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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 24, 2009

Diet as Dogma

By Mark Sisson
104 Comments

People are dogmatic. We’re territorial, stubborn, obstinate, and we cling to our ideologies even as accumulating evidence invalidates them. I sometimes wonder whether there’s evolutionary precedent for this apparent character flaw – did stubborn dogmatism confer some benefit to our ancestors? Did our tendency to cling to one another, to shy away from that which opposes or clashes with our current paradigm (whether it be a new tribe with different practices encroaching on your land, or a guy you meet at a cocktail party with completely different political views) make us safer? To a point, yes. Being wary of anything new promotes better survival than a tendency to rush headlong into foolhardy pursuits. There’s certainly that human legacy of fear of the unknown, and it normally manifests as dogmatic belief and cognitive dissonance. That much is obvious to anyone who watches the news or picks up a history book.

But there’s also that other legacy we’re irrevocably tied to: the continued expansion of our knowledge base. Grok may have been suspicious of different things and circumstances, but he also conquered that fear and discovered new horizons. By and large humans are explorers and innovators. We refute dogma and blaze new trails even as we cling to fear and ideology. We’re pretty much a walking contradiction, just a big-brained upright problematic ape with existential issues that still manages to do pretty well for him or herself. They don’t call us the most adaptive species on Earth for nothing.

If we were more cold and logical – like the Vulcans of Star Trek – things might get a bit easier, ruled by reason and reason alone. Cognitive dissonance would disappear and ideology would mostly vanish, leaving only absolute fealty to pure data. We’d get a lot done and there’d be absolute scientific consensus, but how much fun would it really be?

No, we’re contradictory and confused. We’ll make the emotionally difficult but realistic decision to put our aging pet to sleep, and then we’ll break down and weep all night. We’ll hear powerful evidence that refutes a deeply held belief and we’ll internally acknowledge its significance, but then we’re somehow able to dismiss it and maintain our delusion. Religious and ethnic clashes dot our history, never ending blood feuds, based on this text or that political cartoon, that continue unabated and will probably do so forever. Futile battles rage across Internet message boards – Playstation versus Xbox, Apple versus PC, vegetarian versus omnivore, Democrat versus Republican, carbohydrate versus fat – and it hardly goes anywhere. Graphs are posted and ignored, studies are quoted and brushed aside. Willful ignorance is proudly displayed. You can almost hear the fingers going in the ears (most people can’t even stand to hear evidence that contradicts their belief – the always dependable “la la la la” defense!).

People have the tendency to cluster around ideas as if they were tangible things and hold on for dear life. When we find something we like, or something that makes sense, like religion or a political stance or a diet, roots are planted and – for most of us – they are permanent. They’re permanent mainly because it’s easier that way. It takes less work to blindly cling to dogma. It’s hard (and humbling) to reevaluate an entire belief system and start over. We prefer the path of least resistance, and we’d simply rather not think too hard. Once the roots of a dogmatic belief find purchase in the hard packed earth of the lazy mind, they’re staying put.

We’re not all like that, though. Some of us have fertile minds, brains that aren’t burdened by an ego that refuses to believe it might be wrong about something. Others are just genuinely curious and thirsty for more knowledge (from any source); these are the same type of minds that shaped our evolutionary progress and brought us tools, mastery of fire, and exploration of new lands. They don’t brush aside graphs or ignore studies that challenge their beliefs. They can’t, because to ignore the truth is to oppose their very nature, no matter the inconvenience.

We’ve all heard the supposedly universal protocol standards for polite company: don’t talk politics, religion, or sex. Not on a first date, and definitely not when you meet your future wife’s parents. It’s not so much that these are impossible topics to discuss calmly and rationally without insults, ad hominem, or physical violence entering the fray, because it can happen. Measured debate on controversial topics does take place, and it’s possible for two people to hold directly oppositional views, express those views, and still remain amicable. It’s just highly unlikely given our propensity to cling to dogma at all cost (and we’ve got untold wars and death and destruction to show for it) and the rarity of people with thinking, fertile, thirsty minds.

