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Tuesdays With Jeff: Insights Into Your Health: Reflecting on the Paleo Diet

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Q: I have read Loren Cordain’s book about the Paleo diet.  What is your opinion of the Paleo regimen and what it is promoting – no grains, no/limited dairy, etc etc. It seems that the rationale is fairly reasonable in that most foods we eat today weren’t even available a few hundred years ago especially the grains and the sugars.

A: Thanks for the question.

Cordain’s work is interesting and deserves some consideration but it is mostly all anecdotal and theoretical, which, while of some value, is not the same level of credibility of the many l/t studies we have that are based on outcome data. There was one controlled study on the Paleo that came out comparing a PALEO to a MED style diet but they only looked at satiety. A more recent study concluded, “the diet does fall short of meeting the daily recommended intakes for certain micronutrients. A 9.3% increase in income is needed to consume a Paleolithic diet that meets all daily recommended intakes except for calcium.”

While it is true that there was less chronic disease back then, their lifespans were also much shorter and many lifestyle related chronic diseases to not show up till later in life. Several small isolated groups alive today who still follow a Paleo style diet also have much shorter lifespans.

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About the author

Jeff Novick
Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN is truly a unique dietitian and nutritionist. With over 24 years of experience in nutrition, health, fitness and natural living, he offers expert health advice distilled into powerful, easy-to-understand language on a variety of current topics.Novick’s insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana State University in nutrition, with a minor in exercise science.Novick serves as Vice President for Executive Health Exams International and lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California and at the Engine 2 Immersion program in Austin, Texas. He is also the Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health program, which is helping empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.For almost a decade, Novick served as the Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Center in Aventura, Florida, and as Vice President of the Board of the Directors for the National Health Association (NHA). He also served as the Director of Health Education for the NHA and as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Health Sciences for Kaplan University.Novick has taught nutrition classes at Indiana State University, Indiana University Medical School, the University of Miami Medical School and the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. He regularly lectures at medical conferences across the country. While in Indiana, he created and taught the Nutrition Education Initiative, a preventive medicine curriculum for medical doctors, residents and medical students. In recognition of this groundbreaking project, Indiana’s governor awarded Novick the Indiana State Public Health Excellence in Health Science Award and Indiana State University awarded him the Graduate-of-the-Last-Decade Award.He has been interviewed by Newsday, Parade, Men’s Health, Shape, Women’s World and has appeared on Fox News, Discovery Health, the Today Show and other media outlets nationwide. He recently appeared in the documentary Processed People and the movie Fatboy, which won the Best Documentary award at the Fort Lauderdale and Queens Film Festivals.

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