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Old 06-04-2013, 09:29 AM   #1
Chris Mason
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Interesting article about Paleo

This article looks into some of the central ideas behind the Paleo diet. Note this means nothing about its effectiveness, rather it looks at the reasoning used to explain its existence.

WFS - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cr...k#.Ua4VBECkrLc
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:28 AM   #2
Michael Dries
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

Interesting except they are missing one very important factor.

"Plants that rely on C4/CAM photosynthesis (including tropical grasses and sedges) "

"An analysis of the vanilla and cinnamon carbon in A. afarensis from the middle Pliocene (3.0 to 3.7 million years ago) shows that this hominin had already shifted to a C4-based diet. "

"Your bones are not just made of the last meal you had, but the meals that you’ve had across many years. By looking at the composition of those teeth, researchers can say that something was a large component of the diet. This tells us a lot about how hominins lived and what they ate,” Jahren said."

They forget to mention that your bones are made of what your meal was and of what your meal's meal was. At some point our ancestors began scavenging meat and breaking the bones and skulls of dead animals for the nutrient dense fats. It makes complete sense that the C4 markers would be similar to those of animals eating grasses since they started consuming animals that consumed grasses.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:35 PM   #3
Nicholas Ciolino
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

Interesting Article...
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:48 PM   #4
Chris Mason
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

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Originally Posted by Michael Dries View Post
They forget to mention that your bones are made of what your meal was and of what your meal's meal was. At some point our ancestors began scavenging meat and breaking the bones and skulls of dead animals for the nutrient dense fats. It makes complete sense that the C4 markers would be similar to those of animals eating grasses since they started consuming animals that consumed grasses.
If your statement was accurate then the following paragraph would make little sense, and I am biased towards believing the authors of the ideas below are at least not idiots. In other words, if what you are saying is accurate there would have been no substantial shift to speak of and or they would have provided your reasoning as a possible cause of the shift.

"Essentially all of the great apes and their ancestors appeared to have eaten a C3-based diet, consuming fruits, leaves and other plants. Modern humans, on the other hand, rely much more on C4 plants, which include grains like wheat and corn. What researchers didn’t know was when that shift occurred. The PNAS papers show that this shift appears to have occurred in Australopithecus afarensis, which lived in and around Ethiopia 2.9 to 3.9 million years ago.

An analysis of the vanilla and cinnamon carbon in A. afarensis from the middle Pliocene (3.0 to 3.7 million years ago) shows that this hominin had already shifted to a C4-based diet. Jonathan Wynn, a geologist at the University of South Florida, and colleagues analyzed 20 fossilized teeth of A. afarensis from the Hadar region of Ethiopia. Although there was significant variability in the proportion of C4 plants consumed, on average, A. afarensis consumed significantly more C4 plants than its recent ancestor Australopithecus anamensis. These hominins were thus already eating grain in an adaptation for life on the savannah, Cerling said."
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:29 AM   #5
Todd R Bailey
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
If your statement was accurate then the following paragraph would make little sense, and I am biased towards believing the authors of the ideas below are at least not idiots.
Several other articles that discuss the paper make the same point as Michael Dries.

http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetod...diets/5511123/ (WFS)

"However, about 3.5 million years ago, early human species like Australopithecus afarensis and Kenyanthropus platyops began to also nosh on grasses, sedges, and succulents—or on animals that ate those plants.

...

What the studies cannot reveal is the exact identity of the food, and whether it also included animals that ate C4/CAM plants (an equally valid way to acquire carbon-13). Possible C4/CAM-derived meals include grass seeds and roots, sedge underground stems, termites, succulents, or even small game and scavenged carcasses. In 2010, Alemseged and his research team published the earliest evidence for meat consumption using tools, dating back to 3.4 million years ago—an additional line of evidence showing a dietary shift in human evolution."

Or http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0603163749.htm (wfs)

"The isotope method cannot distinguish what parts of grasses and sedges human ancestors ate -- leaves, stems, seeds and-or underground storage organs such as roots or rhizomes. The method also can't determine when human ancestors began getting much of their grass by eating grass-eating insects or meat from grazing animals. Direct evidence of human ancestors scavenging meat doesn't appear until 2.5 million years ago, and definitive evidence of hunting dates to only about 500,000 years ago.

With the new findings, "we know much better what they were eating, but mystery does remain," says Cerling, a distinguished professor of geology and geophysics, and biology. "We don't know exactly what they ate. We don't know if they were pure herbivores or carnivores, if they were eating fish [which leave a tooth signal that looks like grass-eating], if they were eating insects or if they were eating mixes of all of these."

To the extent someone uses these findings as evidence of grass eating without considering other alternatives, it's not that they are idiots, it's that they have a theory and an agenda they want to promote.

Finally, I'll just point out that rice, wheat, rye, barley, soybeans, cassava, potatoes and yams are all C3 plants not C4. C4 plants include maize, sorghum, sugarcane, millet, fonio, tef, and papyrus. Out of the list of C4 plants the most common today would be maize or corn. However, that is a "new world" crop and was not available to our ancestors.
http://archaeology.about.com/od/stab...qt/c3c4cam.htm (wfs)

So even if ancient hominids did start eating more C4 plants, it doesn't indicate they started eating more grains as we commonly think of grains.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:42 AM   #6
David Allen Rogers
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
This article looks into some of the central ideas behind the Paleo diet. Note this means nothing about its effectiveness, rather it looks at the reasoning used to explain its existence.
This article is mainly discussing a creature that lived "2.9 to 3.9 million years ago". The paleolithic began 2.6 million years ago. No one advocating the Paleo diet claims you should eat like pre-paleolithic hominids. Maybe the "The Australopithecus Diet" will be a new trend some day but it has nothing to do with the Paleo diet. The "guest blogger" who wrote this seems to be confused about the terminology. The actual journal articles are all behind pay walls so I can't view them directly.

