Defending Paleo


Hi Nell, I've been a big Paleo supporter for quite some time and I've shared my success with lots of friends who have joined the ranks. But this morning, someone dropped this article on me… I'd love your thoughts on how to best defend this… Dan

Hi, Dan,

I contacted the author and she referred me to another article on the US News website, so I could see the methodology and find out more about why Paleo was ranked as it was.

Not surprisingly, it was the same old (outdated) info from which conclusions were drawn.

Here are just a few of the statements from the article (with my comments in red), followed by a link to the full piece.  Once you read it, you'll see nothing new to add to the arguments like "whole grains are a great way to help lower cholesterol and fight heart disease", which, for me, significantly made the entire piece less credible:


  • Are there health risks?  Possibly. By shunning dairy and grains, you’re at risk of missing out on a lot of nutrients. Actually, there is nothing in grains or dairy that you cannot get in superior form and abundance in Paleo foods, without the negative consequences of grains and dairy! Also, if you’re not careful about making lean meat choices, you’ll quickly ratchet up your risk for heart problems.  It's been shown that GRAINS are the problem NOT meats- read The Paleo Diet for a scientific review. 
  • Calcium. It’s essential not only to build and maintain bones but to make blood vessels and muscles function properly. Many Americans don’t get enough. Women and anyone older than 50 should try especially hard to meet the government’s recommendation of 1,000 to 1,300 mg. Because you’re not allowed dairy or fortified cereals, you’ll likely only get about 700 mg. from a Paleo menu.  True, HOWEVER the important issue is Calcium balance NOT Calcium intake.  There is no mention of the amount of Calcium that the body leaches from the bones in an attempt to buffer the highly acidic dairy products to bring the body's pH back to basic.
  • How easy is it to follow? Can you get used to the idea of breadless sandwiches? Or having your milk and cookies without either milk or cookies? Diets that restrict entire food groups are difficult to follow.Who ever decided that grains or legumes or dairy needed to be their own food groups?  In my opinion, there are two food groups- food and NOT food.  Food IS vegetables, fruits, meats and naturally occurring fats.  Food is NOT junk in a box, can or something that's been processed beyond recognition. On the flip side, you can determine how primal you want to be, working in some cheat meals if you want.I don't agree with the cheat approach.  Grains and dairy and legumes are  bad for humans ALL the time, not just 85% of the time.
  • Does it have cardiovascular benefits?   Unknown. While some studies have linked Paleo diets with reducing blood pressure, bad “LDL” cholesterol, and triglycerides (a fatty substance that can raise heart disease risk), they have been few, small, and short. And all that fat would worry most experts.  FAT, as in real, unadulterated GOOD fat is NOT dangerous; refined, tainted fat like hydrogenated oils ARE.


The article does point out some of Paleo's many strong suits, including the fact that you'll be sure to get all your Potassium, fiber and B12 along with other benefits which constitute only SOME of Paleo's benefits!

HERE is the full article.