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so, do most people around here buy into paleo?


What do you think of the Paleo Diet?  

99 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think of the Paleo Diet?

    • I'm hardcore Paleo!
      23
    • I've taken some of the suggestions but not all.
      56
    • I've modified my diet but not necessarily to be more Paleo.
      13
    • I don't buy the Paleo thing.
      7


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I should clarify that though I was apprehensive about joining the NF community at first, all the members have (so far in my limited experience) been very supportive, welcoming, and informative.

I really don't have a ton of time I'm willing to spend online discussing and researching fitness, so I was looking for a place that wasn't dominated by one single viewpoint when it comes to individual fitness solutions. Something a little less dogmatic, but still insightful. Even though a lot of participants here are pro-paleo, there are definitely some other viewpoints represented, which, for a newbie like myself, is great to see! Thanks all, very happy with the decision to join and hope to stick around a while :)

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I didn't come to the forum sold on Paleo, and I'm not there yet, but I am sold on a lot of the precepts and have seen results by following a lot of the 'rules'. I'm also still really enjoying food while on my diet, and when I think about it, could live Paleo, or close to Paleo, whenever I'm at home. When traveling? I have to work around where I'm at and what I'm willing to give up. I WILL Try to local delicacy, and if that means some wheat, some beans, milk, or sweetened condensed milk boiled in its can for four hours, then I'll look seriously at my diet and say, "I'll fit it in somehow".

Am I against other diets? No! My mum has lost weight calorie counting, my brother has lost weight on Paleo, my friends have lost weight running, or weight training, or a variety of ways. Any of them are valid, really. That said, I thrive when doing something very close to paleo (meat, lots of fat, fruit and tons of veg, some dairy, NO sugar, NO grains, some potatoes). It's easier for me to just not have it, than to have it in moderation. Ironically, I can go without, I can't go with a little bit. And in that, every person is different. I have my days off - I have my cheats - but when I stick to a good diet, I feel good. I feel GREAT even. If you've found a diet that makes you feel like that, it doesn't matter if it's paleo, vegetarian, the South Beach diet, the Mediterranean diet, WHATEVER, go for it, and the folks here will be behind you. Including me.

ALL OF THAT SAID, if you post asking for advice about your diet, you will often get paleo advice, because that's what lots of people here have tried, liked, and seen work for them. If you want exclusively non-paleo advice (ie, advice from carb counters, thoughts from vegetarians, etc) then you should probably make that clear, as all the paleo people honestly trying to help you make your life more awesome may drown out the answers which you were wanting to receive

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I agree with what a lot of people have already said here... If you ask me for dietary advice, I will steer you in the general direction of Paleo (or Primal) as that has made a huge difference for me. I try not to shove it down people's throats. If anyone catches me doing that, please call me on it!!

I follow Primal, which is like Paleo with some modifications. It's not a prison for me - it's a general area that I try to live in because I find I'm happiest there. Sometimes I stray. I don't think any way of life should become a prison for anyone, and if I keep telling you all about it it's because I want you to be happy and sometimes I get a little over-excited.

Having spent a lot of time wandering lost myself, I want to do what I can to help people find their way; but I know their way is not necessarily going to be the same as mine. I do what I can, then I (try to) shut up and move on when I'm no longer helping.

Sorry that was kind of rambly. Hope it made some sort of sense.

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Excellent thread, excellent conversation.

I'm in the "paleo has a lot of good points, but isn't holy writ" camp, myself. I use the paleo/primal thinking to critique what I put into my own body -- what is it doing for me?

I view the food that goes into my body the same way I view writing stories. In writing, everything really ought to do more than one thing. A scene needs to advance the plot AND reveal something important about a character. A line of dialog needs to tell both the other characters something AND the reader. A line or a scene that does just one thing is flabby writing.

