Dr. Oz and the Paleo Diet

March 10, 2011

***UPDATE: Dr. Oz recently devoted half an episode to the Paleo Diet: The Paleo Diet Craze – April 22, 2013. ***

Based on this week’s Dr. Oz show with Gary Taubes, one could surmise that Dr. Oz is anti-paleo. After all, even though Taubes wasn’t promoting the paleo diet, Dr. Oz completely disagreed with his views on reducing carbohydrates and increasing fats.

The video clip above is from the Dr. Oz show about a month ago, where an audience member asked for his opinion on the paleo diet. His response makes me wonder if he realizes that the paleo diet is, generally speaking, low carb and high fat.

Dr. Oz is apparently in favor of the paleo diet

Dr. Oz explained that the paleo diet is based on eating like our ancestors ate, and that the ones that didn’t die prematurely lived long and healthy lives. He acknowledged that it’s a diet based on whole foods, that it’s hard to get fat on the paleo diet, and that he’s in favor of any diet that keeps you lean and thin.

But he’s somehow not in favor of eating low carb / high fat

Yet according to the Taubes episode, he doesn’t think that eating low carb and high fat will keep you lean and thin. Uhm….

And he still pushes grains (shocker)

Of course, Dr. Oz just had to throw in a plug for grains, with the same argument that he used against low carb / high fat, which was that this type of diet is not sustainable. His advice? Eat the diet our ancestors ate, but

“augment it with what we’ve known to be successful in today’s food source that makes it a livable diet.”

I’d love to hear his definition of “successful”. Also, notice that he didn’t say we should eat grains because they’re healthy, but because he seems to believe that people won’t be successful in avoiding them long term.

Well, he’s right that grains are hard to avoid. Not because of will power or laziness. But because they’re ubiquitous and us paleo / primal folks risk exposure to them every time we eat out or buy processed foods. But other than involuntary exposure, I’d say we’ve got the whole grain elimination thing pretty much covered.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

kristen May 5, 2011 at 7:42 PM

i just found this from looking up something on gary taubes, and have started going through your blog… In this video Dr. Oz says the life expectancy of humans then was around 25… well the life expectancy is going to be pretty darn low if you include the large number of infant deaths, the point being that they lived just as long as we do if they didn’t die as an infant. if you don’t read primal wisdom, he has a post on this: http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2010/02/paleo-life-expectancy.html

just thought i’d add that in! though i guess you didn’t mention premature death, but whatever :P


kristen May 5, 2011 at 7:43 PM

did* mention premature death


[email protected] May 5, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Hey Kristen, glad you came across my blog..

Yeah, he mentions the short life expectancy thing, which is silly, but then qualifies it with “they were able to live very healthy lives, and those that survived to adulthood actually lived a long time, without all the medical advances that we have now..” So I’m not sure why he brings it up in the first place, since he then basically contradicts himself with that next statement..


Diane @ Balanced Bites September 26, 2011 at 7:52 AM

Thanks for sharing this clip- I’ve also featured it in my recent review of Dr. Oz’s latest article in TIME Magazine entitled “The Oz Diet.”



Ivan Baccarat February 6, 2012 at 3:38 PM

It cracks me when people bring up the fact that our ancestors from the paleoithic period lived only around 25 yrs. It wasn’t because of their diet it was because of no anti-biotics or medicine of any kind. Not to mention being prey!


[email protected] February 6, 2012 at 10:25 PM

People can be pretty silly :P


erin February 28, 2012 at 5:20 AM

I love Dr Oz however his perspective seems like a possible case of “not invented here syndrome.” Touting the benefits of Paleo isn’t going to help him create his empire is it? He is selling his own special diet, not someone else’s…


[email protected] February 28, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Yep, I agree. And think it’s uber lame.


Sheila June 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

I’ve seen it mentioned that the paleo diet is high fat, but I don’t agree. The paleo diet encourages people to eat meat that is VERY lean. For example, venison is a much healthier choice. If you’re going to eat beef, eat grass fed beef. They also push foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids like fish and eggs (from the right source). The fat it suggests comes from nuts, avacadoes, olive oil. These are all very healthy ways to get fat in your diet and your body processes them correctly. My mom went on the paleo diet. When she started, her cholestrol was nearly 400. Now all her lipid counts aren’t just in the normal range, they are perfect ! I have my converted my whole family to this way of living. Oh, and as for not being able to stick to it… Of course you’re going to have a little grain here and there, but the idea is to have about 95% of your diet paleo. Save the 5% for social gatherings and situations where you can’t control what is served. That seems to work for my family.


[email protected] June 24, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Hm. That’s sort of an orthodox paleo vs. paleo 2.0 discussion. Most of the people that I know on the paleo diet (in the blogosphere) do eat relatively high fat – butter, ghee, bacon, coconut oil, beef tallow – all quite common. Also, our ancestors didn’t simply eat the muscle meats, in fact, those were considered less valuable than all the other “good stuff” in the animal, which tends to be higher in fat. I totally agree about the grass-fed animals – there is less marbling in the meat. But there is still plenty of fat throughout other parts of the animal. There’s nothing wrong with eating a lower fat paleo diet, it’s certainly a very healthy diet – but I think there are a ton of benefits to be had from incorporating the healthy fats I mentioned.


Madant January 27, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Paleo diet is only made for those that don’t expect to live past 25. There’s a reason we don’t live in caves anymore.


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