A new forbidden topic has emerged, though: diet. I’d even say a diet, for many, is the single most entrenched aspect of a their identity, more than religion (not everyone practices, but everyone has to eat) and more than politics (who isn’t fed up with politics nowadays?). We literally are what we eat, and what we eat isn’t just an isolated characteristic. It’s intertwined with politics (veganism is as much a declarative political statement as it is a nutritional one) and religion. For some, it even becomes a religion with its own set of morals and laws. Diet as absolute dogma can be far more problematic than religious or political dogmas in many ways. See, at least there’s separation of church and state in this country; with diet, though, there’s that looming institutional triangular standard literally ordained by government to inform and (essentially) coerce unwitting citizens into a certain way of eating. Maybe if the nutritional pyramid were built on the backs of rigorous science and evolutionary biology it wouldn’t be so bad, but its blueprints were drawn up by Big Agra and Big Pharma (or worse, terrible, bumbling, bad science).

You’re here, on this site, because you recognize that the official dietary dogma is misguided at best and murderous at worst. You realize that, whatever your religious (non)belief, humans are “designed” to eat a certain way – and that the evolutionary diet is totally incompatible with the reigning dogma. I’m here every day because I see a real chance to make a difference. I see people making positive changes, extending their lives and improving their health. Every day, there’s a different success story in my inbox, but I never get sick of them. We have assumed the mantle of our innovating forebears, those Groks and Grokettes that dared to crack an auroch’s tibia and extract the strange delicious stuff inside, or follow the animals to new lands and new opportunities. We could have died out with the Neanderthal, but we were far too curious and capable to let that happen. Ours is a legacy of pursuing knowledge. It’s all we know.

But you know what? I’m starting to notice that old dogmatic view creep in to the Primal community. Those immovable roots are taking hold. On one hand, it’s understandable. When you’ve got the weight of the evidence in your favor, it’s easy to get cocky and dismissive of other views. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I believe the Primal Blueprint to be the path to health, strength, and energy (I wouldn’t have written a book called The Primal Blueprint if I didn’t think that!). I just want to stress that the foundation of the PB and MDA is science – ignored, brushed aside, inconvenient-to-CW science, but science all the same. And, like all good science, it’s constantly being challenged and refined. It needs to be challenged. When I started putting together the PB all those years ago, I was challenging the dietary wisdom I held near and dear to my heart for decades. Decades! And I didn’t stop there. Early readers might recall my prescribing “limited grains” way back when. I realized my error, took a closer look at the science on grains, and changed my stance accordingly. Now I’m just about as big an opponent of grains as one can be.

That’s how you’ve got to do it. You have to welcome challenges and reevaluate your dietary dogmas as needed. I’m certainly of the opinion that we’ve got things pretty well covered with the PB, but it never hurts to refine your argument or gather new evidence. If someone questions the Primal stance on grains, don’t casually dismiss them – convince them! (Of course, if hard data doesn’t convince, don’t wear yourself out.) Even if you’re upset or frustrated and he or she is being clearly obstructionist, think of the debate as rust removal, as a way to bone up on the latest studies and clinical data in support of the high fat Primal Blueprint diet. There’s a whole wide world of people who will actively challenge your evolutionary dietary views, usually with half-truths and CW nonsense, but there are formidable opponents who won’t be so easily swayed or dismissed. You’ve got to be on your game.

I honestly think we have the opportunity to reach more people. The Primal/paleo communities are growing and improving and spreading like wildfire. We have the chance to be at the forefront of a revolution of how we approach food in this country (and this world), but we run the risk of becoming what we rail against: dietary dogma. We should never let stagnation set in, and dogmas and ideologies stagnate as a rule, by definition. You don’t want to force people into accepting the Primal life. You just want to give them the tools to change their life and reevaluate everything they’ve ever been taught about nutrition and fitness.

