L-C

Fat and glucose vs. fructose

119 posts in this topic

I have to say though that I see people achieving results through many different regimen. The most fit I have been was when I was eating like a pig morning and lunch, and nearly nothing at dinner (typically, a cup of soup). I was lifting weight at home in the morning and swimming before lunch, and fasting completely once a week (and not exercise that day).

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The thing I notice about the various eating plans that folks are mentioning is that they all reflect a kind of "grazing factor" -- the eating of frequent smaller meals five or six times a day. I absolutely agree with Ray and others that, when it comes to healthy eating habits, this is the most important element of all. I differ only in the consideration of what goes into those meals, the consideration of which must include an assessment of the individual's condition and general physical state.

Well, then you missed the whole point as it does not really matter as calories are calories which are just a form of energy/heat. I guarantee you that if you double your egg whites and butter you will get just as fat as a person that eat two slices of cake instead of one.

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Well, then you missed the whole point as it does not really matter as calories are calories which are just a form of energy/heat. I guarantee you that if you double your egg whites and butter you will get just as fat as a person that eat two slices of cake instead of one.

If you say so it must be true!

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Well, then you missed the whole point as it does not really matter as calories are calories which are just a form of energy/heat. I guarantee you that if you double your egg whites and butter you will get just as fat as a person that eat two slices of cake instead of one.

If you say so it must be true!

No, it is the nature of man and my experiences with multiple thousands of people that allow me to state it with certainty. As a matter of fact, I do not expect you to change your mind nor ever agree with me, but that is not going to stop me from stating what I think and backing those statements with facts, from reality.

Here are some real questions (not rhetorical ones) I would like to see you and others answer. Besides yourself, how many thousands of people have you checked your theory on? How many years have you gotten up 6 days a week and met with people, trained and educated them, from the early morning hours until late at night? How many diabetics have you had to correct their irraltioanlly held myths about never eating carbs/sugar? How many diabetics have you had apply principles (the ones I keep mentioning) and lose weight and become non-diabetics? What research did you do before reading some researcher's studies that would allow you to recognize any contradictions in their statements, or at the least seem out of the norm? Please surprise me by answering these questions.

I do not mention all the things I mention in an attempt to make myself an authority figure. I mention all the things that I do so that I can demonstrate the real world experience I have gathered. If people want to follow some person in a lab coat that has a Ph.D. or M.D. behind their name without question they can go right ahead. But, if I am going to agree with any of those people their facts have to be supported with real world situations not some made up garbage where they do not have to tie their statements/theories to reality. Almost every field has been touched by irrational educators and many on this forum have discussed it, such as economics, physics and history. But, when it comes to exercise and diet, some how, all the educators are correct, somehow going untouched by the corrupt philosophy of our time. Well, I disagree and I have done enough research and reading on the subject to know that they have not been untouched and for the most part are just like the rest.

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I would like to thank Rose Lake for providing detailed references and articles from the paleonu.com website of Dr. Kurt Harris. It has helped me understand in more detail where the "paleo" advocates are "coming from." I had already read Gary Taubes' book, Good Calories, Bad Calories (GCBC for short), and found it well worth thinking about, but I had never quite understood the link between Taubes and the "paleo" advocates. It's far clearer now.

My own nutritional preference during the past nine years has been strongly neolithic (but decidedly pre-modern) -- i.e., a starch-based diet with the addition of fruits and vegetables. In analyzing a diet, I look first at where the main energy calories are coming from (protein vs. fat vs. carbohydrate), then at the sources of micronutrients (now more often referred to as "phytonutrients"), and finally at the total bulk (physically filling the digestive system to capacity). For my own needs, I rely almost entirely on unrefined or minimally refined starches for energy calories, and on vegetables and fruits (preferably whole and raw, such as whole fruit in moderation and a very large fresh salad daily, without salad dressing, relying on a small or medium whole tomato to serve the purpose of salad dressing). Lately I've also started testing a food supplement known as "Chlorella" (a single-celled plant) for additional phytonutrients. I strongly avoid animal products of all kinds, and I also strongly avoid the more refined carbohydrates such as white flour and table sugar.

From that perspective, I readily noticed that Taubes is actually ambivalent about minimally refined starches. In the Epilogue (p. 454, conclusion #4, in the Anchor Books Edition, September 2008), Taubes writes: "Through their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's diesease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization." Does the reference to "starches" here include minimally refined starches, or not? Taubes clearly says "refined carbohydrates." Is the qualifer, "refined," intended to apply to starches and sugars? I think probably so. Indeed, throughout most of the book, Taubes almost always uses expressions like "easily digestable, refined carbohydrates" when discussing harmful carbs. In Chapter 6, he explains that the "diseases of civilization" seem to have arisen historically at about the same time, and as a result of, greatly increased refinining of sugar and flour. The main chapter of the book that I could find where Taubes is less clear about whether he is indicting minimally refined starches as well as more highly refined ones, is Chapter 19. Just about everywhere else, he makes it more clear that he is specifically indicting the highly refined starches and sugars (leaving minimally refined starches out of the discussion and unevaluated).

