The Paleo diet consists of eating foods that were available during the Paleolithic Era or Stone Age (also called the hunter-gatherer and caveman diet).
And you definitely wouldn’t find processed foods and even certain ones which we’d consider healthy today. So, the paleo diet seeks to take us back to how our ancestors ate for health’s sake due to the potential dangers of the modern diet.
Now, Paleo isn’t the easiest lifestyle to follow but it works for many people and adequate planning is the best way to stay on track. But that’s where supplementation can go a long way by filling in any gaps since whole food dieting can be strenuous.
But we’ll give you the rundown on the basics of Paleo dieting and the list of protein supplements reviewed for 2019…
Our Best Paleo Protein Powders Picks, Compared & Reviewed
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Our Editor’s Pick:PaleoPro Protein Powder
PaleoPro protein is pretty naked on the ingredients and it’s a very minimally processed powder with no garbage ingredients and only really high-quality protein. It’s a popular choice and it’s also our top pick!
PaleoPro protein is made from a combination of pastured grass-fed beef with no added hormones, and egg protein. There’s no whey protein and the powder is minimally processed with no soy.
The formula contains no artificial ingredients, it’s naturally sweetened with stevia, and ancient cacao is added for flavoring (if you go with chocolate).
Each serving has 120 calories, 26g protein, 1g fat, 1g carbs, and no sugar.
Sports Research Collagen Peptides Powder
This formula isn’t exactly a “protein powder” but it does have 10g of protein from the 11g of hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides. Collagen is important for skin, hair, bone, cartilage, tendon, and joint health but it’s especially important as we begin to age; when collagen begins to break down. (11)
And bovine collagen showed to have a positive effect on the skin in one study. So, it’s a potentially effective way to combat the loss of collagen in the skin. (12)
A serving has 40 calories and 10g protein from an 11g scoop.
Perfect Keto Collagen Protein Powder
Perfect Keto collagen powder is another supplement that’s not solely a source of protein but it does contain 10 grams per serving with few calories and its keto-friendly. A ketogenic diet uses fat for energy rather than carbohydrates but protein should be moderate. So, this shake is ideal with very little carbs and a higher content of fat. (13)
It’s Paleo-friendly (Obviously, or it wouldn’t be on our list) consisting of 100% grass-fed collagen and acacia fiber is added which has little impact on blood sugar levels.
A dose also contains 5,000mg of medium-chain triglycerides which is a partly-processed type of fat that is easier to digest for many people. It can potentially help with weight loss and is used for its other potential health benefits. (14)
A serving has 80 calories, 10g protein, 4g fat, and 1g carbs.
Peak Performance Grain-Free Complete Plant Protein
There are a few plant-based protein sources in this powder which make it a complete source with all essential amino acids (Building blocks of the body). Protein sources include organic pea, hemp, sacha inchi, pumpkin, and chia. And additional ingredients include organic vanilla, coconut milk powder, cinnamon, stevia, and monk fruit for flavoring and sweetness.
The ingredients are food-based and each batch is third-party tested for purity. You can hardly beat it for quality!
A serving has 112 calories, 18g protein, 2g fat, 5g carbs, <1 sugar, and 5g fiber. Plus, you get a nice dose of plant-based iron (44%).
COGNITUNE Smarter Health Bone Broth Protein Organic Turmeric + Collagen
Bone broth results from boiling animals bones and is said to be very nutritious due to the vitamins, minerals, and collagen content. But there’s not much evidence to support any beneficial claims from consuming the broth. However, it’s a staple in the Paleo diet and could potentially offer some benefit like the fact that it contains about 6-12 grams of protein per cup. (15, 16)
But the product also contains turmeric which is effective for inflammation according to many studies. (17)
A serving has 80 calories, 20g protein, 22.25g bovine bone broth protein, <1g fat, and 1g organic turmeric root powder.
Designs For Health PurePaleo Protein Powder
A quality source of protein from bone broth isolate, the hydroBEEF is 97% pure protein which is important for muscle growth support and it’s loaded with amino acids.
The protein has a Nitrogen score of over 100 which means it’s easily digestible and the protein is physician-approved as the best choice for professional supplementation.
A serving has 100 calories, 21g protein (from hydroBEEF), 1.5g fat, 3g carbs, plus natural flavors and sweeteners.
