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Kurt Harris MD

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« Imagining Head Smashed In | Main | Paleo 2.0 - A Diet Manifesto »

Why Paleo 2.0?

Yes, I was thinking of software.

But not with the idea of newer so much as "this works better".

Is there anyone computer literate, say, someone you are trying teach about your WOE or why you eschew certain foods, who doesn't know about software versions?



Oh, I see you threw away the bun on your hamburger. Are you on Atkins?  


No, I eat paleo 


Oh, I see, like those "cavemen" that wear those funny shoes with the toes. How come you left the cheddar cheese slice on your hamburger? And I saw you put black bean sauce on your new york strip last weekend- aren't "dairy" and "legumes" prohibited? And I've seen you eat potatoes!


Look, it's not about fashion, it's simply an approach to diet that minimizes the bad effects of modern industrial life.

We call it Paleo 2.0 because it is more cautious, more skeptical, more scientific and we think it works better.

Just google Paleo 2.0 and read some of the links.

Now, if you had told your friend to google ancestral, or evolutionary or evolutionarily appropriate, or archaic, you may be telling them to search for a word you think is evocative, but their search will probably not be too illuminating for lack of specificity. Just try those words and see how useful they would be.

So it seems to me we need a buzzword that is pretty specific - so specific it doesn't already have a bunch of other connotations, to say nothing of already being in book titles. And yet it should contain a word that means something to us and with which our ideas certainly have some overlap.

I'm usually reasonably good at coming up with clever buzzwords and catchphrases and such, like Neolithic Agent of Disease (with Stephan's help) or paleo-reenactment or No magic vegetables, or whatever. I enjoy this meme propagation. I don't have biological offspring. But although I could easily come up with something that sounds cooler to me, and to all of us, I'm thinking in a purely pragmatic vein here.

It has to be novel enough to enable a google search. And it can't have been used before.

Paleo 2.0 works. Try googling it right now, and you will not get anything you wouldn't want your friend to chase after.

I also like Paleo 2.0 for several other reasons.

The ideas are of varying ages but the proponents are newer on the scene.

The 2.0 implies an improved version, as with software, that WORKS better than the previous one. It is a statement of pragmatist philosophy. We are open to there being a 3.0 and I like that implication as well.

Think of Mac Os X vs System 9.

Os X is newer as a marketed system and works better, but has a Unix core - free BSD, which is based on UNIX, which is actually much older than Mac OS 9. So I was thinking of this software transition as a natural metaphor for our WOE/dietary method. 

One reason I don't like "ancestral" is that that term has so many non-dietary elements associated with it that may be fun and exciting, but are either unproven or so silly that they contribute to the carnival atmosphere.

Towing a $70,000 land rover with a rope in a suburban driveway is claimed to be "ancestral"...

Again, we're faced with saying either:

"No it's not that type of ancestral - we don't insist you must never run at a steady pace or use barbells (you must sprint and use kettlebells or rocks...)"


"no, it's not that kind of PALEO, we don't think butter causes cancer or heart attacks.."

 We can instead say:

"it's PALEO 2.0 - A version that for now, just works better - it gets us where we want to go. Here, read this...

Half the readers of this post probably don't even know there ever was a Mac OS 9, or that Macs used to run on PowerPC chips by Motorola. Mac OS and Mac OS X are the same thing to them.

Maybe sometime in the future Paleo 2.0 will be ascendant and no one will remember the other versions that evoke cavemen, and one will be able to say Paleo and it will mean what we want it to.


PS Thanks to William James, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Richard Rorty



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    A longer discussion why the Paleo 2.0 name should eventually be reconsidered, the main argument being that (a) it has too many negative connotations, and (b) it does not accurately describe where Kurt wants to lead this

Reader Comments (48)

"The 2.0 implies an improved version, as with software, that WORKS better than the previous one. It is a statement of pragmatist philosophy. We are open to there being a 3.0 and I like that implication as well."

Yes! I loved the post and think this is spot on. In fact, I've been using the term "Paleo 2.0" for a while now to describe the "next gen" of paleo which includes dairy, potatoes, etc. and is about finding the optimal modern diet instead of simple reenactment.

I'm all for this.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGazelle

In Paleo 2.0, I want an extra step added to the 12 steps, preferably as the first step:

Step #1: "Thou shalt not use the term, image or description of cavemen, ever."

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA.B. Dada

I really like your blog. I really admire your approach. Rational. It's comforting. I just heard your podcast on Chris Kressor's site, awesome.

The fact that you put this blog up today to explain the 2.0 and its use is just one in a long chain of examples that you are a thoughtful person. I trust thoughtful people who work with reason. There is a real community here of people that I'm happy to be a part of in what ever way I can.

I like that 2.0 Implies 3.0 and that as you (we) move forward over time it will be clear to see this evolve in a linear and traceable way that encourages more learning and reflection.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRyality

I like it. Though I use the word ancestral, maybe incorrectly, in terms of telling my clients that what people ate in different parts of the world were, well, different.

Paleo 2.0 gives this whole conept a bit more 21st century "oomph" that some will need to TRY to allow themselves to see past the initial "caveman" rejection thought process.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChad lefler

This makes me ask out loud the question that has nagged me for years - 'Why do we not positively know what is a proper and healthful diet?' Conflicting opinions backed by 'scientific' research abound. Is it really that hard?

