Today’s Paleo nutrient analysis

Had the incredible pleasure of attending Robb Wolf’s Paleo seminar in Toronto this past Saturday March 26th. There are so many brilliant insights to share, but here’s one that stuck in my mind: the nutrient density of Paleo-style eating.

Not only is a diet with abundant veggies, fruit, meats, fish & seafood, nuts/seeds/fresh oils tasty, it’s also much higher in nutrients (and nutrient availability) than the standard North American fare. The nutrients in these foods are generally much better absorbed in their native form, and with a higher fat intake (so that fat-soluble vitamins can be absorbed).

Additionally, this diet contains little of the antinutrients that can inhibit nutrient absorption — in other words, even if you eat “fortified” foods, those foods might contain substances that can prevent you from absorbing even the added minerals. (An example of this would be the phytic acid in grains that binds to many minerals such as zinc or iron.)

Here is what I’ve racked up after only half a day’s eating.

925 calories – 18% carbs, 52% fats, 30% protein (66 g, on track for my 1 g protein per lb of bodyweight — and of course the protein score is 100% complete).

Of that fat, 43% is saturated and 35% is monounsaturated. Of the remaining polyunsaturated fats, nearly half is omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. the super-good stuff).

Estimated glycemic load is 15 out of a possible 250, and the GL was bumped up by my higher-carb postworkout meal. This is a low-glycemic, low-insulin-spiking diet.

  • Vitamin A – 461% of RDA, and much of that is the animal-derived, nutritionally active retinol group form, rather than the plant-derived, less-active carotenoids.
  • Vitamin C – 110% of RDA
  • Vitamin D – 2% (typical, since we get most vitamin D from sun, but that’s cool because I popped 4000 IU of D3 this morning)
  • Vitamin E – 35%
  • Vitamin K – 399% (since most folks are low in K, this is awesome)
  • Thiamin – 39%
  • Riboflavin -105%
  • Niacin – 103%
  • Vitamin B6 – 77%
  • Folate – 140% (and note that this is the valuable food folate type, not the crap folic acid with which cereals etc. are “fortified”)
  • Vitamin B12 – 172%
  • Pantothenic acid (aka Vitamin B5) – 64%
  • Calcium – 20% (though I ate a couple of chicken bones yesterday, so maybe that makes up for it!)
  • Magnesium – 49%
  • Potassium – 48%
  • Sodium – 11%

(Notice here how the ratio of potassium to sodium is reversed from what it normally is in a Western diet, as is the ratio of magnesium to calcium. Most Western diets are too high in sodium and too low in magnesium.)

  • Phosphorus – 73% (an important and lesser-appreciated mineral in bone building)
  • Iron – 65%
  • Zinc – 37%
  • Copper – 36%
  • Manganese – 88%
  • Selenium – 140%

Not only that, my veggie intake included some fermented kimchi type stuff (homemade), so there are plenty of friendly little probiotic critters swimming around inside my GI tract now.

In other words, I’ve hit near or over the RDA for many important nutrients by lunchtime.

Can you say this about YOUR diet? Run it through and let’s see what you come up with!