Judee’s Paleo Protein Egg White Powder
This one is pretty simple because it only contains 2 ingredients… egg white powder and sunflower lecithin. Egg whites are one of the purest forms of protein available containing the nine essential amino acids. And the egg white source is produced from UEP certified egg farmers which guarantee humane production and freshness. (18)
A serving has 95 calories, 20g protein, 0g fat, 1g carbs, and 0g sugar.
Primal Kitchen Primal Fuel Low-Carb Meal Replacement Shake
Primal Kitchen is a quality brand and their Paleo powder contains a whey protein isolate source, coconut milk, inulin from chicory root, natural flavors and stevia. So, it’s just simple ingredients and no junk. The product is Paleo-approved and there’s no soy contained in the product.
A serving has 190 calories, 20g protein, 9g fat, 9g carbs, and 2g sugar.
Julian Bakery Paleo Thin Grass-Fed Beef Protein
Julian Bakery grass-fed hydroBEEF protein is a premium source of paleo-friendly protein powder that you can cook and bake with. It’s sweetened with organic stevia leaf and you won’t have to worry about putting unhealthy ingredients in your body.
The brand is pretty popular and it was a must for our list of best Paleo protein powders.
A serving has 108 calories, 25g protein, 1g fat, 2g carbs, and 0g sugar.
Clovis Fat Loss The Perfect Paleo Powder
With Clovis’ “The Perfect Paleo Powder” formula, you get much more than a source of Paleo protein. You get raw, unprocessed whole food ingredients with superfoods added.
There’s 100mg of caffeine per serving which is a stimulant that has many positive effects on cognitive function and focus. Then you have a natural anti-inflammatory in turmeric, plus CoEnzyme Q10 which is an antioxidant that is good for heart health and l-glutathione which builds and repairs tissue. (19, 20, 21)
A serving also contains a healthy dose of B vitamins which are important for cell health and energy. Vitamin C supports healthy immune function and is an antioxidant, while folate supports the growth of cells and development. (22, 23, 24)
Probiotics are added for a healthy gut supplying the good bacteria and these live microorganisms are beneficial for the digestive system. (25)
There are no added sugars or any junk ingredients.
A serving has 120 calories, 15g protein, 3g fat, 9g carbs, 1g sugar, and 3g fiber.
What Is The Paleo Diet?
The idea behind Paleo is that our bodies are genetically unable to efficiently process and thrive on foods common in the Western diet. And naturally, we’d be better off consuming food that was commonly found in the Paleolithic ages which were hunted and gathered.
Farming practices have changed how we eat, but this change in diet is widely believed to be a large contributor to many chronic diseases modern humans suffer from. This is referred to as the discordance hypothesis. And foods like dairy, legumes, and grains are all a result of this process. (1)
Now, there is a lot of debate surrounding the paleo diet because there could have been other foods available during the Stone Ages and even the ones excluded from the Paleo diet. And based on geographic location, food selections likely varied. So, the Paleo diet we know of today is most likely not “exact”. (2)
But that’s why the diet is based on the foods that were likely available.
To be considered paleo, the foods would have to have been obtained from hunting and gathering during prehistoric times.
These foods include:
Grass-fed meat is a staple in the Paleo diet because it’s high in protein and lower in fat content. But grass-fed cows also contain more Omega 3 fatty acids than grain-fed. These fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are essential nutrients for heart and cell membrane health/function. However, meat sources contain much less Omega 3s than fish; which is a very important source for getting plenty of EPA and DHA. But grass-fed meat also offers more Vitamins A and E than grain-fed beef; which are important antioxidants that protect cells from cancer-causing free radicals. (3, 4, 5)
Fish is obviously the main source of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) like previously mentioned but it’s also high in protein. A fish source of Omega 3s like Salmon contains nearly 5x the amount compared to beef. So, it’s a must in the paleo diet. (6, 7)
Low-glycemic vegetables and fruits should be a large part of the paleo diet and even though potatoes might have been available ages ago, they’re not included in the modern Paleo diet. Veggies and fruits are also high in fiber which is essential for digestive health. (8)
Nuts and seeds are also a great source of protein and they contain a plant-based fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is a precursor to EPA and DHA but it’s very low converting and you’d need to eat a lot of ALA to make up the difference. (9)
So, it’s highly recommended to get enough (ALA, EPA, and DHA) from multiple sources.
Foods You Should Avoid With Paleo
Now, although this isn’t exactly set in stone (pun intended), these foods are generally what should be avoided.
