digestive system may take some time to adjust to your new way of eating, but once you’ve followed the plan for a while it shouldn’t cause you stomach discomfort.

Does eating Paleo cause weight gain?
Some Paleo followers report gaining weight on Paleo. This should only happen if you are underweight, as Paleo will help get you to a healthy weight.

Weight gain on Paleo should only occur if you are trying to build muscle and lifting heavy weights. Aside from that you are probably not following the diet properly.

Lean meat is preferred over fatty meat, and nut intake should be kept within reason. Using the Paleo diet to load up on items like bacon or macadamia nuts, just because they’re allowed, would lead to weight gain.

Does Paleo make you feel better?
Cutting out all of the junk from your diet is a sure way to feel better.

Many Paleo followers reports a reduction in a number of symptoms from problems experienced by eating certain foods that the body doesn’t handle well.

Simply cutting out the hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, chemical additives, and genetically modified foods from your diet can work wonders on the way you feel throughout the day.

Replacing them with lean, organic meats, and plenty of fresh organic vegetables and fruit makes it highly likely that you’ll feel great.

Does paleo make you poop less or more?
This depends greatly on the amount of fiber you ate on a consistent basis before starting Paleo.

Paleo involves eating plenty of vegetables and some fruit each, and for many starting out on Paleo this is more all natural fiber than they are used to.

If you find that you’re pooping less while on Paleo it likely means you’re not eating enough vegetables to help the fiberless meat through your system.

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general questions
General Paleo Questions

Can I eat too much on Paleo?
The Paleo philosophy entails eating until you feel satisfied, but isn’t about stuffing yourself. While portion sizes are not a main concern of Paleo, you’ll still want to eat reasonable portions, but without stressing over their size.

Eat until you feel satisfied, and when you get hungry again, eat again. Listen to your body and don’t get lost in the details.

Can I eat too much fat on Paleo?
It’s possible to overdo it with the fat on Paleo, but we should be clear about the type of fat being consumed. Saturated fat from beef and other meats is kept to a minimum by eating lean cuts and limiting fatty choices like sausage.

Healthy fats are encouraged and come in the form of nuts, seeds, and oils like olive oil and coconut oil. As long as you are following the diet the right way you’ll be getting the right amount of healthy fat while keeping unhealthy fat to a minimum.

Can I eat as much as I want on the Paleo diet?
Paleo is not an all-you-can-eat mentality, but rather an eat-until-you-feel-content mentality.

You’re never discouraged from eating if you’re hungry, but you’ll want to make sure you have substantial meals when it’s time to eat. It’s not a grazing diet, but when where you sit and take the time to have a meal.

That meal should last you for hours, until your next meal time or until it’s time for bed. Eat until you feel satisfied at each of your meals and you’ll find that you don’t need to worry about how much you’re eating, and whether it’s

Can I cheat on the Paleo diet?
“Cheating” is a term used when dieting to refer to going off the authorized foods list. Some popular diets give you a cheat meal, or even a “free day” when you can eat whatever you want one day a week.

Applying this same type of thinking to the Paleo diet misses the point as to how the plan works. Cheating implies that there is one set way to eat, and anything outside of that way is considered wrong.

With Paleo you are adopting this as your way of life, and therefore you aren’t given a cheat meal or a free day, it’s just the way you eat all of the time.

That being said, if you do go off track with a meal, or a day, it’s not the end of the world and you should beat yourself up. Just get back on track with the following meal or the following day and note the way your body felt when you went back to your old ways.

Can I take vitamins on Paleo?
Vitamins shouldn’t be necessary if you are following a proper Paleo diet. Vitamin supplementation is popular in America because of the nutritional deficits created by an improper diet.

As long as you are eating a variety of vegetables each day, with a piece of fruit you’ll be getting plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. The meat you eat will provide you with the minerals needed, and you should be nutritionally sound without the need to take synthetic vitamins.

Does the Paleo diet make you tired?
The recommended foods on Paleo should leave you feeling good after you eat, with plenty of energy and no crash later. The carbohydrates that are being eaten in the form of vegetables, balanced with the protein from the meat should give you hours of sustained energy.

Does paleo make you lean?
All else being equal, Paleo should result in a leaner frame, especially if you aren’t very lean when starting the diet.

Feeding your muscle protein and amino acids from the food you’re eating, while switching your carbohydrate intake from grains to vegetables, coupled with the cutting out of dairy, junk food, fast food, and soft drinks, will almost always result in the average person becoming leaner.

Does paleo make you stronger?
Paleo alone might not make you stronger, but when you combine it with even a very basic weight lifting regimen, yoga, pilates, or other strength training program, it can play a big part in building strength.

How long should I stay on the Paleo diet?
The Paleo diet is designed to be a long-term diet that you can stay on indefinitely. Unlike other diets that are designed for 30, 60, or 90 days,

Paleo is something you can start today and stay on for the rest of your life. As long as you are enjoying it and are enjoying the benefits it provides, there isn’t any reason to go off it. What would you “go off” to?
How many/how much carbs, calories, almonds, eggs, protein, fat, bacon, avocados, fruit, etc. should I eat on Paleo?
You’re missing the point of Paleo. Counting and fussing over quantities is a modern way of thinking about food.

Early man didn’t fret over these sort of details, and neither will you once you see how easy it is to trust your body to tell you what it needs, and trust that nature can provide what your body needs. Eat from the list of Paleo foods until you feel satisfied.