The answer is yes, it is that hard, but it has little to do with 'doing science', but everything to do with the curious nature of the human condition. Look a the science that pushed forward the lipid hypothesis - it was horrible, even a lie. Personal agendas ran rough-shod over the desire to get at TRVTH. How sad. It happens a lot. I call this ilk trumpeting that hypothesis "The New Charlatans". Unfortunately many of them now have a cheap and accessible megaphone in the form of an Internet connection. And there are many others.

Each and every person is a free moral agent. It is a logical fallacy to take at face value expert advice simply because there is an 'MD' or PH.D appended to his by-line. It is also fallacious to follow a particular dietary path simply because it resonates with some psychological need. We all have capable brains - left somewhat unused by the bulk of the population.

It pays to be skeptical. It pays to be noble minded. It pays to engage the mind and make an examination, and get educated to effectively do so. A friend of mine tells me that although he has live in his body, for good or ill, he is not a scientist and has no time to 'make sure' of things. Sad, but I at least can respect it. Not caring is a choice rationally made.

I've become an eager observer of people recently. Older people - 45 and up. I notice a fairly striking degradation in people begins then. "Penguin Walking" due to over weight and muscle loss, aversion to stairs etc. I also like to hike. I rarely see people older than their mid 40's on top of mountains or 5 miles deep on a trail hike. They cannot. They very often look 'old' and broken down in a variety of ways.

Is Paleo 2.0 the right thing? It is certainly the right path, but '2.0' indicates a '3.0', a better and improved approach, a step on the journey to all the TRVTH.

Nice blog. I'm quite happy that you spend you energy and time on it. It is a bright spot in a dark and murky arena.

Shine on.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Instead of giving it a name, I just tell my friends and family that I'm avoiding Neolithic agents of disease. And if they ask for more info, I tell them I'll send them article or study links when I get home. I hate talking about it over a meal because it makes me and everyone else self-conscious at the table. Giving something a name seems to invite ridicule and mockery, and at 40, I'm done defending my lifestyle.

No one wants to hear how their pizza or pasta is killing them while they're eating it. Then again, with a meal like that, maybe it's better that I don't get invited back for dinner.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergunther gatherer

Hi Kurt,

I'm new here, and I very much like what I see. I got started with a paleoish diet about nine months ago after reading Geoff Bond's Deadly Harvest. I dove right in and cut all grains, legumes (other than green beans and sugar snap peas), and dairy. Bond's "African Savannah model," as he calls it, includes more fruit than other paleo-style diets, though it focuses on those at the lower end of the glycemic index, so tropical fruits are right out. His diet also goes for lower-fat-content meats, allowing bison but not beef. Anyway, you probably already know all of this.

I was not out of shape and had no problem running half marathons and doing Cross Fit-style workouts, but I was clearly carrying extra weight. Even eating 4-6 servings of fruit a day, I dropped 20 pounds in 20 days and another 10 pounds over a month or so. My weight has remained a steady 180 ever since. Heck, I weighed 185 in high school, and I'm 42 now, so this is all good to me.

But my goal wasn't weight loss; it was (and remains) long-term health. So, lately, I've been doing a lot more reading: Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution, Mark's Daily Apple, Chris Kresser's The Healthy Skeptic Blog, and now PaNu.

And this is why Paleo 2.0 as an identifier makes so much sense to me. This is work built on what came before, but it's better vetted and better serves the needs of the market (forgive the term, I work in software). I'm so very glad to have found this resource, and I thank you for taking this step.

BTW, maybe it's time for an update to your What I Eat post? Even if it's to say that you haven't made any significant changes in the past year. For me, I'm about to start including fattier, grass-fed meats (I haven't had lamb in nine months!) and some full-fat dairy, and I'm going to cut back on the fruit.

Thanks and best regards,

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Ullman

Thanks for being so patient, Dr. Harris. I'm not sure anyone could have come up with a more concise explanation and yet, the comments section from yesterday appeared as though a caption contest was taking place. "2.0 eh. hmm well, I think it should be called the pre-domestic terrestrial biped nourishment regimen (for obvious reasons)." As I read along I was cringing 2.0 and fully expecting this blog to be gone today. Luckily, you are a more tolerant man.


I'm not offended at all - I sympathize with the objections, actually.

"pre-domestic terrestrial biped nourishment regimen"

T shirts coming soon with that imprint....

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexi de Sadesky

After years of eating according to the ADA and USDA standards of "health", I was blown away by how I felt after following the guidelines in Dr. Cordain's 'Paleo Diet' and 'Paleo Diet for Athletes' as well as Robb Wolf's 'Paleo Solution'.

However, I began to experience some psychic distress surrounding the "paleo" vs. "non-paleo" concept and the complete eschewing of all "neolithic" foods.

On a pure physical level, I also wasn't comfortable with the idea that raw milk from a healthy, well cared for, grass fed, local cow was simply "bad". I understand that it might be bad for some people, but in my own personal experience it was amazing and the people producing it were amazing too.

Realistically and financially, I wasn't about to buy the idea that in order to be healthy I needed to test my blood and urine on a regular basis, buy an ownership stake in a supplement company, and to log, track, calculate, weigh, and debate every calorie I put in my mouth.

In other words, yesterday's "Paleo 2.0" manifesto was an affirmation of everything that I had been feeling and it was a breath of fresh air, a liberation, and an inspiration.

Watch the news for 30 seconds, watch another channell for 30 more seconds, then check out BBC or Al Jazeera online and you'll realize that we can't even agree on what is taking place RIGHT NOW. Coming to some sort of definitive conclusion with regards to what happened 5, 10, or 20 thousand years ago is akin to literally taking a stab in the dark and, while interesting and worthy of study, far from a perfect science.

