foods to avoid on Paleo diet

The Paleo diet, also known as the Stone Age diet, Caveman diet or Paleolithic diet, has become, in past decades, one of the most popular eating plans in the world due to its positive results in workouts, weight loss, increased energy and the health benefits it provides. In this article, we discuss the foods to avoid on Paleo diet.

What is Paleo diet?

Paleo is a diet based on foods humans presumably ate during the Paleolithic Era.

Loren Cordain, PhD, is considered the founder of the Paleo Diet concept, which he developed after studying elements of nutritional anthropology, the health of various populations around the world and dietary patterns alongside the changes brought by modifications of these patterns. 

Cordain believed that the peak of human physiology occurred during Paleolithic Era, lasting from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. According to him, humans consumed back then wild game, greens, fish, fruits, roots, some birds, nuts and seeds. 

The modern version of this diet consists of fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts and seeds and excludes foods humans consumed when they began farming less than 10,000 years ago. The main food categories excluded are grains, legumes, processed foods and drinks, dairy products and starchy vegetables.

What foods are not Paleo?

Foods are not paleo

Grains or cereals started to be cultivated after the Paleolithic Era. They contain a lot of carbohydrates that elevate the sugar levels in our bloodstream. They feature proteins and compounds like gluten, phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid impairs the absorption of nutrients such as iron, calcium and zinc and can cause inflammation. Due to all these reasons, grains are regarded as foods to avoid on Paleo diet.

Even though not all cereals are equal, the Paleo diet’s supporters advocate avoiding all grains, from oats, rice and quinoa to wheat and barley. Products obtained or derived from these cereals, like bread, toast, pancakes, sandwiches, English muffins, cream of wheat, crackers, pasta, Lasagne and Fettuccini, are also on the “not allowed foods” list.

Legumes belong to a plant family that possesses a pod or a seed. They are not allowed in Paleo because humans started to consume them after the Paleolithic Era. Legumes contain lectins, carbohydrate-binding proteins that harm the gut can, increase inflammation, and can contribute to insulin resistance.

This category includes several types of beans: kidney, black, Adzuki, Cannellini, string, green, navy, Pinto, and white kidney. Lentils and peas are also foods to avoid on Paleo diet for the same reason as beans.

Processed foods like refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and artificial sweeteners are not Paleo because humans from the Paleolithic Era did not consume them. They can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease. 

Associations that promote heart health sustain that refined vegetable oils like safflower, corn and canola oils are safe for use, but people who follow a Paleo diet avoid them because of the ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-6 fatty acids they contain. As for artificial sweeteners, whilst authorities label them as safe to consume, the Paleo followers refrain from using them because they are processed food that can instil cravings for sweets and harm gut bacteria. 

Processed foods and drinks also refer to chips and other packaged foods and snacks (like cookies, fruit gummies, pretzels, and pastries), sweetened beverages, energy drinks, soda, peanut butter, frozen and ready-to-consume processed meals, spam, hot dogs, French fries, popcorn, ketchup. Almost all alcohol is incompatible with the Paleo diet, so avoid drinking anything from whiskey and beer to rum, vodka and wine. If you have chosen the Paleo diet to lose weight, you should avoid fruit juices such as oranges, apples, passionfruit, strawberries, grapes and mango. These juices contain fructose, a type of sugar that can prevent you from losing weight.

Dairy products like cow, goat and sheep milk, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, ice cream, yoghurt, skim milk and low-fat milk, cream cheese, pudding, dairy spreads, and butter are all foods to avoid on Paleo diet.

Starchy vegetables were cultivated during the Neolithic era (after the Paleolithic Era) when humans started to remain in one place for extended periods and to grow food and raise livestock for feeding. As a result, foods like white potatoes, corn, green peas and jicama are unfit for the Paleo diet.

Which fruit is not Paleo?

foods to avoid on Paleo diet

During Paleolithic Era, humans ate small berries when they were in season. These berries had low sugar and high antioxidant content.

Melons and bananas are not Paleo fruits, yet some of this diet’s followers consume them now and then.

Fruits canned in syrups and dried fruits that contain added sugar are not Paleo.

If you are on a Paleo diet to lose weight, you should eat limited amounts of pineapple, watermelon, apricots, bananas, mango, apple, pears, and grapes. These fruits contain fructose, a type of sugar that can affect your weight loss endeavour:

Are bananas Paleo?

It depends on whom you are asking. Some Paleo dieters will say that bananas are Paleo because they are unprocessed fruits. Others will suggest staying away from these potassium sources as they have a high starch content, just like legumes.

To decide if you should eat bananas while on Paleo, focus on why you are following this diet. If it’s because you want to restore or preserve the health of your gut, bananas are a great choice. However, bananas should not be on your menu if you have chosen Paleo to lose weight.

Is peanut butter Paleo friendly?

Is peanut butter Paleo friendly

According to the Paleo diet’s supporters, peanuts are legumes, not nuts. The phytic acid they contain prevents the absorption of fundamental nutrients into the body. Peanut butter obtained from peanuts is a food to avoid in this diet. You can replace it with one or more Paleo-friendly nut butter like cashew butter, almond butter, Macadamia butter, sunflower seed or nut butter.

Adopting and sticking to the Paleo diet can sometimes seem difficult if it entails giving up some foods you enjoy. However, your drive for this program can increase by knowing that the list of foods to avoid on Paleo diet is shorter than what you can eat during this diet.

Should you have any questions or need additional information regarding Paleo give me a call, send an email or stop by the shop, and I will be happy to assist you.