Overview – Paleo 2.0 Diet

Paleo 2.0 is a term to describe a more enlightened and scientific approach to a Paleo style diet. One purpose is to distinguish this more saturated-fat friendly paleo approach from the lipophobia found in Cordain’s The Paleo Diet. Within Paleo 2.0, saturated fat is considered by many to be the most healthful fat, and they believe the condemnation of saturated fat is misguided and not supported scientifically or historically.

Paleo 2.0 also focuses more on scientific principles and data from pre-industrial cultures than simply trying to reenact a Paleolithic diet. In fact, in Paleo 2.0, “paleo” stands for “old” rather than Paleolithic. In Paleo 2.0, avoiding the diseases of civilization is more important than imitating a diet that cavemen ate. In that regard, more recent pre-industrial cultures might be more beneficial to look at because we can better investigate their diet and eating habits, while with cavemen we are just making educated guesses.

Another important difference is that many people came to Paleo through the low-carb movement and a certain amount of carb-phobia persists among with the Paleo movement, but Paleo 2.0 does not reject entire classes of macronutrients for no apparent reason. In Paleo 2.0, fructose and wheat are viewed with suspicion, but starch is not. Some within the Paleo 2.0 camp recommend a minimum of 100-150g of starch per day or about 20% of calories. This may be lower carb compared to modern American diet, but it is more carbs than what Atkins and other low-carb diets recommend.

The term Paleo 2.0 was first suggested in a blog comment on Chris Kessler’s blog where people were throwing out suggestions to distinguish this more enlightened approach from the more orthodox variety practiced by some. The term was popularized however when Dr. Kurt Harris, one of the pillars of the Paleo 2.0 movement, published his Paleo 2.0 – A Diet Manifesto. Dr. Harris’s Archevore blog, along with Whole Health Source, Perfect Health Diet, and The Daily Lipid are some of the main proponents of a Paleo 2.0 diet (whether they identify with the term or not.)

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