Duke

Can Diseases of Civilization be Caused by Diet?

123 posts in this topic

I didn't work in financial services, I worked in the financial department of a couple big corps. Very different beasts. I still think (many areas of) quant finance are at best a useless time waster, but I'm not invested enough in the issue to engage in a long debate on why or why not. But I'm no intelectual nihilist.

As such, I have no say on Taleb's theory with regard to investing. I have heard that he made quite a bit of money, but that may not be true. A few millions is a lot of money - that's a life changing event.

I think the core power law / black swan / outlier idea goes way beyond the investment realm, and it may well be true that investing on those principles is hard / impossible. I still think it's a key concept, and important to keep in mind when going trough life.

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Joss,

No I have not read the specific articles that you linked to because as I explained in my PM I had already read some of Art de Vany's writings a few years ago and by taking a quick look it does not look like his ideas have changed since then. With that said, our pancreas, which is what produces insulin and releases it, releases insulin no matter what we eat. The more food one takes in the more insulin one will release to deal with the energy traveling through the body and hence more will be stuffed into the fat cell no matter what type of food source one eats. As a matter of fact it is a fallacy to think that diabetics cannot eat sugar as they can with no ill effects as long as they eat small meals just like everyone else.

No, my sentence is not a logical fallacy as the basis of every aspect of food is simple sugars that grow in complexity as they move from sugar to protein to fat. And it is actually fat that causes the largest buildup of toxins within our body and demands the largest response (not in a metabolic sense) to our liver, kidneys and gallbladder to get rid of those toxins. Trying to fool nature never works. Further, in a study done on longevity with the normal fly, researchers seperated groups of flies into three different longevity groups and then seperated each group into three other dietary groups which were; simple sugars, protein and then a mixture of fat, carb and protein. The dietary group that died first within every longevity group was the last with the most demanding dietary aspects, the fat, protein and carb group. The dietary group that died next within every longevity group was the protein feed flies. And the group that lived the longest within every longevity group was the flies that were feed just simple sugars. Now a common house fly does not have as complex metabloism as man, but it does go to show which food sources create the largest toxins that any species has to deal with. So you can keep thinking you are fooling mother nature by taking in more complex foods, but you will just build more toxins in the breaking down of those more complex foods and put a different demand on yourself that you body will pay for in the future. Do as you please.

I do not have the time this morning to finish a critique of your comments, but I will post further comments later.

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To quickly add to what I mentioned above.

If the human body needs protein for protein synthesis and all one is taking in is simple sugars, the liver can take those sugars and combine them with chemicals that it makes itself along with the heat generated through the metabolism of the sugars and create protein for protein synthesis. So, no what I mentioned earlier is not a logical fallacy.

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He claims that scientific studies show that ancient hunter-gatherers had a higher stature, more bone density, probable heavier musculature, larger brains, and lower incidence of arthritis and tooth problems than the farming peoples that followed them. He also claims that modern studies also show a lower incidence of "old age diseases" in modern hunter-gatherer societies.

In post #30 I provided a link to an exhaustive overview of what is in the anthropological literature concerning this issue:

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...st&p=103031

The link to the overview is here (not sure if you can access it if not on a university internet account)

http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-...ipt=sci_arttext

The scientific reality is not as clear cut as these different diet proponents would have you believe, and there remain such a number of variables little understood that it would be hasty to try and draw sweeping conclusions about paleo vs neolithic diet and/or lifestyle.

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He claims that scientific studies show that ancient hunter-gatherers had a higher stature, more bone density, probable heavier musculature, larger brains, and lower incidence of arthritis and tooth problems than the farming peoples that followed them. He also claims that modern studies also show a lower incidence of "old age diseases" in modern hunter-gatherer societies.

In post #30 I provided a link to an exhaustive overview of what is in the anthropological literature concerning this issue:

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...st&p=103031

The link to the overview is here (not sure if you can access it if not on a university internet account)

http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-...ipt=sci_arttext

The scientific reality is not as clear cut as these different diet proponents would have you believe, and there remain such a number of variables little understood that it would be hasty to try and draw sweeping conclusions about paleo vs neolithic diet and/or lifestyle.

