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Old 05-23-2011, 11:28 AM   #1
Dan Owens
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Jon Barron's Paleo Article

New to the boards -- sorry if you guys have commented on this before. I searched and couldn't seem to find a previous post.

This is Jon Barron's very interesting article on the Paleo Diet. To the paleo people out there, what do you think of it? Can anybody refute the contradictions that he points out in the Paleo theory/practice? I am new to the mentality and I'm trying to gather as much information as possible -- both for and against it.

By the way, if you haven't read the article yet, Jon generally agrees with the recommendations of the Paleo diet .... just doesn't exactly agree with the overall theory behind it. This is what I gather.

http://www.jonbarron.org/weight-loss...eview-good-bad
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:22 PM   #2
Zane Jones
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

There are so many paleo variations that he can't help but make some big generalizations about what is or isn't paleo. I agree with him that the theory behind the diet leaves something to be desired in the consistency department.

And i was with him on his recommendations until he suggested I only eat 4 oz. of meat a day. Yeah, no.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:06 PM   #3
Barrett Reznick
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

And in fact, osteoporosis is seen to start earlier in "pre-contact" Inuit, who relied heavily on whale and seal meat, than in the Eskimos eating a more modern diet, "post-contact."13 Even better, Masai warriors in Africa also partake of a high meat diet and begin developing osteoporosis in their 20's. The women of the tribe do not share in the high meat diet, and do not show early signs of osteoporosis. But keep in mind, meat is by no means the sole determinant of osteoporosis, and in fact its negative effects can be easily mitigated by higher consumption of offsetting minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and through the use of weight bearing exercise to strengthen the bones. But high meat consumption is a contributing factor.

ummm, how many people with osteoporosis you know eat lots of protein. None! Almost all of them eat very little animal products and lot of processed foods. So to say high meat consumption IS a contributing factor is probably not a good assumption. Besides, the US has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis with the highest levels of consumption calcium.

I like how this guy picked and chooses his examples and sources of information and doesn’t take in the whole picture.

I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, by when using resources like Harvard Medical School I take what you say with a grain of salt. The medical industry needs people to be unhealthy.

I do like the article, but it doesn't paint the whole picture. Not every paleo dieter eats loads of protein. A lot of us eat 9+ veggies a day and fruit on top of that. The diet is very densely pack with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Lastly, If he agrees that you should cut back on grains, beans, potatoes and legumes then why not eliminate them? He obviously agrees that they are not to your benefit to eat normally, then why eat them at all. Its like saying that you should limit smoking tobacco instead of eliminating it all together.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:22 PM   #4
Shane Skowron
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

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Originally Posted by Barrett Reznick View Post
I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, by when using resources like Harvard Medical School I take what you say with a grain of salt. The medical industry needs people to be unhealthy.

So you equate Harvard Medical School with the "medical industry"?

Last edited by Shane Skowron : 05-23-2011 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:41 PM   #5
Barrett Reznick
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

There a business too.
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:30 PM   #6
Barrett Reznick
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

... probably not the best example. I'll get off my soap box
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:45 PM   #7
Wayne Riddle
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

Overall, a pretty poorly written opinion piece.
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:07 PM   #8
Spencer James
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

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Originally Posted by Wayne Riddle View Post
Overall, a pretty poorly written opinion piece.
Really? I thought it was one of the more lucid, well-rounded articles I have read on paleo. I find this kind of writing a lot more appealing than dogmatic blog posts. Sometimes I get the impression that some pro-paleo bloggers believe that eating white bread and drinking Coke is the only counterfactual diet to eating a ton of steak and eggs and bacon. Well, there is a middle ground, and I think this article and a lot of the writing by Stephen Guyenut (www.wholehealthsource.blogspot.com , WFS) does a much better job of explaining the pros and cons of different dietary styles.

Increasingly, I've observed that of all the people who have athleticism/fitness that I admire/pursue, very few of them eat strict paleo. In parallel, of all of the people I read about/know/follow who eat strict paleo, very few of them have athleticism/fitness which I admire/pursue. There are some fundamental errors of the implicit causal inference and fallacies in those two statements, but it is an honest observation nevertheless. I think it is a great framework to just better understand how food works and it guides pretty solid eating habits, but I have sort of a distaste for the overly dogmatic approaches to it.

