Tag Archives: obesity

Are Family Workouts Key to Kids Forming Good Habits? | The Paleo Diet

We’ve all heard it before; the obesity rates in the US are growing rapidly, but did you know just how bad it’s actually gotten? 1 out of 3 kids are now considered overweight or obese,1 which represents an increase of more than double in children and quadruple in adolescents in the past 30 years2 and almost matches the current statistic of how many American adults fall into the very same category, over one-third.3

Suggesting we’re in a crisis is an understatement. To make matters even more tragic, the youngest of the young, who cannot bear any of the responsibility, are perhaps at the greatest risk.

Researchers found humans develop their total number of fat cells in childhood.4 Once fat cells have grown in number, that number is there to stay and all we can do, short of having surgery to decrease the amount of cells, is to manipulate the size of each cell.5 So, we can deduce a person who has been overweight since childhood will have a far more difficult time trying to reach a healthy weight compared to someone who gained later in their life.

Forget about nature versus nurture; the bottom line is that if mom and dad are overweight, making poor food choices and watching TV five hours per day,6 the little ones aren’t exactly going to go to the farmer’s market or a jog around the block on their own!

The cause for this desperate state of affairs is vast; a nationwide solution is multifaceted and complex as it goes beyond simply recommending that people eat more veggies, cut out sugar and get out to exercise. We have to factor in current state of health of the parents, or lack thereof, what foods and medications they’re taking, whose nutritional advice they’re following and what comprises their physical fitness regime. Furthermore, each family needs to take it upon themselves to proactively make changes, if for no other reason than to ensure the kids have the best possible future ahead of them from a health perspective.

Getting more active as a family can be just the ticket. For some, it may be starting with going for a family hike on the weekends, and incorporating an evening walk around the neighborhood after dinner, rather than parking it on the sofa. For others, it may begin there, and naturally find its way to more competitive family workouts, with parents signing up for a 5k or half marathon and kids participating in the children’s version of racing that are often held the same day.

Unlike a training program catering to adults, kids need to be supervised during family workouts to make sure they’re safe in their fitness routines. Michael Neely, DO, the Medical Director at NY Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy,7 proposes there are some easy to follow guidelines to make sure the kids are properly engaging in physical fitness activities that won’t put them at risk.

  1. Because children’s skeletons are still developing, they cannot handle the stress of lifting heavy weights, and may be easily injured. Instead, focus on involving your child in strength-training exercises that utilize resistance and your child’s own body weight such as push-ups, sit-ups and light calisthenics or resistance bands. Wait until high school age to include weight training and lifting.
  1. Young children can also run for short stretches, but parents should exercise discretion at just how much they allow them to run. Children’s joints are particularly sensitive to repetitive stress, and too much running can easily cause injury and inhibit proper growth. A good indication is when the children reach their voluntary exhaustion.
  1. Until kids reach 18, they remain at risk for cartilage, tendon and bone platelet damage. Encourage kids to wait a little longer, until age 21, to take on a marathon. By then, the body has finished with the most critical phases of development and can properly sustain the stress of long-distance running.

So, how much is too much? Let the little ones run, or play until they’re tired. In doing so, you’ll not only be sure they’re keeping safe, you’re encouraging them to tune in and listen to their own body’s cues, something many an adult has to relearn.

Even if you feel you, or your family, are starting at square one and have a long way to go, it’s never too late to get started. In some cases, reflecting on the long term effect on kids of poor food choices and lack of physical activity can be just the impetus a parent needs to put their own health in check and start implementing some strategy right away.

A family that plays together stays healthy together!



[1] “Overweight and Obesity.” KidsHealth – the Web’s Most Visited Site about Children’s Health. Ed. Mary L. Gavin. The Nemours Foundation, 01 Oct. 2012. Web. 29 June 2015

[2] Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association 2014;311(8):806-814.

[3] “Adult Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 June 2015

[4] “Fat Children May Be Tied to a Lifetime of Obesity.” New Scientist. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2015

[5] Kolata, Gina. “Study Finds That Fat Cells Die and Are Replaced.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 May 2008. Web. 29 June 2015.

[6] “Average American Watches 5 Hours of TV per Day.” NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2015

[7] “Exercise for Kids: What’s Safe, What’s Not.” Exercise for Kids: What’s Safe, What’s Not. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2015

Your Microbiome and Obesity | The Paleo Diet

There has been a plethora of interest in the human microbiome as of late. In fact, barely a week ago, a new study was published, which showed that mice who drank water (laced with huger-suppressing bacteria) ate less, had lower body fat, and staved off diabetes – even when consuming a poor diet.1 This is just the latest of many potential breakthroughs made in the last few years in regards to the microbiome. Though this breakthrough is specific to obesity, there are many unique and diverse links made to the types of bacteria found within our gut.2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Your Microbiome and Obesity | The Paleo Diet

“The Role and Influence of Gut Microbiota in Pathogenesis and Management of Obesity and Metabolic …” Frontiers. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

Interestingly, another recent study discussed the link between the lifestyles of indigenous populations, and their gut health.9 Researchers found the microbial populations among various hunter-gatherers were markedly similar – and drastically different than those who live a more modern way of life.10, 11, 12, 13 This supports the observation that human microbiomes are actively involved in health, and that subsequent changes from living more sanitized, industrialized lifestyles, has led to increased likelihood of autoimmune disorders.14, 15, 16 This is yet another way in which our Paleolithic ancestors had it right.17, 18

It has taken the scientific community some time to come around to the realization that obesity is correlated with an alteration in the gut microbiome.19, 20 Two classes of bacteria (bacteroides and firmacutes) are important here, with firmacutes bacteria being very prevalent in those whom are obese.21, 22, 23 But, it turns out not all the data supports firmacutes being the only factor. The main focus, instead, as far as mechanism goes, is the formation of increased amounts of metabolic endotoxins.24, 25 These metabolic endotoxins are more specifically, deoxycholic acid and lipopolysaccharides (LPS).26, 27

Your Microbiome and Obesity | The Paleo Diet

Schnorr, Stephanie L. et al. “Gut Microbiome of the Hadza Hunter-Gatherers.” Nature Communications 5 (2014): 3654. PMC. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

A Paleo diet promotes improved gut health, whereas the Western diet is a large source of problems, for the microbiome.28, 29 Interestingly, we see the duality of evidence here, in that (observationally) hunter-gatherers display much better microbial profiles.30 But, we also have specific mechanistic evidence, which shows exactly how poor gut health translates into obesity. This is a clear-cut example that the Western diet (quite literally) makes us sick – and fat.