This is how I'm treating food. I want everything I eat to do more than one thing. I want veggies for vitamins, micro nutrients, and fiber. I want fruit for fiber, carbs, and vitamins. I want legumes for fiber and protein and carbs. I want nuts and nut butters and eggs and dairy for protein and fats, tasty tasty fats. I'm asking my food, what are YOU doing for ME?

Like many, I'm a pescatarian/vegetarian, so paleo already has some things that just won't do for me. But I think it has a lot of good points, ESPECIALLY the sugared drinks and vending machine food points. Ugh. Since September 14th I've lost nine pounds through interrogating my food as to its usefulness and working out six days a week -- three weight training interspersed with three days of cardio or fun exercise. It's working for me, so I'm going to keep doing it.

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I am always willing to point out what has worked for me (Primal 80/20), but will never downplay someone who doesn't want to eat that way. That being said, I do get angry when people judge me because I eat a lot of fat, and saturated fat at that. Fat keeps me full, and my increased fat consumption has done wonders for controlling my hunger throughout the day and my bloodwork.

This is definitely not a Primal or go home place (based on my limited experience). Hope people never feel that way

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Great analogy beastback! I feel the same.

In one of the opening chapters of You Are Your Own Gym the author says he finds it strange when an out of shape person exhibits great pride in their house and possesions. He points out that your body is your real home, you're stuck with it for the rest of your life and it's the only thing you really own (far out philosophical arguments aside for now) so you should look after it accordingly. I have read a similar argument comparing the way you'd treat a rental house with one you own. The gist of it is that your body is precious, treat it well rather than use it for instant gratification at the cost of your health. The point has really stuck in my head.

Enjoying keeping up with this thread!

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I have wondered what to post here, as I'm transitioning to Paleo/Primal.

First of all, I'm firmly in the camp of "calories is calories". If you want to lose weight, make sure Calories Out > Calories In.

That being said, I'm intrigued by the claims of helping with "Auto Immunity Syndromes". Furthermore, being a Crossfitter, many of the people I workout with do it. Like Crossfit, I'll happily answer questions, but I'm not going to say "you have to do this". We each have to find our own path. My recent research indicates that if I do this, I'm likely not going to have to count calories as the requisite calorie deficit will occur naturally.

Now, to be clear, I'm intending to stick to 80% - 90% (much as Navy Seals do) - Their diets are primarily Paleo, but life is too short to give up the bad stuff completely. I like beer, I like my pizza, I like beer, I like burgers, I like beer, I like pasta, and I like beer. I'm not going to give those up. Three cheat meals a week. I'll probably have a beer with one of those.

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I joined up because the idea of paleo/primal and strength training is something that made more sense to me than anything else I've ever seen. The majority of my life has been spent eating "country-style" - meat main course, plenty of veg, butter, bacon fat, and biscuits/rolls. I was also exercising "country-style" - a day's work, from sunrise to sunset, functional strength-training and very little cardio. I didn't gain any fat-weight until I started college, where I was sitting on my butt 16 hours a day, sleeping poorly and drinking too much pop and bourbon. I like that paleo/primal styles encourage eating better as their core values, and everything else is icing. I'm backing down from added sugar, most dairy and grains for a 30-day trial; I'll add grains, full-fat (preferably raw and/or fermented) dairy and added sugars in in stages, depending on how they feel to my body, and in moderate doses. I want to lose weight without losing muscle, and get my strength back. I'm tired of being sorry. :) I also like how paleo ties in with my own beliefs of sustainable agriculture and WAPF principles. I like paleo, but I don't think that it would be strictly sustainable in my current life. But I can do my best. I also use SparkPeople - my username is wanderluck. :)

My biggest concern with joining the forum wasn't the possibility our way or no way, but with the community itself. Jumping into a new place always feels a little awkward to me, especially when I don't know where to go after intro. But I'm getting my feet wet. Slowly.

I doubt we’ll ever admit that it is our rampant out-of-control consumerism that leads to obesity and disease. Or that a large part of the success of our media-driven food economy is based on the absolute need to exploit the human body’s amazing ability to consume far more than it should without breaking down (in the short term anyways).

