Is the Paleo Diet a Low Carb Diet?

Paleo a low carb diet - meat board

Paleo a low carb diet - meat board

In recent years, low carb and even very low carb diets have become more and more prominent in the diet world. However, as always, debate continues to rage over what constitutes a low carb diet and what doesn’t.

One of the most common questions asked about the Paleo diet is whether it is a low carb diet, and if that’s why it works so well. Although there are certainly similarities, is the Paleo diet is just another of the many low carb diets being pushed today?

The statement that the Paleo diet is a low carb diet is usually made as a result of an incorrect assumption. Many assume that the Paleo diet advocates low carb consumption; this is not necessarily true. The reality is that carb levels vary and depend completely on the individual and their needs. Some people following the Paleo diet do not avoid carbs in the traditional sense, but will of course eschew processed carbs.

Many assume that the Paleo diet advocates low carb consumption; this is not necessarily true. Click To Tweet

The Paleo diet advocates that followers eat foods that mirror what our ancestors would have eaten, with a diet high in protein, fruits, vegetables, and seafood. It states to avoid processed foods, legumes, starches, and other carbohydrate-dense foods. However, many proponents of the Paleo diet are also quite active, and even athletic. These folks generally require a greater level of carbs in their diet versus a sedentary individual in order to fuel their activities.

The Paleo diet is by no means a one size fits all prescription that insists on precise amounts of specific types of food. Rather, it focuses on avoiding food types that our bodies might struggle to break down or that are calorie-dense and nutrient-sparse. While for some, this can result in a reduced carb intake (especially if they are moving from a diet heavy in processed foods), to say that a deliberate reduction of carbs is the focus of the Paleo diet is simply not true. It may be a by-product in some instances, but it does not ultimately define the diet.

To sum up, although following the Paleo diet often results in a lower carb intake, it is a by-product of following the diet rather than an inherent requirement. While it’s fair to say that there are many overlaps between the two dietary approaches, to say the Paleo diet is a low carb diet is not correct.

What is your carb intake like? Let us know in the comments below.

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