5

votes

Why are cheese, cream, and butter paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 07, 2012 at 3:41 AM

I am just a little confused about what "paleo" means, I guess. How is it any different than the Atkins diet if people use condiments and dairy products? As far as I know, paleo doesn't necessarily imply low carb. Personally, I don't fathom that I would hunt, dig, or forage for butter, cream, or cheese, so I don't consider dairy products paleo. What am I missing?

D3ec1f64896c5c3858b84f3172664a25

(0)

on January 31, 2014
at 03:27 AM

The authors of the recipe book Primal Cravings reinforce this concept. There is no way we can eat the same foods as the paleo man did. Research shows that Paleo diets consisted of 50-60% of fats. We are simply trying to emulate the fat levels they had. Butter is a clean short aged cheese byproduct which a lot of paleothusiasts prescribe. Anything fresh like goat cheese is acceptable as well. Stay away from the aged stuff. I recommend picking up the book if you are serious about paleo. Great recipes too!

B04787f664abf9bebc28f71bf7825a3c

(877)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:57 AM

You don't actually know if it is Paleo or not. It's actually pure speculation at this point in time! Also, the Paleo people from North America will have eaten differently than Paleo people from South Africa, or somewhere out in China. I think if you like it, and your body has no adverse effects from eating dairy products, go for it -- as long as you buy high quality, grass fed stuff without all the added crap of course.

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on April 25, 2012
at 08:06 PM

@foreveryoung - are you doing it as an obsessive spirit of reenactment? Then don't worry about it. I get what PrairieProf is saying. Doesn't mean that your diet isn't "smart".

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 19, 2012
at 11:25 PM

i have similar views on supplementing with produced vitamins actually

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 19, 2012
at 11:25 PM

i seriously wonder this all the time!! a lot of paleo i find is more idealism but we'll add neolithic when we want for our convenience and bend the rules as required

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 13, 2012
at 03:21 AM

Fwiw Casein is also a significant problem. I handle lactose no problem but Casein screws me up in different ways. Or did. Butter and cream have both of these removed because they are more-or-less pure butter fat.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on April 13, 2012
at 12:14 AM

I agree - so what? My European ancestors explicitly evolved the genes to handle dairy. I have 'em. I can eat dairy, no issues. Since I know that about myself - why not eat dairy? At the same time I understand that many people, perhaps the majority, don't have those genes. So they should avoid dairy. Live and let live, right?

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on April 12, 2012
at 07:51 PM

Thhq - nice! I lol'd. Regarding this answer: the farmer I buy raw milk from is not a corporation trying to trick me, and the local creamery that sells delicious grass-fed cream isn't out to fool me, either. They love their animals; they have a great product; it works in my diet; I purchase it. Nom.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 12, 2012
at 06:32 PM

The guy is just asking a question about why some people consider dairy, paleo? Hardly what you could call being "obsessive".

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Ack, my first comment was supposed to say "store-bought mayo."

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Also, the original poster suggested that dairy foods aren't paleo because you don't have to "hunt, dig, or forage" for them. So lifestyle *is* part of the equation, at least in his thinking.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:00 PM

On the other hand, paleo *tends* to be low-carb, because it removes many of the high-carb foods such as grains that have been added since paleo times. If you remove grains and processed carbs and don't make a concerted effort to replace them with a natural starch like potatoes, you're going to be eating lower-carb than your neighbors. So paleo doesn't have to be low-carb, but it generally is, by the USDA's standards.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:58 AM

Non-paleo foods acceptable on Atkins: diet soda, anything with artificial sweeteners, low-carb refined grain flours like Carbalose, industrial seed oils and foods made from them like store-bought. Also legumes (non-paleo by most definitions). Basically, Atkins only cares if a food is low-carb, not how it got that way. It's true that many low-carbers also care about food quality and other aspects of it, so they lean Atkins in a paleo direction, and Atkins himself said that AS, nuts, and cheese could be a problem for some; but the essential definition is "low-carb, period."

