The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. In common usage, the term “paleolithic diet” can also refer to actual ancestral human diets, insofar as these can be reconstructed.
Centered on commonly available modern foods, the contemporary “Paleolithic diet” consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.
First popularized in the mid-1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, this nutritional concept has been promoted and adapted by a number of authors and researchers in several books and academic journals. A common theme in evolutionary medicine, Paleolithic nutrition is based on the premise that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, and modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors. Therefore an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.