“Reality Check” is an article series which looks at common mistakes people make when they begin dieting for weight loss. We’ll check out some ‘thought adjustments’ that will help you make better choices on your journey. The articles include tips, new ideas to try, strategies to follow, and encouragement to keep you moving forward.

The caveman diet?

So you’ve heard about the Paleo diet? Or the ‘caveman diet’?

If you picture a caveman in your head, you’ll probably think of The Flintstones, or a big, muscled, hairy man gnawing on a huge hunk of meat.

While that’s a ‘romanticised’ version of a caveman, the reality is not so pretty. If we look at one of the world’s oldest known cavemen, Ötzi, research has shown that he was actually only 1,6 metres tall and weighed around 50 kilogrammes. At the time of his death, Ötzi had an intestinal parasite, his nail growth shows he was sick three times in the six months before he died and the illnesses lasted around two weeks. He had terrible cavities, and was lactose intolerant.

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He lived a really rough, tough, and not-very-long life. He was far from a pillar of strength and health.

Real cavemen ate what they could find in their environment – mostly roots, fruits, berries and edible leaves. Hunting with a bow and arrow, is HARD. They only ate meat when they were able to catch it. They also didn’t cook much, or have access to some of our favourite flavourings that we use today. Also, many of the foods we eat today (like potatoes) have been cultivated over hundreds of years, and would have been POISONOUS to cavemen back in the day.

So if you’re planning on eating like a real caveman, you might want to think twice.

But if you want to follow an idealised ‘caveman’ diet that includes mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some lean meats and fish then go for it!

A healthy, balanced diet with a strong foundation of fruit and vegetables will help ensure you get all the nutrients and fibre you need. Choose healthier, leaner meats (try venison) and monitor your portion sizes.


Read more in the ‘reality check’ series below:


While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.