This is my favorite singular part of this thread yet - the general obesity epidemic isn't necessarily driven by what we eat, though that has its part, but how much we eat and how little we do. We being a completely general term, of course.

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I agree with what a lot of people have already said here... If you ask me for dietary advice, I will steer you in the general direction of Paleo (or Primal) as that has made a huge difference for me. I try not to shove it down people's throats. If anyone catches me doing that, please call me on it!!

I follow Primal, which is like Paleo with some modifications. It's not a prison for me - it's a general area that I try to live in because I find I'm happiest there. Sometimes I stray. I don't think any way of life should become a prison for anyone, and if I keep telling you all about it it's because I want you to be happy and sometimes I get a little over-excited.

Having spent a lot of time wandering lost myself, I want to do what I can to help people find their way; but I know their way is not necessarily going to be the same as mine. I do what I can, then I (try to) shut up and move on when I'm no longer helping.

Sorry that was kind of rambly. Hope it made some sort of sense.

Made total sense! And it pretty much expresses my sentiments on the topic exactly.

I know that there are many effective ways to lose weight. I've done calorie counting, intermittent fasting, Atkins style low-carb , and Primal/paleo. It's the primal/paleo that I have found gives me the best chance at sustainability and I also feel the best and healthiest overall.

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i'm so glad this topic has caught on and it's been really interesting to keep up with. i have to admit, i'm having a few frustrations on this site that i'm trying to work through. i'm someone that, while not always being in peak physical condition, has always considered myself fairly knowledeable about what to eat and such. also, as with working out, i thought i always had it somewhat figured out. but, within the past few days, i've had basically every cardinal rule of diet and exercise questioned. red meat is good? brown rice is bad? lifting heavy weights is the best way to go? most of the strength moves i do on my own and in fitness classes are crap?

sigh.

it's completely frustrating. i know things change as science evolves and we learn more. and it seems as though, with science, researchers follow one rabbit down one hole, hoping to find an answer...and what they find instead is a little nugget of truth with 1000 more questions. i guess my thinking is a bit jaded. how many times have you heard that eating a certain way will fix all your problems? everything was low fat for years and now we're learning that ain't all it's cracked up to be. atkins was huge for awhile there and then people got worried about cholesterol. vegetarians will tell you it's the only way to live and vegans will tell you vegetarians are harming their bodies with toxins. so anything that has the term "diet" after it tends to make me incredibly wary.

that being said, the paleo thing does make alot of intrinsic sense to me. eating naturally is a no brainer. and protein does keep you full longer than other foods. but on the other side of the coin, my parents both have issues with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. some of it i know is genetic since my 90+ year old great aunt always had both those issues despite being 90 lbs soaking wet. but both my parents have cut out alot of red meat and seen improvement in these important numbers.

other questions i have: why is rice considered bad? it grows naturally without much processing and asian cultures that notoriously eat alot of rice are also notoriously healthy. also veggies. the agricultural revolution involved not just the growing of grains but also the growing of veggies/fruits. why are veggies ok but grains are not?

i'm not a sciencey person so all the talk of the effects of various types of foods on the body, tend to leave me a little confused (other than pretty basic stuff). i know i'm probably rambling here but i'm just trying to get all this out of my system. basically, i wonder how much of the pro-paleo stuff out there is really just an issue of people being really excited about their new lifestyle. also, people just starting paleo are also more likely to be starting workout plans. so a part of me also wonders if the health benefits people are seeing are also more related to the exercise than the diet.

i dunno. i'm sure i'm probably making it sound like i think all the pro-paleo folks are just liars. PLEASE KNOW THAT IS NOT WHAT I'M SAYING. i'm just trying to think about this. i still may try paleo for 30 days some time soon. it would be great, in fact, if paleo helped with my digestive problems. if it did, i would totally recommend it to my dad (and it'd be great to get off the meds i'm currently taking). but, i just have to admit that i'm having a hard time throwing caution to the wind on this one. especially after 26 years of being told by professionals to eat and exercise in a certain way.

thanks for listening. sorry for ranting.

