Tag Archives: fruit

The Paleo Diet | Christmas Nuts

When it comes to the holidays, it can be much more difficult to stick to your Paleo Diet. But – fortunately – there are many ways to “Paleo-fy” your favorite holiday meals. Today, I will be covering how you can transform a traditional Christmas dinner – into a much healthier one. Forget the empty calories of stuffing, rolls and pumpkin pie. Instead, say hello to some delicious sweet potatoes, free-range organic turkey and a large helping of brain-friendly vegetables! While your loved ones may be passed out on the couch after dinner, you will be energized, alert – and maybe even ready to run a 5K. So without further ado, here is my guide on how to have the best Paleo Christmas dinner.

Forget the Rolls, Bread, Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing

As I have covered many times on The Paleo Diet, gluten and pseudograins are not ideal for your body (or brain).1,2,3 And as Dr. Cordain has written, white potatoes are not the healthiest choice for you, either.4 The first difference between a healthy, Paleo Christmas dinner and the more gluttonous traditional version? Sweeping away all the extra, empty calories! As tough as it may be, say goodbye to the huge doses of stuffing, bread, mashed potatoes and rolls. But just because you might be skipping these – does not mean you necessarily have to forget about all forms of carbohydrates.

Replace Them with Sweet Potatoes and Mashed Cauliflower

Sweet potatoes are much different than the traditional white potato, and make a great substitute for holiday meals. And if you are missing the mashed potatoes – try mashing up some cauliflower instead.5 Once you add some grass-fed butter, herbs, spices and perhaps even some other vegetables, to this mashed mix, you will hardly notice the difference! Not only are you avoiding the numerous problems with white potatoes – you are getting a much bigger dose of nutrients than you normally would, at a traditional holiday meal.6,7,8,9,10,11

Keep the Turkey, But Make Sure It Is Properly Sourced

The best news about a Paleo holiday dinner? You can still indulge in the turkey! That’s right, keep the bird on the table. However, it is important to make sure you get a free-range, organic turkey. Though the cost may be slightly more, the benefits of properly sourced meat are definitely worth it.12,13,14,15 For example, an organic, free-range turkey has absolutely zero of the hormones or antibiotics, which are usually found in most meat.

The most commonly asked question I get about buying this premium type of bird is ‘do I really need to spend this much more on a turkey?’. While there is little doubt that a high quality turkey may cost more upfront – most people have no problem paying the extra cost, once they realize exactly what they are avoiding.16,17,18,19

For example, a regular turkey is usually fed a diet which consists mostly of grain and corn. This means they are usually also consuming very large amounts of pesticides – as well as GMOs. These unhealthy elements can end up making their way into your body, as a result. 99% of the time, grain-fed meat is also lower in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – as well as being much, much higher in omega-6.20,21 As I have covered previously, this is far from ideal.22

Make It More Colorful, By Adding Vegetables and Fruits

The traditional Christmas dinner has the same old, regular line-up of vegetables – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Try making a super-nutritious salad, filled with cancer-preventing kale, spinach and broccoli.23,24,25,26 Or try some other nutritious sides, like yucca root, butternut squash soup or a Swiss chard salad. Let your imagination run wild here, and avoid the excess sugar and carb loads, which plague nearly every holiday meal.

Increase the Fat Content

Traditional holiday meals are also plagued with very low amounts of heart (and brain) healthy fats. Try making your big meal more Paleo, by adding in some generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocados. Numerous scientific studies tout the myriad of health benefits shown, when consuming these fats.27,28,29,30,31,32 Dig in!

What about Dessert?

While it is very tempting to indulge in pumpkin pie or some other form of sweets after the big meal, it does not make sense, if you truly wish to stay healthy. I have written on the ills of sugar numerous times, and it is a much better idea to skip dessert, altogether.33,34 Plan a healthy activity for after dinner, like a short hike or run, that way you have something to look forward to. If you absolutely must indulge, pick a very high quality, organic dark chocolate. And keep your portion small!

Keep It Fun!

