Tag Archives: alcohol

Sugar and Alcohol: Your Liver Can’t Tell The Difference

Dr. David Unwin, Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (FRCGP) together with fellow researchers recently completed a study showing low carb diets significantly reduce fatty liver, weight and blood sugar. Trialing a low carb approach over a year, they found rapid improvements in liver function among other positive effects.

“My interest in abnormal liver, and particularly GGT blood results began when I noticed that in our family practice of 9,000 patients well over a 1,000 had an abnormal GGT result,” said Dr. Unwin. “I could predict which patients would have lost weight -before they came into my consulting room from the improvement in GGT blood results alone- so began to wonder about raised GGT levels, Diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): Was dietary carbohydrate a link?”

Before we get to the summary, let’s breakdown some of the statistics.

  • Approximately 30 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States. Out of that number, nearly 95% have type 2 diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association.1
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports obesity affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of youth in the United States. This equates to 78 million adults and 12 million children suffering from the obesity epidemic. As adopters of the Paleo diet well know, obesity increases risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer among other debilitating health conditions, like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).2
  • The American Liver Foundation reports (NAFLD) affects up to 25% of Americans, where risk is directly correlated to being overweight or obese, having diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides.3

As the cost of health care continues to skyrocket, Dr. Unwin has decreased his prescribing budget £15,000-£30,000 a year by prescribing a low carb diet to patients who in two years’ time decreased average blood sugar by 10% and is now below the national average in the UK4 and US.

“I would say sugar is definitely rather like alcohol for the liver, and would point out that starchy foods like bread and pasta are a rich source of glucose,” said Dr. Unwin.

Well, thankfully the Paleo diet is devoid of breads, pastas, grains, pseudo grains, and processed sugars. When we focus upon lean meats, fish, poultry, veggies, and fruits, nuts, and seeds in moderation, a Paleo prescription is the best, cost effective investment you can make for your health.

Summary* presented ahead of publication in Diabetes in Practice September 15, 2015.

Unwin DJ1, Cuthertson DJ2, Feinman R3, Sprung VS2 (2015) A pilot study to explore the role of a low-carbohydrate intervention to improve GGT levels and HbA1c. Diabesity in Practice 4 [in press]

1Norwood Surgery, Norwood Ave, Southport. 2Department of Obesity and Endocrinology, Institute of Ageing & Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, UK. 3Professor of biochemistry and medical researcher at State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, USA.

Working title: Raised GGT levels, Diabetes and NAFLD: Is dietary carbohydrate a link?  Primary care pilot of a low carbohydrate diet

Abnormal liver function tests are often attributed to excessive alcohol consumption and/or medication without further investigation. However they may be secondary to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is now prevalent in 20-30% of adults in the Western World. Considering the increased cardiovascular and metabolic risk of NAFLD, identification and effective risk factor management of these patients is critical.

Background Excess dietary glucose leads progressively to hepatocyte triglyceride accumulation (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-NAFLD), insulin resistance and T2DM. Considering the increased cardiovascular risks of NAFLD and T2DM, effective risk-factor management of these patients is critical. Weight loss can improve abnormal liver biochemistry, the histological progression of NAFLD, and diabetic control. However, the most effective diet remains controversial.

Aim We implemented a low-carbohydrate (CHO) diet in a primary health setting, assessing the effect on serum GGT, HbA1c levels (as proxies for suspected NAFLD and diabetic control), and weight.

Design  69 patients with a mean  GGT of 77 iu/L (NR 0-50) and an average BMI of 34.4Kg/m2 were recruited opportunistically and advised on reducing total glucose intake (including starch), while increasing intake of  natural fats, vegetables and protein.

Method Baseline blood samples were assessed for GGT levels, lipid profile, and HbA1c. Anthropometrics were assessed and repeated at monthly intervals. The patients were provided monthly support by their general practitioner or practice nurse, either individually or as a group.

Results After an average of 13 months on a low-CHO diet there was a 46% mean reduction in GGT of 29.9 iu/L (95% CI= -43.7, -16.2; P<0.001), accompanied by average reductions in weight [-8.8Kg (95% CI= -10.0, -7.5; P<0.001)],and HbA1c [10.0mmol/mol (95% CI= -13.9, -6.2; P<0.001)].