From the perspective of a neolithic (post-agriculture) diet, the distinction between minimally refined starches and more highly refined starches and sugars is extremely significant. Agriculture began to develop about 10,000 years ago, as Taubes explains, and made carbohydrates far more abundant. Not explained by Taubes is that the effect on human populations was enormous, enabling far larger population concentrations to develop, and allowing populations to remain more closely tied to particular land areas instead of having to migrate to wherever concentrations of wild animals could be found. Yet the "diseases of civilization" did not develop during those 10,000 years, until about the last 200 years, when increased refining of flour and sugars became more prevalent. Taubes explains the connection between diseases of civilization and carbohydrate refining in Chapter 6. Some 10,000 years of human experience with neolithic (but pre-modern) diets confirms that such diets, relying heavily on minimally refined starches for daily energy calories, have been of great value to human life.

But if all carbs are bad, as the paleo advocates apparently maintain, then it follows that the rise of agriculture itself was bad for man. I see this as a huge, fundamental disconnect in the paleo approach. I also do not see how it can ever be practical for large human populations worldwide today ever to return to a diet that seeks to avoid or minimize carbohydrates in favor of animal proteins and fats (reducing carb consumption to such a low level that the body remains in fat-burning ketosis even after eating). Carbs of the right kind -- the minimally refined kind -- do not seem to deserve the criticisms they have received from paleo advocates. And even Gary Taubes doesn't actually go quite that far himself in GCBC, athough he does not seem to appreciate minimally refined starches as a potential value for man. (I must also add that Atkins and paleo advocates do not seem to deserive the harsh criticisms they have received from adherents of the "fat hypothesis" of coronary heart disease, as Taubes discusses in great detail in GCBC.)

Still, if there is a scientific case to be made for claims that whole wheat flour (and gluten) cause identifiable harm to human health, even in the absence of conditions such as celiac disease, I want to know about it and examine the evidence more closely. The paleonu.com website puts forth some rather strong claims about wheat, which I intend to study in more detail as time allows. I rely quite heavily on wheat for my own energy calories, although I avoid store-bought bread of any kind, including whole wheat. (I make my own bread using 100% stone-ground whole wheat flour, and I use only about one tablespoon of 100% pure Maple syrup as a sweetener for 7 cups of flour).

Both paleo advocates and neolithic advocates agree that man is an omnivore. But this simply means that man is able to digest animal prodcuts as well as plants, and survive thereby. It does not necessarily mean that man is best adapted to eat one or the other, or that man has in any way lost the ability to survive well by eating plants. Man evolved from herbivore apes. If being an omnivore means that man can survive equally well by eating mostly animals (and perhaps vegetables for micronutrients), I would not fault anyone for doing so, even though the starch-based meat-free diet that I have been following has worked very well for me and many others.

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Eat, drink and be merry, within reason (and according to principles) and one can live a long prosperous life without missing out on foods they enjoy (including refined foods) nor feeling guilty about doing so. If the opposite case was true, I along with my clients, should be obese diabetics with cholesterol filled arteries on the verge of death, but we are not and quite the opposite is true.

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Man evolved from herbivore apes.

Do you know that for sure? Chimps hunt & eat meat when they can.

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Eat, drink and be merry, within reason (and according to principles) and one can live a long prosperous life without missing out on foods they enjoy (including refined foods) nor feeling guilty about doing so. If the opposite case was true, I along with my clients, should be obese diabetics with cholesterol filled arteries on the verge of death, but we are not and quite the opposite is true.
Ray, you keep repeating this but offer no substantial reason for this to be true, only the fact that it is. System Builder wrote a long and thoughtful reply that I, at least, found interesting. (This doesn't mean I agree with everything he said, and I don't pretend to know much about nutrition.) Perhaps your claim is true, but you've offered no real reason other than it seems to work for you and your clients. But others have noted that their diets have work for them, as well. Rose Lake has even stated that your diet (or a version of it) did NOT work for her. When I am training, I want the most efficacious diet possible, regardless of the effort it takes.

I'm not saying you are wrong (or right), I just wish that you would take the time to explain. You keep asserting that you "looked at the nature of man", but never offer a very good explanation of what that means, particularly because it seems to have yielded such different results from the rest of the field.

Where would Objectivism be today if Ayn Rand simply said: "Selfishness and capitalism are the best systems. None of you will understand until you discover the nature of man" and when questioned on it responded, "I'm happy, and my friends are happy, so it must work."

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Ray, you keep repeating this but offer no substantial reason for this to be true, only the fact that it is. System Builder wrote a long and thoughtful reply that I, at least, found interesting. (This doesn't mean I agree with everything he said, and I don't pretend to know much about nutrition.) Perhaps your claim is true, but you've offered no real reason other than it seems to work for you and your clients. But others have noted that their diets have work for them, as well. Rose Lake has even stated that your diet (or a version of it) did NOT work for her. When I am training, I want the most efficacious diet possible, regardless of the effort it takes.

I'm not saying you are wrong (or right), I just wish that you would take the time to explain. You keep asserting that you "looked at the nature of man", but never offer a very good explanation of what that means, particularly because it seems to have yielded such different results from the rest of the field.

Where would Objectivism be today if Ayn Rand simply said: "Selfishness and capitalism are the best systems. None of you will understand until you discover the nature of man" and when questioned on it responded, "I'm happy, and my friends are happy, so it must work."

