I am open minded. I like to learn and find the truth. I've recently found myself having to come up with counter arguments to things I've been hearing about through other people. In this post I will mostly be talking about Mark Sissons views on eating Paleo and some of the things I've heard him come out with.
I don't claim to be highly knowledgable in the field of science or any other field relating to this post. I use mostly what I consider to be my logical mind and my experience. I have read a few books regarding Anthropology, and Nutrition on a chemistry level. The purpose of this post is not say which diet is better necessarily but to point out a few inconsistencies I have observed.
Without a background in Science, Nutrition and/or Anthropology all these facts coming at you from these self-proclaimed gurus can be quite overwhelming at times, especially if you're new to this diet and haven't had the chance to experience the benefits for yourself yet. Being open to the idea of 811 means you will most likely be willing to look into the paleo diet also since both focus on a more natural diet free of processed food and grains. I'm sure both have helped a lot of people free themselves of the major diseases we often hear about in this world. When discussing the paleo diet, this is the kind of pyramid I'll be thinking of:http://www.smart-diner.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/primal-pyrami.... The first thing that strikes me about this pyramid is that fruit is on the the bottom as it is with Mark Sissons food pyramid in his book the primal blueprint http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgjdMHmZyYk and a few other low carb diets. Now I thought the paleo diet was based around meat but with reasonable helpings of fruits and vegetables. They say that the body should run on fat which I'll discuss more later. It says here that fruits and vegetables are where you'll be getting most of your nutrients. Some paleos would disagree with this saying it was the meat that gave the most nutrition. So the pyramid represents where you'll be getting most of your nutrition? Second up the pyramid is meat, fish, fowl, eggs which it is says "Represents bulk of calories". Hmmmm... Should this really be a pyramid? I think the concept of a food pyramid has been lost here and it is rather confusing. Perhaps an idea of the amount of servings one would typically have from each section might clear things up.
As for the zone diet (a book I got from a sort line at a recyling factory. I think they were aiming for the trash can)pyramid, which is another low carb paleo like diet, it's ordered from bottom to top, Vegetables, Fruits, Low fat protein, mono saturated fats, grains and starches. They call it the low-carb revolution. If you're taking away grains yes you'll be consuming less carbohydrates but if you look at the diet as a whole I'm not sure how it can be conceived as one based on pyramid representation. From the book "10 to 15 servings per day", in reference to fruit intake. Since Mark Sisson puts fruits at the bottom we could assume for a second he allows, or recommends even, a similar amount of fruit. He says his diet is around 60% fat. For it to be possible to get just 54% of your calories from fat whilst eating this amount of fruit (750 - 1500 calories), you would need to eat 5kg of beef according to cron-o-meter which all adds up to around 10, 000 calories :O. Again I don't entirely understand the concept behind these paleo pyramids. Perhaps he means 60% fat in grams? According to cron-o-meter beef (raw yes but shouldn't matter)has more protein in grams than fat so it would be impossible to attain 60% fat that way. However, he might mean low calorie fruits but from what I've heard so far, that hasn't been stated and they are often reffered to as vegetables in the US anyway. You would think he would mention something as important as "don't eat high carb fruits". Maybe I have to buy his book to fully understand these things. Think I'll buy fruit instead.
So why do the low carb paleo diet? Advocates of the diet state the concept is to cosume foods that we have eaten (to their understanding but not mine)for thousands or million of years. So this means no grains, processed, refined sugary or fatty junky food. Doesn't sound too bad. So we're left with meat, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now to me that just sounds like "healthy SAD". Which of course is going to improve your health in terms of lack of disease. I'm not going to deny that too much.
