Attention everyone! There is a massive and urgent problem that humanity faces. It’s called “overpopulation.”
That’s right, with the dawn of agriculture came a huge rise in global population. It seems that neolithic foods, particularly grain and milk, were such healthy foods that they offered mankind with simply too much of an ecological advantage. As soon as the fields and pastures gave rise to these new foods, we began proliferating like all species tend to do when health is at a maximum.
For years I’ve been incapable of coming up with a solution to this huge problem. I became even more confused when I read Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth, in which the overpopulation issue was highlighted as mankind’s primary concern heading forward, while simultaneously reading that vegan diets must be abandoned for one with plenty of meat and butter?? This really threw me off. For years I’ve thought that the vegan diet was the perfect diet for keeping human proliferation under control, and was shocked to see Keith warn against veganism while sounding the sirens over the overpopulation issue.
But let it be known that a far more logical solution is out there. I can’t believe it never dawned on me before. It makes perfect sense! If we need to keep our population growth under control, why not revert to a diet and lifestyle of a former time in which population growth was negligible?? That of course, is the metabolically-crippling low-carb version of the Paleo diet complete with the Paleo lifestyle of anti-sex hormone-like activities such as fasting.
This e-mail sent to me the other day by a prolific Paleo blogger that was tired of being sick and infertile and decided to abandon her Paleo ways says it all. My kudos to Mark Sisson. His “Primal Challenge” may just be the thing that solves this population problem, saving mankind from walking over the edge of the overpopulation cliff. And the best thing about it is that the metabolism slows down so much that delayed stomach emptying can still give women the satisfaction of feeling pregnant even though they are far from it!
“Hey Matt, I’ve been following your work since probably Sep 2009 and I just wanted to write in with a little story and a thank you.For reference, I am a 26 year old female, normal weight (5’7”, 133 lbs). I had been mostly paleo and lowish carb for many years. I started in my very early 20’s for health reasons, not weight reasons, but all my old health problems were creeping back. I had always been fairly lax with my diet (hence the “mostly” paleo and the “lowish” carb), so I figured I just needed to tighten things up a bit. To kick start, I decided to do Mark Sisson’s Primal Challenge back in August 2009. Worst idea ever! I only got worse and added some new bad stuff into the mix, like extreme severe bloating. I called it my food baby because after eating I would literally look 7 months pregnant. Not getting what was going on, I got even MORE restrictive and decided to go meat-only for a week or two to sort myself out. Didn’t even last 3 days on that. Also sometime in there (don’t remember when exactly), my doctor diagnosed me as slightly hypothyroid with a TSH of 3.2 and put me on a low dose of Armour. I took it for 6 weeks and got my blood re-tested and my numbers were actually worse.
So at this point a few good things happened. After my 3 miserable days on meat only I found your website and Diana Schwarzbein’s books. I finally had something to explain why my thyroid had gotten sluggish after all my years of “healthy” eating and how I could fix it.I did Schwarzbein by the book for 2 weeks and saw modest improvements. Then I was hit with a freak random attack of ulcerative in October (which I’ve never had before or since, but let me tell you pooping blood and mucus is NOT FUN) and kind of reverted to my old ways throughout the holiday season.I kept reading your stuff though, and back in the beginning of January I decided what the heck, I’ll go for it. I don’t know if I’ve specifically been OVER eating, but I have been making a concerted effort to not skip meals (something I used to do frequently) and I have been making sure I eat at least one starchy carb with every meal. I’ve also been avoiding sugar (even fruit mostly) and vegetable oils. I am eating a ton more grains, beans and dairy than I have in years.
Well I am one happy camper now, let me tell you! I think I gained a pound or three, but in the process I have regained a lot of health. My horrible bloat went away, my energy has gotten a little better (I’ve been very lethargic for awhile), my body temp has gone up a bit, I no longer get stomach aches/nausea, my bowels became regular (I used to joke that I had a shitty shitter), I haven’t had a single headache since I started (I used to get several per week).I could go on, but overall I used to feel like crap and now overall I feel pretty good. And the big one – after 18 months – EIGHTEEN MONTHS! – of trying and failing miserably (emphasis on the miserably), finally, this month, I was able to get pregnant! Coincidence?? Probably not.
I would have left (a probably briefer) comment on your blog, but I’m not public about being pregnant yet and didn’t want any of my friends/family finding it. :)? But thank you so much, you can’t imagine how much it means to me.”
If only nature could take its course, this is how the ignorant population would control itself. Too bad they'll just take fertility meds and pop out 6 autistic kids at a time.
Matt, This is by far your best piece of work! Extremely entertaining and insightful. It is funny how the paleo-tards never see things in this way.
I was going to refute you, but then I realized I can't because while I follow the paleo paradigm and eat mostly grain free, I don't follow low carb and sometimes cheese grits end up sneaking into my diet somehow on weekends.
But I still don't think low carb is dangerous…Arctic peoples ate this way and reproduced fine.