Ultimately, holiday meals are about being together with your loved ones. While consuming lots of carbohydrates can produce serotonin (a neurotransmitter closely related to your mood) – this is artificial.35,36,37,38 Find gratitude and happiness in your own life, and keep your holidays fun – not stressful! Remember to avoid caffeine as well (especially in excess), as it can make you more anxious and tense – which is the last thing you want during the stress-filled holidays.39,40

As you can see, you may have to give up some of your favorite holiday foods, but the health benefits of leaving these foods out, are definitely much better in the long run. In closing, I hope this guide has provided you with a plethora of good ideas, about having a much healthier Paleo meal, this holiday season. I wish you, and your loved ones, the best!

REFERENCES

[1]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/gluten-brain/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[2]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/celiac-disease-gluten-children/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[3]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/stop-settling-for-pseudo-health-and-say-no-to-pseudograins/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[4]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/are-potatoes-paleo/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[5]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/sweet-potatoes-paleo/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[6]Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(2):341-54.

[7]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/dr-cordains-rebuttal-to-us-news-and-world-report/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[8]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.

[9]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

[10]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

[11]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.

[12]Forman J, Silverstein J. Organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics. 2012;130(5):e1406-15.

[13]Chhabra R, Kolli S, Bauer JH. Organically grown food provides health benefits to Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(1):e52988.

[14]Crinnion WJ. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Altern Med Rev. 2010;15(1):4-12.

[15]Kamihiro S, Stergiadis S, Leifert C, Eyre MD, Butler G. Meat quality and health implications of organic and conventional beef production. Meat Sci. 2015;100:306-18.

[16]Epstein SS. The chemical jungle: today’s beef industry. Int J Health Serv. 1990;20(2):277-80.

[17]Pan A, Malik VS, Hu FB. Exporting diabetes mellitus to Asia: the impact of Western-style fast food. Circulation. 2012;126(2):163-5.

[18]Hemeda HM. Microbiological investigation and nutritional evaluation of selected fast food meat. J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 1995;70(1-2):105-26.

[19]Prayson B, Mcmahon JT, Prayson RA. Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating?. Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008;12(6):406-9.

[20]Ponnampalam EN, Mann NJ, Sinclair AJ. Effect of feeding systems on omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acids in Australian beef cuts: potential impact on human health. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(1):21-9.

[21]Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10.

[22]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/omega-3-vs-omega-6-rethinking-hypothesis/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[23]Van poppel G, Verhoeven DT, Verhagen H, Goldbohm RA. Brassica vegetables and cancer prevention. Epidemiology and mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:159-68.

[24]Maeda N, Matsubara K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011;11(1):32-8.

[25]Verhoeven DT, Goldbohm RA, Van poppel G, Verhagen H, Van den brandt PA. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5(9):733-48.

[26]Olsen H, Grimmer S, Aaby K, Saha S, Borge GI. Antiproliferative effects of fresh and thermal processed green and red cultivars of curly kale (Brassica oleracea L. convar. acephala var. sabellica). J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(30):7375-83.

[27]Lawrence GD. Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):294-302.

[28]Feinman RD. Saturated fat and health: recent advances in research. Lipids. 2010;45(10):891-2.

[29]Farr SA, Price TO, Dominguez LJ, et al. Extra virgin olive oil improves learning and memory in SAMP8 mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;28(1):81-92.

[30]Virruso C, Accardi G, Colonna-romano G, Candore G, Vasto S, Caruso C. Nutraceutical properties of extra-virgin olive oil: a natural remedy for age-related disease?. Rejuvenation Res. 2014;17(2):217-20.

[31]Lou-bonafonte JM, Arnal C, Navarro MA, Osada J. Efficacy of bioactive compounds from extra virgin olive oil to modulate atherosclerosis development. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012;56(7):1043-57.

[32]Visioli F, Bernardini E. Extra virgin olive oil’s polyphenols: biological activities. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(8):786-804.

[33]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/sugar-is-killing-us/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[34]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/neurobiology-sugar-cravings/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[35]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity and depression. Obes Res. 1995;3 Suppl 4:477S-480S.

[36]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Carbohydrate craving, obesity and brain serotonin. Appetite. 1986;7 Suppl:99-103.

[37]Fernstrom JD. Carbohydrate ingestion and brain serotonin synthesis: relevance to a putative control loop for regulating carbohydrate ingestion, and effects of aspartame consumption. Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:35-41.

[38]Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Do carbohydrates affect food intake via neurotransmitter activity?. Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:42-7.

