Is the Wahls Protocol a more accurate paleo diet?

by (169) Updated May 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM Created May 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM

On the Paleo diet, we're not supposed to count calories, carbs, or anything really. But the Wahls protocol is a scientific approximation of which foods we should be eating based on indigenous diets.

Terry Wahls is a doctor who cured her MS (which I have as well) by eating three cups per day of; sulfur rich foods, leafy greens, bright colored food, and also grass-fed meats.


She bases these off of the fact that indigenous tribes exceed the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients by 2 to 10 times that the SAD shorts.

So my question:

Is the Wahls Protocol a more accurate paleo diet?

Bonus speculation points:

Will Cordain and Wolff alter their diets to reflect her findings?

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6 Replies

2330 · May 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM

First, there is no ONE paleo diet. Paleolithic humans lived all over the globe at various altitudes and in various environmental conditions. Their diets are similar in what they did not contain (grains, legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods, added sugar, etc.) but varied greatly in what they did contain, see e.g., the oft cited Kitavans and Masai peoples.

Second, Dr. Wahls uses the Paleo template as a starting point, but did not base her specific recommendations on the diets of indigenous people. She designed her diet to maximize intake of the micronutrients she believes best supports mitochondrial function and will help control/reverse her MS.

If you haven't already, watch her TedX video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc). She explains how she started with supplements and then moved to "real food" to get these nutrients.

To answer your questions:

1) Dr. Wahl's diet is a version of the Paleo diet. But I don't think it is "more accurate" because that assumes there is "one true paleo diet," which there isn't.

2) Cordain and Wolf will not revise their recommendations because their recommendations are perfectly consistent with Dr. Wahl's.

10878 · May 24, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Are there really any hunter gatherer groups that eat THAT much plant matter in THAT much variety? I think if you're suffering from MS and that cures it, go for it... but 9 cups of veggies a day would give me a distended, bloated, uncomfortable stomach.

15380 · May 24, 2012 at 4:36 PM

I actually follow her protocol EXCEPT:

  1. No flax oil (NO-NO for me - makes me sick)
  2. No matcha tea (I have it but I don't like it)
  3. No sea weed - cannot find the one with no gluten in it
  4. No turmeric - don't like the taste
  5. No nuts - I have gastritis

What I follow is: 1. 3 cups of greens 2. 3 cups of cabbages, including red cabbage 3. 1 cup of onion 4. garlic and ginger 5. 1 cup of mushrooms 6. rainbow colors - carrot, beets, red onion, green onion 7. bone broth

Additionally, I consume bitter vegetables (chicory root, arugula)

I have stopped eating eggs (they do not really agree with me) and eat liver very rarely (cannot find grass-fed liver where I live).


Absolutely love it. My energy levels are at all times high. TOTALLY RECOMMEND IT. TOTALLY. The best part of Paleo I have ever learned.

32175 · May 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Liver and eggs will give you most of the nutrition Dr. Wahls is talking about.

Seeking out nutrient & calorie-dense foods makes way more evolutionary sense to me.

867 · May 24, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Are there any indigenous groups that track their macronutrients?

40652 · May 24, 2012 at 4:17 PM

There's definitely a spectrum of animal to plant ratio in paleo. You have a handful of folks who forgo all plants for an animal-centric diet. You also have a handful of folks who forgo nearly all animal products for a plant-centric diet. Most people adherents are closer to the former than the latter. Terry Wahls is probably more on the plant-centric end of the spectrum.

As to what's most paleo, that's a hypothetical and something we'll never know with certainty.

As for what is most beneficial, well that varies from person to person, but I myself think a more plant-centric diet is ideal, just on an ethical and sustainable level. For treating some diseases, there certainly may be deviations from the median.

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