8 Criticisms of the Paleo Diet-min

8 Criticisms of the Paleo Diet

So, whilst I regularly write about the benefits of following a Paleo diet, it wouldn't be fair for me not to be completely honest.  Sadly, as with lots of things, there are negatives to this way of life.

I thought I’d share my list of 8 bad points of my Primal journey.

8 Criticisms of the Paleo Diet-min

1. I've lost my productive time between midnight and the early hours of the morning.  Since I've been Paleo I'm now fast asleep far earlier in the evening and I naturally rise early, full of energy

2. I've been forced to donate lots of perfectly good clothes to charity – and spend a small fortune replacing them with smaller sizes

3. I'm really behind on my reading, as I no longer get to read on the bus to work, as I always walk or run in due to having so much excess energy

4. I get funny looks from adults and children point at me when I wear my Vibrams

5. Shopping takes so much longer because I have to read the ingredients of everything – even things I have no intention of buying.

6. I've not had the need to have any sick days from work for a very long time

7. I often don’t notice it’s cold until I see people around me in many more layers than I have on

8. I can’t walk past a fast food outlet without looking in, in amazement at the people “eating” there

Have you also experienced down sides to Paleo?  Please share your complaints in the comments, below.

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69 replies
  1. Screen name (required)
    Screen name (required) says:

    * may take a bit more time to prepare in the morning compared to a Special K bar or whatever you used to have.
    * Although it’s most defintely worth it for a number of reasons, organic grass fed meat can be a bit more expensive.
    * Unfortunatly a lot of restraunts tend to use canola and other cheap seed oils.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Very true, I hate that about restaurants, I wish they’d state what they cook with – or better still, all use coconut oil or good quality animal fat in their cooking!

      • Barrie
        Barrie says:

        Suz – Pleasant surprise when I read the 8 things! I was expecting to see something I might have to rebut, instead got a chuckle and nod.
        Your comment about restaurants is also right on, but I have something to say about it.
        One of my sisters is allergic to coconut, a real bummer when at a Thai resto!
        My wife is gluten intolerant (as I believe all of us are, at least to some degree), lactose intolerant, and has a long list of things that cause her digestive distress. Despite this, we find our diets converge quite a bit, even though she says she doesn’t think Paleo is a sustainable to eat.

        • Suz
          Suz says:

          Thanks Barrie! A coconut allergy is such a shame, missing out on such a good fat source. I agree about the gluten intolerance. I think so many people would be shocked if they went complete gluten-free for a while, then started to notice so many of their health complaints disappear.

          • Dana
            Dana says:

            I had been suffering much more than usual with headaches (I tend to migraine, though not usually the classical kind) in the last 2 or 3 months of 2011. Got fed up and went wheat-free just to see what would happen. I have not had a full-on migraine since the beginning of the year, just woke up a few times mildly achy in the first week as if one were about to start, and then it just sort of dropped away.

            I was also ketogenic at the time, which no doubt helped. But in the past I’ve gone ketogenic and then not totally given up wheat (you’d be amazed how many “low carb foods” have wheat gluten added to them!), which probably explains why I still had headaches.

            I’ve had wheat in the past week, though, and within half an hour after eating I was sleepy. Oh no, wheat does nothing to people. You betcha. /sarcasm

            Love your list! Totally passing it on. 😀

          • Suz
            Suz says:

            Thanks Dana! How good you’ve managed to reduce those headaches/ migranes! Incredible how many problems these “healthy’ grains cause!

  2. Theresa
    Theresa says:

    Yes, sadly I do have a complaint about the paleo diet. Since I’ve been on it I haven’t had the opportunity to go get my regular injections of cortisone in my right knee or my elbows (because they aren’t filled with fluid anymore), and I haven’t gotten to refill my sinus medication (cause I don’t need it anymore), and last, but certainly not least, I haven’t gotten to finish that last bottle of nasal spray (which I do not need anymore) that I purchased months ago. I really wish someone would have ‘warned’ me about this diet 20 years ago!

    • Barrie
      Barrie says:

      Oh, no! You will have to throw the nasal spray away when it reaches its expiry date. (Unless you don’t want to bother waiting)
      Actually, until I read your post, it hadn’t occurred to me that diet had been a factor in my lessened sinus issues. I have had a stuffy and runny nose for as long as I can remember – and my memory goes back to about 1948!
      I do have osteoathritis in the base of one thumb, as well as sand in my knees, but other aches and pains have faded since I have moved toward Paleo.
      (I have almost eliminated grains completely, and stay away from legumes, but still backslide from time to time. Always, to my chagrin, I realise why I shouldn’t eat that cake. 60+ years of eating that way are hard to correct.