I just realized that the link is publicly accessible, and not just closed to university subscriptions, so I'll quote and paste here the concluding remarks from their paper:

Discussion

Regional studies of temporal change in health indicators in the Old World offer varying impressions. Increases in some aspects of morbidity in at least some past periods are indicated in studies from Australia, Nubia, the Near East, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and England. Increases coupled with declines in different periods are suggested for Japan, South Asia, Greece and Turkey and Denmark. Declines in aspects of morbidity are noted for Iran-Iraq (infection) and Portugal (dental pathology in the Mesolithic and Neolithic). Regional variability was found in samples from Australia and Europe.

The detection of Old World temporal trends in morbidity from the published literature is hampered by problems of adequate dating of some samples, incomplete data from most areas, variability in the time periods represented in different areas, variability in the range of data reported, and varying definitions of the traits recorded. All of these factors severely limit inter-regional comparison and even assessment of temporal change within single areas. The most useful information is that provided by single investigators over long periods of time such as Angel's work in Greece and Turkey. Such studies have the advantage of comparable data collected by a single investigator.

The general impression of the corpus of published information is that most areas likely witnessed a temporal decline in health, especially as reflected in dental problems. The extent and timing of this decline may have varied considerably, influenced by the complex factors involved. These complicating factors likely included not only the obvious ones of diet and environment, but also complex cultural ones such as food preparation, gender roles, age-related social stratification, and demographic dynamics. The true picture of this process and regional variation in temporal change remains elusive for the reasons discussed above.

Our own research project in northeastern Hungary seeks to provide sharper focus on temporal change in that area of Eastern Europe (Ubelaker and Pap 1996, 1998). In this study, data on a variety of indicators of morbidity are collected on human remains with firm chronological controls. These data are supplemented with a detailed inventory (following Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994) to produce meaningful frequency data. Published information is now available for samples representing the Bronze Age (Ubelaker and Pap 1996) and Iron Age (Ubelaker and Pap 1998). Data have been collected from the Copper Age and Neolithic as well. Because these data have been collected by the same individuals using the same techniques, they are directly comparable and offer information on regional patterning. With such an approach, we can begin to understand world-wide variation in patterns of morbidity and perhaps illuminate the underlying influences.

So it may be the case that more often than not there was a decline in dental health and some other health areas, but more research remains to be done. Even if it were a complete certainty that health did decline, you would still have to isolate the cause of why it happened.

Is it because agricultural diet is not healthy? Or is it because early attempts at agriculture produced so few crops that the diet wasn't initially healthy? Or is it because a climate shift happened that made farming difficult, so the people who made the switch found themselves living in hard times? Or is it because the kind of crops they first raised and the way they prepared them for consumption was bad for health?

There remain a great number of unknowns that would have to be properly addressed before you can start writing and selling diet books telling people to dramatically transform their lives.

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In post #30 I provided a link to an exhaustive overview of what is in the anthropological literature concerning this issue:

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...st&p=103031

The link to the overview is here (not sure if you can access it if not on a university internet account)

http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-...ipt=sci_arttext

The scientific reality is not as clear cut as these different diet proponents would have you believe, and there remain such a number of variables little understood that it would be hasty to try and draw sweeping conclusions about paleo vs neolithic diet and/or lifestyle.

I'm sure that there's no definitive answer yet, but your post doesn't seem to invalidate the De Arny claims. I'm only commenting on your quotes here. The Greece & Turkey study seems to be looking at a very narrow time windows well within the agricultural age, so is irrelevant. The Iran-Iraq passage you quoted suggests that people in the Neolithic (i.e., agricultural man) had all the ailments of the paleo, plus some, and that this trend only started changing in modern times. So it rather supports De Arny. The South Asia quote seems to mostly support De Arny claims.