- Processed foods
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, and peas)
- Grains, (wheat, oats, and barley)
- Refined sugar
- Salt (especially processed)
Benefits of The Paleo Diet
The modern, processed diet that so many humans have adopted is not conducive to good health, especially when these foods are the main source of nutrition.
Processed foods that are high in fat, salt, sugar, and artificial ingredients are clearly bad for the human body.
And as far as the overall effectiveness of the Paleo diet, evidence shows mixed results due to potentially exaggerated claims. And that’s because we’re not 100% sure that there is a “perfect” diet. However, there is definitely a beneficial factor for weight loss and health claims like improved blood sugar, and heart health. (10)
Many of the foods we eat in the Western diet contribute to inflammation which is detrimental to our health and there’s no debate.
Are Paleo Protein Powders Safe For Everyone?
Generally, yes. But… you always want to make sure you’re getting sufficient nutrients through foods. Paleo protein powders are often very low in fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals, so you want to make sure you’re not replacing all of your meals with shakes.
You want to gradually make dietary changes and cutting out macronutrients and other nutrients suddenly is not a good idea. This goes with any protein supplement whether it’s Paleo-friendly or not.
But it’s always recommended to check with your doctor before introducing a supplement if you suffer from any health conditions.
Should I Do Paleo Forever?
You don’t have to follow any diet forever and it’s just not sustainable for a lot of people. But you can do it for a certain period of time just for the benefits as long as you are always consuming enough nutrients for your body.
And if you choose to do Paleo long term then that’s fine if you can discipline yourself enough to stick to an effective plan.
Paleo Diet Drawbacks
There are a few potential drawbacks to taking on a Paleo diet. But it really depends on how much you’re willing to learn and ensure you’re doing things properly in the healthiest way possible.
If you’re not adequately prepared to take on any diet, you will fail! So, you have to develop a plan beforehand in order to keep yourself on track. That means having a grocery list of the foods you need and sticking to that list of foods. Hold yourself accountable by keeping a journal and even tell other people you’re doing the diet so that they will understand you cannot compromise since peer pressure is hard to deal with oftentimes.
Pick one day out of the week and meal prep by cooking the foods and place them in designated containers.
There’s definitely a lot of preparation required but if you’re trying to shed the pounds, then eating less will make your life easier. But if you just can’t seem to make it work than the Paleo diet may not be for you (And it’s definitely not for everyone).
As far as food costs, if you cut out all of the foods you normally eat and buy strictly Paleo foods than your grocery bill shouldn’t be an issue. We often time spend on unnecessary food and eating out which will run up your food bill much more. And buying in bulk is always a good idea.
Grains and dairy provide a lot of vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. But the Paleo diet forbids these foods and this may be where the controversy lies which includes the possibility that there may have been grains a long time ago. But any dietary changes should be followed up by a doctor’s visit with blood work to ensure you’re getting sufficient nutrients either way. (26, 27)
And according to the Oldways Whole Grains Council, consuming grains has beneficial properties for preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes due to the antioxidants contained in them. (27)
So, that is something to be mindful of if considering doing the Paleo diet. Otherwise, supplementation is an option.
Vitamin D and calcium are nutrients to be sure you’re getting enough of which are usually plentiful in dairy products. Vitamin D is important for bone health and immune function, but a deficiency can be solved with extra sun exposure and even supplementation. Calcium is important for bone and nerve health but it’s also the most abundant mineral in the body. (28)
Leafy greens and seeds like chia contain a good amount of calcium, so up your intake and supplement if you have too. (30)
Now, one can get enough nutrients through non-dairy and non-grain foods but this takes commitment and self-education. A lot of people will jump into a diet and not realize that there are not eating the right foods or enough of certain ones.
There it is… a review of our top Paleo protein powder picks and we also hope you have a better idea of what the Paleo diet involves.
It may not be for everyone but there are definite health benefits from doing the caveman diet. You just want to be sure you’re getting all of your essential nutrients to ensure optimal health. And there’s a lot more involved than just changing up your diet. But it’s definitely worth a try if you were considering it.
Now, you don’t have to adopt this way of eating forever, but that’s entirely up to you. A short term diet change can be life-changing but the Paleo way of eating is still being studied for clearer and more conclusive evidence for its efficacy.
But anyway, the listed Paleo protein powders are top-notch and you can’t go wrong with any of these quality choices!