Similarly, I'm not opposed to invoking the word "caveman" in my conversations about my diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices. Just as "paleo" can mean "paleolithic", or, in the context of "paleo 2.0", mean an "appeal to archaic foodways to learn what is wrong with our Neolithic/industrial diet'.

When I say that I "Live Caveman", I don't mean "in a cave, loincloth, unshaven/washed, brutish, bloody and brutish". Instead, it is a statement that speaks to my desire to appeal to archaic ways of living to learn what is wrong with our 21st century society/lifestyle. In other words, I believe that "living caveman" is about building a strong "tribe" of family and friends, connecting with my needs rather than wants, experiencing nature with as few filters as possible, and honoring my human "animalness" as well as 'being".

Live Caveman! Go Paleo 2.0!

KGH: Well said

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFED

Why is it, that no matter what diet you follow, your friends are always watching, waiting to trip you up?

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

"..[A]t 40, I'm done defending my lifestyle. No one wants to hear how their pizza or pasta is killing them while they're eating it. "

I am 50 and I can so relate to the sentiment above. In the office where I work, I'm "that guy." When visitors or grateful clients bring in cakes, cookies, Dunkin Donuts, etc., I'm the guy who says no thanks.

Recently, our conference room was re-done and the decorator, as a crowing touch, placed a large bowl of Hershey's Kisses and hard candies on the table.

In our office of approx. 12 people, about 3/4 are way overweight, a couple are skinny fat, almost all are showing what, IMHO, appear to be indications of premature aging, and a few are sick quite frequently.

One lady in particular, has had GI surgery, and as she heats up her oatmeal in the microwave that she will add all sorts of super-sweetened stuff to, every single morning, she sighs how, "no matter how much she tries to eat healthy," it doesn't matter, it's all genetics, and getting sick and feeling prematurely old are all just part of life.

I struggle sometimes with how much to say. I usually just stay quiet. I figure if they were motivated, they'd find the information, just like I did.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Indeed, Googling "Paleo 2.0" already has this post as its 2nd hit. Truly you are wise in the ways of SEO. Or maybe just lucky. Or maybe something else. Correlation != causation and all that. :)


Well, if I was after hits and SEO and trying to be proprietary, I could try to claim it as a trademarked phrase. If someone wrote a book called PaNu or tried to make money using that trademark, I probably would threaten them as even though it's all been free so far, trademarking and intellectual property and copyrights still apply. Pretty much all the bloggers have their copyright blurbs and I think that is appropriate. Try writing a book called "Robb Wolf's diet" and see what happens : )

But I've been sprinkling the Paleo 2.0 phrase around the 'net for a while now and frankly, if my site stays as the only hit, then I've failed. I want other people to use it and acknowledge where it came from, just like they when they use NAD. Of course, if some traffic comes my way and builds my platform, I won't complain about it.

So I'd like Paleo 2.0 and the underlying concepts to be open source - free with attribution and respect for the definition. It won't work if is co-opted by raw vegans or something.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Clapp

I'm currently reading "Paleo Diet for Athletes" and it so needs an upgrade to Paleo 2.0.

KGH: I had real hopes the Paleo Diet would be, but it was not.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDorian


Ever hear the story about crabs in a bucket? If not, here you go...

One time a man was walking along the beach and say another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.

"Why don't you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won't escape?", he said.

"You don't understand.", the man replied, "If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them."

So it is with people. If one tries to do something different, get better grades, improve herself, escape her environment, or dream big dreams, other people will try to drag her back down to share their fate.

Moral of the story: Ignore the crabs. Charge ahead and do what is right for you. It may not be easy and you may not succeed as much as you like, but you will NEVER share the same fate as those never try.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFED

Although i agree with your last post and have brought this up to Richard in his comments section about a month ago, i cant get behind the name. There already is a Paleo Diet. Loren Cordain basically owns the term now and no amount of spinning will change the low saturated, low carb, caveman aspect of his version. The moment you say paleo to someone they usually get turned off and i think the 2.0 will just make it sound even worse when trying to explain it to people who already have a standoffish view of paleo (which in my experience is the majority of people).

Whats wrong with just keeping it EM2? I like your brand of diet and think you should break off from the paleo brand all together the same way Sisson and others have. Either way i wont be using this term. Im not trying to trash your idea, just giving my honest opinion of how i see this playing out.


All good points. I have considered for over a year not using the term "paleo" anymore, but I disagree that Cordain owns the word Paleo. In fact, it heartens me that most of the newbies who read Cordain or DeVaney are shocked and confused at the recommendations they find there. To me that means that the growth is coming prior to their exposure to the "patented" sources and there is a chance we can re- define the word. The cadre of Paleo 2.0 folks - who are getting their info from the blogoshpere first and books second, can drive the etymology and connotation of Paleo the way we want.

It this fails, then there's nothing lost in the effort that I can see.

PaNu and EM2 I do consider trademarked to my particular diet, as I indicated in earlier comments. I've already split from Cordain and Devaney by my approach having no derivation from them in the first place.

I just don't buy that anyone can plant a flag in a greek prefix. If no one wants to affiliate with the Paleo 2.0 concept, that will be OK, too. I'll then have it all to myself and I'll be free to discard it if it proves useless later on.

And I'm not sure Sisson has separated himself successfully in more than a marketing vein (nothing wrong with that!) - The grok mascot evokes Cordain/Devaney way more than the word "paleo" in my mind.

