, A New Look with a New Mission., A New Look with a New Mission.Very recently, Dr. Cordain reached out to me, his first Paleo graduate student, and Trevor Connor, his last Paleo graduate student, to help him launch a new vision and mission for his website; Today, we are excited to begin a new era, with a renewed vision and mission, that coincides with our recent new website launch.

We have over a thousand articles about Paleolithic nutrition at the website and now you can easily find a specific topic by searching 32 blog categories.

As time passes, new science can change previous held beliefs and; as has happened before, we will hold ourselves open to positions that may need to be altered; but, we will rigorously research and scrutinize any data that offers up new theories. So, our mission is to provide you, the reader, with a vast database of information about Paleolithic nutrition that you can rely on as accurate and scientifically supported.

When Dr. Cordain introduced me to the concept of Paleolithic nutrition back in the late 1980s, only a handful of academics and unique interested parties had even heard of the diet. Of course today it is the most widely Googled diet name and millions of people worldwide are not only aware of the diet; but have benefitted from implementing it.

However, along with popularity comes a challenge. The initial template of lean (I now prefer to use the word natural) animal protein, vegetables, fruits, and some nuts and seeds, put forth back in those early days, has remained pretty constant at But, in other areas of the “Paleosphere,” you can discover many different versions of what is being labeled a “Paleo diet.”

Proponents of these variations, in some cases, have started criticizing the initial template – supported by a significant body of research – as being too restrictive or even outdated. In turn, this argument is being used to promote other versions as perhaps more palatable and easier to follow. While I have no doubt that these different versions of a “Paleolithic” diet; particularly when compared to the current standard western diet, have provided, and will continue to provide, benefits to individuals with a wide variety of health issues, creating a version of a “Paleo” diet template that differs only slightly from the original Paleo template, is somewhat disingenuous.

Adding foods to the original template in moderate consumption, without negative consequences, is exactly what has been advocated from the early days of our research. Dr. Cordain clearly stated in his first book on the Paleo diet that an 85:15, paleo:non-paleo, compliance was all that was needed to reap the benefits for the vast majority of individuals. Consequently, many of these versions of the Paleo diet are simply a reiteration of Dr. Cordain’s initial work. And to criticize this original template as being too restrictive misses the reason of having a true Paleo template in the first place.

As a general rule, I have always recommended that foods on the Paleo diet template can be consumed ad libitum. Accordingly, if others in the Paleoshphere add foods into this template that we would consider non-Paleo, one has to ask are these additions ad libitum or restricted? If the additions are restricted, then their diets are really no different to our original template with an 85:15 compliance. If, however, the additions are unrestricted, it implies our template should be changed and we need to establish if there is merit to a new approach.

So, our new mission at is to address these issues and alternatives through an open dialogue with those that are introducing them. Front and center in this debate will be, not only the scientific data; but, also clinical findings – whether by health care practitioners working with their patients and clients – or even individual self-experimentation.

An example of an issue that needs addressing is the negative impact of anti-nutrients in the diet. I have read within the Paleosphere that some believe Dr. Cordain was wrong about anti-nutrients because cooking destroys them. So did Dr. Cordain get it wrong or have individuals that have not had their arguments peer reviewed jumped the gun? Not having something peer-reviewed does not necessarily mean it is wrong. But what has not happened in the past and is needed, is to have these issues argued and counter-argued to help arrive at what is hopefully the right answer, at least with the current body of knowledge.

As we examine many of these questions, we are going to invite those that disagree with our point of view to an open forum at to argue their position. We will then counter, with a potential back and forth, or perhaps we’ll simply stand corrected. Either way, we feel this approach will help you, the reader, find the best diet that works for you to achieve your optimal health and vitality.

Further, if there are questions that you want addressed, be sure to reach out to us via our social media platforms, all of which are available here at the website.

So, along with the launch of the new web site, we look forward to creating an environment that harnesses an open dialogue about nutrition with the single important goal of improving the health of people around world.

Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.

About Mark J. Smith, PhD

Mark J. Smith, PhDDr. Mark J. Smith graduated from Loughborough University of Technology, England, with a Bachelor of Science in PE & Sports Science and then obtained his teaching certificate in PE & Mathematics. As a top-level rugby player, he then moved to the United States and played for the Boston Rugby Club while searching the American college system for an opportunity to commence his Master’s degree. That search led him to Colorado State University where Dr. Smith completed his Masters degree in Exercise and Sport Science, with a specialization in Exercise Physiology. He continued his studies in the Department of Physiology, where he obtained his Doctorate. His research focused on the prevention of atherosclerosis (the build up of plaque in arteries that leads to cardiovascular disease); in particular, using low-dose aspirin and antioxidant supplementation.