[39]Available at: http://thepaleodiet.com/caffeine-brain-part-1/. Accessed December 14, 2015.

[40]Available at: http://greatist.com/grow/negative-health-effects-of-caffeine. Accessed December 14, 2015.

Does Fructose Promote Overeating? | The Paleo Diet

In the early 1980s, public health authorities began warning that saturated fat was driving obesity and various degenerative diseases. During this same period, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) rose to prominence, sneaking itself into processed foods, especially sodas, cookies, and cakes.

Saturated fat consumption fell. Sugar consumption and overall caloric intake rose. Obesity, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, and other diet-related diseases got worse. These disturbing facts have prompted nutrition scientists to begin investigate fructose (a primary type of sugar) as a possible driver of the obesity crisis.

Does fructose uniquely promote overeating? Does fructose affect satiety differently than other sugars, particularly glucose?

Before looking into these questions, we should note that fructose is almost always accompanied by glucose in natural foods. The following chart, for example, shows the sugar content of common foods.

Does Fructose Promote Overeating? | The Paleo Diet

Almost all foods containing sugars, including vegetables, include both glucose and fructose (as well as sucrose, which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose). The ratio of fructose to glucose for most foods hovers around 50:50 and generally never exceeds 70:30.

It’s been suggested that high-fructose corn syrup is more dangerous than table sugar because it contains proportionally more fructose, a modest 55% compared to 50% for ordinary table sugar. According to the numbers in the chart, if fructose were inherently more dangerous than glucose, we would have to conclude that apples and pears are worse than bananas and blueberries.

So is there any evidence that fructose promotes overeating? Is snacking on apples rather than bananas a bad idea? In 2013, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association sparked headlines like, “Fructose changes brain to cause overeating, scientists say,” and “Revealed: fructose ‘may spur overeating.’”1, 2

From the actual study, we read, “Glucose but not fructose ingestion reduced the activation of the hypothalamus, insula, and striatum—brain regions that regulate appetite, motivation, and reward processing; glucose ingestion also increased functional connections between the hypothalamic-striatal network and increased satiety.”3

It seems convincing. But was this study representative of real-world scenarios? Let’s see how the study was organized. The scientists worked with 20 normal-weight subjects (10 men, 10 women) without diabetes and a mean age of 31. The study was a blinded, random-order crossover design (so far so good).

Following an overnight fast, subjects drank 300ml of cherry-flavored water with either 75g of fructose or 75g of glucose. 60 minutes later, blood samples were drawn and the subjects completed a series of surveys rating “feelings of hunger, satiety, and fullness on a scale of 1 to 10.”

First of all, 75g of sugar, whether fructose or glucose, is an inordinately large amount to consume at one time. Roughly equivalent to 2.5 cans of soda, this might not be reflective of real-world consumption patterns. More importantly, however, we never consume foods or beverages sweetened entirely by fructose or by glucose. Invariably, both sugars are present, typically in 50:50 ratios.

This study made headlines because it contradicted previous studies. A 2007 study, for example, tested energy balance and satiety of high-fructose corn syrup (55% fructose, 45% glucose) compared to sucrose (50% fructose, 50% glucose). The scientists found that glucose and fructose contribute to satiety through different biochemical mechanisms, but overall there are no significant differences between sucrose- and HFCS-sweetened drinks with respect to satiety and energy balance.4

Ultimately, the fructose/overeating issue comes down to quantity and form (whole foods versus liquids). Fructose appears to have bidirectional effects. In other words, effects on certain biomarkers (fasting triglycerides, insulin sensitivity, etc.) at moderate doses may be absent or even opposite those observed at very high/excessive doses.5

Very high/excessive doses are almost certainly detrimental, but moderate doses, especially when consumed as whole foods, can be very beneficial. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, determined that consumption of whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is associated with decreased type-2 diabetes risk, whereas consumption of fruit juice is associated with increased risk.6

THE BOTTOM LINE

Foods containing fructose, especially fruits and vegetables, are healthy when consumed as part of a balanced Paleo diet. Eating a couple pieces of fruit each day doesn’t promote overeating, but drinking 4 cans of soda or fruit juice might. More research must be done to better understand fructose, but when you read that fructose is dangerous, ask about the quantity, source, and form (liquid/whole food) of fructose. Also keep in mind that glucose almost always accompanies fructose in real foods, so studies on pure fructose consumption may not be relevant to real-world eating.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

