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The Paleo Diet September Digest - Calcium: Why It Takes a Team of Players

By The Paleo Diet Team
October 7, 2016

Why is bone health about a lot more than the amount of calcium you eat? Are artificial sweeteners promoting autism? Is your sleeping surface the best one for you? And why do people quit a healthy Paleo lifestyle? These are just a few of the questions we addressed in September at If you want to know the answers, then read on as we revisit these issues and several more in our monthly digest.

September’s Theme: Calcium

Our theme for September was calcium. Several of our top writers took on the question of calcium balance and bone health which is more complex than many of us know. People at risk for osteoporosis have been supplementing with calcium for decades now and research is showing little to no improvement in their outcomes. Worse that supplementation may be causing an increase in heart disease among women.

In September’s series on calcium, we explain why calcium supplementation alone isn’t enough and then show how to promote both proper calcium balance and bone health on a Paleo diet. The answer doesn’t lie in dairy products, but unfortunately, it doesn’t lie in dairy substitutes like coconut milk either. Finally, if you want to really dig into the science, check out Dr Cordain’s most recent peer-reviewed paper on bone health.

Looking Back on All Our Posts in September

The dubious link between vaccinations and autism has received more than its fair share of press. But what about the demonstrated link to aspartame and methanol? Dr Woodrow Monte shares his 25 years of research on the topic.

In September we have continued to track writer and triathlon star Nell Stephenson as she prepared for the Ironman World Championships in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. Go to our Facebook page to catch up on her progress.

And that wasn’t all for September. We explored six reasons why people may quit the Paleo lifestyle. We raised the question of whether being Paleo also applies to your bed and sleep. Finally, we reviewed a recent study showing that blood remaining on stone age tools of our hominin ancestors indicates that they were meat eaters at least 250,000 years ago.

Thanks for reading!
The Paleo Diet Editorial Board

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September Series: All About Calcium

By the Paleo Diet Editorial Board

Osteoporosis is quickly becoming another prominent condition of the western world. Could following a Paleo diet put you at risk for this disease of civilization or could it protect you? Well, it’s not just a matter of calcium. Here’s what you need to know.

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Calcium: A Team Sports View of Nutrition

By Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

Chris explains why it’s important to stop viewing calcium as a super-star individual nutrient and instead see it as part of a team of nutrients that includes vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and protein. It’s the balance of these nutrients and not necessarily the quantity of calcium that promotes bone and heart health!

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Promoting a Healthy Calcium Balance on a Paleo Diet (Easier Than You Think)

By Marc Bubbs, ND, CISSN, CSCS

Marc follows up on Chris’ article by explaining how to get the right balance of all the various nutrients involved in bone and heart health on a Paleo diet. As he points out in his title, a Paleo diet makes it easier than you’d think.

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Coconut Milk – Is it the Paleo Milk Substitute?

By Nell Stephenson

Coconut has certainly become known as a healthy Paleo food with many benefits including raising blood HDL cholesterol (the good kind.) So it only makes sense that adding coconut milk to your morning coffee is a good Paleo alternative to traditional creams. Well, not so fast. Nell Stephenson explains why you need to look a little more closely at what’s in that “natural coconut milk” at the local barista.]

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Nutritional Strategies for Skeletal and Cardiovascular health: Hard Bones, Soft Arteries, Rather Than Vice Versa

By O'Keefe JH, Bergman N, Carrera-Bastos P, Fontes-Villalba M, DiNicolantonio JJ, Cordain L.

What better a way to complete our series on calcium than a peer reviewed scientific paper on how to optimize bone health written by a team of researchers led by James O’Keefe, M.D. While we touch on these concepts in our other articles, if you want to dig deeper into the science, check out this review!

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Autism, Aspartame, and the Paleo Diet

By Woodrow C. Monte, Ph.D.

Dr. Monte has dedicated his academic career to the composition and safety of foods. For more than 25 years he has raised concerns about the consequences of Aspartame/methanol consumption, including its strong ties to the rise in autism. was fortunate to have Dr Monte share some of his discoveries and an entire chapter of his book with us.

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Six Reasons Why People Quit Paleo

By Jane Dizon

People adopt the Paleo Diet for a variety of reasons including weight loss, significant health effects on blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, or simply overall lifestyle improvements. But, an equal number of explanations exist for why folks jump off the Paleo wagon. Jane Dizon describes six common reasons why people quit the Paleo Diet.

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ZZZZZ… Paleo Sleeping Surfaces

By Kyle Cordain

Most Paleo Diet enthusiasts seek to improve health and well-being through dietary measures. However, many people have started looking beyond diet and are using our evolutionary past for clues to optimal exercise patterns, psychological health, and almost all ancient environmental selective pressure that shaped our current genome. One factor that has been rarely examined from an evolutionary perspective is sleep. Kyle Cordain discusses how contemporary beds and sleeping habits may influence a good night’s sleep.

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Archaeological Breakthrough Indicates Hominin Predecessors Were Sophisticated Hunters

By Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

It has been proposed that our ancestors were primarily vegetarians up until very recently (from an evolutionary scale.) However, a recent study of ancient (250,000 years ago) stone tools from Africa shows that these tools had remnants of blood residues on them from animals butchered and hunted by our pre-human ancestors. The animals included rhinoceros, horse, camel, bovine and duck. This evidence supports the notion that hunting and meat eating were well established by at least 250,000 years ago. [clear]

The Paleo Diet: Follow Nell Stephenson as She Prepares for IRONMAN World Champ...

Follow Nell Stephenson as she prepares for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua Kona, HI. With race day on the horizon, Nell’s daily training regime is longer and harder than ever, but her enthusiasm never wavers! Staying focused on her goals and nutrition plan—and on how becoming a successful Paleoista and #triathlete has changed her life for the better—keeps her on track through even the toughest workouts. We hope Nell’s enthusiasm will inspire you to discover your passion and pursue your dreams! Want to catch up on Nell’s progress and learn how the race goes for her. Check out her reports on our Facebook page:

The Next Month at

Our writers have been working hard to bring you more great content this month including a colorful infographic to show your friends, in the simplest terms possible, what the Paleo diet is and is not, a review of recent exciting research conducted on the Paleo diet, and an update on the sugar industry that they don’t want you to know about.

We’ll also get a final update from Nell on the Ironman world championships and a live feed of the race on our Facebook page.

October Theme: Nutrient Density

One the biggest criticisms of the Paleo diet is that by eliminating four food groups (dairy, grains, legumes and processed food) it’s impossible to get the nutrients we need in our diet. We’ve asked one critic to chime in on this criticism and other concerns. Then we’ll address why this criticism is one of the biggest myths about the Paleo diet. The fact is, reduction or elimination of processed foods (sugar laden, refined carbohydrates and refined fats) is not controversial even among traditionally trained nutritionists. What few of these experts realize is that elimination or reduction of staple foods such as dairy, grains and legumes actually improves the nutrient density of our diets.

Check back frequently for these and many other posts from our team of Paleo writers!

Even More Articles For You

Paleo Kosher, Paleo Halal, and Other Religious Dietary Restrictions
Religion came along well after the Paleolithic era ended. Can we follow The Paleo Diet and still adhere to kosher and other religioius dietary restrictions?
By Christopher Clark
Did a Low-Starch Diet Help Drive Human Evolution?
Did humans evolve to eat lower carbohydrate diets, and do those diets provide us with a better chance of survival and health?
By Casey Thaler
The Paleo Diet Monthly Digest - April 2017: Spring Bring Positive Changes!
The Paleo Diet® monthly digest takes on springtime and answers questions about eggs in April 2017
By The Paleo Diet® Team
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.