I actually consider Mark very 2.0 compliant. In putting this forward, I had in mind a whole list of bloggers and writers -many of whom don't use the term "paleo" at all - that I would put under the rubric of 2.0, but I feel it is very important for the utility of the meme for them to affiliate with it on their own.

And again, ancestral and evolutionary have their appeal but have a motley bunch of flags stuck in them by everyone already.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZach

Mankind has had many years to embrace knowledge,wisdom, and common sense as a common goal.We have not and we will as a species but as individuals and families we can. Paleo 2.0 will not be embraced by the masses but all that can be done is to have the collective wisdom there for harvest.The real value of paleo 2.0 is the approach, not the facts.The facts rise to the top like cream.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRod

In response to your reply:

I figured the only reason you keep the url "paleonu" is because "panu" is already taken. This is why i think EM2 would be a better option if you were to brand your way of eating much like Sisson has.

Now that i read your response and think about it more i am understanding your attempt to change the root of what makes paleo unappealing in the first place instead of just branding your own subsection of the paleo blanket or striking out on your own. I applaud your effort because i while i think paleo is far and above any other "diet" out there, there is much work needed and i dont think it will ever be completely finished and for that, paleo 2.0 does fit.


"your attempt to change the root of what makes paleo unappealing in the first place instead of just branding your own subsection of the paleo blanket or striking out on your own."

If I did not see convergent evolution over the past 18 months on these ideas, the proposal would make no sense.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZach

A little note about nomenclature here. Somewhere in the comments of your previous post, you mentioned that "Human diet" would not evoke a positive response. Here's a very small sample of conflicting data: when asking coworkers who have heard me mention the ills of fructose and oils about diet names, they much preferred "human diet" to "paleo 2.0".

This is, of course, a specialized sample. People within paleo seem to like paleo 2.0, because they know the history, and like how people have diverged from Cordain through integrating science and history. People outside of it may be like, "What? I don't even know what Paleo is, let alone Paleo 2.0." and that turned my small sample off to a degree. They were just getting over the urge to spit in my face in reaction to being told to eat more butter, and then I hit them with a one-two combination of "Paleo" and "2.0". Maybe too much to handle at once!

That being said, having a new name to float strikes me as a great idea. Especially if some other luminaries start using it. Paleo 2.0 is about as simple as you can get, in order to differentiate the newer ideas from the older ones. Hopefully, at some point, the old ideas will get weeded out, and we can just go back to eating "Paleo".

If you write a book though, you might want to consider: "Kurt Harris: Return of the Jedi". Sounds a lot cooler than "Panu" or "EM2" or "Paleo 2.0".

KGH: I may have given the impression I am a crusader and trying to convert everyone on the planet to the paleo religion, but I am not an evangelical

I am trying to reconcile two goals of equal importance

1) come up with a term that is useful to writers and blogger and enthusiasts in communicating with each other.


2) come up with a search term that newbies could use and not get confused by lipophobia..

If #2 were the only goal, then the focus group approach would make more sense. But I frankly care more about what you and I want to call it

Let me suggest something I think is very likely to be true.

It may be that the reason we need the term with 2.0 in it is exactly because some people are more concerned with marketing and reach than with sound and up-to-date science.

Is there any question that "fruits vegetables and lean meats" (note carefully the order of the words) is easier to market than what I am promoting?

Paying too much attention to what will "sell" is why we need the differentiation.

I'd rather see thousands eating butter than millions thinking it will kill you and eating a cup of nuts a day, even if the millions don't eat bread.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKamal

I agree and have seen the same thing. My original thought over at was that Richard, you and others should come up with something new entirely. I just feel like the word paleo is already tainted and will be a hard sell in any package to the people looking to breakaway.

Now my original thought when reading your article was for monetary intentions, Paleo 2.0 is genius, print the book now and it would sell like crazy. I just felt like your blog was so far beyond most paleo blogs that you should go your own way entirely. Now i see that you are trying to do something bigger by trying to update the word paleo and what it means when it comes to nutrition.

The only real problem i see with this besides some people hating the word paleo is there will still be a group that condemns your attempts at updating what they think to be the ultimate diet. So basically by doing this you will split paleo in to two camps, Paleo original and Paleo 2.0. So i still believe the best route is to abandon paleo as a whole and going off on your own or with a select few who feel the same.

Sorry or this ramble, i dont even know if the first paragraphs make sense with the last but its just my opinion on the matter since i have thought quite a bit about this and dont consider myself paleo anymore and dont bring up that word when people ask why i avoid grains or why i slam dairy like its going out of style.

In ending i will continue to follow you and your ideas before others, this has no effect on that.


All good thoughts and worth considering. If no one else wants to use it, that's fine with me. I wanted to see first if others wanted to in order to give some definition to the de facto split that in my mind, has already occurred.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZach

As a strategic consultant in the IT industry that has spent a fair bit of his career working on branding strategies, this post really strikes a chord with me.

My 2 cents - what you are really branding IMO is Neolithic Diet 3.0-

1.0 ~10000 years ago with the advent of agriculture. Infrequent 1.x releases
2.0 ~ 100 years ago with the advent of the modern technology. New feature called NADs. Release 2.5 around 1950 (Ancel Keys as the lead software developer) was supposed to be a huge upgrade but turned out to be a disaster. Blue screens of death!!!
3.0 - Taking the best features of the previous releases and addressing the key bugs that caused system crashes.

