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A Bone of Contention: BDA Excludes Bones and Organ Meat

By Christopher Clark
December 22, 2014

Last week the British Dietetics Association (BDA), the UK’s largest organization of nutrition professionals, launched an impetuous assault on the Paleo Diet, ranking it second among their “Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in 2015.” Did you notice the double negative here? Did the BDA intend to call their ill-reasoned hit piece ‘top 5 worst diets to embrace?’ Or did they mean ‘top 5 best diets to avoid?’ The BDA’s hasty grammatical error epitomizes the carelessness of their anti-Paleo sentiments.

“There is absolutely no need to cut any food group out of your diet,” the BDA insists.1 They contend that eliminating entire food groups like dairy and cereals promotes nutrient deficiencies. There are many problems with this contention. In his rebuttal to the BDA, Dr. Mark J. Smith succinctly outlines how the Paleo Diet, far from being deficient, actually improves nutrient uptake compared to the USDA’s MyPlate.

Another embarrassing problem is that MyPlate, as well as the UK government’s Eatwell Plate, which the BDA endorses, also eliminates entire food groups—organ meats and bones. Dairy and cereals make up nearly one-half the Eatwell Plate and about one-tenth of Eatwell goes toward “Food and drinks high in fat/sugar,” but where are organ meats and bones? Are we to believe that high-sugar foods are more important?

Heart, liver, sweetbread, and other organs are extremely nutrient-dense. Besides providing high-quality fat and protein, they also contain very high levels of vitamins and minerals. Beef liver, for example, contains potent amounts of vitamin A (in its absorbable retinol form), vitamin B12, other B vitamins, iron, and selenium.

Organ meats, especially liver, are also rich in choline, an essential nutrient, which plays critical roles in brain development and homocysteine metabolism.2 Muscle meats are particularly rich in methionine, which in excess generates homocysteine.3 Elevated homocysteine is a well-established cardiovascular disease marker, thus eating choline-rich foods is particularly important to buffer and balance dietary methionine.

Glycine is an amino acid found in significant amounts in bones, skin, and connective tissue. Glycine also helps balance methionine, thereby preventing methionine toxicity.4 The BDA’s dietary recommendations, however, include neither organ meats nor bones. The organization has completely eliminated these important food groups while criticizing the Paleo Diet for eliminating dairy and cereals.

There are good reasons to eliminate dairy and cereals, which Dr. Cordain has comprehensively documented, but why would anyone want to eliminate organs and bones? The Paleo Diet, of course, strongly encourages “nose-to-tail” eating, consuming the entire animal, including the organs and bones, not just muscle meats as per the BDA’s recommendations.

Nose-to-tail eating is the most balanced way of consuming animal foods, yet the BDA curiously calls the Paleo Diet “unbalanced.”5 The BDA has recycled the same tired criticism of so many other Paleo detractors, claiming the Paleo Diet unnecessarily and even dangerously eliminates entire food groups. We invite the BDA to explain why they themselves have eliminated entire food groups, particularly the most nutrient-dense food group of them all—organ meats. We’re not, however, holding our breaths waiting for this explanation, so we suggest you continue with the Paleo template, not forgetting to regularly include both bone broth and organ meats.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

Nutritional Grail

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.


[1] The Association of UK Dietitians. (Dec 8, 2014). Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in 2015. Retrieved from[0]=news/list

[2] Jensen, HH, et al. (Mar 2007). Choline in the diets of the US population: NHANES, 2003–2004. The FASEB Journal, 21 (Meeting Abstract Supplement) LB46. Retrieved from //

[3] Miller, AL. (Feb 2003). The methionine-homocysteine cycle and its effects on cognitive diseases. Alternative Medicine Review, 8(1). Retrieved from //

[4] Sugiyama, K, et al. (Jun 1987). Effect of dietary glycine on methionine metabolism in rats fed a high-methionine diet. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 33(3). Retrieved from //

[5] The Association of UK Dietitians. (Dec 8, 2014). Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in 2015. Retrieved from[0]=news/list

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