Conclusions We provide evidence that low-carbohydrate, dietary management of patients with T2DM and/or suspected NAFLD in primary care is feasible and improves abnormal liver biochemistry and other cardio-metabolic risk factors. This raises the question as to whether dietary carbohydrate plays a role in the etiology of diabetes and NAFLD, as well as obesity. Over the study period and given a choice not a single patient opted to start antidiabetic medication, losing weight instead. This helps explain why our practice is the only one in the Southport and Formby CCG to have static diabetes drug costs for three years running.

*Note: The summary displayed above is not the official abstract from Diabetes in Practice.

David Unwin | The Paleo Diet

David Unwin is the senior partner and GP trainer at the Norwood Surgery, Southport, a seaside resort in the North West of England. He is an expert clinical adviser in diabetes for the Royal College of General Practitioners, and has a special interest in the Solution Focused psychological approach to the consultation. David lives on a farm with his wife, son and their sheep, turkeys, hens -and a very large pig!




[1] //www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/infographics.html?loc=db-slabnav

[2] //www.ncsl.org/research/health/obesity-statistics-in-the-united-states.aspx

[3] //www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/nafld/

[4] //diabetesdietblog.com/2015/07/15/you-only-need-one-arrow-dr-unwin-proves-it-again/

Sulfites in Wine, Beer, and Food | The Paleo Diet

Alcohol Consumption during the Paleolithic Era

In all of my popular Paleo Diet books including The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, The Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Paleo Answer, I have always suggested that moderate alcohol consumption is consistent with the health goals of the Paleo Diet, despite our research1 showing that virtually all humans living as hunter gatherers during the Paleolithic era likely did not consume alcohol (ethanol). Our foraging ancestors simply did not have the technological means to manufacture this compound and consume it on a regular basis.

As our species made the transition from the Paleolithic era (2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago) to the Neolithic era (10,000 to 5,000 years ago), there is no doubt that the knowledge to produce fermented beverages containing low concentrations of ethanol became common place. An extensive ethnographic literature demonstrates non-westernized, indigenous people worldwide produced alcoholic beverages with only minimal technology.2 – 5 However, the alcohol concentration in their beverages was and is typically low. Distilled spirits did not exist.4 Accordingly, the risk of alcohol abuse and diseases of alcoholism was likely low to non-existent.

Natural fermentation can spontaneously occur in fruit juices, fruit mashes or fruit purees when airborne or other environmental yeasts contaminate the fruit products and subsequently metabolize the sugars in the fruit into alcohol. If the fermentation process (spoilage) is allowed to continue, the waste products of yeast metabolism of fruit sugars produce carbon dioxide and ethanol, which of course is the element (ethanol) desired in alcoholic beverages. Fruits high in sugar allow the yeast to produce beverages with higher alcoholic (ethanol) concentrations, but eventually increasing ethanol concentrations kill the very yeasts that produce it.

Because wild grapes, which contain moderate to high sugar concentrations, would have been found throughout much of the Paleolithic world inhabited by hunter gatherers,6 it seems likely that one of the first alcoholic beverages (wine) was accidentally produced when grapes, whose skins are frequently contaminated with yeasts, were collected and mashed into a puree or juice and unintentionally left to ferment. Voila, we now have wine, but almost certainly of lower alcohol content than contemporary wines, and almost surely not of the same taste.

The first archaeological evidence for deliberate wine making occurred approximately 7,000 to 7,500 years ago,6 but likely was in place a millennium earlier, or even before, as people made the transition from hunter gatherers to farmers in Europe and Asia and domesticated grapes.7 As wine making progressed from the Neolithic times to the present, numerous production and manufacturing procedures were implemented to improve the taste, quality and storage life of this beverage. However, health-wise, one of the questionable recent additions to the formulation of almost all modern wines are chemicals called sulfites. Note that added sulfites are not essential to wine making.


I don’t know about you, but decades ago, between 1970s – 1990s, when I bought wines for dinner and family occasions I noticed labels on some of my favorite wines indicated “Contains Sulfites.” Like many consumers I simply disregarded or forgot this notice and put it somewhere in my brain registry of nutritional facts that I should eventually reconsider.

