Just Read: The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain

November 7, 2012

The Paleo Diet Loren Cordain

I just finished reading The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain. Personally, I disagree with the fat/salt-phobic approach, the “open meals”, and the large amount of fruit being OK’d. But other than that, the book contains a lot of valuable information.

Here are the nuggets I particularly liked (I’ve included the page numbers for reference):

  • p.36: Real Food versus Fake Food: Cordain talks about various unnatural food combinations. Foods are being created in combinations that would never be found in nature, and it’s these foods that are particularly easy to overindulge in.

“In Paleolithic times, starchy foods weren’t also salty; now we have potato chips and corn chips. Sweet foods were never also fat. Now we have ice cream and chocolates. Fatty foods were almost never also starchy. Now we have doughnuts that are not only fatty and starchy, but sugary as well.”

  • p. 94 Lectins and Autoimmune Disease:

“Alcohol and hot chili peppers also increase intestinal permeability”

Also, on p. 135:

“Some people – particularly if they are suffering from an autoimmune disease – should stay away from spices made from chili peppers (cayenne pepper and paprika). This botanical family of spices contains a substance called “capsaicin.” Studies… have shown that capsaicin increases intestinal permeability and may play a role in the development and progression of certain autoimmune diseases.”

  • p. 110: Fruits and Vegetables:

“…except for walnuts, almost all nuts have high levels of omega 6 fats, and if eaten excessively, they can unbalance the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats in your diet”

I thought macadamia nuts were best? Looks like even though walnuts have a lot of omega 6, they also have some omega 3 so that that overall ratio is pretty good relative to the other nuts. According to the chart on p.128, the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of walnuts is 4.2, and it’s 6.3 for macadamia nuts. In comparison, pecans have an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 20.9

  • p. 132: Purchasing Oils: When I eat out, I know that most of my food is cooked in canola oil. My main concern is the high levels of omega 6. But it’s worse than that. Studies on rats show: minor heart scarring, kidney injuries, increases in blood sodium levels, abnormal changes to a hormone (aldosterone) that regulates blood pressure, decreased litter sizes, behavioural changes, liver injury. It’s also been shown to be a potent allergen in humans.
  • p. 133: Purchasing Oils: On peanut oil…

“Although peanut oil ahs been promoted as a healthy, cholesterol-lowering oil because of its high monounsaturated fat content… it has turned out to be one of the most atherogenic (artery-clogging) of all oils. In fact, it is routinely used to induce coronary artery atherosclerosis in monkeys and other laboratory animals. It’s not clear why this happens. Some scientific evidence suggests that peanut lectins (proteins that bind to carbohydrates) may be responsible for this effect.”

  • p. 133: Purchasing Oils: On coconut oil

“Lauric acid apparently exerts a protective effect in our bodies by eliminating gut bacteria that increase intestinal permeability, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease via heightened chronic low-level inflammation.”

  • p. 165: Paleo Recipes

“With modern food-processing techniques and creative recipes, a clever cook can assemble Stone Age ingredients in a manner that defies the basic logic of the diet. For instance, it is possible to make nut and root flours in food processors that can be combined with honey, olive oil, and eggs and later baked to resemble almost any modern processed food with very un-Paleo characteristics…”

  • p. 167: Basic Recipe Principles: Recommends avoiding yeast

“…baked goods, pickled foods, vinegar, fermented foods, and fermented beverages all contain yeast, which may cause trouble for people with autoimmune diseases”

Have you read the The Paleo Diet? What did you find interesting?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexis November 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM

In the GAPS diet she recommends fermented foods and beverages and one of the things the diet does is help get rid of autoimmune diseases….


[email protected] November 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Yah. I was surprised by reading that in this book, that’s why I noted it. I think it’s worth researching if someone has AI. I’ve heard people say that fermented foods should be introduced slowly and to not overdo them, so there’s certainly something to it. I think some people may have a problem with yeast.


Audrey Hona November 8, 2012 at 6:05 PM

The basic principles of the Paleolithic Diet are so simple that most high school students can understand them.


[email protected] November 9, 2012 at 11:13 AM

That is certainly true.


Theresa November 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I’ve been on the paleo diet for a few months now, not for anything serious but just to become more energized and healthy in general. While trying out this new diet It never occurred to me the positive effects it would have on my teeth and gum health. The tissue around my teeth is a much healthier pink and whenever I flush or brush, I don’t see one bit of blood, nothing. I am actually still getting used to it! This diet definitely has it’s benefits. To anyone just trying it out, make sure to have a good list of paleo recipes. It helps in the long run. I visit this site http://paleodiet.risap.com once in a while for reviews of new paleo books in the market. I also read Cordain’s book when I first went on paleo, the information in there is what helped me get started.


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