Before investigating the effects of caffeine on the paleo diet, it would be worth elaborating what the paleo diet actually is!

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet, or paleolithic diet is a diet based on the consumptions of foods ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as meat, nuts, and berries. So, it excludes foods, which they had not yet become familiar, such as dairy, back in the Paleolithic era from around 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago with the advent of farming.

Paleolithic humans of course evolved nutritional needs specific to the foods available at that time, and it’s a strong argument that the nutritional needs of modern humans remain best adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors.

This is particularly true because modern human metabolism has been unable to adapt fast enough to handle many of the foods that have become available since the advent of agriculture. These include grains, legumes, dairy and particularly high-calorie processed foods that are a staple of most modern diets. Indeed, these modern diets have caused obesity, heart disease and diabetes to rocket!

Can you drink regular caffeinated coffee on the Paleo Diet?

The long and short of it is that coffee was not part of the Palaeolithic human diet.

And worse, coffee contains caffeine as a means of protection for the plant, which has a stimulating effect and is where dependency and withdrawal problems can emerge and creates an unhealthy energy debt and an addiction to coffee often manifested as grumpiness and fatigue when coffee is not consumed.

It depends on the individual, but the safest way to consume coffee is without caffeine.

Is decaf coffee compatible with the Paleo Diet?

Many Paleo Diet followers report that they fair much better with only decaffeinated coffee since the main problems in coffee come from caffeine, the main stimulant in coffee, so decaffeinated coffee should prove to be a wise choice in the long-term.

Caffeine isn’t a food, but it’s worth your while to treat it the same way in this case. Indeed, the best way to get an honest idea of how you react to caffeine is to detox, then reintroduce.

So, a 30-day caffeine fast will be ideal to get over the withdrawal symptoms. You may event find that without the sugar highs and lows of a carbohydrate based diet, you don’t even need your coffee to stay awake. Even if you thought you slept fine before, you might start noticing that you feel more rested and calmer.

Decaf coffee is ideal for caffeine detoxes, particularly Swiss Water Decaf, since it’s 99.9% caffeine free. Post-detox, if you do decide that caffeine can be a healthy part of your lifestyle, the next step is to watch your consumption.  

On the other hand, if you don’t want to take up caffeine again after your detox, but miss the taste of your coffee in the morning, decaffeinated coffee is the ideal solution.

IMPORTANT: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Nothing in the content or products should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs.

December 15, 2015 — Gary Carruthers

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