Sorting through all the diet and nutrition information available can be frustrating. Some friends just say, “It’s too much! I hear everything. Isn’t there a short version of what I should eat, and who should I believe?”
OK, sure.. here’s a short version.
I’s that time of the year. The time when we all decide we’re going to be healthy and eat better. The question that frequently arises is, what is the best diet for me to follow? The answer to this question has been so varied and changed so frequently over the years that it’s no wonder we all suffer from analysis paralysis when trying to decide what we should be putting into our mouths. We have been influenced by nutritional researchers, our doctors and our government and look at the sad state we’re currently in. Let’s try empiric logic and attempt to discover what we should be eating based on what our genes dictate. We couldn’t do any worse.
The new diet I am recommending is actually 60,000-100,000 years old. It is called the Paleolithic, or Caveman diet. Simply, if you can hunt it, fish it, pull it off of a tree or out of the ground, then you can eat it. Simple as that. This is how we ate thousands of years ago and how we have evolved to eat and should be eating now. Back in Paleolithic times there were no processed foods or food manufacturers. Another basic recommendation is, eat what you are. We are primarily composed of protein and fat and very little carbohydrate. We don’t need to spend millions of dollars to figure that out…”
The whole article is a good explanation of the logic behind Paleo.
My favorite defense of Paleo right now goes like this: Consider the many thousands and thousands of diet studies published each year, but we get less healthy and more confused. It’s just not working! I don’t think anyone is going to work out how to buy food at Wal Mart and look like you don’t, at least not while I can still walk.
Paleo eliminates the variables (to an extent). Until science can figure about a better way of eating than nature did, I think I’m going to switch off the whitecoats and their boring papers and hang out with the hunter gatherers. Maybe the whitecoats will figure it out someday, but they have to learn how to think first.Share on Facebook
Spotted this on Marksdailyapple forum-
A new wiki site called “Straight Health” just started, and according to the creator,
I put together a wiki about health. Paleolithic aspects are included but its primarily about populations that have been documented as healthy, modern scientific reasoning and research, etc…The ultimate idea is a site where if you wanted to talk to somebody about some health issue, you can easily pull up a concise but extensive document detailing everything relevant/significant, with sources and particular arguments included.
I thought the “Heath and Diets” page was really interesting. It steps you through how primates and early man ate and works up to today. Link to the Health and Diets page…Share on Facebook
Chris LaLanne, grandnephew of the legendary fitness guru Jack LaLanne, and his wife Maribel recently had a paleo cooking class in San Fran that was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle. it’s pretty good!
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…The premise of paleo: Humans are evolutionarily designed to consume certain foods. Post-agricultural revolution, the human diet changed dramatically, and for the worse. We aren’t built to eat most of what we consume today and as a result, we have high levels of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and are generally unhealthy. A return to our roots means a return to good health.
The core tenets of the diet are simple: 1) eliminate grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods; and 2) eat as much lean meat, fish, fruit and non-starchy vegetables as you want. Compare this to the 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines, which encourage increased intake of whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products…
An editor at Psychology Today is a fan of one of the more popular “Paleo” sites, and asked the owner to post on their site as well.
The blogger that started at Psychology today is Dr Kurt Harris, his blog is call www.paleonu.com, or commonly known as PaNu for short.
At second new blogger, Dr Emily Deans, was added, and her column is called “Evolutionary Psychiatry.”Share on Facebook
I keep looking for a good rebuttal to Taubes challenge to the “calories in/calories out” theory of weight management, and instead, I keep finding things like the following review of “Why We Get Fat” on www.hunter-gatherer.com-
…Taubes takes dead aim at the calories-in / calories-out hypothesis. This is the hypothesis that obesity is*caused* by over-eating or under-exercising (a caloric surplus). It seems true on the face of it — the only way you can become heavier and fatter is to take in more calories than you expend. This hypothesis has dominated the last fifty years of mainstream health advice from doctors, government officials, and many health gurus. It underpins our nation’s low fat hysteria (fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrate, therefore fat is evil!), our exercise madness (go burn those calories!), and contributes to the notion that fat causes heart disease (if obesity increases the risk of heart disease, and if fat leads to obesity, then Honey Nut Cheerios must be heart healthy!). But what if the calories-in / calories-out hypothesis is wrong? What if we’ve spent two generations and billions of dollars re-engineering our food system and altering our eating habits away from fat…and making ourselves fatter and unhealthier as a result?…
…The answer, as Taubes argues, is carbohydrate. Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat storage. This is not a new idea, and it is not a fad diet. It was the conventional wisdom for hundreds of years before low fat hysteria took hold a few decades ago. In fact, Taubes frequently tells the reader that there is nothing new in this book — not only is it simply a more succinct version of GCBC, but the arguments in the book are not original to Taubes. They were the accepted wisdom based on scientific evidence, much of it conducted by the Germans and Austrians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before World War II derailed and buried their work…
This stuff is making the rounds on websites, and there is a lot of disagreement.