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i'm so glad this topic has caught on and it's been really interesting to keep up with. i have to admit, i'm having a few frustrations on this site that i'm trying to work through. i'm someone that, while not always being in peak physical condition, has always considered myself fairly knowledeable about what to eat and such. also, as with working out, i thought i always had it somewhat figured out. but, within the past few days, i've had basically every cardinal rule of diet and exercise questioned. red meat is good? brown rice is bad? lifting heavy weights is the best way to go? most of the strength moves i do on my own and in fitness classes are crap?

sigh.

it's completely frustrating. i know things change as science evolves and we learn more. and it seems as though, with science, researchers follow one rabbit down one hole, hoping to find an answer...and what they find instead is a little nugget of truth with 1000 more questions. i guess my thinking is a bit jaded. how many times have you heard that eating a certain way will fix all your problems? everything was low fat for years and now we're learning that ain't all it's cracked up to be. atkins was huge for awhile there and then people got worried about cholesterol. vegetarians will tell you it's the only way to live and vegans will tell you vegetarians are harming their bodies with toxins. so anything that has the term "diet" after it tends to make me incredibly wary.

that being said, the paleo thing does make alot of intrinsic sense to me. eating naturally is a no brainer. and protein does keep you full longer than other foods. but on the other side of the coin, my parents both have issues with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. some of it i know is genetic since my 90+ year old great aunt always had both those issues despite being 90 lbs soaking wet. but both my parents have cut out alot of red meat and seen improvement in these important numbers.

other questions i have: why is rice considered bad? it grows naturally without much processing and asian cultures that notoriously eat alot of rice are also notoriously healthy. also veggies. the agricultural revolution involved not just the growing of grains but also the growing of veggies/fruits. why are veggies ok but grains are not?

i'm not a sciencey person so all the talk of the effects of various types of foods on the body, tend to leave me a little confused (other than pretty basic stuff). i know i'm probably rambling here but i'm just trying to get all this out of my system. basically, i wonder how much of the pro-paleo stuff out there is really just an issue of people being really excited about their new lifestyle. also, people just starting paleo are also more likely to be starting workout plans. so a part of me also wonders if the health benefits people are seeing are also more related to the exercise than the diet.

i dunno. i'm sure i'm probably making it sound like i think all the pro-paleo folks are just liars. PLEASE KNOW THAT IS NOT WHAT I'M SAYING. i'm just trying to think about this. i still may try paleo for 30 days some time soon. it would be great, in fact, if paleo helped with my digestive problems. if it did, i would totally recommend it to my dad (and it'd be great to get off the meds i'm currently taking). but, i just have to admit that i'm having a hard time throwing caution to the wind on this one. especially after 26 years of being told by professionals to eat and exercise in a certain way.

thanks for listening. sorry for ranting.

*sigh*. I agree. Stupid years of SAD thinking it was healthy, weight watchers thinking I could lose weight, trainers w/ both l.a. fitness and 24 hour fitness, both of who tried to burn it off of me. I even trained with a professional bodybuilder for a while, and while he had a killer body, I couldn't cut chicken breasts and low fat no sauces stuff. So I know where you're coming from.

May I help answer your questions? This is from a paleo perspective...so strap on your hardhat and be prepared for fun! I *hope* :D Note: I am "strictly" primal. So a lot of my reason may be considered treason by the paleo zealots, I don't need to spend too much time worrying about my food after getting rid of gluten and adapting a general carb approach based on my fitness and body type.

1. Dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in your blood are two different things. Cholesterol is needed by the body. If you don't eat enough, the body actually produces it. Hence the reason I eat 6-12 eggs a day and don't worry about it. If you're dealing with inflammation, cholesterol is a natural response of the body to help your body deal with it. Which is why high cholesterol in your blood can be bad, but the ways to get rid of it is reducing inflammation by getting rid of seed oils (source of omega-6) and eating natural fats and fish. http://chriskresser.com/5-reasons-not-to-worry-about-your-cholesterol-numbers

2. Veggies are okay, white rice is okay. If you actually look at asian cultures, they eat white rice. That's because the hull is milled off, and most of the issues with it are removed. That being said, some people don't do great even with white rice. I can eat the stuff, I just don't generally lose weight when I go overboard with it. http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2010/04/practically-paleo-perspective-rice.html

3. No grains. I don't really care about some of the grains. If you find a non-gluten grain, and prepare it in a natural way that removes the bad stuff (like soaking and sprouting), then go ahead and eat it. That being said, I still think that's too much work. I would much rather just eat white rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and veggies for my carb sources. http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-1-dont-eat-toxins http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-2-nourish-your-body

4. I think that paleo/primal is a lifestyle. It's not just a diet, it's a way of approaching life that is kind to our bodies, our brains, and our lives. That being said, I am a crossfitter. So I also believe that stress can let our body change in positive ways. That being said, some stress is just stupid. And too much stress? Well...there's a quick way to die.

I know this is a lot of info to take in. I'd recommend reading "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf. He breaks down the science quite well and showcases why it's at least worth considering a sugar-free paleo lifestyle. I'd at the very least consider doing something like this for 30 days and seeing if you like it: http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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i thought i always had it somewhat figured out. but, within the past few days, i've had basically every cardinal rule of diet and exercise questioned. red meat is good? brown rice is bad? lifting heavy weights is the best way to go? most of the strength moves i do on my own and in fitness classes are crap?

sigh.

it's completely frustrating. i know things change as science evolves and we learn more. and it seems as though, with science, researchers follow one rabbit down one hole, hoping to find an answer...and what they find instead is a little nugget of truth with 1000 more questions. i guess my thinking is a bit jaded. how many times have you heard that eating a certain way will fix all your problems? everything was low fat for years and now we're learning that ain't all it's cracked up to be. atkins was huge for awhile there and then people got worried about cholesterol. vegetarians will tell you it's the only way to live and vegans will tell you vegetarians are harming their bodies with toxins. so anything that has the term "diet" after it tends to make me incredibly wary.

eb - rule number 9 of the rebellion: we question EVERYTHING:

http://nerdfitness.com/blog/about-2/rules-of-the-rebellion/

That includes questioning paleo. It's worked wonders for me personally, and I've been doing it for a year and a half now and it's STILL working wonders for me, so sure, I truly believe in it and I'm going to recommend it over something else that did not work as well for me, but that DOES NOT mean it will work for you.

It includes questioning everything we say about working out too -

it's part of the nerd thing too. You tell me something, and I want to know WHY. And not only that, I want to know where you learned that and for you to give me references.

That's how I learned everything I learned and how I formed my opinion on what the best way to work out is.

I mean, I used to do weight watchers, 1-2 hours of elliptical every day, and when someone said I should lift weights I bought 3lb dumbbells because I didn't want to get bulky.

My opinion has changed drastically over time, hasn't it? If I hadn't questioned EVERYTHING, I would probably still be doing that, because that's what someone told me to do once. And I wouldn't be nearly as happy or healthy now! :)

Never apologize for questioning. It's who we are, and what you SHOULD be doing.

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other questions i have: why is rice considered bad? it grows naturally without much processing and asian cultures that notoriously eat alot of rice are also notoriously healthy. also veggies. the agricultural revolution involved not just the growing of grains but also the growing of veggies/fruits. why are veggies ok but grains are not?

My non-Paleo, technology loving, don't care if it came from a machine or a tree perspective...