The forum is one such tool, and it’s a fantastic one for the most part. What we don’t want, though, is name calling or one-upping. No know-it-alls that patronize beginners. That’s beside the point. It’s supposed to be a community of like-minded individuals (sprinkled with a few skeptics and contrarians to keep us honest!) supporting one another in our effort to find truth and change our lives for the better. Support, of course, means challenging each other’s beliefs, but it should be done with real facts.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the heated debates that take place every day, as long as they remain actual debates with actual arguments. I love the fact that support systems and impromptu experts on various topics have sprung up. I like how forum members have a sort of Batcall for Tarlach when it’s a carnivore question or for Griff when it’s about lipid panels. I love almost everything about the forum, but I don’t like the creeping sense of dogma.

So, how about we watch out for that and nip it in the bud? I’ve been submerged in dietary and fitness dogma, and it ain’t pretty. Believe me: avoiding it will only make us stronger. Question your beliefs and challenge the Primal Blueprint eating strategy. Even if the PB doesn’t catch on and go mainstream, at least we’ll know we’re being honest with ourselves and consistent in our application of science to our diet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so hit me up with a comment. Thanks, everyone.

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104 Comments on "Diet as Dogma"

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Grok
6 years 10 months ago

I have to admit, sometimes I get sick of how passionate I am about food and nutrition now. Whenever I’m in a social situation I can almost not shut-up or talk about anything else.

I guess I just know how much it benefitted me, and I want to help others. Nobody was giving me this information when I unknowingly needed it, and I’d wished they had!

leslie
leslie
6 years 10 months ago

Same. Also, when people are talking and say things like,”do you know how much saturated fat is in that donut??” (ya, cuz that’s the problem) I feel like my head is going to explode!! BITE TONGUE BITE TONGUE!! Sometimes I chime in, sometimes I decide it’s not worth raising my blood pressure for.

Simone
Simone
6 years 10 months ago
Same here too! The problem is just that I now notice how unimaginably MUCH wrong information is out there! All the standard remarks about how much fat is in here and how it will make you sleepy in the afternoon? Not the fat is the problem here… Once you start pointing that out, it’s impossible to stop, because one thing leads to another, it’s just a huge turnaround in thinking, involving not only nutrion, but also politics, science,…. For me it’s really a moral dilemma, because I don’t want to be the freak, but I’d also like my friends and… Read more »
Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 10 months ago
Mark, you hit the nail on the head. I find the most difficult part of doing science is forgetting to confront my own beliefs. The failure to realize all of the assumptions I’ve made and blind spots I have. They’re very tricky to spot (thus the term “blind spot”), but are the essential ingredient to successful science. I come across this in my peers every day. Our dogma leads us to knee-jerk Pavlovian responses. Just say the word “lard” to a nutritionist (or to anyone not familiar with the primal/paleo line of thinking) and they’ll immediately respond “gross!” or “unhealthy!”.… Read more »
kongluirong
6 years 10 months ago
Right on cue. I was just beginning in the forum…starting to get in that debate mode. I do get into heated debates with my husband “We need grains and carbs to fuel our brain, protein is just used to make the cells of our brain” “But grains actually have a toxin in them that only certain animals have an antitoxin to” “As soon as you start getting sick from not eating carbs, you’re off this diet” I roll my eyes “I still eat carbs in the form of fruit. And I’m not going to get sick. I’m only going to… Read more »
go_ginger_go
go_ginger_go
6 years 10 months ago

When he starts to see the changes in your skin, eyes, energy level, mood swings, and sex drive, he will change his mind. 🙂

Icarus
Icarus
6 years 10 months ago
You do need carbs – more specifically glucose – to fuel your brain (parts of it, anyway). It’s just that your body is perfectly capable of converting amino acids (the constituents of protein) into glucose. If you couldn’t do this, you’d likely fall into a coma from low blood sugar if you didn’t eat glucose for a while – say, you slept in, or decided to do an IF day, or just ate a steak with no veggies for dinner, etc. Of course, the fact that you don’t fall into comas upon doing these things is proof that you do… Read more »
TX CHL Instructor
6 years 10 months ago

“If we were more cold and logical – like the Vulcans of Star Trek – things might get a bit easier, ruled by reason and reason alone.”