Actually, it's not the diet that kept our neolithic ancestors from populating the world, it was the diseases and other animals that ate their babies. So, that is what we need to do, I think, in your opinion? Feed our children to the wolves and lions, refuse to give them enough heat and warmth, leave them out in the rain and burning hot sun, do not give them medicines of any kind? That will decrease the world's populations rather quickly.
Oh Boy! I know you're having a bit of fun, but you do know that population increased with the agricultural revolution because growing your own crops rather than foraging and hunting maximizes the yield per unit land that humans can eat, not because the food makes you healthy, right? In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that early agriculturalists suffered deficiency diseases and stunted growth, but you can fit way more of them in the same amount of space if you monopolize the net primary productivity for human use. Moreover, if you are no longer living a mobile lifestyle, children can be weaned sooner (since you don't have to carry them everywhere), and women have more frequent children.
The ecological argument for a vegan diet is probably the best one they've got–more people can survive, but not thrive, eating lower on the food chain. This argument is weakened once you factor pastured, rather than grain-fed, animals into the equation (they are eating grass that we cannot eat, on land often not suitable for crops, and they can sustainably build up, rather than erode, soil quality). It's also weakened by the hugely destructive and wasteful practices of grain and soy agriculture.
Wow Matt, angry side. Burns my eyes. Paleos had potatoes for God's sake! Don't ever forget that. Ice age, potatoes. Paleo diet = meat + veggies = moronic. Besides, we are friggin' humans, we knew how to store food loong before agriculture. We sure didn't like intermitent fasting, or whatever. We've been here for a long time.
Thanks, Bill. You beat me to it. Matt's wrong right off the bat. As you said, it was simply a matter of maximizing food production. You could feed more people, more consistently, till childbearing age.
Keeping people in once place, a settlement, also reduces the ability of wild animals to prey on the young and weak, while also reducing stressful environmental variables.
Hey, R. b., reading skills. Matt said: "That of course, is the metabolically-crippling low-carb version of the Paleo diet". Though, channeling Peat (and my tastes), a diet of muscle meat makes it all the worse. It's pretty moronic how they just cherry pick what they like. After all, most people not even fall into a truly representative paleo low carb diet, they fall into their own fancy and pathetic modern imitations. Lol, as if veggies were going to replace the other 80% of the animal.
If I lived on Rib eye, I would be more than broke. Actually, since living on eggs, liver and stews, I find the simple cuts of meat really bland. I could almost kill to eat some of that beef tail again…
I think Matt may be on to something. Most of the paleo-bloggers look unhealthy.
Rikard Nikoley is fat and looks unfit. His face is bloated and he looks like a chipmunk.
Kurt Harris looks gaunt and fragile. Sisson…ok he gets a pass, looks good for his age.
So maybe Paleo isnt such a good thing when push comes to shove.
Keep up the good work Matt. I'll be sure to follow your blog because you have interesting things to say and I agree with a lot of it.
lamin, Did you even read the post?
"In fact, the evidence is overwhelming that early agriculturalists suffered deficiency diseases and stunted growth…"
Yeah, yeah. The paleo and low carb crowd seem particularly fond of this argument, and there is *some* evidence demonstrating that might be true, but I would hardly call it overwhelming. Nor do I find the evidence that does exist particularly compelling in demonstrating the superiority of the alleged hunter-gather diet. For one thing, there is no proven way to distinguish between decreasing health indicators caused by famine -that is, a shortage of food- vs "lower quality food." Moreover, people who want to argue (usually smugly) that the deficiency diseases in the early Neolithic era "proves" that agriculture led to lower quality food are throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water. In short, they are ignoring the fact that many of the early neolithic agriculturalists were most likely eating from a very limited selection of food compared to their paleo forebearers(=1). If this is the case, of course agriculture is going to compare poorly to the the earlier hunter-gather era.
Moreover, some anthropologists/archaeologists are starting to question the standard story that all the early agriculturalists experienced a decline in health and an increase in mortality. This is especially true when they study the early neolithic groups that maintained a relatively diverse selection of foods as they transistioned to a more agriculture based society. For a paper that questions the "increased mortality" interpetation, read this: "Was There a Nealithic Mortality Crisis?" 'Journal of Population Research. John C. Caldwell, Bruce K. Caldwell.'
There are other papers I could link to, to support my argument. But to be honest, I am too lazy to do so right now. I will state, however, that if anyone responds to the above as if they have never read those arguments in anthropology or archeology before, they have been engaging in some very selective reading indeed. Either that, or they have a conformation bias wider than the Mississippi.
Rice Burner, my understanding is that the only paleo tribes that might have had access to potatoes are the ones residing around or near the Andes. Or am I mistaken?
I will agree, though, Matt, you have overstated your case somewhat. In short, Bill and arlojeremy are making some valid points.
(=1) Some of the early neolithic skeletons show signs of protien deficiency. This is very strong evidence that those tribes/societies were eating very limited diets that probably constisted of very little animal products and only a limited selection of plant products.
Good dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.
