58 minutes | Oct 4th 2020

Let's Chat, Diets: Paleo "Caveman Diet"

Welcome back to Let's Chat, Diets. This week we explore the "manly" sounding paleo diet commonly referred to as the "caveman diet". It's a diet that makes some healthy recommendations and does have a pretty good foundation however once again it's questionable claims put us off. So what can you eat on this diet?

  • Foods that can be hunted or fished (Meat & fish. Meat preferably grass-fed of wild game)
  • Gathered such as eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices

What can you not eat? (Stay tuned as Tom has found some evidence to suggest some of what "you can't eat" was perhaps eaten by "cavemen"!)

  • Grains including wheat 
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • potatoes
  • Anything processed or with added salt
  • Alcohol

While there is no official "paleo diet" it tends to be low carb and high protein. Our main issue is that with its restrictive nature it's going to have some sustainability issues. With any diet, the key to long term success is that it's sustainable. There is no point doing a diet losing a stone rapid and then going back to normal and putting it back on and just repeating. This is not healthy.


Apart from giving our personal opinion on this diet, we take a look at some of the health-boosting claims made by those advocating the diet. Of course, we have the research ready to go!

  • Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight loss

We also look at the comical side as Tom brings up the good old "paleo pop tart" again. Bill does bring up a good point in defence however that although people are trying to imitate what the cavemen did we have to remember we are not so to keep saying oh well the cavemen didn't do that is a pretty simple argument and if you need to take something like a calcium supplement then do so as not to risk deficiencies.


New to the show? Head back to episode 1 "Let's Chat, Covid & Fitness" where we give an introduction into who we are and talk about the current state of ourselves and the fitness industry during this covid pandemic


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Studies Mentioned 

Palaeolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome

The diet of Australopithecus sediba

Mozambican grass seed consumption during the Middle Stone Age

Microfossils in calculus demonstrate consumption of plants and cooked foods in Neanderthal diets

Role of Dietary Salt and Potassium Intake in Cardiovascular Health and Disease

Whole-grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality

Cardiovascular and other effects of salt consumption

Legume consumption and CVD risk

Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and risk of fractures

Cutting through the Paleo hype: The evidence for the Palaeolithic diet