 

REFERENCES

[1] CBS/Associated Press. (January 2, 2013). Fructose changes brain to cause overeating, scientists say. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fructose-changes-brain-to-cause-overeating-scientists-say/

[2] Associated Press. (January 2, 2013). Revealed: fructose ‘may spur overeating.’ The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/revealed-fructose-may-spur-overeating-8434959.html

[3] Page, KA., et al. (January 2, 2013). Effects of Fructose vs Glucose on Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Brain Regions Involved With Appetite and Reward Pathways. Journal of the American Medical Association, 309(1). Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1555133

[4] Soenen, S., et al. (December 2007). No differences in satiety or energy intake after high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, or milk preloads. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(6). Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/6/1586.full

[5] Livesey, G. (April 22, 2009). Fructose Ingestion: Dose-Dependent Responses in Health Research. The Journal of Nutrition, 139(6). Retrieved from http://jn.nutrition.org/content/139/6/1246S

[6] Muraki, I., et al. (August 29, 2013). Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. British Medical Journal, 347. Retrieved from http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001

Spicy Watermelon Salad | The Paleo Diet

Special thanks and congratulations to Susan D., The Paleo Diet Recipe Contest Winner

Spicy watermelon salad is a spicy twist on a springtime favorite.

Ingredients

Serves 3-4

  • 2-3 cups watermelon
  • ½ cup shallot, chopped
  • 3 leaves basil, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, chopped
  • lime juice and zest, to taste
  • Cracked pepper, to taste
  • Micro greens optional

Directions

1. Toss chopped ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2. Season to taste.

3. Chill and enjoy!

The Paleo Diet Recipe Library

Paleo Applesauce | The Paleo Diet

Special thanks and congratulations to Anna Riblett, The Paleo Diet Recipe Contest Winner

 
Pulse up delicious in the kitchen with all natural and energy-packed Paleo Applesauce.
 

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 cored apple
  • 4 – 6 grapes

Directions

1. Place raw hazelnuts into a food processor.

2. Add coconut milk and cored apple.

3. Blend on High for 10 seconds.

4. Add grapes and pulse 5 times.



Live Well, Live Longer.
The Paleo Team

Fruit Smoothies | The Paleo Diet

Most of the fruit and vegetable juices in the U.S. diet are consumed as commercially processed juices. Your orange, apple, grape, tomato, grapefruit, and pineapple juices are not made fresh and frequently contain added sugar, salt, stabilizers and preservatives. Typically, fiber, vitamins, minerals and certain phytochemicals are removed or destroyed during commercial processing. You’re left with these liquid concoctions which often maintain nutritional characteristics similar to sugared soda beverages, “liquid candy,” which increasingly are recognized to promote obesity, type 2 diabetes and diseases of insulin resistance. So, for most of you there is really nothing new here.

A recent report surfaced on the internet suggesting that fruit smoothies are also not much better than commercially processed juices and soft drinks. Fortunately, the best science available today indicates otherwise. While commercial pure fruit and vegetable juices have been available for decades, it has only been in recent years that fruit and vegetable smoothies or mixtures of both have appeared in supermarket and health food stores.

Most commercially available fruit smoothie servings typically contain at least 80 grams of whole, crushed fruit, plus one portion (150 ml) of juice, or often contain in excess of 80 grams of whole crushed fruit with the balance as juice.1 A 250 ml fruit smoothie serving contains 30 grams of total sugars, which is not significantly different than eating a comparable serving of the fruits themselves.1 Further, fruit smoothies make potentially important contributions to daily intakes of fiber, vitamin C and total antioxidant capacity (ORAC).1 Unlike pure juices, smoothies often contain a variety of fruit and vegetable mixtures with numerous phytochemicals and antioxidants in high concentrations that contribute to ORAC.12 A recent study demonstrated that the addition of a daily fruit smoothie containing 22.5 grams of blueberries improved insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin resistant participants.3 Meaning that even overweight or obese subjects, by including ample amounts of blueberries in the concoction of their smoothies, should enjoy a few smoothies during the week. Active, non-overweight people and athletes should enjoy these delicious treats whenever they like .