Not quite, as documented in How We Decide. Lehrer shows that if the part of the brain that orchestrates our emotions is damaged, the person suffering that brain injury becomes completely incapable of making a decision.

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[…] Original post by Mark Sisson […]

Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago
I think the best way to avoid preaching or getting caught up in dietary dogma is to reply on principles, and the Primal Blueprint is such a foundation. While _most_ of us generally recognize the superiority or optimality of a higher fat and lower carb approach within the confines of Real Food (TM), we must realize that Real Food can include everything from a high-carb Kitavan diet to a zero carb inuit diet and everything in-between. This suggests an opportunity when confronted by people who dismiss your diet as “oh, it’s Atkins.” What I say is that Atkins is focussed… Read more »
maba
maba
6 years 10 months ago

“My intention is not to convince, but to destroy.”

Hahaha, loved that!

Johnny at The Lean Saloon
6 years 10 months ago

Richard, for the 3 years that I’ve been eating Paleo/primal, I’ve often included a small amount of tubers like yams and sweet potatoes without much negative effect — in how I feel and in my body composition.

Catalina
Catalina
6 years 10 months ago

I like that focus–real food!

Icarus
Icarus
6 years 10 months ago
My problem with eating yams/tubers/etc. (starchy paleo foods) is that this has starkly negative effects on some people. Sure, maybe it works for Kitavans, and people who aren’t predisposed to have insulin/blood sugar/weight gain problems, but it is not as broadly applicable, IMO, as the principle of low-carb, high-fat nutrition. And in this case, it would seem that Kitavans have a tolerance for starchy foods – but it does not mean they are inherently good and holy just because they are Real Foods ™. Then I keep bumping up against honey. Honey is a whole lot of sugar, totally paleo,… Read more »
Jen
Jen
2 years 10 months ago
So I know that I’m replying to a comment that is, in internet time, like a thousand years old, but . . . I think one thing to keep in mind about starches (in addition to individual and population-level diversity in how well they may be tolerated) is that they seem to have very different effects on: 1) people who are overweight/obese vs. people who are/have always been lean (carb restriction promotes fat loss but high carb diets do not necessarily cause fat gain in lean people, especially in the context of a “real food” diet) 2) sedentary vs. active… Read more »
jimmy
jimmy
6 years 10 months ago

This post seems like it has come at a great time. Sometimes the forum can be a victim of group think. There should be a mandatory rule that if people find studies or evidence that goes against the primal blueprint, they should post it to see what everyone thinks. The PB is not static and in a few years could be a bit different than it is now. The PB is based on science, and when the science is forgotten, the whole system suffers.

Alchemyguy
Alchemyguy
6 years 10 months ago

YES! If you sweep contradictory evidence under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist, you’re undermining the whole process and allowing unsubstantiated beliefs to corrupt the whole undertaking.

Jim Purdy
6 years 10 months ago

Mark, great topic! It’s great to remind ourselves to be open-minded, and to always keep learning.

But … but … that ain’t no fun! Now that we’re so nice and kind and civil, can we go back to arguing?

“My intention is not to convince, but to destroy.”

LOL!

Mike McMillan
Mike McMillan
6 years 10 months ago

Thanks for this post Mark – it was very timely for me! Not just from the Primal Blueprint perspective, but even from CrossFit and Primal Fitness angles, your advice holds good water. We can all do with some calm wisdom.

