What is the difference between Paleo and Primal?  I have set out on a quest to find out!


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So far what I have concluded is that the main difference between the 2 diets is what kind of fats should we be eating.  However, in reading both the Paleo and Primal diet information via their creators webpages, I have come to the conclusion that there is no dietary difference between the 2.  Both cut out trans fats and both say no to Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. From what I have read on the Primal Blueprints website I feel like Mark Sisson makes claims about the Paleo diet that are incorrect and untrue.

Mark Sisson:

“Polyunsaturated fats have, yes, more than one double bond in their fatty acid chain. They tend to be liquid even when refrigerated. Their problem is they also tend to go rancid easily, particularly when heated. Yup, it sounds nasty, and you should see it! Free radical damage galore. When we heat them (and we often do), they often become oxidized. We’ve let in the Trojan Horse at that point and opened ourselves up to all kinds of free radical pillaging – everywhere from cell membrane damage to wrinkles to arterial plaque build up.

Polyunsaturated fats are found in grain products, soybeans, peanuts and fish oil. Fish oil and grain products in the same category! Say it isn’t so! (Heightened whispers and shuffling.)”

“We hear/read it all the time – the comparison of the Primal Blueprint and the so-called Paleo Diet, for which Loren Cordain is the most recognized voice. Sure, it’s a perfectly reasonable association to make, but we thought we’d take some time to address the other side of the coin today.”

The “so-called” Paleo Diet- this feels a bit like a child’s response to a debate.

“A fundamental difference? The role of saturated fats. Cordain and many within the paleo community continue to harbor a fear of saturated fats as the bogey that raises cholesterol and instigates heart disease instead of a critical source of nutrients for neurological functioning and other essential physiological processes.”

This statement is actually false.  This is what is posted on Cordain’s website:

“Recent large population studies known as meta analyses show that saturated fats have little or no adverse effects upon cardiovascular disease risk.”

Sisson also goes on to say:

“Partaking of only lean meats, eschewing butter and coconut oil (two Primal Blueprint favorites based on health benefits supported by extensive research), restricting egg consumption – this is not your Granddaddy Grok’s diet.”

According to Cordain:

“Eggs are part of The Paleo Diet, as humans have consumed eggs during the paleolithic era, although not in a year round basis (because bird eggs appear only seasonally), hence Dr. Cordain has advocated eggs, specially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in his three books. One of the egg white functions is to protect the yolk against microbal attack using proteolytic enzymes, besides being storage of nutrients for the growing embryo and transport of nutrients into the growing embryo. Except for ovoalbumen, most of the proteins in egg white have antimicrobial, antibacterial or antiviral activity, some of these proteins are called ovomucoid, ovomucin and lysozyme, among others. These proteins may disrupt the integrity of the gut lining leading to increased intestinal permeability and lysozyme is the most harmful of these proteins in terms of membranolytic activity (breakdown of cell membranes). We recommend that patients suffering from autoimmune diseases to avoid egg white at the beginning as Lysozyme may increase intestinal permeability which is one of the contributing factors inautoimmune diseases. Another issue is egg allergy which is quite common.

On the other hand, eggs are rich in selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D and the B vitamins, and some minerals.

If the person does not suffer from autoimmune disease or egg allergy it shouldn’t be a problem to eat eggs.”

I haven’t found anything that says butter is not part of the Paleo Diet when it is in the form of Ghee.  Ghee is where you boil butter and strain out the milk solids.

I still have more reading and research to do on the topic!