      • Suz
        Suz says:

        That’s great about the reduction in sinus issues, I’ve heard a lot of people say that when switching to a Paleo diet. It is quite a shift completely changing diet, but it gets so much easier overtime!

  3. Sean Philips
    Sean Philips says:

    Aside from the great points Suz made:
    *I am far more judgmental of people now. I may even be becoming fattie-o-phobic.
    * I look a little silly going to redneck dive bars wearing Vibrams and ordering red wine.
    *I have WAY less surface area to tattoo.
    *I now drive by roadkill deer and wonder if it’s been out in the sun to long to try and take home for dinner.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Great points Sean! I too am guilty of becoming fattie-o-phobic (especially when they are eating their body weight in junk food)! Love the roadkill too!

      • Andy
        Andy says:

        I know what you mean. I’m in danger of being racist, um, I mean ‘hue-o-phobic’ when I see black people eat all that greasy fried chicken.

        You’re shocked now, but how is that any different from being ‘fattie-o-phobic’?

          • LibbyS
            LibbyS says:

            It’s ignorance for sure. Me and hubby have been on the Paleo diet for a few months but are still ‘fatties’, although we feel a lot better we haven’t had the weight loss we had hoped for so far. It would be terrible to think that someone else on the Paleo diet is ‘phobic’ to us by making a quick assumption. When I read that I admit to feeling hurt, not all fat/plump people are that way because they want to be.

  4. tim widlund
    tim widlund says:

    I have experienced all but one. I work an hour from home so walking is out. Im still looking forward to shopping for new clothes. Its crazy how big and sloppy my clothes fit. Anyway great list of the “down side” of paleo.

  5. Kimberly Whaley
    Kimberly Whaley says:

    LOVE this list!! It is SO true!!! And somehow, the only negatives of Paleo are actually positives!! LOVE PALEO!!

  6. jillm
    jillm says:

    I bought two organic chicken frames for $1. I calculated that I will get seven individual bowls of soup and some dripping to use for frying from that investment. Think of the money saved by not buying junk and not getting sick. Think of the time saved waiting at the doctor’s rooms.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      You got a great deal there Jillm! Quite right – the money some people spend on medical bills is frightening – and often so avoidable!

  7. Gaby
    Gaby says:

    1) I like coffee but don’t have any excuse to drink it now because, as you, I’m always full of energy.
    2) I don’t have excuses to have snacks due to no more sugar-induce hunger.
    3) I still read on the train but can’t find time to read the stuff I used to because I’m too busy reading all these Paleo-related books I’ve bought.
    4) My clothes are a lot looser now but I won’t be buying new clothes anytime soon, I’m too stingy 🙂

    To the anonymous commenter: grass-fed is cheaper if you know where to buy. Go to Establishment 218, their grass-fed beef is cheaper than their grain-fed.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Hey Gaby! Doesn’t it make a difference not having to ride out the sugar crashes, yet constantly having more energy!
      Thanks for the grass-fed tip too, you definitely need to know where to look

  8. Phocion Timon
    Phocion Timon says:

    1. The sugar factory I was keeping in business had to lay off people; the CEO retired to a monastery.
    2. Going from really fat to merely fat resulted in me buying clothes.
    3. The increased amount of cooking has resulted in an increase in the electric bill. (Walking to-and-from here-and-there has decreased my gasoline bill though.)
    4. I am a “morning” person, Sweet Thang ain’t. Since I started sleeping like a dead man, she claims I am even more unbearable.

  9. Argus
    Argus says:

    i always smell of bacon and butter… which may be a good thing when I think of it 🙂

    great list, number 5. is sooooo true

  10. Becky
    Becky says:

    Furious anger that people are NEEDLESSLY suffering from so many devastating illnesses. NEEDLESSLY! Did I say I was angry? BEYOND INCENSED!

    On a less serious note, I had to buy more cutting boards, more knives, more skillets, more spatulas, more whisks … when you cook all the time, the utensil you need is always in the dishwasher.

  11. Majofski
    Majofski says:

    Honestly, I lost an extraordinary amount of weight, and not in a good way.

