Tag Archives: meat

Red Meat | The Paleo Diet
As you probably already heard, earlier this week the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency, categorized processed meat as “carcinogenic” and unprocessed red meat as “probably carcinogenic.”1 What you might not have heard is that in an accompanying Q&A document, the IARC also said, “Eating meat has known health benefits.”2

Those who read the IARC’s statement and its Q&A document are likely to conclude that this story is nowhere near as dramatic and consequential as headlines from The Guardian, The New York Times, and other news outlets have implied:

  • “Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHO” – The Guardian3

  • “Meat Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk, W.H.O. Report Finds” – The New York Times4

Let’s see what the IARC actually said, then put things in context so we can determine what it means. The IARC evaluates chemicals, pollutants, biological agents, and other substances so as to determine whether or not they are carcinogenic. Agents are classified into one of several groups, ranging from “Group 1: the agent is carcinogenic to humans,” to “Group 4: the agent is probably not carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC does not determine how much any particular agent actually increases one’s risk of getting cancer. In its own words, the IARC explains,

“The classification indicates the weight of the evidence as to whether an agent is capable of causing cancer (technically called “hazard”), but it does not measure the likelihood that cancer will occur (technically called “risk”) as a result of exposure to the agent.”5

This is an essential point. Processed meats are now grouped into the same category as cigarettes and asbestos, but this doesn’t mean the risks associated with processed meats are anywhere near those of the latter two. Cigarette smoking, for example, increases one’s relative risk of getting lung cancer by 2,500%.6 Eating processed meat, according to the IARC, increases one’s risk of getting colorectal cancer by an estimated 18%.7 Given the frequency of colorectal cancer, this means that eating 50 grams of bacon every day over the course of your life would increase your risk of getting cancer from 5% to 6%.

Missing the Big Meaty Picture

Of course, all this talk of risk misses a bigger point – context is essential. For example, will those who smoke while eating healthy diets have the same chronic disease risks as those who smoke while eating unhealthy diets? Probably not. Red meat consumed within the context of a health-supportive Paleo diet is healthy. On the other hand, red meat consumed within the context of a junk-food diet might not be healthy, especially regarding poor-quality meat.

Dr. Cordain points out, “observational studies and even randomized controlled trials typically do not control for a variety of additional elements found in feedlot-raised red meats” and “only in the past 200 years of so have we ever consumed domesticated animals fed grains, injected with hormones, antibiotics, exposed to heavy metals and pesticides and sequestered in feedlots by the hundreds of thousands.” So when someone says meat is unhealthy, we should remember that meat is not a commodity; it ranges from poor to superior quality.

The Problem with Observational Studies

To assess carcinogenicity, the IARC analyzes observational studies. As Dr. Cordain and others have repeatedly pointed out, such studies alone cannot demonstrate causality. In response to the IARC announcement, Dr. Cordain noted, “In order to establish cause and effect between diet and disease, it takes more than just observational epidemiological evidence. There must also be what is referred to as ‘biological plausibility’ in which evidence gathered from tissue, animal and short-term human metabolic studies support causality.”8, 9

With respect to unprocessed red meat, the IARC’s “probably carcinogenic” determination is not even based on strong epidemiological evidence. It’s based on “limited evidence,” which according to the IARC, “means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations (technically termed chance, bias, or confounding) could not be ruled out.”10

So the next time your vegetarian co-worker tells you that red meat causes cancer, remember the following four rebuttals:

  1. The IARC’s classification is based on observational studies, which cannot show causality.
  2. Evidence that unprocessed red meat could be carcinogenic is based on “limited evidence,” which means confounding factors could not be ruled out.
  3. The magnitude of risk for eating processed meat (and red meat if causality could be demonstrated) is nowhere near that of established risky behaviors, like smoking.
  4. Context matters – high-quality meat is healthy within the context of healthy diets, which include plenty of vegetables and other healthy foods.

Despite all the fanfare about increased cancer risk, at least the IARC acknowledges, “Eating meat has known health benefits.” It wouldn’t have been sensational, but this should have been the headline used by major news organizations.

References

1. World Health Organization, IARC. (October 26, 2015). IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat. Press Release Number 240. Retrieved from http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf

2. World Health Organization, IARC. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Retrieved from http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf

3. Boseley, S. (October 26, 2015). Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHO. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/26/bacon-ham-sausages-processed-meats-cancer-risk-smoking-says-who

4. O’Connor, A. (October 26, 2015). Meat Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk, W.H.O. Report Finds. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/27/health/report-links-some-types-of-cancer-with-processed-or-red-meat.html

5. World Health Organization, IARC. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Retrieved from http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf

6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

7. World Health Organization, IARC. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Retrieved from http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf

8. Flegal KM. (June 1999). Evaluating epidemiologic evidence of the effects of food and nutrient exposures. Am J Clin Nutr, 69(6):1339S-1344S.