In The Paleo Diet Cookbook, my co-authors and I offer a variety of recipes for homemade fruit smoothies. In many of these recipes we recommend adding powdered egg white, a rich source of the branch chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine), which are indispensable to athletes and other active people because these nutrients promote rapid recovery from exercise via their anabolic muscle building effects. Further, the addition of a concentrated protein source like egg white powder to the natural sugars found in fruit smoothies, reduces the glycemic load of the smoothie and helps to minimize spike in blood glucose and insulin levels. Enjoy these delicious fruit and vegetable concoctions, they will help you obtain a healthy Paleo diet balanced by plenty of fresh fruit and veggies.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

REFERENCES

1. Ruxton, C. H. S. (2008), Smoothies: one portion or two?. Nutrition Bulletin, 33: 129–132.

2. Ruxton CH, Gardner EJ, Walker D. Can pure fruit and vegetable juices protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease too? A review of the evidence. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2006 May-Jun;57(3-4):249-72.

3. Stull AJ, Cash KC, Johnson WD, Champagne CM, Cefalu WT. Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women. J Nutr. 2010 Oct;140(10):1764-8. Epub 2010 Aug 19

Fruit Restriction | The Paleo Diet

People with type 2 diabetes are often advised by health professionals to limit fruit consumption to ensure greater glycemic control. A recent study has shown that the consumption of fruit does not result in adverse effects for participants with type 2 diabetes.

Effect of Fruit Restriction on Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes – A Randomized Trial

Dr. Cordain's Interview With SPRY Magazine | The Paleo Diet

1) The Paleo Diet is based on a simple premise: stripping our diet down to the basics and mimicking the consumption habits of our caveman ancestors. Can you explain what this means from a food standpoint?

I wouldn’t necessarily agree that contemporary Paleo diets “strip our diets down”, but rather the opposite – they enrich our diets by reducing nutrient depleted foods that are ubiquitous in the typical western diet.  This lifelong plan of eating to maximize health  actually increases total micronutrient (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber) density compared to the USDA My Plate recommendations, formerly the Food Pyramid as well as other so called healthful nutritional plans such as the Mediterranean Diet, The Dash Diet, Type 2 Diabetic Diets, vegetarian diets and others (1, 2).

Further, we shouldn’t be sexist and characterize this lifelong eating plan as being based upon “cavemen” diets only, rather it also includes the diet of hunter gatherer women.  And really it is not scientifically accurate to call it a “caveman” diet, but rather a “pre-agricultural” diet based upon the nutritional practices of our hunter gatherer ancestors (both men and women) who lived during the Paleolithic (old stone age) era and afterwards.

From a food standpoint, it means that we should try to mimic the food groups our hunter gatherer ancestors consumed with contemporary foods available in most supermarkets, farmers markets, co-ops and grocery stores.  These foods include fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, grass produced meat and poultry, nuts and certain healthful oils.  People consuming contemporary Paleo diets should try to avoid refined sugars, refined grains, trans fats, salt and almost all processed foods.  Our hunter gatherer ancestors rarely or never ate dairy products and cereal grains.

References:
1.    Cordain L, The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Neutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24.
http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/#2002
2.    Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the western diet: Health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:341-54.
http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/#2005

2) From Atkins to the South Beach Diet, there is currently a variety of low-carb, high-protein diet plans on the market. In your opinion, what makes the Paleo Diet more effective than other diet plans out there?

As I mentioned earlier, the Paleo Diet is not a “diet” per se, but rather a lifetime plan of healthful eating which reduces the risk of the chronic “diseases of civilization” (obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, abnormal blood lipids, cancer, heart disease, etc.) which run rampant in the U.S. adult population.

Virtually all popular “diets” such as Atkins, South Beach and others were designed, engineered and created by fallible humans, and as such are rife with our human biases, misinformation and errors concerning the elements of optimal human nutrition.   Although, Boyd Eaton, myself and others have been credited with creating “The Paleo Diet”, this perception is incorrect.  The Paleo Diet is and always has been a biological force that shaped the human genome including our present day nutritional requirements.  It was created not by fallible human judgment but rather by the forces of evolution acting through natural selection over millions of years.  Together with anthropologists, physicians and scientists worldwide, Dr. Eaton and I simply uncovered that which was pre-existing.  The Paleo diet has always been the native diet of our species until the beginnings of the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago (a mere 333 human generations).  Our hunter gatherer ancestors consumed a wide variety of fresh plant and animal food depending upon their geographic locale, time of season and food availability – hence there was no single “Paleo Diet” but rather numerous versions of these same two food elements: wild animal and plant foods.  Hunter gatherers ate no dairy foods, and rarely ate grains and except for seasonal honey ate no refined sugars.  Clearly they ate no modern processed foods.