Your Microbiome and Obesity | The Paleo Diet

Brown, Kirsty et al. “Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease.” Nutrients 4.8 (2012): 1095–1119. PMC. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

So, what can one do, if looking to optimize their microbiome? Many will state that a probiotic is absolutely necessary, and there is no other way to improve your ratio of beneficial microbiota. This is simply not the case. Quite obviously, you should eat a nutrient-dense, protein and antioxidant packed diet. A Paleo diet is beneficial for a myriad of reasons, but including fermented foods (like sauerkraut) regularly, will result in a vastly improved ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria. Without any extra supplementation required!

And, this improved ratio is a significant shield against obesity, as evidenced by salient scientific literature. This optimal ratio of specific types of microbes is simply something that a Western diet is not capable of achieving. If you needed one more reason to consume a delicious Paleo diet, the emerging link between gut health and obesity, is definitely one of the best reasons. Go home, enjoy a glass of kombucha or dig into a bowl of sauerkraut, and take comfort in the fact that you are helping to nurture your microbiome – so you may stay lean and healthy for a long time to come.


[1] Chen Z, Guo L, Zhang Y, et al. Incorporation of therapeutically modified bacteria into gut microbiota inhibits obesity. J Clin Invest. 2014;124(8):3391-406.

[2] Le chatelier E, Nielsen T, Qin J, et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature. 2013;500(7464):541-6.

[3] Parekh PJ, Arusi E, Vinik AI, Johnson DA. The role and influence of gut microbiota in pathogenesis and management of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2014;5:47.

[4] Vrieze A, Van Nood E, Holleman F, Salojärvi J, Kootte RS, Bartelsman JF, et al. Transfer of intestinal microbiota from lean donors increases insulin sensitivity in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Gastroenterology (2012) 143(4):913.

[5] Borody TJ, Khoruts A. Fecal microbiota transplantation and emerging applications. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol (2012) 9(2):88–96.

[6] Kadooka Y, Sato M, Imaizumi K, Ogawa A, Ikuyama K, Akai Y, et al. Regulation of abdominal adiposity by probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055) in adults with obese tendencies in a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr (2010) 64(6):636–43.

[7] Everard A, Lazarevic V, Derrien M, Girard M, Muccioli GG, Neyrinck AM, et al. Responses of gut microbiota and glucose and lipid metabolism to prebiotics in genetic obese and diet-induced leptin-resistant mice. Diabetes (2011) 60(11):2775–86.

[8] Romijn JA, Corssmit EP, Havekes LM, Pijl H. Gut-brain axis. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008;11(4):518-21.

[9] Obregon-tito AJ, Tito RY, Metcalf J, et al. Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes. Nat Commun. 2015;6:6505.

[10] Brown K, Decoffe D, Molcan E, Gibson DL. Diet-induced dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota and the effects on immunity and disease. Nutrients. 2012;4(8):1095-119.

[11] Eckburg P.B., Bik E.M., Bernstein C.N., Purdom E., Dethlefsen L., Sargent M., Gill S.R., Nelson K.E., Relman D.A. Diversity of the human intestinal microbial flora. Science. 2005;308:1635–1638.

[12] Proctor L.M. The human microbiome project in 2011 and beyond. Cell Host Microbe. 2011;10:287–291.

[13] Dethlefsen L., McFall-Ngai M., Relman D.A. An ecological and evolutionary perspective on human-microbe mutualism and disease. Nature. 2007;449:811–818.

[14] Campbell AW. Autoimmunity and the gut. Autoimmune Dis. 2014;2014:152428.

[15] Okada H, Kuhn C, Feillet H, Bach JF. The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ for autoimmune and allergic diseases: an update. Clin Exp Immunol. 2010;160(1):1-9.

[16] Konkel L. The environment within: exploring the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease. Environ Health Perspect. 2013;121(9):A276-81.

[17] Ley R.E., Hamady M., Lozupone C., Turnbaugh P.J., Ramey R.R., Bircher J.S., Schlegel M.L., Tucker T.A., Schrenzel M.D., Knight R., et al. Evolution of mammals and their gut microbes. Science. 2008;320:1647–1651.

[18] Tappenden K.A., Deutsch A.S. The physiological relevance of the intestinal microbiota—Contributions to human health. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 2007;26:679S–683S.

[19] Turnbaugh PJ, Ley RE, Mahowald MA, Magrini V, Mardis ER, Gordon JI. An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature. 2006;444(7122):1027-31.

[20] Tsai F, Coyle WJ. The microbiome and obesity: is obesity linked to our gut flora?. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2009;11(4):307-13.

[21] Abdallah ismail N, Ragab SH, Abd elbaky A, Shoeib AR, Alhosary Y, Fekry D. Frequency of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in gut microbiota in obese and normal weight Egyptian children and adults. Arch Med Sci. 2011;7(3):501-7.

[22] Kallus SJ, Brandt LJ. The intestinal microbiota and obesity. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012;46(1):16-24.

[23] Bradlow HL. Obesity and the gut microbiome: pathophysiological aspects. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2014;17(1):53-61.

[24] Tilg H, Kaser A. Gut microbiome, obesity, and metabolic dysfunction. J Clin Invest. 2011;121(6):2126-32.

