The Paleo Diet on the Local CBS News – Doctors Getting on Board

I’m never too interested in going to great lengths to carefully consider what I’m going to write about, how I’m going to say it, if it’s totally sound and solid factually, fair, or any number of other paralyzing elements that would principally serve to make my blog a very boring place.

There are already plenty of boring blogs.

There’s two reasons I operate this way: 1) I have open, unmoderated comments and when I fuck up, I hear about it. 2) I’m not afraid to say oops, I fucked up. In the larger scheme of things, whether I put tons of advance effort in or not, mistakes will be made. And based on what I see elsewhere, I often note that the amount of work that goes into a post is proportional to how strenuously the author will defend that work at all costs. Since I’m going to make errors no matter what, best I accept the correction here and there — keeps commenters on their toes — just come clean, and move on.

An example sometime back would be found here, on one of my original Grant Whore posts. Then time to eat crow. Last week I made some hasty comments about the fact that “doctors are warming to Paleo.” If you see the two updates there to item 4, then this post is for the purpose of doing a better treatment of the thing, with the videos: all of which I’ve seen and you should too.

…Later… Well, as testament to perhaps why traditional media finds themselves so often in trouble, the CBS site doesn’t organize their videos in any sensible way, and after taking the time to embed the 5-part series, I find that the the script they use doesn’t seem to work on that rarest of blogging platforms: WordPress. Or, rather, only one of the five videos shows up. Anyway, Tara Grant, whose story is featured in the film has linked to all five videos and included a nice still photo of each. Go check it out. And yea, that’s her in that first photo, before paleo.

Here’s plain old links to the five parts, each running 2-3 minutes:

Part One: Caveman Diet Trend Starting To Catch Fire

Part Two: Surprising Results from the Caveman Diet

Part Three: Caveman Diet Shows Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Benefits

Part Four: How Realistic is the Caveman Diet at Home?

Part Five: For Some, Caveman Lifestyle Goes Beyond Diet

Generally the series is well done. After an introduction and a bit on Tara’s story, it then follows Dr. Kim Mulvihill as she tries things out on herself, first eating enough to not lose weight and then a period of weight loss. In the first stage, blood markers improved across the board and in the next stage, she lost 30 pounds and reports feeling great. They even covered proper exercise protocols, featuring Crossfit. All in all, an excellent 10 minutes of video appropriate to the masses.

In terms of criticism, you still have hand wringing over cholesterol, saturated fat, and the eternal admonition to eat lean meats. Well…nobody’s perfect; apparently not even me.

Another thing I was not aware of when I just shot from the hip is that Dr. Mulvihill was under the supervision of Dr. Lynda Frassetto, MD, of UCSF, a fellow presenter at the Ancestral Health Symposium. Her presentation: Should everyone eat a paleo diet?

“Should everyone eat a paleo diet?” by Lynda Frassetto, MD from Ancestry on Vimeo.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Primal Toad on October 17, 2011 at 18:37

    This is huge. I watched the first 2 before and just watched the last 3 – I had no idea they were aired.

    I like how they use all terms… primal, paleo, caveman, ancestors, hunter-gatherers, stone age, pre historic… shows its all the same thing.

    I’ll be saving this and showing to family and friends as well as the blogging community. May do a post on it myself! Thanks for sharing Richard!

  2. Alexandra on October 18, 2011 at 03:14

    Nice to see this on television. My only quibbles would be the crazy level of weighing and measuring..and eat 6 times a day.. says who? I find 2- 3 meals per day plenty. Also, not much mention of eating satisfying amounts of meat and fats which I would think would get men onboard as I think most average men associate a diet with eating like a rabbit and who would want that. I would have liked for the Dr./reporter to talk about whether she felt hungry or not while eating this way… not feeling hungry is a huge benefit of this way of eating and understanding this, I think, helps get people to take the plunge.
    Always enjoy your posts, Richard.

    • Sami on October 18, 2011 at 07:01

      I think the weighing, measuring & eating six times a day was to make sure she didn’t lose any weight in the first stage while they checked to see if it would improve her blood markers, which it did.

      That’s why it’s a massive ballache to eat to put on mass, she was simply trying to stay at the same level!

      • Richard Nikoley on October 18, 2011 at 07:41

        It’s a good point, Sami. The more astute might recognize: you mean if I’m unnaturally overweight I have to eat to physically uncomfortable levels on Paleo to maintain it?

        It brings up an idea. I think it’s very possible that in the few of Paleo dieters who don’t lose weight, they are not eating enough and metabolism is just too damn slow. When that happens, I think they might consider eating pure paleo (meat, fish, fowl, non-starchy veggies and fruit) in an effort to a actually gain weight at first.

      • Lauren on February 6, 2012 at 07:03

        Especially the carbs: SAD (->metabolic derangement)->endocrine issues=low carb BAD. (Low energy due to carb restriction is a common complaint on GAPS, despite it being a “feeding” protocol. I’m starting to wonder if keto-adaptation isn’t a seasonally-appropriate thing which, when done all year, ratchets up the SNS.)