If you read your wine bottle labels carefully, almost all list this statement “Contains Sulfites.” Unfortunately, virtually no winery that I know of states the exact concentrations of sulfites in their wines or even lets on to us that any adverse health effects may arise from ingestion of these chemicals. Notable exceptions to this dogma include a few wineries in the U.S. and abroad which produce wines that are advertised as “Without Added Sulfites,” including the following:

Before, I get into a discussion of the sulfite content of wines, beer and other foods and the influence of sulfites upon health and wellbeing, it should be noted that even wines produced without added sulfites actually maintain tiny amounts of these compounds which result from the fermentation process itself. Do these tiny, residual quantities of sulfite matter to your health? Probably not, as I will shortly demonstrate.

OK, so what are sulfites? And why do wine, beverage and food manufacturers infuse their once natural and generally unadulterated products with these chemicals? Here’s a laundry list of the most common sulfites:

  1. Sodium sulphite
  2. Sodium bisulphite
  3. Sodium metabisulphite
  4. Potassium sulphite
  5. Potassium bisulfite
  6. Potassium metabisulphite
  7. Calcium sulphite
  8. Calcium bisulfate
  9. Sulfur dioxide (which is not a sulfite, but rather a closely related oxide.)

In foods and beverages sulfites may ultimately produce sulfur dioxide (SO2), and other compounds (HSO3-), (SO32-), (S2O52-) which may be bound to elements in the food/beverage or which may form free sulfites.8 Added sulfites can prevent growth and oxidation of undesired species of bacteria, yeast and other microorganisms in wine and foods. Besides their antimicrobial action, sulfites are widely used in the food processing industry – predominantly as anti-browning agents, antioxidants, color stabilizers, and preservatives.9, 10 The following table11, 12 shows the concentration of total sulfites (bound and free) found in common beverages and foods.

Sulfites Table 1 | The Paleo Diet

Note that this list is certainly not comprehensive nor representative of all brands and products of foods found in each category. Accordingly the sulfite content of virtually all processed foods and beverages (including wine) is never reported on labels, simply because governmental agencies worldwide (including the U.S.) don’t require this information from manufacturers to be supplied to consumers. In the U.S. we are now burdened by four lame and obsolete laws regarding dietary sulfites which were enacted by the FDA some 26-28 years ago.13 – 16 In the first edict,13, 15 the FDA simply required manufacturers to make the statement “Contains Sulfites” on food or beverage products that contained 10ppm or greater of total sulfites. In the second statute,14, 16 the FDA mandated that fresh fruits and vegetables could not be laced with sulfites.

Let’s take a look at what these two pieces of legislative fog actually mean to the typical consumer. The first portion13, 15 states that whether a food contains 10ppm of sulfites or values approaching acceptable maximal daily limits for these chemicals (>0.7 mg per kg body weight),8 the labeling for the manufacturer for their product remains exactly the same – they must only state”Contains Sulfites.”

The second statute14, 16 stipulates that fresh fruits and vegetables, such as in fresh supermarket produce or salad bars cannot contain any added sulfites. The rationale here by the governmental edict is that purveyors of these products would keep their fruits and veggies on the shelf indefinitely by simply spraying or soaking these items with sulfites. In turn, consumers purchasing what they thought was fresh produce would actually be ingesting large amounts of sulfites in dated fruits and veggies. Hence the USDA legislation actually had the consumer in mind by preventing excessive consumption of sulfites which even at the time (1986-88) were known to produce serious health concerns.

In theory, the FDA at this early juncture can’’t necessarily be faulted, because they were taking steps to limit sulfite intake in the U.S. population.13 – 16 Unfortunately, no teeth were put into these governmental edicts to really make a difference. We are now saddled with weak laws that allow manufacturers of foods and beverages to sidestep the intent of this original legislation (lowering sulfite intake), and increase their company profitability by extending the shelf life of their products with added sulfites.