Under these nutritional stipulations our ancestral diet was almost always high in protein and low in carbohydrate (3).  Hence, modern diets designed by diet doctors and fallible humans that are high in protein and low in carbs have at least got these two basic elements of our ancestral diet correct.  Nevertheless, it is almost axiomatic that the remainder of these fallible human dietary recommendations will be inconsistent with our ancestral diet and ultimately will result in nutritional shortcomings and health problems.

Case in point: The Atkins Diet.  This diet has been with us in various forms for at least 40 years and advocates reducing dietary carbohydrates to less than 100 grams per day or lower.  Few or no restrictions are placed upon the carbohydrate type, just the absolute amount.  So in effect, whole grains, refined grains and refined sugars would be  equivalent to fruits and vegetables as long as the total amount is restricted.  Additionally, fat types and sources are also undifferentiated, just as long as they don’t contain carbs that would exceed Atkins’  recommended values.  Cheese, butter, and cream are advised in lieu of excessive carbs from fresh vegetables and fruit.

The problem with these fallible human dietary recommendations was that Dr. Atkins was unaware of acid/base physiology.  Had he considered the evolutionary dietary template, he would have realized that a high protein/high fat diet that restricts carbohydrates from fresh vegetables and fruit  was inconsistent with our ancestral nutritional patterns and likely to cause health problems.  Further, he placed no limits upon cheese or even salted foods (net acid yielding foods) as long as they were low in carbohydrate. It is now known that diets with excessive acidity without accompanying base (alkalinity) from fruits and veggies adversely affects bone mineral health, blood pressure, kidney function and a variety of other factors (2, 4, 5).

In summary, unless high protein, low carbohydrate diets concocted by mortal humans don’t consider the evolutionary template they will invariably contain recommendations that are inconsistent with our ancestral diet and ultimately will result in sub-optimal health.

References:
3.    Cordain L, Brand Miller J, Eaton SB, Mann N, Holt SHA, Speth JD. Plant to animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, 71:682-92
4.    Sebastian A, Frassetto LA, Sellmeyer DE, Merriam RL, Morris RC Jr. Estimation of the net acid load of the diet of ancestral preagricultural Homo sapiens and their hominid ancestors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;76(6):1308-16
5.    Frassetto L, Morris RC Jr, Sellmeyer DE, Todd K, Sebastian A.
Diet, evolution and aging–the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet. Eur J Nutr. 2001 Oct;40(5):200-13

3) What initially piqued your interest in studying the human diet of our Stone Age ancestors?

In 1987, I read Dr. Boyd Eaton’s seminal paper on the topic of “Paleolithic Nutrition” which appeared in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (6).  At the time, I thought this was about the best idea I had ever read on human nutrition, and have spent the past 25 years or so studying this concept.

References
6.    Eaton SB, Konner M. Paleolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications. N Engl J Med. 1985 Jan 31;312(5):283-9

4) Dairy is one of the foods on the Paleo “do not eat” list. But by shunning dairy, don’t you run the risk of missing out on the many health benefits of dairy, including strong bones and digestive support?

The notion that calcium is the only and most important determinant of bone mineral health is incorrect, and in fact, numerous nutritional elements are involved in producing strong bones including acid base balance (adequate fruit and vegetable consumption) as mentioned above, sufficient high quality dietary protein, and a low dietary salt intake among others (7).  Do these nutritional factors sound familiar?  Which popular diet simultaneously maintains these characteristics?

Milk and dairy consumptions elicits insulin resistance in children (8) and represents a prominent risk factor for prostate, ovarian cancer, acne, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes (7).