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:50 AM

And I was talking about the diet, except for one offhand remark about other parts of the lifestyle. By paleo *diet*, some people mean "eating only what paleo man ate and nothing else." Others (call it the Kurt Harris camp) look at the *types* of food eaten in paleo times and what those foods were made of, and use that as a *guideline* for choosing foods today. In some cases (fruit, for instance) the foods have changed so much that you might actually be more paleo (by the second way of thinking) by eating something paleo man didn't have than by trying to reenact his diet directly.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:30 AM

@warren excluding a food group because it is not "paleo" is obsessive IMO.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 08, 2012
at 06:34 AM

I had not noticed that the OP was obsessive about it?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 08, 2012
at 06:27 AM

By "paleo" they mean the diet. We all know the subject is diet so why do people pretend they are not sure and then go off on these rambles?

C7fa1bf712d466cf7e9f2a404d5f0e34

(40)

on April 08, 2012
at 01:03 AM

Jenny J - I live in MTL too and go to McGill. I've been looking for kefir grains for a while. Do you have any to share or that I could buy? Kind of funny that I read your comment and saw that info in your profile.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Oh, I didn't know I wasn't being smart about how I go about my nutrition plan. I eat meat/fish, roots, green leaf vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:42 PM

Like really loon.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:41 PM

If you don't read Pyncheon you might enjoy him. A genius of grand conspiracy fiction, but be prepared for stream-of-consciousness.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:37 PM

"So what" suits me. The best paleo gesture for many would be to stop blogging and go for a 20 mile walk.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:10 PM

Corporations tricking people into paleo? Lookout! The grass-fed black helicopters are coming!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 07, 2012
at 04:46 PM

I still think there's no real way of knowing what people did or didn't do, because the world's a really big place with lots of different climates and ecosystems and people who adapted to them. Like you said, it's not re-enactment. In my book, if your system tolerates dairy, there's no reason not to do it. I haven't heard an argument yet that can convince me otherwise.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 07, 2012
at 02:48 PM

"The corporations" have nothing to do with it. Paleo isn't even on their radar. The dairy co-ops and processors (too often the same thing) still orient all their marketing to the low-fat end of things. The high-fat dairy products sit quietly in the dairy case in the back of the store, rarely promoted. When they are promoted, it's as a decadent treat -- this tastes so good you won't care that it's killing you -- and never as a healthier alternative, which would be the way to appeal to the paleo crowd.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 07, 2012
at 01:59 PM

"Paleo" is just a name for a diet. It is not re-enactment. Beef is fairly close to some of the kinds of meats people were eating back then so beef is included in what is known as a "paleo diet". Dairy was unlikely to be consumed by all back then and even now it is not consumed in many parts of the world, so that is excluded from the diet. Its no big deal.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 07, 2012
at 01:29 PM

I still make kefir with milk, I don't think it's the corporations that got me in the end, more like the delicious, locally available milk...

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on April 07, 2012
at 12:19 PM

I also like the name "swiss paleo" for folks who eat dairy ;).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 07, 2012
at 03:48 AM

Thank you! :)

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17 Answers

best answer

17
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 07, 2012
at 03:45 AM

They aren't....But they are considered "primal", which is paleo plus dairy.

Turns out there has been sufficient selective pressure for certain populations/individuals to digest dairy without any problems, and they didn't want to:

a) be left out if they were otherwise paleo

b) miss out on a yummy and cost effective fat in their diet if they tolerate it

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 07, 2012
at 03:48 AM

Thank you! :)

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on April 07, 2012
at 12:19 PM

I also like the name "swiss paleo" for folks who eat dairy ;).

15
E1c41fc9d29cec2c3066e000c9562d92

on April 07, 2012
at 03:46 AM

Well, dairy products aren't technically Paleo. A lot of us are just choosing to eat them, but you'll also find plenty of people who don't. I don't touch cheese for instance, and I use butter and heavy whipping cream mainly during bulking diets. There is a general trend in the Paleo community right now that is moving away from evolutionary foods ordained by the gods, towards an "eat real whole foods" methodology. Grass-fed butter, raw milk, etc. can all be hugely nutritious, so why not go for them? The main caveat about neolithic foods is to test tolerance. The way to test tolerance is to eliminate for 3-4 weeks, and then reintroduce one food group at a time to observe symptoms.