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Ray,

I complete respect the fact that you cannot find the time to read some details articles on De Arny, but then you cannot properly comment on his position. You certainly shouldn't rely on what I write to give you a proper view. I do my best, but I've only started looking into that, fairly casually, in the last couple of weeks.

De Arny doesn't say that shifting diet stops production of insulin. This is also not what I said. All he says is that different types of food produce different levels of insulin and fewer or less sharp spikes.

The idea that we cannot withstand or properly digest simple sugars is unfounded considering that is what our bodies primarily run off of and what the brain uses as it's primary source of energy.
No, my sentence is not a logical fallacy as the basis of every aspect of food is simple sugars that grow in complexity as they move from sugar to protein to fat.

Ok, the first sentence is not a logical fallacy if you meant to say that fat and proteins are sugars too. Personally, I think that this is at best a cop out, but nevermind.

The fly study only demonstrates that flies are designed to eat sugars. It's completely irrelevant to our discussion.

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In post #30 I provided a link to an exhaustive overview of what is in the anthropological literature concerning this issue:

http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...st&p=103031

The link to the overview is here (not sure if you can access it if not on a university internet account)

http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-...ipt=sci_arttext

The scientific reality is not as clear cut as these different diet proponents would have you believe, and there remain such a number of variables little understood that it would be hasty to try and draw sweeping conclusions about paleo vs neolithic diet and/or lifestyle.

I'm sure that there's no definitive answer yet, but your post doesn't seem to invalidate the De Arny claims.

In the sense that my post doesn't disprove a negative, no it doesn't. But "there's no definitive answer yet" then why are we discussing the merits of his dietary theory when the fundamental hypothesis upon which it hinges remains shrouded in mystery and unproven?

My main point is that some people here are painting an inaccurately oversimplified picture of the truth, an oversimplified picture that seems to conveniently fit the hypothesis, and in one case I showed that a diet promoter literally only cited studies that supported his thesis. This isn't how science works. You don't start with a theory and keep the theory alive so long as you can find a few facts that correlate well with it. You have to start with the facts, and from an exhaustive knowledge of the facts begin to build a theory from induction.

Science goes from reality to abstractions; rationalism goes the opposite direction.

I'm only commenting on your quotes here. The Greece & Turkey study seems to be looking at a very narrow time windows well within the agricultural age, so is irrelevant. The Iran-Iraq passage you quoted suggests that people in the Neolithic (i.e., agricultural man) had all the ailments of the paleo, plus some, and that this trend only started changing in modern times. So it rather supports De Arny. The South Asia quote seems to mostly support De Arny claims.
If you look only at facts that support his hypothesis, then of course, it supports his hypothesis.

This is similar to what global warming scientists do. Hypothesize that CO2 drives temperature, then only consider a portion of climate history where CO2 and temperature correlate favorably, then claim that correlation implies causation without ever exhaustively understanding all the causative links involved.

Finding facts that correlate in a pleasing way is never enough for a theory. You have to demonstrate a causal connection between those facts in order to validate your theory. This means understanding the causative variables, and all their interrelationships, so that you can finally isolate the single variable and prove that it does whatever you claim it does. This hasn't been done here.

Regardless of all this, the diet can obviously be tested in trials with different people to see if it really does work, but that's not my point here. My point is that the way he and other are trying to invoke studies to prove their theory is pseudoscience.

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Carlos,

I agree with what you write. I'm not saying De Arny has the answer. He cites studies that he selected himself, and I certainly don't know that these studies are valid, are not contradicted, etc. All I can say is the the quotes you posted either support his claim or are neutral. I also find him reasonable, well articulated in a way that makes sense to me, and what he says makes a lot of sense to me. It also largely confirms what Ray says, at least with regard to proper exercise.

To be fair to De Arny, the comparison between paleo and neo is only one of several lines of reasoning. Now, of course the other ones might be misapplied or misunderstood too. One thing is clear, both he and Ray are in a great shape, so at least their theories are not dangerous over the short- to -medium-term.

