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stevembk

"Why the Paleo Diet and Lifestyle Are Not Based in Scientific Reality"

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the paleo diet is seen to much as harking back to being cavemen and not about enjoying more fruit, veg and nuts with less processed food and refined sugar/grains. a friend of mine thought it was amazing i was going paleo around exam time because how else was i going to get access to the online revision papers? I remind you that this is a first degree psychology student at the third best psychology university in the United Kingdom and in the top twenty for research in the entire world. He is not a stupid person, it is just an easy assumption to make.

 

Sure i have questions about the evolution of the human species, i think parts of our species have evolved to deal with grains but that is like saying certain people in africa have an immunity to HIV (while far more serious). it both cases sure you have a near immunity but that doesnt mean you should tax your immune system or go for less quality substances (ok maybe poor choice of words but the metaphor is breaking down now) when you have the option of much healthier and more viable options.

 

Paleo makes sense, but it is important to remember that the nutritionist associations for both america and england both say you can have grain and they all cant be corrupt, evil, scheming and working for bond villains  it is just logically impossible. And if you want real proof that dairy is ok if you are grown up with it, look at mongolian herder and nomads, for dairy and alcohol again, the french and as for oils remember that our ancestors before farming used to do fishing in doggerland gaining all sorts of fats not just omega 3 but omega 6 and everything else in between. We are evolving, very quickly and managing quite well to survive in some circumstances. just dont go for the one dollar microwave meal

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A friend of mine posted this on Facebook yesterday. I proceeded to have a lively discussion with him and another one of his friends.

 

I think it is illogical to jump on the bandwagon because "more older is more better". That said, the argument that:

 

P1: Older is better.

P2: Paleo is old.

P3. Paleo is best.

 

is invalid not because the conclusion is invalid, but because the premises (in particular P1) fail to suggest/entail the conclusion. That doesn't make the conclusion any less valid, and I think this is where a lot of Paleo debunkers get stuck. They say, "there's no science behind it," when, in fact, there IS science. I'm in the middle of Good Calories, Bad Calories right now and it's sure making a compelling argument that things like atherosclerosis, heart disease, etc are caused by the dramatic increase in the consumption of (particularly) refined flour and sugar.

 

The thing I don't get is why people think that a diet of meat and veggies is so crazy, or a fad. Because that's what paleo is, essentially, along with healthy fats, etc. When I ask them that, they say, "Meat and veggies is healthy and I'm not saying it's not, but..." blah blah blah.

 

Sigh.

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The thing I don't get is why people think that a diet of meat and veggies is so crazy, or a fad. Because that's what paleo is, essentially, along with healthy fats, etc. When I ask them that, they say, "Meat and veggies is healthy and I'm not saying it's not, but..." blah blah blah.

 

Sigh.

 

 

this.

 

I had this discussion the other day on facebook too- someone said how the hell do you do this paleo thing- there is bread literally EVERYWHERE.  and immediately someone went- it's just a ridiculous fad diet.  

 

facepalm.  I was like- what's so faddish about meat and veggies?  we've been eating it for years an calling it- you know- FOOD. 

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I've been reading some interesting things about dairy and bread as well, and they certainly don't have much to do with cave men but more so with traditional food processing (or lack there of).

 

People who are genetically capable of dealing with dairy products might still be having issues because of the way that mlik is pastuerized and processesd and would actually be fine drinking raw milk if they could get it. Others won't ever be adapted to dairy and that's ok! There's been some talk that traditional sourdoughs are actually so well fermented that they don't have much gluten left and don't cause reactions in those normally sensitive to it. The problems aren't that cavemen didn't adapt to eat these items, but more that our food system has moved away from the methods that made foods palatable, nutritious, and mitigated anit-nutrient properties of things like grain... the things that people all over the world have done for thousands and thousands of years to feed themselves.

 

So I don't think that the caveman thing is terribly helpful as a descriptor, but I view paleo as simply eating real (and sometimes living) food. But there is plenty of science to show that eating more plants and including animal products and natural fats is what is going to nourish us well.

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People who are genetically capable of dealing with dairy products might still be having issues because of the way that mlik is pastuerized and processesd and would actually be fine drinking raw milk if they could get it.

 

Not necessarily. As a life long drinker and fan of raw milk myself I do recommend people try it, but always with the warning that it may make them sick. Its like going to Mexico, Mexicans all can drink the water no problem, but their gut is used to the particular bacteria mix. Milk is the same way, it has a particular bacteria mix, and if your gut is not used to it the first few times you drink it could be...uncomfortable (or worse if the herd is sick). You can get used to it though. I just wouldn't hand someone raw milk as a cure to their stomach woes...

