The simple answer, NO. But if my ex-girlfriends have taught me anything it’s that simple answers usually require some excavation to uncover the ENTIRE truth.
Paleo is based on the notion that the foods our Palaeolithic ancestors ate, the foods consumed for the majority of human existence, are the only foods that we should eat today. Paleo advocates theorize that sticking to these foods is the best way to receive optimal nourishment since we haven't evolved a tolerance to foods introduced more recently. From this definition of Paleo dieting, dairy should be prohibited. Until roughly 10,000 years ago, a period of time AFTER the Paleolithic era, the only milk people were drinking came from their Mother’s titties. So unless you’re willing to welcome a new baby brother into the world, dairy should be off limit.
But, as with any fitness theory, the Paleo community is rife with contradictions. Many self-proclaimed ‘Paleo Dieters’ have begun incorporating dairy into their diets. This can be problematic for two reasons (but advantageous for other’s):
- Its contradicts the very foundation the Paleo Diet is laid upon and
- Only 35% of the world’s population have a complete tolerance to lactose (the main sugar found in milk)
If you happen to be in the 35% of people who have a lactase persistence gene (can tolerate lactose) dairy may be a valuable component in your diet. Dairy contains healthy fats and casein proteins, which are great for muscle development and overall performance. So the best approach to dairy on a Paleo diet is to start orthodox: NO dairy for the first few weeks. After this you can start experimenting with dairy. Add it in, assess your tolerance and adjust accordingly.
But the fact that some people can tolerate dairy illuminates another concerning issue: if dairy (a non-palaeolithic food) can be beneficial, what other non-Paleo foods can be beneficial? If some humans have developed a tolerance to dairy (a non-palaeolithic food) then the entire ethos supporting the Paleo diet is subject to debate. This means that human digestive systems have evolved over the past 10,000 years allowing us to consume agriculture age foods; the very foods that the Paleo diet warns against! The problem here is this: if Paleo advocates are already taking steps away from a strict Paleo diet and towards a modified version, how do we know we know where these modifications will end? How much will a truly ‘optimized’ diet resemble the original Paleo Diet? Will we still be able to call it Paleo?
That’s why I’m here. I’m testing a Paleo diet in a vacuum; every aspect of my life other than my diet has remained exactly the same while testing a Paleo diet compared to my regular diet. Will the Paleo diet yield results that modern day foods can’t? Only one more week until we find out. Have any of you guys experimented with a Paleo diet? What were your thoughts on it?