Another point advocates will bring up is that we apparently are designed to run on fat/fatty acids/ketones and that we need to reprogram our genes. Firstly I think to adapt completely from running on carbohyrdrates (which I know a lot of folks here are doing rather well)to running on fats just as well, you not only need to reprogram your genes but change the design of your digestive tract, especially when it comes to meat eating. Notice carnivores have shorter digestive tracts as well as many other differences in chemistry. Although we would not need to be fully like carnivores as we eat cooked meat which has better digestibility. Raw paleo is another story. If we're to be talking strictly about running on fat (as in oil or something, bare with me I have a point)then I could maybe come to accept that your body could adapt to it and run pretty much just as well. However we're not just talking about fat here. With the fat comes along a whole load of tough fibres and proteins (in the case of meat)your body has to break down before it can even use the fat. A resource heavy process for the body and slow one. So you won't be getting your energy as fast as you do with fruit and you wont be getting as much net energy. This is what my main point wil be here. Paleos even admit themselves that they don't recover all that well from long periods of exercise without sufficient carb intake.They beleive it's unnatural and non primal and that we should only do intense activity in short bursts a few times a week.
Lets not get wrapped up in what's natural and what's not. Lets find what makes us the healthiest and therefor happiest. The primal/paleo diet might be good at limiting disease but it does not equal thriving health. I personally don't meet many people on the regular Standard Western Diet, here in the UK, that have major health issues so it's no suprise that most primal eaters are reasonably healthy people. But if you want to live on an ethical, vibrant, energetic (physically and mentally)diet good for the planet then high carb veganism, especially 811, is the way to go.
From what I understand it's more of a template, or more of a 'blueprint' if you're following the mark sissons version. But like veganism there seems to be a lot of different versions or offshoots. I have a friend that follows a moderate to higher carb it seems, he eats a lot of sweet potatoes in particular and some fruit, eggs and meat (his brother actually catches hunts his venison). They all seems to love coconut oil too.
pro's. Avoidance of grains and high linoleic inflamatory oils, they seem to favor local produce and avoid CR meat, and of course avoidance of packaged food and takeaway junk and getting sunlight.
cons. Some try to insist the paleoithic diet was stricly very low carb and high fat, when in fact plant carb sources were consumed wherever available, the macro variation would vary widely from season to location. Ketosis - the ones that avoid all carbs long term in stay in ketosis, which hasn't really been studied long term. some of them are total fruit phobes. Overconsumption of coconut oil, it's better than animal fat but it's no miracle oil.
Yep it's a template and even at that I don't like it. If someone wants to claim eating that way is good on nutritional science grounds then that wouldn't be so bad, although they wouldn't have much ground to stand on, but Paleo is built around the idea that we should eat like a "caveman" or "grok" and that concept is pretty ridicolous for a long list of reasons. It gets people hooked though. People like simple ideas.
Avoidance of grains and polyunsaturated fats isn't really a pro considering it's being replaced with animal products containing saturated fats which also seem to be inflammatory. Polyunsaturated fats have been shown to be a lot less harmful and I don't think grains are that bad. The best things about the Paleo diet are that people quit the dairy, refined products and eat more fruit and vegetables.
even if it were contrary to the health of my being, I wouldn't eat animals. I can never be swayed by paleo because veganism is a more important ethic in my life than what a human naturally eats. I see humans thrive on vegan diets. I need no further proof. I'd rather die than willingly consume flesh.
Went vegan for the animals then kept finding more and more reasons. Now I really do think we are frugivore. It is good to learn as much as possible for talking to others to.
I really find Left in the Dark's version of evolution more compelling than any paleo primal story.
Ah my mouth is salivating at the sight of Marks primal supplements
Wow! I didn't know such a diet existed! I am a student of naturopathy and according to naturopathy this diet would be considered extremely unhealthy in the long term! I've studied the digestive system which is the same as the gorilla, with a few minor differences. So in naturopathy even though they dont directly promote fruitarianism we learn that humans are abviously meant to be frugivores, like the gorilla. I think someone could thrive on a such a diet for a while but eventually it will affect their health negatively. In fact this diet is dangerous.