What Is This Primal Diet All About? Good, Bad, Or Just Another Diet Fad?


In an ever growing health and fitness conscious society, it is understandable that a number of ‘diets’ or ‘ways of eating and drinking’ are springing up all over the place. This can only be a good thing right, well you’d expect so yes, however there is a fine line between adopting a healthy diet and/ or eating plan and it being a success, or just turning out to be overly restrictive and nutrient limiting.

The Primal and Paleo Diet relationship

The Primal Diet is of a similar ilk to the very popular Paleo Diet that is trending around the world, both take their names from the Paleolithic era, a time when cavemen hunted and gathered the food they ate. The Paleo diet encourages a way of eating that was common more than 10,000 years ago, so pre the agricultural revolution. In other words, there were no grains grown in fields, there were no processed or mass manufactured foods, instead the human race had to eat what they could grow, pick or gather, and only ate meat when they made a successful hunt and kill.

What’s the Primal Diet all about?

The Primal Diet does the same, it focuses on a way of eating that allows meat and vegetables, but omits grains, legumes and processed foods. However, this differs to the strict Paleo way of eating in that it allows dieters to consume a little high fat, organic, and ideally grass fed dairy. One of the main food groups people miss when following a Paleo way of eating is dairy because of the popularity and value in the modern diet. Allowing dairy means the diet becomes much more varied with little to no negative implications (unless you’re lactose intolerant or allergic to whey or casein), plus it makes the diet far easier to stick to! Another differentiating factor between the Paleo and Primal way of eating is the rations the Primal diet places on carbohydrate. The Primal diet only permits enough carbohydrate to fuel training and glycogen repletion, as well as stabilising blood sugar levels, in turn controlling fat storage. Consequently the majority of your food intake comes from meat, fish and eggs, with one of the many benefits of this being increased satiety (feeling of fullness), optimised muscle recovery and protein synthesis, as well as an elevated metabolic rate. On top of this is a free intake of low- starch green vegetables that mainly include broccoli and curly kale.

Emphasis on lifestyle factors too

One of the strengths of the Primal diet is its emphasis on lifestyle factors including sleep and stress. If these areas are left uncontrolled, you run a far greater risk of storing fat, this is secondary to elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. If stress levels are controlled, you are far less likely to binge eat and more likely to stick to the regime! It does seem fair to say that the Primal diet is less restrictive than the Paleo diet, and for this reason there is a reduced chance of you missing out on key vitamins and minerals, and feeling low in energy. Do I rate the Primal diet…well, maybe as much as the Paleo diet in the sense that they both provide a structure to your way of eating, and they both encourage a healthful lifestyle. If the Primal diet helps you to remain disciplined and motivated then it’s a winner, just be sure that you are not over restricting certain food groups because this could be detrimental to overall health and wellbeing.




Men’s Fitness, (2015). Primal Diet.

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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