Paleolithic (Primitive) Diet

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-13 (EDT)

See Also Naturopathic Therapies
See Also Clinical Nutrition

A primitive diet, or paleolithic diet (also referred to as the Paleo Diet) includes whole, alive, fresh, varied, non-toxic, endogenous, naturally flavored and simple foods. It was a diet where about 99% of the food came from vegetables, fruit, roots, lean meats, legumes and nuts. It is a very nutrient-dense diet.[1]

The Paleolithic diet was first introduced by Dr. S. Boyd Eaton in 1985 and has been developed by other researchers and physicians including Loren Cordain.[2]


What Is Included

The paleolithic diet includes:[2]

  • Avoid really starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava root.
  • If insulin resistance or obesity is a concern limit high-sugar fruits such as grapes, bananas, cherries and mangos.
  • Green beans and peas are legumes, not vegetables and are not included.
  • Note: peanuts are legumes, not nuts, and are not included.
  • Moderate amounts of fats and oils such as olive, avocado, walnut and flaxseed oils.
  • If weight loss is a goal limit oils to 4 tablespoons or less a day
  • Moderate amounts of mineral water, coffee, tea, wine, beer or spirits.
  • Limit wine to two 4-ounce glasses, beer to one 12-ounce serving or spirits to 4 ounces.
  • Moderate amounts of dried fruits (maximum 2 ounces a day)

The Paleo Diet is considered a diet that consists of:

  • Food that is alive as processed and stored food starts to deteriorate and looses nutritional value.
  • Fresh, nutrient-dense foods.
  • A large variety of foods.
  • Safe, clean foods without additives or preservatives.
  • Seasonal foods that are locally grown.
  • Natural flavours, not synthetic.
  • Foods eaten in their natural state, not manufactured or processed.

A paleolithic diet is:[3]

What Is Not Included

The following are not allowed on a Paleo diet:[2]

  • Starchy vegetables including potatoes (also potato chips and french fries), yams, sweet potatoes, cassava root, manoic and tapioca pudding
  • Dairy
  • Very few, if any cereal grains including wheat, potatoes, corn, barley, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum or wild rice
  • Non-gluten based grains such as amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa are best avoided or used minimally
  • Legumes, including peas, green beans and peanuts
  • Salt and salt containing foods such as commercial salad dressings and condiments, deli meats, ham, hot dogs, ketchup, olives, pickled foods, processed meats, salted nuts, salted spices, smoked or salted fish or meat, canned foods
  • The only sugar is honey, and only in moderation
  • Trans fatty acids or Saturated fats
  • Fatty meats including bacon, bacon bits, bologna, breakfast sausage, chicken and turkey skins, chicken wings, deli meats, fatty lamb or pork chops, pepperoni, pork sausages, salami or spam.
  • Soft drinks and fruit juices including all sugary soft drinks, canned, bottled and freshly squeezed fruit drinks (which lack the fiber of fresh fruit and have a much higher glycemic index).
  • Sweets including candy, honey and sugars.
  • Processed food


The Paleolithic diet can be beneficial in the treatment of the following conditions:


  1. Eaton SB, Eaton SB III, Konner MJ (1997) Paleolithic nutrition revisited: A twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications European Journal of Clinical Nutrition;51(4):pp.207-216.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cordain Loren (2011) The Paleo Diet, Revised Edition, Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.
  3. Prousky Jonathan 2008 Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition, CCNM Press, Toronto.