September 9th, 2011
10:21 AM ET

Is the Paleo diet healthy?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Courtney L. from Pittsburgh:

I am obese and have been working on losing weight for three years. I have been working with nutritionists and personal trainers instead of fad dieting. On the Web, I stumbled upon the Paleolithic (Paleo) diet. Is this lifestyle change beneficial despite the promotion of saturated fats and cholesterol?

Expert answer

Hi, Courtney. I applaud you for staying away from fad diets in an attempt to lose weight. Most fad diets are simply not sustainable long term, which leads to weight regain, and their impact on overall health has not been established.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Paleo diet falls into the fad diet category.

While there are many different versions of the diet with slightly different rules, the general principle of the diet involves eating foods that can be hunted and fished (meat, seafood - grass-fed, wild and organic are encouraged) or gathered (eggs, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and herbs).

Dairy, legumes, salt, grains, refined sugar, processed oils, potatoes (including sweet potatoes) and alcohol are excluded from the diet.

Basically, this is a high-protein, relatively low-carb diet. The positive aspects of this diet are that it eliminates processed foods, a major source of added sugar, salt and fat in the American diet.

The diet also eliminates sugar and refined grains, both of which contribute to obesity and diabetes and can lead to increases in dangerous belly fat, which has been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

In addition, the diet encourages a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts (except peanuts, which are legumes) and seeds, all of which are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.

The cons are:

1. The diet eliminates dairy, an affordable and widely available source of bone-building calcium (and vitamin D when dairy foods are fortified) and protein (yes, calcium can be obtained from greens and other foods, but it is more challenging to consume adequate amounts.)

2. The diet eliminates all grains, including whole grains, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and heart healthy fiber, and foods such as beans, peanuts and sweet potatoes, all of which have numerous health-promoting qualities.

3. The diet is high in animal protein, which could lead to an excess intake of saturated fat, resulting in elevated cholesterol levels, an increased risk of heart disease and increased risk of certain types of cancer.

4. Finally, the diet can be expensive (grass-fed, organic meats and eggs are more expensive) and inconvenient due to the limitation of food choices, both of which make this diet less practical for the average person long term.

Overall, I would steer clear of the Paleo diet, but we can take away something from our ancestors by eating foods closer to their natural state (less processed), which are more nutrient-dense and digested more slowly by the body. In most cases, they lead to better hunger control, more stable blood sugar levels and weight loss if calories are reduced and exercise is increased (as it sounds like they are in your case).

Got a question for our experts? Submit it here and make sure to follow Dr. Melina Jampolis on Twitter.

soundoff (1,577 Responses)
  1. pressure washing services merritt island

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.


    June 10, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. pressure washing near merritt island

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    June 10, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dennis Klockars

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.

    June 10, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Chris Kranzler

    Howdy! This article couldnít be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I'll forward this post to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    June 10, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. pressure washing services cocoa beachd fl

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field.


    June 10, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Renata Morioka

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours nowadays, yet I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s beautiful price sufficient for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the net shall be much more useful than ever before.


    June 10, 2021 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. pressure washing near me

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    June 10, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. rv repair service near me


    June 10, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. pressure washing companies cocoa beach fl

    I really like this post


    June 10, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. pressure washing near me

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful


    June 10, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Long Heery

    This is the perfect web site for anybody who really wants to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just great!


    June 10, 2021 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. pressure washing companies Brevard County fl

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful


    June 10, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. payday loans consolidation

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.


    June 10, 2021 at 07:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. how do i consolidate payday loans

    Thanks for the information.


    June 10, 2021 at 07:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. payday loan consolidators

    thanks for sharing!


    June 10, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 울산 출장안마

    Hi there! This post could not be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I will send this article to him. Fairly certain he'll have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 10, 2021 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Tawna Shillingford

    I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.


    June 10, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 울산 출장

    I'm extremely pleased to discover this page. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new information in your website.


    June 10, 2021 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Scott Mulliniks


    June 10, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rv repair shop

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this subject here on your website.


    June 10, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Hubert Shires

    I'm extremely pleased to discover this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you book marked to check out new information in your blog.


    June 10, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Yen Bredeson

    It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.


    June 10, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 울산 출장

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is really good.


    June 10, 2021 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 울산출장마사지

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the net for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    June 10, 2021 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Renee Vanheukelem

    May I just say what a comfort to find somebody that truly understands what they are talking about on the web. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you're not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.


    June 10, 2021 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 울산 출장마사지

    Good article. I certainly appreciate this site. Keep it up!


    June 10, 2021 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv repair shop near me


    June 10, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Federated Financial

    This blog is great check it out


    June 11, 2021 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Herb Lucore

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 11, 2021 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. car collision repair raleigh

    Impressive! Thanks for the post


    June 11, 2021 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Hilario Vasseur

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?


    June 11, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Collin Losavio

    I really love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my own site and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Many thanks!

    June 11, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. 울산 출장안마

    You made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 11, 2021 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. 울산출장마사지

    After looking over a few of the blog articles on your web site, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site as well and let me know your opinion.


    June 11, 2021 at 02:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Clint Diefenderfer

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I'm trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    June 11, 2021 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Jesica Bushee

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!


    June 11, 2021 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Devin Dulatre

    Hello, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!


    June 11, 2021 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 울산 출장

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 11, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. rv repair shops

    I quite like looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    June 11, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. 전주출장마사지

    This is the perfect blog for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject that's been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!


    June 11, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Taren Stoneburner

    Howdy, I do think your website may be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!


    June 11, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Ken Hooley


    June 11, 2021 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv parts and repair


    June 11, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. repair near me

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.


    June 11, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. 먹튀검증

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the internet. I most certainly will recommend this site!


    June 11, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Upgrades Shop


    June 11, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Upholstery Orange County


    June 11, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to revisit yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 11, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Insurance

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your internet site.


    June 12, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rvupgrades reviews


    June 12, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Leave a Reply to Mercedes Sprinter Repair Shops


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.