name of the caveman diet — also known as the paleo diet — conjures up images of
burly, masculine men, savagely hunting wild beasts and gorging themselves on
wild game roasted over open flames. However, this do-it-yourself diet doesn't
mean chasing down deer that wander into your backyard.
willpower-fueled diets, the caveman diet takes a more animalistic, primitive approach
to eating, which involves enjoying food and feasting. Some proponents of the
diet argue that the calorie counting found in many other diets is against man's
diet concentrates on foods similar to those that were available during the
Paleolithic era, which lasted from about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. In
other words, foods that humans ate prior to farming and domesticated animals — and eons before food processing.
There are many
different versions of the caveman diet and there is no one official plan.
Generally, the goals of all caveman diets are to train your body to crave foods
high in nutrition (and void of sugars, salts, and dairy products), and to teach
you to thoroughly enjoy your food through eating with your hands and taking
time to savor each meal.
in addition to promoting “paleo” foods, include instructions for intermittent
fasting. Caveman diets that advocate this practice believe it helps the body
detox and mimics our ancestors’ decreased and inconsistent access to food. Here
is an example of one caveman diet plan with built-in fasts, called the caveman
- Stage one: For the first two to four weeks, you drink
a large glass of water right after waking up. Throughout the day, you
"graze" on fresh fruit and unsalted nuts. At the end of the day, you
have one big meal where you eat whatever you want (burgers, fries, pizza, etc.).
This plans says that indulging after each fast will eventually make you crave
- Stage two: For the next two to eight weeks, you continue
the morning water ritual. During the day, you fast and eat absolutely nothing
while drinking water to help the detoxification process. At the end of the day,
you feast on meat, eggs, berries, root vegetables (except potatoes), and nuts.
- Stage three: During this stage, you continue with
the morning water routine and your evening feast, but you can succumb to your
hunger during the day by eating unprocessed, natural foods such as lean meats,
fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. You can remain in
this stage for as long as you'd like.
diets also promote daily physical activity.
diet isn’t about shedding a few pounds to look better naked. It’s a full-life,
holistic approach. This diet claims it will help you get rid of unwanted fat,
cleanse the body of built-up toxins, sharpen the mind, and provide a deeper
connection to your body's primal, inner being.
One of the
biggest health benefits of the caveman diet is that it shuns salt, sugar,
processed foods, and other ingredients that are commonly overconsumed by
Americans. The core of the diet emphasizes foods that are very nutritious: lean
meats, raw vegetables, large volumes of water, and raw fruits and nuts.
On the other
hand, the diet entirely excludes a large category of food — starches, like
legumes and grains — as well as dairy products. Long-term effects of
insufficient intake of carbohydrates and calcium can lead to deficiencies in
vital minerals and nutrients. Although detoxing is only one small selling point
of this diet, it’s important to note that detox diets have little scientific
support. Your kidneys and liver already do an incredible job of filtering any
toxins you consume.
feature intermittent fasting may be difficult for some people to manage and maintain
for such a long time. Imagine how hard it would be to regularly avoid brunches
and lunches with friends and family to stick to your diet. Eating one meal per
day stands in contrast to most other weight loss diets that suggest several
small meals and snacks to keep metabolism at its peak.
plan can be expensive, since it promotes eating organic, natural foods — such as grass-fed and wild-caught meats — which tend to cost more than other options.
The pros and
cons of the diet depend on the extremes to which a person takes it. It’s a fairly
open-ended diet and people can abuse the loose guidelines that allow them to
eat whatever amount of food they want.
The diet encourages
weaning the body off of salt, sugar, processed foods, and other harmful
ingredients that lead to pervasive obesity in American culture. The focus on
natural, healthy foods is one that doesn't follow the normal stereotype of
"fad" diets, and it promotes overall nutritional simplicity. This
diet also advocates the importance of being physically active, a crucial part
of a healthy lifestyle. Some studies have backed up the caveman diet’s
potential to help with weight loss. A review presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting examined seven studies of
paleo-style diets and found that these plans resulted in more significant
weight loss than other diets, specifically when the research involved short
trials lasting three to 15 months.
Due to the complete
elimination of certain carbohydrates and dairy, it may be hard for some people
to stick with the caveman diet for a long time. Sure, your body may crave
healthy food, but that doesn't mean you won't also be tempted by the occasional
One main issue
with this diet is its premise: the idea that our bodies are evolutionarily primed
to eat the foods our ancestors ate tens or even hundreds of thousands of years
ago. In reality, we simply aren’t biologically identical to humans that lived
10,000-plus years ago — and the same goes for even the
most organic food we have available to us. Even if this were the case, we don’t
really know what people ate back then. Human species were spread all over the
globe even back then, and were eating a variety of diets. We have only a vague
idea of what foods they had, how much they ate, or how often. Another caution
about the caveman diet applies to any diet that eliminates entire foods groups
(grains and dairy in this case): Such plans run a strong risk of being
unbalanced and low in certain important nutrients.
being said, the hunter-gatherer vibe of the diet could appeal to men who want
to tap into their inner warrior as an inspiration to better their health.