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The Paleo Diet Monthly Digest - October 2016: Taking on Nutrient Density

By The Paleo Diet Team
November 8, 2016

What a month it’s been! Likely few of us escaped the controversies and daily scandals of this unique election season. Sure, we’re a nutrition website, but after watching a few of those debates and news feeds, it was hard not to reach for the box of cookies hidden at the back of the cabinet.

This month at, we had our own share of debates and October surprises. We debated critics in the nutrition community over nutrient density. We shared with you shocking new research on the sugar industry and how it paid to shape the direction of our nutrition guidelines – research that included, you guessed it, insider emails. And Dr Cordain explained why he still won’t “vote” for quinoa.

And that certainly wasn’t all. Here’s a look back on October that starts with what proved to be a reader favorite. If you’ve been looking for a quick and easy graphic to share with friends and family explaining what to eat and not eat on the Paleo, then look no further:

The Paleo Diet Monthly Digest - October 2016: Taking on Nutrient Density image

What to Eat on the Paleo Diet

By Paul Vandyken

You’ve heard of the benefits of the Paleo Diet but still don’t fully understand what it is? Or you’re looking for a simple guide to share with your family and friends who keep asking about it? guest writer Paul Vandyken has created a visual, clear and very simple guide to what you should eat and not eat on a Paleo diet.

October’s Theme: Debating Nutrient Density

October was the month of debates and while you were watching the big ones on TV, here at, we were engaged in our own debate. One that we seem to have been arguing for years. So for our series this month we thought we’d make our case once and for all for why the Paleo diet doesn’t cause a dangerous loss of nutrients by eliminating foods like grains and dairy. In fact, as we’ll demonstrate, eliminating these foods can actually improve nutrient density.

Part One: Dr Cordain Responds to Critics of a Recent Paleo Diet Study

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

In April, news of a recent two-year study exploring the effects of a Paleo diet on postmenopausal women was presented at the 2016 Endocrine Society Annual Meeting. Soon afterwards, an article hit the web detailing the positive results, but quickly shifted its focus to interviews with members of the nutrition community who focused more on their issues with the diet. In part one, Dr Cordain addresses these critiques and shows that when you just delve a little deeper into the science, the claim that the Paleo diet leads to nutrient deficiencies doesn’t hold scientific water…

Part Two: A Critic Shares Her Perspective on Nutrient Density and Other Concerns with the Paleo Diet

By the Paleo Diet Team and Guest Caroline Apovian, Ph.D.

Caroline Apovian, Ph.D., Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center answers our questions about the article, her reservations about the Paleo diet and where she sees benefits from the Paleo diet.

Part Three: Eliminating Non-Paleo Foods Improves Nutrient Density

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and Trevor Connor, M.S.

That’s right, while critics like to claim that eliminating food groups – grains and dairy in particular – will prevent followers of the Paleo diet from getting the nutrients they need, the truth is that by eliminating these food groups, you will actually improve your nutrient density. Even over well-regarded diets like the Mediterranean diet. And all it takes is a nutrition app and a little time to prove this fact yourself.

The Paleo Diet Monthly Digest - October 2016: Taking on Nutrient Density image

Part Four: A Few Paleo Recipes to Maximize Your Nutrient Density

By Lorrie Cordain

The Paleo diet is naturally a nutrient-packed diet. But if you were on the road for a bit and eating foods that don’t give you what you need, or are just looking to periodically eat something with a little more “nutrient-punch” here are a few recipes for you to try.

Articles for October

Nutrient Density wasn’t our only debate and we even had our own “October surprise” in a revealing study about the sugar industry that included an analysis of industry memorandums and emails. Read on to learn about how the sugar industry paid to influence nutrition research, why one study on quinoa doesn’t make us believe it’s a super-food, and how to eat Paleo on your next backpacking trip. Those and many more:

New Study: Sugar Industry Downplayed the Impact of Sugar on Heart Disease for Decades

By Casey Thaler

How often have you heard friends and family complain that dietary recommendations are constantly changing? First fat was bad for us, now it’s carbohydrates. It’s no wonder people don’t know who to trust. It turns out they may be justified. A recent systematic review of sugar-industry documents shows a decades-long concerted effort to mislead the public about the health impact of sugar and portray dietary fat as the bad-guy. An effort that included the soon-to-be head nutritionist for the USDA. Really makes you wonder who to trust? Our suggestion. Listen to our ancient ancestors who picked their foods long before there were industries to mislead them.

Quinoa and Saponins: Dr Cordain Responds to a Reader’s Question

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

Do quinoa and saponins deserve the title of “super-food”? Dr Cordain answers a reader’s question about why the high saponin content of quinoa can cause digestive issues and why we should be careful about reading too much into any single study.

Keeping Your Next Backpacking Trip Paleo

By Kyle Cordain

Maintaining a Paleo lifestyle can be made more difficult for those that like to their adventures outdoors for extending periods of time. If you are planning a backpacking trip that will keep you out there for several days, here are some tips and ideas for staying Paleo while out backpacking on your next adventure.

Reflecting on Kona

By Nell Stephenson

Congratulations to Paleoista Nell Stephenson for her amazing 7th place age-group finish at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on October 8th! Her countless hours of hard work paid off with a total overall time of 10 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds! We’ve enjoyed her posts on our Facebook wall as she’s prepared for the race. Read her final thoughts on the race and see some of her more popular posts during her final two month lead up to the race!

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Your Top Eight Comments

By the Paleo Diet Team

A big part of what drives this website is the great reader feedback, questions, and comments you give us. We want you to know we’re listening and even use your feedback to drive our future topics. Please enjoy a few recent comments that really grabbed our attention and our responses.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., discusses Paleo on "That Paleo Diet Show"

By the Paleo Diet Team

Loren Cordain, Ph.D. joins Brett on That Paleo Show to discuss the latest developments in Paleo and to clarify some common misconceptions. Check back soon for Mark Smith's That Paleo Show podcast soon!

Coming Up Next Month at The Paleo Diet

Hopefully we can put the debates behind us in November. But that doesn’t mean we won’t have a lot of exciting Paleo information for you. Dr Cordain will share with us information on a true super-food: pomegranate. We’ll cover new research on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, vitamin D and how to get enough folate in your diet. Those and our usual recipes, personal stories and reader feedback.

November’s Theme: Ketogenic Diets

If you’ve been on the Paleo diet for a while, you’ve likely heard people talk about ketogenic diets with a wide range of opinions – both strongly in favor and against the dietary approach. Surprisingly, many people do not understand the difference between the Paleo diet and a ketogenic diet. We’ll address the differences, talk about the pros and cons of a Paleo-style ketogenic diet and touch on some exciting research showing the potential benefits of a ketogenic diet on cancer and longevity. This is not one to miss!

Thanks as always for reading!
The Paleo Diet Team

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