[25] Cani PD, Amar J, Iglesias MA, et al. Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance. Diabetes. 2007;56(7):1761-72.

[26] Yoshimoto S, Loo TM, Atarashi K, et al. Obesity-induced gut microbial metabolite promotes liver cancer through senescence secretome. Nature. 2013;499(7456):97-101.

[27] Trøseid M, Nestvold TK, Rudi K, Thoresen H, Nielsen EW, Lappegård KT. Plasma lipopolysaccharide is closely associated with glycemic control and abdominal obesity: evidence from bariatric surgery. Diabetes Care. 2013;36(11):3627-32.

[28] Turnbaugh PJ, Ridaura VK, Faith JJ, Rey FE, Knight R, Gordon JI. The effect of diet on the human gut microbiome: a metagenomic analysis in humanized gnotobiotic mice. Sci Transl Med. 2009;1(6):6ra14.

[29] De filippo C, Cavalieri D, Di paola M, et al. Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010;107(33):14691-6.

[30] Schnorr SL, Candela M, Rampelli S, et al. Gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers. Nat Commun. 2014;5:3654.

Pizza: A Slice of Obesity | The Paleo Diet

When we think of health food, we aren’t thinking of pizza. And yet, a recent study confirmed that pizza is the second leading source of calories for America’s children.1 Every day, 20% of children eat pizza. That’s 1 in 5. Every day. Since pizza is very low in nutrients, and very high in empty calories, it should come as no surprise that pizza is a big contributor to childhood obesity.2 The only higher source of calories in children comes from grain desserts (cookies and similar sweets).3

Pizza: A Slice of Obesity | The Paleo Diet

Han, Joan C., Debbie A. Lawlor, and Sue Y.S. Kimm. “Childhood Obesity – 2010: Progress and Challenges.” Lancet 375.9727 (2010): 1737–1748. PMC. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Adults are often told to ‘lead by example’ when it comes to their children, so is it a safe bet that all of this pizza consumption is coming from adults? Well, 15% of men consume pizza on any given day, and 11% of women fall into the same trap.4 This is barely below the level of consumption for children. If we, as adults, make better choices, our kids are more likely to follow suit.5

Pizza: A Slice of Obesity | The Paleo Diet

Han, Joan C., Debbie A. Lawlor, and Sue Y.S. Kimm. “Childhood Obesity – 2010: Progress and Challenges.” Lancet 375.9727 (2010): 1737–1748. PMC. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

This sounds good on paper, but in reality I know many adults who are completely unhealthy – whether it’s with pizza, alcohol, or any number of other poor choices. The scientific literature backs this up as well.6 A poor diet is now killing more Americans than smoking.7 Think about that for a minute. High blood pressure alone kills almost half a million American per year.8 Having a high body mass index (BMI) kills over 300,000 people per year in the United States.9 Physical inactivity, high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar account for another 600,000 deaths per year.10 Pretty astounding.

When it comes to childhood health, cutting out the pizza is a surefire bet for improving the situation, but replacing these empty calories with nutrient dense ones is just as important.11 12 Instead of feeding them pizza, teach your children the important health value of a salad. This could consist of organic chicken, spinach and kale, or any other number of healthy ingredients. Instead of having slice after slice of pizza yourself, have a nice piece of wild caught salmon and a sweet potato.

The thing about children is they like to follow what the adults are doing.13 If you are healthier and take better care of yourself, they will be much more likely to be interested in health as well.14 And, since what we learn when growing up will likely stick with us forever, there is no better time than now to teach your children healthy habits. As the studies indicate, if you have a weight problem, your child is much more likely to, as well.15 16

Pizza: A Slice of Obesity | The Paleo Diet

“Maternal and Child Undernutrition and Overweight in Low-income and Middle-income Countries.” The Lancet. N.p., 3 Aug. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Other factors that have been scientifically studied to influence children’s weight include: sedentary activity, lots of junk food around the house, using food as a reward, and no structured meal times.17 18 These may seem like minor things, but think of just how much they may be influencing your child’s health – possibly in an irreversible manner.19 You wouldn’t give your child a beer – don’t give them pizza either.

Show them that fun regular meal times can be filled with taste and nutrition. Paleo meals consisting of shrimp, vegetables and healthy carbs and fats will make their taste buds happy – as well as their bodies. Or you can fix them a nice omelet for breakfast, with some organic blueberries. The options for great tasting Paleo Diet foods are limitless. With a little imagination and a little bit of effort, your child can be the healthiest kid on the block. This isn’t just hyperbole. Remember that a healthy child is much more likely to grow into a healthy adult.20

Pizza: A Slice of Obesity | The Paleo Diet

Scheen, Andre J. “Combating the Dual Burden: Therapeutic Targeting of Common Pathways in Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.” The Lancet. N.p., Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

So the next time you are out with your friends, and they decide to serve their children pizza, be strong, resist, and give your kids a healthy meal instead. Lead by example. You may be surprised at the positive results a healthy Paleo Diet can have on your children’s health – as well as your own.


[1] Powell LM, Nguyen BT, Dietz WH. Energy and Nutrient Intake From Pizza in the United States. Pediatrics. 2015;

[2] Reedy J, Krebs-smith SM. Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110(10):1477-84.

[3] Nicklas TA, Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Berenson G. Eating patterns, dietary quality and obesity. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001;20(6):599-608.

[4] Available at: //www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/80400530/pdf/DBrief/11_consumption_of_pizza_0710. Accessed January 27, 2015.

[5] Available at: //news.sciencemag.org/social-sciences/2010/05/kids-overimitate-adults-regardless-culture. Accessed January 27, 2015.

[6] Visscher TL, Rissanen A, Seidell JC, et al. Obesity and unhealthy life-years in adult Finns: an empirical approach. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(13):1413-20.

[7] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The State of US Health: Innovations, Insights, and Recommendations from the Global Burden of Disease Study. Seattle, WA: IHME, 2013.

