The Paleolithic Diet InfoGraphic

Revealed here for the first time. And as I said, it’s big.

Paleolithic Diet Explained
Learn more about the paleo Diet

Access the full-size version here.

This is the work of Patrick Vlaskovits whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing for quite a while now. We regularly grab lunch together when he’s on business up here Bay Area and we talk about the paleo movement in general.

Patrick is also the founder of the very popular PaleoHacks and now, the Newsletter.

From Patrick:

  1. has one simple mission: Responsibly steward paleo / primal / evolutionary / ancestral eating as it goes mainstream.
  2. The paleo Diet is a broad and flexible meta-rule (rule about rules): Eat in an evolutionary appropriate manner for our species. That’s it. Full Stop.
  3. Let’s have some fun while we’re doing #1

To help spread the word about Paleolithic Diet, I have created the infographic Richard has embedded in this post. I hope you enjoy it. Please spread tweet & share it far and wide. If you have a blog, you can even embed it.

So help spread the word by sharing this post with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. O Primitivo on June 9, 2011 at 20:54

    I think that Dr. Staffan Linderberg’s book “Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective” should be added to the 10 years of paleo literature. This is a major miss in this otherwise great Paleolithic Diet InfoGraphic. And what is Gary Taubes doing in that book list, can someone please explain?

  2. Gordon on June 9, 2011 at 11:43

    First post on this site. Richard: You helped shepherd me into Paleo with this blog, and I’m VERY excited by this post. I am glad that Paleo is moving away from a concrete bound list of rules towards a principled, systematic theory of nutrition and fitness. For this reason, I highly approve of the “meta-rule” mentioned here. Looking forward to the new site. Keep up the good work!


    • Primal Toad on June 13, 2011 at 12:06

      I think many of us were following the guidelines a little bit too strict. This is what made many people feel as if it was a religion that we were following. This is not a religion by any means. I can sense many people coming around about many sub sets of primal living including myself.

      One must read not just one book but many books and articles on primal living. Every single individual has their own unique perspective. They are all correct. Their is no right or wrong way. If you want to eat a piece of toast once a week then do it. If you want a single cheat day then do it. If you want to be 100% strict and you don’t accumulate stress then do it.

      Skip nightshades if you have problems with them and enjoy them freely if you do not have noticeable problems and love them more than bacon…

      Read what I say. What Richard Says. What Mark, Diane, Robb and dozens of others. Listen to experts and listen to newbies. Learn from your own experience. If you want to dive in but are afraid of giving up something like popcorn then forget about it. Dive in and keep eating popcorn.

      Do what works for YOU.

  3. wilberfan on June 9, 2011 at 11:55

    Well, that’s about 14 kinds of awesome…! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to send a link to all my friends and family… 😉

  4. Courtney on June 9, 2011 at 11:59

    Will this be available as a poster?

  5. Skyler Tanner on June 9, 2011 at 12:00

    Wilberfan…as in Ken?

    • wilberfan on June 9, 2011 at 12:04

      Wow. I’m impressed. Most people don’t pick up on that! (Wonder if Ken is Paleo?) 🙂

    • Bodhi on June 10, 2011 at 07:03

      I think he is vegetarian. I’m not sure if he is vegan.

  6. wilberfan on June 9, 2011 at 12:10

    Hmmm. Now that I’ve read through the entire poster, I think it’s going to be confusing to the uninitiated. I don’t think it’s clear enough that a lot of the stuff on the timeline are BAD. Can we consider this a good first draft?

    • Doug on June 9, 2011 at 15:53

      Yes, a few of the icons are ambiguous too. In the “Okay”, what is in the pitcher? If it’s milk, just show a carton that says MILK on the side. The green bottle in “The Bad” is unknown too. Is it vegetable oil or olive oil?

      On “The Percentage of Older Americans with Diabetes”, what exactly do the colors distinguish?

