The Stone Age diet, is sometimes referred to as the caveman diet or the hunter gatherer diet but is most popularly know today as the ‘Paleo diet’ (abbreviated from the word Palaeolithic). It’s based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that hominid species would have consumed about 2.5 million years ago, (way before agriculture/ farming came about and grains and dairy was introduced). It was first popularised by Walter L. Voegtlin in the mid 1970s but has become more so nowadays as celebrities use it as a way to lose weight.

The neanderthal diet would have included meat, fish and any fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables that could be scavenged from the wild. Although this concept has been adapted slightly, evolutionarily medicine and nutritional research suggests that although the world has gone on to develop foods through farming, agriculture and so on, the human body is pretty much genetically identical to how it was in the Stone Age Boyd et. al, 2002. Therefore it is suggested that the most ideal diet for us to follow is one that would resemble that of our ancestors.

To give an idea of the type of diet that we should consume if we were to follow this concept, the two lists below break down foods into those that would have been readily available in the Stone Age (weather/ season and hunting permitted) and those that have been developed over the years since farming and agriculture.

Stone Age
The human body is designed to eat :-

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables*
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Herbs and Spices

Modern Food
We are not designed to eat foods such as :-

  • Grains
  • Peanuts, beans, peas, soya
  • Root vegetables**
  • Foods containing yeast
  • Alcohol
  • Salt
  • Processed meats
  • Dairy products
  • Refined sugars
  • Caffeine
  • Juices
  • Fizzy drinks

* Certain vegetables are not allowed on the Paleo diet
** Some root vegetables are not allowed on the Paleo diet, such as those not edible when raw (like potato and squash).

To find out a full list of Paleo foods, take a look at Ultimate Paleo Guide. You will find that some Paleo sites will allow you to have sweet potato and all vegetables, whereas others will say different. The original Stone Age diet would have been based on what was available that could eaten raw and be scavenged (and would vary dependin gon where about in the world a human lived!). Its probably best if you make your own decisions on which one you want to follow. I follow a tweaked version of the stone age diet, that has been adapted by my specialist based on her experience and work with CFS patients.

More and more research is being carried out surrounding this concept and it has even been suggested that eating a Stone Age diet can improve health outcomes and enable us to be free of diseases of affluence.

Other advantages that have been suggested are:-

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Reduce Triglyceride levels (To do with Heart Health)
  • Improved energy levels

If you would like to know more about this diet, take a look at Nom Nom PaleoLondon Paleo Kitchen or do a web search for ‘paleo’.

Eaton, S.Boyd; Strassman, Beverly I; Nesse, Randolph M; Neel, James V; Ewald, Paul W; Williams, George C; Weder, Alan B; Eaton, Stanley B et al. (2002). “Evolutionary Health Promotion”. Preventive Medicine 34 (2): 109–18. doi:10.1006/pmed.2001.0876. PMID 11817903.

Voegtlin, Walter L. (1975). The stone age diet: Based on in-depth studies of human ecology and the diet of man. Vantage Press. ISBN 0-533-01314-3.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Are you (like me) new to Paleo and hungry for tasty recipes and helpful tips or do you already follow a Paleo diet? If so do you have any suggestions or tips to help us newbies? Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated!


4 comments on “The Stone Age Diet

  • That is a very interesting diet and I can certainly see its advantages. However, with it being a heavily slanted meat diet it wouldn’t suit a vegetarian like me. I have been on the 5/2 diet for the past three months and have lost 2 stone in weight. But what is important about a diet apart from losing weight is that is also keeps you healthy. I believe that certain diet systems can do the former but not the latter. For example The Atkins Diet. Is it working for you?

    • Hi Christopher,
      Congratulations on the weight loss, it sounds like you’re doing really well.

      For me, I have to admit that although I’m not a vegetarian, I am not a big meat eater so it’s been tough to do this diet as I’ve had to suddenly rely on meat to be my main portion in meals. I can certainly see how it would be almost impossible for a vegetarian to do! I’m only really starting to notice the difference the last few days as it’s only been just over two weeks. I find that I don’t feel ‘stuffed’ or bloated after eating and I don’t get certain symptoms such as sinus problems but for me that’s probably down to the intolerances. I can’t say I’m ‘enjoying it’ as such, because of the fermenting gut side limits my foods even more, but I’ve just found some recipes that I can adapt which will help me enjoy food again! I have heard of the 5:2 diet and can see why it’s popular. I think it’s easier to incorporate into life/ individual circumstances. Ive never really dieted before, but I think the most important thing is for people to make sure that a diet doesn’t make them worse. Cutting out certain things like sugars and fats can’t do any harm but if someone becomes obsessed or starts to lack in vital nutrients it’s a problem.

      I will have to feedback in a month or so and update on how I’m getting on with my diet!

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