    I’d classify myself as a “hardgainer” – putting on weight requires an enormous amount of food and effort. Over the period of a few months on a non-paleo diet, I gained 8 kgs. When I switched to Paleo, I lost all that weight. This may be a good thing for many, but for me, I was actually beginning to look malnourished and very thin.

    Health wise, the Paleo diet makes total sense – for many, it is a fantastic way to lose weight and correct diet specific illnesses. For others, like myself, it just isn’t sustainable in the long run.

  12. Wenchypoo
    Wenchypoo says:

    My own “complaints”: more money in the bank, more room in the cupboards, less room in the fridge, and less time in the car. Also, my spare bedroom, which was once my pantry, has lost it’s status and been turned back into a bedroom. Now I have one too many!

    I’ve also gotten rid of the TV, and now the living room is no longer being “lived” in (as it were). One more room too many!

    Thirty pounds seems to have fallen off somewhere around here–I’m sure I’ll find it under the couch or somewhere. About 100 points of LDL have also mysteriously vanished. As for the clothes, I’ve learned long ago ( about 30 lbs. ago) to make drawstring and elastic my friends until they can no longer do the job–THEN I’ll go clothes-shopping…but it’s taking less and less string and elastic to do the job.

    …and TIME–I no longer get to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, running from store to store, trying to find the best deals on poor-quality meats and other foods. No more coupon-cutting, no more hunting down 25- and 50-lb. sacks of anything, and no more sitting in traffic trying to get to the same over-crowded stores filled with expired goods as everyone else, and fighting for a parking spot!

    (sarcasm) God how I miss that! (/sarcasm) I also miss the endless rounds of anaphlaxis and sneezing due to food allergies, multiple supplements that kept inflammation down, and the twice-yearly doctor scolding about my LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, and the never-ending yeast.
    Pul-EEEEEEZE!!! Paleo bought me freedom in so many ways. I’m never going back.

  13. Cavechic
    Cavechic says:

    Hello from America. Trying to get the word out on paleo benefits here sometimes feels like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall. All are welcome on my blog. Just named it for Christians to help them understand they (we) really are not supposed to be so fat!
    Loved the comments here too. What a great community!

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Absolutely Cavechic – more and more people seem to be thinking it’s ok – or even normal to be fat. Let’s hope there’s soon a mass change in ideas

  14. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    I never thought that I had a gluten or wheat allergy but after going paleo for a while, I had a bagel and broke out in a rash.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Hi Suzanne (nice name!), I think when you eat a lot of gluten it’s almost like “white noise” – you don’t notice you have problems with it until you completely stop having it!

  15. Lisa from Oz
    Lisa from Oz says:

    Unfortunately I have not really seen any of these benefits since moving toward a more Paleo way of eating, I must emphasize “moving toward” as the one thing I just can’t seem to give up is Dairy, not that I am a huge Dairy eater, but I still have my 1 Latte a day, I wonder if this is the reason why I am not seeing any thing happening ?? Energy levels are still zilch, always achey and painy. Maybe I am doing something else not quite right ? That’s why I am here I guess, need some support to help get on with it and try to solve my dilema.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Sorry to hear that Lisa. How long since you moved over to a more Paleo way of eating? What is a typical day’s eating like?

      I’d not go too low carb if I were you (at least initially), perhaps by having things like sweet potatoes. Are you shying away from fat? Making sure you have a good amount of fat should help with energy levels too.

      I’m not a dairy fan, especially the more I find out about the IGF-1 hormone it contains and now drink black tea. Perhaps it’s worth trying a very strict 30 days of Paleo to see how it makes you feel?

      • Lisa from Oz
        Lisa from Oz says:

        Hi Suz

        I have been eating this way for long – since the beginning of Jan, had originally cut right down on Sugar, then went off grains, may have the occassional slip up 🙁

        Typical day would go something like this

        Latte when I hit the office

        Bacon and Eggs (Maybe some wilted spinach occassionally), recently I have been trying out Coconut Milk smoothies and a couple of boiled eggs for protein.

        Most days it’s leftovers fron the night before : Meat & Veg
        Or a salad with Chicken etc

        Dinner :
        Meat & Veg, started looking into paleo recipes, so trying out some of those

        After dinner
        Occassionally a little bit of Coconut Ice Cream

        In the beginning I felt I was really over doing the animal fat (felt awful) so I have cut back a bit and now trying to incorporate Coconut Oil and more avocado into the mix.