Anyway, geekdom and lame analogies aside, I don't give a rip what you call it because your best marketing tool and competitive advantage is not the label but the substance of the offering, and a loyal following too. I am with you no matter what you call it :-)

Warm Regards,

KGH: Thank you Aravind!

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAravind


j/k what about...

AID ( anti inflamatory diet)

KGH: I favor words over acronyms. Also, it is important that the list of the NAD be modifiable in either direction.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterW3W3

The more I think about it and skim the litany of comments, the more sense paleo 2.0 makes sense. After all, how many of us still refer to footwear when we say or hear "reboot"? In computer culture even the most common and entrenched usage of a word can give way to a novel meaning, leaving the original connotation to near obsolescence.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia C. Psy. D.

"From a Darwinian point of view, there is simply no way to give a sense to the idea of our minds or language as systematically out of phase with what lies beyond our skins. ...If one reinterprets objectivity as intersubjectivity, or as solidarity, in ways I suggest below, then one will drop the question to get in touch with 'mind-independent adn language-independent reality'. One will replace it with questions like 'what are the limits of our community? Are the encounters sufficently free and open? Has what we have recently gained in solidarity cost us our ability to listen to outsiders who are suffering [or suppliment omega 3's from fish oil in a bottle]? To outsiders who have new ideas?" ~ Richard Rorty

...yeah...what he said.

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

I guess I'm one of the newbies you refer to. Up until a couple of months ago I'd never heard of "paleo diet". Then, on a bicycling blog called Velo Orange, I came across a paleo reference. A quick google search lead me to Taubes. A short Kindle download later and I was ploughing into "Why We Get Fat". I finished the book in 2 days, and straight away changed my WOE and haven't looked back.

I also have experience in branding and IT, and there is something to be said for actually avoiding a "brand". A brand is a commodity that can be bought, sold, and corrupted. People these days are increasingly becoming brand resistant. They see a fancy brand with a slick logo and think, 'ok, what are they selling'.

What we're really talking about is a revolution in modern nutrition. The caveman analogies might be suitable for case studies, but the crux of the matter is tearing down the massive con that is low fat, high carb and replacing it with something based on actual science. It's not about where we've been but where we're going. You could call it post-Neolithic, but I don't think there will be a real name for quite awhile. Maybe in a hundred years, when we're into our second centuries, that we'll mark a book by Gary Taubes as the end of the Neolithic era.

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDorian

i can see this the doctor for my yearly check up(post anorexia recovery lol) and they ask how i am eating....

" i eat real food its been coined paleo 2.0"

".... where are your healthy whole grains and oatmeal???"

"google it"

hopefully the search for paleo 2.0 will be proven to take people directly here because it would save me a lot of hassle trying to inform people im not distorted in my eating anymore, i just eat real food. my doctor didnt even know what paleo was when i mentioned it last year, she handed me the USDA food pyramind and asked if it was the same as that and it is how i should be eating.

i asked her how many patients she had seen who have recovered, put on weight, KEPT on weight and continued to flourish in their lives without relapse and orthorexic tendencies..

ZERO, your site and paleo 2.0 can help the lives of WAY more than those overweight and struggling and i will definitely without a doubt promote it.

KGH: Thanks Mallory. orthorexia with counting and measuring can cause as much psychic damage as the neolithic agents, so I like to keep things conservative.

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

Often it's better to keep moving forward than it is to stop all progress until the optimal solution is found.,,and it's impossible to prove optimality except in retrospect.

I think the problem with not using the word "paleo" is that the world is so clogged with diet books, plans, and proposals, each claiming to the the best, that any other term will get lost in the noise. My intuition is that it's easier to redefine "paleo" than it is to gain traction for some other term.

Besides, that redefinition is already happening. Cordain's book may be the best seller...but he doesn't have the community, and the online community is what gets people into paleo in the first place. There are a lot more people who got into 'paleo' by tripping over MDA, FTA, or PaNu than by buying a book...and the ones that did usually bought Taubes.

Besides, 2.0 tastes so much better! Butter, cream, coconut mlik, whole eggs, and lots of tender, fatty red meat is a much easier sell than round steak in canola oil and giant mountains of steamed broccoli.



I agree, JS.

To completely ditch "paleo" - which is how most people are finding 2.0 or "paleoish" (Richard's term) or whatever we call the non-lipohobic version of a whole foods omnivorous diet that has a concept of the NAD, is to take all the signage from your restaurant because someone got salmonella at another joint.

Defining yourself creatively is fun, but it's kind of dumb to not pay attention to how people are currently finding you.

Paleonutrition is a salvageable term as well. Of course, I am biased, as that is what PaNu meant originally, but if you go to amazon and search paleonutrition, you get the book below, which is an academically respectable archaeology text.

I understand the reluctance of folks who got here via DeVaney or Cordain to intentionally disassociate, even if they are on the same page as us. It may hurt the networking benefit to not be affiliated with the luminaries.

But I could care less about that. I'd rather have a well-defined little building with some credibility than a giant tent that will be taken down eventually. It's actually true that Cordain's book was the genesis of my blog. I ordered it hoping I could use it and recommend it to patients, and immediately saw that I could not.

Actually, I'll go further, I'd rather blog for only 8 readers and have the respect of real scientists like John Hawks than have a million uniques a month and be thought a promoter of whatever sells.

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Stanton

Dr. Harris, I honestly cannot thank you enough for maintaining this blog. It has truly been a lifesaver for me. Whenever I want to read rational, thorough, logical, intelligent information -- IOW, whenever I am totally burned out by all the misinformation that proliferates on the interwebs -- I know I can always come here and find you.