The poison is in the dosage. Too many carbs (rice, bread, pasta, etc.) is probably bad for you and different people have different tolerances for it. At the extreme end are folks with full on Metabolic Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_syndrome) who probably need to keep a very low amount of cards in their diet and shouldn't be seen near a bakery. I'm not sold on the Paleo/Primal/Atkins line that *everyone* should eat like that.

Personally, I do about half my meals with brown rice cooked in chicken broth w garlic powder to for the higher nutritional value and complexity. But I'm not really bothered if I go out for sushi and order a California Roll...

rule number 9 of the rebellion: we question EVERYTHING:

I used to play a lot of poker. When going through Poker problems, it's not so important to learn solutions and it is to learn how to think about poker problems and be better at gathering data to make better decisions.

To that end, be very honest with yourself about what is and isn't working. Do some of your own homework and talk to non-salesmen about what they are doing that's working. You don't need to carbon copy everything someone is doing, but you should be bringing in the stuff that makes sense to see if you get results.

Hope that helped.

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Unfortunately a little bit of arsenic is still terrible for the body. It's not all about dosage.

Comparing Rice to Arsenic is a little silly, but anyway....

EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million

http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/arsenic/index.cfm

Studies show even the slightest bit of gluten in the system can keep the gut inflamed.

Link/reference?

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I can say that after having been off of grains for a few weeks, and having some yesterday, I felt like CRAP, and today? Still kinda feel like crap. Which is really enough for me to decide (that for me personally) grains probably aren't good for me. I think if everyone took time and effort to got through their diet and find how they react to the most common things they are eating, they'd be a lot happier with their bodies and in general. For instance - maple syrup puts me to sleep. Eggplants make me itchy. Fat makes me feel amazing. Too much very lean protein and I feel ill. I've found most of the paleo tennants hold true for me (ie, I feel better when following the plan) so I stick with it.

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Comparing Rice to Arsenic is a little silly, but anyway....

EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million

http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/arsenic/index.cfm

Link/reference?

Rice does not have gluten. I'm referring to wheat and grains. And I was only making a point. You said the poison is in the dosage... And a little bit of gluten keeps the gut inflamed.

I can provide links and references later as I'm on my mobile.

But Roos' post is enough if you ask me. I've had the same experience. That's why I like Robb Wolf. While he provides sources for everything, he doesn't try and prove he's right to everyone. He says try it for 30 days and see how you look, feel, and perform. And if you don't like it, don't eat that way.

Personally I "buy" into paleo because nothing makes me feel better like it does (I have Crohn's). I also perform better, so that's a plus.

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Critically thinking about my diet & performance over the last 3+months and I've gone from 75% paleo to close to 90% or more paleo. A big part of the next 6week challenge (my first! yaya!) coming up is to increase my veg intake including trying new veg I've never tried before, plus increase healthy fat intake (nuts,etc), I already get a good enough helping of lean proteins. Definitely worked for me (see results in my profile thus far) and I feel great! Personally, I will keep on eating "intuitively" the natural/good stuff (veg,fat,protein) and also keeping an eye on my results, not just how i look, but how I feel, how my body responds, and I'm even throwing around the idea of getting a complete physical. Yay good food, booo processed junk food (i am still mourning the loss of nacho cheese doritos, but not mourning the results!).

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Paleo is the only thing that REALLY works for me. Sure, I managed to lose already 66 lbs on SAD, but that came back up.

When I lost those 66lbs, I also still needed coffee and stuff.

Since I'm Paleo, I dropped in the 39 days about 30lbs without sports, have no need for coffee anymore and am always in a good mood. Well not always, but for the most part.

Although, I am not 100% Paleo. I eat non-organic meat because we Game Masters are only customer support in the MMORPG world, so we don't earn that much money. And I had one alcoholic drink in those 39 days.

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OK, this is a long post. I’ve been thinking hard about this for a while, and this is a perfect opportunity for me to finally get it off my chest. Because I ended up writing a lot more than expected, I’m posting a summary right off the top to save those who don’t necessarily want to read all of this some time. I need to work on not being so long winded.