My opinion is that diet should not be a doctrine, and I think Paleo is largely trying to not let itself become one.

5
A1a7413b99e03bc77f02d95c4170ea43

on April 07, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Again, we're confusing the entire premise of "eating paleo". We are not trying to literally eat the exact same foods as our ancestors, as this would be impossible. None of the animals, fruits, or vegetables that they consumed are around anymore. The point, and I cannot stress this enough, is to use their health and diet as a baseline to generate hypotheses to see what foods really are good for us nowadays. Olive oil is a neolithic food, but we still tolerate it just fine. Like others here have said, some do well on dairy, some do not. I use heavy cream in my coffee everyday and I eat some cheese when I'm at work (I'm a bartender) because it can be really hard to get any decent calories in me when I'm working behind a bar for 10 hours. Cheese is a bunch of good fats, and I can deal with the rest of it.

So don't get caught up in the whole "they didn't eat it, so I shouldn't". That's really not the point here.

Read: http://coachcanadan.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/allow-me-to-clarify/

D3ec1f64896c5c3858b84f3172664a25

(0)

on January 31, 2014
at 03:27 AM

The authors of the recipe book Primal Cravings reinforce this concept. There is no way we can eat the same foods as the paleo man did. Research shows that Paleo diets consisted of 50-60% of fats. We are simply trying to emulate the fat levels they had. Butter is a clean short aged cheese byproduct which a lot of paleothusiasts prescribe. Anything fresh like goat cheese is acceptable as well. Stay away from the aged stuff. I recommend picking up the book if you are serious about paleo. Great recipes too!

4
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:18 PM

I got into a similar argument involving my love of avocados... as they were not available in the paleolithic and have been bred only over the past 500 years or so to even have enough flesh for human consumption.

My response? So what?

I do eat fairly copious amounts of kerrygold butter. On the other hand, as much as I love cheese I hardly eat it (mostly because good cheese is $$$, and a binge trigger for me). Some mornings (maybe twice a month) I might put heavy cream in my coffee. I purposely avoid lactose because I get ill from it. But I don't restrict Dairy because it isn't "paleo" - I restrict dairy because I don't how I feel when I eat foods I can't / don't digest well. I still consider my overall diet "paleo" - in fact a lot closer to 1.0 principles than most (I avoid starches), but in the grand scheme of things, the impact of dairy is much less severe than the impact of beans, grains, and tubers to my body.

If I did find a grain I could tolerate well (Oats are the only likely candidate thusfar, but I only eat tiny amounts in haggis) I might try those.

For myself, I use(d) Paleo as the base of the way I eat... and then evolved it to suit my specific needs.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:37 PM

"So what" suits me. The best paleo gesture for many would be to stop blogging and go for a 20 mile walk.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on April 13, 2012
at 12:14 AM

I agree - so what? My European ancestors explicitly evolved the genes to handle dairy. I have 'em. I can eat dairy, no issues. Since I know that about myself - why not eat dairy? At the same time I understand that many people, perhaps the majority, don't have those genes. So they should avoid dairy. Live and let live, right?

4
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 07, 2012
at 02:47 PM

It depends on what you mean by paleo. If you mean trying to imitate the lifestyle of paleolithic man as closely as possible -- what people sometimes call reenactment -- then dairy certainly isn't paleo. Neither is your bed, your car, your computer, your treated water, or the grocery store.

But if you mean using our knowledge of the way most of our ancestors ate and lived to make smart choices about how we eat and live today, then some dairy may very well be paleo. If ancestral humans ate foods that had similar macro and micro nutrient profiles as butter and cream, then we may be well adapted to those foods.

To put it another way: just because something wasn't available in paleo times doesn't mean that if it had existed, paleo man couldn't have thrived on it. It's not like everything that paleo man didn't eat is automatically poison to us.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 12:02 PM

Also, the original poster suggested that dairy foods aren't paleo because you don't have to "hunt, dig, or forage" for them. So lifestyle *is* part of the equation, at least in his thinking.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 08, 2012
at 06:27 AM

By "paleo" they mean the diet. We all know the subject is diet so why do people pretend they are not sure and then go off on these rambles?