Tear me apart, though...I'd love to learn about articles on paleo which have less bias/opinion.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:05 AM   #9
Todd R Bailey
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

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Originally Posted by Dan Owens View Post
To the paleo people out there, what do you think of it? Can anybody refute the contradictions that he points out in the Paleo theory/practice?http://www.jonbarron.org/weight-loss...eview-good-bad
In my opinion, the Paleo diet he describes and criticizes is a combination of outdated (or minority) recommendations and extreme practices (e.g., eating raw meat). Part of the problem, as someone else pointed out, is that there are many different opinions and ideas of what it means to eat a Paleo diet. However, analyzing a nuanced evolving view of the Paleo diet would take a lot more work and probably wouldn’t generate a lot of traffic to his site.

Just taking a look at a couple examples, he says fermented foods are “off the table.” But most Paleo websites or books I’ve seen says fermented foods are fine. Loren Cordain, who initially recommended not eating fermented foods now acknowledges they can be good for the gut flora.

He says, "The assumed diet of the hunter-gatherers modeled by the Paleo's is reflective of cave people living in Northern Europe in cold climes where plants did not readily grow." Not true. The diet is not about what one specific group may, or may not, have eaten but rather what we know they didn't eat, i.e., processed foods, excess sugar, processed seed oils, grains, legumes. The Inuits, the Kitavans, the !Kung are all hunter-gatherer societies that are frequently highlighted in the “Paleo-sphere” as evidence that Paleo man had a diet that varied greatly depending on location but shared a common trait in their general exclusion of many Neolithic foods commonly eaten today.

Some of his points are pure straw man arguments. For example, he states, “To conclude our discussion of lectins, let me offer some perspective. If the argument is that because ‘some’ lectins are toxic to ‘some’ people, then ‘all’ people should avoid ‘all’ lectins, we have a problem.”

I have never seen that argument put forth. Obviously, it matters exactly what type of lectin is present and in what concentration. In addition to lectins, grains and legumes contain prolamins, saponins, and phytates which have been shown to affect gut permiabililty and gut flora. As explained by Mat Lalonde, “Recent research is focusing on the nature of the bacteria in the gut flora as well as the integrity of the gut barrier and how these relate to disease. It turns out that specific populations of bacteria in the gut and gut integrity are associated with disease, especially autoimmune diseases. It has recently been shown that gut integrity not only plays a role in autoimmune disease but also in the metabolic syndrome. That is because the components of bacteria such as specific short-chain fatty acids, peptigloglycans, and lipopolysaccharides can activate receptors (GPR43, NOD1, TLR4 respectively) on the surface of cells that are part of the innate immune system. This causes systemic inflammation, a hallmark of the metabolic syndrome. In addition, the lipopolysaccharides from gram negative bacteria are endotoxins (toxic to the liver). These make their way to the liver and cause damage, which initiates fatty liver disease and impairs blood glucose metabolism (the liver and kidneys are the only organs that can release sugar into the bloodstream).” (http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/t...t-lalonde/9374) (wfs) It is a much more complex position than simply All Lectins=Bad all the Time.

In addition, he downplays the importance of food quality in the diet. He says, "While it is true that some Paleo advocates advise eating only lean cuts of meat that are either hunted in the wild, or grass-fed, most do not." He then uses this conclusory statement to criticize factory farmed meat as well as eating raw meat. I agree that many people that follow Paleo don't buy grassfed beef due to convenience and price, but it is absolutely a recommended part of the diet. In my opinion, Concetrated Animal Feeding Operations face more of a challenge from the spread of the Paleo diet and the corresponding growth of the grassfed and pastured animal sources, than they do from vegetarians or an organization like PETA. Criticizing the Paleo diet due to problems with factory farmed meat would be like criticizing a vegetarian diet because a lot of vegetarians eat oreos, snackwells and Morningstar fake meat patties.

