The Real Difference Between WAPF and Paleo
October 17, 2013
There has been some hubbub lately between the Paleo and WAPF camps. The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) seems to be making an attempt to distance themselves from the Paleo movement. The recent post from Sally Fallon Morell, co-founder and president of WAPF, titled Differences Between the Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and the Paleo Diet is a further attempt at this.
Personally I think it is a good comparison between the WAPF approach versus a select few basic minimum Paleo approaches. However, I feel that Fallon Morell took a myopic view of overall Paleo landscape. She does briefly mention that she “realize[s] that there are many versions of the paleo diet, some of which incorporate some of the WAPF dietary principles,” but then goes on to cherry-pick the works of Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf.
Both Cordain and Wolf have a very straightforward approach to transitioning from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to a Paleo approach. This is a lengthy topic of discussion, but both are trying to present a way that most people can adopt and actually stick to.
Which leads me to the real difference between WAPF and Paleo. In practice, WAPF and Paleo actually disagree on very few foods (grains, legumes, and dairy) but they have very different approaches. WAPF only presents an “ideal” way to eat based on the work of Dr. Weston Price while Paleo provides a barebones way to start transitioning from a SAD diet and then begins weaving in things like food quality, sleep, movement, etc. Eventually you get a more complete and sustainable framework for health than you do with WAPF.
With that said, both camps have a lot to gain from each other. While Fallon Morell continues to backpedal on her recent Paleo bashing she still can’t seem to grasp the underlying principles of the Paleo movement and instead does a dry comparison of the most basic recommendations of a small sampling of the many Paleo luminaries.
I urge you to keep an open mind and explore the best of what both Paleo and WAPF have to offer. Find out what works for you. For me, I found out that I can tolerate minimal legumes, wheat and barley are verboten, and white rice actually works rather well for me.
Here is the comparison between the WAPF diet and the Paleo diet…from a WAPF perspective. Where do you fall between the two?
|WAPF Diet||Paleo Diet|
|Animal Foods||Eat the whole animal, including the meat, fat, organ meats, bones, cartilage and skin (poultry, pork).||Only lean muscle meats|
|Meat||Should be pasture-raised; always eat meat with the fat. If the meat is lean, prepare it with added fat.||Only lean meat, no added fat|
|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.||Wild fish and shellfish, no added fat|
|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).|
|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.||Not allowed|
|Butter||Consume liberally||Consume only occasionally (Wolf) or not at all (Cordain)|
|Meat Fats (lard, tallow, etc.)||Consume liberally||Not recommended|
|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).||Provides 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|
|Fat||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.|
|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 1 ½ 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.|
|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.|
- Rebuttal to Wise Traditions Summer 2013 Newsletter article (titled Myth:The WAPF Diet is Like the Paleo Diet)
- FAQs: What is Paleo?
Photo credit: kewing