      The Ancel Keys Time graphic should have text included that says, “the primary origin of the attack on dietary cholestrol”, or something similar to point out that the Lipid Hypothesis was erroneous.

    • Patrik on June 9, 2011 at 12:51

      Good feedback. Let’s definitely consider this a good first draft. Or in my world, a Minimal Viable Product.

    • Rip on June 9, 2011 at 14:54

      A very good first draft.

      If you want any proofreading or copywriting doing, let me know.

    • Dave, RN on June 9, 2011 at 13:26

      that occurred tom e as well. What’s good (like good fats) and what’s bad (the lipid hypotheses) needs to be clearer. They did however do a good job on making clear that saturated fat is good. I think somewhere in there it might be beneficial to have a bubble on teh number of people on statins and the dangers of statins. Other than that, it’s greatness. Some kind of poster would be pretty cool.

    • Dave, RN on June 9, 2011 at 13:27

      Geez. Sorry for the misspellings!

  7. Cathy on June 9, 2011 at 12:10

    This is awesome!

    If it’s just digital so far (not printed as a poster), Patrick V. might (?) want to know about two misspelled words. In the BMI circle, Overweight is misspelled as Overwieght. Near the bottom, in the “Go Outside and Get Active” box, achieve is written as acheive.

    If this is too picky for you, I apologize. It’s not meant as criticism. As an editor I see these things … and I think this poster is very well done and will see VERY WIDE distribution (yea!) so if there’s a chance to fix a couple of things before it goes viral, you might want to know.

    • Lindsay on June 9, 2011 at 12:17

      Additionally, Michael Pollan’s first name is misspelled; “Lipid Hypotheses” is missing a letter “e” in the Ancel Keys blurblet.

  8. Lindsay on June 9, 2011 at 12:13

    I’ll say it: I wish this had been proofread.

    It’s amazing and gorgeous and incredible, but the typos are bad.

    • Dave, RN on June 9, 2011 at 13:36

      Yeah, not to be picky, but I agree (in spite of my first comment being full of them). Vegans will have a field day with mis-spellings or other errors, saying we can’t even spell blah blah blah…

  9. […] of Patrick Vlaskovits of PaleoHacks and as revealed earlier today on Free The Animal.  I have in no way contributed to this outstanding piece of work, I merely repost it here for your […]

  10. Geoff on June 9, 2011 at 12:27

    Looks really good! The PUFA ratio portion is backwards. It says Omega 3 & Omega 6 between 1:1 and 4:1.

  11. Jamie on June 9, 2011 at 12:27

    Can someone email it to me? For whatever reason it just won’t display when I click through from my email or Richard’s post.

    • Paul on June 9, 2011 at 14:19

  12. Gazelle on June 9, 2011 at 12:30

    I don’t understand the leptin graphic. Fat cells secrets it, and it signals the brain, but then where does the “lack of leptin” come from?

    • Matthew on June 9, 2011 at 13:02

      Eating a low fat diet

    • Gazelle on June 9, 2011 at 13:30

      Um, leptin doesn’t come from dietary fat.

    • MightyAl on June 9, 2011 at 13:35

      I think it is trying to show the accepted false correlation.

    • Gazelle on June 9, 2011 at 13:41

      Oh, totally didn’t get that. Not a clear infographic! Besides, leptin wasn’t discovered until 1994 so it definitely wasn’t part of the misinformation about low-fat diets in the 1970s.

    • Mallory on June 9, 2011 at 17:34

      ha, if we knew what caused and cured leptin problems noo one would have health problems

  13. Patrik on June 9, 2011 at 12:32

    Hi Guys,

    Sorry about the typos — completely my fault. 🙁 Should have done a better job and caught them.

    Had some communication problems with the design team — *grumble grumble

  14. Patrik on June 9, 2011 at 12:40

    Going to pull together corrections and edit graphic. Hit me with anything else you see that needs fixing.

    Again, my fault for not doing better proof-reading.

  15. Asclepius on June 9, 2011 at 12:43

    Nice work Patrick!

