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The paleo diet is a popular eating trend, but it’s not the best plan for everyone. Our registered dietitians explain the diet, the health benefits it can provide, and the health risks it can bring.

Is the paleo diet healthy?

Long-term studies don’t offer much information on how the paleo diet affects health. However, the diet has the potential to be a healthy way of eating. The typical paleo diet focuses on naturally raised meat and fish, as well as vegetables and fruits. It promotes avoiding dairy products and grains.

This diet can put you at risk for deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, which are critical to bone health. At the same time, you may consume saturated fat and protein far above recommended levels due to eating so much meat. This can cause an increased risk of kidney and heart disease and certain cancers.

Did cave people really eat mostly meat?

People living in the Paleolithic period, or “cave people,” ate whatever their surroundings offered them. When surrounded by fish or marine life, that’s what they ate. In tropical habitats, people ate a variety of plant and animal foods. Calling a diet that consists mostly of protein the “paleo diet” isn’t accurate. Also, people living in earlier times simply didn’t live to the age when chronic diseases typically emerge.

What’s the problem?

Trees are more important today than ever before. More than 10,000 products are reportedly made from trees. Through chemistry, the humble woodpile is yielding chemicals, plastics and fabrics that were beyond comprehension when an axe first felled a Texas tree.

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