Health Issues with Added Sulfites

A number of recent reviews by internationally recognized experts who have studied the adverse health effects of added sulfites have concluded with the following statements:

“the clinical importance of sensitivities to these additives remains underestimated.”17

“Whilst the apparent safety of the sulphite additives lead to their widespread use, reports began to emerge during the 1970’s that sulphite exposure was associated with adverse reactions.” These included the triggering of anaphylactic reactions, as well as the elicitation of a wide range of symptoms, including dermatitis, urticaria, flushing, hypotension, abdominal pain and diarrhea… and the triggering of bronchoconstriction in asthmatic patients”18

“Currently, sulfiting agents are not considered GRAS for use in meats, foods recognized as a major source of vitamin B-1 (sulfites have been found to destroy thiamin), or fruits or vegetables intended to be served raw to consumers or to be presented to consumers as fresh.”19

“The analysis of specific consumption data confirmed the existence of a risk of exceeding the ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) related to sulphite residue levels in wine.”20

If you have ever tipped more than three glasses of wine at a dinner, a celebration or for whatever reason, you most likely have experienced a “hangover” and most likely attributed these symptoms to “too much alcohol.” You are probably right—regardless of its source, acute, excessive ethanol consumption does damage to our physiology which on the short term causes a number of symptoms which we collectively refer to as a “hangover.” Many people experience hangover like symptoms, particularly after imbibing too much wine.

As I have outlined above, wine is a potent source of dietary sulfites – so much so, that a number of studies have concluded that the two major dietary sources of sulfites for adults are wine and dried, processed fruit.8, 20, 21 How much dietary sulfite is too much? Symptoms of sulfite toxicity with wine may occur when wines exceeding 150ppm (see the table above) are consumed,12 particularly when you drink more than 450ml.8 A standard wine bottle contains 750ml, so if you drink 2-3 moderate glasses of wine, you can easily exceed 450ml.

Symptoms of sulfite toxicity are quite similar to being drunk or experiencing a hangover and include: flushing, fast heartbeart, stomach upset, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Further, excessive sulfite ingestion may cause hives (urticaria), wheezing, dizziness, difficulty in swallowing, tingling in limbs and low blood pressure.17, 18 The greatest threat to health from sulfites is their aggravating effect upon pulmonary function in asthmatics (be they children or adults). It is estimated that 3-10% of all asthmatic patients are sensitive to sulfites and children with asthma appear to be at even a higher risk.18

Some Practical Advice

It completely amazes me how virtually every hand we humans play in modifying our natural food supply seems to result in adverse health effects. Who would think that a simple chemical like sulfites, which have been used for at least 200 years to preserve food and wine could have such far reaching effects upon our health and well being. Granted, most people don’t present with overt sulfite toxicity, but the effects certainly must be subtle for all of us and affect each and every one of us in a different manner.

Lorrie and I met old friends in a Reno casino buffet this summer for lunch. We both lavished upon the unlimited, rich steamed shrimp bowls and the cornucopia of colorful salads, vegetables and fruits. I was amazed at how the enormous quantities of these dishes could be offered and displayed at all hours of the day – seemingly fresh and straight from the garden. None of these dishes ever showed signs of spoilage, browning or anything beyond freshness. That night neither one of us slept well; our dreams were disturbed and we both experienced digestive upset. Was it added sulfites to make all of these casino buffet dishes appear pristine that caused our indigestion? I don’t know. But this pattern has repeated itself over the decades as we have returned to Reno and its casino buffets.

My advice is always to focus upon non-processed foods: fresh fruits, veggies, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and nuts while avoiding anything you buy in a can, box, bottle or plastic container. They likely contain sulfites and other non healthful additives. Wine is a delicious compliment for special meals – if you would like to treat yourself to this non-Paleo item, checkout the sulfite free wines which are available at your local dealers, and see if these wines make a difference for you.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus


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 Feb;81(2):341-54

2. Teramoto Y, Tktsuya Hano T, Ueda S. Production and characteristics of traditional alcoholic beverage made with sweet potato as the saccharifying agent. J Inst Brew, November-December 1998;104: 339-341

3. Henkel TW. Parakari, an indigenous fermented beverage using amylolytic Rhizopus in Guyana. Mycologia 2005;97:1-11.

4. Steinkraus KH. Nutritionally significant indigenous foods involving an alcoholic fermentation. In: Gastineau CF, Darby WJ, Turner TB (eds.) Fermented food beverages in nutrition. New York, Academic Press, 1979, pp 35-59.

5. Steinkraus KH. Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods (2nd ed.). New York, Marcel Dekker, 1996.

6. McGovern PE, Glusker DL, Exner LJ. Neolithic resinated wine. Nature 1996; 381:480-481.

7. Arroyo-García R, Ruiz-García L, Bolling L et al. Multiple origins of cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. ssp. sativa) based on chloroplast DNA polymorphisms. Molecular Ecology 2006;15: 3707-14.

