If you are here, the chances are that you already know a bit about the paleo diet. However, we provided some additional information for our readers who are new to it, such as the benefits and drawbacks of going paleo.
Also, we included information about how much protein the average person needs on paleo and the proper timing.
What Is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleolithic diet, paleo, or the “caveman diet,” focuses on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, fish, seeds, and nuts that hunter-gatherers could obtain in the Paleolithic era. In essence, this diet centers around whole foods. It cuts out all forms of processed ingredients commonly consumed in contemporary times (including dairy, which is why whey protein is not paleo).
Most often, people go on the paleo diet to lose weight. However, according to Dr. Loren Cordain, the early founder of the “caveman diet,” paleo is also an effective way to reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
Generally, recommendations on what you can eat and what you should avoid on a paleolithic diet vary. But, dieters need to be mindful of a couple of things, even when making protein shakes on paleo.
Here’s what you can eat on this diet:
- fresh vegetables and fresh fruits
- seafood and fish
- grass-fed meat (beef, pork, turkey, chicken)
- eggs (cage-free and organic are best)
- nuts and seeds (almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds)
- healthy oils (walnut, macadamia, olive, coconut, flaxseed)
Now, acquaint yourself with a list of products you should avoid on the paleo diet:
- legumes (beans, peanuts, soy, lentils)
- processed foods
- refined sugar
- cereal grains (bread, pasta, rice, beer)
- refined vegetable oils
- artificial sweeteners
Finally, below, you will find a list of foods you can occasionally include in your diet:
- fruits high in sugar and starchy veggies
Note that while dairy is not allowed on strict paleo, some dieters claim that grass-fed dairy is fine.
As for fruits high in sugar and starchy vegetables, they can spike blood sugar levels. However, consuming them in moderation should be fine.
Benefits of Paleo Protein Powders
According to research, consuming paleo beverages and foods such as paleo protein shakes can have certain benefits:
- balanced blood sugar levels
- better digestion
- leaner muscles
- less hunger
- better sleep
- higher energy levels
- potentially detoxifying effects
- weight loss
Drawbacks of Paleo Protein Powder Products
Paleo supplements may also have some disadvantages. Some of these include:
- Supplements might be expensive.
- You can miss out on the benefits of grains and dairy.
- Some people, such as athletes, may struggle with meeting daily calorie requirements.
How to Choose the Best Paleo Protein Powder for You?
Keep in mind; not all paleo-verified protein powders are created equal. So, it is essential to be mindful of the following key factors when shopping.
Source of the Paleo Protein Powder
One of the most common questions we get asked when writing these reviews is whether you can use any protein powder on a paleo diet. Technically, since protein powder is a processed food, it does not align with paleo guidelines.
However, many high-quality protein powders are designed explicitly for a paleo diet. Nowadays, customers can opt for protein powders made from egg whites, grass-fed beef protein isolate, pea, brown rice, hemp, and other paleo-approved ingredients.
As mentioned in these paleo protein powder reviews, some supplements marketed as paleo may derive the protein source from typically forbidden ingredients such as dairy and soy. Although dairy is not suitable for strict paleo diets (because the milk is derived from farming and agriculture practices), some variations of this eating regime allow it.
Collagen peptides from beef or fish are another excellent paleo protein source, as collagen can improve gut health and slow the signs of aging. While these might not be marked as paleo protein powders, they contain an estimated 10 g portion of protein per serving.
When shopping for a protein powder, always read the labels to ensure that the product contains:
- natural ingredients, zero added sugar (natural sweeteners such as stevia, dried fruits, and monk fruit are fine)
- zero artificial colors (beet powder, cacao, and turmeric are fine)
- zero additives (except tapioca starch and arrowroot) or questionable ingredients
Also, always research the ingredients that you find odd.
To earn a reputation as a high-quality product, a paleo powder protein should be non-GMO, organic, and preferably, the ingredients should be locally sourced.
Vegan-Approved or Not
Looking at the best protein powder reviews, many supplements contain animal-derived protein sources such as grass-fed beef, bovine collagen peptides, and egg whites. However, it is also important to remember that some protein powders for paleo may claim to be plant-based but still contain ingredients (such as whey) that are not vegan.
Fortunately, you can pick and choose the right product for you by just taking a closer look at the product label. Better yet, check out our best paleo protein powder reviews to find out which supplement is best suitable for our vegan and vegetarian readers.
Another thing to consider is that plant-based protein powders have a higher level of bioavailability than animal-based alternatives. This means that for the same amount of powder, your body absorbs more protein.
Let’s face it — a paleo-verified protein powder will never taste like the birthday cake you had as a kid. But, many quality products still taste delicious.
We made sure to include both supplements with flavor and flavorless options in our best paleo powder reviews. This way, you have variety, and you can mix them with whatever you want.