Skip to main content

View Diary: Paleo Man Debunks the Paleo Diet (95 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  So you are suggesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crider, True North

    All of the above are recent developments? I'd probably agree that animal milk dates back no further than the advent of agrarian society but grain and legumes predate irate bloggers by a bit.

    {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

    by koNko on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:00:22 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  According to Cordain (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, melfunction, Nattiq, koNko

      who is a researcher of ancient diets, before the agricultural revolution (about 10,000 years ago) humans only ate grains and legumes when there was no other choice and they were starving, since these weren't efficiently gathered in large enough quantities sufficient to feed an entire tribe. Ancient legumes and grains (before modern selective breading) were very small, and did not uniformly ripen (which made collection difficult since people would have to pick through the grass looking for tiny, ripe grains).

      And diary from animals began with animal husbandry about 6,000 years ago.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:20:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But Cordain is full of civet poop (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North, Mortifyd, koNko

        Here's just a rundown of the peer reviews of Cordain's assumptions.

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:29:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those aren't all peer reviews (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ScienceMom, koNko

          This is a complex area of study, and there is a lot of disagreement and no consensus has been developed among so-called experts. One can find a study to support almost any nutritional theory.

          Takes a lot of time to absorb it all, and it requires more than a cursory glance. I can tell you this: After more than three decades as a vegan/vegetarian, my health improved in measurable ways once I began eating the ancient paleolithic diet.

          LDL went down, HDL went up, triglycerides went from 250 to 60, blood pressure went down to normal, and extremely painful tendinitis (inflammation) in my knee went away completely, and never returned, digestion improved, sleep improved, weight became normal, energy and mental outlook improved, musculature strength improved, complexion improved, hair appearance improved.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:39:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All I ever did was go GMO-free (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            voracious, True North, koNko

            I've been vegetarian for more than 20 years, and although I have no health complaints, giving up GMOs meant giving up packaged food.

            I mill my own wheat and make sourdough breads & pizzas, make my own tortillas from whole field corn. Eliminating packaged food is an improvement for me, gut wise, and I still enjoy grains.

            "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

            by Crider on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:01:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I became a vegetarian (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ScienceMom, koNko

              at age 14, and it took about 20 to 30 years before problems began that became increasingly impossible to ignore. Weight gain from metabolic imbalances, cholesterol irregularities, hypertension, severe headaches, low energy and sudden energy loss, fatigue, painful inflammation, a feeling of being light headed, all were symptoms and signs which evaporated completely within only a few weeks when I changed my diet.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:11:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You mill your own wheat? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Crider, 2laneIA, koNko

              I barely have time to vaccum up cat and dog hair.

              Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

              by voracious on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:40:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yah, I got a little stone mill (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                voracious, koNko

                I like it more than actual baking. Next lifetime, I know what I want my career to be!

                "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

                by Crider on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:45:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Ted Talk (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ebohlman, koNko

        ZhenRen, Crider provided a link to a fascinating Ted Talk by Dr. Warinner, who is a scientist who specializes in research on ancient diets. That's a few comments up from here.

        It is a really fascinating presentation.

        One pretty basic point she makes is that none of us who get our food in supermarkets are eating the same thing that ancient peoples ate. Even the meat comes by way of farmers, with animals bred so that the meat is layered with fat. Vegetables? Bred to be beautiful, easy to eat, and non-toxic.

        Paleo diets varied from one region to another. People ate what they could get their hands on.

        I've heard her interviewed elsewhere. She noted that evolution didn't stop in Paleo times. Humans continued to evolve, adapting to changing conditions.

        •  I've recently been reading (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          Marlene Zuk's Paleofantasy which generally debunks a lot of assumptions about prehistory and describes how evolution can happen very, very quickly. It's not primarily about diet, though it does point out that the assumptions followed by most paleo dieters don't really hold; a good amount of it deals with how existing species might or might not adapt to climate change.