Today, for example, I was feeling a bit bruised and battered to discover after following PaNu for 1.5 years, that my fasting blood glucose levels are abnormally high. I spent the day researching and ended up over on Carb Sanity. OMG! and, lo and behold, there you were, the voice of reason. I'm sure you sometimes wonder whether your efforts are all for naught; let me reassure you that your indefatigable efforts are fully appreciated.

And, I love the idea of Paleo 2.0, especially your honest expectation that Paleo 3.0 can reasonably follow it.
Thanks again,

KGH: Have you been VLC the whole time? What is your fbg? postprandial? HgbA1c?

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Dr. Harris, I'm another one who very much appreciates what you present, regardless of the title. I can see that using the name, "Paleo 2.0" has advantages. I quite like your phrase about establishing the evolutionary metabolic milieu, which defines beautifully and succinctly what the recommendations are about.

When I found your website, the clarity and ring of truth were so apparent, the standards so clear, that it was easy to identify where others endeavoring to address the same subjects kept or did not keep clean standards. You have answered things I have wanted, for decades, to know.

If changing a name or a description helps newcomers to better find sound thinking and clean science, why not use a new name.

I, too, think that the word "paleo" can not be appropriated by a particular person or group. The use of Paleo 2.0 makes that obvious.

Following your recommendations has given me so very much, your explanations of the science behind them, given me such peace of mind, that I have confidence in what I eat and why.

Whatever you wish to call the overall plan, or your blog, to help others have a chance to heal, is quite fine by me.

Your offerings are of immeasurable help.

KGH: Thanks for your support

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterH.

In January this year I had my fasting blood glucose checked, and after 16 hours of fasting it was at 113. This was the same number from a year earlier when I had it checked. So, even though I had been eating low carb since August 2009, and had lost fifty pounds, my fasting blood glucose was still at 113.

My doctor didn’t even mention it as a concern when she mailed my lab results to me, instead choosing to focus on the cholesterol levels, which I wasn’t even concerned about.

Since that test, during the entire month of March, I have maintained an average daily intake of 1,138 calories, consisting of an average of 78 grams of fat (62%), 13.6 grams of carbs (4%), and 91 grams of protein (34%). On 2/26/11, I was 202 lbs, and on 3/27/11 I was down to 192 lbs, so I lost ten pounds in one month.

I bought a blood glucose meter a week ago and have been testing in the morning after at least 10 hours of fasting:

Tuesday 3/29: 131
Wednesday 3/30: 117
Thursday 3/31: 110
Friday 4/1: 133

By yesterday, I was feeling deeply disturbed by these high numbers, so I decided to conduct an experiment that closely mimics the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test that I would get at a doctor’s lab. After further research, I now realize that for this test to be conclusive, I should have been eating at least 150g of carbs for at least 3 days prior to my experiment.

Using 133 as my fasting glucose level, I drank two high sugar drinks (Odwalla Strawberry Mango Banana Smoothie 38g sugar, and Odwalla Mango Tango 44g sugar), so within a five-minute period I consumed 82 grams of sugar.

I waited one hour and then tested my blood glucose: 191. I waited one more hour and tested again: 116. I waited another hour so a total of 3 hours since consuming all that sugar: 96.

After consuming all that sugar yesterday morning, I was absolutely starving after three hours. Hungrier than I have been in recent memory. Had a splitting headache, too. I then ate six dolmades, half a cup of hummus, and eight black olives. I haven’t had dolmades and hummus for a long, long time. For supper, I had a chicken thigh and went to bed. This morning, I weighed 197.6 pounds. Yesterday I weighed 191.6 pounds. So, I gained six pounds overnight.

I have spent all day researching, and I feel fairly confident in my understanding that eating VLC has induced muscular insulin resistance. According to Peter Dobromylskyj, in his post Physiological insulin resistance, eating low carb “rapidly induces insulin resistance.”

As you have stated, “Peripheral (muscle) insulin resistance is a normal response to VLC as your muscles are running on fatty acids- otherwise you would get hypoglycemic.”

I have a doctor appointment scheduled for next Tuesday, and will certainly be requesting an HgbA1c test. I'm also going to begin testing my postprandial levels frequently. Any comments from you about what I'm experiencing will be highly appreciated.

KGH: I can't diagnose you over the internet but if someone starts with a fasting BG of 113 that is essentially almost diabetic. Normal on the SAD is more like low 80s. Normal on VLC about 90.

Once someone has diabetes, the issue is failure to produce enough insulin, not just liver IR. But I've seen patients drop fasting BG from the 180 level to below 110 many times with VLC PaNu type eating over just a few months. If someone starts at 113 and is still there after 18 months or has an average fbg of 125, that may indicate persistent diabetes. Serial A1cs will tell.

On the other hand, a VLC eater who does not preload with carbs, and does an OGTT with 191 at 1hr and 116 at 2hrs post 80 g of sugar - actually not terrible glucose handling. 80 g sugar is 40 g glucose and 40 of fructose - would give a response like 60 or so g of pure glucose.

It may be that there is exaggerated physiologic IR as discussed by Peter and this is superimposed in improvements in glucose handling - without a baseline OGTT or better yet, serial A1c, there is no way to know.

A1c and fructosamine and an OGTT only after 3 days of 150 g of potatoes a day.

Then you will know what is going on.