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True enough, its something you do have to test and try slowly. My point was more that the process of pasteurization itself can be a problem for people, not the actual dairy or even the bacteria in milk in a raw form. I like the explanation given here and quoted below:

 

Modern pasteurized milk, devoid of its enzyme content, puts an enormous strain on the body’s digestive mechanism. In the elderly, and those with milk intolerance or inherited weaknesses of digestion, this milk passes through not fully digested and can build up around the tiny villi of the small intestine, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients and promoting the uptake of toxic substances.

 

FWIW, I had zero reaction to raw milk when I started drinking it, but I had already incorporated enzyme rich kombucha into my normal routine so it might not have been much of a shock? Anyway, raw milk is not realistic for everyone, nor is it the end all be all of nutrition, just part of an overall argument that highly processed food products are not going to be the healthiest option.

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I totally agree with this. I mean, I'm just starting to eat paleo, so I'm no expert. But its crazy for people to call meat and vegetables "fad" materials and not acknowledging food, especially when kids these days do not know where their food comes from in the natural form.

 

this.

 

I had this discussion the other day on facebook too- someone said how the hell do you do this paleo thing- there is bread literally EVERYWHERE.  and immediately someone went- it's just a ridiculous fad diet.  

 

facepalm.  I was like- what's so faddish about meat and veggies?  we've been eating it for years an calling it- you know- FOOD. 

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http://io9.com/why-the-paleo-diet-and-lifestyle-are-not-based-in-scien-493239551

 

This article is ridiculous. The majority of the commenters know it too. I skimmed it and didnt even feel like wasting my time to read it all.

 

I think this is a little disingenuous. If you did not read the article, then you have no real right to claim it is ridiculous.

 

The article makes some very good points about human evolution and points out some very common misunderstandings.

 

Not once does the article claim that a diet without grains / processed food is unhealthy. Nor does it refute that some members of the population cannot tolerate either grains or dairy.

 

The main point the article makes is that the claim that there was some sort of ideal diet for mankind at any time pre civilization that we were perfectly evolved to eat misunderstands the continual nature of the evolution of the species.

 

I agree that the article (and the book) is badly named. It seems designed to be deliberately provocative to sell more books.

 

I have come full circle on the paleo diet idea. I was a skeptic, then a full convert and now feel that it is not really the whole story as far as diet and nutrition goes.

 

Specific (i.e. personal) intolerances aside I see no problems having either grains / dairy in the diet of most people. More protein and more veggies is obviously good for you, but having some pasta or bread as well is not going cause issues for most people.

 

If you are intolerant to something, or it makes you sick, don't eat it. If not, enjoy your pizza.

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Who the hell thinks we were ever a perfect fit for our environment (this is what the article states)? That would mean we stopped evolving! The paleo argument isn't that we were perfectly suited to a non-agricultural lifestyle, but that the introduction of agriculture into our everyday lives threw a big new wrench into the works that we still have not adapted to through evolution. The major problem that paleo addresses is that we likely will NEVER adapt to our agricultural lifestyle because humans no longer select mates within the confines of who the healthiest individual is. For example, someone who has gluten intolerance and has to have a special diet is still going to find someone to love them and reproduce because of the marvels of modern medicine, and pass those genes that don't agree with agriculture on to the next generation. VERY few of the issues that agriculture causes affect us to the point that they reduce our odds of reproduction, and hence will likely never be weeded out, just like the hiccups and hernia issues that the author brings ups.

How do we select our mates, those we marry and have children with now? It's through attraction. In general, we are attracted to good looking, fit, intelligent individuals. This would mean that perhaps we will select for and evolve out of things like insulin insensitivity developed from eating too many refined carbs, which makes us overweight. This DOES make us less likely to find someone to reproduce with. But the other maladies, like developing cancer in our 40's and 50's (which is typically after reproduction, so it won't get weeded out), or things like Crohn's disease, gluten intolerance, or other maladies that might make us sickly but with symptoms that can be managed with meds, won't go anywhere. It's up to us to change our lifestyle to get rid of the root causes for them, they're unpleasant but not reproductively debilitating.

And while there may not be great scientific understanding through biology and a rock solid biological link between agriculture and the woes of modern health issues (we are getting there) the empirical evidence is there. We can tell through human remains from when agriculture was first becoming prevalent that this is when tumors, cancers, cavities, and all kinds of disorders first appeared en mass. No, correlation is not causation, but it is a hell of a clue.

The one positive thing I did get from the article was learning about the experimental evolution field of science. It sounds friggin' awesome.

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