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:50 AM

And I was talking about the diet, except for one offhand remark about other parts of the lifestyle. By paleo *diet*, some people mean "eating only what paleo man ate and nothing else." Others (call it the Kurt Harris camp) look at the *types* of food eaten in paleo times and what those foods were made of, and use that as a *guideline* for choosing foods today. In some cases (fruit, for instance) the foods have changed so much that you might actually be more paleo (by the second way of thinking) by eating something paleo man didn't have than by trying to reenact his diet directly.

4
D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca

on April 07, 2012
at 02:45 PM

Because anyone who's smart about paleo isn't doing it in some obsessive spirit of reenactment. If cheese, cream, and butter are not harmful to an individual -- as for many people they seem not to be -- there is no problem. They clearly provide a healthy source of saturated fat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 07, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Oh, I didn't know I wasn't being smart about how I go about my nutrition plan. I eat meat/fish, roots, green leaf vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds.

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on April 25, 2012
at 08:06 PM

@foreveryoung - are you doing it as an obsessive spirit of reenactment? Then don't worry about it. I get what PrairieProf is saying. Doesn't mean that your diet isn't "smart".

4
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 07, 2012
at 11:25 AM

I never really "got" this either. It appears that human-raised livestock, i.e. grass-fed beef, which would not have been around in the paleolithic, is embraced wholeheartedly, but dairy, which comes from the same beastie, is not. The argumentation from the "dairy is neolithic" position thus doesn't seem logical to me, because beef is too. I think the real reason for the dairy no-no more likely comes from the issue with milk sugars, which some people have a hard time digesting. IMHO fermenting the milk into kefir, yogurt and cheese takes care of most of the sugar for most people, and butter and cream have enough fat to offset their effect on blood sugar for those with blood sugar issues. I am happily "primal" because I have no lactose issues, and as another person said, it's a good source of healthy fats not to mention B-vitamins, calcium and K2.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 07, 2012
at 04:46 PM

I still think there's no real way of knowing what people did or didn't do, because the world's a really big place with lots of different climates and ecosystems and people who adapted to them. Like you said, it's not re-enactment. In my book, if your system tolerates dairy, there's no reason not to do it. I haven't heard an argument yet that can convince me otherwise.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 07, 2012
at 01:59 PM

"Paleo" is just a name for a diet. It is not re-enactment. Beef is fairly close to some of the kinds of meats people were eating back then so beef is included in what is known as a "paleo diet". Dairy was unlikely to be consumed by all back then and even now it is not consumed in many parts of the world, so that is excluded from the diet. Its no big deal.

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:02 AM

Cheese, cream, and butter are not really paleo but I'm pretty sure that if paleo hunters killed a female animal that had milk, I'm sure that some of them would have tried some of the milk. Perhaps some of them would have tolerated it better than others?
I don't touch any dairy at all though.
Whey powder seems very non paleo to me. I can't see how powdered food is paleo? I remember when paleo used to be about not eating factory processed foods but that has all changed and not for the better.

4
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on April 07, 2012
at 04:37 AM

They are paleo because we like them. That's also why we are supposed to eat like our ancestors, but its OK to have whey protein and test ourselves all day.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:42 PM

Like really loon.

2
Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on April 12, 2012
at 06:10 PM

Butter, cheese and cream taste good.

That is why.

1
Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:33 PM

Who cares? Why be obsessive about it?

Of course they're not paleo. Every bite you eat is Neolithic unless you eat wild things.

More and more I believe the best way to emulate our ancestors is to include plenty of meat in the diet and to stay very active. The rest is playful reenactment, not to be taken too seriously.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 08, 2012
at 06:34 AM

I had not noticed that the OP was obsessive about it?

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:30 AM

@warren excluding a food group because it is not "paleo" is obsessive IMO.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 12, 2012
at 06:32 PM

The guy is just asking a question about why some people consider dairy, paleo? Hardly what you could call being "obsessive".

1
Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

on April 07, 2012
at 04:07 PM

As some have said already, if they're well-tolerated by an individual, there's no reason to avoid them. "Because the caveman" did or didn't do something isn't really the final say on a food or lifestyle. None of us really live like cavemen.

