Great Paleo Controversies


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Welcome to the site! This content is old and may not reflect my current opinions. I keep it up mainly for reference and because I hope at least some of it is still good, but I encourage you to check out more recent posts as well as my Start Here page

While paleo dieters generally agree on many things, we are not immune from infighting. Unforunately I haven't been involved in too many fights, but I can recap some of them here for your general amusement:

The Great Potato War of 2009

Richard Nikoley started posting about how potatoes weren't so bad and proudly displayed some of his favorite potato-licious meals. Don Wiss of took offense and angrily removed his links to Richard's site. Richard was not swayed and posted more delicious pictures of baked potatoes, as well as a rebuttal.


Outcome: The potato-haters have been surprisingly quiet of late, especially since Stephen Guyenet posted a series on how delicious and awesome they are. Potatoes remain generally considered unpaleo, but people don't need to freak out about them.

My Take: I think this caused people to think about what foods are paleo. Do we classify them based on taxonomy and history? Or on how our bodies react biochemically?


The latest paleo controversy involves Mark Sisson's newest product, a meal-replacement powder made of whey, coconut, and prebiotics. Even though he already sells an assortment of various powders, the annoucement was met with acrimony. Some complained about the price, others about the ingredients. Leigh Peel wrote a bitter post about how terrible and overpriced was, which ironically you have to pay to read. But don't worry, her blog has a nice free cookie recipes featuring Smart Balance and good old fashioned white sugar. Always eager to enter the fray, Richard at Free the Animal defended Mark and told people to take a freaking chill pill. Mark calmly clarified information about his product.


Outcome: Mark kept his composure, making his critics look a bit dramatic to say the least. But will his product be a hit?

My Take: I personally would turn into a raging monster if I ate a meal that was so few calories and I question the value of powdered food in general. I guess this product alienated a few groups of people, mine being the locavore "real food" faction of paleo. I hate the idea of my food dollars going to labs rather than farmers. It reminds me of the Joan Gussow quote: "I trust cows more than chemists."

Are there more paleo controversies I'm missing here? Everyone likes a good fight :)