He states, “If eating meat were a prerequisite for health, then vegetarians as a group would have to be unhealthier than heavy meat eaters, and that just isn't true. Study after study has shown that vegetarians (on a good vegetarian diet) tend to be healthier.” Sure, let’s compare vegetarians (on a good vegetarian diet) to meat eaters eating factory farmed and processed meat as well as industrial seed oils, sugar, etc. I’m not aware of any study demonstrating a “good” vegetarian diet is superior to a “good” Paleolithic type diet. I am aware of a study that concluded, “Over a 3-month study period, a Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a Diabetes diet [i.e., a “Mediterranean Diet”] in patients with type 2 diabetes.” See http://www.cardiab.com/content/8/1/35. (wfs)

I agree with him that it is illogical to base a diet simply on what Paleolithic man ate or didn’t eat without regard to what effect those foods have on the human body. Rob b Wolf once tweeted, "paleo is a logical framework applied to modern humans, not a historical reenactment." Start with the premise that animals (including humans) will thrive on the diet it evolved to eat. Then, take a look at other foods (i.e., Neolithic foods) and see what effect they have on the body.

For example, potatoes are new world Neolithic foods. However, the anti-nutrients are contained mostly in the skin. Similarly, the anti-nutrients in rice are in the hull, husk and bran. Now, potatoes and rice are both starchy carbohydrates, but if you are not concerned about your macronutrient ratios, there is no reason you can’t eat a diet that includes white rice and peeled potatoes and still be very healthy. I think this is becoming the prevailing school of thought in the Paleo world, see for example:

Archevore.com: “If you are not trying to lose weight and you like to eat potatoes and rice, EAT THEM.” http://www.archevore.com/get-started/ (wfs)

Mark’s Daily Apple: “Avoiding grains as a general rule is good for your health, and that goes for rice, but be realistic. A bit of white rice with a restaurant meal is not going to kill you.” http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-rice-unhealthy/ (wfs)

Free the Animal: “It's not about low carb or high fat; it's about cutting back or cutting out neolithic foodstuffs; i.e., processed foods and derivatives. But nobody can prescribe for you whether a diet of 40, 50, 70 or 80% natural fats work best for you, or, 40, 50, 70 or 80% STARCH. There, I said it.”
http://freetheanimal.com/2011/05/opt...ls-errand.html (wfs depending on your work and family – there is some profanity)

I think the "Paleo" concept and term is both a boon and bane to the spread and development of the diet. The Paleo term gives it an identity and general framework around which to form a scientific hypothesis. But it also attracts a fringe element that wants to "role play caveman" and makes it easier for folks to dismiss.

Here’s my advice:

1) Continue what you’re doing and read about Paleo from a bunch of different sources in order to get different perspectives and recommendations.
2) Question things that don’t make sense and look for scientific support for recommendations.
3) If you find a recommendation that has an evolutionary basis but the scientific explanation has not been fully developed, you can do one of the following:
(i) Take the position that you are not eliminating a food you like (and which does not negatively affect you)* until more concrete information and evidence comes forth, or
(ii) Take the position that although all the science is not yet in, you’d rather avoid the Neolithic food just in case.
*(I would advise, however, that you probably won’t know how much a food negatively affects you without eliminating that food from your diet and then selectively reintroducing it.)
Whether enough science supports a claim to satisfy you is something only you can decide. And it will take some reading and work on your part.


If you are interested, here are Paleo/nutrition blogs I regularly read (all wfs, except possibly freetheanimal.com which contains some profanity):

http://rob bwolf.com/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/
http://www.archevore.com/get-started/
http://thehealthyskeptic.org/
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/
http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/
http://www.trackyourplaque.com/blog/
http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/
http://nephropal.blogspot.com/
http://thepaleodiet.com/
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/
http://freetheanimal.com/

I find these blogs to be informative without being overly dogmatic.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:13 PM   #10
Zane Jones
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Re: Jon Barron's Paleo Article

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Originally Posted by Todd R Bailey View Post
http://rob bwolf.com/
Nice long post!

Here, fixed your link for ya so others could visit it.

http://www.************* (WFS)

Last edited by Zane Jones : 05-24-2011 at 01:16 PM.
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