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Why are there so many discrepancies in the Paleo diet?

by (30)
Updated about 19 hours ago
Created April 11, 2012 at 7:13 AM

I was looking for a simple guide of good and bad foods and I've found this one list that is repeatedly published on numerous sites that contradict most of the reading I've done.

http://www.crossfitdenver.com/2009/03/the-paleo-diet-food-list/

(I just chose this website randomly, this list is repeatedly published on other sites)

The list of meats alone seem to be radically different than a lot of things I've read.

Any help?

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10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

"Cult of personality" is a pretty good description of Taubes and Sisson anyway. Co-opt others ideas, make them your own and assume the position of paid pundit. These two gassers are a constant reminder that no one owns Grok.

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10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Where's the meat? I could care less about picky eating patterns.

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10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Not strict? One of the problems is paleo's conflicting strict lists.

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10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Why isn't "eat meat" #1? you've wonked this so badly that it's not paleo just Paleo (trademarks pat. Pending).

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0 · August 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM

This is Loren Cordains food list that's why it cuts out the saturated fat

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665 · August 17, 2012 at 5:13 AM

Cordain explained that he adviced against _grainfed_ animal fat. Then he explained that recommending canola oil was mistake (how it got in the list of _paleo_ foods in the first place is a mystery for me). Otherwise very sound list.

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340 · August 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Or, more accurately, to continuously learn and observe, evaluate, and refine.

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9812 · April 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

True that! I guess there are no simple rules of thumb! ;)

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5188 · April 12, 2012 at 2:15 AM

Seriously, comments help more than just down-voting.

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10044 · April 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM

+1 "pick it from the ground" made me laugh and I knew what you meant, but I'm sure there are many things you can pick from ground that you don't want to eat ;-)

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24538 · April 11, 2012 at 9:14 PM

All you really need is #1 on that list, plus "avoid excessive vegetable oil" and you are good to go.

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24538 · April 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I would say number 2 there isn't set in stone. Some people do better fat adapted, some don't. There are plenty of folks who do better on starch.

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24538 · April 11, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Here to add a confounding factor to the low carb/low thyroid thing, my thyroid function actually improves when I go low carb. This is all so individualized that there are really no hard truths to any of it. "Your mileage may vary" (Kurt Harris, I think said that) is the only truism I've heard yet.

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552 · April 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Mmmm, bacon ; )

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1200 · April 11, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Some people (like me) react terribly to any kind of saturated fat intake. I was doing really well eating lean meats, but when I added more fattier meats like beef and bacon (even though it was grass-fed) my LDL cholesterol shot up and left my HDL behind. Yet, others seem to tolerate saturated fats really well with no side effects. Also, if you have hypothyroidism, don't eat a very low-carb paleo diet - it'll only make it worse. Always test your blood and make sure you're eating what works for your body and research everything you hear people suggesting (including me).

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11152 · April 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM

A life that doesn't have bacon in it, is no life at all.

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30 · April 11, 2012 at 7:34 AM

I see. It just seems like such a massive difference. I suppose at the end of the day if you wipe out the aforementioned, life is going to be better. Cheers

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12 Answers

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5188 · April 11, 2012 at 7:47 AM

I don't see what's so radical about that list. There is likely to be some confusion as this is based on Cordain's early work when he (like pretty much everyone else) was still struggling to fit 'modern' science on fats to the theory. You'll note he doesn't mind game meats or fish in their entirety but believed (and still does to a large extent) that the fat content of farmed animals is not representative of the meat available historically and so lean cuts are to be preferred. Most paleo folk these days so no reason to be scared of saturated fat, though the main aim is still to try and get good quality fat sources - maybe rancid, artificial canola oil is better than CAFO-bred suet. Much of our challenge today is picking the lesser of many evils.

It's only one discrepancy really though - how much of our energy should come from saturated animal fats? The avoidance of dairy, legumes, starch and cereals is just basic paleo. Anyone advocating those things readily admits that it isn't strict paleo but rather simply a related diet.

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5188 · April 12, 2012 at 2:15 AM

Seriously, comments help more than just down-voting.

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10653 · April 11, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Because the Paleo Diet is not a one-size-fits-all type of diet. As long as you don't eat wheat/grains/sugar, vegetable oils, legumes, etc., you can alter what you choose to include in your diet as long as your body tolerates it and if you enjoy it. You don't have to eat everything that is on that list; just keep in mind that fresh whole foods that are found in the wild and/or that have no antibiotics or pesticides or hormones added are best.
That list was one of the first lists I came across when I first looked into Paleo; and I can't believe they have "diet soda" on beverages that are allowed. What about tea? And they didn't even include coconut products. And then on "foods you should avoid" they have butter, yogurt, sweet potatoes, bacon and fatty cuts of meat?! Don't think this is the end-all, be-all list. I certainly don't.

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30 · April 11, 2012 at 7:34 AM

I see. It just seems like such a massive difference. I suppose at the end of the day if you wipe out the aforementioned, life is going to be better. Cheers

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11152 · April 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM

A life that doesn't have bacon in it, is no life at all.

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552 · April 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Mmmm, bacon ; )

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0 · August 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM

This is Loren Cordains food list that's why it cuts out the saturated fat

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156 · April 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM

A lot of people who start researching paleo/primal diets get a lot of info all at one time. It can be disheartening to see all of these different food lists on different websites. I like to keep it as simple as possible. These are my rules:

  1. Never eat - grains, legumes, anything artificial, a lot of sugar.

  2. Eat decent amounts of good fat. One thing you have to remember is that on a paleo diet you don't use carbs for your body's fuel you use fat. There is nothing wrong with animal fats, butter and ghee. Don't forget good oils too. Stay away from poly-saturated oils like Canola and Soybean.