Your point on global warming is well taken, but the cost aspect is completely different. It's one thing to try out a relatively mild life-style change for a few weeks to see if the theory behind it is sound, it's another to waste trillions of dollars.

I'd say that Ray and De Arny are both in the initial theory formation stage. As long as their theories have not been validated by multiple peer-reviewed, solid protocol experiments, they're just theories. But the cost or risk associated with trying those theories is very small, so they're worth trying out.

As it goes, there are many, many areas of human life in which there's very little hard science on which to rely on. Not enough experiments have been made, because of cost/benefit and / or regulation.

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Ray,

I complete respect the fact that you cannot find the time to read some details articles on De Arny, but then you cannot properly comment on his position. You certainly shouldn't rely on what I write to give you a proper view. I do my best, but I've only started looking into that, fairly casually, in the last couple of weeks.

De Arny doesn't say that shifting diet stops production of insulin. This is also not what I said. All he says is that different types of food produce different levels of insulin and fewer or less sharp spikes.

The idea that we cannot withstand or properly digest simple sugars is unfounded considering that is what our bodies primarily run off of and what the brain uses as it's primary source of energy.
No, my sentence is not a logical fallacy as the basis of every aspect of food is simple sugars that grow in complexity as they move from sugar to protein to fat.

Ok, the first sentence is not a logical fallacy if you meant to say that fat and proteins are sugars too. Personally, I think that this is at best a cop out, but nevermind.

The fly study only demonstrates that flies are designed to eat sugars. It's completely irrelevant to our discussion.

Joss,

First off I told you privately that I have already read some of his literature that was given to me by one of my clients who asked for a critique of which I did. So, I do not need to go back and read his ideas as with a general overview I can say that they are the same that I have already read. So, yes I can come to conclusions on what he is stating as his ideas are they same that I have already read hundreds of times.

Art de Vany's ideas on insulin production and it's release are not in agreement with how the body actually functions. The body releases insulin (actually the pancreas) anytime we eat any type of food. The larger the portion of food the larger portion of insulin release no matter what type of food one eats. If one wants to control their blood-sugar levels then they should reduce the amount of food they eat at one time of which has almost nothing to do with what type of food one eats. With that stated sweets and fat carrying foods are dense in calories, but that does not lead to exempting them from one's diet. So, on average if a normal person eats more than 500 calories at one sitting they will spike their pancreas to release more insulin which acts to control one's blood sugar level no matter what food they have eaten.

I can tell you what I think of your thoughts of me attempting to "cop out," but I am sure they would get deleted. So, I instead challenge you to take a course on bio-chem and then you can tell me what the basic chemical make-up of things that we eat is. I will be waiting.

The fly study demonstrates that the damage to one's body by eating more complex foods comes at a cost of toxic buildup which is unavoidable. In other words everything you put in your mouth that makes it to your liver/metabolism for break down leaves behind excess stuff that your body has to deal with. The more complex the more stuff left for your body to deal with which over time creates wear and tear on the body that is unavoidable. But, of course you know this all already and that is how come you can come to such quick conclusion.

I will end by stating that after further thought I will not waste one more minute of your time, do as you please. I am a scientist, businessmen that has spent close to 30 years tracking, reading, studying and applying items and have grown tired of discussing my ideas on this forum with little or no benefit. So, good day and enjoy your life.

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have grown tired of discussing my ideas on this forum with little or no benefit

Arguments like this can be frustrating at times, but I think it is useful to challenge incorrect ideas even if you cannot convince the specific person you are arguing with. There may be thousands of other people reading your posts now and in the future and if you make more sense than the other side then you will win many of those people over. I myself have certainly found your comments on this thread very interesting and, although I already knew the basic principles, I enjoyed learning more about the biological details. So do keep making your case, it is not falling on deaf ears!

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The body releases insulin (actually the pancreas) anytime we eat any type of food. The larger the portion of food the larger portion of insulin release no matter what type of food one eats.

