Does The Paleo Diet Produce Same Results Across… | The Paleo Diet®
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.

Try The Paleo Diet®!

Learn more. Get recipes & meal plans. See the science.

Does The Paleo Diet Produce Same Results Across Race and Populations?

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Founder of The Paleo Diet
August 12, 2013
Does The Paleo Diet Produce Same Results Across Race and Populations? image

Dear Dr. Cordain,

Should The Paleo Diet produce the same results across different races and populations?

I am curious as to how different groups of people react and are expected to react to The Paleo Diet®. For instance, since Central Asian people followed a nomadic lifestyle for centuries past. Over time, their diets changed to include milk and meat, but few vegetables and fruit. Consequently, these peoples' digestive systems adapted in such a way to better digest these foods and extract the nutrients from them. While these people could more efficiently digest milk, other people, like those in East Asia, are often lactose intolerant since their diets were not heavily dairy-based.

The logic behind The Paleo Diet is very convincing. Yet, I am always wary when I hear there's a diet that is universally beneficial-that is, all groups of people will benefit. Perhaps, there need to be variations within The Paleo Diet to target specific populations by taking into account the nutritional history of each populations' ancestors. Could you comment on this thought and does any existing literature address this question?

Thanks,

Wil

Dr. Cordain's Response:

Wil,

Good question. Unfortunately, there is currently no hard data (randomized controlled trials) or even epidemiological data to support or deny these conjectures. However, there is some theoretical evidence to suggest that various HLA (human leukocyte antigen) sub-populations across the planet possess immune system characteristics that may interact with diet. Moreover, some worldwide populations maintain gut enzymes like lactase and sucrose, which seem to have evolved specific to diet, primarily post-agriculture. I have written extensively on this concept in the scientific paper "Malaria and Rickets Represent Selective Forces for the Convergent Evolution of Adult Lactase Persistence."

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Even More Articles For You

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
This Paleo recipe fills tender acorn squash with autumn flavors like sweet apple, savory sausage, and fresh sage for an easy, but impressive Thanksgiving side.
By Jess Case
Is Bacon Paleo?
Over the past few years, craze over bacon has surged in the Paleo community, but is it Paleo or isn’t it?
By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
The Importance of Sleep for Your Immune System
We often focus on diet and exercise to improve our health and immune system, but the importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated.
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Paleo Leadership
 
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark J. Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.