  3. Dairy - in small amount and in moderation. Some of the other paleo crew may not agree with me on this one. All in all dairy falls into a gray area. It has some good benefits, and can make things taste better, just don't go chugging milk everyday. The rule for dairy is it MUST be full fat and not messed around with. The reason for full fat is that the fatter the dairy the less lactose it contains, which is why people don't eat it on the diet. I use full fat cream in my cup of coffee in the morning. Other than that I use coconut milk for everything else.

  4. What do I eat? The short answer is lots of plants and animals. anything in that spectrum is good. Nuts (not peanuts they're a legume) seeds, fruits (the less sugar the better) and anything that comes from animals, meaning eggs. Eat eggs, one of the more perfect foods out there, including the yolks!

That is a great question and I hope this helped. The first thing I tell someone to do so they don't feel overloaded with new information, is to cut out all grains for the first two weeks. This alone will make you feel like a million bucks. Studies have shown it takes at least two weeks to get gluten out of your system, with a full month being even better.

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24538 · April 11, 2012 at 9:14 PM

All you really need is #1 on that list, plus "avoid excessive vegetable oil" and you are good to go.

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24538 · April 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I would say number 2 there isn't set in stone. Some people do better fat adapted, some don't. There are plenty of folks who do better on starch.

Medium avatar
10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Why isn't "eat meat" #1? you've wonked this so badly that it's not paleo just Paleo (trademarks pat. Pending).

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8574 · April 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM

This is the list I generally pass around: http://bit.ly/HzFUVq

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689 · August 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I think the very first thing on any list of what is paleo should always be:

Listen only to YOUR body and not some list made up by someone who has no idea you are even alive.

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9812 · April 11, 2012 at 7:35 PM

It doesn't have to be complicated- I just tell people if you can kill it or pick it from the ground or a tree & eat it, then it's probably a good bet (barring poisonous things of course; I don't know anything about foraging and I find this to be a simple rule of thumb). Some people need to really get into the nitty-gritty and do a lot of fine-tuning, but most people will probably do just fine with focusing on just eating real foods.

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9812 · April 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

True that! I guess there are no simple rules of thumb! ;)

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10044 · April 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM

+1 "pick it from the ground" made me laugh and I knew what you meant, but I'm sure there are many things you can pick from ground that you don't want to eat ;-)

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4181 · August 16, 2012 at 11:03 AM

it's why the paleo diet is so frustrating but also so correct, it's more of a mode of eating than a genre, it's not strict like veganism so it's technically right for everyone

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10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Not strict? One of the problems is paleo's conflicting strict lists.

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8239 · April 11, 2012 at 5:11 PM

The word "paleo" gets bandied about as if it refers to some singular, monolithic 1-2-3 thing. Turns out it (paleo) comes with lots of footnotes. Any of the major books (Wolf, Cordain) has simple versions that work, and that do not encourage over-thinking.

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1786 · August 16, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Because individual biochemistry, physiology and digestion vary so much.

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4176 · August 16, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I think some of the paleo hipster cool kids are sensing that the diet has gone mainstream and are trying to distance themselves from the masses via minor dietary tweaks (or being a "rebel" and embracing what was formerly forbidden).

But for the most part, I think once people get comfortable with the basics, they learn that there is no one size fits all approach to this. I think where the flaw in thinking comes in is where someone thinks, "hm, I tolerate dairy very well, everybody on the paleo diet should really integrate dairy."

Start with the basics for a few months (Sisson, Cordain, Wolf, etc) and then start screwing around with your diet.

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10 · August 16, 2012 at 11:31 AM

A "Paleo" diet means something different to everyone. You have to make it work for you, just like Vegetarians (meaning no vegetarians diet is the same). I have found through my Paleo journey of weight loss and freedom from grains that I can eat pretty much anything that falls under the Wheat free, Dairy free, Gluten free, Soy free, White Sugar free, Legume free hood. If I want to have pineapple and sugary fruits I have them and all I want, and I dont feel bad or like I am ruining my diet because ITS FRUIT, I have already walked away from so much. I am not going to put myself through that. The same goes for sweet potatoes or the occasional white potato I wont feel bad because I had a potato its not worth my obsession on if I will gain weight. My personal Paleo belief is...It took a long time for me to become an overweight, sick, unhappy with my body person. I need to let my body have the time to work it out and get healthy again, its NOT going to happen over night and I dont want it to. I want to go through this transformation and experience my body changing. BOTTOM LINE- Dont let a food list bog you down, dont get caught up in the specifics, just stop eating crap and go with what feels natural. Fruits, Veggies, and Meats. Good Luck :)

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10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Where's the meat? I could care less about picky eating patterns.

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16 · August 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM

The discrepancies result from the desire of the Paleo touters to make up the rules as they go along.

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340 · August 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Or, more accurately, to continuously learn and observe, evaluate, and refine.

Medium avatar
10194 · August 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

"Cult of personality" is a pretty good description of Taubes and Sisson anyway. Co-opt others ideas, make them your own and assume the position of paid pundit. These two gassers are a constant reminder that no one owns Grok.

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