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Old 05-22-2009, 07:49 AM   #1
James Mazzarisi
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Questioning the paleo diet?

I may be wrong but isn't the prmise by which the paleo diet stands basically that during the paleolithic age we were hunter/gatherers and that essentially in an evolutionary blink of the eye we started farming and producing grains that our bodies were not geared to digest and/or utilize properly? Again I may be wrong, but to me the premise misses a huge point, and that being that the human body and the human race as a whole collectively have the ability to adapt to extarordinary circumstances, to progress, to evolve. To illustrate, on a related tangent, look at the phenomenal gains in industry in the last 150 years. Prior to that we were mostly an agrarian society for thousands of years; should we look at oursleves now still as farmers and give up our technology and industry? I realize that is a whole separate argument from how the body's physiology works. So then if you look at physiology, is the premise stating that the human body can not make similar adaptations/progress? Does a diet that includes whole grains really bad for you? I'm not anti-paleo or anything like that; if the diet works for you and you like it then great. Plus I think a sensible diet based on zone percentages (50-30-20 or 40-40-20) is beneficial and helps performance. That being said, my main point again is that the paleo diet does not reconcile the fact that humans, either in physiology, industry, consciousness, technology, etc.; have the ability to adapt to and shape their environment to meet their own purposes, and for this argument environment means the body and its ability to assimilate what it takes in as nutrition. As an ironic counterargument then, the body should have the ability to "re-adapt" to a diet such as the paeo one. I don't want to get too circular here, so I would just be interested if anyone else has thoughts on the issue.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:04 AM   #2
Adam Christiansen
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

In terms of evolution, 150 years is nothing but an eye blink. I would suggest reading this (WFS):

http://www.beyondveg.com/nicholson-w...erview1a.shtml
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:05 AM   #3
Harley Jennings
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

James,

I for one live over in the Paleo camp, but that has less to do with my beliefs of how our bodies are meant to eat and more to do with it just works for my body!!

Its very personal, as I think all diets should be. All catered to the individual.

I know you can't relate human evolution to the evolution of industry and technology. We created industry and technology, thus the whole process is inherently flawed.

I think you are right when you say the body is an adaptive being and will adapt to a broad range of stimuli, adapt or die. But I think Dr. Cordain and the rest of the Paleo world feels that while we could adapt to the current food set our environment offers us, we simply haven't had the time invested to adapt yet, making the food we use to eat 10,000+ years ago a better option.

Of course on a long enough time line all of our life spans go down to zero, making a lot of these arguments in life trivial.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:12 AM   #4
Matthew Stafford
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

Technological advancement has nothing to do with whether I can digest a bagel properly or not. The time spent as an agrarian people is minuscule compared to the time we spent as hunters and gatherers.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
James Mazzarisi
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

I think these are all very good points. I guess what it comes down to is does the diet work for you, and the only way to tell is to try it out. I looked at the paper briefly reprouced in the 1st response to this thread and there are some compelling arguments to be sure. I guess one thing that we cannot know for certainty, at least at this juncture, is whether the human body's physiological adaptive abilities are more or less rigid (slow), or can accelerate with the external pace of change. Part of my reason for this thread was to get some input from current paleo adherents, and not just those who abide by the regimen for performance purposes. A big part of diet I believe as well is too enjoy our food without overindulging (ie liking what you eat without being gluttonous). Thank you for your comments.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:15 AM   #6
Matt Berardi
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

It's kind of impossible for us to really know if it is scientifically sound... I think both sides could be debated and rightly so ad infinitum.

The strongest evidence, IMO is in some individual's allergies. Lactose and gluten allergies I think tell the story. Although we are not all allergic to them, the fact that some people are in my head says to me that we are all probably not supposed to eat them. This is purely speculation but just what I think.


As far as practical application - why do you need grains? why do you need dairy? They provide nothing that is not found in fruits / vegetables / nuts / meat. Grains for the most part are nutritionally empty, except for fiber. Fiber can be had from fruits, veg, and nuts. In practical application, the fact that you are not getting your carbs from grains anymore automatically bumps up your nutrients.

The only thing I'm not sure of is the dairy - what exactly is supposed to be bad about raw organic whole milk? the lactose?


I could go on further about the health benefits - I've lost fat, gained muscle, and my digestion has greatly improved. I used to get heart burn, gurgling stomach, stuff like that and since switching it hasn't happened once. IMO my stomach couldn't properly digest the grains.

Last edited by Matt Berardi : 05-22-2009 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:21 AM   #7
Laura Kurth
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Berardi View Post
The strongest evidence, IMO is in some individual's allergies. Lactose and gluten allergies I think tell the story. Although we are not all allergic to them, the fact that some people are in my head says to me that we are all probably not supposed to eat them. This is purely speculation but just what I think.
some people are allergic to dogs. Does that mean I shouldn't have a dog?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Berardi View Post
As far as practical application - why do you need grains? why do you need dairy? They provide nothing that is not found in fruits / vegetables / nuts / meat. Grains for the most part are nutritionally empty, except for fiber. Fiber can be had from fruits, veg, and nuts. In practical application, the fact that you are not getting your carbs from grains anymore automatically bumps up your nutrients
I eat grains and dairy because they taste good. I certainly don't eat large amounts of either, but I do eat some. Plus, sometimes it is hard for me to meet carbohydrate requirements with fruit and vegetables alone.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:26 AM   #8
James Mazzarisi
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Stafford View Post
Technological advancement has nothing to do with whether I can digest a bagel properly or not. The time spent as an agrarian people is minuscule compared to the time we spent as hunters and gatherers.
Yes I indicated that I recognized one could not draw parallels between physiology and industry; the example was meant to illustrate how systems adapt/progress, not to draw a direct link.

I think the main question is whether the body's ability to adapt can accelerate along with the changing external environment. It seems that the original proponents of the paleo diet do not think so.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:27 AM   #9
Kevin Kenyon
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

Its obvious that our bodies adapt to the different foods as billions consume grains daily and will for the rest of their lives with out knowing or caring to know any different way. Its funny because I used to eat grains before going paleo/zone and when I first started to not eat grains I felt miserable! It was almost like withdrawal from drugs. The cravings..the carbohydrate addiction was ridiculous. So in a sense I feel I was adapting to a drug. Something that was created from the earth artificially. To me if something causes such mental pain hahaha it is not right to be consumed....not saying its the end all be all terror of the world just saying that OBVIOUSLY vegetables are going to be better for you then BREAD....Also if our bodies have adapted so perfectly then why such an increase in obesity... I know obesity was around in the early ages of farming in Egypt when grain manufacturing first began. So if in the beginning obesity was prevolent and it still exist now not much adaption has happened
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:31 AM   #10
Adam Christiansen
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Re: Questioning the paleo diet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Berardi
It's kind of impossible for us to really know if it is scientifically sound... I think both sides could be debated and rightly so ad infinitum.
It's all about self experimentation. Ward Nicholson points out there's some three our four genes that can affect how your body handles gluten. It's not just whether or not you're gluten intolerant. If you like grains and you perform well on them, then by all means, eat them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Berardi
The strongest evidence, IMO is in some individual's allergies. Lactose and gluten allergies I think tell the story. Although we are not all allergic to them, the fact that some people are in my head says to me that we are all probably not supposed to eat them. This is purely speculation but just what I think.
I agree with Laura here but for a more scientific reason. You shouldn't avoid foods just because you might not be evolved for it. If you are evolved for it, then you will thrive on it. Again, self experimentation.
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