Paleo Diet vs. Mediterranean Diet vs. Vegetarian Diet

Paleo Diet Vegetarian Diet Mediterranean Diet

As we spring into a new season, there has been renewed interest in how one diet stacks up to the next. In this presentation which I made at the Functional Medicine Conference in San Francisco in Spring of 2014, I contrasted the Paleo Diet to the Mediterranean Diet and vegan and vegetarian diets.

I have always said a Paleo Diet is not a diet per se, but rather a lifelong way of eating to reduce the risk of chronic disease. Although intuitively it seems like the traditional Mediterranean diet has been with us forever, on an evolutionary perspective (30 yrs per generation), this cultural dietary adaptation is relatively recent. Genetic studies of certain Mediterranean populations show that the majority, 65%, are not genetically evolved to digest lactose, the primary sugar in cows’ milk. Further, the Mediterranean diet is not as nutritionally (vitamins and minerals) dense as the Paleo Diet and it contains considerably more salt and is clearly not gluten free.

In our Three Part Series on Veganism and Vegetarianism, I have detailed extensively why this regime is an unnatural way of eating that has no evolutionary precedence in our species. No hunter gatherer society ever consumed a meatless diet, nor should you. So without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at how a Paleo Diet really stacks up to the Mediterranean and vegetarian diets.

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Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

About Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor Emeritus

Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor EmeritusDr. Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans. He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide. Dr. Cordain is the author of six popular bestselling books including The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Answer, and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, summarizing his research findings.

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