[8] Gu Q, Burt VL, Paulose-ram R, Yoon S, Gillum RF. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease mortality risk among U.S. adults: the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey mortality follow-up study. Ann Epidemiol. 2008;18(4):302-9.

[9] Whitlock G, Lewington S, Sherliker P, et al. Body-mass index and cause-specific mortality in 900 000 adults: collaborative analyses of 57 prospective studies. Lancet. 2009;373(9669):1083-96.

[10] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The State of US Health: Innovations, Insights, and Recommendations from the Global Burden of Disease Study. Seattle, WA: IHME, 2013.

[11] Bryan J, Osendarp S, Hughes D, Calvaresi E, Baghurst K, Van klinken JW. Nutrients for cognitive development in school-aged children. Nutr Rev. 2004;62(8):295-306.

[12] Nyaradi A, Li J, Hickling S, Foster J, Oddy WH. The role of nutrition in children’s neurocognitive development, from pregnancy through childhood. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013;7:97.

[13] Meltzoff AN, Moore MK. Newborn infants imitate adult facial gestures. Child Dev. 1983;54(3):702-9.

[14] Available at: //www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/feed.htm. Accessed January 27, 2015.

[15] Han JC, Lawlor DA, Kimm SY. Childhood obesity. Lancet. 2010;375(9727):1737-48.

[16] Walley AJ, Blakemore AI, Froguel P. Genetics of obesity and the prediction of risk for health. Hum Mol Genet. 2006;15 Spec No 2(suppl 2):R124-30.

[17] Chen JL, Kennedy C, Yeh CH, Kools S. Risk factors for childhood obesity in elementary school-age Taiwanese children. Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2005;20(3):96-103.

[18] Vos MB, Welsh J. Childhood obesity: update on predisposing factors and prevention strategies. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2010;12(4):280-7.

[19] Marabotti A, Facchiano A. When it comes to homology, bad habits die hard. Trends Biochem Sci. 2009;34(3):98-9.

[20] Available at: //news.health.com/2015/01/14/child-medicaid-recipients-become-healthy-productive-adults-study/. Accessed January 27, 2015.

Sugar Is Killing Us

It’s no surprise a vast majority of the world recognizes sugar is destroying our health and ruining our lives.1, 2, 3, 4 Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen disease rates skyrocket, alongside our climbing intake of sugar.5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Our concern for this creeping information wavers and takes a backseat to social media, “selfies” and celebrities.10, 11

The growing concern around sugar deserves not only immediate attention, but immediate action.12, 13, 14 Unfortunately, the roadblocks are endless.15, 16 The least of which, is the food industry itself.17 Take, for example, the makers of orange juice, a product which contains a whopping 21g of sugar in a mere 8oz glass,18 and is traditionally the standard American breakfast beverage.

The addictive properties of sugar are well-documented, as are the risks of consuming too much.19, 20 And yet, we can’t seem to stop ourselves.21, 22 Sugar is often added to products surreptitiously, without our consent.23 It is also marketed – quite heavily – towards children.24, 25 We must put a stop to this. Our children are our future, and if they are obese, cognitively impaired, and sick – how much of a future do they really have?

So why sugar is so detrimental? The biochemistry says it all.20 As sugar enters the bloodstream, insulin is secreted.26 The more sugar you eat, the more insulin you secrete. High sugar diets can lead to insulin resistance.27 This condition is one of the hallmarks of obesity and overweight humans everywhere.28 If you consume too much sugar, you’re bound to experience hypoglycemia, commonly referred to as your “sugar crash.”29 This leaves your body craving more sugar – and the addictive process perpetuates.30

Sugar is Killing Us | The Paleo Diet

Sagittal, Coronal and Axial Representations of Glucose-related Regional Grey (A) and White (B) Matter Volumes.

It’s a simple model, but one which we are all familiar with.36 Stress also leads us to overeat.31, 37 And we do not over-consume just any calories, but rather we eat neurologically-rewarding foods.38 This means foods that are either: high in sugar, or foods high in sugar and fat.39 In a study from 2010, researchers showed a disruption of sensitivity to brain-stimulation reward (BSR) from eating high fat and/or high carbohydrate food.40 So you become accustomed to the rewards of these foods, and crave them more.41

The rates of diabetes both nationally, and worldwide, have skyrocketed.42 This is not debatable. Guess what else has skyrocketed, in conjunction with diabetes rates? You guessed it: sugar consumption. There are now obese newborns.43, 44

All of these problems and conditions can be linked directly to sugar intake, and yet, you may be blindsided by how much sugar you’re consuming in the first place. A recent study showed food manufacturers not disclosing the actual values of fructose corn syrup on their product labels.45 Does this bother you? It should.

Sugar is Killing Us | The Paleo Diet

Besides the physiologic effects of too much sugar, there are vast and damning economic effects.32 Take, for example, that diabetes alone costs the United States $245 billion per year.46 This is a rise of 41% in a mere five years. That is an absolutely terrifying figure. Have I scared you yet?

How about the fact that higher glucose levels are associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure?47 Or, how about the study from the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that higher glucose levels may be a risk factor for dementia.48 What was interesting (and alarming) about this finding, was that this was the risk for those without diabetes. This means that you can be taking in “normal” amounts of sugar, not exhibit symptoms of diabetes, and still be risking dementia. Act and don’t turn a blind eye. Save your health.

Sugar is Killing Us | The Paleo Diet

N Engl J Med. Aug 8, 2013; 369(6): 540–548.

Other studies have shown, unsurprisingly, that sugar consumption promotes weight gain in children and adults.33 All behaviors have a biochemical basis. ADHD, ADD, et al, are all likely partially due to a poor diet.49, 50 A diet that, almost always, is high in sugar.51, 52 Since studies have shown that intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward, it is not surprising that many Americans cannot stop consuming sugar.53 But, in order to help stop alarmingly rising healthcare costs, they must stop their gluttonous consumption, and re-focus their diet on whole, real foods, all part of a Paleo Diet.