    If you do a v2 you might want to extend the lifestyle choices bit to include barefooting, exercising in the ‘wild’/green spaces’ and also add something about ‘temperature’ (wildswimming, exposing yourself to seasonal temperature variation etc…)

    • rob on June 9, 2011 at 13:00

      Also maybe something in the timeline about shampoo.

    • rob on June 9, 2011 at 16:35

      Also maybe some organ meats and what they look like, the esophagus of an ostrich, the bowels of a donkey.

    • Asclepius on June 9, 2011 at 13:10

      Something about IF might also be appropriate. Just an idea!

  16. Ned Kock on June 9, 2011 at 12:56


    Reminds me a bit of Meth’s awesome intro videos on paleo, like this:

  17. Lute Nikoley on June 9, 2011 at 12:56

    This is super. I’ll have to study it when i’ve got more time. And I don’t care that much about the typos. Hell I see typos in the newspaper, even sometimes in a book.

    • Paul C on June 9, 2011 at 14:00

      Indeed, typos in Reuters or AP articles are common, and major news sites as well. They do fix them when I email about it.

      If I had to be super-picky, I’d put more space between the top arrow and the 200,000. I mistakenly connected those when the arrow really belongs to the 2 million pic.

  18. f.yo on June 9, 2011 at 13:28

    Celiac prevalence of 2% to 2.4% in finland.

    Irritable bowel syndrome prevalence of 7% to 15% in western countries.

    I think IBS stats should be thrown in there, given,
    1) how prevalent it is.
    2) the name is self-explanatory, ‘irritable bowel’
    3) it would easy for (many?) people to self-validate the connection between grains/poor food and irritated bowels. ‘My gut’s feeling bad now. Oh, I just ate a big bowel of pasta? Maybe there’s something to this anti-grains thing…’

  19. Dave, RN on June 9, 2011 at 13:45

    Hmmm… I though that the whole BMI thing was bogus. Not sure if it’s there as a “bad” a “good” or just information.
    The one about exercise and a big meal… I take it that’s a “bad”?
    There’s a bottle of oil in the “bad” part of the food graphic. It looks like a bottle of olive oil, which I thought was good. Needs to look like a bottle of Crisco.

    • MightyAl on June 10, 2011 at 12:35

      BMI used for you personally is bogus but as it was conceived to measure entire populations is valid.

  20. Peggy The Primal Parent on June 9, 2011 at 13:48

    Sneak this poster into all the doctor’s exam rooms around the country.

    I can just see it. Patients are sitting there waiting forever for the doctor to come, they’d read this poster and get up and walk out before the doc ever made it in – already armed with the answers to all their ills!

    Fix the typos, laminate it, and hang it up!

    • maba on June 9, 2011 at 21:46

      Love this idea!

    • Jules on June 10, 2011 at 11:07

      Yeah, right on! 🙂

  21. Healthy Meal Plans With The Paleo Diet » The Paleolithic Diet InfoGraphic - a Free Diet Blog from 3FC on June 9, 2011 at 14:00

    […] The Paleolithic Diet InfoGraphic via Free The Animal by Richard Nikoley on 6/9/11 […]

  22. Cathy on June 9, 2011 at 14:32

    Re Ancel Keys and spelling of lipid hypothesis, as noted above it’s missing an e, but also it should be hypothesis (singular) not hypotheses (plural).

  23. Corey on June 9, 2011 at 14:36

    Lol, Celiac disease is genetic. Eating poorly doesn’t cause it.

    • Peggy The Primal Parent on June 9, 2011 at 21:14


    • Paul C on June 10, 2011 at 07:37

      Good point, the poster might be better off not putting so much emphasis on celiac, and more emphasis on the damage grains do to every human, not just celiacs. Celiac doesn’t apply to most people, but grain damage applies to everyone (see Robb Wolf’s biochemical explanation).

