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Paleolithic Diet



The Paleolithic diet (often shortened to Paleo) is based on the diet of early man. It postulates that the human race has evolved to live off a diet of lean grass-fed meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts, and that the digestive system has not had time to evolve to digest recent additions successfully. Therefore grains and processed foods should be avoided. Also dairy should be avoided, as humans show a decrease in lactase (the enzyme used to digest the sugars found in milk) production past weaning age. Fruits and vegetables should ideally be organic, and those that are in season.

As well as the actual foods that are eaten, it is recommended that you only eat when actually hungry (rather than a set number of meals per day) and drink only when thirsty (preferably water).


The diet was originally suggested by a gastroenterologist, Voegtlin, in 1975.

As well as the evolutionary aspect, grains and legumes (which are forbidden by the diet) contain toxins. The majority of these toxins are removed by cooking, but small amounts may remain, and have a detrimental effect on digestive health.

This is plausible, since patients with celiac disease have an inflammatory reaction in the intestines to gluten (found in many grain products). It is possible that IBD results from a similar reaction to a different protein.


There are many different interpretations of what the paleo diet is and this leads to uncertainty and confusion. Extreme versions, such as raw food or very-low carb should be treated with caution.

There is no one paleo diet, as the diet would have reflected local opertunities and would have changed markedly over the 2.5 million years(+) that encompass the paleolithic era.
The most consistant feature of the paleolithic diet would be the absence of certain foods, namely grains and any form of processed foods.

Some of the stricter versions of the Paleo diet say that all food should be raw, since Paleolithic man did not cook his food. However, it is unlikely that this would be palatable to a patient with IBD.
The ability to cook (taming fire, fermenting etc.) would have been a major development dating back to the middle paleolithic era and would make food easier to digest.

At its beginning many proponents of the Paleo diet 'forbade' carbohydrates.
This view still persists in many areas but it is increasingly being acknowledges that very low carb diets have their own dangers and that our ancestors would have prised carbs for the valuable energy source that they are - and would have relied on finding them to survive in the millennia between being forest dwelling hominins (which many versions of paleo try to emulate) and plains dwelling humans. This is evident from the enzyme amylase found in saliva. Needles to say, these carbs would not have been from grains and would not have been processed.

External Links

A good introduction to the science behind the diet:


Remember to consult your doctor before embarking on any sort of treatment or major dietary changes.

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05-08-2011, 11:37 AM   #1
itsMeFred's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Since I know a lot of people have seen success in inducing/remaining in remissions via a Paleo/Paleo-esque diet (like SCD), I just wanted to toss in that the book The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf (a bio-chem researcher) includes a lot of fully cited information applicable to both autoimmune diseases in general and CD/UC in particular.
He also has a health/fitness podcast of the same name that addresses autoimmunes and IBDs on a fairly regular basis.
~*~ Erin ~*~
02-22-2012, 04:52 AM   #2
Senior Member
hugh's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
"Underweight patients may struggle to eat enough calories to gain weight with this diet, since carbohydrates are a key source of energy, and they are forbidden by the diet."

It wasn't till i went paleo that i managed to put on weight
06-03-2012, 06:23 AM   #3
Senior Member
hugh's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
a well thought out link on adapting paleo diet to crohn's and other autoimmune diseases.
and another
amazing food list for paleo beginners
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