Other studies have shown that most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended,34 and that this overconsumption leads to increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.54 This is literally the smoking gun that shows that sugar is killing us. Other studies have shown that higher levels of sugar also lower fitness.55 And another interesting study showed that junk food alone made rats lazy.56 Does this give you food for thought? Perhaps you should prioritize a change to your diet?

Insulin, which is secreted in order to deal with sugar in the bloodstream, blocks leptin signaling.35 Leptin is the “satiety” hormone, which helps to tell our hypothalamus to stop eating.57 Since we are now secreting 2-3 times the amount of insulin than we used to, you can see, directly, how this has resulted in disastrous consequences for our world’s health.58 And why are we secreting more insulin? Quite simply, to deal with all the sugar we are over-consuming. It is not a complicated formula, but it is a formula that is bankrupting our nation, and making so many sick and overweight.

Prevention is paradigm. Avoid a high-sugar diet, become leaner, think faster, and feel better. There is not a single better thing you can do, diet-related, that will help you to improve your health. A Paleo Diet, which is intrinsically low in sugar, high in nutrient-dense foods, and filled with micronutrients, is the best path to wellness.



1. Lustig RH, Schmidt LA, Brindis CD. Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature. 2012;482(7383):27-9.

2. Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

3. Available at: //www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/9987825/Sweet-poison-why-sugar-is-ruining-our-health.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

4. Moreira PI. High-sugar diets, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013;16(4):440-5.

5. Ford ES, Giles WH, Mokdad AH. Increasing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among u.s. Adults. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(10):2444-9.

6. Seaquist ER. Addressing the burden of diabetes. JAMA. 2014;311(22):2267-8.

7. Available at: //www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db122.htm. Accessed September 13, 2014.

8. Available at: //wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2012/02/by-2606-us-diet-will-be-100-percent.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

9. Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120(11):1011-20.

10. Available at: //www.newsherald.com/opinions/letters-to-the-editor/too-many-americans-are-selfish-and-self-absorbed-1.195653. Accessed September 13, 2014.

11. Available at: //www.today.com/id/30312181/ns/today-today_books/t/me-me-me-americas-narcissism-epidemic/#.VBTMylbD_IU. Accessed September 13, 2014.

12. Available at: //well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/learning-to-cut-the-sugar/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

13. Available at: //blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2014/09/12/berkeley-is-talking-about-sugar-and-the-conversation-isnt-sweet/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

14. Available at: //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/10314705/Sugar-is-addictive-and-the-most-dangerous-drug-of-the-times.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

15. Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2010/07/03/nyregion/03sodatax.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

16. Available at: //www.publicintegrity.org/2009/11/04/2758/food-lobbys-war-soda-tax. Accessed September 13, 2014.

17. Available at: //www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/26/172969363/how-the-food-industry-manipulates-taste-buds-with-salt-sugar-fat. Accessed September 13, 2014.

18. Available at: //www.orangejuicefacts.com/nutrition.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

19. Ahmed SH, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013;16(4):434-9.

20. Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39.

21. Gearhardt A, Roberts M, Ashe M. If sugar is addictive…what does it mean for the law?. J Law Med Ethics. 2013;41 Suppl 1:46-9.

22. Available at: //www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jun00/sugar0600.htm. Accessed September 13, 2014.

23. Available at: //www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/sugar-shockers-foods-surprisingly-high-in-sugar. Accessed September 13, 2014.

24. Available at: //www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-kids-consume-too-much-sugar-mostly-from-processed-foods/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

25. Lythgoe A, Roberts C, Madden AM, Rennie KL. Marketing foods to children: a comparison of nutrient content between children’s and non-children’s products. Public Health Nutr. 2013;16(12):2221-30.

26. Daly M. Sugars, insulin sensitivity, and the postprandial state. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(4):865S-872S.

27. Musselman LP, Fink JL, Narzinski K, et al. A high-sugar diet produces obesity and insulin resistance in wild-type Drosophila. Dis Model Mech. 2011;4(6):842-9.

28. Gallagher EJ, Leroith D, Karnieli E. Insulin resistance in obesity as the underlying cause for the metabolic syndrome. Mt Sinai J Med. 2010;77(5):511-23.

29. Hofeldt FD. Reactive hypoglycemia. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1989;18(1):185-201.

30. Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8.

31. Oliver KG, Huon GF, Zadro L, Williams KD. The role of interpersonal stress in overeating among high and low disinhibitors. Eat Behav. 2001;2(1):19-26.

32. Available at: //www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/04/23/trustees-medicare-will-go-broke-in-2016-if-you-exclude-obamacares-double-counting/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

33. Malik, Vasanti S., Matthias B. Schulze, and Frank B. Hu. “Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 84.2 (2006): 274-288.

34. Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014.

35. Kellerer M, Lammers R, Fritsche A, et al. Insulin inhibits leptin receptor signalling in HEK293 cells at the level of janus kinase-2: a potential mechanism for hyperinsulinaemia-associated leptin resistance. Diabetologia. 2001;44(9):1125-32.

36. Available at: //www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/26/why-is-sugar-so-addictive_n_3643965.html. Accessed October 2, 2014.

37. Greeno CG, Wing RR. Stress-induced eating. Psychol Bull. 1994;115(3):444-64.

38. Available at: //www.cnn.com/2012/02/08/health/healthy-eating-tips-stress/. Accessed October 2, 2014.

39. Torres SJ, Nowson CA. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition. 2007;23(11-12):887-94.

40. Epstein DH, Shaham Y. Cheesecake-eating rats and the question of food addiction. Nat Neurosci. 2010;13(5):529-31.

41. Johnson PM, Kenny PJ. Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats. Nat Neurosci. 2010;13(5):635-41.

42. Weeratunga P, Jayasinghe S, Perera Y, Jayasena G, Jayasinghe S. Per capita sugar consumption and prevalence of diabetes mellitus–global and regional associations. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:186.