And of course there is the obvious problem that others mentioned that it is impossible to distinguish between C3/C4 from directly consuming plants versus consuming animals that consumed those plants. It seems that the "guest blogger" is just trying to spin this based on his/her own bias.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:01 AM   #7
Joseph Parker
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

Question for the serious Paleo people, and I mean this honestly:

Why are SO many of you (not on this board, just a general statement from my experience in trying to find the best diet)...

Why are SO many paleo people so abrasive with their beliefs, and anyone who follows another diet for performance or for other reasons an idiot for not following paleo?

It's turned me off from trying.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:46 AM   #8
Todd R Bailey
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

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Originally Posted by Joseph Parker View Post
Question for the serious Paleo people, and I mean this honestly:

Why are SO many of you (not on this board, just a general statement from my experience in trying to find the best diet)...

Why are SO many paleo people so abrasive with their beliefs, and anyone who follows another diet for performance or for other reasons an idiot for not following paleo?

It's turned me off from trying.
Are your dealings with “Paleos” in person or on the interwebz? If the latter, my guess is that it is as much about netiquette as it is about any one specific diet. Try going to a vegan website and questioning whether it is the best diet. I’m not sure you’d find a better reception.

Also, although the Paleo diet idea has been around for decades, it has really only gained significant popularity in the last few years. Therefore, most of the people you’ve interacted with are probably fairly new to the diet. When someone undergoes a significant life changing experience, as can happen in some new Paleos (e.g., significant weight loss, reversal of Type 2 diabetes, MS, fibromyalgia, etc.), it can become almost a religion for them. These dietary choices are then internalized and a challenge to the diet can feel like a personal challenge.

At that point it is just another strongly held belief like religion and politics. Hopefully over time these people mellow. But then, guess what, when they are no longer so passionate about it, they no longer spend so much time posting about it online.

Finally, everyone knows Neanderthals are jerks. What do you expect?
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:58 AM   #9
Chris Mason
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

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Originally Posted by Todd R Bailey View Post
Several other articles that discuss the paper make the same point as Michael Dries.

http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetod...diets/5511123/ (WFS)

"However, about 3.5 million years ago, early human species like Australopithecus afarensis and Kenyanthropus platyops began to also nosh on grasses, sedges, and succulents—or on animals that ate those plants.

...

What the studies cannot reveal is the exact identity of the food, and whether it also included animals that ate C4/CAM plants (an equally valid way to acquire carbon-13). Possible C4/CAM-derived meals include grass seeds and roots, sedge underground stems, termites, succulents, or even small game and scavenged carcasses. In 2010, Alemseged and his research team published the earliest evidence for meat consumption using tools, dating back to 3.4 million years ago—an additional line of evidence showing a dietary shift in human evolution."

Or http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0603163749.htm (wfs)

"The isotope method cannot distinguish what parts of grasses and sedges human ancestors ate -- leaves, stems, seeds and-or underground storage organs such as roots or rhizomes. The method also can't determine when human ancestors began getting much of their grass by eating grass-eating insects or meat from grazing animals. Direct evidence of human ancestors scavenging meat doesn't appear until 2.5 million years ago, and definitive evidence of hunting dates to only about 500,000 years ago.

With the new findings, "we know much better what they were eating, but mystery does remain," says Cerling, a distinguished professor of geology and geophysics, and biology. "We don't know exactly what they ate. We don't know if they were pure herbivores or carnivores, if they were eating fish [which leave a tooth signal that looks like grass-eating], if they were eating insects or if they were eating mixes of all of these."

To the extent someone uses these findings as evidence of grass eating without considering other alternatives, it's not that they are idiots, it's that they have a theory and an agenda they want to promote.

Finally, I'll just point out that rice, wheat, rye, barley, soybeans, cassava, potatoes and yams are all C3 plants not C4. C4 plants include maize, sorghum, sugarcane, millet, fonio, tef, and papyrus. Out of the list of C4 plants the most common today would be maize or corn. However, that is a "new world" crop and was not available to our ancestors.
http://archaeology.about.com/od/stab...qt/c3c4cam.htm (wfs)

So even if ancient hominids did start eating more C4 plants, it doesn't indicate they started eating more grains as we commonly think of grains.
Well, it looks like I stand corrected. I now must assume that author was stupid, or had an agenda . With that said, as they were looking at teeth, I wonder if you cannot look at wear patterns on the teeth and or the configuration and shape of the teeth to determine if it was likely from plant or animal sources, or are the teeth too far degraded for any of that?
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:06 AM   #10
Chris Mason
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Re: Interesting article about Paleo

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Originally Posted by David Allen Rogers View Post
This article is mainly discussing a creature that lived "2.9 to 3.9 million years ago". The paleolithic began 2.6 million years ago. No one advocating the Paleo diet claims you should eat like pre-paleolithic hominids. Maybe the "The Australopithecus Diet" will be a new trend some day but it has nothing to do with the Paleo diet. The "guest blogger" who wrote this seems to be confused about the terminology. The actual journal articles are all behind pay walls so I can't view them directly.

And of course there is the obvious problem that others mentioned that it is impossible to distinguish between C3/C4 from directly consuming plants versus consuming animals that consumed those plants. It seems that the "guest blogger" is just trying to spin this based on his/her own bias.
I see your point. Ok, let me ask you this as I cannot remember from what I have read, what exact period of time do Paleo proponents feel would be necessary for the evolutionary adaptation to occur? I ask because while you may not be able to definitely say the C4 data proves the eating of grasses etc., it follows you cannot definitively say the opposite (that grasses were not consumed), so there is a good possibility at least some portion of the diet was from grasses starting 3 millionish years ago.
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