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Q&A: I work in a Pastry Shop and Want to Use Substitutes

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Founder of The Paleo Diet
January 21, 2013
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Hi Loren,

I bought all your books, and I love them! I just had some questions. I was making shakes and I was wondering if Pea Protein is really bad for you and if so what can I put in my shake that has protein. I also put flax meal in my shake. I've been eating 85% chocolate for some caffeine during the day, is that okay? Is Xylitol bad or good? I work in a pastry shop and try to make my own low GI goods, so I won't eat the pastries.

Thanks,

Usha

Dr. Cordain's Response:

Hi Usha,

Thanks for the kind words about my books. Let me answer your questions:

1. I dont recommend pea protein in shakes because it is a legume based product, and legumes generally contain high concentrations of a variety of antinutrients with the potential to interact with and disrupt normal physiological function. Peas (Pisum sativum) contain lower and less toxic levels of most antinutrients compared to other legumes, but still are a significant source of phytate, saponins and pea lectin (PSL). PSL is much less toxic that the lectin (PHA) found in kidney beans and has a low affinity to gut tissue (1) but still may interfere with normal gut nutrient absorption (2) along with saponins which have the potential to disrupt intestinal barrier function, provided they are consumed in significant quantities. Further, pea protein is a poor protein source because it contains low concentrations of the essential, sulfur containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. In contrast egg white protein maintains high concentrations of all of the essential amino acids, contains significantly more protein, and few antinutrients that are bothersome to most people -- although egg white allergy affects a small percentage of the population.

2. Milk chocolate typically contains high amounts of sugar and milk solids and has a high glycemic index. Because of these characteristics I suggest that it should be a "treat" consumed infrequently and in small amounts. Although coffee and tea arent strictly Paleo, I dont put restrictions on them (except for excessive coffee consumption). Green tea has a number of therapeutic health effects.

3. Working in a pastry shop certainly could be a challenge for Paleo Dieters. I dont recommend consuming any products with artificial sweeteners (see my most recent book, The Paleo Answer, John Wiley & Sons, 2012, pp 33-36)

References

1. Koninkx JF, Hendriks HG, van Rossum JM, van den Ingh TS, Mouwen JM. Interaction of legume lectins with the cellular metabolism of differentiated Caco-2 cells. Gastroenterology. 1992 May;102(5):1516-23.

2. Utal AK, Verma K, Soni GL, Singh R. Effect of pea and lentil lectins on in vitro absorption of nutrients. Indian J Exp Biol. 1990 Jan;28(1):93-5.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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