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Paleo Diet and Whey Protein

By K.T. Parker

The idea behind the paleo diet is to eat like your caveman-era ancestors, meaning whole, unprocessed foods that would have been in the human diet from 2.6 million years to about 10,000 years ago, at the onset of the agricultural revolution. Many athletes and people who visit the gym more casually incorporate whey protein into their post-workout routine. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to use whey protein while following a paleo diet.

Expert Insights

Registered paleo dietitian Amy Kubal advises always avoiding whey protein in favor of eating real protein. She points out that whey protein is a processed food, and some brands may have unsafe levels of contaminants such as lead, arsenic or even anabolic steroids. Kubal also contends protein shakes can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. On the Balanced Bites website, Diane Sanfilippo, a nutrition consultant and author of "Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle," advises that whey protein supplements may be appropriate if you have difficulty chewing or swallowing, or if you are a serious athlete. Otherwise, she also says you should eat real food instead of drinking protein shakes.

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