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7 Paleo Myths (+ The TRUTH About the Paleo Diet)

It is a confusing time to be alive, especially when it comes to the amount of information and especially misinformation, which is available to us. Every website, trainer, friend or family member has an opinion or advice and it is easy to get caught up in the noise surrounding the Paleo movement.

This is a must read for anyone following the Paleo Diet and for people thinking of trying this healthy lifestyle.


Let’s set the record straight.

Myth 1: The Paleo diet is just another ‘Low Carbohydrate diet’.

Nope. The Paleo diet is not typically defined as a “low carb diet”. In fact, healthy unprocessed complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, winter squash and fruit are recommended. This is especially relevant to those who lead an active lifestyle and require the carbohydrates as fuel. 

Myth 2: Giving up dairy in the Paleo diet means I will not get enough calcium.

Wrong. There are many sources of calcium, which are not from dairy. In fact, in order to consume enough calcium from milk you would have to consume 3 cups of milk per day. Other types of food, which have high levels of calcium include Leafy greens, tinned fish (including the soft fish bone) and nuts. (1)

Did you know that getting 10-15 minutes of direct sunshine 3 times per week is also very important for calcium absorption? Your body receives Vitamin D from the sun, which in turn helps the body absorb the calcium. (2)

Try this Salad for a Calcium kick!

Myth 3:The Paleo diet is all about the Protein, which is bad for your kidneys.

Firstly this could not be further from the truth. The Paleo diet actually advocates for an extremely high vegetable diet (around 60-70%). If you can picture the traditional food pyramid, the Paleo food pyramid has the base consisting of vegetables.

paleo protein

Secondly, various studies have been completed on this topic. The majority of these studies have proven that in fact protein will not damage your kidneys and the only time to restrict protein intake is when you suffer from kidney disease.  (3, 4)

Myth 4: Eating too many eggs means my cholesterol will be raised.

eggsThis is perhaps the worst dietary myth of all. Ask any parent or grandparent about eating eggs and you will most likely get the reply that you should limit them as they cause high cholesterol. For many years eggs were put into the list of ‘foods to limit’. How wrong we were. 

Eggs are perhaps one the healthiest, unprocessed fat and protein combinations around. In addition they are also very affordable and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even an on the run snack. Eggs can be eaten every day AND in abundance. (5) Research has shown that in most cases eating up to 3 eggs per day can actually improve your good cholesterol (HDL) and your bad cholesterol (LDL) will stay the same or change from being small dense LDL particles to large LDL particles. All in all this means a decreased risk of heart disease. (6, 7)

Myth 5: The Paleo diet is expensive to follow.

The Paleo diet may be expensive to follow if we compare it to many convenience foods which are on the market, but buying a frozen pizza or burger from a fast food joint cannot be compared to fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and grass fed beef.

Remember you get what you pay for: Making the change to Paleo can mean that your grocery bill feels a lot higher than it used to be – but your doctors bill now and when you are older will be MUCH less!

paleo diet cost

Paying more now for incredible unprocessed fresh food means that your energy levels will increase, your mood will be better, you will perform better at work due to cognitive improvements and clarity of thought and your risk of the diseases of lifestyle will be far less.

You might even save money when you are no longer buying sugary soda, bags of unnecessary snacks and unhealthy sweet treats.

Myth 6: I have to give up all my favorite foods; including bread, pancakes and waffles.

Not true. The beauty of being part of the Paleo community is that there are endless resources for making Paleo friendly bread, waffles, cakes and pancakes just to name a few! The existing Paleo community has already done all the hard work in creating and testing the hundreds of recipes available out there.

paleo food myths

There are many healthy alternatives to the grains; flours and sugars used in traditional high carb and high sugar foods, which we love to eat.

Try these delicious Paleo Almond flour recipes.

Myth 7: I will have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing food.

paleo diet recipesWell the only change is you might actually have to use your kitchen instead of buying takeaways. Many meals can be made in advance and in bulk and frozen to use when time is scarce. Healthy Paleo meals do not have to be complicated and challenging and there are many meals which simply call for popping a tray in the oven and letting the oven do all the hard work.

Deciding to improve your health is the first step of the journey, putting these Paleo principles into practice can at first be confusing and difficult. If you are having trouble getting started or need a bit more help with the change in lifestyle we are here to help!

26 Comments

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  1. Thanks for writing this article! I’ve been getting so tired of this low-carb delusion going on all over the Internet! People post vegetable recipes and label them “low-carb”, while vegetables are MOSTLY carbs! I even heard fitness and nutrition experts call Paleo “low-carb”! How hard would it be to Google what carbs are and figure out that carbs are not only in grains! Fiber is a carb too! There’s plenty of it in produce. Most vegetables, fruits and berries also contain a little starch and natural sugars. There are carbs in nuts too!

    All the other points ( about eggs, dairy, the cost of the food etc.) are really well explained too! Hopefully this will open some people’s eyes and maybe even lead them to a healthier life.

    • I wish I had it all together like you! I am struggling to do the paleo. My veggies and fruit that I buy get wilted and start to turn bad! Ugh we are a military family with a strict budget so every time I have to throw something away it hurts. Thanks for the inspiration .

      • Turn slightly wilted veggies into soup. Sauté onions , garlic, veggies, chicken broth, can of diced tomatoes, spices, rice or pasta or beans. Can add chicken too. Freezes well.