If you do a search for Ray's older posts on the subject, you will find that he has given ample explanation of the theoretical basis of his recommendations, so your criticism here is not fair at all. Also, I would say that for the mere purpose of refuting the paleo theory, it is enough to show that there are cases in which the predictions made by it completely fail to materialize. Since I have always eaten an above-average amount of the stuff the paleos say is so terrible, I find it rather amusing to read predictions about the tragic fate that they declare inevitably awaits me, when I have in fact never had any problem with my health. To counter your analogy, it's like reading Marx's predictions about how capitalist economies will inevitably produce an ever-growing number of ever-poorer proletarians--on my brand new 64-bit 17" laptop that I bought for an amount of money I had worked 2 days for!

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Capitalism Forever:

I have read Ray's older posts, and I found them lacking in substance from a theoretical standpoint. I sometimes grow tired of the statement that he "looked into the nature of man", and came up with this theory. I never remember reading his method in doing this. However, I will go back and re-read his older posts.

Ray: I re-read my post, and it is a little hostile in tone, and perhaps even unfair. I do agree with a great many of your ideas, and they mesh with my own lifestyle. But I have nothing to back it up or to suggest that it works for others the way it does for me. Obviously you do because of your clients, but I think it hurts your case when you make such general statements to a long post. But I do understand that you grow weary of repeating the same arguments over and over again. I find it difficult to begin the study of a subject (not that I have time right now) because one must start somewhere. Others have started by reading a few books that you disagree with. Perhaps some started by reading your articles. Without proper training and lifestyle, I find it difficult to judge one over the other, unless specific refutations are offered. When you generalize as you sometimes do, it makes it difficult to judge your theory against the one presented, especially without bringing my own potential misunderstandings into it. Perhaps this is laziness on my part, but I suspect that a good deal of people on the FORUM don't have much time to devote to researching and pursuing the subject and must make a judgment without being an expert.

Sorry, I hope this clears up misunderstandings about my first post. The post, as written, was an unfair characterization of Ray's efforts on this forum.

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Also, please understand that these posts are regarding Ray's view on dieting. I think his view on exercise is correct and that he has demonstrated ample evidence (both theoretical and anecdotal) to prove it.

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Realitycheck44,

If you read the thousands of post that I have written on this subject (which would probably take a good portion of time) you should find that I have given an immense amount of evidence on how the human body (in this context human metabolism) works. I have given fact after fact on how the body processes energy, what it does with extra energy sources, how it converts all resources, what the negatives of excess resources are and so much more. The reason I tell people to search out "the nature of man" is so that they will stop being bamboozled with every new (or reworked theory) that comes out. You (nor anyone) cannot make judgements on whether an idea is correct without first understanding the nature of the entity under discussion. So, when those that disagree with me quote some doctor or researcher as evidence and I know that those statements do not follow from the nature of man I offer that the individual first grasp the nature of man. Because as you state yourself, you find it difficult to judge which is correct or not. And you will keep finding it difficult to judge until you get an understanding of "the nature of man" which is the same problem I had so many years ago. If and or when you get an understanding of "the nature of man" you will not need a guru to tell you what is correct or not as you will know for certain that which is.

When studying diet and exercise one should search for principles to guide them not commandments such as so many irrational diets of today pronounce.

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Man evolved from herbivore apes.

Do you know that for sure? Chimps hunt & eat meat when they can.

Although we are 98.6% genetically the same as an ape, man did not evolve from apes at all. Man's last know relative with the ape is the chimpanzee which we both seperated from about 7 million years ago. Of course to know that one would have had to study the "nature of man" which it seems not many care to do.

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Realitycheck44,

If you read the thousands of post that I have written on this subject (which would probably take a good portion of time) you should find that I have given an immense amount of evidence on how the human body (in this context human metabolism) works. I have given fact after fact on how the body processes energy, what it does with extra energy sources, how it converts all resources, what the negatives of excess resources are and so much more. The reason I tell people to search out "the nature of man" is so that they will stop being bamboozled with every new (or reworked theory) that comes out. You (nor anyone) cannot make judgements on whether an idea is correct without first understanding the nature of the entity under discussion. So, when those that disagree with me quote some doctor or researcher as evidence and I know that those statements do not follow from the nature of man I offer that the individual first grasp the nature of man. Because as you state yourself, you find it difficult to judge which is correct or not. And you will keep finding it difficult to judge until you get an understanding of "the nature of man" which is the same problem I had so many years ago. If and or when you get an understanding of "the nature of man" you will not need a guru to tell you what is correct or not as you will know for certain that which is.

When studying diet and exercise one should search for principles to guide them not commandments such as so many irrational diets of today pronounce.

Ray, I really do appreciate the time you have taken to post so many times on the subject. However, I still do not understand how one goes about learning "the nature of man". This is not an attack against you, but I've seen you use the phrase so many times and I've never understood what you meant by it or how one would go about achieving it. I may be wrong, but it seems this is like saying a physicist must first "learn the nature of reality". It doesn't make sense to me.

I think that this is the crux of the issue. Upon reflection, my first post was unnecessary and unfair. I should have just asked the question: "What do you mean by understanding the 'nature of man', and how does one go about achieving such an understanding without appealing to an expert in the field?"