I should also point out that I’m not an expert in any of the fields that I mention below – I’m approaching this issue from a purely inquisitive, but logical perspective.

Anyhow, here’s the summary of what’s below:

- paleo made me lose a bunch of weight FAST.

- continuing to eat paleo while taking time off from working out is not slowing down the weight loss

- I’m doubtful that I can physically eat enough to maintain bodyweight on even a semi-strict paleo diet as I’m not capable of eating the sheer volume of food

- authoritative texts on the subject rely heavily on assumptions that cannot be proved, some of which are almost certainly faulty

- available “science†of paleo appears to be there to lend credibility to the diet, not to present or prove fact

- the paleo movment relies to heavily of anecdotal evidence and does not adequately address confounding variables

- the credibility of paleo experts is somewhat suspect

When I discovered the site and decided to start leveling-up, I also decided to go as paleo as I reasonably could. I had some pretty drastic results in terms of weight and fat loss - about 23 lbs and ~7%BF over the course of roughly 8 weeks. I should note that I was not 100% paleo, and there were a couple of times in that span where I mastered a whole medium pizza. I was also supplementing with up to three Muscle Milk shakes a day during most of this period.

I've drawn some (tentative) conclusions regarding this way of eating, at least as it pertains to me:

1) For weight loss, it's works pretty darn well. My prior diet consisted mainly of carbs and fried things. It makes good sense that if you replace foods of high caloric density and questionable nutirent value with foods of low caloric density and high nutrient value you're going to see some changes. Based on the *volume* that I am accustomed to eating, there's no way that I can get nearly as many calories while adhering to paleo. I'm actually struggling with this now, as I'm trying to add some muscle and I'm finding it very difficult to eat enough.

2) Paleo may not be sustainable for all people and all body types. I'm naturally super skinny. I became a skinny fatman because my diet for several years consisted of Pizza, McDonalds, Cinnabon (yum!), and other assorted stuff that had an absurd amount of calories per serving. Now that I'm paleo, I just keep shedding weight - despite eating as much as I can possibly stand to, and frequently supplementing with calorically dense shakes.

To this end, one common response that I find kind of irksome is the you "just need to eat more". I can't. If I do, I will puke everywhere, literally. As it stands, bacon and almond butter boogers come flying out of my nose whenever I sneeze.

As a case in point, I decided to take the week off between challenges while maintaining a loosely paleo diet. Despite the lack of exercise, I've still lost another couple of lbs.

In short, your natural baseline appetite (mine is small) is certainly a factor that is not considered. If I were “Grok†I would be in some serious trouble if this weight loss trend keeps up, especially if I had to expend excess energy hunting food and running away from Sabretooth Tigers.

Aside from these personal anecdotes, I think that there's plenty to question about paleo.. For starters, it's based on assumptions about a period of time that we can not conclusively understand unless we somehow invent time travel. Paleo presupposes or implies numerous things that I find highly problematic.

One of the biggest sticking points for me is that there is one paleo diet. No way. Humans have been geographically spread out for long enough to have regional differences in skin colour, hair texture, and eye shape. These things did not happen overnight. It follows that if humans lived in environments diverse enough to facilitate these changes, their diets were probably as diverse as the environments themselves. Contrast Inuit peoples vs. indigenous tribes of continental Africa, for instance. I find it unlikely that they would have eaten diets that were even remotely similar.

Paleo seems to be championed by people who live the lifestyle and who look amazing – but are not scientists (biologists, ethnographers, anthropologists, doctors, etc.) While they may have lots of personal (i.e. subjective) experience with living paleo, they are not necessarily legitimate experts on it. As such, there is an element of authority by appeal going on, which causes me to doubt the credibility of the science behind paleo. It smacks of broscience to me in the same way as “eating carbs after 6pm will make you fat†type statements.

Of course, I fully expect that someone will respond that Loren Cordain is a de facto authority – he has a Ph.D, dammit!

