Friday, November 20, 2009

Paleo Diet Q & A - 11.20.09

Dear Readers,

We hope you're continuing to experience the health benefits of eating Paleo. Here is today's edition of Paleo Diet Q & A. If you find that reading our Q & A raises new questions for you about the Paleo Diet please post a comment and our team will respond.

Q: I have just started the diet. For years I have been using pan sprays without alcohol for cooking. With soy and soy oil being detrimental, how bad is soy lecithin? It's not only in pan sprays, but 9 out of 10 fish oil supplements.

I am the chef/owner of a Mediterranean restaurant. Eating a Mediterranean diet (and exercise) has made me healthier, but my triglycerides are way high--but then it appears to be genetic. Hoping the Paleo Diet will reverse this.

A: Yes, this diet should definitely lower your triglycerides. I do not know if soy lecithin contains lectins and saponins or not (two of the main problematic components of soy) – it is something we will have to look into, and perhaps cover in a future newsletter.

Q: I first want to thank you and your research group immensely for doing the work you do. I have read The Paleo Diet and The Dietary Cure for Acne, which have made a great impact in my life (and some of my friends' as well!). I have suffered intense acne for years and have tried basically every acne medication out there without success; except for Accutane because of the possible side effects. After two months of being on the diet, I can see incredible progress in my complexion and continuously see improvements. I cannot express the astounding changes with words; my family and friends are amazed. Again, for this I thank you deeply. I have also cherished the changes the Paleo Diet has brought to different aspects of my life, one of these has been better racquetball performance (I'm a racquetball aficionado).

I do have a quick question. In The Dietary Cure for Acne you explain how teens are most susceptible to acne because the body normally increase the amount of insulin in the blood in order to facilitate the adolescent growth spurt. Since the Paleo Diet decrease this insulin, does it also put the body in a less favorable state to grow (height-wise) than the normal American diet? (Assuming that all other variables as nutrients, vitamins, etc are the same.) I have noticed that the hunter-gatherers living today have a lower average height than Americans/Europeans. Is this the reason?

Although I am past my growth spurt, I have not recommended this diet to young teens because I would like to let them know about this information as well, if my conclusions are true. If they are not, please explain to me why not.

A: Thanks for the feedback and congratulations on your success. Yes, because insulin is a pro-growth hormone, it is possible that the increasing height seen in many people today is the result of a high-glycemic diet. It is also possible that the same diet may increase their risk for certain cancers as they age. Epidemiological studies also support this notion.

Q: I have read The Paleo Diet for Athletes and have put it into effect with excellent results. While obviously ground nuts should be a good substitute for flour, you don't mention chestnuts in your book. Are chestnuts and chestnut flour in the same category as almonds, walnuts, etc., or should they be avoided?

A: Yes, chestnut and chestnut flour are allowed in The Paleo Diet. Chesnuts belong to the nut family.


  1. People with upset stomachs are often advised to eat a mild diet, sometimes with the acronym BRAT - bread, rice, applesauce, and toast. Obviously two of those four foods are not on the Paleo Diet. What would you suggest as a Paleo-friendly version of the BRAT diet?

  2. I'm also VERY INTERESTED in the soy lectithin question. I've looked around a little, but don't really get a clear answer.

    I avoid soy like the plague, but this stuff is really hard to get away from.

  3. I just read the Nov. 20 diet update and it seems to contradict The Paleo Diet Book which I thought advised three meals and healthy snacks as needed. Am I reading this wrong? Please help!
    Naples, FL

  4. I've read "The Paleo Diet for Athletes," and am trying to adhere to it as much as possible. I am not a big time athlete by any means. Most of my running is long, slow distance, rarely exceeding 50 minutes at a time, and rarely exceeding about 5.5 miles. Afterwards, I usually just have a piece of fruit to begin re-stocking glycogen stores. I only eat this because I figure I didn't do any super intense workout, and therefore, didn't expend enough energy to warrant any sort of additional recovery. My question is this: Is it necessary, or beneficial, to refuel myself post workout with the recovery meals the book recommends (i.e. the homebrew smoothie, a potato, etc.)? Or is that only recommended for intense exercise? Any input would be greatly appreciated - I hope to continue to improve my athletic performance while adhering to a strictly paleo diet.


The Paleo Diet Team invites you to leave comments or post questions to our blog. We receive a great amount of feedback, but we are not able to always answer personally. We read all comments, and we are very interested in hearing your thoughts, learning about your experiences, and understanding what questions you have. Note that we review all comments before publishing them on the blog. Comments posted that do not contain questions or comments related to paleo nutrition, or those that point to web sites that do not provide content that would be deemed helpful to our readers, will be rejected.

Thank you.
The Paleo Diet Team