9. Potischman N, Weed DL. (June 1999). Causal criteria in nutritional epidemiology. Am J Clin Nutr, 69(6):1309S-1314S.

10. World Health Organization, IARC. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Retrieved from http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/Monographs-Q&A_Vol114.pdf

How Early Should Infants Eat Meat? | The Paleo Diet

An infant’s rate of weight gain during the first year of life can strongly predict obesity later in life.1 Various studies published in recent years have linked cow-milk protein with weight gain for infants.2, 3 Collectively, these studies have led to recommendations that protein should not exceed 15% of total energy during later-infancy and the second year of life.4 Such recommendations, however, don’t differentiate between dairy protein and protein from other sources. Could dairy protein be uniquely problematic, causing weight-gain problems not associated with meat protein? According to 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, yes.

Human breast milk contains progressively less protein during later-stages of lactation, particularly the 4-6 month window when infants start consuming complementary foods (while continuing to breastfeed). But how much protein should those complementary foods contain? Would a higher-protein diet be beneficial, provided the protein comes primarily from sources other than dairy? This was the hypothesis for the 2014 study mentioned above. Accordingly, the scientists tested complementary diets with both higher and lower amounts of protein, observing the effects on infants’ growth and their metabolic profiles.5

42 infants five or six months old were randomly assigned to one of two groups. For four months (six to nine months after birth), Group 1 (higher protein) ate complementary diets consisting of meat purees, whereas Group 2 (lower protein) ate iron- and zinc-fortified cereal purees. To qualify for the study, infants had to have had normal birth weights, be breastfed since birth, to continue being breastfed during the study, and no abnormalities nor conditions that would influence growth rate. For both groups, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and cheese were also allowed (and continued breastfeeding was required). Energy intake for both groups was nearly identical, but with significant differences in macronutrient distributions. By the ninth month, the groups’ calorie consumption were:

How Early Should Infants Eat Meat? | The Paleo Diet

The study yielded two major findings. First, despite widely differing macronutrient ratios, caloric consumption between the two groups was nearly identical. This suggests that infants can effectively regulate energy intake; they’re not prone to overeating because they know when to stop. The second finding was that diets higher in protein are associated with greater linear growth and proportional weight gain. This is a key point. Dairy protein intake during infancy has been correlated with obesity by age seven. In other words, increased weight gain absent proportional linear growth.

So why would milk protein promote obesity/overweight but meat protein promote proportional height/weight gains? The answer is not entirely clear, but the study’s scientists propose two mechanisms. First, dairy, but not meat, could promote the stimulation of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), which in turn could promote obesity/overweight. Second, meat provides plenty of bioavailable zinc and iron, whereas neither dairy nor breast milk provide these nutrients in quantities sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of older infants (greater than six months).6

Although the scientists acknowledge their study requires follow-up research, their findings “reinforce the potential value of introducing flesh foods early.” Indeed, the available research supports the Paleo diet during all stages of life, including infancy. Compared to dairy- and cereal-based complementary diets, meat fares best for infants after six months of breastfeeding. Meat promotes increased growth and proportional height/weight.

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] Young BE, et al. (Sep 2012). Biological Determinants Linking Infant Weight Gain and Child Obesity: Current Knowledge and Future Directions. Advances in Nutrition, 3. Retrieved from http://advances.nutrition.org/content/3/5/675.full

[2] Koletzko B, et al. (Jun 2009). Lower protein in infant formula is associated with lower weight up to age 2 y: a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(6). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19386747

[3] Escribano J, et al. (Apr 2012). Effect of protein intake and weight gain velocity on body fat mass at 6 months of age: the EU Childhood Obesity Programme. International Journal of Obesity (London), 36(4). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22310472

[4] Michaelsen KF, et al. (Oct 2012). Amount and quality of dietary proteins during the first two years of life in relation to NCD risk in adulthood. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, 22(10). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22770749

[5] Tang M and Krebs N. (Oct 2014). High protein intake from meat as complementary food increases growth but not adiposity in breastfed infants: a randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/08/13/ajcn.114.088807

[6] Krebs NF, et al. (Jul 2012). Comparison of complementary feeding strategies to meet zinc requirements of older breastfed infants. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1(30). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648720

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

Industrial Meat and Soaking Nuts | The Paleo Diet

Thank you for your work and contribution to the Perfect Human Diet video. I have spent years researching nutrition and this video validated many of my findings and beliefs. I heard Dr. Sebring state that we should consume animals that have been fed a diet as close as possible to their natural diet, but then he went to a mainstream grocery to show what foods were acceptable. I realize that the video was produced to reach a mainstream audience, so I would like some clarity or your opinion on two issues. Does the industrial feeding of animals change the fat composition and make it unhealthy for us? That question stems from grass-fed advocates that claim all meat in mainstream grocery stores is unhealthy. And, do we need to soak or cook raw nuts to decrease the enzyme inhibitors before consuming them? Any info or references to info would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Pam Merritt

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Pam,

Many thanks for your kind words.  CJ Hunt did a wonderful job in producing “The Perfect Human Diet”.  Let me answer your questions:

1. Does the industrial feeding of animals change the fat composition and make it unhealthy for us? That question stems from grass-fed advocates that claim all meat in mainstream grocery stores is unhealthy.