This was a great piece and whether valid or not definitely one of the best written and concise arguments I have read against a Paleolithic diet.
Good decision about yesterdays post as well, although it may have been of the best intentions it just feels out of place amongst the great work on this blog.
What's with all the bashing, don't you even think you should attempt to "keep your enemies closer"? Fred Hahn looks pretty darn good. The Eades look great. Sally Fallon is gorgeous (though hmm, she allows some grain though I believe she goes sprouted/fermented).
You do have me thinking though. Are you familiar with Richard Johnson, a nephro in Colorado? He's pretty heavy anti-fructose non-low-carb though he fears sat fat. He's also big on uric acid avoidance. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071212201311.htm
"Fred Hahn looks pretty darn good."
Fred Hahn is fat and weak as a kitten
This is Dr. Poppy:
Please don't get me started on these ideologues preaching to other people about controlling their reproduction…especially those intentionally childless ones. One good thing, at least they are not reproducing. Most of them are pro-abortion, you know, get your hands off my uterus crowd, except when it comes to EGADS bringing life into the world! Then we really need to control ourselves…usually these is also tied into global warming nonsense (enjoy your 5 feet of snow east coast). Paleos are often evolutionary disciples, which of course, is quite dependent on reproduction. Reproduction is a sign of a healthy physiology, preventing it requires synthetic hormones, synthetic barriers, surgery or abstinence. Population control wingnuts, whether paleo or vegan, keep your hands off my uterus as I continue to produce productive, healthy, contributing members of society.
Amen Dr. Poppy!
The Lord said to be “fruitful and multiply.” A fertile body means a you have a healthy, well-functioning body. No wonder woman get miserable on the paleo diet. It’s not meant for us to mutilate our ourselves.
Overpopulation! Look at all the uninhabitated land. There is no limit to this world. All of the MILLIONS of infant children KILLED. The death rate with all of the diseases, cancers, people dying young EXCEEDS the birth rate and has been for decades. Check out the facts and stop looking into your own reasons and understanding. With love for truth.
Fern root, yucca, taro, etc. all posible staples or big contributors to the nutrtion of many paleo groups. About "ice age potatoes": http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2009/08/primal-potatoes-part-1.html
Don Mates says we have more copies of the AMY1 gene than chimpanzees which means we produce from 6 to 8 times more salivary amylase.
And "As I noted in The Garden of Eating, in 1996 anthropologist Melissa Darby, M.A., of Lower Columbia Research and Archaeology (Oregon) demonstrated that Northern Hemisphere paleolithic humans had access to arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) a prolific wetlands plant that produces a tuber very similar to the white potato. Pollen data indicates that this tuber ?called ?wapatos? by the Chinook tribe ? thrived in the last Ice Age throughout North America, the North American Great Basin, Siberia, and Northern Europe ? overlapping the time that during which Perry et al estimate that humans started showing extra copies of the AMY1 gene.
Darby has harvested approximately 5,418 calories per hour gathering wapatos from a knee-deep pond. The tuber is most abundant from late fall through spring, when other plant foods are scarce. People can eat these tubers without grinding or mashing, and they cook thoroughly in a bed of hot ashes in 10 minutes, no oven required. They keep fresh in a cool place, and also dried.
American Prairie Indian women also gathered and cultivate the starchy camas bulb. Darby says that a woman gathering camas could net 5,279 calories per hour. This would consist primarily of starch: nearly 1000 g of it.
Thus, we know that humans had access to tubers?I’ll call them primal potatoes?even during the Ice Ages. It seems fairly certain that we have descended from a long line of tuber-eaters extending back at least a quarter of a million years."
Btw, your right, Juanito, my mistake. Anyway, I hope this post helps to illustrate better the stupid biases of the paleo-world. Not everyone, of course, but many.
Oh, and Matt, many paleo groups (and maybe some succesful neolithic ones) excercised birth control. Now, that's intelligent, because they knew their enviroments could only sustain so much. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I'm sorry, I mean no offense to your email friend, but what is "Mostly Paleo" and "Lowish Carb"?
This post is lame. Hating and hyperbole don't help anyone; I thought we were about open discourse regarding science and experience.
The YourNight thing has me creeped out too.
Yeah! Ever since we moved out of the caves and improved our food supply more and more, we started living longer and longer. But wait, don't we all get evil "diseases of civilization" for disobeying the holy earth mother Gaia and eating farmed and processed foods? Doesn't the metabolic syndrome raise its evil hydra heads of low HDL, high triglycerides, high blood glucose, high BMI and high blood pressure? Doesn't it cause higher deaths? No, it doesn't. Because each of these shitty "risk factors" can't even produce consistent correlations between their occurence and a higher death-rate. Mixing non-risk-factors to one big non-risk-factor and giving it the fancy name "metabolic syndrome" surely doesn't change it.
It can't be that there's no problem at all, can it? We are surely sinning with our high living-standards – evil worthless sinners that we are.
Could it be that maybe (like ALL animals) we should just, you know, eat what we like?