Jim Purdy
6 years 10 months ago

I guess I posted an incomplete URL for my blog:
http://blogsthatmakemethink.blogspot.com/

That’s what happens when we True Believers get agitated. 🙂

Rich
Rich
6 years 10 months ago

Saw this interesting nutrition article at a popular endurance sport website. It argues against the classic high-carb recovery dinner for athletes. I think there might be a movement here!

http://xtri.com/features_display.aspx?riIDReport=6090&CAT=23&xref=xx

Dave Reid
Dave Reid
6 years 10 months ago

Great Article!

stephanie vincent
6 years 10 months ago
I would equate my view on religion the same as diet. If you go out in the world with an “i’m right, your wrong” attitude (Wether you are right or wrong) You are going to turn people off. FUNDAMENTALISM is not pretty no matter the dogma it comes from. People might however come around to your way of thinking, when they see you living you beliefs with success. DO what you DO…EAT what you EAT for YOU. Everyone elses diet is their buisness. You can provide info and resources for those that are intrested. You’ll get more followers that way,… Read more »
go_ginger_go
go_ginger_go
6 years 10 months ago

Hear, hear! Me too. I think women, in general, are more tapped into intuition, rather than study after study. Does this feel right to me? Is my body doing better this way? The answer (for me) is a resounding YES!

I have also been freed from the deathgrip of food addiction. Grateful every single day.

Johnny at The Lean Saloon
6 years 10 months ago
Not much convincing needs to be done when the discussion is on the health benefits of food found in nature versus food manufactured by laboratory test tubes and milling machines — the intuition is that natural, unprocessed, unmilled, real foods win, hands down. The debate rests thus solely on whether manufactured food can be as healthy as food found in nature — or as Richard N. calls it, Real Food. Manufactured food fails to compare, and often succeed only at failing our health. The evidence is overwhelming. For anyone that wants a solid collection of data for debate, just invest… Read more »
jimmy
jimmy
6 years 10 months ago

A lot of people don’t agree with “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and point to the fact that the studies and premises taubes bases his arguments on are outdated. Also, I have heard that even taubes himself admits to cherry picking data that suits his argument and throws out data that does not (Although I have not seen or heard the quotes myself).

Johnn at The Lean Saloon
6 years 10 months ago

I have heard the same. The book, however, has plenty of evidence (old and new) to demonstrate the health degradation from the consumption of processed foods.

Johnny at The Lean Saloon
6 years 10 months ago
Also, Jimmy, the older (so-called outdated) data used in Good Calories Bad Calories are very valuable as they record dietary transitional periods of whole populations and their epidemiological responses. Taubes warns in the book that research performed within a certain period is limited to that specific context, and thus the need to refer to older data collected during the transitional and pre-transitional periods. His book therefore includes a generous amount of these data, and I believe this is a critical factor that the book’s critics misunderstand. Also, I’m only aware that Taubes himself criticizes other researchers for “cherry-picking” data to… Read more »
Griff
Griff
6 years 10 months ago

Wow, thanks for the mention, Mark! I made a point of learning about lipid panels because my previous doctor constantly harangued me about my cholesterol levels and it got on my nerves. I’m glad to be a resource for the community now.

PrimalK
6 years 10 months ago
Fantastic post, Mark, thank you. I must admit, I was getting a little fed up of the aura surrounding the forum last week and I was wondering whether I wanted to be part of it any more. I always try really hard to tell people that the way I eat now works for me, certain foods don’t work for me but at the end of the day, it’s up to them what they eat – it’s their life. I’m not saying I always manage to remain so balanced, because I’m so enthusiastic, but I don’t think I’ve ever been dogmatic… Read more »
epistemocrat
6 years 10 months ago
At some point, we all have to take our m=1 personal my-thologies, which are the conjectures we hold tentatively to make decisions (our mental maps), and test them empirically on ourselves via n=1 self-experiments, Patient of One clinical trials, to see what works, what doesn’t work, and where to look next. Like Aaron Blaisdell mentioned above, the deductivist/falsification perspective is the best we can do, I suspect, in avoiding our blind spots and hedging against the Popper/Hume/Black Swan/et al. epistemological problem of induction: set out each day to falsify your tentative, working hypotheses that you live by. That should be… Read more »
livesimply
livesimply
6 years 9 months ago

HUH???