          Sometimes truth is spoken from privilege and falsehood is spoken to power. Good intentions aren't enough.

          by ebohlman on Thu May 09, 2013 at 04:48:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  All of this is discussed and refuted (0+ / 0-)

          in Cordain's books. Bottom line is she is extremely uninformed on paleolithic dietary science. Cordain is a professor at Colorado State University, specializes in ancient diets, and studies/researches these diets extensively. He points out in his works/published studies that people ate various ratios of meats/vegetables/fruits/nuts depending on latitude and region. It is well known that ancient people ate a much wider variety of vegetables than are available today. Even insects were eaten. Warrinner is far from the first to point out selective breeding of vegetables in modern diets, or that modern meats are not natural unless grass fed and free range. Cordain mentions all of these in his book, which makes me wonder if she read his works. She is rather ignorant of basic facts about ancient diets. What she doesn't point out is these same facts apply to grains and legumes as well, which are nothing like the tiny grains which ripened unevenly in ancient times, and which were thus very hard to gather in sufficient quantities until the agricultural revolutions took place. The foods they could "get their hands on" tended to be foods that were efficiently gathered and hunted species, and grains and legumes simply were not gatherable in large enough quantities to make them worth the effort unless they were starving.

          And of course evolution keeps going, but simply stating this isn't evidence humans have adapted well enough to the agricultural revolution to make these foods healthy, and all of the reports coming in from around the world are showing very good results for various illnesses from people switching to the diet. My own experience proves it works for me.

          I suggest you read some of the scientific papers and books on the topic.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:15:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Noted and thanks (0+ / 0-)

        My point is that, before the advent of organized agriculture, humans, like other animals, ate what was available by foraging and this included all kinds of things including grains and legumes. And yes, the wild grains are work to collect and cook (tend to be much denser) but if that was what was available, it was eaten. It's not exactly like they were late to meet their friends on Facebook and didn't have the time to survive.

        In fact, even after the advent of agriculture, humans have tended to eat what is available including things like bark and roots if that was the only choice. Hence, we have wonderful stuff like cinnamon, tree fungus, turnips, etc. If you can't get enough from the rice growing on the river side, the worms that live in the roots are available in abundance.

        Considering the diversity of "strange and usual" food eaten in some cultures, I'm certain that famines played a role in forcing exploration and innovation.

        I'd also draw the point that until the advent of modern industrial farming, even domesticated crops maintained diversity due to the random introduction of wild species.

        Industrial farming as usually practiced is really a mistake; by design and effect, we are narrowing biodiversity to the point it could prompt our own extinction.

        {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

        by koNko on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:27:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)
          My point is that, before the advent of organized agriculture, humans, like other animals, ate what was available by foraging and this included all kinds of things including grains and legumes.
          What early humans ate has been exhaustively studied by Cordain, who read countless field notes of scientists who observed hunter-gatherers in their natural habitats, which are also recorded on film, in photography, etc. The excavated sites were studied, the skeletal remains were studied, and what has been determined is that grains and legumes (and cow's milk, of course) were not consumed unless there was nothing else to eat in pre-agrarian tribes. They naturally spent time on what was most efficient to obtain, and most satiating, with the least expenditure of energy (wild game, fruits, veggies, a few nuts and seeds), and avoided that which was inefficient to gather. Read the books on the subject by Cordain, who is, by the way, a widely published professor and researcher of countless peer reviewed papers.

          Your comments reveal you have not bothered to get both sides of the topic. These aren't new thoughts you're expressing, and all of these issues are addressed by Cordain in his studies.

          Frankly, for my own part I'm far more interested in how the diet make me feel compared to other diets. I could go find the studies, give you links, but you would have already found them and read them if you wanted both sides.

          You eat what you want, and I will do that same. You've referencing a lecture from a woman who seems rather uninformed, in my opinion. There is so much that she states that are strawman arguments, and in some cases she rather amazingly uses arguments that pro-paleo diet scientists use to support their opinions, as if she is unaware she is doing so, which indicates she hasn't even read extensively on the subject (see another comment on this I made up-thread for an example).