Are you saying that the intake of n calories will result in the same release of insulin regardless of the composition of the intake? That someone swallowing 500 calories of sweets will get the same insulin release as they would if they swallowed 500 calories of steak?

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have grown tired of discussing my ideas on this forum with little or no benefit

Arguments like this can be frustrating at times, but I think it is useful to challenge incorrect ideas even if you cannot convince the specific person you are arguing with. There may be thousands of other people reading your posts now and in the future and if you make more sense than the other side then you will win many of those people over. I myself have certainly found your comments on this thread very interesting and, although I already knew the basic principles, I enjoyed learning more about the biological details. So do keep making your case, it is not falling on deaf ears!

CF, thanks for you words and I will keep them in mind the next time I think I have had enough and not obtaining any benefit.

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have grown tired of discussing my ideas on this forum with little or no benefit

Arguments like this can be frustrating at times, but I think it is useful to challenge incorrect ideas even if you cannot convince the specific person you are arguing with. There may be thousands of other people reading your posts now and in the future and if you make more sense than the other side then you will win many of those people over. I myself have certainly found your comments on this thread very interesting and, although I already knew the basic principles, I enjoyed learning more about the biological details. So do keep making your case, it is not falling on deaf ears!

I second that. As you know, I picked up an interest in HIT and your methods from the now closed thread where you hit a similar wall. This is definitely an interesting conversation.

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The body releases insulin (actually the pancreas) anytime we eat any type of food. The larger the portion of food the larger portion of insulin release no matter what type of food one eats.

Are you saying that the intake of n calories will result in the same release of insulin regardless of the composition of the intake? That someone swallowing 500 calories of sweets will get the same insulin release as they would if they swallowed 500 calories of steak?

That is exactly what I am saying. The food that we eat is unuseable to us until it is digested/metabolized into a form that we can use, that includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There is almost no scientific evidence that simple sugars are digested and absorbed faster than complex carbohydrates and other food sources*. In other words, the totality of everything that you eat must be disgested before it's usage of which all of the food sources are broken down amazingly fast and then shunned to where we either need them or stored in muscle, fat cells and even some sugar within the liver itself. As a matter of fact the only negative to actually eating sugar in any amount (without brushing) is that it can lead to dental cavaties. There is also no evidence that sugar is the primary cause of obesity, hyperactivity, diabetes or heart disease when eaten in rational amounts. Excessive or irrational amounts of sugar can lead to increased blood lipids, but excessive amounts of protein and fat can lead to ill effects such as increased levels of cholesterol in the blood of which both can increase one's risk for heart disease. In conclusion, eating to many calories from protein, fat or carbohydrates can make us all fat and lead to an increased risk to one's health.

* In 1994 The American Diabetes Association published their findings after years of scientific research in Nutrition Principles for the Management of Diabetes and Related Complications that showed what was thought of for years (going back as far as 1921) about how the body digest and absorbs sugars, simple or complex, was wrong.

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Furthermore, one should ask themselves what carbohydrates and protein are made of. Well, guess what, carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Proteins are made up of, here we go, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. One of the negative aspects of to much proteins is that it can lead to problems within the kidneys as they are the main filters (the filters are called glomeruli) of the extra nitrogen that comes in protein and must be dealt with as a toxin. Also, to much protein in the diet has actually been shown to increase glucose (sugar) and nitrogen within one's urine. Unlike most human cells that can heal themselves the glomeruli cannot. It is estimated that each kidney has about 1 million filtering units to last a lifetime, once they are used and or destroyed there is no gaining them back and usually leads to the disease known as nephropathy.

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Interesting, thanks.

