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.
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.
Hey Carlie, Check out the Bonobos. They're closer to us than the gorilla.
Out of desperation to sort out my terrible health I started looking into paleo before coming to 80-10-10, even though I'd been a vegetarian half my adult life, which says a lot about how desparate I was. It was good from the point of view that it really opened my eyes to the problems with grains and dairy products, but I soon found that following it brought a whole lot of other problems and it didn't sort out all of my bad health either, infact it made some worse.
What I've read and heard over the last year, while going through a major life style transformation has really helped me to understand why. One of the massive missing pieces from the paleo diet is the understanding of the human body as an inetegrated system in which managing ph levels is absolutely fundamental to good health. Since our body is naturally on the alkaline side any foods that become acid forming once in the system are toxic and dangerous to varying extents. Nearly all foods that have been processed and cooked become more acidic in nature and therefore more toxic, and other reasons. What most people don't realise is that the acid/alkaline balance of foods outside the body isn't an indication of the acid/alkaline residue they produce in the bodys metabolic system. So most people are surprised to realise that the most acid forming foods are.....guess what?...Animal products! That is, dairy products, meat of all kinds, and their associated fats, cooked or raw, and grains. High levels of these substances in the body iare an absolute health disaster.
The constant barage of acids in the body's system is potentially disastrous for everything from the kidneys, bones, pancreas, colon, lymph system, etc. The lymph system has to go into overdrive to protect the cells of the body from these acids by storing them in mucus and fat, this uses vast amounts of energy. Energy isn't just about how the body breaks down foods into glucose but also about how the body has to deal with all the byproducts food substances create. One of the huge misunderstood problems of western health is that most people are walking around in an acidised, ionic state due to this excessively acidic western diet. Grains also fall into this category, the worst being wheat. It seems to me that paleo reduces the toxic load from some food groups but massively increases the load from others. All heated oils, especially animal ones are highly acidi, creating all sorts of homeostatic imbalances in the human body.
It would seem common sense to me that if the human body was really truly designed to function healthily on the foods the paleo diet suggests it would be far far better adapted to dealing with the high acidity of a paleo diet. But guess what foods are the most alkaline and the most detoxifying in the human system? That's right, plant based foods, especially fruits and vegetables. This is due to their base mineral content predomantly calcium and magnesium. Raw plant based foods are by far and away the most chemically compatible with the human metabolic system, and even these become more acidic when cooked. For example, tomatoes eaten raw are highly alkalising, cooked highly acidifying. It's really all chemistry. So for me this is a major major flaw in the paleo diet. This is such a fundamental part of understanding good health that to not address it makes the whole argument for it fall apart, in my opinion anyway.