If glucose handling is normal, then 70 g a day of carbs would be worth trying. (But if you are diabetic, 91 g is a lot of protein. If lean mass were 60 kg, 60 g would be better.)

Good Luck and stay away from blogs that say you can get diabetes from eating fat : )

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

I finally listened to your newest podcast today. It was brilliant of course. If I didn't know better, I would mistake you for Greg Graffin. You two sound very similar. I think you two might have a lot to talk about. His PHD is zoology, but I believe his specialty is evolutionary biology.

He may be fat and washed up as a performer, but his mind is still quite sharp. I don't feel like a podcast advocate, but you two may be electric together. And Cat knows he would expand your audience. Just a thought...

I wonder if a lot of people who you reach have no clue who he is. And I know for certain the reverse is absolutely true. Paleo 2.0 You know more now than you did a year ago. And your not afraid to make adjustments. To me the sign of a great thinker is a thinker who is not afraid to adjust their ideas based on new information.

I could be way out of line, but as of today I think a Dr. Harris/DR. Graffin Podcast might be golden. Again, just a thought...

KGH: I've not heard of Graffin.. thanks for the compliments

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterclay

He is the singer/lyricist for a well known punk band. Bad Religion. To be honest I put a lot more thought into his stuff in 1992 than I do now. I know you like Isaac Brock, I thought you might know Graffin as well.

He has nothing to do with nutrition...yet... As far as I know he might be vegan. Los Angeles/New York intellectuals seem to love that shit.

He is an interesting guy though. You could probably relate to him better than me. I understand a lot of what he says, but a lot is over my head. For me, definitely the most critical thinker in rock without trying to be. If Isaac Brock is the most eccentric, Graffin is the most intellectual. But like I said, he doesn't try to be.


Thanks I'll google him.

I'm a big Nick Cave fan as well. Poet, novelist, screenwriter and does amazing soundtracks in addition to fronting the Bad Seeds.

I'm reminded of Ryan Adam's line:

"So I started this damned country band, 'cause punk rock is too hard to sing.."

Where I am now with my guitar noodling - Black Keys and Drive By Truckers and Neil Young - not much punk but I do play some songs by the Pogues whom I love..

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterclay

Ahh Neil Young. I am 34. I am in a weird music/age demographic. I like some punk, Love post hardcore ( ala MM) I absolutely adore Neil Young. When I look at my cd's I have at least ten. Another five plus cassettes. Neil Young is the best. One of my favorites, an acoustic live album, from the early 70's, I lent to my Mom, and don't have the heart to ask for back. It is like music crack.

Try and find a Cortez The Killer cover by Slint. Epic post hardcore.

I went to the Apple store and they showed me how to burn cd's. I have 15 or 20 I think you might enjoy. It is my busy season, but I will burn them for you. Let me know what you like. I likely have more of it..

I have heard of Nick Cave. Not familiar with his music. Even though, maybe just by name association, is he connected to Elliot Smith?

I take it the punk is too hard to sing lyric is tongue in cheek?

Most early punk is elementary. Greg Graffin lyrics needed to be accompanied by a thesaurus.

Probably not for you though.

If you haven't heard of Ian Mackaye and Fugazi, you must check them out. Super art.

Take Care


April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterclay

For what it's worth, I am partial to "Pastoral Diet" as it sounds a bit more humanistic than anything with 2.0 attached and still manages to distinguish itself from strict Paleo.

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersgmiller

Dr. Harris:
Thanks so much for your kindness. I will definitely be following your advice. I'll see the doctor on Tuesday but it sounds like any tests she orders will need to wait a few days so I can eat potatoes. I would like to better understand your comment that 70g per day of carbs might be worth trying, but I'm fairly sure I understand why 91g of protein is too much. Wouldn't it be better to fill the caloric deficit with fat rather than carbs?
P.S. (Your donation button is broken.)

KGH: I just tried the button and it works fine. If your browser is not working, you can just paypal to

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Dr. Harris,

I join the multitudes in thanking you for sharing your knowledge and insights, especially for free. Having read most of the blog posts, I can say I truly learned a great deal.To me, the science is fascinating, but the cut-to-the-chase posts offer the most bang for the buck. My favorites: Getting Started, Paleo on the cheap, and Therapy versus Life. The latter totally resonated with me.

The last few paragraphs of that post nit the nail on the head, especially:

"Or do you see life as complex and tragic but sweet and rewarding, and are happy just to stack the odds in your favor with diet and then get on about your other business?

You do have other business than obsessing about what you eat, don't you?"

After years of obsessing and trying to figure out the way to best health, I finally listened to science and common sense, dropped grains and most sugar, and feel utterly phenomenal. Digestive issues gone, hair and nails looking better than they have in years, feeling lighter and more alert, and even more are just some of the benefits after just a few weeks.

Will this give me long term health? Who knows, and more importantly, who cares? My former symptoms tell me I had to be damaging my body by what I was doing, and the cessation of the symptoms tells me I am no longer doing that. Some damage was certainly done, and I have to live with that, as well as be grateful I have stopped it. But beyond that, feeling good and alive NOW is what counts. I will die, either of a DOC, accident, or even being tired of living in old age. None of us have any idea what our end will be, but we can chose to feel strong and good and alive NOW.

The last line of your post, Dr. Harris - "You do have other business than obsessing about what you eat, don't you?" - drives home the point. I have found a way to stop obsessing. Other business? Yep. It's called life. It's time to get on with it. Now I can.

Thanks so much.