"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." – H.L. Mencken
Sorry Youngblood Carl. I've really enjoyed your commentary and don't want you to flee.
I was just having a little fun with this post. Obviously it is over the top for entertainment purposes, and is meant to be sarcastic. I'm not really trying to make some fantastic argument.
But I do know for certain that the idea of overexercising, fasting, and restricting carbohdyrates and "neolithic foods" not only has no scientific backing, it is extremely harmful.
When you identify that modern man is hypometabolic, and even the NYTimes acknowledges that average body temperature is falling worldwide, you realize that some of the sweeping ideas of Paleos can be really counterproductive – while providing that fleeting illusion of success with weight loss that is no different from what people on The Biggest Loser are experiencing.
I, like Schwarzbein, "hate to see people doing things that I know are going to harm them." And Paleo people continue to make recommendations that get people short-term results without understanding the whole situation and the big picture.
So I am sticking up for the people that have gravitated here from similar idealogies that have done them nothing but net harm, and calling it like I see it. This time with a brief repreive from politeness and professionalism.
Agriculturalists have been shown to have fantasitic health when their diet contains all of the "protective" animal foods in equal abundance. So the Paleo argument against neolithic foods is almost pitiful. They will look at archeological data and make sweeping conclusions when Weston A. Price showed agriculturalists thriving, with photos and live video even just 70 years ago. Grains and all. That should be enough to make them drop it, but they don't because they experienced problems eating wheat – which is probably a hyperinflammatory reaction caused by cellular AA overload, not because wheat is inherently harmful for humans.
The same goes for the low-carb crowd. 1 billion lean Asian people on a low-fat, high-starch diet is not a good enough example for them. They want to see a peer-reviewed placebo controlled study that proves that a high-starch diet doesn't cause hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome, and obesity as if a controlled study could ever compete with seeing a billion people live their lives and eat a high-starch diet with comparatively good results.
Anyway, that's all from me for a couple of days. Going out of town for the weekend and leaving the trusty computer behind. I'll be back Wednesday with another string of posts starting with one on the proper way to take the morning basal temperature and the significance of having a high body temperature and thus more mitochondrial activity. Should be a winner. No more Paleo cheap shots.
I've been wanting to make this comment somewhere for a while, and I hope you don't mind if I make it here.
The NZ Maori that greeted Captain Cook in the mid-17th century were a strong,well-built, healthy people. They lived on a diet of seafood (fished at sea and gathered from the shore), including seaweeds and copious amounts of fish oils, birds (often preserved in their own fat, eels and other freshwater fauna, grubs, berries, fern roots, kumara (sweet potato).
They knew how to process the poisonous fruit from the karaka tree to make it edible, and made cakes from pollen of the native bullrush. They cooked food in ground ovens and knew how to store food for the winter.
The "paleo" prescriptors who proclaim that all "paleo" fruits were hard and sour do not have any idea of the range of foods our ancestors ate. They wouldn't have been limited to blueberries. Some NZ native trees have fruit that are palatable and sweet, easy to gather and eat. The prescriptors have really no idea of full range of the ancient diet. Their blogs make interesting reading, as does yours, but no-one really can prescribe one way of eating for all mankind (pace Kurt Harris). Anyway, I don't want to cut myself off from the delights of the cuisines of other cultures, or the social interaction that goes with enjoying food with people from all over the world.
Thank you for bearing with me. Gong xi fa cai (best wishes for the year of the tiger). Annette H
Are you trying to alienate every significant contributor to the paleo/low carb community? Your arguments are getting weaker and weaker.
Do you realize that most people in this community are big fans of Weston Price?
You are setting up straw man arguments against people who are definitely not straw men. This isn't a very wise thing to do if you want to have any kind of staying power.
"Your arguments are getting weaker and weaker."
Do you seriously believe Matt was being 100% serious with this post? Yes, I do think it was somewhat "overstated" as I noted earlier, but is clearly intended to be satarical in nature. He obviously wasn't attempting to construct some incredible argument. Get a sense of humor, man!
That said, I do wish Matt hadn't done this post because it is quite jarring to read his recent extremely nuanced and informative posts and then read this one. But it's his blog and his call…
Rice burner, thank you for explaining and clarifying the "primal potato" issue. That is very interesting.
Juanito your fuckin'…
Rice got wise with that post. Yeah, we sure had the instincts and abilities to manage starch. That post from Don Mates shows Paleo does not equal low carb, and as humans that we are, if there was any source of concentrated calories in the enviroment, we sure made use of it. That's why It shouldn't surprise to find grains in cavemen caves. Not to say they were a staple, but after all, with such huge juiciy brains of ours, why wouldn't we try extracting as much as possible from our enviroment?