Best,

Zak

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Zak,

When I state that one should get an "understanding of the nature of man" I mean that one should get, at the least, a basic understanding of the interconnected and hence interacting systems that make up the whole of what is called the biological nature of man. For example, that which makes up man is not just his digestive system, it also includes the circulatory system, the endocrine system, the muscular system, the nervous system, the integumentary system, the lymphatic system, the reproductive system, the respiratory system, the skeletal system, the urinary system, the endocannabinoid system. So, it is this group of systems that work in an interconnected manner that make up that which we call the nature of man and what one should strive to get a basic understanding of if they are going to form judgements on whether that which someone else states is correct.

For example, when an individual sees/perceives people losing weight by applying many different types of dieting guidelines his perception alone does not give him the information for guidance. It should be obvious that there is something going on at a deeper, more fundamental, level that allows all these people to lose weight. Well, it is only with an understanding of the nature of man (all his systems working together) that allows him to formulate principles, that if correct, guide his actions toward the enhancement of his life. And as I hope can now be seen, to get an understanding of the "nature of man" demands an immense effort.

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I would like to thank Rose Lake for providing detailed references and articles from the paleonu.com website of Dr. Kurt Harris. It has helped me understand in more detail where the "paleo" advocates are "coming from." I had already read Gary Taubes' book, Good Calories, Bad Calories (GCBC for short), and found it well worth thinking about, but I had never quite understood the link between Taubes and the "paleo" advocates. It's far clearer now

....

Both paleo advocates and neolithic advocates agree that man is an omnivore. But this simply means that man is able to digest animal prodcuts as well as plants, and survive thereby. It does not necessarily mean that man is best adapted to eat one or the other, or that man has in any way lost the ability to survive well by eating plants. Man evolved from herbivore apes. If being an omnivore means that man can survive equally well by eating mostly animals (and perhaps vegetables for micronutrients), I would not fault anyone for doing so, even though the starch-based meat-free diet that I have been following has worked very well for me and many others.

I've stated this before and I'll state it again, for whomever takes my judgment seriously.

Through my university subscription I have access to many journals of science, and in no journal articles by anthropologists do I find this brazen assertion of the "paleodiet" being better than the "neolithic diet" or "modern diet". Many active anthropologists at different universities have in fact sharply criticized paleodiet, as a naive misunderstanding of how evolution and nutrition actually function.

The few science articles I have found that advocated paleodiet were published in nutrition journals and displayed cherry-picking of data on a horrid scale, and it was genuine pseudoscience. In general, I've found that medical doctors outside of academia have a common habit of writing articles where they attempt to make very general conclusions about human nutrition or other such factors from at most scant, or cherry-picked data. One such example was a medical doctor who published an article in some nutritional journal or something similar claiming that the reason American males have a slightly higher incidence of cancer than Japanese males is because beds in Japan are made of plastic, whereas beds in America have metal springs, and EM-waves transmitted by your TV get amplified by the bed-springs and giver American males cancer... Pseudoscience garbage.

If others wast to continue this game of rationalizing why a particular diet works, then go ahead, but the professional establishment of active scientists has a dim view of paleodiet, this scientist included. And since this is an area that is very distant from politics (as opposed to global warming, or economics), the general opinion of a large group of active research scientists in academia should be taken seriously.

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Sorry, this last post of mine had a large number of typos. I'm very busy at this point and have limited time to step on THE FORUM and write, but felt I had to write something about this.

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I would like to add that besides studying the systems I mentioned above one should also study how man has evloved to the point that we are at now. For example, one of the first things that should by questioned about the Paleo diet is; if eating sugars causes disease in man then how did man evolve to the point that that which he eats is turned into energy which is disease causing? In other words; how did man evlove to the point where things that taste good are harmful to his health, such as sweet tasting fruits, like bananas which carry fructose? Any species that has illmutations (a mutation that is not life enhancing) wipes itself off the face of the planet which is known as natural selection. So, if the Paleo diet was correct, man would have had to evolve against natural selection, but somehow still exist. The very fact that that which taste good is also that which our bodies convert into useable energy should be enough to cause the Paleo supporters to rethink their premise, but no. It is easy to come up with an integrated theory when one does not have to tie their theory to reality, past or present.

Is it that no one else thinks of these types of questions? Is it that no one else questioned that man supposedly should not eat sugars as they are harmful, but somehow man evolved to the point where his primary source of energy flowing through his blood-stream is glucose/sugar? Is it that no one questioned that fact that man's liver converts everything into glucose or a form of energy that can be used, which is not protein or fat? Is it that no one questioned that man's brain is 99.9% fueld from glucose/sugar which is converted into that from what ever food source he eats. Another aspect of the Paleo diet that should be questioned is how do the researchers know what ancient man ate? Where did they get the facts from reality to back their claims what man ate so long ago when none of man's internal organs exist at this point? One final thought (for now) the time span given for the change in man's dieting habits is not nearly enough time to cause us to have genetic changes of the sort where Paleo man was a carnivore and 10,000 years later we are omnivores.

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I would like to add that besides studying the systems I mentioned above one should also study how man has evloved to the point that we are at now. For example, one of the first things that should by questioned about the Paleo diet is; if eating sugars causes disease in man then how did man evolve to the point that that which he eats is turned into energy which is disease causing? In other words; how did man evlove to the point where things that taste good are harmful to his health, such as sweet tasting fruits, like bananas which carry fructose?

