Hi Dr. Cordain,
I came to you via my research on The Paleo Diet. I’ve found some articles that say tequila and wine are the only two forms of alcohol allowed on The Paleo Diet. Can you speak to this in greater detail?
I work for a very small tequila brand and we’re hoping to offer our ultra-premium products to your diet followers as an improvement to what they may be consuming.
Cheers and thanks for your help!
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
From a purely factual perspective, no alcohol is “Paleo,” as our Stone Age ancestors lacked the technology to produce either fermented or distilled drinks containing ethyl alcohol. Nevertheless, we live in the 21st century and cannot possibly eat only wild plant and animal foods as our ancestors did. Hence, the idea behind contemporary “Paleo” diets is not to replicate their diets exactly but only to mimic the food groups they ate with commonly available modern foods like fresh veggies, fruits, grass produced meats, seafood, and nuts and to avoid the food groups they generally didn’t eat like dairy, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars, vegetable oils, salt and processed foods.
In all of my books I have included the 85:15 rule which allows people to occasionally “cheat.” Most people can achieve significant improvements in health and well-being by maintaining 85% compliance with The Paleo Diet. Others who are overweight or obese or have other health-related issues need to be even more compliant 90 to 100% of the time.
Accordingly, alcohol consumption is allowed occasionally, and in moderation. A glass of wine with dinner a few times a week will not derail the therapeutic effects of The Paleo Diet. Similarly, alcoholic beverages from distilled spirits also are allowed, but they should be made with non-sugary mixers. Tequilas often contain substantial amounts of refined sugars including sucrose, glucose, and high fructose corn syrup, unless they are distilled from 100% agave plants with no added sugars. Purge the sugars from the shakers. When life hands you limes and you reach for Jose, understand the merits or lack thereof of alcohol and tequila consumption in Paleo diets.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professeor Emeritus