Is the Paleo Diet good for Athletes and weight loss?

Paleo Diet

Diet confusion. While many things about the Paleo Diet make logical sense, is it really that good?

At Arete Strength we talk a ton about nutrition. After all Arete means  maximum human potential. Soo….

Athletes in our strength training program are trying to get stronger, faster, and want to train harder to gain the edge in their sports. Well the Paleo diet advocates plenty of lean animal protein, fresh veggies and healthy fats. That seems to make sense right?

Our personal training adults are typically interested in getting back into shape and want to tone, build lean mass,  loose unwanted fat and become healthier and more energetic.

In both cases (athletes and adults) will focus pretty diligently on the training. As the head coach, I lay out the program, the lifts, the volume, intensity, and load. They just have to show up and do the work. And it works. But 99 out of 100 people do not have me grocery shopping, preparing the optimum sports nutrition meal, or nutrient dense healthy food that tastes good. And i say this because they don’t put nearly enough time into learning about nutrition as they should (even though i talk about it all-the-time!!!).

So while there are many good things about the Paleo diet… Its gluten and dairy free. I like that. People eat almost no processed food. I like that too. And people eat more veggies; again, very good. So how is the Paleo Diet bad?

Before I state my answer, I just want to provide a little food for thought.

At Arete Strength we educate our athletes and clients on the importance of food quality and the importance of whole food, which tends to be nutrient dense. We promote a nutrient dense nutrition program. We want to flood the body with nutrients that help the body repair, get stronger, supply enzymes, optimize digestion, and put less stress on a body already under stress.

This is great for athletes, and for people trying to get in better shape. So the more I research and study nutrition, the more and more I don’t agree with the Paleo diet. One reason is this.. Anthropological biologists that studied our paleolithic ancestors found they did eat grains, fruits, root veggies,  and bugs as a big part of their diet. In a nutshell they at A LOT of plant based food. Plus, many of the food backs then do not exist today as well.

Additionally killing wild game wasn’t exactly a piece of cake, so the amount of meat eaten was relatively small, but not according to many in Paleo diet circles. And another scientific fact about animal protein is that is takes 4 or more hours to digest and can remain in your body for up to 2 days… literally rotting in your in gut.  So the Paleo diets is right to take grains out because when you combine grains with starch or sugar (like fructose) exit time through the intestines slows down.  But that’s only part of it and that a whole long article by itself.

So to provide a different perspective, i would  suggest you read this article by Jane Lear at TakePart. It certainly provides some food for thought.. ( I couldn’t resist)

And as a coach I’ve seen more athletes, even hard gainers start gaining with less animal protein and adding a considerable amount of plant based food and protein sources in the diet.  Bigger, leaner, healthier. All good.

The name of the game is nutrients, and good health. No matter what the diet; Zone, Atkins, Paleo, South beach, Vegan, Raw. One thing they all agree on is… EVERYONE NEEDS MORE VEGGIES!!!

Coach Johnson Arete StrengthI have seen very few people actually do Paleo correctly. So I say start shifting your focus to making sure you have enough nutrient dense food and dishes (which is easier to do with high quality organic grains and starches) and watch your fat drop, energy boost,  and strength  & recovery increase.

Eat with Purpose,

Coach Johnson


P.S If you would like information on our Sport Nutrition program (click Here).

So how many veggies do your really eat every day? Comment Below.