Is the “Paleo Diet” really a diet?

Diet … what do you think of when you hear the word “diet”? Here’s what comes to my mind:

  • bathroom scales
  • being hungry
  • counting calories
  • being hungry
  • temporary
  • hungry … so hungry
  • losing weight
  • did I mention that I’m hungry?
  • rules

Does the “paleo diet” fit in here? Should we even call it the “paleo diet”?

No and no!

What? you want a better explanation than just “no”? Fine … 🙂

The big keys to why paleo is NOT a diet are the following:

  • It is not supposed to be “temporary”.
    Paleo is a lifestyle and should be a permanent one. Paleo isn’t supposed to be something you do for two weeks to drop 10 pounds before your high school reunion.
  • You should never really feel hungry eating paleo.
    Now I’m not saying that you will never ever ever feel any hunger at all. What I mean is that if you are eating healthy paleo meals, you will easily last until your next meal without getting hunger pangs or the feeling that if you don’t have a snack that your stomach might start eating you from the inside out. Once you have been eating a healthy paleo diet for a month or so (maybe even less) you will find that it’s not too hard to skip a meal (whether intentional or not) without feeling like you’re going to pass out or being able to think about nothing but food.
  • Eating paleo food is not about losing weight.
    Wait … what? Not about losing weight? Huh?
    Don’t worry, if you’re overweight and eating paleo to lose weight then you absolutely can! But what if you don’t need to lose weight? What if you need to gain weight? Paleo is about being healthy. Losing weight if you’re overweight is just a “side effect” of being healthy! 🙂
  • Paleo isn’t full of “rules”.
    Granted there are some big do’s and don’ts if you want to follow a paleo way of eating, but most of the “rules” are more like guides than what you find in other “diets”. (you can check out the basics on my page What is the paleo diet?)

So am I going to keep referring to paleo as a “diet”?


Hey! You just gave us a whole page about why it’s not a diet! What gives?

What gives is that I want people to find my blog! I want as many people as possible to learn about paleo and improve their health. That means using the word “diet”. Using Google’s keyword tool I found that globally, people search for “paleo diet” over 300,000 times a month, but only about 27,000 times for “paleo food”. So even though I will continue using the term “diet”, keep in mind that it is really a “lifestyle”.