References:
7.    Cordain L.  Just say no to the milk mustache.  In: The Paleo Answer, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY 2012.
8.    Hoppe C, Mølgaard C, Vaag A, Barkholt V, Michaelsen KF. High intakes of milk, but not meat, increase s-insulin and insulin resistance in 8-year-old boys. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;59(3):393-8

5) Do you think the Paleo Diet is too “strict” and inflexible? How can an individual maintain the Paleo Diet when dining out or in a situation where they are faced with limited food options, for example?

Built into The Paleo Diet is the 85:15 rule meaning that most people can obtain substantial health and weight loss benefits if they are at least 85 % compliant with the diet.  Three open meals per week correspond to 15 % non-compliance.  So if you want to go out and have pizza and beer with friends on a Saturday evening, it is permissible.  However, many people feel so bad after days and weeks of high compliance that it makes them think twice about doing it again.  People with serious health and obesity issues should try to maintain high compliance (95 % or greater).

6) In your book The Dietary Cure For Acne, you discuss the ways in which modern environmental factors (including diet) can trigger acne. What are some of the top foods for clearer, blemish-free skin?

The big issue here is the foods that shouldn’t be consumed,  These are the high glycemic load carbohydrates (9-11) and dairy products (12-14) which produce hormonal and cellular changes known to cause acne.  Again the evolutionary template with a diet consisting of a fresh foods (fresh, grass produced meats, poultry, sea food, fish, fresh vegetables and healthful oils) is the best medicine to produce clearer, blemish-free skin.

References:
9.    Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Arch Dermatol. 2002 Dec;138(12):1584-90. http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/#2002

10.       Cordain L, Eades MR, Eades MD. (2003). Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just syndrome X. Comp Biochem Physiol Part A:136:95-112. http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/#2003
11.       Cordain, L. Implications for the role of diet in acne. Semin Cutan Med Surg 2005;24:84-91. http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/#2005
12.   Cordain L. Dietary implications for the development of acne: a shifting paradigm. In: U.S. Dermatology Review II 2006, (Ed.,Bedlow, J). Touch Briefings Publications, London, 2006 http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/#2006
13.   Melnik BC. Evidence for acne-promoting effects of milk and other insulinotropic dairy products. Nestle Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program. 2011;67:131-45.
14.   Silverberg NB. Whey protein precipitating moderate to severe acne flares in 5 teenaged athletes. Cutis. 2012 Aug;90(2):70-2

Part II. (These can be very brief, 1-2 sentences).  

If you had to sum it up in a word or phrase, what is your health philosophy?
Emulate the activity and nutritional patterns or our hunter gatherer ancestors with all of the advantages of our modern world.

What is your favorite healthy weeknight dish to make?

I don’t distinguish between weekend or week nights.  Steamed king crab is a favorite

Do you have a favorite workout or fitness activity?
Exercise, play or any physical activity in the outdoors under the sun in a peaceful, natural setting.

What would you say is your “secret weapon” to staying healthy?
Adopting the beneficial aspects of our ancestral diet/lifestyle while leaving behind their hardships and taking advantages of the technological advances of our modern world.
If you’re ever faced with temptation, how do you keep yourself on track? Any tips?
Think about how well I will feel in the morning if I don’t fall to temptation.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Fructose Content In Fruit | The Paleo Diet

Good day!  I am about 6 months into the paleo lifestyle, have been crossfitting for a couple years, loving it, and seeing great results.  I have been following a lot of your literature and what I love most about paleo is that it is undeniably the ultimate way to lead a healthy life. I love that it proves its findings on a cellular level, you just can’t debate that!!   I am torn now though because as an athlete I am getting mixed reviews on fructose. I’m reading its toxic and mostly useless and harmful to the liver.  But in your paleo for athletes book a lot of stage 1-3 suggests fruits with high glycemic load. Can u shine some light on this for me? of everything I read an hear I always standby you and Robb Wolfe most.

Thanks, curious and confused fan #1,350,785 : )

 

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your kind words about the Paleo Diet. Unless someone is overweight, obese or has any symptoms (high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, type 2 diabetes) of the metabolic syndrome there really is no need to restrict fresh fruits.  At my website, I list the fructose content of all common fruits (here).  You can see that most dried fruits are quite high in fructose and should be eaten sparingly by most people.  Some fruits like tomatoes, lemons, limes, avocadoes, apricots and grapefruit are quite low in fructose and typically even overweight or people with the metabolic sydrome need not restrict these fruits.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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