Catty
Catty
4 years 5 months ago

he means you have to suck it and see lol

Ginger
Ginger
6 years 9 months ago
This. Trying to prove yourself (or your hypothesis) right all the time will only lead to confirmation bias coming out of your ears. Better to actively seek out information (or changes in your various routines) to see if something you thought was true just might be wrong. Still, we have the problem of only having older studies because “scientists” – I use the term loosely for individuals in the medical and nutrition communities – have been seeking only to reaffirm what they already “know” or how to manage problems with the information they already “know.” They don’t seek to prove… Read more »
Michael
Michael
6 years 10 months ago

I’d like to see a follow-up article on paleo/primal proselytizing.

jay
jay
6 years 10 months ago

Home run article.

Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
Great and timely post Mark. As a newbie I know I’ve found myself in a few “heated” topics in the forum. I appreciate your research and PB approach to diet which I am just wading into. At the end of the day, I’m never going to simply chuck out the window other studies, books, research or diet that has worked for me simply so that I can sign on for some new prescription. You keep the pieces that work and keep your mind open to finding more of what works. And the best way to do that is to keep… Read more »
livesimply
livesimply
6 years 9 months ago

Thanks for your comment–I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Right now I’m reading “Politically Incorrect Nutrition” by Michael Barbee, and what an eye-opener it is!
I ‘ve been avoiding the forum for awhile after encountering some dogma that Mark referred to–so this post was serendipitious for me. Glad the mood is shifting. 🙂

Catalina
Catalina
6 years 10 months ago

Nail-on-the-head, Mark. Thanks for the post–helps in keeping it real.

emmcubed
emmcubed
6 years 10 months ago
Having recently felt like a target to dogmatic primal devotees in forums/daily post responses, I understand and agree completely. However, I am also struggling with the flipside: since changing my lifestyle, I’m down thirty pounds and I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW HOW EASY IT IS! Sometimes, that enthusiasm seems to get the best of me, and like first poster Grok, I find myself a bit frustrated that I don’t seem to possess the necessary editing equipment to know when and when not to wax primal on the friends I encounter every day, both online and in person. It is… Read more »
Dave Reid
Dave Reid
6 years 10 months ago

The only problem I have with your dogma is your opposition to endurance running. I(and many others) believe Homo sapiens developed as endurance runners.Your diet is right on, but go watch 100 mile trail race and tell me that isn’t what we were meant to do.Modern homo sapiens can’t run long distances injury free because of modern shoes, and probably 90%+ run on concrete or pavement, not trails, like Grok.I would like to see you become open to this idea.

emmcubed
emmcubed
6 years 10 months ago

Perhaps this will illustrate, Dave:

Dave Reid
Dave Reid
6 years 10 months ago

This is a photo of the current Western States 100 mile champion,Hal Koerner. Notice the build, typical of trail runners, not that pathetic road marathoner in your picture.This is what Grok looked like.Heck, this is what Mark looks like!

erik.cisler
erik.cisler
6 years 10 months ago

Better than the skeleton, but not all that impressive.

Grok
6 years 10 months ago

New here?
You do know who Mark is correct?

Dave Reid
Dave Reid
6 years 10 months ago

a)No, I am not new here.

b) Yes, I know who Mark is.

Sorry, I thought we were able to discuss ideas here.

Del Mar Mel
Del Mar Mel
6 years 10 months ago
I would have to agree with Dave. I do understand the wear and tear of endurance training as well as the free radicals and depressed immune system but I have a hard time believing that running for an hour or hour and a half is really harming me. My body is conditioned to it and I feel so great there is simply no way I’d give it up. Of all the exercise options out there, our bodies were built to walk and run. It takes no special talent or equipment and the way it clears my headed and burns up… Read more »
Mark Sisson
6 years 10 months ago
Del Mar Mel, Running for an hour and a half will not harm you if you are reasonably fit as long as you only do it once in a while. I can still run trails once in a while even though I never “train” by running. I like being able to apply my PB fitness to just about any endeavor. That’s partly the point. And, yes, humans evolved to run. Either loping along at a “low level aerobic, fat-burning” pace or for a few quick sprints. We were not meant to run at high heart rates day in and day… Read more »
Dave Reid
Dave Reid
6 years 10 months ago
That is a very good answer. When we run trails, most times the trails are technical or mountainous,and the very best trail runners would rarely average much over 5 miles/hour.Steep grades are often walked during an ultra.Due to the very nature of this type of exercise, this would preclude you going into an anaerobic threshold for very long.Perhaps some do, I don’t(can’t!). Compare this to a road marathon or road ultrarunner, the best are around 12 miles/hour. I can only imagine what their heart rate is.That is where the damage is done, IMO. I have been relatively injury free(except for… Read more »
emmcubed
emmcubed
6 years 10 months ago