And Matt, you do are aware that those guys really are unable to see their our shortcomings. But it is only human. Please don't go through the ranting path. You're a great guy, and I'm thankfull for your incredible insights and willingness to go ahead and hear the words of even the most dissonant people, all while keeping your cool. That's some weird, rare and icredibily assets, and the world would is a better place for every person like that. But they are not gratis. After all, weren't you an irritable, moronic and sttuborn bastard yourself at the end or your low carb ride? Sure it's hard, but I think those guys need some lovin' (oh, lol, don't take me wrong…, OH GOD, the horrible visions! *_*). Maybe I'm mistaken, but that would be pretty 180. Not to say you should swalow the bitterness, but, jeez, the facts got all scrambled there. That's a clue of when your mouthfull just grew to big to spit it out in person. And that comes with someone with his brain half melted. :-)
*from someone with his brai… Fuck it.
"As heartfelt as it may have been and as helpful as I was trying to be, it is not my place to help people on this site to make money "….
c'mon, PLEASE. i am sure (not) you flirted with "yournight" PURELY for altruistic reasons, solely for the good of the people on the site…how humble and generous of you! & fyi your sarcastic "fauxpology" does not really make it go down any better.
as deluded as Kurt at PaNU is about starch, at least i don't feel like someone is trying to make $$$ off me when i go to his site.
i do like some of your ideas (but you can be as dogmatic as the paleos about your own biases), but tacky adverts make this site seem more of a money making scheme than anything else. it is as if you don't have much new to write about, so you just rile up the paleo's to get things going over here. i did spend the $39 bucks (or whatever it was) to get your e-articles, but kind of regret it now. won't make that mistake again.
What a crock! I have never felt like Matts only goal is to try to to make money off me. Sure, he is trying to earn money doing what he loves, but to hold that against him is absurd.
If I had to guess, you are probably just a paleo turd, er, I mean, nerd, who is trying to act like you "like some of your [Matts] ideas" so you seem more balanced as you criticize Matt for trying to make money. (The standard paleo BS). Actually I agree, the Yournight thing was a bad move on Matts part, but only assholes with an ax to grind will continue to make an issue of it after he removed the post and formally apologized. You are clearly just an ass.
Oh, and by the way, learn to write more clearly! Also, look up the definition of "sarcastic."
Dan Laramie (from a friends computer)
Dear Lan Daramie,
Matt is a great nutrition researcher, but more than that, he is a writer, a really good one too. So if he gets carried away sometimes, that is just the writer inside of him.
As far as that yournight post goes…so what? I didn't even read all that much cause I knew it was something that didn't interest me. This is his blog and he doesn't charge us anything to read it. It's not like I lost any money because he posted that. Maybe he just got excited over something and thought he would share with us. If I were to come across something like that, I would show all my friends first. I guess Matt thinks of us as his friends.
Plus, I don't feel like he is just trying to make money off of us. I think he is just very passionate about nutrition and has great ideas and wants to share. Matt takes his time to write these posts for us, takes his time to make videos for us, and answers back to almost everybody who leaves a comment…all for free. Yeah, he sells his ebooks, but so what, he doesn't force anyone to buy them.
I wrote him several personal e-mails and he took time out to write back to me right away every time with tons of advice. Not once did he push me to buy his ebooks or even mention them.
Everyone just needs to chill out a bit.
Seems Matt is targeting the Paleo audience primarily. Probably because most of us already agree with Matt about the whole food etc. He only needs to convince us that starch and whole grains are good, and a health benefit.
However, posts like this, regardless if they are meant to be fun, would most likely turn off any potential paleo reader.
Maybe Matt should target the SAD followers. More of them out there to save.
As far as the emailer, anyone who reads MDA, and thinks he advocates an all meat diet, needs to re-read his stuff. Mark pushes 100-150 grams of carb daily. Hardly low carb, and definitely not Zero carb. (well, it's low carb when you compare it to most diets)
Vida made a point. Though I think Matt got a bit carried away with this post, but, common, he is human. And he does this for free, with an incredible passion. You're all forgetting that, in part, the entity known as Matt is an expression of ourselves, of our crazy ideas and even crazier problems, of our colaboration in this posts-forum. From Jennythenipper, to Bruce K., to all the shitty and non-shitty comments hwe leave here, comes a great part of who is speaking in this blog. Of course, Matt is unique, in the sense that few people actually allow such things to happen, to harness knowledge in such a way, at such a rate.
My point is; don't run away. You believe he is wrong at something? Let him know. Criticize the hell out of him (kindly), or contradict him, but don't go away. If Matt took the liberty to post something like what he posted last time, is because he sees us as friends. He'll hear, and most importantly, and incredibly, he will change.
Or he may end at a psychiatric ward… But that's the risk of being actually saner than the rest.
I want to actually address the real e-mail within the post. I had a similar experience, not with super low carb, per se but by kicking my dieting up a notch with an extreme version of Venuto's BFFM, a combination of over-exericisng and eating too much lean protein, that was meant to be a challenge. In a mere month I managed to take my health from OK to terrible, and I too thought I was really "Sorting myself out." I know this was a joke post, but I've known vegetarians and even vegans who can pop out babies with the best of them, just as I'm sure there a low-carb examples. Infertility is a doubly complicated health problem because there are two people involved, two reproductive systems that can be malfunctioning. I think Matt's point, ultimately that a balanced diet that doesn't exclude macronutrients or restrict calories (and focuses on rest instead of exercise) makes a lot more sense for people who are dealing with this problem. Extreme dieting of any kind is extremely hard on the body, not to mention the fact that it creates its own stress because you just have to be perfect and devote so much time and energy to diet obsessing.
