1

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Are branded paleo products really paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 17, 2012 at 9:15 AM

As paleo becomes more mainstream, we see more people trying to monetize it. Previously it was mainly authors and speakers, then bloggers, and more recently branded "paleo" products. Looks like even the veteran paleo luminary Mark Sisson is pushing paleo products; the front page of MDA has two posts about them. And Robb Wolf sold paleo products.

But are these products even paleo? There is no agreed-upon, certified and regulated definition of paleo, like there is for organic, so anyone can call their product paleo.

This results in all kinds of fruit and nut bars being called paleo, although you can't go outside and pick fruit bars from the ground. Also, beef jerky has to be cooked to be able to be sold commercially - but many paleo people air dry their meat. And there are cases which are more clear-cut: one of the bars marketed on MDA has "less than 2% flavorings," and I would think most here would agree that is not paleo.

I don't have any issue with people making money off paleo. But many of these products stretch the very definition of paleo, and some are just SAD products with less junk in them. I would think these products are healthier than their SAD counterparts fully loaded with additives and preservatives. But where's the limit? Is it when Kellogg's introduces their paleo granola (don't laugh, I recently saw someone talk about paleo granola)?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 18, 2012
at 12:15 AM

an organization that can provide an organic certification is not the same thing has regulatory authority. Also much of what you think is not organic would qualify. Also NOP has 30 people in their office to regulate the entire US. More than that half of the "certified Organic" have been suspended due to failing to follow THEIR OWN STANDARD.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 17, 2012
at 11:45 PM

Like I mentioned in the OP, "organic" IS a regulated term in the US and in Europe and some other countries http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food#Legal_definition

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 17, 2012
at 01:10 PM

I'll have to look into that. Thanks!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 17, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Apparently you can make jerky in an oven at very low heat.

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9 Answers

6
Df6dabaf4b1ef3d5db980ad64c501a5b

on September 17, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Strictly speaking, just about anything branded has been processed in some way and isn't 100% paleo.

However, I think there are also a lot of people who depend on buying products that fit their outlook as opposed to going the DIY route for everything. I know I make my own jerky when I have the time, but really appreciate being able to buy commercial jerky when I'm travelling - even if I like my uncooked jerky better.

I also appreciate that a number of the paleo "gurus" like Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf dedicate a huge amount of time to distributing information and advice for free. It seems reasonable to me that they should get paid for their work, and if everyone is comfortable with that happening by them getting a cut of sales for books, foods, and other products, then it works for me!

3
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on September 17, 2012
at 11:42 AM

These products should be judged case-by-case. The ingredient list should be good enough to go by.

Nobody owns the word "paleo," so it's a free-for-all.

1
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on September 17, 2012
at 04:43 PM

I have no problem with commercially-available Paleo foods what-so-ever. Most people who truly embrace Paleo educate themselves and are very discerning about their food. We will buy some of the better commercially-available foods and we will pass by the rest. No problems here.

The good side is this. People who want to follow Paleo as well as possible, but need some convenient foods will be able to find foods for traveling, for kid's lunch boxes, for "non-Paleo" family members, and for hectic, crazy days when they just want to stop by McDonalds. It will give us some options that are decent if not perfect (or at least better than mainstream). The other good side is that it will introduce more people to Paleo and maybe get a few to really educate themselves. And even for the person who occasionally reaches for the so-so "paleo" meal bar instead of the sugar and soy-laden one, this is a better situation than he currently has.

1
06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 17, 2012
at 04:15 PM

Anytime you have an industry and movement that is exploding in popularity, there will always be those who try to commercialize and monetize everything. My issue with many of the Paleo products are the various food laws about the packaging that require these additives and preservatives in order to sell it. There are many people out there with the best of intentions and great products that get hamstrung by these regulations in place to "protect us". Find some of the folks that have been doing it since the beginning or ask opinions of certain places in a forum such as this.

-Matt
PhysiqueRescue.com

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on September 17, 2012
at 02:19 PM

I would avoid such things, though I do take some supplements.

That said, I would like it if the stuff I do take were available in a more paleo friendly way - for things not easily available from foods, and without nasty additives such as soy oil or colorants.

So yeah, if there was something that Mark Sisson or someone else prepackaged, and it was reasonably priced as compared to a good quality brand, I'd go for his.

(Stuff I take magnesium malate, D3, K2, Ubiquinol, phosphotidyl serine/choline, ALA, carnitine, liquid minerals, cod liver oil, DMAE.)

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 17, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Paleo is like Organic. There is a general consensus on what it SHOULD mean, but no authority regulating its use.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 18, 2012
at 12:15 AM

an organization that can provide an organic certification is not the same thing has regulatory authority. Also much of what you think is not organic would qualify. Also NOP has 30 people in their office to regulate the entire US. More than that half of the "certified Organic" have been suspended due to failing to follow THEIR OWN STANDARD.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 17, 2012
at 11:45 PM

Like I mentioned in the OP, "organic" IS a regulated term in the US and in Europe and some other countries http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food#Legal_definition

1
43f469552cfd3be73fc88a9821b14986

on September 17, 2012
at 12:26 PM

Anything branded paleo is a food product and not a food. There are no paleo oysters, steaks or blueberries listed for sale.

Branded paleo usually means less garbage and more almond flour.

1
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 17, 2012
at 12:12 PM

I've started making more at home, e.g. meals with raw ingredients, toothpaste, lotion, lip balm, etc, but do rely on some pre-packaged items on occasion. I don't have a dehydrator and am not set up to make my own jerky (though do want to in the future), so I order it from these guys: http://www.gourmetgrassfedmeat.com/.

My husband and son are big snackers, so having jerky and seaweed sheets on hand keep them from eating something they know I won't approve of. We read labels thoroughly and only buy packaged foods that don't contain items we steer clear of. I've come across several items labeled as Paleo that contain refined sugar or some funky stabilizer or preservative and just avoid it. It is definitely a "buyer beware" market out there!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 17, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Apparently you can make jerky in an oven at very low heat.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 17, 2012
at 01:10 PM

I'll have to look into that. Thanks!

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on September 17, 2012
at 10:41 AM

Just depends on how much of a stickler you are for strict paleo. Most folks don't need to do paleo to the nth degree, so the bars/paleo prepackaged foods work.

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