43. Soubry A, Murphy SK, Wang F, et al. Newborns of obese parents have altered DNA methylation patterns at imprinted genes. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013.

44. Available at: //healthland.time.com/2012/11/29/predicting-obesity-at-birth/. Accessed October 2, 2014.

45. Walker RW, Dumke KA, Goran MI. Fructose content in popular beverages made with and without high-fructose corn syrup. Nutrition. 2014;30(7-8):928-35.

46. Available at: //www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html. Accessed September 29, 2014.

47. Kerti L, Witte AV, Winkler A, Grittner U, Rujescu D, Flöel A. Higher glucose levels associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure. Neurology. 2013;81(20):1746-52.

48. Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, et al. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(6):540-8.

49. Millichap JG, Yee MM. The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2012;129(2):330-7.

50. Johnson RJ, Gold MS, Johnson DR, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: is it time to reappraise the role of sugar consumption?. Postgrad Med. 2011;123(5):39-49.

51. Kanoski SE, Davidson TL. Western diet consumption and cognitive impairment: links to hippocampal dysfunction and obesity. Physiol Behav. 2011;103(1):59-68.

52. Crescenzo R, Bianco F, Coppola P, et al. Fructose supplementation worsens the deleterious effects of short-term high-fat feeding on hepatic steatosis and lipid metabolism in adult rats. Exp Physiol. 2014;99(9):1203-13.

53. Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH. Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward. PLoS ONE. 2007;2(8):e698.

54. Schmidt LA. New unsweetened truths about sugar. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):525-6.

55. Ruff JS, Suchy AK, Hugentobler SA, et al. Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2245.

56. Blaisdell AP, Lau YL, Telminova E, et al. Food quality and motivation: a refined low-fat diet induces obesity and impairs performance on a progressive ratio schedule of instrumental lever pressing in rats. Physiol Behav. 2014;128:220-5.

57. Myers MG, Cowley MA, Münzberg H. Mechanisms of leptin action and leptin resistance. Annu Rev Physiol. 2008;70:537-56.

58. Larsson H, Ahrén B. Glucose intolerance is predicted by low insulin secretion and high glucagon secretion: outcome of a prospective study in postmenopausal Caucasian women. Diabetologia. 2000;43(2):194-202.

Sleep Loss: Why It's Making You Fat

As children, we never think about something as simple as sleep. We wake up in the morning, full of energy, and fall asleep soundly at night, with no problems to waver us from our slumber. However, as we age, many problems get in the way of a good night’s rest. Besides the startling fact that sleep loss is cumulative,1 chronic sleep debt results in vast changes of neurobehavior.2 Furthermore, individuals that believe they ‘adapt’ to sleep loss are only fooling themselves.3 Deficits in daytime performance due to sleep loss are experienced universally and associated with a significant social, financial, and human cost.4 If you sleep 6 hours or less per night, chronically, it is the same as staying awake for 2 days, neurologically.5 And on top of all that, sleep loss helps makes you fat.6

So what is going on in your body, when you are sleep deprived? And how does this stream of biochemical changes help to make you fat? To start with, research shows sleep deprivation has profound metabolic and cardiovascular implications.7 Hormonally and biochemically, we point the finger of blame at two suspects: leptin and ghrelin. These two hormones have a profound effect on appetite control.8 And these two hormones are both greatly affected by sleep loss.9,10

In a single night of sleep loss, men experience an increase in levels of ghrelin, which is usually referred to as your ‘hunger’ hormone.11 Your ‘satiety’ hormone, leptin, by contrast, is decreased after sleep loss.12 So you will be hungrier, and less satisfied when you eat. Not only that, but your nucleus accumbens, which is your brain’s pleasure center, and a whole host of other brain areas, such as the putamen, thalamus, insula, and prefrontal cortex, are more susceptible to food reward, when sleep deprived.13

Neurons that release serotonin, are modified via carbohydrate ingestion.14 Since 5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), or serotonin, is a vital neurotransmitter, which helps to regulate sleep,15 the biochemical parallels between diet, specifically carbohydrate intake, and sleep, can be further filled in. The neurological differences between a meal filled with protein, and a meal filled with carbohydrate, are vast and surprising. Your brain actually utilizes the food-induced changes in brain serotonin in order to make choices about what to eat.16 You can begin to see how this would also cause you to crave carbohydrates, especially when sleep deprived.17 Your brain is receiving less of a satiety signal, more of a hunger signal, is fatigued, and carbohydrates provide a quick boost of energy.18 This then disrupts your next meal, and possibly your sleep.19

Furthermore, studies have shown that glucagon-like peptide 1, which is a hormone that promotes satiety, is delayed in doing its job, when sleep deprived.20 This is yet another biochemical mechanism by which you can overeat, when you’re not well rested. Add to that list, neuropeptide Y. Neuropeptide Y normally expresses itself in order to increase food intake.21 When sleep deprived, this neuropeptide expression rapidly increases,22 effectively telling your brain to eat more.

More and more studies are showing the link between sleep deprivation and obesity.23 There are even interesting studies relating nighttime eating and weight gain.24 A simple search for the terms ‘sleep and obesity’ yields over 6000 results in one scientific database alone.5 The link is very clear, and many of the biochemical mechanisms are outlined above.

A real food based approach, like The Paleo Diet, not only provides a plethora of nutrients, minerals and vitamins, but helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, and regulate hormones.26 This not only means that you’ll sleep better, but, as a result, it will be much easier to stay lean, fit and healthy.

Sleep | The Paleo DietSleep Loss: The Universal Problem We Face



1. Cohen DA, Wang W, Wyatt JK, et al. Uncovering residual effects of chronic sleep loss on human performance. Sci Transl Med. 2010;2(14):14ra3.