Seriously, paleonerds, if you want to even talk about hunters and gatherers and how healthy they were/are you need to look at a key component of their lifestyle: rest. They spend 90% of their day doing leisure activities. That is a fact I learned in anthropology that has always blown me a way ever since. No wonder they had rock solid health. With every subsequent type of society from agriculture to industrial to whatever the hell we have now, the vast majority of people have had less and less time to rest and relax.
My own completely non scientific pet theory about the French and Italians who have much lower rates of obesity despite eating all the things like white flour, sugar, caffeine, booze, etc. is that they are just way less stressed than us. They take longer maternity leave, longer vacations, longer lunches and they take three freakin hours to eat dinner. If you really want to go paleo, try laying around the cave 8hours a day and then we'll talk.
I am not a health blogger. I don't have time to argue biological jots and tittles with Matt, and you cannot visit a website and find my picture. But, as long as we are going to base our understanding of human health on individual anecdotes with no real scientific context, I have one to lay on you.
At 26 years of age, I was a reasonably healthy guy: I worked out regularly, ate whole foods (including bread that I baked myself), and got plenty of rest. I stumbled upon Art DeVany's Evolutionary Fitness and decided to give it a whirl. That was two years ago. Since then I have (1) cured my lifelong psoriasis; (2) all but cured the acne that used to be all over me (it comes back when I eat GRAIN); (3) healed what I thought was a permanent knee injury (the pain and stiffness went away when I stopped eating GRAIN); (4) doubled my deadlift (200 to 400+ lbs); (5) fathered a non-autistic child. I am currently pursuing a PhD, outside of the sciences.
Based on my own experience, I conclude that Matt is full of crap and elect to ignore him from now on.
First of all, where does this "individual anecdotes" stuff come from. Yeah, Matt is certainly also factoring in his own experience as well, but that's not all. Look at his reading lists. That dude is reading more books about health in a year than most people do in their whole life.
But that's not the main point I wanted to make.
You base your opinion on your personal experience and this certainly is fine to some degree. Your comment is certainly inspiring and encouraging to some degree, but there are always two sides to the medal.
Until a year ago, I ate what I thought to be a healthy way of the SAD and I did quite fine on it.
Still, I wanted to live as healthy as I could and so I too started eating paleo or primal, to be more exact. Unfortunately my story doesn't end as positive as yours. In fact pretty much from the very beginning paleo/low-carb has only made me worse. I ended up in the hospital goddammit!
So, if you don't agree with Matt and think paleo is the way to go, then that's fine and it really seems like it is the way to go for you. But still, your criticism seems unjustified and what may work for you, may not work for everybody.
—-"(2) all but cured the acne that used to be all over me (it comes back when I eat GRAIN)"
I think you are helping Matt's argument with this statement. His whole point is that a truly healthy individual should be able to eat any type of food and still remain healthy. That is what I believe most of us are trying to achieve. So really, you are saying that you can only be healthy if you restrict whole food groups, or whatever it is that you do.
Eating grain free is not easy. At first you feel totally free. You feel better and you don't even feel hungry…and being able to eat steak everyday is great. Then it wears off and you start craving carbs. You take one small bite of bread, cause, after all, one bite won't kill you…and by the end of the week you are stuffing cookies, candy bars, and chocolate down your face at a terrifying rate. Not to mention, it only makes some (like me) gain weight.
I cannot imagine being able to eat grain free for longer than a couple weeks. Obviously some people can do it, but not the majority.
So, is there a way where I can eat all foods, including starches, and still lose weight, feel good, and be healthy?
Grain free proved that it could not do that for me. Besides grain free, fat free, or some ridiculous juice diets, what else is there? There is Matt and his experience and his advice, which so far is much better than a grain free diet.
I have been following his "rules" for several weeks now and so far, I feel much better, skin is clearer, I am happier…I'm not so angry and I haven't fought with my husband since I've been doing this diet. Fighting with him was at least once or twice every week. All that anger in me had to go somewhere I guess. I feel like I have more energy too.
On top of this, I have lost the 4 pounds that I gained while doing grain free.
Five feet of snow proves nothing about whether global warming is happening or not. Don't be overly simplistic. The issue is far more complex than "warming," anyway. But this is the wrong blog for that.
When I restricted any food group or counted calories, I paid the price later. Being in ketosis for months made me feel really, really good and I lost weight and I had super-clear skin and I didn’t need much sleep at night.
I’m still paying the price for that little experiment with an increased appetite and weight gain after almost 30 weeks on HED. A la Schwarzbein, I know I was breaking down my body during that time with increased adrenaline causing adrenal burnout. HED is building it back up. My skin is super clear and I’ve got lots of energy.