My response should not be taken as a defense of the Paleo diet as I am not a supporter of it.

For the majority of our evolution sugars were not as readily available as today thus there were no environmental pressures present to, for example, develop a signaling system that would prevent us from consuming too much of it. It is entirely possible that eating sugar in small amounts or infrequently is beneficial (and thus good taste for it was developed) but over consumptions of sugar on regular bases (not possible for an early man) is, in fact, harmful (because perhaps our body did not have enough time, from an evolutionary perspective, to adjust to such a high intake of sugars).

The same applies to any substance when considering body's reaction to it.

Is it that no one questioned that fact that man's liver converts everything into glucose or a form of energy that can be used, which is not protein or fat? Is it that no one questioned that man's brain is 99.9% fueld from glucose/sugar which is converted into that from what ever food source he eats.

Similarly, one could claim that since the human body consists of 80% of water therefore humans should eat food that contains 80% water.

Sugar is the primary source of energy for most living things on this planet yet many living things evolved to only eat meat, for example.

Do you see how that is also an invalid argument?

Another aspect of the Paleo diet that should be questioned is how do the researchers know what ancient man ate?

There are evidence for what ancient man ate but what he ate is not necessarily an indication of how we should be eating today (an invalid argument on the paleo side).

-----------------

The problem with a lot of diet related claims is that they are based on correlations instead of evidence of direct causation. We often hear how something is "linked to" something else.

Another obstacle is the fact the we do not yet have a complete understanding of all of the biochemical connections and dependencies.

A lot of health problems are rooted in being overweight (which is an altered biochemical state) and diet is not a direct cause of such disease. The same diet consumed by a person who is not overweight may not result in that condition. Two different people can be cured of the same disease with two very different drugs so it is not reasonable to assume (as there is no evidence for it) that there is only one way of affecting one's weight.

I do find that limiting my carbohydrates (the refined kind) makes it easier for me to stay on track with what my energy intake should be. I experience fewer and less intense cravings and as a result I tend to overeat less. For me I limit them for that reason.

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Sophia,

By way of an FYI on how elastic "Paleo" is, all by itself, when used to supposedly designate a particular approach to nutrition - here is a blog post on what Kurt Harris means by "paleo." IMO, "Paleo" in nutrition, is about as useful a term as "Jazz" is in music, which is often used to designate pieces of music that contain virtually nothing in common, and critical elements that are entirely opposed to one another:

The Only Reasonable Paleo Principle

SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010 AT 6:25PM

[A simple Venn diagram appears at this point (not duplicated here) in the post, which is also described in the text]

Ok, that will be seen as dogmatic, but I can’t help liking my version best.

This is yet another post that started out as preamble to another topic, the defense of butter, but has become something else.

Before I defend butter, I want to address why I don’t care that butter is not “paleo” and to re-state my own dietary paleo principle. For other essays on what I mean by “paleo principle” you can read this and this.

It seems the “paleo” tag itself is becoming less and less useful (a separate blog post in that, I suppose) so I won’t waste much time arguing that butter is “paleo”.

It’s not.

Butter is Neolithic. Butter is one of many excellent Neolithic foods.

But isn’t Neolithic bad and Paleo good?

Such dichotomies are attractive but very misleading. When I began to seriously investigate these things years ago, one of the first books I read was a very popular diet book with word “Paleo” in the title. I was pretty disappointed.

Allow me to elaborate.

Here I had just read Gary Taubes’ magnum opus, the crux of which, it seemed to me, was that the lipid hypothesis was a failed scientific paradigm.

Alternatively, in GCBC evidence was presented that certain relatively novel foods could account for diseases of modernity, or diseases of civilization (DOCs). The DOCs, argued Gary, seemed to be related at least in part to the introduction of sugar and wheat flour into our diets. That fat and meat and in particular, saturated fat, had been parts of the human diet for hundreds of thousands of years was without question. So if saturated fat or cholesterol were not, as we had been taught, the cause of the DOCs, and these other agents, which are newer to our diets, might be the real cause of heart disease and other DOCs, then we have the beginnings of a principle, one that just seems obvious when you think about it, and for me really just came from reading GCBC.

My new principle or “paleolithic” principle, was just that if foods contribute to disease, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that the bad foods are what we have been eating a long time, and much more likely that they are something relatively new

So, the way I thought of it, a food being evolutionarily novel was a likely condition for it being an agent of disease, but that novelty was neither necessary nor sufficient for agent of disease status.

So let me explain this necessary nor sufficient thing – a common term in the hard sciences but an important concept.

To my simple mind it seemed obvious that the universe of foods that were newer or Neolithic would provide candidates for the dietary agents of disease, and that a disease-causing agent would be very likely to be a Neolithic one. Lots of foods are Neolithic. Among them we are likely to find our agents. But being a Neolithic food alone is not sufficient to make it an agent of disease.

Sidebar: I arbitrarily deem foods newer than agriculture – newer than the late Paleolithic period –neolithic foods – even though the newest, like corn oil or HFCS are really more modern or even post-industrial foods.

The idea that all Neolithic foods would be agents of disease was an idea I never really entertained.

