Differences Between the Weston A Price Foundation Diet and the Paleo Diet

Differences Between the Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and the Paleo Diet

We are posting this information to clear up the considerable confusion about the Weston A. Price Foundation dietary principles and the “paleo diet.”  We feel it necessary to do this because we often hear the two diets mentioned together—“the Weston Price Paleo Diet”—and we feel it very important to notethat the principles of these two diets are not the same.

Rest assured, we are not doing this to “attack” anyone personally; we are posting this information because we have a duty to provide accurate information about nutrition.

We are aware that many people experience short-term benefits from the paleo diet, especially people coming off the Standard American Diet (SAD) or vegan/vegetarian diets. However, in the long term, the paleo diet can lead to cravings and serious deficiencies.

We also appreciate the fact that many people who have adopted paleo diets are supporting farmers and ranchers who produce pasture-raised animal foods; and many paleo dieters are members of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

We also realize that there are many versions of the paleo diet, some of which incorporate some of the WAPF dietary principles.  Nevertheless, the principles proposed by the two main spokesmen for the paleo diet—Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf—have virtually NO points in common with the WAPF principles.

For reviews of these two books, see

The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain: www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-down-reviews/paleo-diet

The Paleo Diet Solution by Robb Wolf: www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-down-reviews/the-paleo-solution-byrobb-wolf

A Google search for “Paleo Diet” brings up first the Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf websites, along with the Wikipedia entry for the paleo diet; The following analysis compares the WAPF diet with the paleodiet principles expressed in these websites and the books by Cordain and Wolf

