Paleo dieting and nutrition is an increasingly popular approach to improved health, and several books have been published on the subject. Brief summaries of several of the more popular books are listed below. One of the most popular titles is The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain which has led to the term "Paleo," a shortened version of Paleolithic, becoming popular in general usage among dieters. The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is another popular title where the term "Primal" rather than "Paleo" is used to denote Sisson's particular approach to cave-man style dieting. One of Dr. Cordain's students, Robb Wolf, has recently published his own book titled The Paleo Solution.
Paleo dieting is an approach to nutrition where the dietary plan of our Paleolithic ancestors is emulated to achieve better health through a cave-man style diet. Fish, Meat, Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts are emphasized over grains, legumes, and dairy. Each of the books mentioned take a different approach to espousing this same general idea.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain is the first of the books listed here to be published, and it did a lot to popular this style of Paleolithic dieting. Dr. Cordain has been a Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University since 1982. As would be expected from his background, his book takes a very science-based approach to cave-man nutrition. He uses scientific studies and rationale to support the idea of avoiding Neolithic foods.
One of the short-comings of his book identified by many within the Paleo community is his belief that cave men ate a low-fat diet. Most modern paleo practitioners believe that low-fat is a modern fad, and they feel that it is likely that Dr. Cordain too quickly accepted current conventional wisdom rather than looking at the fat issue scientifically.
The Primal Blueprint
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is another popular title in the field of evolutionary diets. Sisson is a former world-class athlete that after his retirement from competition became interested in improving overall health. He wrote several books including Maximum Results, The Fat Control System, The Anti-aging Report and The Lean Lifestyle Program (over 400,000 copies distributed) as well as editing the Optimum Health national health newsletter (circ. 90,000) from 1994 through 1996.
A key focus to this book is making the program work for real people in real life. One of its distinguishing features is the 80/20 approach. Sisson thinks that for many average people going 100% paleo might prove too discouraging, so what he promotes is the idea of going paleo at least 80% of the time. This still provides some wiggle room without worrying about whether one is failing or cheating any time there is not perfect compliance to the diet of our stone-age ancestors.
The Paleo Solution
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet was written by Robb Wolf, a former student of Dr. Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet. Wolf's unique perspective is that not only was he a research biochemist for 5 years and well acquainted with the science behind paleo nutrition, but he at one time was a California State Powerlifting Champion and is currently a personal trainer and co-owner at a strength and conditioning center. He consults nationally in the areas of nutrition and fitness.
This book is well grounded in the same ideas as his former instructor's book, but Wolf takes more of a lifestyle approach in his own work. Exercise and fitness gets focused on as would be expected from his personal trainer background. A key distinguishing feature Wolf tries to use to set his book apart from similar titles is his 30-day plan to get newcomers immersed into the program. This includes a meal plan for all 30 days.
Each of these titles has something to offer, and 'which is best' may depend upon your own situation. The Paleo Diet has more focus on scientific rationale whereas The Primal Blueprint and The Paleo Solution are more geared towards making the program work for real people. "Primal" distinguishes itself with a 80/20 approach, and Paleo Solution uses its 30-day plan to set it apart.