  2. I have been eating Paleo now for over 2 years and I have never felt better! My back and leg pain has completely deminshed and I have increased energy and mental clarity that is much better than I have ever had (lol). Yes, the fruits and veggies are a bit more expensive buying organic but because they are organic you aren’t craving food anymore so you are completely satisfied eating much less and not as often either; so food with chemicals/GMO’s make you crave more food when you aren’t even really hungry–the chemicals are what makes you crave food (not your body needing food). I am so thankful for Paleo, it’s indeed given me life and improved health!

    • Your a inspiration ! I am struggling because I have a bad sugar salt addiction and I like to snack all the time I am over weight 283 lb 5’5 ! Any ideas on snacks?

      • It sounds like you have a lot of weight to lose maybe 100 pounds or more that’s going to take a lot of hard work and discipline I like to snack on seeds and nuts and raisins at times. I just lost 25 pounds in about three months time frame. I took it slow cheated on occasion you will need to understand you will need to limit your calorie intake in order to drop pounds snacking is not advised I will also fast for a couple of days at a time in order to get down to my optimal weight if I know that occasion will be coming up where I will be eating

      • Sugar addiction can be very tough to break. For many, the best way to get away from sugar is by cutting it out completely for a few days and allow the body to reset. Look to snacks with protein and vegetables to help as you break away from sugar.

  3. Hi Jess, I find your diet very interesting but wanted to comment on cholesterol in myth 4. The size of particles is inversely related to its density. The good HDL has smaller particles, the bad LDL has larger particles, and the very bad VLDL has the largest of all to plug up our arteries. We definitely don’t want VLDL, which you mentioned in the write-up, in circulation. Appreciate your comments,
    George

    • Coconut flour. It’s terrible in baked goods- really dries them out. But combined with garlic powder to counteract the flavor of the coconut, it’s awesome for breading chicken and using as a binder for zucchini cakes, meatballs, etc.

  4. My Paleo diet is low carb because I don’t eat the starchy veggies and high sugar fruits that really don’t have that much fiber in them to be as healthy as the regular, non-starchy veggies are. I eat NO wheat, cereals, grains or seeds like quinoa because they are agricultural products and therefore not really truly Paleo. I don’t need them to kick my blood sugars but if other people eat them, fine. I find the higher fat low carb type Paleo intake is much better for me and has helped me to lose 75 pounds, get my blood sugars under much better control, get off 5 meds and 75% of my diabetic meds so I’m a very happy LOW CARB HIGH FAT Paleo person.

  5. I lost 15 pounds around my middle. I eat more vegetables now than before I became paleo. My digestive tract has improved considerably. I get a lot of comments from know it all people including a tennis peer who is a medical doctor. However I don’t care what people say or think. Everyone agrees I look great and do not get sick as often as them. The doc was just sick for a month. I quietly order my organ meats and vegetables to their astonishment. I won’t stray from paleo.

  6. I’ve played with Paleo for the past two years. Sometimes being very strict. I’ve balance my way by incorporating dairy and soy back in my diet due to not being able to get enough calcium and vit D from veggies (honestly you can’t as you would have to eat a boat load to even come close to half the daily recommended amount). Also, I am very active and need complex carbs from fruit and certain veggies. Not only does my body rely on the sugar but my brain. Your brain needs sugars to function properly. I think like with any diet, Paleo doesn’t fit everyone. The old school way of just eat more fruits and veggies with moderate carbs, lean protein, some dairy and good fats is really the way to go. Balance.

  7. I just started eating Paleo from a vegan diet. Let me just say I have been missing out!! I made bone marrow broth for the first time and my body seems to be craving the nutrients. Combining the concepts from the 2 diets (which in fact have many similarities) has been fun and very tasty. I love a little nitrate free bacon it is the best yum groove ever.

  8. I found it took a whole day to cook and prepare chicken stock from scratch using paleo recipe ( Pete from MKR)

    I work 10hr shifts!! And I don’t have the energy to spend 3hrs cooking when I get home after 7pm!!

    One benefit has been the discovery of coconut oil for cooking!! It’s AMAZING!!!

    Can you suggest maybe some simpler recipes for me to try?

  9. Marilyn:

    Having a nut allergy is definitely a difficult one. I don’t think there is a substitute, but I could be wrong. Some people consider tapioca to be paleo friendly. Dr. Loren Cordain doesn’t seem to think so, I don’t think, and he’s one of the leading paleo-like diet experts. You might be ok with eating sweet potato and yam instead. That would probably be the closest thing.

    • Ghee (or clarified butter) is considered paleo. It is made by slowly melting butter so milk solids separate and only the pure butter fat is left behind, which is Ghee.

  10. I’ve only been on a not very strict Paleo way for a week and have already lost weight. I don’t want to cut out the dairy (Can’t drink coffee black Yuck!) But I have cut out the bread and rice and pasta and haven’t missed it one bit. My husband was sceptic at first too until I was eating all the delicious food and he was drooling. He now eats it too and is keen for me to get more recipes from this wonderful site. Thanks, I’m glad I came across it.

    • Taking small steps towards a full paleo diet is a great way to get used to a new way of eating and still see results. Coconut milk and nut milks are great dairy alternatives to consider. Glad you are enjoying the recipes!

  11. i am already gluten free and eat hardly any processed food but finding it almost impossible to lose my belly fat
    any clues ??
    sue

    • Trying a full paleo diet may be helpful in achieving weight loss instead of just a gluten free diet. Focus meals around high quality proteins and fats, vegetables and fruit.

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