The Australian federal health department is investigating a new Paleolithic diet cookbook that health experts claim could be potentially dangerous for babies. Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans has received criticism for his cookbook’s select chapters on how mothers can raise their own newborns on a high-meat diet, including a bone broth recipe for baby formula.
Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way For new Mums, Babies, and Toddlers was scheduled to release last week, but the publisher Pan Macmillan Australia delayed the release without comments. The book was written by nutritionist Helen Padarin and blogger Charlotte Carr, along with Evans. All three are longtime advocates of the diet and Carr has even declared to have had the power to heal her child’s “compromised immune system” and “reverse toxicity and illness.”
In 2012, the Paleolithic diet became the newest fad diet trend. Except now, three years later, the “fad” is still going strong and has attracted millions of followers. By 2013, it became the most searched for weight-loss method on Google, fueled by the American obsession to lose weight in society that fosters a fast food type of instant gratification. Better known as the “paleo” diet, its roots can be traced back to a period of time in 2 million BC, which is a time when humans relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering plant foods as their only food sources.
However, if dieters want to be historically accurate, they’ll have to settle with ambiguity. The diet, which was largely popularized by a best-selling book in the early 2000s, is only a roundabout estimate of what types of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates were eaten by our early ancestors, according to a recent study. The modern version of the diet eaten today includes meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, but rules out huge parts of an otherwise healthy diet, such as legumes, high-protein grains, such as quinoa, whole grains, and dairy products. It’s no surprise the diet also prohibits sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, flavors, preservatives, and most vegetable oils, making at least 80 percent of the American food items sold in a grocery store today off limits.
But eat all of the meat you want, and apparently now you can feed it to your baby, too. Australia’s federal health department is aware of the book and has publicized its concern for the “inadequate nutritional value of some of the recipes, in particular the infant formula.” The alarming recipe for infants and up to 6 months of age, called the “Baby Building Broth,” consists of chicken bones, chicken feet, and apple cider vinegar. The humans of today, however, are not biologically built the same as our ancestors, and neither are our babies. So they require meat’s high iron and zinc levels around four to six months for growth, according to Baby Center, but that doesn’t include bone or feet.
“There appears to be recommendations not to use either breast milk or an approved infant formula, but to provide other foods to infants under 6 months of age, and that really is a big health risk,” said Professor Heather Yeatman, from the Public Health Association, regarding why it was potentially dangerous for infants. “There’s been discussion about a beef broth with mashed up liver as part of a recipe. Now something like that might be appropriate for an older child, but under 6 months of age, really the best option — breast milk.”
Rebecca Naylor from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, agreed. “All of the experts that you will speak to would say that feeding your baby anything other than infant formula or breast milk under 6 months as their primary source of nutrition is extremely dangerous.”