The calories in/calories out theory (at least as I understand it) is that weight can be reduced to a simple equation. A pound of fat equals X amount of calories, and to reduce one’s weight one pound, you simply do a specific amount of work (in calories) corresponding to that pound and the pound is gone.
If you want to lose another pound, just do it again. Keep going until you reach your goal. Easy.
If the body really works this way, there should be no disagreement. If there is something specific wrong with what Taubes is saying (calories in/calories out is a myth), it should be simple, and everyone on each of the sites that say he is wrong would be saying the same things. Also, we would not know anyone who tried to “work it off” and watch it come right back on.
It’s true that quite a few people don’t like to hear this, but so far the criticism is scattered all over the place.
Why is it that if you “work it off,” people are finding that the weight just returns? Are they eating one pound’s worth of calories too many for each pound that returns?
As the summary above points out, no. “Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat storage.” This explanation is meant to account for why people just see the weight rebound.
Update: I am running across more reviews of WWGF, so instead of making a new entry for each, I will just list them here:Share on Facebook
Eat whole grains! They make you healthy and you will live longer!
Who says? People who want to sell them to you, and people who will just say anything and try and prove it with bogus statistics.
We Were Not Meant to Eat This Stuff in the First Place
Mark’s Daily Apple, a website about eating naturally (primal) is about an approach to diets that shows how foods added to the human diet in recent history (measured in thousands of years) are actually less healthy than, for example, “eating like a caveman.” One of the things added to the human diet in recent history has been grains.
Our bodies did not evolve over time by eating cultivated grains. Maybe early humans munched on some when they needed to, but humans were meant to eat lean protein, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, things that were common in our long evolutionary history. Grains were cultivated in the last few thousand years, when people started learning agriculture. This is a tiny blimp in time compared to all of human history.
Just because this cultivation fed more people, it does not prove that it is healthy, or even a good idea. It just shows that it fed more people. There was a practical and economic reason to do it.
In more recent times, we have been hearing all about food groups, and food pyramids, and these always had a bread/grain component. Why? Because there was still a business reason to sell this stuff. A lot of it was crap, and in fact, wheat makes a lot of people sick and they don’t know it. Check this Mayo Clinic link on Celiac Disease.
The latest trend, which even health food suppliers have been fooled by, is to swap “whole grains” for processed grains. This is often backed by all kinds of supposedly scientific studies, with lots of talk about fiber and living better and/or longer. It’s still a bunch of crap.
Mark’s Daily Apple Takes a Skeptical Look at Whole Grain Study
Studies pop up all the time, and they can use numbers in a lot of deceiving ways. One such study was just ripped apart by an entry on Mark’s Daily Apple called “Will Eating Whole Grains Help You Live Longer?” The entry is by Denise Minger, and she found the conclusions to be suspicious.
What Minger doesn’t argue with, is that eating whole grains is better than processed crap. That’s not too hard to argue with. What the study does not prove, and it is just assumed, is if any of this is even good for you or not? One is just less harmful than the other.
Minger points out some problems in this study that are common tricks when one tries to use data to prove a point-they use “confounders.”
What’s a confounder? A quick google finds a definition on wiki-
In statistics, a confounding variable (also confounding factor, lurking variable, a confound, or confounder) is an extraneous variable in a statistical model that correlates (positively or negatively) with both the dependent variable and the independent variable. The methodologies of scientific studies therefore need to control for these factors to avoid a false positive (Type I) error; an erroneous conclusion that the dependent variables are in a causal relationship with the independent variable. Such a relation between two observed variables is termed a spurious relationship. Thus, confounding is a major threat to the validity of inferences made about cause and effect, i.e. internal validity, as the observed effects should be attributed to the independent variable rather than the confounder…
Now my brain hurts. What was that about?
Let’s pick a simpler example. I will just make one up. Suppose you want to sell bathrobes. You do a study that shows that people who spend the most time in bathrobes get less sunburn, and less skin cancer than people who don’t wear them too much. Conclusion: bathrobes are effective in reducing skin cancer. The numbers prove it. Easy.
Of course what you do not say, is that the people who spend the most time in bathrobes are people that stay inside anyway! Duh. They won’t get sunburn or skin cancer as much, because they are inside, in their bathrobes.
This is how food studies lie with confounding statistics. It happens all the time.
More Truth About Grains
Minger’s entry about the study didn’t spend a lot of time on what it really wrong with grains in the first place. She was really showing how bogus the recent news bit was.
For more detail, take a look at “Why Grains Are Unhealthy,” on the same site.
For another view, see “Fiber, Cereals, and Grains; even whole grains and oats are out on a Paleolithic Diet.”
For some balance, South Beach says Whole Grains are OK in Phase 2.
What Does Diet for Humans dot com Really Think?
This site is all about exploring the question of what you should eat, what you should do to be healthy, and who to believe. Overall, I agree with the primal/paleo argument for “eating like a caveman.” Sisson’s primal approach and the Paleo approach are consistent with South Beach Phase 1 (something I had much success with myself) and there is something to it.
You probably don’t have to be a purist about it, but avoiding grains is good, and if you must have them, go for whole grain. Just don’t get too wrapped up in studies that try and fool people with confounding data!Share on Facebook