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“8” Comments

  1. Hi Mark,

    I don’t want to sound too pessimistic but not many people have the willingness, or the academic background, to understand why Dr. Cordain is much more “strict” (whatever that means) in terms of following his template for paleolithic diet in civilized modern society.

    I am a kinesiology student with exercise physiology background who has been reading academic articles related to autoimmunity and immunology due to many components in our modern diet, and it is much easier to understand, after understanding genetic-environmental link in developing autoimmune related diseases and disorders, Dr. Cordain’s view on every grain species, legumes, dairy, and also other potentially immunostimulatory food antigens from many types of seeds and nuts, egg, potato, and common yeasts etc.

    For majority of people, however, despite the wide accessibility to academic journals these days, it is much harder to grasp why Dr. Cordain promotes what he thinks of as extremely safe diet for those with genetic risk factors in developing autoimmune related problems due to dietary components.

    Although I am very grateful to find about Dr. Cordain’s and others’ research in this field (and also made me sad about how civilization made us physically and mentally sicker as a species) through other non-original “semi-paleo” bloggers, I really wish I had found Dr. Cordain’s work from the start as to avoid the confusion resulted from other later modified versions of paleo diet with heavy bias toward one’s favorite foods (ie. someone said bacon and cheese are “paleo”?).

    All I wish for now is that Dr. Cordain would be very happy to have helped so many people including myself, and never let the criticisms (that he may get from others who did not fully understand what he thinks of as a true paleolithic diet) down on him. Maybe, if he could select a few review articles on autoimmunity and diet, and educate people from scratch and make sure to let people know that, although not every single one of us, but great proportions of our populations carry certain risk factors that may put them at great chance of developing many autoimmune disorders, and the paleo diet template helps reduce that risk by avoiding environmental triggers from common modern foods that we never really were fully adapted to eat. That will, I think, greatly reduce the common criticisms against his ideas of paleo diet as people would be able to realize that it may not be necessary to fully follow his advice, but it definitely helps greatly, especially for many that are greatly susceptible to certain illnesses.

    I think paleo diet is a beauty in itself that it combines evolutionary perspective on human species and the current scientific methods that we never really had previously to test those hypotheses of what we are adapted to eat, without worrying about developing chronic illness. The molecular technology we have is truly beneficial and I wish we will one day go back to our “natural” state of health because we come to realize that we can’t outrun our own mother nature.

    Thank you for all your effort in help saving many people from developing and/or recovering from chronic illness, and I wish you and all the team members with Dr. Cordain be well and stay physically and mentally healthy (and happy).


  2. I’m so glad to have this new chance of debate. We (researchers in bad faith not funded by corporations) have to seek for truth, not want to be right. I will love to pick up again the debate between Lalonde and Cordain about antinutrients that should be really constructive.

  3. look forward to the new web site. although, I think it will end up concluding that a lot of what Dr Cordain says is correct. He has changed his stance as time has moved on. For example, he picked up on Vitamin D and scaled back on adding in supplements as the knowledge base changed. He also modified his written stance on fats. some of these modern variants might be better than the SAD but they simply are not paleolithic. Maybe there is a nomenclature solution. I talk about pure paleolithic pragmatic paleo etc to try and communicate this to other people.

    A lot of the proponents of the antinutrients do not consider the dose that may be achieved eg dairy even if you could milk the wild horned animal it was only lactating for a few months of the year versus the availability of much large volumes of milk from hormone treated dairy cattle that lactate for nearly 2 years before they are dried up. this creates a different suupply of milk which may have higher levels of antinutrients which is available all year around. Anyway did hunter gatherers prefer milk to meat etc? I always understood that milk consumption emerged as an agricutlural practice because it helped you top up on protein and fat and didnt impact herd numbers. There a re a lot more arguments that can be put that make it clear that milk and other antinutrients were not consumed by hunter gatherers or any consumption was unusual and incidental. Hopefully the new web site will bring out some of these facts.
    I’m always open to the data guiding a revised opinion – whether this be diet, exercise, stress, sleep etc.

  4. im glad you’re opening up the debate.

    Are there examples of where Cordain’s understanding on the basic Paleo template has evolved? Can you provide examples?

    • Hi Raphael,
      Good to hear you’re glad we’re opening up the debate. Your question is an important one and so we are actually going to answer it with an actual blog post by Dr. Cordain in the very near near future. I’ll try to remember to come back to let you know when it is posted so you can ask further questions or comment on that post.

  5. Wait! This isn’t nutritional “science” as we know it today, which is to take one position simply because you believe it to be true, and ignore all evidence to the contrary! 😉 This is actually reasonable, potentially with real arguments for and against positions. That’s unheard of in modern nutrition. I may have to visit more often.

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