        Also just downloaded Everyday Paleo and have as of yesterday started the exercises

        • Suz
          Suz says:

          I wonder if you’d feel better with some safe starches Lisa, perhaps sweet potato or white rice?
          Everyday Paleo is a great book – they have good recipes too. Would also recommend chowstalker.com for an amazing selection of recipes.

          • Lisa from Oz
            Lisa from Oz says:

            Thanks Suz

            I have found one site that has great recipes Nom Nom Paleo, some really great recipes, although she uses a Sous Vide (water bath) for some of trhe recipes, but they can be adapted to be made without it.


            I have started including some sweet potato back into my diet to see how that goes 🙂

            Thanks again


          • Suz
            Suz says:

            They have great recipes, and beautiful photos too. Hope the sweet potatoes go well, luckily they lend themselves to so many great dishes!

  16. Ryan Thorr
    Ryan Thorr says:

    You obviously lost weight applying the paleo diet. How has your metabolic rate changed since you’ve been on this diet? I’m thinking that your metabolism is now much more active because of the paleo diet, therefore you less affected by the cold weather.

  17. The merrymaker sisters
    The merrymaker sisters says:

    1- the amount of anger we have towards people who think they don’t eat ‘much’ grains…when in fact, they eat it at every meal!
    2- we take more time on our lunch break, because the food court is the best place to people watch (and judge what they eat!)
    3- there’s too many delicious recipes to try and not enough hours in the day!
    4- our muscles have grown and we are so much stronger than before!

    WE <3 PALEO!

  18. terry
    terry says:

    I too wish to complain about this diet..my chemist is going broke..i started on jan 1 and thus far have lost 16kg ..and I have not started to exercise yet..i was injecting 2 insulins 3 times per day and have stopped..my bsls are a tad high at 9.5 average but I know exercise will solve this.Have been as high as 28 and as low as 2.7 ..doctors could not help–so glad my sugars don’t vary and more .i am 64 years old and my libido has returned !!!my hair is now like silk,my skin is smooth and everyone tells me how terrific I look.. the fast food industry has a lot to answer for…lets educate the populace and politicians –it could halve the health budget

  19. amanda
    amanda says:

    i have a question. i recently had to have my gallbladder removed. i bet if i was paleo long ago that wouldnt have happened maybe i don’t know. but here is my problem now. they said need to eat low fat. said stay away from red meats. i read on here that to eat paleo you need to eat a healthy amount of fats. do you think i could do a form of lowfat paleo and still be healthy? do you need to take any vitamin suppliments? please mail me a response as well as post on here so others with this problem get an answer too!

    i am not over weight at all. but since they took my gallbladder i have been eating meals with very low fat or no fat. how much fat is good for a person with no gallbladder to help aid in digesting fats?

  20. Cat
    Cat says:

    All the DISHES. I love to cook now. My living room and DVR is neglected because I love being in the kitchen.

    Having to buy bigger notebooks for all my recipes.

    Listening to comments on how much weight I’m losing.

    Having to shop at the smaller size of the rack instead of looking for the biggest size.

  21. Suzanne Fleenor
    Suzanne Fleenor says:

    I find myself looking at people who need to know about Paleo and feel pangs of heart strings, and anger of the “educated nutritional experts” not helping people with the truth. The finger pointing as to all the guilt reasons they put on people to why they are ill and heavy. The “experts” are not what they are cracked up to be and they don’t know that either nor want to. There is more $’s in their pockets with the go no where ways they hang on to. I know I am being watched by my general M.D and Heart Doctor. The latter with no doubt, with great skepticism. It is hard for them to criticize results though. Results is my life long nutritional goal. It goes along with my other life goal. In what so ever I do, do all to glorify the Lord. Whether it be thinking, talking, where I go, what I do, what I eat. This really is a way to take care of the body that is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He made the body. He designed the food for it to be nourished with. Man has made great strides to adulterate food to make the appetite flare so as to try to satisfy their appetite of greed. Do not leave the pharmaceuticals out of the greed equation either. Just think if the world population went back to Paleo diet what it would do to the economics of those who think they are in control of to keep us dependent on them. Thank You for your hard work and support to all of us who appreciate and benefit from it. Suzanne

  22. Laura
    Laura says:

    The only negative I’ve seen so far are other paleo eaters referring to others as “fatties” or “fat”. Calling someone fat is not ok. Ever. Paleo eaters definitely have a holier than thou attitude.