April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB

I like the term "fativore" coined by J. Stanton at

KGH: Too restrictive. One could eat starchy vegetables if they have good insulin sensitivity and as long as there was a fair amount of animal products.

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill J.

Being a software engineer, we have a term for this type of debate in the industry...

Whatever you wind up calling it, thank you so much for such an indispensable resource, Dr. Harris.

KGH: It's a good thing I can call it whatever I want, but I'd like to think it matters more than what to paint a bike shed..

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrent

Thanks for that response. I stayed up all night last night, listening to Ryan Adams and Nick Cave on You Tube. I am shocked I don't know them. Ryan Adams=Neil Young/Elliot Smith, Nick Cave=Dan Sartain/Tom Waits.

Not saying they are copy cats. Just saying they are cut from a similar cloth.

Thanks for those recommendations.

I hope I am not hijacking your nutrition blog into a music blog. If so, either email me or just don't post my response. I would hate to be a blog bummer. I just enjoy both sides of the conversation. And I am glad to find another who seems to have an interest in both as well.

KGH: My pleasure, I should do more music posts.

April 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterclay

"I'd rather blog for only 8 readers and have the respect of real scientists like John Hawks than have a million uniques a month and be thought a promoter of whatever sells."

On the Internet, where the cost of entry rounds down to zero, credibility is the only currency. It is earned slowly, and can be spent with a single ill-considered article - even a single sentence. You've been building yours for quite a while, and I'm glad to see you being recognized for it.

Likewise, respect from people like you, the Drs. Jaminet, and Jamie Scott is far more important to me than page views.

JS -

Note 1: 'fativores' is like your phrase "Nature is beautiful and it is trying to kill you": a counterweight to prevailing dogma, not an absolute prescription.

Note 2: Of the DC/Dischord bands, I think Jawbox is an easier entry point than Fugazi. Both Jawbox (slicker) and Novelty (darker) are excellent, although it's difficult to go wrong. If you enjoy 'Grippe', you might work your way into Fugazi from there.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Stanton

Dr. Harris:

Paleo 2.0 is simpatico.

Where fits the postmenopausal woman who, despite eating Paleo 2.0, lifts weights, is never sick, remains 30 pounds overweight?

Paleo 2.0(b)?

KGH: Do you mean morbidly obese or US magazine overweight?

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarend

Web 2.0 (as a term) worked for the internet. You can Google that. Paleo 2.0 works too. Thanks.

KGH: As I said, it's not about being creative or clever, just about what works.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteveS

Dr. Harris:

A woman 5' 6", 175 pounds, 50s, being overweight, extremely healthy, happy, SAT concentrated on abdomen (grabby fat). Lived thin life until early 40s. And still remembers Jimi, Stones, Who concerts.

I believe that woman is made to live a long life in the wild, but hardly attractive. And counting calories sucks.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarend

At some point, we need to rejoice (not resign ourselves) that this is what a post-menopausal woman should be like. Not some skinny shadow of ourselves, but a real woman, proud and sexy, ready to enjoy what we have earned. Rock on! There's still a lot to enjoy!

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

The standard-paleo "lean meats" thing has always bugged me, it just makes no sense. In Brink's "Imagining Head Smashed In", a scholarly work on his decades' long excavation of an ancient Bison Jump on the Great Plains, it is made clear that the Blackfoot tribes were after the fattiest parts of the fattiest animals. These bison jumps were huge assembly lines for the harvest of fat. Bones were crushed and boiled in hide-lined pits to extract the maximum fat. Early European contact left reports that the Native Americans would do all that could be done to obtain bison fat, wasting lean to get fat.

It's a great read and very applicable to Paleo 2.0 thinking.

Love to get some more input on this book and some Paleo 2.0 buzz going about it! J. Stanton at gave it a read and a positive review. It's an eye opener to say the least.


I have it and have not finished it yet. A great book so far. I love the illustration on the cover with the painted buffalo skull.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Dr. Harris,

Thank you for all efforts in writing your blog.

btw, I've been a Mac user since OS 8. My first Mac was a PowerComputing tower.

KGH: My first was an SE 30!

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike M. in Arizona

oops, I forgot on my Apple IIe back in 80s. ;) I actually still have it in the original box. Classic!

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike M. in Arizona

I applaud the reasonable tone and dietary recommendations, but one still has to explain what Paleo is in order to set the stage for Paleo 2.0. I hope that you can gradually morph the name into something more standalone and self-evident, while leaving the caveman connotations behind.

If you look at it from farther away, this is the beginnings of the third human diet. The first was the paleo diet from thousands of years ago, the second is the neolithic/agricultural det, and now the third is our attempted return to something new, but as close as possible to our original diet using what we have available today.

Something to consider... If one was to follow the USDA's dietary recommendations and try to "eat healthy" using that info, what would they person call it? What would they say? They don't have a clever term or name for it. People who follow DIETS have the names and catch phrases. Therefore, maybe we need something to point to, so we can say "I eat according to ______." Obviously not The Food Pyramid, but something conceptually similar.

Thanks for the great site! I love it.


April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoland

I don't understand the prohibition against legumes. Unlike grains, it seems legumes are large enough, and edible in the raw, to be a logical component of a hunter-gatherer's diet. They also are low-sugar.


KGH: I agree that legumes in general on a population wide basis are not as likely to be NADs as gluten grains, which is why they are way down the list to eliminate. I eat black beans now and then on steak. I love it.

But soy is no good and peanuts are not either as they are usually full of rancid PUFA in most foods.

So it depends on the legume.

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMP
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