I want to be able to eat fat and protein AND carbohydrate. I want to be able to eat anything and everything and feel good.
Matt may push you buttons, but he’s always open for anything.
Paleos, if you feel like he’s picking on you just hang in there. Defend your ground and make counter-arguments.
Grain free need not be starch free or low carb. Besides, not all grains are equal. I'm sure that almost no one in the world can have an autoinmune or allergic reaction to white rice, and something like wheat is much more problematic than corn. As long as your digestion is not A-okay skipping gluten grains is a wise move.
El Juanito, good point. Though it is still a fact that we have had much less time to adapt to grains than to other foods. Maybe that's why some neolithic foods (specially gluten and milk, specially modern A1 milk) can help to wreak havoc in an already disfunctional body, in the inadequate context. Of course, the blame is not on the foods, it is on the person. Except for gluten, which can probably be a problem for even some "healthy" people.
Or it's simply bad luck, not a matter of adaptation, though I doubt it.
180degreehealth.blogspot.com; You saved my day again.
Nell, how is the milk diet going?
I haven't listened yet, but might be interesting:
I just realized that was Elizabeth's blog! Excellent work!
cool thanks, just listened and its a positive start. woops though, it's Elizabeth not Nell ;)
You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view
Thanks, undertow. :)
Jedi – Yep, it's going really well. Had a scare that I was gonna run out of milk there yesterday, but now my fridge is stocked so no worries. I'm going to put up a podcast here shortly with another update. This is day 5, so 23 days to go if I want to make it the whole four weeks.
Was low carb. Felt like crap. Added some magic carbs and felt better. Ok….whatever you say.
It's unfortunate that it's mainly religious zealots who are pumping out kids, left, right and center. The ones who don't believe there is such a thing as human-caused global change. The ones who believe, not only taking away women's rights, but in bringing as many kids into this world as possible, regardless of whether or not those kids will be raised in an environment of love or care. Just keep pumping them out! Doesn't matter if you were raped by your own father, or if you're 12 years old and can't possibly care for a child! Just keep 'em coming!
Let's hope all these kids don't learn everything at their parents' proverbial knee.
Thanks for linking Elizabeth's blog, I'm so interested in a minute-by-minute recounting. lol
I'm only doing a mini-experiment with having two big glasses of milk in the middle of the day instead of lunch. I admit this is partly coming from running out of energy and motivation to cook 3 solid meals a day.
Schwarzbein says those with damaged metabolisms shouldn't drink milk, though she says cream is good. Not sure what her reasoning is?
OK, Cornelia is me. I don't know why my name seems to change all the time in the posts, I'm not changing anything.
Matt, I was thinking about your famously low post-starch blood sugars. Out of curiosity, have you tried testing your bg any differently spaced intervals after your meal? I read something yesterday that made me think that your bg might spike at 10 or 20 minutes, then drop back to normal within the hour range.
What is wrong with blood sugar spiking and then returning to normal? That is insulin doing its job depositing glucose and amino acids…
Havent had time to catch up on all these damn posts and comments but heres something interesting. A mainstream article saying Agave is bad because its like 90% fructose, which is bad according to some.
Riles, I'm not saying it's bad. I'm just curious.
So what was up with that "first night" post that seems to have disappeared from the site (but lives on forever in my RSS feed)?
Was that a joke? Please tell me it was otherwise I've lost a lot of respect for this site.
I get enough spam for pyramid schemes in my email without seeing it here. I really hope I'll never see anything like that crap pushed here again.
RIght on, Brian
Don't worry Brian, you won't.
Sincerest apologies for that. That was a poor judgment call on my part for sure. I obviously wasn't expecting the response I got or I would have never posted such a thing in a million years. It's been excruciatingly mortifying to take the flack I've taken for it over the past few days. I am a total retard for sure, but this last few days have given me quite an education.
Okay. A very over-the-top post but I guess that is the idea. I mean even the email from the reader about Mark Sisson's Primal Challenge is over the top. Mark's diet is a pretty damn good one IMHO. His aim is for 100-150g of carbs daily. Just take a look at some of this primal breakfasts at: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-breakfast-photos/ and tell me they are worse for your health than Pop Tarts and Coco Puffs? Yeah, lots of eggs, but what's not to like about eggs? :-)
Sure Mark does not like grains but so what? If people are happy with grains then fine, but if they are happy without them then so what? Mark's own blog says: "Nutrient-loaded squashes and sweet potatoes can serve as a respectable grain alternative. Likewise, lower glycemic beans such lentils can be a decent fill-in." You have a problem if I prefer sweet potatoes to a bagel?
Despite the premise of the HED aren't there things that many of us avoid? I avoid HFCS, I avoid sugars in most forms, I avoid high-PUFA oils. I avoid gluten grains because I don't like the GERD, nausea and severe diarrhea that eating gluten grains give me. It's easy to say that people whose systems are totally healthy ought to be able to eat anything – but how many people actually fall into this category? I mean it's all well and good to say we *ought* to be able to eat anything. But I, personally, don't feel compelled to eat things that cause me physical problems. I think that's just plain silly. "Ought to" is not the same thing as "can". I like sweet potatoes and other root tubers. I like rice. I can't see any reason on earth to force myself to eat wheat. Humans the world over have long lived without wheat.