2. Dinges DF, Pack F, Williams K, et al. Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance, and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during a week of sleep restricted to 4-5 hours per night. Sleep. 1997;20(4):267-77.

3. Cohen DA, Wang W, Wyatt JK, et al. Uncovering residual effects of chronic sleep loss on human performance. Sci Transl Med. 2010;2(14):14ra3.

4. Durmer JS, Dinges DF. Neurocognitive consequences of sleep deprivation. Semin Neurol. 2005;25(1):117-29.

5. Van dongen HP, Maislin G, Mullington JM, Dinges DF. The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness: dose-response effects on neurobehavioral functions and sleep physiology from chronic sleep restriction and total sleep deprivation. Sleep. 2003;26(2):117-26.

6. Jean-louis G, Williams NJ, Sarpong D, et al. Associations between inadequate sleep and obesity in the US adult population: analysis of the national health interview survey (1977-2009). BMC Public Health. 2014;14:290.

7. Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and metabolism: an overview. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010

8. Klok MD, Jakobsdottir S, Drent ML. The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review. Obes Rev. 2007;8(1):21-34.

9. Knutson KL. Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation. Sleep Med Clin. 2007;2(2):187-197.

10. Motivala SJ, Tomiyama AJ, Ziegler M, Khandrika S, Irwin MR. Nocturnal levels of ghrelin and leptin and sleep in chronic insomnia. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009;34(4):540-5.

11. Schmid SM, Hallschmid M, Jauch-chara K, Born J, Schultes B. A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men. J Sleep Res. 2008;17(3):331-4.

12. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004;1(3):e62.

13. St-onge MP, Mcreynolds A, Trivedi ZB, Roberts AL, Sy M, Hirsch J. Sleep restriction leads to increased activation of brain regions sensitive to food stimuli. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(4):818-24.

14. Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity and depression. Obes Res. 1995;3 Suppl 4:477S-480S.

15. Jing F, Zhang J. Metabolic Kinetics of 5-Hydroxytryptamine and the Research Targets of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Dig Dis Sci. 2014;

16. Wurtman RJ, Wurtman JJ. Carbohydrate craving, obesity and brain serotonin. Appetite. 1986;7 Suppl:99-103.

17. Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Kasza K, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(1):126-33.

18. Weiss A, Xu F, Storfer-isser A, Thomas A, Ievers-landis CE, Redline S. The association of sleep duration with adolescents’ fat and carbohydrate consumption. Sleep. 2010;33(9):1201-9.

19. Ip M, Mokhlesi B. Sleep and Glucose Intolerance/Diabetes Mellitus. Sleep Med Clin. 2007;2(1):19-29.

20. Benedict C, Barclay JL, Ott V, Oster H, Hallschmid M. Acute sleep deprivation delays the glucagon-like peptide 1 peak response to breakfast in healthy men. Nutr Diabetes. 2013;3:e78.

21. Ramos EJ, Meguid MM, Campos AC, Coelho JC. Neuropeptide Y, alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, and monoamines in food intake regulation. Nutrition. 2005;21(2):269-79.

22. Koban M, Le WW, Hoffman GE. Changes in hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone, neuropeptide Y, and proopiomelanocortin gene expression during chronic rapid eye movement sleep deprivation of rats. Endocrinology. 2006;147(1):421-31.

23. Spivey A. Lose sleep, gain weight: another piece of the obesity puzzle. Environ Health Perspect. 2010;118(1):A28-33.

24. Gluck ME, Venti CA, Salbe AD, Krakoff J. Nighttime eating: commonly observed and related to weight gain in an inpatient food intake study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(4):900-5.

25. sleep and obesity – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=sleep+and+obesity

26. Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-synder M, Morris RC, Sebastian A. Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009;63(8):947-55.

Modern Paleo | The Paleo Diet

Dear Dr. Cordain and Dr. Fontes Villalba,

I read with great interest your paper entitled: “Carrera-Bastos, P., Fontes-Villalba, M., O’Keefe, J. H., Lindeberg, S. and Cordain, L. (2011). The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization. Research Reports in Clinical Cardiology 2011: 15-35.

The demonstration is quite logical, but I would like to get your opinion on the following issue:

*If the paleolithic diet suits well human genetics and does not lead to chronic diseases – which is true -, and if grain products are not so good for human health, the world has changed with at least 1 billion people living in huge towns worldwide: they cannot realistically have a paleolithic diet going outside to hunt and collect berries! There is a compromise to find between the best and reality of our modern world. In that way, grain cereals and legumes appear as promising foods being cheap, easy to store, with a huge health potential, satiating, etc. Maybe humans before 10,000 years consume grains, but to a lesser extent?*

So, what do you think is the best diet today, in a world with more than 7 billions people and huge cities?

I will be very happy to have your opinion about this issue,

Yours sincerely,

Available I remain,

Anthony FARDET, Ph.D.
Chargé de Recherches (Research scientist)
Human Nutrition Research Center, Auvergne
Clermont-Ferrand/Theix Research Center

Maelán Fontes Villalba’s Response:

Hello Dr. FARDET,

Today almost all health authorities and nutritionists believe that cereal grains are healthy for so-called diseases of civilization. This information is derived from epidemiological studies that can not establish cause-effect. Consistently, epidemiological studies show an inverse association between the consumption of cereal grains and western disease, which is not demonstrated by randomized controlled trials. In the women’s health initiative (+48,000 postmenopausal women) those women allocated to the intervention group (eat more than 6 servings/day of wholegrain cereals, 5 servings of fruit/vegetable and <20%en from fat) of whom had a CV event at baseline significantly increased their risk of CV event by 26%. In the DART trial, those men allocated to increase the intake of fiber from wholegrain cereals, increased the risk of death compared to the group who wasn’t advised to increase the intake of fiber.

