Dr. Oz's Stance on the Paleo Diet
Dr. Oz’s show is a great platform for publicizing important health and nutrition information.
On Monday, April 22, 2013, he did a segment on the Paleo Diet, which is based on the cave men of Stone Age times. This diet claims to help people lose weight and ward off debilitating diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, all without hunting gear. He interviewed Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD researcher of evolutionary medicine, along with Nell Stephenson. Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (PPNF) applauds Dr. Oz for educating people on nutrition.
There was a lot of quality information shared such as, obtain your animal protein from grass-fed or pastured animals, consume more vegetables than fruits, don’t fear the healthy fats in avocados and nuts, avoid soy, and consume more pastured, raw eggs by including them in smoothies.
PPNF would like to add to the following helpful information regarding diet:
The Paleo diet rightfully contends it is important to include quality animal fat in one’s diet. This might include butter, the fat of beef and lamb, the skin on chicken and duck and the omega-3s found in wild-caught salmon. The fat of healthy animals eating as nature intended is actually very healthy for you, and these animals, even beef and chicken, contain decent amounts of omega-3 fats.
Why should one eat fewer fruits than vegetables? Fruit contains fructose, a sugar, which is metabolized by the already hard-working liver. Furthermore, too much sugar in the diet creates an inflammatory response in the body. The tribes studied by Dr. Price consumed fruit only when it was in season. Much of the Western hemisphere’s population is of mixed ancestry so it can be challenging to follow an ancestral diet. In that situation, it may be best to choose fruit that is in season in the area where you live.
Agave nectar, like fruit, contains fructose. However, agave nectar is a much, much more concentrated source of fructose than a whole piece of fruit, such as an apple, with its fiber. It stresses the liver and creates an inflammatory response in the body. Stevia, an herb, is a much healthier sweetener as it does not create any inflammatory response in the body. For more information, read this article on healthy sugar alternatives.
Nuts can be an allergen for some people. However, those who do not have tree nut allergies should enjoy this food as it is a healthy and nutrient-dense. Nuts should be raw, organic, and soaked for seven to eight hours in warm salt water, rinsed and then dried at low temperatures (around 110 °). This neutralizes the phytates and other anti-nutrients that can cause digestive woes and interfere with nutrient absorption.
The Paleo diet believes in avoiding dairy. The Dr. Oz show was correct about milk being inflammatory. PPNF holds that it can be inflammatory if it is pasteurized (pasteurization destroys the nutrients and enzymes) or, if someone is allergic to casein. Keep in mind that cows in captivity eating unnatural foods (such as grain) are sick. Their milk is loaded with dangerous bacteria and must be pasteurized to make it safe for consumption. If you have access to whole, raw, organic milk from healthy animals eating grass, it can be a healing food, not an inflammatory one. Seventy percent of people who are allergic to pasteurized cow’s milk do well on whole, raw milk from healthy cows. Often those allergic to the casein, even in raw cow’s milk, can handle goat’s milk with no problem. Dr. Price found tribes consuming milk from cows, camels, goats and sheep- all variety of animals-while on his travels. While milk is not for everyone, PPNF believes that this nutrient-dense food is beneficial for many people.
The Paleo diet recommends avoiding grains on the basis that our cavemen ancestors were not agriculturalists, but were hunter-gatherers. One should stay away from all hybridized and genetically-modified grains where the gluten does not resemble the gluten of heirloom grains. If you want to lose weight, we recommend staying away from all grains. The only grains that do not provoke an inflammatory response in the body are heirloom grains which have been soaked and fermented a minimum of 16 hours. If you are healthy and not overweight, including a limited amount of these prepared grains won’t adversely affect your health. These grains should be consumed with a healthy fat for satiation, and to prevent the rapid conversion of grains to sugar in the body.
Soy does not need to be avoided if it is not genetically modified and if it is fermented. However, if you prefer to follow the tenets of the Paleo diet, and consume what your ancestors ate, keep in mind that soy was primarily consumed by Asian tribes in small amounts.
The best way to find the most nutritious food is to source it. You should know if the farm where your chicken eggs come from allows hens to run around pasture, with plenty of access to sunshine and the yard area where they can search for their food. Ideally, your produce is locally and organically grown, and your beef and raw milk come from healthy, grass-fed cows.