          I've been through these discussions before and I simply don't care to make the tedious effort to inform individuals who are so convinced of their point of view that they simply don't bother getting facts from anyone except those whom they already agree with. There is a lot of good science that supports the diet, and while some of the self-described "expert" naysayers seem knowledgeable upon first hearing their comments, it soon becomes clear they are missing the mark if you are well read on the other side of the debate.

          I will eat what obviously makes me healthy, and after three decades of vegetarianism, the ancient diet I'm now eating and have been eating for ten years has allowed a complete cure of various health problems I was experiencing, and that's all that matters, however much you believe you know better than I do about my own body.  I mentioned briefly some of my history up-thread, which apparently you've ignored, as if it is meaningless to you... which makes this easy for me to walk away from since its clear I'm not going to convince you of anything new.

          I mean no insult. Unlike some of the academics, I have decades of experience with various dietary approaches, having actually tried them for years, and it is quite easy to discover what works and what doesn't. When several popular diets inflame my knee, while another diet eases quickly that inflammation, its not difficult to make the choice which allows me to walk without pain, so that I can enjoy the hikes I love to take. That's the bottom line and that is reality.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Thu May 09, 2013 at 11:53:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't narrow my vision (0+ / 0-)

            To a few specimens from certain places, or that the story begins or ends with Cordain's research. That doesn't dispute his work.

            I do expect that early humans, living in a less populous and developed world, would have benefited from whatever abundance surrounded them, along with the dangers. They wouldn't work too hard or long without a return, so I do expect their diet might have been balanced toward the available, wherever they were. But that's not to say what A ate is better than B, or we shouldn't venture beyond. Lots of heathy food is the product of civilization.

            But that said, I do think that wholesome food in it's natural state (or close to it, if you want to eat nuts) is best.

            Eat to be healthy. Different diets work for different people and I believe that evolution has adapted us to our surroundings, hence, local diets that seem to make some populations thrive may not work well for others.

            Certainly some populations have heredity intolerance others don't have. The daily glass of wine so heathy for much of the world is poison for some Asians lacking the enzymes to digest it, and our high carbohydrate rice diets would lead to obesity in some other populations.

            If I don't eat enough rice or noodles for a couple of days, I find myself getting faint, and without the high fiber of my mostly green dishes, my digestion goes to hell, fast. IOW, my body is conditioned to a certain regimen and changing it has definite effects.

            {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

            by koNko on Fri May 10, 2013 at 03:45:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are several points here which are mere (0+ / 0-)

              assumptions on your part, but I'm not interested in pursuing this.

              This debate will continue among nutritionists for a long time before the issue is settled.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:35:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen, ScienceMom, koNko

      The development and cultivation of grain (and probably legumes) were, last I heard, the cause of the advent of agrarian society. I'm not an Anthropologist, but my understanding is that the ancient grains that were developed into wheat, etc were originally low yield, and if eaten at all, were foraged opportunistically like everything else and were a small part of the diet. Once people started to cultivate grains for higher yield they had to stay put, and human living changed drastically, which was the end of the hunter-gatherer (aka "paleo") mode of existence.

      Clearly we have adapted somewhat to a changed diet. Many races of modern human can handle higher carb and high dairy diets, but others are less adapted. Asians, for example, can handle carbs, but many are lactose intolerant. Meanwhile, people fom other cultures that have not had access to grains or other starches (Inuit people being an extreme example) are not adapted for carbs and have much higher diet related disease rates like diabetes and obesity as a result of switching to a modern diet.

      Many genetic groups were only exposed to high carb diets fairly recently, in the last few thousand years, and so it isn't far fetched to think that adaptation from paleo to agrarian is not complete, which means that, given our diverse genetic makeup, a lower carb diet may be better for some of us.

      History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

      by quill on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:27:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  By definition (0+ / 0-)

        Any food eaten before the advent of organized agriculture and animal husbandry was foraged, and the "improvement" the wild native species by farming technique (and later) breeding is the proof that humans were eating these species or plant and animals.

        Whether it was 10% or 60% of calories consumed is irrelevant and, I assume, subject to time, place and availability.

        We usually go for the low hanging fruit, but when there isn't any, we learn to climb trees and invent ladders.

        {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

        by koNko on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:33:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site