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Having read *The Paleo Diet*, I applaud the effort to couch paleo in science, but I’m not convinced – as I mentioned earlier it’s necessary to make a few too many assumptions to construct a world that we have almost no way of measuring. To a certain extent, it feels like the “this is science†flavor of the book is there just to make the diet seem more credible. Sketchy.

The other, potentially bigger problem with the paleo/primal movement in this regard is that its figureheads arise directly from Cordain’s tradition, but do appear to have contributed anything scientifically significant beyond his initial assumptions, which are themselves kind of questionable. If anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, please share it with me. I’d really like to get to the bottom of this.

I’ve also given some thought to anecdotal evidence supporting huge positive changes in blood chemistry, and the curative effects of paleo (i.e. “it fixed my type two diabetesâ€). The paleo movement is too new for there to be any longitudinal data to support its claims of long-term health and vitality. I suppose that this is that nature of the human experiment, but still. If you want me to believe something, show me the numbers.

Finally, I feel that there are a lot of other potential explanations for certain occurrences that don’t get explored – it’s like there’s a knee jerk reaction that inclines some people to assume “it’s because of the paleoâ€. For instance in the “paleo cured my type 2 diabetes†example above, I would be inclined to assess the whole picture by looking at the person’s pre-paleo diet. If they were eating 6 donuts and 3 triple-triple coffees everyday before going paleo, it seems fairly likely that just cutting out the donuts and triple-triples (without going paleo) would have had a pretty profound effect on their well being. In short, consistent failure on the part of paleo advocates to consider potential confounding variables raises HUGE questions for me.

All this to say that I’m impressed with the changes that I’ve seen personally, and will probably use this diet whenever I want to slim down. I do, however, remain highly skeptical about the credibility of the diet from a scientific standpoint, especially where long-term health is concerned.

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Thank you, scotticus! I really enjoyed reading your post, with your views and experience with Paleo. It made me want to add a couple things to this thread:

You mentioned at the end there that sometimes there's a knee jerk reaction for people to assume their positive changes are "because of the paleo." That's something I've noticed too (not just with Paleo, but anything else that's worked for someone!)

The issue I have had with the Paleo thing is that I already eat pretty well. If you start from eating McDonalds and doughnuts and drinking soda every day, yes, paleo will probably make you way healthier. But if you eat oatmeal for breakfast, mostly "real" foods (meat, veggies, and some grains) for other meals, well, paleo might not be the cure-all it's claimed to be. That's the case for me. I have no serious health problems for paleo to fix. And the amount of added stress from contention, lack of choice and extra expense when trying to go paleo, for me, is a lot less healthy than having that bowl of oatmeal with fruit for breakfast!

Lots of people seem to do really well on it, it's certainly worth trying if you think it's something you can do, but try take the literature and "propaganda" with a grain of salt. ;)

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Lots of people seem to do really well on it, it's certainly worth trying if you think it's something you can do, but try take the literature and "propaganda" with a grain of salt. ;)

I think it definitely has a purpose, and as I said it worked amazingly for me as I was dropping weight but still gaining strength. So where that's concerned, WIN.

I still maintain that if our hypothetical grok figured out how to make chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce, he'd be eating the crap out of that everyday ;)

You could also make arguments that humankind shouldn't doesn't need clothing either, but we figured out that we can do some interesting things if we have it - snowboarding anyone? Same with fire.

I think that, as a few posters have already stated, the point is to mess around and figure out what works best for you. Definitely a good call.

On a completely unrelated note, I'd be interested to hear from someone a bit more knowledgeable on the subject of carnivorous lifestyles and their ecological impact. I mean, it livestock production consumes a lot of water and feed (grain or grass). And based on the amount of viable land available, I'm pretty sure that the world just can't sustain everyone on a truly paleo diet. As a former vegan/vegetarian, I'm well aware of the ecological angle, but never bothered to run the numbers or consider reasonable alternatives. Anyone have some insight?

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