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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 12-09-2006, 05:48 PM   #1
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Dr. Loren Cordain (author of The Paleo Diet) and Dr. T. Colin Campbell (author of the China Study) make their arguments for amount and type of dietary protein for optimal health:

(free pdf download)
http://www.performancemenu.com/resou...teinDebate.php

(Message edited by gregeverett on December 09, 2006)
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Old 12-10-2006, 09:45 AM   #2
Ron Murphy
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It was good reading,thanks greg for posting that link to that excellent paper. well written by both authors.
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:16 PM   #3
Elliot Royce
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Very good stuff. I think Campbell is wrong for the right reasons and Cordain is right for the wrong reasons. Campbell is trying to focus on contemporary medical research which fits with the context in which we live and eat. The problem is that nutritional studies are incredibly flawed and inconsistent. Cordain is trying to use the evolutionary record, which doesn't change quickly and is consistent over thousands of years, but fails to address the basic issue that evolutionary adaptations may not yield optimal health. I gave the example in another post of the sickle cell anemia mutation in Africans which protects against malaria but which causes disease later in life now. Beyond that, reproductive success does not equate to health. That is, your genetic makeup could make you highly reproductive -- say a woman had a mutation that kept her ovulating constantly -- but you could also have major health problems from your genes. Cordain's argument rests entirely then upon a logical flaw. However, I think he is right in arguing that modern day carbs are the root of all evil, for the most part. He just can't prove it without resorting to the same studies that Campbell must use, and those are often contradictory.
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Old 12-13-2006, 01:23 PM   #4
Tim Triche, Jr.
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And there you have it -- what our bodies are (in most cases, and subject to wide intra-species variation within humanity) best adapted to eat is not necessarily what is best for our contemporary lifespans and habits. IF we were all hunter-gatherers, THEN Cordain's thesis would not need tweaking.

We're not, and in most Western societies we do not tend to die of blunt trauma by the age of 50, but rather from degenerative diseases which manifest themselves progressively as we get older. (That said, there is simply no excuse for 19-year-old casualties of the Korean War coming home and showing significant signs of atherosclerotic plaque formation -- as clear a sign as any that most dietary recommendations are shaped by industry lobbying and politics, NOT by concern for public health, and have been wrong in the head for half a century at least.) Public health policy attempts to balance short-term health (preventing obesity and diabetes) against longer-term risks (cancer prevention) while simultaneously being corrupted by enormously rich industry players (Coca-Cola, gov't-supported corn farmers, the corrupt dairy cooperatives, and so forth). Needless to say, this is not a formula for success.

I know damned well that eating charred red meat increases my risk for colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer. I also know that since I started doing the whole Paleo-Zone thing with some rigor, my body fat has fallen away, my endurance and strength has increased, and I have dumped 3-4" off my waist.

I'm still trying to reconcile the two sides to this argument. (I eat a hell of a lot of fish these days, for example.) I like Cordain's prescription, and I used to talk with Dr. Campbell on a somewhat regular basis when I was at Cornell. Many of the things that Robb Wolf brings up in conjunction with his and Cordain's paleo theorizing (futile cycles, metabolic decoupling, etc.) are straight out of Campbell's playbook. Even the Eades have some interesting points to make, wrong-headed though I believe many of their foundations to be. But, again, results trump theory every single time.

Nutrition is, in my view, suffering from the same problems as other pseudo-reductionist public health professions (psychiatry, sociology, public health policy analysis) in that the breadth of human genetic variation, as well as the vast amount that we simply do not know regarding metabolic intermediaries and hormonal signaling, throws an enormous monkey wrench into any blanket recommendations for a diverse society.

Maybe in Iceland you can make a dietary recommendation, wait a few years, take a sample of the population, and use the changes in various metrics as your result. But I'm afraid that may be the only population where this sort of approach works in a nearly universal fashion across the populace. And even there, I doubt that there is any shortage of behind-the-scenes lobbying.

That leaves most of us with little choice but to poke around, look at the various theories out there (and their results), absorb what is useful, and discard the rest. We've heard this before, somewhere... ;-)

For me, the Paleo approach seems to have produced good results, and the clever Zone method of disguising portion control as science (NEVER has there been a sturdy peer-reviewed study showing that Sears' 30-40-30 ratio is in fact optimal) seems to have given me the intuition and the focus to restrict my intake to that which I need. (If the 30-40-30 ratio were in fact optimal, you would not likely see Glassman and the ex-Crossfit-Norcal Performance Menu crowd recommending 3x-5x)

Take a look at CFJ #21, and see where the real focus lies. It's all about portion control and eating nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse foods. At the end of the day, the worst offenders in the modern diet (calorie-rich, nutrient-sparse) are processed combinations of refined carbohydrates, saturated or trans fats, and salt. So regardless of the scientific basis or merits of the Paleo and Zone recommendations, my experience is that they produce results.

And at the end of the day, that's what matters most to me. My quality of life, in the prime of my life, is very important to me. I am also striving to reduce my risk of degenerative disease later on, but if I have to choose, I will choose to live for today.

Better the right answer for the wrong reasons than the wrong answer for the right reasons, given that perspective.
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:31 PM   #5
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Well said! As an aside, I would agree that Paleo does seem to have the beneficial effect of shedding fat while maintaining muscle. I've been running a fairly substantial calorie deficit for the past 2 weeks (required: around 3600-4000 cal per day, consumed: around 2500-3000 cal per day) and have lost a noticeable amount of fat around my waist. And yet, my weight has not decreased. I'm never hungry and sometimes have to force nuts down my throat. But I never have strong cravings for carbs. It's weird. I do add carbs when I'm exercising, so I'll grab a Gatorade or Endurox or something like that. I just get lightheaded otherwise.
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:45 PM   #6
Mike ODonnell
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What's neglected in these studies is issues about the timing of macronutrients. For instance, having most carbs post workout, vs the even approach by the zone. Insulin is the biggest hormone we can control and take advantage of, but can also be a double edge sword and can do the reverse. Insulin sensitivity is also independent to all people, nationalities and can vary in one person over time depending on their health markers. Personal understanding of ones insulin sensitivity and caloric needs are the keys to optimal weight loss.

Zone is good for beginners, once you start doing 5x fat stop calling it the zone because it is not that ratio anymore. Once people understand they can start looking at Paleo and experiment with carb timing. From that point we all adjust as needed for optimal results. Not one plan will ever be optimal for everyone, it just doesn't work that way. Plus your needs and goals may change as you advance in your training. Just my $0.02 in canadian.
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