Foods to Avoid on the Paleolithic Diet

The Paleolithic Diet, also known as the Paleo Diet, was created by Dr. Loren Cordain. Dr. Cordain states that this diet works because individuals will focus on eating the types of foods that the human body was designed to consume. Stone Age ancestors did not have many grains readily available, and therefore, this food, in addition to several other foods, are limited on the Paleo Diet. By limiting these foods and increasing protein, individuals will be able to maximize their metabolism, increase their energy levels and potentially prevent some heart disease and cancers.

Foods like lean meats, poultry, seafood, fruits and non-starch vegetables are promoted on this diet. Below is a list of foods that should be avoided when on the Paleolithic Diet. Do not worry, Dr. Cordain does not expect you to eliminate all of these items from your diet immediately, but to gradually wean them from your diet.

Dairy Foods To Avoid

Dairy products were non-existent in the ancient days, therefore they are not allowed on this meal plan. Below is a list of all dairy products that should be avoided:

  • All foods made with dairy products
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • All varieties of milk (low fat, skim or whole)
  • Yogurt
  • Nonfat dairy creamer
  • Powdered milk

Grains To Avoid

Because the caveman did not have the availability to process grains or starches, these foods are banned on the Paleolithic Diet. Below is a list of all banned grains:

  • Barley
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat
  • Wild Rice
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa

Be aware that all foods that contain any of these ingredients are also banned.

Vegetables To Avoid

  • All Beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu (all forms including miso)
  • Peanuts (and peanut butter)
  • Snow peas
  • Snap peas
  • Cassava root
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tapioca
  • Yams

Salty Foods to Avoid

Because during the Paleolithic time, excess salt was not available (and therefore not utilized as a preservation method), it cannot be consumed under this meal plan. Below are banned salty foods:

  • Salad dressings
  • Condiments
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Deli meats
  • Hot dogs
  • Olives
  • Pickled foods
  • Processed meats
  • Salted nuts
  • Salted spiced
  • Sausage
  • Smoked or dried fish
  • All canned meats

Fatty Meats to Avoid

  • Beef ribs
  • Chicken and turkey legs, skin or wings
  • Fatty ground beef
  • Fatty pork chops
  • Lamb chops
  • Lamb roasts
  • Leg of lamb
  • Pork ribs
  • T-bone steak

Drinks To Avoid

For obvious reasons, premade beverages were not available during the Stone Age, therefore these items are banned on the Paleolithic diet. Drinks to avoid are:

  • All sugary soft drinks
  • Canned or bottled fruit drink
  • Freshly squeezed fruit drink 

Sweets To Avoid

  • Candy
  • Honey
  • Sugar

Dr. Cordain states that 2.5 million years ago, when the human race was first evolving into the hunter-gather, the healthiest and most lean bodies were produced. The foods that these individuals consumed directly produced a body that was free of chronic disease. Since the introduction of cereals, dairy products, salted foods, domestic meats, refined sugars and legumes into the human diet, the rates of obesity and disease have continued to increase. The human diet now includes high fructose corn syrup, too many fats, not enough fiber and too much dairy, salt and carbohydrates. By switching to Dr. Cordain’s Paleolithic Diet, individuals should be able to lose weight and improve their overall health.


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