  24. […] The Paleolithic Diet InfoGraphic via Free The Animal by Richard Nikoley on 6/9/11 […]

  25. DurianRiderFan on June 9, 2011 at 16:42

    I don’t believe in the high fay way of eating. This is inflammtory and leads to weight gain and heart disease. Any cardiologist will tell you that.

    Angina is in your future. Please go vegan now. Fruit reverses the diseases meat causes.

    • Noah on June 9, 2011 at 21:04

      I’ll pass this on to Art Devany.

  26. DurianRiderFan on June 9, 2011 at 16:46

    Celiac disease is genetic. If both parents are carriers ,you’ll get it. This is why you should never read the Internet for health infromation, especially meat pushing Paleolithic Diet sites.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2011 at 16:56

      You don’t “believe” in the high fay (sic) way of eating, but yet you somehow believe that anyone around here gives a a runny shit or better what you believe.

    • timmah on June 9, 2011 at 21:34

      If this were a news discussion, I would respond with

      “Your trolling attempt gets 2/10, the only reason I didn’t give you a one is because I laugh at how ironic this post is.”

    • Paul C on June 10, 2011 at 07:45

      You aren’t celiac if you don’t have the gene, that is true. However you are still getting the grain damage, and you may still have autoimmune issues triggered by the damage. In the end, does it matter if you have been scientifically labeled or not?

    • timmah on June 10, 2011 at 07:52

      “Grain Damaged” would be a good name for a band made up of Type II diabetics.

    • Jules on June 10, 2011 at 11:11

      Ha, I like that! The other day I saw a cool shirt on the Fathead website- says “Wheat is Murder”

  27. Jason Thibault on June 9, 2011 at 17:05

    Wow, looks like a helluva lot of work went into this. Nicely done.

    When you have a ‘final’ version that you’re completely happy with you should make a poster or limited run screen print of this.

  28. Mallory on June 9, 2011 at 17:36

    tweeted to get the word out! im new at a tweet so i dont know if i do it right. i agree it is a bit confusing to find the good and bad in the way its laid out. if its a never heard of paleo beginner guide, definitely label the food

  29. zach on June 9, 2011 at 18:00

    Sorry but that graphic is pretty bad. Nothing at all covered from 2m to 1950s and then jumps into random tidbits of saturated fat stuff. It really shows nothing about the what and whys of paleo except for which foods to eat at the very end, it doesnt even explain if certain points are good or bad. Nobody outside of diehard nutrition followers would have any idea what you are trying to convey. It needs a entire overhaul.

    • zach on June 9, 2011 at 18:02

      I just noticed the “paleo diet explained” and i feel it does the exact opposite.

    • Poisonguy on June 10, 2011 at 00:33

      I agree with zach. A bit more emphasis on the paleo in paleolithic would be nice.

  30. Daniel on June 9, 2011 at 18:14


    I definitely think you’ve created an eye-catching and impactful infographic. I would change a few things about the general organization however. I would segue from the “benefits of sat. fat/danger of trans fat” right into the “digestion interrupted” section, and cut out the blurbs about bloggers/authors and such. I feel it really disrupts the flow and won’t mean anything to someone reading this stuff for the first time. Absolutely include a “to learn more” section at the end. I might even keep the “timeline of obesity” chart and replace the “10 years of paleo lit.” with a small graph of US food consumption (vegetable fats increased, animal fats decreased, sugar increased)- Showing that the obesity issue is happening *despite* the actual dietary trends. Just my two cents.

  31. O Primitivo on June 10, 2011 at 10:03

    Dr. Cordain et. al “Rebuttal to U.S. News and World Top 20 Diets”

  32. Eegah! on June 9, 2011 at 20:51

    Vitamin D might merit a mention under ‘Light’, certainly as the most important supplement that can’t readily be gained in sufficient doses from diet.

  33. Noah on June 9, 2011 at 21:07

    Patrick, I don’t tweet and definitely won’t give access to my address book to third party. Does this mean no access to the site?

