Hello Loren Cordain,
I’m very pleased that you’d be happy to provide a quote for G magazine to include in our article on kangaroo meat.
Specifically, could I please ask you to comment on if people in Australia should consider having kangaroo meat in their diet?
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
Millions of people worldwide have now adopted The Paleo Diet as their lifelong program of eating to maximize health and prevent obesity and many of the chronic diseases of western civilization. Five human clinical trials demonstrate modern day Paleo diets to be more effective in ameliorating chronic Western disease than diabetic diets or the Mediterranean Diet (1-6). On a calorie by calorie basis, the Paleo Diet is more nutritious and contains higher concentrations of virtually all vitamins and minerals (7) than the USDA Food Pyramid (recently renamed My Plate).
The mainstay of The Paleo Diet are wholesome meats, fish and seafood which provide about 55% of the calories in contemporary diets based upon Stone Age groups. The balance of energy is comprised of fresh fruits, veggies, roots, nuts, seeds and healthful oils (olive, coconut, walnut, avocado etc.). Australians are fortunate in that one of the best tasting and nutritious wild meats available in the entire world is found in their very own backyard. Indeed, Australia is home to an estimated 35 million wild kangaroos. Five of the 48 species of kangaroo are harvested for meat. Hence, Australia is one of the few countries in the world which harvests wild game commercially and markets it internationally. The industry is regulated to prevent overharvesting and thereby maintain healthy stable populations of these animals. Wild kangaroo meat is absolutely delicious, and to my taste buds, resembles a sweet filet mignon of beef. But make sure you cook it rare to medium rare to keep it tender. In the U.S. kangaroo is available at many specialty markets in frozen vacuum sealed packs at reasonable prices. Now to the nitty gritty. Like almost all wild game meat, it is incredibly nutritious. A 100 gram (~1/4 lb) kangaroo medallion is low in calories (102 kcal), low in total fat (1.3 g), and provides an average adult with 44 % of their daily protein requirement. It is a rich source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. Further, similar to all wild game, kangaroo is a good source of long chain omega 3 fatty acids that help to ward off many diseases of civilization (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease). A 100 g serving of kangaroo meat typically contains about 74 mg of long chain, heart healthy, omega 3 fatty acids and is also a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that may have cardio protective anti-cancer properties.
1. Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.
2. Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35
3. Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahren B, Lindeberg S. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7(1):85
4. Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K, Ahren B: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007, 50(9):1795-1807.
5. O’Dea K: Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603.
6. Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.
7. Cordain L. The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Neutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus