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Many Paleo Dieters recognize the name, Jillian Michaels, who is best known as a personal athletic trainer on NBC’s reality television show, The Biggest Loser. She recently commented upon The Paleo Diet on a video “Paleo Diet Daily Dose with Jillian Michaels | Everyday Health” trending on YouTube.
Because of Jillian’s national notoriety and widespread recognition as a personal trainer, she certainly can influence the way people think about weight loss, healthy eating and exercise.
Nevertheless, her characterization of The Paleo Diet as a “fad diet” shows her naiveté and nearly complete lack of understanding of this lifelong way of eating to maximize health and wellbeing.
The video begins with a woman asking Jillian what she thinks about The Paleo Diet and Paleo lifestyles. From the get go, it is obvious Jillian has little or no familiarity with Paleo Diets and immediately replies, “OK, can I presume then that you are in CrossFit, if you ask me that question?”
The woman responds that she is indeed interested in CrossFit, however Jillian still fails to answer the question directly or why she needs to know the woman’s background before she can answer the question.
Jillian then goes on to say that, “It’s my understanding of [Paleo] is that they don’t eat grains; they’re (sic) predominantly protein and greens. Does that sound right to you?”
The woman responds by saying, “no grains, no dairy.” Jillian says, “Right, forgot the dairy, forgive me.”
This initial interchange is revealing in that Jillian relies upon the questioner to determine just what exactly comprises a Paleo Diet. As the interview proceeds, it become obvious that Jillian has not done her homework and knows next to nothing about the science or logic underlying this lifelong way of eating and how it can improve health and wellbeing while also being effective in promoting weight loss in the overweight and obese.
What Jillian probably doesn’t realize is that her ideas of proper nutrition are similar to The Paleo Diet recommendations. She makes the statement, “Truth of matter, eat healthy, fresh, clean food. Eat in balanced portions – don’t eat more calories a day than you burn. Avoid chemicals and fake foods. I don’t want to see you eating Twinkies, Ding Dongs and cheese balls. That is not food.”
If she would take the time to read some of the popular Paleo Diet books or more importantly the vast peer review scientific literature underlying the evolutionary logic to this way of eating, she might finally understand why “fake foods” are not good for us and why “healthy, fresh, clean foods” promote wellbeing and optimal body weight.
If The Paleo Diet is a “fad diet” as Jillian states, then it is humanity’s oldest “fad diet” having served humanity for at least 2.5 million years. Staple foods introduced during the Neolithic (5,000 to 10,000 years ago) such as grains, dairy and legumes or processed foods (refined sugars, grains, vegetable oils, salt and feedlot meats) introduced during the Industrial and Technological eras comprise humanity’s real “fad diets.”
Our species has had little or no evolutionary experience with the foods (refined sugars, grains, vegetable oils and dairy) that now comprise 70 % of the calories in the typical western diet. By replacing these foods with fresh fruits, vegetables, grass produced meats (if possible), poultry, fish, seafood and nuts, we restore the food types which conditioned our present day genome through eons of evolutionary experience.
To Jillian, the next time you criticize the Paleo Diet, I would highly recommend that you read the key scientific papers I’ve listed in reference below.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Health and Exercise Science
Colorado State University
1. 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.
Photo courtesy of Parade.com
It can be challenging at first to curb the carbohydrate cravings and hunger that arises when you are adjusting to a Paleo lifestyle, especially during the holiday season. By following the tips below, you can successfully ward off hunger that some people experience when transitioning to The Paleo Diet.
As the old saying goes, “breakfast is the most important meal of day.” This statement is especially true for people leading a Paleo lifestyle. The high-paced life of the average American frequently leaves little time for preparing a hearty breakfast first thing in the morning. Allocate an extra 30 minutes of your morning to cook a breakfast that will boost your energy levels for the entire day.
Scrambling vegetables, cage-free omega-3 eggs, and uncured pasture raised bacon or sausage is a quick and hearty meal that will provide adequate nutrients to keep you fueled throughout the day. If you’re getting tired of bacon and eggs for breakfast consider having salmon with avocado and fresh berries to get your day started on the right foot!
Order The Paleo Diet Cookbook for a collection of breakfast alternatives.
Up Your Protein and Fat Intake
Carbohydrates are digested quickly in our bodies. Excessive carbohydrate consumption often results in a surge of glucose levels throughout the blood stream and an eventual post-carb “crash.” Fat and protein are digested at much slower rates.
Protein consumption also promotes the formation of the peptide PYY, which is known to reduce hunger and aid in weight loss. If you come down with hunger pangs around lunch time, consider adding extra grilled chicken to your garden salad, or a couple of hard boiled eggs to up your your protein and fat intake.
Snacking on nuts in moderation throughout the day will also help to up your consumption of healthy fats.
Carbohydrates for Athletes
If you regularly engage in aerobic and or anaerobic activities you may feel fatigue from inadequate carbohydrate intake. Grains, sugar, and white potatoes are not recommended on The Paleo Diet, but there are plenty of other fruit and vegetable carbohydrate sources that can boost your athletic performance by restoring your muscle glycogen levels.
Sweet potatoes are commonly recommended by many experts within the Paleo community because they slowly release carbohydrates into your body, thus preventing any significant alterations in blood glucose levels. Recent studies show that fruit smoothies also are rich carbohydrate sources that have little adverse effects upon our blood sugar levels. Turnips, parsnips, squash and zucchini also are great options to include in post workout meals. Bananas are inexpensive and high in potassium and carbohydrate. For a quick and easy pre-workout or post-workout snack consider bringing a couple ripe bananas to the gym.
Learn more about the best approach for athletes to adopt the Paleo lifestyle in The Paleo Diet for Athletes.
The Paleo Diet Team
Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Cordain and The Paleo Diet Team!
Pair your turkey with these mouthwatering Paleo recipes your family and friends will talk about long after the Thanksgiving Day leftovers have been gobbled up!
Paleo Turkey Stuffing
3 – 4 Servings
- 2-3 fresh celery stalks, diced
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 large peeled orange, wedged
- 1 large sweet apple, cubed
- 2 large carrots diced
- 1 can organic, salt-free chicken broth
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp sage
- 2 tbsp rosemary
- 2 tbsp basil
- 2 tbsp thyme
1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl and stuff densely into cavity of 12-15 lb. turkey.
2. Roast turkey at 350° for 2.5 -3 hours, covered.
3. Uncover and brown turkey for 30 minutes.
4. Slice and enjoy!
- 1 quart organic baby spinach leaves
- 4 green salad onions, sliced ¼ inch
- 2 organic tomatoes, wedged ½ inch
- 2 fresh avocados, cubed
- 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced thin
- 2 whole organic tomatoes, pureed in blender
- 2 tbsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
- 1 cup Burgundy wine
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup vinegar
1. Mix all salad ingredients except hard boiled egg in a large bowl.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in blender and puree.
3. Just before serving, toss salad with dressing.
4. Place hard boiled egg slices on top of salad.
- 4 fresh peeled mandarin oranges, sliced
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ head organic iceberg lettuce
- ½ head romaine lettuce
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 whole green onions, chopped
- 1 11oz can mandarin oranges, drained
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- Dash of pepper
1. Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
November is National Diabetes Month, so now is a great time to reflect upon the 26 million people who already have diabetes, as well as the nearly 80 million with pre-diabetes (those on high alert for developing the condition). If you fall into any of these groups, or know someone who does, take the time to consider what kinds of food choices may lead to better health.
Sometimes, better health means that weight loss is necessary. Obesity increases the risk for diabetes, and losing weight can help keep your blood glucose level on target.
Luckily, it may not be necessary to lose all those excess pounds to improve diabetes outcomes. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can help lower your blood glucose, total cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. Here, we will outline one eating plan that can help people with diabetes lose weight, among many other possible benefits.
The Paleo Diet
Often, people do not make time to prepare their own meals or even monitor their food intake. This can lead to regular intake of packaged, processed foods. Many experts believe that this trend away from carefully prepared whole foods has contributed to the rise in obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
A growing number of nutrition researchers and doctors now suggest that we try a return to simpler diets, based on grass-fed and free-range animal products, fresh seafood, and whole fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
The Paleo (Paleolithic) Diet, also known the Hunter-Gatherer Diet, is a healthy-eating plan based on fresh, unprocessed plants and animals. Even though it is modeled after human diets from thousands of years ago, the Paleo Diet consists of easy-to-find foods, such as fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and grass-fed meats. Most versions of the diet do not include grains (like wheat, rye, and barley) or legumes (like beans). Only a few versions include dairy, if it is from grass-fed cows or raw (“unpasteurized”).
Supporters of the Paleo Diet also think that you should avoid all processed fats, such as vegetable oil, soybean oil and margarine. This is because they are not whole foods and have been shown to contribute to heart disease. However, they do approve of several types of oil, including flaxseed, walnut, macadamia, avocado, olive and coconut. Most sugar is also limited.
The Paleo Diet can be adjusted for your specific tastes, weight loss goals and blood glucose needs. The Paleo Diet is very strict about the types of foods you can consume, however those foods that abide by the Paleo premise can be consumed in unlimited quantities. On this diet, you and your healthcare team can choose how much carbohydrate, protein and fat is best for you.
Why switch to The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet is high in vitamins and minerals, unprocessed, and low in foods that trigger allergic reactions. People with diabetes may benefit from improved blood glucose control, weight loss, and higher energy on this eating plan.
Here are other possible benefits of the Paleo Diet:
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Better blood glucose control
- Better brain health
- Stronger muscles
- Better digestion
- Increased absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Increased immunity
- Relief from allergies and skin diseases
- Improved energy levels
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Reduced depression and anxiety
- Improved sleep
If you have poor digestion, allergies, high blood glucose, or any other symptoms of nutritional deficiency, think about speaking with your healthcare team about the Paleo Diet. With good planning, this healthy eating plan can be very nutrient-dense, low in allergens, and made specifically to suit your individual needs and tastes. It is a good idea to read more about this subject if you do decide to talk about it with your doctor or healthcare team. Have a look at some of the many books and articles written about the Paleo Diet, the Primal Diet, and “ancestral diets.” These are all slightly different eating plans based on the same basic idea: whole, unprocessed, and low-allergen foods are best.
Learn how adopting The Paleo Diet can help Diabetes from Dr. Cordain:
The Cordains never skimp on a complete Paleo meal. Pair your protein with fruit and veggies for a flavorful and nutritious combo.
3 – 4 Servings
- 3 salmon steaks
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp garlic
1. Rinse salmon steaks in cold water.
2. Cover surface of non-stick fry pan with olive oil.
3. Combine remaining ingredients and brush on salmon steaks.
4. Place in pan and cook on low, covered, until flaky (about 15 minutes).
5. Prepare sautéed spinach.
- 1 large bag fresh organic baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1. Sauté garlic in olive oil on low for 5-10 minutes.
2. Add spinach, cover and simmer until tender, stirring frequently.
3. Serve with green salad with fresh veggies and seasonal, organic grapes for a complete Paleo meal.
Hello Dr. Cordain,
I hope this finds you in good health. Prior to 2009 I lost 100lbs and began my career as a fitness professional teaching cycling classes and helping others reach their weight loss goals. 2009 I was diagnosed with Lupus and went into total kidney failure. I spent 8 weeks living a Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC and some how made a miraculous recovery.
Of course I was put on lots of medication and had to go through a sort of chemo for about a year afterwards. Now I find myself struggling to lose the weight I gained back after being on prednisone for years. Now I’m battling moments of depression and exhaustion despite still teaching my cycling classes and trying to eat “healthy.” Also, I’m still taking prednisone but my dose is only 5mg now.
I’ve finally been cleared by my kidney doctor to start taking in more protein and I immediately thought of Paleo. Can you give me a little more insight as to how Paleo may help me? Nobody around me eats this way, including the people I live with, so I would be doing this all alone. But, in my gut, I believe it might be the answer I’ve been looking for. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
First, let me say that my heart goes out to you for the health problems you have been experiencing associated with your diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). I am not a clinical practitioner, but rather a University Researcher studying diet and autoimmunity. Accordingly, I suggest that you consult a variety of health care professionals who are familiar with SLE, autoimmunity and The Paleo Diet. Competent health care personnel can work with you individually and over time to regularly monitor your signs and symptoms of SLE, your blood chemistry and your overall health if you decide to adopt The Paleo Diet.
The Paleo Diet may help to reduce or even cause remission of autoimmune disease symptoms in certain autoimmune conditions. Our international research group believes that contemporary Paleo diets may be therapeutic for some autoimmune disease patients for a number of reasons. First, this nutritional program eliminates a number of foods which may increase intestinal permeability. Evidence from our laboratory (1) as well as more recent data (2, 3) suggests a “leaky gut” may represent an important environmental/dietary factor which triggers autoimmune disease in genetically susceptible patients.
As with The Paleo Diet for all people, I suggest autoimmune subjects reduce or eliminate cereal grains, particularly gluten containing grains (wheat, rye and barley). Cereal grains contain a number of compounds which may increase intestinal permeability including gliadin (a storage protein found in gluten containing grains), lectins (particularly a lectin called wheat germ agglutinin [WGA] found in wheat, and thaumatin like proteins, as well as other compounds.
Over the past two decades, SLE has frequently been reported to present simultaneously with celiac disease (4-6), an autoimmune intestinal disease caused in genetically predisposed patients by consumption of gluten containing grains. Both SLE and celiac patients share the genetic markers (HLA B8 and DR3) which increase disease susceptibility. Further a recent study indicated that 7 of 24 SLE patients exhibited anti-gliadin antibodies, the same antibodies to gluten containing grains found in celiac patients. A number of case reports have shown that gluten free diets had beneficial and favorable effects in SLE patients (6, 7). Accordingly, the preliminary evidence suggest that SLE patients should adopt gluten free diets.
Check out my former graduate student, good friend and colleague, Robb Wolf’s website and read about an SLE patient who beat the disease with Paleo. There is absolutely no risk to gluten free diets like The Paleo Diet, and the potential for improved health is high (8-15).
Other foods which are not on The Paleo Diet menu are dairy products, legumes, processed foods, refined sugars and vegetable oils. All of these items may adversely affect intestinal function or interact with the immune system in a manner that may promote allergy or autoimmunity. For details about these and other dietary elements that compromise intestinal function see my latest book, The Paleo Answer. Finally, autoimmune patients may also want to read “Egg Whites and Autoimmune Disease” which suggests eggs and nightshades sometimes interact with the immune system to promote or aggravate allergy and autoimmunity.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor
1. Cordain L, Toohey L, Smith MJ, Hickey MS. Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. British Journal of Nutrition, 2000, 83:207-217.
2. Fasano A. Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Feb;42(1):71-8.
3. Fasano A. Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Physiol Rev. 2011 Jan;91(1):151-75
4. Mirza N, Bonilla E, Phillips PE. Celiac disease in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report and review of literature. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 May;26(5):827-8
5. Freeman HJ. Adult celiac disease followed by onset of systemic lupus erythematosus. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;42(3):252-5
6. Hrycek A, Siekiera U. Coeliac disease in systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report.
Rheumatol Int. 2008 Mar;28(5):491-3.
7. Zitouni M, Daoud W, Kallel M, Makni S. Systemic lupus erythematosus with celiac disease: a report of five cases. Joint Bone Spine. 2004 Jul;71(4):344-6
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, Ahren B, Pacini G, Sundler F, Wierup N, Steen S, Sjoberg T, Ugander M, Frostegard J, Goransson Lindeberg S: A Paleolithic diet confers higher insulin sensitivity, lower C-reactive protein and lower blood pressure than a cereal-based diet in domestic pigs. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2006, 3:39.
11. 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
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Ryberg M, Sandberg S, Mellberg C, Stegle O, Lindahl B, Larsson C, Hauksson J, Olsson T. A Palaeolithic-type diet causes strong tissue-specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women. J Intern Med. 2013 Jul;274(1):67-76.
Hello Dr Cordain!
Just finished listening to your excellent lecture on Hyperinsulinemic Diseases, and I have one, simple question? If some one begins to correct metabolic syndrome by using the Paleo diet, could they see skin tags disappear? This seems to be happening with me?
Again Thanks for the informative and helpful lecture!
All the Best!
R. Francis Stevenson
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
Hi R. Francis,
Skin tags represent an external cutaneous manifestation of insulin resistance. A Paleo diet helps to reduce insulin resistance, so it is certainly possible that a contemporary Paleo diet via its therapeutic effect upon insulin metabolism could cause skin tags to disappear.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor
Each year, October 31st seems to mark the start of the junk food season. Most of us have fun childhood memories of dressing up in costume, attending parties, and spending hours Trick-or-Treating in our neighborhoods. Returning home with a bag full of candy and sugary snacks meant an evening spent sampling the hard, soft, or chewy treasures we had collected. Unfortunately, most of us probably went to bed with a tummy ache and awoke within a few days with a sore throat, cold, or flu virus due to the negative impact on our immune systems after overindulging. It occurred to me years ago that the cold and flu season really seems to get ramped up and into high gear beginning around Halloween and continuing well into Spring when the junk food holidays finally end at Easter time.
So, what’s a Paleo parent to do? How do we help our children enjoy the festivities and traditions of our special holidays, while maintaining healthy eating habits? Over the past 10 years or so, there has been more and more awareness regarding these issues. Conscientious parents have tackled this problem in a variety of ways. Some have done away with Halloween altogether, while others have found new and creative ways to celebrate the day and start new, healthy traditions. Fortunately, the internet has become a fantastic place to search for special, healthy treats. Just last week, I found a darling creation making ghosts from ½ banana using small currants or raisins for eyes and mouth. Another site demonstrated making “Jack-o-lanterns” from oranges, carving out the skins to make the face. Check out just a few of the links to help you and your children get started. Be sure to include the kids in the search and make it fun and exciting to plan for your special day.
But, what to do with all that Trick-or-Treat candy? Again, it’s time to get creative and think outside the box. Several approaches to this dilemma should be considered. Some parents allow their children to choose a small amount of candy to enjoy as a special treat over the next few days, throwing the rest in the trash where all the junk belongs. Others, strike a deal with their kids and agree to buy all of the candy from the child. The child is then allowed to spend the money on a toy or other non-food item of their choice. We know of a family who puts on a wonderful, healthy costume party for their children and their friends every year. There is no Trick-or-Treating, just healthy snacks, traditional games like bobbing for apples, and a fun time for all. If you don’t want to throw your own party, many community organizations offer alternatives for kids. As for what to throw in those sacks when the neighborhood goblins come calling?
How about this treat: The Paleo Diet Bar in either Cinnamon Raisin, or Cranberry Almond! This is a special and fun time of year when lasting childhood memories are created. Start your own family traditions and enjoy the celebrations!
All the best,
Lorrie Cordain, M.A.
The Paleo Diet Team
The aromas of this simple-to-prepare fall treat fills your house with sweetness and will have your kids drooling. Be sure to choose locally grown, organic apples when preparing this sweet treat.
- 1 large, fresh pie apple
- 1 medium orange, juiced
- 1 tbsp raisins
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch allspice
- olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Core the apple
3. Mix orange juice, raisins, cinnamon, and allspice together in small bowl and fill the cavity of the apple
4. Pour remaining liquid over apple
5. Place apple on a lightly greased pan with olive oil
6. Bake 30-40 minutes or until soft
7. A small paring knife should easily puncture the apple skin to cavity center
8. Better get lots, the little goblins will certainly be begging for more!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
From jack-o-lanterns to pies, pumpkins have become an American tradition during this time of year. But, what to do with all those seeds after carving your spooky creation? This simple recipe has become a favorite of Paleo dieters everywhere.
- 1 large pumpkin
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili powder, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Carve pumpkin, remove seeds
3. Thoroughly rinse pumpkin from seeds and pat dry with paper towels
4. Put seeds in a bowl and mix thoroughly with olive oil and spices
5. Spread seeds evenly on non-stick baking pan
6. Bake for 30 minutes, turning seeds every 10 minutes
I had the pleasure of speaking with Torrey Kim, reporter of the debuted magazine Go Gluten Free, from sports and specialty publishing mogul Beckett Media on the healthful benefits of The Paleo Diet.
The magazine is dedicated to providing Paleo dieters and individuals with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance an array of gluten-free recipes and articles for adopting a healthier lifestyle and is available in print and hits newsstand today.
The popular Paleo Diet can help you live a healthy gluten-free lifestyle with a host of other benefits.
The philosophy behind the Paleo Diet (or “Caveman Diet”) couldn’t be simpler. In addition to being an effective weight-loss plan, it boosts what’s really important: your health. All it takes to begin is learning how to eat as our Stone Age ancestors did.
What makes a Paleo Diet appealing is that it focuses on the way foods were consumed during the Paleolithic period, says Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo Movement and the author of the bestselling books The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Paleo Answer. “The Paleolithic period refers to the time frame our ancestors first began to make stone tools (approximately 3.5 million years ago) until the very first human societies in the Middle East adopted agriculture (about 10,000 years ago),” Cordain says. “During this time frame, the archaeological evidence shows that our hunter-gatherer ancestors rarely or never consumed cereal grains.”
The main reason that grains were not on the menu was physiological, Cordain says. “Unless grass seeds are first ground (to break down their cell walls) and then cooked to gelatinize their starch, they are inedible and unavailable for nutritional assimilation.”
Learn how to think outside the box and plan accordingly for the optimal Paleo lifestyle. Subscribe to read the rest…
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor
Hello Paleo Diet Team,
I’d like any information you might have on how The Paleo Diet has helped with thyroid issues. I have Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease and am having trouble getting consistent thyroid levels with medication. Thank you for your help.
Trevor Connor’s Response:
First a quick clarification on Hyper/hypothyroidism vs Hashimoto’s for our readers. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. We measure TgAB and thyroglobulin to track the progess of the disease. As Hashimoto’s progresses, the thyroid stops functioning properly and the patient experiences hyper- or hypothyroidism. They are tracked by looking at the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) levels. However, a patient can have hyper- or hypothyroidism without any autoimmune processes.
With that being said, we had 18 Hashimoto’s subjects of which eight provided medical records. Eight of our 18 subjects saw clear signs of improvement following The Paleo Diet and four were able to reduce medication. One of the subjects provided medical records with TgAB and Thyroglobulin levels over three years. His levels improved after going on The Paleo Diet and was eventually able to stop taking medication.
The primary process we are looking at is an imbalance between T-help cells (Th17) and Treg cells in autoimmune conditions. I’ve read a lot of research showing a clear imbalance towards Th17 in people with Hashimoto’s and a fair amount of research has shown that a wheat-based diet can promote a Th17 imbalance.
Purge the wheat from your diet, and check out Dr. Cordain’s Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Hypothyroidism) to learn more about the healthful benefits of adopting The Paleo Diet to treat Hashimoto’s Disease.
The Paleo Diet Team
Trevor Connor is Dr. Cordain’s last mentored graduate student and will complete his M.S. in HES and Nutrition from the Colorado State University this year and later enter the Ph.D. program. Connor was the Principle Investigator in a large case study, approximately 100 subjects, in which he and Dr. Cordain examined autoimmune patients following The Paleo Diet or Paleo-like diets.