    • Susan on June 10, 2011 at 10:23

      Ditto. I never give out anyone else’s email address. That would be rude.

    • Kevin Alexander on June 10, 2011 at 15:04

      I concur. Requiring “friend invites” makes you seem like a distributor of a crappy Zynga game rather than a distributor of important health information.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2011 at 15:08


      I have a call in to Patrick on your behalf and all the others.

      I’m urgently asking he take the gun off your heads, instanter.

      The nerve.

  34. Poisonguy on June 10, 2011 at 00:30

    Not sure how walnuts can help achieve the desired EFA ratio (walnuts have an EFA ratio of at least 1:4, in favor of omega-6. May as well recommend Canola oil!!!). Or flax seeds, for that matter, since they provide short chain omega-3, not really converted to any significant amounts to the beneficial type (EPA and DHA). Would have rather have seen an emphasis there on other seafoods or pastured eggs and meat. But this is more of a minor nitpick than anything else, as the overall message is positive. Fine work.

  35. Robbo on June 10, 2011 at 01:20

    A couple of suggestions for pre-paleo heroes
    1. Vilhjalmur Stefansson (the guy who lived and ate with the Eskimos)
    2. Robert Atkins. If Ancel Keys is in on the dark side, Atkins has to be in on the…other side. What I’m thinking is that Atkins popularised an approach which is about 80% spot on, in the face of furious opposition from his professional colleagues.

  36. DurianRiderFan on June 10, 2011 at 15:31

    Dr. William Castelli himself said ” A vegetarian diet is the BEST diet you can eat ” 39: 09. I have video proof. Would you like the video? Here it is. Listen carefully at 7: 12 and on.

    The nonsense of the WAPF is exposed now.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2011 at 17:33

      A doctor said? Well, I guess that settles it. After all, all Doktors are always in agreement and in lock step. Think no further. Nothing to see here.

  37. Paleolithic diet | Jadelogistics on June 10, 2011 at 05:42

    […] The Paleolithic Diet InfoGraphic | Free The Animal […]

  38. MissBrooks on June 10, 2011 at 05:57

    Maimonides, yeah!

  39. zyko on June 10, 2011 at 13:01

    When will one get the access to the content? Gathered over 10 signups already.

  40. DurianRiderFan on June 10, 2011 at 15:59

    Tricky Dick Nikoley…….. huh ?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2011 at 17:36

      No shit? Tricky Dick? Man, never heard that one before. Fucking clever, man. Youd have thout someone would have come up with it in 1972 or earlier. But no. It’s me.

  41. blog » Infographic, “The Paleolithic Diet” on June 10, 2011 at 16:42

    […] You can view an infographic which describes the diet in detail below (via Free The Animal). […]

  42. keithallenlaw on June 10, 2011 at 17:12

    Scram…troll. Or I’ll rip off your arm an eat it for super. And I will!

  43. Keith Thomas on June 10, 2011 at 20:11

    Nice work! Pity Patrick did not mention the seminal 1973 article by Stephen Boyden, published in the British monthly The Ecologist:

    Boyden’s article is centred on, as Patrick writes, “Eat in an evolutionary appropriate manner for our species. That’s it. Full Stop.” and he got the Palaeo lifestyle synthesis a decade before anyone else.

  44. Primal Toad on June 13, 2011 at 12:07

    This is a nice piece of work. I can’t imagine how long it took to put this together. Hours upon hours. That’s for damn sure. I’ll be blogging this myself soon and I hope everyone else who has a blog will and also share it on facebook, twitter and elsewhere!

  45. Kris @ Health Blog on June 14, 2011 at 00:47

    This is really cool, will definitely point this out next time someone asks me what the paleo diet is all about

  46. Paleo Josh on June 14, 2011 at 23:47

    I have been waiting for one of these.

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  52. Rebuttal to U.S. News and World Top 20 Diets | Paleo Village on September 16, 2011 at 08:02

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