Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

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Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby etherspin » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:10 am

Hey!
I've seen a bunch of threads here about Lierre Keiths book(I dont buy it), paleo personalities, claims about the way we evolved and just putting the boot into the ethical notion of paleo. Thats all great and Im not going to eat animal products ever again BUT regardless of the ethics and historical claims being made I'd love to pick your brains about the dietary claims and their evidence/ lack there of.

can I request please that this thread be a resource not a paleo bash ? I am aware there are at least 20 people here with much greater nutritional knowledge than me and with excellent skills at data analysis so I want to pick those brains.

I'd like opinions on phytates and other supposed antinutrients in grains ,legumes,seeds and any evidence for or against.
Opinions on the supposed non necessity of dietary fibre ?
opinions on running /cardio being cortisol building and to our detriment.
opinions on the validity of the "lipid hypothesis"

or in fact any other claims by paleos .

If there is any truth at all to this stuff I want to know so I can best do a vegan version particularly with my lil daughter around, I want to help her build a strong body and I want her to have a fit,healthy dad 8)
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby beforewisdom » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:35 am

I'm not an expert of any kind in regards to these issues.

I've read popular articles written by scientists ( not about "paleo diets" ) stating the commonly held belief among scientists that making suppositions based on evolution is rarely a reliable way of getting closer to the truth.

Archaeologists change their ideas about prehistoric historic people only slightly less often than the fashion industry changes clothing trends.

A popular idea among paleolithic dieters is that prehistoric people did not eat "carbs" so we probably "evolved" to be better off without it. Yet, there is this article that brings up the possibility that human beings were eating primitive breads as early as 30 thousand years ago.

You get the picture, the ideas behind this popular diet just don't and likely can't have a solid basis in objectivity.

Luckily, people don't need to be certain of what happened in some world long past to get an objective idea of what is good to eat and what is not.

Just look at what paleo dieters say to eat and at what they actually eat. Look up the research on those foods and the quantities they are consumed in.

Personally, *subjectively*, with no expertise supporting my opinion at all, I think the paleo diet, like the atkins diet and raw foods diets do make some people feel better, at least for a while, because it motivates them to cut a lot of crap out. All 3 get people to get off dairy and cut down on starchy junk foods. IMHO, that doesn't make the rest of their beliefs true or the rules of their diets necessary.

"The plural of anecdote is not data." (Roger Brinner)
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby etherspin » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:19 am

thanks for your post BW, I share somewhat of your views but I would still love to hear someone scientifically debunk some of this stuff with evidence, I know we can argue that their logic is faulty but Im hoping they base their entire movement on something other than faulty logic (some sort of study or observation?) and yeah I know a lot of them base their stuff on Weston A Price.

For example, do we have any evidence about the long term suitability of grain consumption .. I know the flipside of some of our claims about that one is that so many animal product lovers seem healthy and full of vitality into their 50's and sometimes beyond.. so do we have evidence of people living into old age with no ill effects from regular consumption of the products they are supposing we arent yet evolved to assimilate?
Do these guys present living evidence that high consumption of fat and cholesterol are beneficial?
Has anyone got something substantial to debunk the idea that cardio does a body damage through cortisol accumulation ?
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby Fallen_Horse » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:35 am

etherspin wrote:...so do we have evidence of people living into old age with no ill effects from regular consumption of the products they are supposing we arent yet evolved to assimilate?
Do these guys present living evidence that high consumption of fat and cholesterol are beneficial?
Has anyone got something substantial to debunk the idea that cardio does a body damage through cortisol accumulation ?


You mean besides the millions of healthy people in their 70s and 80s across the US, Europe, and wealthy Asia? All modern cultures have large grain intakes, and all modern cultures have plenty of healthy people. Yes, even America. The problem is not 'carbs', but highly processed carbs and sugars.

High consumption of cholesterol and sat. fat are only detrimental when someone is intaking above their calorie requirement, not exercising, and not getting other essential nutrients. Anyone who says lean grass-fed beef is unhealthy is an idiot.

As far as cardio and cortisol, I haven't checked into it. Maybe someone else here has...
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby etherspin » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:42 am

Fallen_Horse wrote:
etherspin wrote:...so do we have evidence of people living into old age with no ill effects from regular consumption of the products they are supposing we arent yet evolved to assimilate?
Do these guys present living evidence that high consumption of fat and cholesterol are beneficial?
Has anyone got something substantial to debunk the idea that cardio does a body damage through cortisol accumulation ?


You mean besides the millions of healthy people in their 70s and 80s across the US, Europe, and wealthy Asia? All modern cultures have large grain intakes, and all modern cultures have plenty of healthy people. Yes, even America. The problem is not 'carbs', but highly processed carbs and sugars.

High consumption of cholesterol and sat. fat are only detrimental when someone is intaking above their calorie requirement, not exercising, and not getting other essential nutrients. Anyone who says lean grass-fed beef is unhealthy is an idiot.