    They may be over weight, but you have no idea why they are. Maybe they dont have any idea where to start, dont know anything that is written in the books most of us have read, or have other contributing factors as to why they’re overweight. Or maybe they’ve had 5 kids. Or maybe they have never had any support, or are surrounded by enablers. People generally aren’t over weight because they WANT to be.

  23. Darcy
    Darcy says:


    Love you website – great reading espeically this one about 8 criticisms of the paleo way of eating. Made me smile.
    I am having trouble downloading your e-books – maybe I am just technology challenged? Any thoughts?

  24. Paul (PJTPaleo)
    Paul (PJTPaleo) says:

    Should really be termed Paleo Lifestyle rather than diet as it is more holistic than simply a diet. However, my own experiences are that of weight loss (not a lot, didn’t have far to go anyway) weight stability, and reduction in joint pains. Others seem to have more difficulty though, as I munch my way through a chicken breast, sans bread, at lunchtime, or object to the food in the refectory at uni being so singularly carbilicious. I once asked for the spaghetti bolognese without the spaghetti – caused a riot!

  25. Georgina
    Georgina says:

    Great post!
    Other criticisms of the paleo diet:
    – developing a somewhat sanctimonious holier-than-thou attitude towards food and a feeling of misplaced superiority towards those who don’t follow a paleo diet, and thinking that all their health problems would be solved if they’d just eat grass-fed meat and avoided wheat
    – Not able to just eat meat without going into the nth degree about what the animal ate during every single day it was alive, where it was raised, what uni it went to, etc etc.
    – You feel guilty if you didn’t cook your bone broth for the full 24-36 hours as [so and so – insert name of paleo personality] does.

  26. Amila
    Amila says:

    Wow little surprised at the holier-than-thou attitude peeps….weren’t most of us once ‘fatties’ too? I sure as hell was and mine was caused by thyroid cancer, a shitty diet and rebellious nature….I would have been devastated had I overheard any say such things about me.
    The only reason I’m surviving and succeeding with the Paleo diet is because I have really strong support from the parentals, without that support I would fail -miserably. So instead of judging other people (whom we don’t know and have no idea of the reasons behind their weight) perhaps we could try being a bit more encouraging?

    When I first started this diet – I cried on the inside! No more pasta 🙁 – I was devastated…until I realised I can make fresh pasta and lasagne sheets from scratch just by replacing normal flour with quinoa flour! – I’ve never so excited lol!

    I giggle on the inside when I go to Paleo cafes and see all the ‘hipsters’ hanging out trying desperately to look suave and sophisticated because they’ve ‘discovered’ this awesome ‘new’ way of living.

    Complaints about the Paleo diet: I’m really getting sick and tired of people stopping me to tell me I look great – it’s so time consuming – I have places to be!

    Also, having to admit to my Naturopath (aka my witch doctor) that the Paleo diet is working wonders! Lol

  27. Pam
    Pam says:

    Temperature regulation, for the first winter anyway! Less blubber=freezing! But, that seems to be back in alignment again, so here’s looking forward to a skinnier, warmer Canadian winter this year.

  28. lisa
    lisa says:

    The one thing that really frustrates me is most breaky recipes have eggs and i dislike eating eggs everyday. Woukd love some assistance with ideas

  29. Jamie Fellrath
    Jamie Fellrath says:

    Okay, i don’t want to rain on any one’s parade here, but I have a legit gripe:

    My laundry is MUCH harder to do now that I cook so much stuff in butter and bacon grease. Spatters all over the place. Luckily my clothes are smaller so it’s not as much of an issue… 🙂

  30. Phil
    Phil says:

    Ive just been to a restaurant in adelaide that had coconut rice as a side dish to the chicken and I was tricked – it was a bowl of rice with a few shavings of coconut on top – gypped !! PS as you know its supposed to be cauliflour !!

  31. Phil Seymour
    Phil Seymour says:

    Hi Suz
    As my doc agreed there are things on the diet that are questionable – beans ? people have been eating beans in countries for years and outlived many Paleos. I must admit even if people try Paleo and they stick with more vegetables leaving out most sugar their health will improve,unfortunately. (Where are the Paleo snickers)


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