Animal Foods Eat the whole animal, including the meat, fat, organ meats, bones, cartilage and skin (poultry, pork). Only lean muscle meats, no added fat
Meat Should be pasture-raisedfor higher levels of minerals, and vitamins, especially fat-soluble vitamins and minimal hormones, antibiotics and other harmful chemicals; always eat meat with the fat.  If the meat is lean, prepare it with added fat. Prefer pasture-raised because it is lean.
Organ Meats More important than muscle meats, should be consumed frequently No mention of organ meats
Poultry Always eat with the fat and skin; make pate with the livers and hearts; eat the gizzards also Skinless; no organ meats
Pork OK to consume when cured (bacon, ham), marinated in an acidic medium before cooking, or with a lacto-fermented food such as sauerkraut No special preparation needed.
Seafood Wild seafood, particularly shellfish, oily fish, fish heads, fish liver oils and fish eggs.  Prepare seafood with added fat. Eat the skin of the fish. Wild fish and shellfish, no added fat
Raw Animal Food All traditional cultures consumed some of their animal food raw; so it is important to include raw dairy, raw meat, raw fish and/or raw shellfish in the diet on a frequent basis. Not mentioned.
Eggs Preferably pastured-raised; emphasis on egg yolks rather than egg whites Allowed; no emphasis on pasture-feeding; extra egg whites encouraged.
Vegetables Raw or cooked, always with added fat, such as butter Raw or cooked, no added fat
Fruit Raw or cooked, some fruits more digestible when cooked; add fat (butter or cream) or consume in the context of a meal containing fat. Raw, no added fat
Grains Recommended on the observation that many healthy primitive and traditional peoples included grain in their diets; need to be properly prepared to neutralize anti-nutrients and improve digestibility. Individuals who have trouble with grains may be able to eat them (properly prepared) after following the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) protocol No grains, based on the theory that paleolithic peoples had no grains in their diet, and also because grains contain various anti-nutrients.
Legumes (beans, lentils, etc.) Should be included in the diet; need proper preparation to neutralize anti-nutrients.  Legumes are consumed as a major source of calories by many healthy traditional cultures throughout the world. Not allowed, because they contain anti-nutrients
Nuts Good to include in the diet after careful preparation to neutralize anti-nutrients. Allowed, even though nuts also contain anti-nutrients (just like grains and legumes). No special preparation recommended.
Starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes) Can be included in the diet.  Should be well cooked and consumed with a fat, like butter Potatoes/carbohydrates not allowed, although Wolf includes sweet potatoes in some of his recipes
Dairy (milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt, kefir, etc.) Should be raw, whole, full fat. Wonderful foods for growing children. Not allowed
Butter Consume liberally Consume only occasionally (Wolf) or not at all (Cordain)
Meat fats—lard, tallow, etc Consume liberally Not recommended.
Oils No industrial oils (corn, soy, canola, etc); Olive oil and coconut oil allowed, but the diet needs to also include liberal amounts of animal fats. No industrial oils (corn, soy, canola, etc).  Very small amounts of olive oil and coconut oil allowed.
Lacto-fermented foods Include with every meal. “Not worth the hassle” and a source of “too much salt.”  Take a probiotic pill instead.
Bone broths Consume liberally Not mentioned
Fat-soluble activators, Vitamins A, D and K Most important WAPF principle; consume liberally of foods that contain them. Wolf:  “Vitamins A, D and K, Who Cares?”
Vitamin D Needs to be consumed as part of food, in balance with vitamin A. Take 2-5000 IU per day as a supplement, with no supporting vitamin A
Vitamin A Animal form of vitamin A vital to health; vitamin A-rich foods need to be balanced by foods containing vitamin D. Precursors (carotenes) in plant foods are a poor source of vitamin A for humans; many lack the enzymes needed for conversion. Avoid animal form of vitamin A. Claims adequate vitamin A can be obtained from the pre-cursors in plant foods.
Calcium Best source is raw dairy foods; cultures that don’t have dairy foods made use of bones (fermented fish bones or bones of small birds and animals ground up and added to food). Paleo diets provide only about half the RDA of calcium, virtually all from plant foods. Oxalic acid, phytic acid and other mineral blockers make assimilation of calcium from plant foods difficult.
Protein No more than 20% of calories 30-35% of calories. Protein levels this high will deplete vitamin A.
Fats Can be anywhere from 30-80% of calories, with saturated fat predominating.  When fat intake is low, balance of calories needs to come from carbohydrates (which the body can turn into saturated fat). 39 % of calories, with monounsaturated fatty acids predominating
Saturated Fat No limit.  Saturated fats are critical for good health. Only 7% of calories (about 3 ½ teaspoons per day). No carbohydrate foods in the diet that the body can turn into saturated fat.
Carbohydrates Some carbohydrate in the diet is necessary.  Avoid refined carbs. Carbohydrates not necessary.  Avoid both refined and unrefined carbs.
Processed Foods No industrially processed foods; eat liberally of foods prepared by artisan processors (lacto-fermented foods and beverages, naturally cured meats, cheese, sourdough bread, etc) No processed foods
Fish liver oils Recommended as a daily supplement for vitamins A and D Not recommended
Fish oils Not recommended; can overload the body with omega-3 fatty acids and interfere with arachidonic acid.  Human requirements for omega-3 fatty acids like DHA are actually very low. Recommends up to 2 tablespoons fish oil per day.
Salt Very important; adults need at least 1½ teaspoons per day; we consumed up to 3 teaspoons per day in the past Little or no salt
Cholesterol Very important to have enough cholesterol for hormone production, production of bile salts, healing and repair, protection against cancer.  For men under 60, no additional risk for heart disease with cholesterol levels up to 300 mg/dl.  For women at any age, and for men over 60, higher cholesterol levels are associated with longevity; no need for these groups to reduce cholesterol levels even if very high. Total cholesterol should be kept at 120-140 mg/dl.  Very low levels of cholesterol in this range are associated with increased rates of cancer, intestinal diseases, violence and depression, accidents and suicide.
Chocolate Not recommended Allowed
Coffee (and tea) Not recommended Allowed
Alcohol Wine and unpasteurized beer in moderation with meals Tequila on an empty stomach.
Pre-Conceptual and Pregnancy Diet Nutrient-dense diet, rich if fat-soluble vitamins, extremely important to ensure the health of the next generation. No special diet recommended.


Letters on the Paleo Diet:  Link

Guts and Grease by Sally Fallon Morell: http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional-diets/guts-and-grease

Precious Yet Perilous by Chris Masterjohn:http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/precious-yet-perilous

On the Trail of the Elusive X Factor by Chris Masterjohn:http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2

The Right Price: http://www.westonaprice.org/basics/the-right-price

The Cod Liver Oil Debate: http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-oil-debate

 Tending the Wild by M Kat Anderson:http://www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-up-reviews/tending-the-wild-by-m-kat-anderson

The Biggest Estate on Earth by William Gammage: Link

30-35% of calories. Protein levels this high will deplete vitamin A.

Back to blog