Yes, animals confined to commercial feed lots are fed grains (corn mainly) almost exclusively to cause rapid weight gain.  Unfortunately this process yields nutritionally inferior meat with an unhealthy fat composition.  My scientific group has analyzed and compared the fat and fatty acid composition of wild game meat and contrasted it to grass produced meats and feed lot (grain produced) meats.  You can visit my website (http://thepaleodiet.com/research-about-the-paleo-diet/) and download these two papers as free PDF files which report our results:

Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002;56 (suppl 1):S42-S52
Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002;56:181-191.

I have also written a more extensive paper (Nutritional Differences between Grass- and Grain-Fed Beef: Health Implications) contrasting the nutritional qualities of grass versus grain produced meats, and this article is available at my website (http://thepaleodiet.com/papers/) for a nominal fee.

2.   And, do we need to soak or cook raw nuts to decrease the enzyme inhibitors before consuming them? Any info or references to info would be greatly appreciated.

Compared to cereal grains and legumes, tree nuts have been poorly studied in regard to enzyme inhibitors and other antinutrients.  Consequently few or no scientific studies have examined either the content or physiological effect of tree nut antinutrients in either animals or humans.  Tree nuts are one of the more common food allergens, which is suggestive that contain a variety of compounds with the capacity to interact with the immune system.  Most people experience no health problems with nut consumption, and many studies show nuts to produce many therapeutic effects.  Peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes and should be avoided for a number of reasons that I have written about in my latest book, The Paleo Answer.  Below are a few references about compounds found in nuts that may influence health and well being.

Bolling BW, Chen CY, McKay DL, Blumberg JB. Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutr Res Rev. 2011 Dec;24(2):244-75.

Robbins KS, Shin EC, Shewfelt RL, Eitenmiller RR, Pegg RB. Update on the healthful lipid constituents of commercially important tree nuts. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Nov 23;59(22):12083-92.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Protein Toxicity | The Paleo Diet

Hi Professor Cordain!

My name is Chloe and your book has truly changed my life… All three, to be exact. I love them all! Since adopting the Paleo diet (and following your guidelines in particular) I have lost 30 pounds and reversed PCOS and Hypothyroidism. I am particularly grateful for the Paleo Physicians Network you set up for it lead me to a wonderful doctor who has has helped me progress every step of the way, implementing your wisdom all along.

That said, I am wondering about the protein toxicity you speak of in your book. As I understand the body can only handle 200-300 grams of protein- or 30-40% of calories. Is the 30-40% with regards to a 2,000 or higher calorie diet? I ask because I am on a medically supervised plan where I eat less than that and thus my high protein intake (which feels tremendously great) can make up as much as 50-60%  of my daily calories (on a 1200-1500 calorie plan, consuming 100-150grams of protein/day)

Is this “safe” since caloric intake is lower? Foods are balanced out with ample vegetables, fruits and some healthy fats….

I thank you for work and brilliance and look forward to hearing from you!

Warmest,

Chloe

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Chloe,

Thanks for your kind words about the Paleo Diet and congratulations upon your health and weight loss successes.

Protein toxicity can be calculated by using pre-determined figures for maximal urea synthesis in the liver.  These values are expressed as milligrams/Nitrogen/hour/kilogram body weight ^0.75.  Using another equation, it is then possible to calculate a range of values for the maximal protein ceiling in grams per day.  For example from the spreadsheet I have developed to do these calculations, a 60 kg (132 lb) person would have a maximal protein ceiling ranging from 178 g to 245 g whereas a 75 kg (165 lb) person would have a range of 210 to 290 g of protein per day.

To answer your question directly, because you are consuming a hypocaloric diet (calorically restricted) of 1200 to 1500 calories per day then your protein intake could easily reach 50-60 % of your daily energy (600 to 750 kcal and 720 to 900 kcal).  A gram of protein = 4 kcal, so 600 kcal of protein would be 150 grams of protein and 900 kcal of protein would be 225 grams of protein.  You didnt provide me with your current weight, but you should be easily able to ingest 100 to 150 grams of protein without coming close to your protein ceiling.

Best wishes,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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