The Kurt Harris attacks seem pretty lame also. Yeah he says to eliminate gluten grains – but since I don't think they are a *mandatory* part of anyone's diet I have no issue with that. He has no problems with people eating potatoes. His plan is pretty darn flexible. As he says: "PaNu practitioners typically range from 5-35% carbohydrate, from 10-30% protein and from 50 to 80% fat". That's a pretty wide variation! He also says: "PaNu tends to be lower carbohydrate than the standard american diet (SAD) but it is not really a "low carb" diet as you do not count anything"
Not count anything? Hey, that would a lot like the HED? I really don't think a lot of you guys are that far apart – although it seems that many try to make it so.
I really do not understand how everyone seems to believe that Matt is trying to force-feed wheat into everyone until they explode.
The Paleo diet can be a healthy diet, but the lifestyle component that accompanies it in Sisson's case is where those like the woman who wrote the email for this post commit metabolic suicide.
Fasting? 100 grams of carbs per day? Excessive animal protein? Paired up with a bunch of exercise including super-high intensity stuff like sprints and Crossfit?
Now that kind of nonsense I cannot and will not support. A SAD diet with lots of wheat, vegetable oil, and refined sugar is, in many cases, far superior to such a regimen.
"A SAD diet with lots of wheat, vegetable oil, and refined sugar is, in many cases, far superior to such a regimen." I dare say no, sir. At least Mark Sisson's diet won't blow your brains out. Well, maybe…
Well, like I've said. The sickest 20-somethings that have come around these here parts were often low-carb Paleos doing lots of weightlifting and similar high-intensity exercise. For women it's probably even more innapopriate. What native culture advised women of reproductive age to cut carbs, fast, and do high-intensity, explosive, anaerobic exercise?
And how productive is that for a woman with low basal body temp. that is having trouble conceiving? Not very.
I'm not well-versed in the details of Kurt Harris's "PaNu" approach but at first glance is seems the main differences between his and Matt's recommendations is KH says one should avoid gluten and be in ketosis to lose weight.
Oh, it appears that he does also suggest intermittent fasting – or sticking to 1 or 2 big meals a day – which I think Matt might yell and scream about… in the nicest way possible of course? ;-)
On a side note, I just want to say Thank You to Matt for his books. I bought them yesterday and have been poring over them. It's such a relief to know there could be life after paleo…
Hello. And Bye.
32 years old huh? Come talk to me in 20 years and we'll see how well your theories hold up.
The biggest dogma of paleo diets is that we, modern humans are somewhat like these paleolithic humans. It's based on almost religious belief that there's not enough time for humans to change to adopt to new diets.
Now – enter Accelerated Evolution! It's the newest, hottest theory in anthropology.
It's based on multiple observations of facts. Some are simple – for example number of mutations increases with populations size, thus speeding evolution. And the population has been on increase since Neolithic. Some are more complex, like datamining/analysing statistically data from Human Genome Project.
For this blog it might crucial to note what kind of genes undergo this accelerated evolution:
"2,465 genes, or 13 percent, have been actively shaped by recent evolution. The genes are involved in many different biological processes, like diet, skin color and the sense of smell."
Yes – we are MODERN humans, shaped by recent accelerated evolution, when it comes to diet. We are definitely not some kind of Paleos that have to eat wooly rhinos to survive.
In fact changes are so fast and strong that we are not even like people of Middle Ages! We don't look like them and we don't behave like them.
We, modern humans are much less violent than either historical, or especially Paleo guys, we have better ability to plan for the future and value it much more. Not to mention higher information-processing abilities. Testing currently living hunter gatherers shows IQ of 54 for Bushmen and IQ 62 for Australian Aboriginals. They DO however totally beat us at skills that matter for hunting and gathering like visual memory.
i'm new… promise to brief round more time after time!
I am very happy how my body is shaping up ? it looks firmer, my posture is improved, and I feel more in shape. My husband and son both commented that they really see the difference. I am less tired, sleeping better, and more hopeful and focused. My confidence and self-esteem has improved, and I worry less and enjoy life more. Thank you for everything!
I heard you on a podcast so I decided to check out your stuff. I am skeptical about low carb but your petulant and emotionally based drama is very off putting. I just can’t take some one who writes garbage like this seriously. The value in communication is its reception and you sir, despite any good points you make, are hurting your own message with this sort of childish nonsense.
It’s not childish per se. Without the agricultural revolution we wouldn’t have the society we have today. Non-Paleolithic foods are the primary reason humans became so prolific. I also receive frequent emails of women who lose their periods, fertility, hair, sex drive, etc. on a regular basis from doing Paleo diets when carbs are restricted. It is very common.