So when I started to read some popular books and blogs, including that one with “Paleo” in the title, it occurred to me that some of the approaches were using a Paleolithic principle quite different from mine - so different that it led to a totally different diet. Some of the sources I read had an inclusive logic – they seemed to say that all Paleolithic foods were the nectar of the gods, and most Neolithic ones were poison, as if exactly what it is in the food matters less than its provenance.

That is what I call paleo-reenactment.

Of course, that there were and are “paleo” approaches that still cling to the idea that the saturated fat we store in our own bodies is poisonous didn’t help much. To me ditching the lipid hypothesis was essential to the genesis of any realistic Paleolithic principle. How could eating palmitic acid be dangerous when a fasting hunter-gatherer would have it coursing through his veins?

And frankly, coming at it from any direction, whether as a doctor or as an amateur reader in evolutionary biology, the idea that one would presume that most foods (especially the real ones!) introduced in the past 10,000 years are Neolithic agents of disease is just kind of incoherent.

Just imagine a Venn diagram. One giant circle, one medium and one small. The giant circle is food with a long evolutionary history, the Paleolithic food. The medium circle is the food with a shorter history, the Neolithic food. The small circle is “agents of disease”. The paleo and neo circles do not overlap, but the small circle overlaps both of the larger ones. The “agents of disease” overlaps the Neolithic circle by about 95% of its volume (let’s say) and only 5% overlaps the the paleo circle. But even though the overlap between the agent of disease circle and the Neolithic circle (Neolithic agents of disease) is 95% of the disease circle, the medium-sized neolithic food circle is larger – so only some fraction of the large category of neolithic foods are actually clinically significant causes of disease.

Note that, unlike the paleo-reenactors, I see no need to assume that all Paleolithic food is 100% healthy. We can account for foods with millions of years of evolutionary history wreaking havoc with our metabolism by accounting for quantity and ubiquity, and not just “did we eat it”. So there is the necessary part – it is not necessary for a food to be Neolithic to be an agent of disease.

How many of the Neolithic foods are agents of disease?

I don’t know, but I am confident that thinking they ALL are is biologically implausible and an unsophisticated oversimplification – paleo re-eanctment.

When we have medical and metabolic evidence that a Neolithic food is healthy and we find its constituents to be totally compatible with foods we consider Paleolithic, we can conclude that food is not in the agent of disease part of the Venn diagram.

Which will bring us round to butter. Next Post.

Note: A special thanks to reader Phil for making the Venn diagram!

Kurt G. Harris MD

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Man evolved from herbivore apes.

Do you know that for sure? Chimps hunt & eat meat when they can.

Although we are 98.6% genetically the same as an ape, man did not evolve from apes at all. Man's last know relative with the ape is the chimpanzee which we both seperated from about 7 million years ago. Of course to know that one would have had to study the "nature of man" which it seems not many care to do.

Ray - re-read my post. I never say we evolved from chimps. I know full well we didn't. (While you're at it, re-read your sentence and see whether it's so clear. Did you really mean to say "Man's last know relative with the ape is the chimpanzee..."?)

Why you bother to shoot from the hip on a post that doesn't concern you is incomprehensible. You need to curb that vindictiveness - or shall I say your bullying tendencies?

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Man evolved from herbivore apes.

Do you know that for sure? Chimps hunt & eat meat when they can.

Although we are 98.6% genetically the same as an ape, man did not evolve from apes at all. Man's last know relative with the ape is the chimpanzee which we both seperated from about 7 million years ago. Of course to know that one would have had to study the "nature of man" which it seems not many care to do.

Ray - re-read my post. I never say we evolved from chimps. I know full well we didn't. (While you're at it, re-read your sentence and see whether it's so clear. Did you really mean to say "Man's last know relative with the ape is the chimpanzee..."?)

Why you bother to shoot from the hip on a post that doesn't concern you is incomprehensible. You need to curb that vindictiveness - or shall I say your bullying tendencies?

My post was not pointed primarily at you and instead it was to demonstrate a lack of evolutionary understanding of man by some on this forum.

On a side note, my last post (before this one) was to demonstrate that one does not have to be an expert to ask the questions that I put forth as a few simple facts from reality should be enough to begin the questioning of such an irrational idea.

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Letter to the Editor

Carbohydrates and the diet–atherosclerosis connection—More between earth and heaven. Comment on the article “The atherogenic potential of dietary carbohydrate”

Alexander Ströhle, a, , Maike Woltersa and Andreas Hahna

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=A...mp;searchtype=a

If others can't read this, I'll repost some of it:

Dear Sir,

Since atherosclerosis has become an object of scientific research, there has been an ongoing discussion about the role of nutrition in etiology and prevention of this disease (Chahoud et al., 2004). Today, we are living in the era of ‘Low carb mania’ (Dowdell, 2004). To round off the carbohydrate–disease connection, recently Kopp (2006) has put atherosclerosis on it, a hypothesis far from being new (Cleave, 1956 and Yudkin, 1972). There are some anthropological and evolutionary aspects in the article of Kopp (2006) which should be discussed.