        N=1: I absolutely do not eat enough, because I’m sedentary and not hungry, and it has slowed me – and my weight loss – down. Vicious cycle.

        Related idea: I’ve increased my raw salt intake exponentially in the last couple of years (since I grew up in a no-salt home that’s not saying much, but I salt pretty much everything now) partly in an effort to support my poor adrenals. I have rockin’ high cholesterol. At about minute 22, Dr. Frasetto had me wondering whether I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul.

        I agree that Dr. Mulvihill could have made it more clear what part of her diet change was required by the food clinic rules, and which are simply part of the standard paleo protocol (if we agree that one exists). Why didn’t she talk about what her everyday paleo looks like? Why harp on how much chopping in involved? Any real food diet involves more food prep than the SAD, because you’re prepping FOOD, not pre-chewed products.

  3. Asclepius on October 18, 2011 at 04:39

    Great to see the TV producers trying to force paleo in to the neo-eating framework – as noted above, there was lots of weighing, pro-fibre comments, and as you commented ‘hand wringing over cholesterol & saturated fat’.

    It smacks of the fact that they are still trying to manage cognitive dissonance. ‘They’, the media and medical establishment, can’t bring themselves to admit they have done a bad job in advising us what to eat for the past 50 years, and a very poor job of upholding scientific integrity.

    I’d say a few noses are being put out of joint by the fact that the great unwashed are showing the ‘media and academic elite’ that we can go our own way, and are better for it. And using their own measures, the medics cannot disagree.

    There is a great comment about a ‘lightbulb moment’ with the whole paleo concept – which I think will sound deeply within the halls of academia. I mean, how the hell can eating in a manner imortalised in cave paintings and evidenced in our most primitive tools be anything other than appropriate? No one ever flintknapped for farming.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 18, 2011 at 07:33


      Yep, and I say let them. After all, even Cordain’s original book tried to shoehorn Paleo into certain CW dogma but for the most part had the opposite effect. The Paleo principle, dietary framework or whatever you want to call it is it’s own defense. Paleo is what it is, because it stopped upon the advent of agriculture. While there will probably be always details to argue, some things are fixed forever, or it just isn’t Paleo.

      Even people like myself don’t claim to “eat Paleo” exclusively, but Paleoish. This is a good thing because it serves to maintain its integrity.

      So let them come, via news reports like this, via Atkins, Zone, South Beach and other low carb. Let them come from all over and most eventually find they can do this on their own and find an individual Paleoish that works for them and is decidedly non-dogmatic.

  4. Razwell on October 18, 2011 at 06:43


    Progress is being made among some doctors. That is great .

    But, unfortunately the bullshit being spewed by Sanjay Gupta on the CNN special “The Last Heart Attack” kept the nonsense going. That did no favors for the public and probably turned the public AWAY from Paleolithic type diets . The most weighty evidence against the cholesterol hypothesis? Two things:

    *The tiniest of veins never become atherosclerotic and they have just as much cholesterol flowing through them as the arteries do.

    * Plaque deposition ONLY occurs at very specific areas( not uniformly or even will nilly) : very specific areas of damage to the endothelium. If cholesterol caused CAD then we would expect tp see the artery uniformly blocked, as all areas are exposed to thgis “elavated LDL”

    Something else is obviously going on, but too much money is made off of preaching the evils of a Paleolithic style diet.

    I have an idea for your next bullshit video : CNN’s “The Last Heart Attack” with features cholesterol mania in full bloom. How stupid do they think their viewers are? Arterial spasms can cause a heart attack, being scared also. It’s not all about plaque rupture etc. in all cases.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 18, 2011 at 07:35

      Gupta is milking it for all it’s worth. Can’t recall if I’ve called BS on him yet. I’ll have to look.

  5. alex on October 18, 2011 at 13:29

    I took a sip of something poison but I’ll hold on tight.

  6. Don Wiss on October 18, 2011 at 13:53

    I like it! What wonderful publicity for the diet. And well done with all the measuring. I only had two problems with it. First, the lean meat bit, of course. Then, when she was talking about the first step you could take. She said to cut out processed foods. No. The first step is to cut out wheat.

  7. Nate on February 6, 2012 at 05:27

    Thank you for sharing this! If you don’t mind, I would like to put these up on my blog. My blog is basically for family and friends who keep asking my wife and I how we eat and live. It was just simpler creating a space on the internet to answer their questions rather than pointing them all over the place. I’m still working on it, though.

    This series is pretty darn good. I have a few nitpicks, which have already been covered (the lean meat thing, all the weighing and measuring in ep. 2 could be a turnoff if not understood in context of the series, and others). Thanks again. I enjoy your blog! Keep up the good work!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 6, 2012 at 07:52

      Use anything you like, and consider having them check out my book which covers everything in a very eas to understand way.

      • Nate on February 6, 2012 at 08:00

        I will do that. Plan on ordering the book tonight and letting those interested know about it.

  8. Diane on May 16, 2012 at 06:18

    Yesterday my internist advised me to follow the paleo diet, as my fasting sugar numbers were “almost a Type 2 diabetic.” I appreciate all the chatter about this and will continue to follow.

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