As far as cardio and cortisol, I haven't checked into it. Maybe someone else here has...


cheers fallenhorse .. I wonder by playing devils advocate though if these guys would say the worlds population has helped offset their grain consumption through all the eggs,honey,fish,beef etc they eat rather than grain being any good for us at all ...
also I reckon a high proportion of people on this forum would think lean beef is unhealthy, I've certainly read a lot to suggest it, practically every plant based nutritionist would have something to say on that one wouldnt they? carcinogens besides cholesterol ? appreciate your input
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby beforewisdom » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:50 am

etherspin wrote:thanks for your post BW, I share somewhat of your views but I would still love to hear someone scientifically debunk some of this stuff with evidence,


Not scientific evidence, not specifically about paleo, but experts with degrees in their field saying Lierre Keith didn't get even get the basics correct( see the links on the bottom ):

http://beforewisdom.com/blog/veganism/t ... rre-keith/

"The plural of anecdote is not data." (Roger Brinner)
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby Fallen_Horse » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:59 pm

etherspin wrote:cheers fallenhorse .. I wonder by playing devils advocate though if these guys would say the worlds population has helped offset their grain consumption through all the eggs,honey,fish,beef etc they eat rather than grain being any good for us at all ...
also I reckon a high proportion of people on this forum would think lean beef is unhealthy, I've certainly read a lot to suggest it, practically every plant based nutritionist would have something to say on that one wouldnt they? carcinogens besides cholesterol ? appreciate your input

I'm sure they could say that, and I'm sure there aren't any good studies demonstrating either way. Nutritional science is too young I'm afraid.

If someone can show me some studies showing people who became less healthy eating more lean grass-fed beef, then I would love to see them. 99% of the 'anti-meat' studies I can find are done with SAD meats and factory farm junk. Of course that meat is bad for you. It's the 'white bread' of the meat industry!

Sometimes I think because vegans disagree with meat on an ethical and environmental standpoint, they also feel the need to disagree with it on a health standpoint as well, when the evidence isn't conclusive.
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby JP » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:31 pm

on the other hand, it would be a bit suprising and disappointing, if scientists had time to chase all fad diets and debunk them one by one...

kind of a losing battle :D
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby beforewisdom » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:06 pm

Does anyone really need a scientist to read Lierre Keith's book or the popular books on the paleo diet?

In the case of Keith's book a PhD student and an RD published reviews stating that she got basic facts about their fields wrong. The paleo authors also start off with the assumption that stone age people did not eat complex carbs beyond fruit and vegetables, but evidence of bread making as early as 30K years ago was found. Furthermore most archeologists will admit that they can never know all of the details of the lives of prehistoric people.

So what is left is a bunch of popular diet book authors basing a diet on a failed supposition of what people used to eat

"The plural of anecdote is not data." (Roger Brinner)
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby Fallen_Horse » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:14 pm

beforewisdom wrote:s a bunch of popular diet book authors basing a diet on a failed supposition of what people used to eat



Well I think it's another example of a diet that can be very healthy, and can also be not so healthy. Is it the best? No. Is it the worst? Not at all. Unfortunately it's not animal-friendly, which is our primary concern on this forum of course....
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby etherspin » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:46 am

ok , so pretty much we can only chip away at the basis of the diet but don't have anything to debunk the specific claims about our physiology ?
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby Fallen_Horse » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:40 pm

The problem is, there is no good way to accurately compare today's humans with the humans of 10000, 1000, or even 100 years ago. Our lifestyles are so drastically different that 'eating paleo' wouldn't be any more advantageous than simply 'eating healthy'. Our ancestors had VASTLY different nutritional needs than we do today, specifically because their only goal was fueling the body long enough to have sex and die when they were 25. Today, we need to do everything we can to extend our lifespan, even while our bodies have to deal with dwindling exercise and increased environmental toxins. Sex at 15 and death at 25 aren't the goals anymore (well, for most of us). So, the paleo eater didn't need to 'eat to stave off Alzheimers' or 'eat to stave off cancer' like we need to today. The human lifestyle has changed so drastically that comparison with our ancestors just isn't helpful...
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby muchluv » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:05 pm

Fallen_Horse wrote:The problem is, there is no good way to accurately compare today's humans with the humans of 10000, 1000, or even 100 years ago. Our lifestyles are so drastically different that 'eating paleo' wouldn't be any more advantageous than simply 'eating healthy'. Our ancestors had VASTLY different nutritional needs than we do today, specifically because their only goal was fueling the body long enough to have sex and die when they were 25. Today, we need to do everything we can to extend our lifespan, even while our bodies have to deal with dwindling exercise and increased environmental toxins. Sex at 15 and death at 25 aren't the goals anymore (well, for most of us). So, the paleo eater didn't need to 'eat to stave off Alzheimers' or 'eat to stave off cancer' like we need to today. The human lifestyle has changed so drastically that comparison with our ancestors just isn't helpful...


This is a v. good point.
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby etherspin » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:22 pm

JP wrote:on the other hand, it would be a bit suprising and disappointing, if scientists had time to chase all fad diets and debunk them one by one...

kind of a losing battle :D

fad diets yes but Paleo has some pretty bold claims eh! Any one of their claims would be bloody big news if proven (the grain thing for example.)
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Re: Objective Assessment of Paleo Diets

Postby etherspin » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:23 pm

Fallen_Horse wrote:The problem is, there is no good way to accurately compare today's humans with the humans of 10000, 1000, or even 100 years ago. Our lifestyles are so drastically different that 'eating paleo' wouldn't be any more advantageous than simply 'eating healthy'. Our ancestors had VASTLY different nutritional needs than we do today, specifically because their only goal was fueling the body long enough to have sex and die when they were 25. Today, we need to do everything we can to extend our lifespan, even while our bodies have to deal with dwindling exercise and increased environmental toxins. Sex at 15 and death at 25 aren't the goals anymore (well, for most of us). So, the paleo eater didn't need to 'eat to stave off Alzheimers' or 'eat to stave off cancer' like we need to today. The human lifestyle has changed so drastically that comparison with our ancestors just isn't helpful...


This is the best perspective on it I've yet seen
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