Based on a review published by Cordain et al. (2002), Kopp stated that hunter–gatherers, who consumed a diet relatively low in carbohydrates (22–40 energy%), have shown to be relatively free of the signs and symptoms of CAD. However, reading the ethnographic literature carefully, Kopp did not take into account some important issues. In most of the studies cited by Cordain et al. (2002), there are only data about surrogate parameters of CAD such as the lipid profile. But it is doubtful if these parameters really correspond with clinical endpoints of CAD. In contrast to the conclusion drawn by Kopp (2006), the evidence for a low incidence of CAD among hunter–gatherers living on a low-carbohydrate diet is questionable. Actually, hunters like the Inuits, who traditionally obtain most of their dietary energy from wild animals and therefore eat a low-carbohydrate diet (Ho et al., 1972), seem to have a high mortality from CAD (Bjerregaard et al., 2003). Long before Western foods were implemented in the traditional diet of the Inuits in considerable amounts, several clinical examination and X-ray studies (Rabinowitch, 1936, Bertelsen, 1940 and Rodahl, 1954) disprove the alleged absence of atherosclerosis among them. As Bertelsen (1940) in his classic description of the diseases among the Inuits pointed out ‘arteriosclerosis and degeneration of the myocardium are quite common conditions among the Inuit, in particular considering the low mean age of the population.’ But even if we assume that hunter–gatherers were really free from CAD, the wide range of different dietary behaviors among this group has to be considered. Consequently, the plant–animal subsistence ratios of hunter–gatherers vary in a remarkable manner (0–90% food from gathering; 10–100% food from hunting and fishing) (Marlowe, 2005 and Ströhle and Hahn, 2006a). Therefore, it is likely that the macronutrient intake varied enormously (Jenike, 2001) and it is doubtful that hunter–gatherers ate a low-carbohydrate paleo menue in general (Lindeberg, 2005). The situation gets more complicated, when we consider the diets and disease patterns of horticulturists and simple agriculturists. For example, the population of the tropical island of Kitava, consuming a diet high in tubers and therefore rich in carbohydrates, shows high insulin sensitivity and low serum insulin levels. Atherosclerotic diseases such as stroke and CAD were virtually nonexistent in this group (Lindeberg and Lundh, 1993 and Lindeberg et al., 1999). The situation is similar to that of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico (Groom, 1971 and Connor et al., 1978) and numerous rural pastoral societies in Africa (Walker and Sareli, 1972) as well. All these populations are ingesting a high-carbohydrate diet without having signs and symptoms of CAD. Taking the data together, there is no ethnographic evidence that a high-carbohydrate diet per se is atherogenic.

According to Kopp (2006), (i) ‘the human genome’ has evolved during the Pleistocene, (ii) 10,000 years since the dawn of agriculture ‘is a period not nearly sufficient to ensure an adequate adaptation,’ (iii) the metabolism of modern humans must be ‘genetically adapted’ to the dietary conditions of the Pleistocene and hence (iv) the agricultural diet humans have consumed since thousands of years must be dysfunctional because we are not adapted to it. Statement (i) is resting on an inadequate, but popular gene-centered approach of evolution. Actually, evolution of organisms cannot simply be reduced to the genetic level with reference to mutation. Also, there is no simple one to one relationship between genotype and phenotype (Gray, 2001). (ii) As Wilson (1994) points out, ‘it makes no sense to express evolutionary time as a proportion of the species history (e.g., 1%). If the environment of a species changes, the evolutionary response will depend on the heritability of traits […], the intensity of selection, and the number of generations that selection acts. The number of generations that the species existed in the old environment is irrelevant, except insofar as it affects the heritability of traits.’ Hence, Wilson concluded, ‘rather than marvelling at the antiquity of our species, we should be asking what kinds of evolutionary changes can be expected in 10, 100, or 1000 generations.’ Clearly, if the carbohydrate-rich diet of our ancestors implemented 10,000 years ago was in discordance with their physiology, then this would have created a selection pressure for evolutionary change in some features of human metabolism. Given this, modern humans – especially Europeans, the descendants of simple agriculturalists which had consumed cereal grains for 400–500 generations – should be in some way ‘adequately adapted’ to carbohydrate-rich diets. However, if Kopp is right and there was no ‘adequate adaptation’ since the end of the Pleistocene, then the carbohydrate-rich diet was functional without it. Whatever is the fact, to think that a dietary factor is valuable (functional) to the organism only when there was ‘genetical adaptation’ and hence a new dietary factor is dysfunctional per se because there was no evolutionary adaptation to it, such a panselectionist misreading of biological evolution seems to be inspired by a naive adaptationistic view of life (Mahner and Bunge, 2001 and Ströhle and Hahn, 2006b). It is also questionable that Kopp is taking the Pleistocene dietary environment as the crucial evolutionary environment for modern humans. For example, Milton (2002) has argued, ‘There is little evidence to suggest that human nutritional requirements or human digestive physiology were significantly affected by such diets at any point in human evolution.’ But even if we agreed with Kopp that the Pleistocene (a time period started 1.8 million years ago and ended 12 000 years ago) was the ‘diet of evolutionary adaptedness’ (Eaton and Eaton, 1998), it is questionable if all hunter–gatherers living between 150,000 and 10,000 years ago in different geographical regions ate a low-carbohydrate diet (Jenike, 2001 and Conklin-Brittain et al., 2002). Today, due to limited methods and data, there is only limited knowledge about what our preagricultural ancestors had eaten (Ströhle and Hahn, 2006b, Richards, 2002 and Garn and Leonard, 1989). According to the ‘Plant underground storage organs hypotheses’ (Laden and Wrangham, 2005 and Wrangham et al., 1999), it is possible that carbohydrate-rich tubers were eaten in high amounts by our preagricultural ancestors. Provided that humans are incapable of metabolizing high amounts of dietary protein and given the fact that wild African mammals are relatively low in fat, a diet supplemented with carbohydrates from tubers seems to be more efficient in meeting the energy requirements of early hunters and gatherers than a diet based on lean meat (Speth, 1983 and Speth and Spielmann, 1989). Interestingly, some advocates of a ‘paleolithic diet’ pointed out that such one is not always low in carbohydrates (Lindeberg, 2005). Consequently, a plant-based diet rich in carbohydrates was accounted to be consistent with our evolutionary past (Lindeberg, 2005 and Lindeberg et al., 2003). Taking all the empirical and theoretical issues presented above together, Kopp's approach to the question of carbohydrate consumption being associated with health risks based on evolutionary reasoning and ethnographic data seems not to be well founded.

