Q: I'm very interested in the Paleolithic diet, but what about getting enough calcium? And what about getting too much cholesterol?

A: Dairy is not a great source of calcium because it competes with phosphorus for absorption. Some of the best calcium sources are:

Bone broths (homemade stock/soup)
Canned salmon
Collard greens
Mustard greens
Turnip greens
Bok choy
Sesame seeds
Other nuts and seeds

The cholesterol in foods such as eggs, meat and butter do not necessarily increase cholesterol in our bodies. The liver makes most of the cholesterol we need (about 80%) but makes even more in response to increased consumption of refined carbohydrates. When it comes to cholesterol levels, don't be afraid of fats (except trans fats, of course), be VERY afraid of sugars and starches. That includes 100% fruit juice. Sugars and starches increase LDL, oxidized LDL and triglycerides.

When eating a Paleolithic-type diet, which is naturally low in carbohydrates, cholesterol levels eventually normalize. This generally takes about 8-10 weeks.

You can read my article on the Paleo Diet in the June issue of Psychology Today, and read more about Dr. Loren Cordain's work at www.thepaleodiet.com.

About the Author

Leyla Muedin

Leyla Muedin is a clinical nutritionist and lecturer at the Hoffman Center in New York City.

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