Some systematic reviews make it clear that we don’t have enough evidence to recommend the intake of cereal grains for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (Kelly, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2007), obesity, (FESNAD-SEEDO, Revista Española De Obesidad, 2011) or diabetes (Priebe, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2008). Therefore, I don’t agree with you in that “they have a huge health potential.”

The short-term clinical trials published by my group (Lindeberg, Diabtologia, 2007; Jönsson, Cardiovascular Diabetology, 2009) have shown that a Paleolithic Diet is superior to the Mediterranean and American Diabetes Association diets, respectively.

From an evolutionary standpoint it is very unlikely that we have completed adapted to cereal grains in just 10,000 years (even knowing that human evolution has accelerated since the adoption of agriculture and living in huge cities, probably by pathogens rather than foods). So, there is no body of evidence that demonstrates we have adapted. This information is necessary before performing human experiments showing we are feeding individuals with a food meant for granivorous animals (birds, rodents, etc). And, while “everybody” may think we are adapted, it is very unlikely. The proof simply isn’t there. If we eat the kind of foods we ate during human evolution (>99.9% of our evolution), is there any obvious risk? Not that we are aware of. Are there potential health risk of consuming cereal grains? Yes there are. So, I would stay in the safe side.

Regarding you question about sustainability, I think you can adapt the Standard American Diet to one more suitable for our genetic legacy and improve health. Furthermore, if the world population would eat a diet in accordance with our physiology then the expense in health would be dramatically cut. I am not an expert in this field but I think that famine in the third world is more so a political problem than a problem with food choice itself.

You are right, however, regarding the DART study, the increased risk (18%) was non-significant, but in a Eur J Clin Nutr 2002 Ness, and after statistical adjustment, there was a significant increase of mortality in the first two years, but not the following years.


Many studies are conducted in ill people with high risk of CVD. If an intervention reduces the risk to that of “normal” westerners, then we could say there was a positive effect, but who wants to be normal? Not me! (see European Heart Journal 2005 Lindeberg). I prefer to have a low risk of western disease.

I agree that the Mediterranean Diet (for example) is better than the Standard American Diet, but is there a better diet? What if we reduce cereal grains in a Mediterranean Diet and increase fruits, tubers and vegetables? Do you improve a diet based on vegetables, fruits, tubers, lean meat, fish, eggs and nut if you include grains?

Dr. Cordain has explained in many lectures that cereals grains are not edible unless you process them. But there are many other reasons (bioactive compounds like exorphins, lectins, saponins, binding to endocrine receptors; antinutrients; protease and amylase inhibitors, etc), why cereal grains can be a problem for most people, besides non-celiac gluten sensitivity (and potential same effect of thousands of proteins in grains).

I am unfamiliar with any study where it has been shown that cereal grains, per se, are protective. As I previously mentioned, there are some studies (with numerous limitations like the PREDIMED study where the control group received much less support and followed a diet similar to that in WHI, where the risk of CVD was reduced, but you cannot say it was because of the intake of cereal grains. On the other hand, the studies comparing healthy diets with and without cereal grains have shown very interesting results. Should we look to the other side, or focus on those interesting data? Well, many people just turn their head to the other way, while we are interested in exploring what happened in those studies (Lindeberg, 2007; Jönsson, 20009; Mellberg, 2014).

The statement that our ancestor lived only until the age of 30 is false. See Kaplan, 2007–>modal age at death is >70 years old in hunter-gatherers. Of course, they are not people from the Paleolithic era but there is no reason to think that it was different then. See also Eaton, 2002 where Dr. Cordain is a co-author (Evolutionary Health Promotion: A Consideration of Common Counterarguments: Preventive Medicine 2002 Eaton).

Regarding meat, it is not true that Paleolithic Diets must necessarily be high in meat. Some hunter-gatherers consume high amounts plants, with carbohydrate being almost 70%en (see the Kitava study).

Best wishes,

Maelán Fontes Villalba, M.S.

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Dear Dr. FARDET,

Many thanks for your inquiry. Maelán Fontes has done a good job of summarizing potential health issues with cereal grains in his reply to you. In my paper, “Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double Edged Sword,” I delve into greater detail on the topic with 55 pages of dialogue and 342 references.

Further, in our paper, “Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century,” we show how humans have no nutritional requirement for whole grain cereals. In fact, when whole grains are added to the diet they significantly reduce the 13 nutrients most lacking in the US diet.

Further, in our paper “The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based upon Paleolithic Food Groups,” you can see how a modern Paleo diet based upon lean meats, fish, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts (and devoid of whole grain cereals, dairy products and processed foods) are much more nutrient dense than either the current USDA recommended My Plate diet, or the Mediterrean Diet. The reason for this phenomenon is that the aforementioned foods are more trace nutrient dense than whole grains, dairy products or processed foods for the 13 nutrients most lacking in western diets.

Cheers, I hope these papers provide new learning to further educating yourself on the topic.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Sleep Apnea | The Paleo Diet

Will adopting The Paleo Diet lifestyle reduce or altogether eliminate snoring?

Approximately 12 million Americans currently suffer from sleep apnea. The sleep disorder is characterized by short pauses while breathing during sleep, and the condition can often result in loud, obnoxious snoring and depleted blood oxygen levels in the body.

Sleep apnea and snoring are not always directly correlated with each other, but the relationship is often taken into consideration. Historically, factors that have predisposed an individual to sleep apnea include being male, overweight or obese, having a heart condition or high blood pressure, and/or having a history of smoking.

The Paleo Diet focuses on reducing inflammation in the body by cutting out all processed foods, grains, dairy, and sugar and implementing grass produced or free ranging meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and a moderate amount of nuts. Following a Paleo Diet rich in nutrient-dense, naturally occurring foods may help to prevent sleep apnea and the two most common conditions associated with the disorder: Obesity and high blood pressure. Eating a Paleo Diet may not necessarily cure your sleeping issues, but it certainly has potential in reducing your symptoms and improving your overall health.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Affiliates and Credentials