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That is exactly what I am saying. The food that we eat is unuseable to us until it is digested/metabolized into a form that we can use, that includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There is almost no scientific evidence that simple sugars are digested and absorbed faster than complex carbohydrates and other food sources*. In other words, the totality of everything that you eat must be disgested before it's usage of which all of the food sources are broken down amazingly fast and then shunned to where we either need them or stored in muscle, fat cells and even some sugar within the liver itself. As a matter of fact the only negative to actually eating sugar in any amount (without brushing) is that it can lead to dental cavaties. There is also no evidence that sugar is the primary cause of obesity, hyperactivity, diabetes or heart disease when eaten in rational amounts. Excessive or irrational amounts of sugar can lead to increased blood lipids, but excessive amounts of protein and fat can lead to ill effects such as increased levels of cholesterol in the blood of which both can increase one's risk for heart disease. In conclusion, eating to many calories from protein, fat or carbohydrates can make us all fat and lead to an increased risk to one's health.

Interesting, so in theory it would be possible to survive on a diet of bread and chocolate in appropriate quantities? How about alcohol?

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Interesting, so in theory it would be possible to survive on a diet of bread and chocolate in appropriate quantities? How about alcohol?

You wouldn't get the other micronutrients, vitamins, etc, I suspect.

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Rtg24, Joss is correct as you would be missing the micronutrients. So, unless you are going to take supplements to make up for the missing micronutrients you would be better off by varying your dietary intake of the macronutrients. Alcohol in small/rational amounts (such as a 12 ounce lite beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor) usually creates no more harm than other energy sources for most people. But when alcohol is taken in larger/irrational amounts it can effect one's blood sugar/glucose level (because of the way that alcohol effects the liver and kidneys large amounts can have ill effects such as hypoglycemia/low blood sugar level) and blood fat levels along with the fact that alcohol does not carry micronutrients.

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To quickly add to what I mentioned above.

If the human body needs protein for protein synthesis and all one is taking in is simple sugars, the liver can take those sugars and combine them with chemicals that it makes itself along with the heat generated through the metabolism of the sugars and create protein for protein synthesis. So, no what I mentioned earlier is not a logical fallacy.

From what I've read, the human body cannot synthesize 8 out of the 20 amino acids that it needs, am I right? If so, these 8 must come from dietary sources.

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To quickly add to what I mentioned above.

If the human body needs protein for protein synthesis and all one is taking in is simple sugars, the liver can take those sugars and combine them with chemicals that it makes itself along with the heat generated through the metabolism of the sugars and create protein for protein synthesis. So, no what I mentioned earlier is not a logical fallacy.

From what I've read, the human body cannot synthesize 8 out of the 20 amino acids that it needs, am I right? If so, these 8 must come from dietary sources.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and there are 22 amino acids that are linked together in various combinations to form different types of protein molecules. Nine (9) of these amino acids are called essential because our bodies cannot make them and they must be obtained from foods that we eat. If a person ate an average 2,000 calorie diet per day they would only need about 7.5% of those calories to come from protein to get the essential amino acids needed to perform all functions required by the body. But, if a person takes in to many calories, even from the leanest type of protein, that protein will be converted to fat and the energy stored in a fat cell.

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RayK, would you recommend a certain caloric ratio of carbs/protein/fat intake? What about people who do weight training?

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The average adult male only requires about 2,100 calories per day and a female about 1,800 calories per day to maintain their respective weights. Of those 2,100/1,800 calories about 55-65% should come from carbohydrates, about 10-20% from protein and about 10-20% from fat.

The average person only requires about 0.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight but you will probably find that most dietitians recommend about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, a lean male of about 170 pounds of body weight would only require about 62 grams of protein per day to stay healthy and a woman of about 130 pounds would only require 47 grams. For the most part even a person lifting weights does not require a large amount of extra protein as it only takes about 16 extra calories to generate a pound of muscle. Most people in a 1st world country are getting more than enough protein to provide for their needs and hence why so many today are overly fat.

Once again, for the most part people can eat, drink and be merry, within reason (I recommend 3 principles) and their bodies/metabolism will do what is needed with the resources. If you want to read more of what I have written I am sure you can find it on this forum by typing "exercise and diet" into the search engine.

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For those who may be interested, here is a debate over protein in diet. Dr. Colin Campbell (The China Study) faces off against Lauren Cordain, who represents the Paleo Diet, which advocates lean meats.

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