My understanding is that it's different from Atkins in the food quality approach, and in the fact that Paleo itself isn't necessarily low-carb. I suppose any version of Paleo is lower carb than the SAD or AHA recommended diet, but Paleo is mainly concerned with food quality. Macronutrient ratios will vary from individual to individual.

1
Cf89b6767687599fbbd8733757b5f215

(120)

on April 07, 2012
at 11:13 AM

Dairy is definatly a grey area to me.A few rules i try to follow:

1 Restrict insulin promoting dairy ie milk 2 Eat fermented unpasturised from a good source 3 As with everything do in moderation

I tried to live without dairy for two months and didnt really notice a difference now im in poland visiting family and have access to fresh cow and goats milk from family. I think this has a diffferent taste altogether and "feels" more natural (i know it sounds crazy but i can feel it nourishing my body!).

When back in england i dont bother with shop bought milk. its just not worth it.

0
Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on April 13, 2012
at 02:45 AM

It's my understanding that it's a fudging of the rules, based on lactose. The lactose in dairy products causes problems because many humans haven't fully evolved lactase persistence to break it down; however, "processed" dairy products such as butter and cream (doing anything to the milk besides drinking it is a form of processing) have most of their lactose removed. Since the evolutionary bad actor is gone, and they're delicious, many consider them consistent with a paleo diet in a scientific sense, though not historically accurate.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 13, 2012
at 03:21 AM

Fwiw Casein is also a significant problem. I handle lactose no problem but Casein screws me up in different ways. Or did. Butter and cream have both of these removed because they are more-or-less pure butter fat.

-1
6596bf8ebfeea9261e2eeebc1f0888d8

on June 29, 2013
at 03:53 AM

Im doin this diet for weight loss - tried everything and the first day I lost weight the second I look very much thinner I am having cream in the diet in coffee and still losing weight This is nothin but a modified Atkins diet which makes it more bearable the paleo name is a gimmick dont take it literally

-3
1270763ee16a47ce7c23d6370f50ac97

on April 07, 2012
at 01:20 PM

They are not paleo. I think the corporations are trying to trick people into telling them hey this is paleo without evidence that it is. I think they are doing so, so they dont lose out on money on their dairy prodcuts and etc...,. They are tryign to make paleo into a fad diet and it is not a fad diet.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:10 PM

Corporations tricking people into paleo? Lookout! The grass-fed black helicopters are coming!

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 07, 2012
at 02:48 PM

"The corporations" have nothing to do with it. Paleo isn't even on their radar. The dairy co-ops and processors (too often the same thing) still orient all their marketing to the low-fat end of things. The high-fat dairy products sit quietly in the dairy case in the back of the store, rarely promoted. When they are promoted, it's as a decadent treat -- this tastes so good you won't care that it's killing you -- and never as a healthier alternative, which would be the way to appeal to the paleo crowd.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 07, 2012
at 01:29 PM

I still make kefir with milk, I don't think it's the corporations that got me in the end, more like the delicious, locally available milk...

C7fa1bf712d466cf7e9f2a404d5f0e34

(40)

on April 08, 2012
at 01:03 AM

Jenny J - I live in MTL too and go to McGill. I've been looking for kefir grains for a while. Do you have any to share or that I could buy? Kind of funny that I read your comment and saw that info in your profile.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on April 07, 2012
at 08:41 PM

If you don't read Pyncheon you might enjoy him. A genius of grand conspiracy fiction, but be prepared for stream-of-consciousness.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on April 12, 2012
at 07:51 PM

Thhq - nice! I lol'd. Regarding this answer: the farmer I buy raw milk from is not a corporation trying to trick me, and the local creamery that sells delicious grass-fed cream isn't out to fool me, either. They love their animals; they have a great product; it works in my diet; I purchase it. Nom.

B04787f664abf9bebc28f71bf7825a3c

(877)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:57 AM

You don't actually know if it is Paleo or not. It's actually pure speculation at this point in time! Also, the Paleo people from North America will have eaten differently than Paleo people from South Africa, or somewhere out in China. I think if you like it, and your body has no adverse effects from eating dairy products, go for it -- as long as you buy high quality, grass fed stuff without all the added crap of course.

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