8. Machado RD, McToledo, E Vincente.Sulfite content in some Brazilian wines: analytical determination and estimate of dietary exposure. European Food Research and Technology
July 2009, Volume 229, Issue 3, pp 383-389.

9. Roberts A, McWeeny D. The use of sulfur dioxide in the food industry. A review. J Fd Technol 1972;7:221-38.

10. Taylor Sl, Higley NA, Bush RK. Sulfites in foods: uses, analytical methods, residues, fate, exposure assessment, metabolism, toxicity, and hypersensitivity. Adv Food Res 1986;30:1-76.

11. Kim HJ, Park GY, Kim YK. Analysis of sulfites in foods by ion exclusion chromatography with electrochemical detection. Food Technol 1987;41:85-91.

12. Vally H, Carr A, El-Saleh J, Thompson P. Wine-induced asthma: a placebo-controlled assessment of its pathogenesis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999 Jan;103(1 Pt 1):41-6.

13. FDA. 1986. Food labeling, Declaration of sulfiting agents. Food and Drug Admin, Fed. Reg 51:25012.

14. FDA. 1986. Sulfiting agents; Revocation of GRAS status for use on fruits and vegetables intended to be served or sold raw to consumers. Food and Drug Admin, Fed Reg. 51:25021 and 25198.

15. FDA. 1988. Sulfiting agents in standardized foods: Labeling requirements. Food and Drug Admin, Fed Reg. 53:51062-51084.

16. FDA. 1988. Sulfiting agents: Afirmation of GRAS status. Food and Drug Admin, Fed Reg. 53: 51065-51084.

17. Vally H, Misso NL, Madan V. Clinical effects of sulphite additives. Clin Exp Allergy. 2009 Nov;39(11):1643-51

18. Vally H, Misso NL. Adverse reactions to the sulphite additives. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench. 2012 Winter;5(1):16-23.

19. Grotheer P, Marshall M, Simonne A. Sulfites: separating fact from fiction. University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2005, //edis.ifas.ufl.edu

20. Leclercq C1, Molinaro MG, Piccinelli R, Baldini M, Arcella D, Stacchini P. Dietary intake exposure to sulphites in Italy–analytical determination of sulphite-containing foods and their combination into standard meals for adults and children. Food Addit Contam. 2000 Dec;17(12):979-89.

21. Urtiaga C1, Amiano P, Azpiri M, Alonso A, Dorronsoro M. Estimate of dietary exposure to sulphites in child and adult populations in the Basque Country. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2013;30(12):2035-42.

Tequila | The Paleo Diet

Hi Dr. Cordain,

I came to you via my research on The Paleo Diet. I’ve found some articles that say tequila and wine are the only two forms of alcohol allowed on The Paleo Diet. Can you speak to this in greater detail?

I work for a very small tequila brand and we’re hoping to offer our ultra-premium products to your diet followers as an improvement to what they may be consuming.

Cheers and thanks for your help!


Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Serena,

From a purely factual perspective, no alcohol is “Paleo,” as our Stone Age ancestors lacked the technology to produce either fermented or distilled drinks containing ethyl alcohol. Nevertheless, we live in the 21st century and cannot possibly eat only wild plant and animal foods as our ancestors did. Hence, the idea behind contemporary “Paleo” diets is not to replicate their diets exactly but only to mimic the food groups they ate with commonly available modern foods like fresh veggies, fruits, grass produced meats, seafood, and nuts and to avoid the food groups they generally didn’t eat like dairy, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars, vegetable oils, salt and processed foods.

In all of my books I have included the 85:15 rule which allows people to occasionally “cheat.” Most people can achieve significant improvements in health and well-being by maintaining 85% compliance with The Paleo Diet. Others who are overweight or obese or have other health-related issues need to be even more compliant 90 to 100% of the time.

Accordingly, alcohol consumption is allowed occasionally, and in moderation. A glass of wine with dinner a few times a week will not derail the therapeutic effects of The Paleo Diet. Similarly, alcoholic beverages from distilled spirits also are allowed, but they should be made with non-sugary mixers. Tequilas often contain substantial amounts of refined sugars including sucrose, glucose, and high fructose corn syrup, unless they are distilled from 100% agave plants with no added sugars. Purge the sugars from the shakers. When life hands you limes and you reach for Jose, understand the merits or lack thereof of alcohol and tequila consumption in Paleo diets.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professeor Emeritus

Beverages | The Paleo Diet

Dear Dr. Cordain,

I have a couple questions about things that we put in our mouths and how they compare to the things our Paleo ancestors put in their mouths.

