These days, a lot of people are convinced that when it came to choosing the foods we should eat, the cavemen were onto something. The Paleo diet is built around the belief that we’re not meant to eat what our earliest ancestors didn’t—particularly processed foods and sugar. While few would argue with that logic, the strictest followers of the Paleo diet also advocate cutting out dairy, figuring that since some people are lactose intolerant, we weren’t meant to eat it. But there are strong arguments why a Paleo diet—or any diet—is better off with dairy in it. If you avoid all milk and milk products, there’s a strong chance you won’t get the calcium and vitamin D you need. And while lactose intolerance affects some people, its severity varies. Some with this sensitivity may be able to tolerate some dairy if they eat it with a meal. In addition, some Paleo followers mistakenly believe that milk causes a spike in insulin levels. This simply isn’t true. Dairy products can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, while helping lower blood pressure in adults.
For some, the Paleo diet’s dairy prohibition was a step too far. To ensure they get essential nutrients found only in dairy products, many Paleo fans have embraced what’s known as “Lacto-Paleo.” This adaptation of the original plan adds flexibility for dieters to follow the basic tenets of the Paleo diet while adding back the dairy products they enjoy, and that the bodies of humans from every era benefit from.