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What is the Caveman Diet? Is it a Healthy Diet Option?

By Expert HERWriter
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Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

In the last several months there has been much buzz about this “new” diet, called the caveman diet or the Paleolithic diet. I’m not sure how “new” it really is, given that it refers to the timeframe during the Paleolithic period from about 2 million year ago up to about 10,000 years ago.

As you can imagine 2 millions years ago the food options available were more limited than what we have available today. The basics of the diet are lean meats, wild-grown vegetables, fruit, and nuts.

The diet doesn’t include anything that was not around during that time including grains, legumes or dairy as part of the diet. It should go without saying but I will mention it here no cookies, candy, pastries, pastas, processed foods or meats.

The research on the Paleolithic diet is quite interesting, showing comparisons between the vitamins and minerals content in food, as well as the amount and type of food that was eaten during cavemen times and today.

The basic conclusion was the food that was eaten during the Paleolithic period was more nutrient-dense and created better overall health then the Standard American Diet of today, which generally consists of highly processed foods, grains, junk food, meats and a few vegetables or fruits.

It is also important to note that the lifestyle of the caveman was much more physical, so the amount of food they took in during the day was more, because they using more energy everyday than today’s activities.

On this diet people are eating meats that are raised on grass and natural food sources instead of grain feed, with hormone-injected meat. This type of meat tends to be leaner, less saturated fats, and have more balanced essential fatty acids.

Vegetable and fruits are in season, locally grown with no wax or pesticides. Nuts are eaten raw, no salt or roasting. The amount of fiber from plant foods creates better heart health, lower risks for certain cancers. If anyone is overweight the changes in the diet will cause weight loss as well.

One study took a group of generally healthy people and put them on the caveman diet for 10 days. The results were incredible. The participants experienced improved blood pressure and better ability to manage blood sugar in the body.

This happened without any weight loss. It happened with changing the types of food the person puts into their body. It's a wonderful example of how even “healthy” people, people without any diagnosed disease can improve their bodies ability to operate better, by focusing on more nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis.

The take-home message is that the more high quality food you can eat the more you are investing in your own great health.

Live Vibrantly,

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com

Dr. Dae's Bio:

“Dr. Dae" (pronounced Dr. Day) Daemon Jones is a Naturopathic Physician who treats the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.


Eaton, SB , SB Eaton,, III, and MJ Konner. "Review Paleolithic nutrition revisited: A twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51 (1997): 207-216. Print.

Frassetto, LA , M Schloetter, M Mietus-Synder, RC Morris Jr, and A Sebastian. "Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63 (2009): 947–955. Print. Abstract:

"Healthy Eating Plate vs. USDA's MyPlate - Healthy Eating Plate - The Nutrition Source - Harvard School of Public Health ." Harvard School of Public Health - HSPH. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/healthy-eating-plate-vs-usda-myplate.

"USDA's MyPlate.gov - What foods are in the vegetable group? ." USDA's MyPlate - Home page . N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/vegetables.html.

Reviewed November 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

We should eat healthy today but 'cavemen' were opportunistic and ate whatever they could get.. Their calorie needs were far higher than ours, especially in the ice ages or cold climates. Fatty meats were welcome and frequent.

January 6, 2012 - 8:52pm
EmpowHER Guest

The Paleo Diet seems to be catching on. The idea behind the diet is healthy. Eat what we naturally are meant to eat. Fresh foods, meats and nuts. Take fast foods and processed meats out of your menu. Along with healthy exercise. Sounds healthy to me. However the diet has had some bad press also. I think its best to do some research and find what works best for you. Find what foods are allowed in the diet, Paleo Diet Food ListPaleo Diet Food List and see if this diet could be your answer.

December 24, 2011 - 7:43am
EmpowHER Guest

I'm impressed, I have to say. Really seldom do I encounter a blog thats both informative and entertaining,I recommend the paleo diet for everyone.It is really a healthy and nurture diet.http://www.cavementimes.com

December 20, 2011 - 3:04am
EmpowHER Guest

Lifestyle has changed much for last 10,000 years.Today human being have a an easy access to the food they want.The hard work of the people have reduced.It is causing rise in the obesity in people.Diet you are writing about is really good & it can certainly helps in reducing obesity.

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December 14, 2011 - 9:50pm

I've lost 90+ pounds so far from eating meats, fruits, and vegetables with very rare grain or dairy intake.  It works!!


December 1, 2011 - 5:36am
EmpowHER Guest

This diet incorporates nutritionally dense foods that work with your body not against it like refined carbohydrate sources such as grains, sugar and the like. Foods that provide optimal nutrition which = optimal health. This is the worlds healthiest diet and once free of the masking effects of sugar addiction, these foods are simply amazing. This is certainly a diet to thrive on being suitable not just for the man or woman in the street but, athletes and even pets too.

Before anyone says I would say that as I'm promoting for personal gain, I would just point out that Paleoworks is a public limited not for profit organisation. So please feel free to pop by and see for yourself.
Mike - Paleoworks

November 30, 2011 - 1:44pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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