First is the question of liquid vs. solid: fruit juice vs. fruit. Other than mother’s milk for infants, I can’t think of anything other than water that our Paleo ancestors drank. To my knowledge, they even chewed honey or rather chewed the honeycomb to extract the honey. It’s well known that the act of chewing stimulates the digestive system, so I’m thinking that as modern humans, we are getting less of this stimulation of digestion since we get so many calories by drinking juice, soda, milkshakes, milk, etc.

Next is the issue of toothpaste. Most brands contain saccharin, and we put this “sweet stuff” in our mouths. The brain senses the sweet taste in our mouths and responds by getting the digestive system going, in anticipation of the sugars that should be coming into the digestive system. But the sugars don’t come. We spit the toothpaste out. Even if we did swallow it, saccharin is not digestible. That would seem like no big deal, except that I think the brain is not just passively responding to the sweet taste. I think it “learns.” Specifically, in this case, it learns that sweet taste did not lead to sugars in the stomach, and so the brain mutes its response to sweet taste. This is called the derangement of the sweetness response, and some nutritionists think that consumption of diet sodas does this, and may be a cause of diabetes. However, I have not yet seen any discussion of the “toothpaste effect” that I have just described.



Dr. Cordain’s Response:


Thank you for your inquiry.

Millions of Americans drink beverages that are packed with sugar, preservatives, aspartame, caramel color, and Stevia, among others. Many people following a Standard American Diet (SAD) tend to incorporate a significant amount of their daily calories in the form of liquid beverages. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors wouldn’t have had access to the thousands of drinks that are available in supermarkets and liquor stores across the world today. Pure water was the drink of choice for our Paleo ancestors.

Below is a list of drinks that should rarely or preferably never be consumed on The Paleo Diet:

Soda: Diet & Regular

  • Diet and regular sodas contain preservatives and/or large amounts of corn syrup, sugar and other toxins that will only degrade your health. Not to mention, the excessive levels of carbon dioxide in soda can lead to osteoporosis and other undesirable health conditions.

Coffee & Caffeine

  • Coffee and other caffeinated beverages, as mentioned in my recent blog post “Coffee: Is It Paleo?” exhausts the adrenal glands and has an overall negative impact on insulin levels in the human body, which can lead to fatigue and drowsiness.


  • Alcohol is a questionable and touchy subject for many Paleo enthusiasts. It can be difficult for people to completely forego alcohol while following The Paleo Diet. Research has shown that many organisms including humans have indulged on alcohol containing fermented food, and drinks for a number of generations. That being said, excessive alcohol consumption can have negative impacts on the brain, liver, cholesterol levels, and many other health conditions.  Moderation is the best solution when it comes to alcohol. Don’t stress yourself out over a glass of red wine at dinner.


  • As you know, dairy products should be completely avoided on The Paleo Diet. Milk typically contains extraneous hormones and has the potential to spike insulin levels leading to acne, cancers, and other health-related problems. It is highly unlikely that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were able to milk a wild mastodon.
  • Learn more about the adverse effects of hormones in milk

Fruit Juice

  • Most conventional fruit juices available in the supermarket are loaded with extra sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavorings making them far different nutritionally from fruit in its natural form. When exposed to oxygen, most fruit juices begins to lose their nutritional quality hours after production. As a result, juices are fortified with vitamins, and minerals, stripping the starches, fibers and other vital components that allow for humans to consume fruit without spiking insulin or blood sugar levels. The verdict: Consume fruit in its natural, whole form. If you can’t quench your thirst with water, limit your consumption to the occasional glass of fresh squeezed juice.


  • Some studies have shown that the typical tube of store-bought toothpaste contains artificial sweeteners and other compounds that may induce cancer in some individuals. As long as you are not swallowing your toothpaste, you should not have to worry about long-term health effects. If you are still concerned about the ingredients found in toothpaste, I recommend you switch to saccharin-free or natural toothpaste available for purchase from a number of natural product manufacturers.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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