That’s the average number of people searching for “Paleo diet” on Google each month in 2015.
The Paleo diet (AKA the caveman diet) is clearly still a very popular diet today (mostly due to its weight-loss benefits), but there are many misconceptions and confusions surrounding what it is.
Here are some of the questions and comments I’ve gotten about the Paleo diet:
- Do you eat raw meat then?
- French wheat is better so you should be able to eat that!
- Surely cavemen didn’t have microwaves!
- Is Paleo like the Atkins diet?
So, if you’re also a bit confused about what the Paleo diet is and why so many people are flocking to it, here are 4 facts about Paleo that might surprise you.
4 Surprising Facts About the Paleo Diet
1. Vegetables are highly touted
Most news articles about Paleo mention bacon, eggs, and meat as central components of the Paleo diet. But vegetables are actually highly touted by most Paleo experts, and green shakes and salads play a huge part in the Paleo diet. There are even vegetarians following a Paleo diet!
2. Carbs are not evil
While the Paleo diet is often considered a low-carb diet similar to the Atkins diet, high-carb foods like sweet potatoes have always been considered a part of the Paleo diet. In the past few years, other “safe starches” like white potatoes and white rice have been increasingly considered healthy Paleo foods as well (with the caveat that people with certain health conditions or weight loss goals may find it more beneficial to avoid them).
3. Sleep, exercise, and relaxation are huge components
Food is not the only part of the diet – sleep, exercise, and relaxation are also highly emphasized. Not only does modern science back up the important role that these elements play in improving our health, but our Paleolithic ancestors are thought to have gotten plenty of sleep, exercise, and relaxation as well.
This is also why many people call Paleo a lifestyle rather than a diet.
4. Paleo has evolved past the cavemen
The idea for the Paleo diet started when scientists looked at the diet and health of Paleolithic humans, but most Paleo experts do not just expound theories based on what humans might have eaten way back when. If you read the posts from experts like Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, and Dr. Loren Cordain, you’ll see links to plenty of scientific studies on health and nutrition.
So, while the Paleo diet might have started off as the caveman diet, it has generally evolved past that prehistoric era to become a diet heavily based on modern thoughts and science.
So, if eating steak, bacon, and eggs isn’t the Paleo diet, what is it?
Like any diet, there’s no 100% consensus of what is Paleo and what isn’t. But the general idea is to eat foods like vegetables, seafood, meats, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and to avoid foods like grains, legumes, processed sugars, and seed oils.
A comprehensive paleo diet food list can be found here.
As mentioned above, sleep, exercise, and relaxation are also huge elements within Paleo as well as eating organic produce (if possible) and meats that are ethically sourced.
Will the Paleo Diet die out?
Many articles have proclaimed the Paleo diet as a fad diet. Currently it’s not showing signs of dying out as evidenced by the number of Google searches each month.
Eating a Paleo diet is also becoming easier and easier as more Paleo bakeries and restaurants are popping up (mostly in North America and Australia) and more and more Paleo cookbooks are being released. Many traditional restaurants and grocery stores even label certain sections of their market or menu as Paleo!
So, if you’re looking to lose weight or resolve some chronic health issues, then you might want to look into the Paleo diet to see if it could play a part in your life.
About Louise Hendon
Louise Hendon is the co-founder of Paleo Flourish Magazine and has been eating a Paleo diet for over 6 years. Not only has Paleo helped her to lose weight, but it has also helped her get rid of her heartburn and autoimmune symptoms.