Proponents of "Paleodiet" and "anti-Carbs" diets have a naive understanding of the larger relevant facts and context of the field they claim to understand. Real experts are only too happy to destroy such nonsense, and fill the void with authoritative knowledge.

It seems to be similar to other instances of popular pseudoscience, like Global Warming, that when all the relevant facts come out the reader suddenly discovers just how many key pieces of information that the proponent of the crank theory was conveniently not mentioning, ignoring, or rationalizing some end-around. Reality is never as simple as the crack-pot theorist wants you to believe, and not all the facts can neatly fall in line with their ideas.

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My favorite part from what I posted above:

But even if we agreed with Kopp that the Pleistocene (a time period started 1.8 million years ago and ended 12 000 years ago) was the ‘diet of evolutionary adaptedness’ (Eaton and Eaton, 1998), it is questionable if all hunter–gatherers living between 150,000 and 10,000 years ago in different geographical regions ate a low-carbohydrate diet (Jenike, 2001 and Conklin-Brittain et al., 2002). Today, due to limited methods and data, there is only limited knowledge about what our preagricultural ancestors had eaten (Ströhle and Hahn, 2006b, Richards, 2002 and Garn and Leonard, 1989). According to the ‘Plant underground storage organs hypotheses’ (Laden and Wrangham, 2005 and Wrangham et al., 1999), it is possible that carbohydrate-rich tubers were eaten in high amounts by our preagricultural ancestors. Provided that humans are incapable of metabolizing high amounts of dietary protein and given the fact that wild African mammals are relatively low in fat, a diet supplemented with carbohydrates from tubers seems to be more efficient in meeting the energy requirements of early hunters and gatherers than a diet based on lean meat (Speth, 1983 and Speth and Spielmann, 1989). Interestingly, some advocates of a ‘paleolithic diet’ pointed out that such one is not always low in carbohydrates (Lindeberg, 2005). Consequently, a plant-based diet rich in carbohydrates was accounted to be consistent with our evolutionary past (Lindeberg, 2005 and Lindeberg et al., 2003).

Other objectivists here on this forum need to not be so trusting with what these diet promoters tell you. It appears that even the most core assumptions (what paleo-man ate) are, at best, sketchy.

Again, this is all very similar to the drama of global warming. Scary scientists tell this wild story about manmade CO2 warming the planet and destroying, and make it all sound so simple and believable. Then, when the larger facts become available, you discover that essentially all the core assumptions (CO2 higher than ever has been, CO2 drives temperature/climate, a warmer planet is more dangerous than a cooler planet, etc) are, at best, suspicious, and at worst totally invalid with respect to the state of knowledge in science.

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For the majority of our evolution sugars were not as readily available...

Similarly, one could claim that since the human body consists of 80% of water therefore humans should eat food that contains 80% water.

Sugar is the primary source of energy for most living things on this planet yet many living things evolved to only eat meat, for example.

Do you see how that is also an invalid argument?

Your first sentence that I quoted does have some truth to it, but you fail to mention the other part. That other part is that proteins were not "readily available" either, lest us not forget that in ancient times proteins primarliy came in the form of animals. So, am I supposed to believe that ancient man (of any time) found it easier to kill an animal than he did finding berries and or other types of carbohydrates?

All forms of energy do require water to be present during digestion of which carbohydrates release the most of and why we can eat food (stored energy/heat) and not burn up our insides. If you check your chemical break-downs of any form of energy you will see that water is a by-product of all of them. But, we do need more water than what is carried in by our food and hence why water, alone, is one of the macronutrients required on a daily basis for proper function of the human body along with carhoydrates, protein and fat. As a matter of fact, a person that is trying to lose weight and also limits their water intake along with eating large amounts of protein will cause their liver (which has around 500 functions of which a few are to help out the kidneys and gall-bladder when they lack water by giving up it's own water resources) to shun fat back to the fat cell as fat is only about 10% water and then go to the muscle which is 72% water, (not protein) pull out the water and derive the amino acids from the muscle and convert the amino acids into sugar to fuel the body. This action causes the catabolism of an entity that can actually enhance our metabolism which is muscle.

Sugar is the primary souce of energy for most living animals as their digestive systems only have the enzymes to digest meat, but man has the ability and the enzymes to digest many different forms of energy.

Can you now see how invalid these arguments are?

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