I’m not sure you can equate the science cited here as to the benefits of tabata style workouts as “dogma”. Dogma, to me, evokes a notion of mindlessness, whereas science proves, or, at least theorizes in an effort to prove.

I’ve posted a photo in response to Dave’s previous post. It’s “awating moderation”. It says a lot.

dixonge
6 years 10 months ago
Great idea. But your current forum setup will probably continue to breed these problems. I think there are a few upgrades that would make for a much better Primal forum and community: 1 – badge system – as a new member, I have no way of knowing if someone who sounds authoritative is, in fact, representing your PB view or company or is just a troll. A badge or icon indicating such would be a quick visual cue 2 – monitoring – only someone on the server end can prevent trolls and trouble-makers from causing unnecessary disruption and dissent. and… Read more »
emmcubed
emmcubed
6 years 10 months ago

I second. Great points, all dixonge.

roberto
roberto
6 years 10 months ago

I disagree. A free-for-all is a basic primal characteristic. Allow natural selection to work its magic and the forum will evolve based on the merits of discussion rather than the censorship of moderators. The only reason I would be willing to join any forum is if freedom of expression is fundamental.

emmcubed
emmcubed
6 years 10 months ago

Normally, I’d agree that yes, it’s survival of the fittest around here. However, it seems that there are many “experts” on this forum and I know that I, being a relatively new member, would benefit from having more Mark-recognized authorities labeled as such in these posts.

In these forums, it becomes a bit like Wikipedia: anybody can contribute. Not that that practice is inherently a bad thing, but take a look at the erroneous information being spread around over on Mark’s book review on “The Vegetarian Myth”. Illustrates my point.

dixonge
6 years 10 months ago

But even Wikipedia has multiple levels of editors and administrators who constantly monitor content. They can lock pages and ban user accounts and IP addresses.

Roberto
Roberto
6 years 9 months ago
When it comes to the internet in general, we all have to be experts … just like we are all experts of our own body. It is up to each of us as individuals to decide what is best for us and what is not, what is good information and what is bad. For me, it is nanny forums which lead to the dogmatic views of the few in control (the topic of this post btw) … regardless of the levels of censorship put in place, censorship is censorship. In my “opinion”, the forum (all forums for that matter) should… Read more »
Ginger
Ginger
6 years 9 months ago
And Wikipedia is a hive of scum and villainy, the likes of which are difficult to duplicate. It’s terrible. It is Prime Example #1 of insane, irrational dogma, precisely because of its incredibly stupid administrative structure (lookin’ at you, Secptre). Moderation can be useful, but an overly heavy hand will just draw more trolls. They will always be there, messing things up because they can. They will hop IPs if you block one. Make new accounts if you close them. The more you engage with them, the more interested they are. The onus is on the community to roll their… Read more »
Tarlach
Tarlach
6 years 10 months ago
I’m quite happy to state a firm belief. I have been studying diet and nutrition for over 4 years now and try not to stick my nose in unless I know something about the subject. But I resent it when I am called a ‘zealot’ following some paleo dogma (which happens often). That implies that I have not done my research and I am blindly following some weird ideals. It is usually a response when someone has no facts to back their argument and it reverts to ‘name calling’. I have researched in depth most aspects of my diet and… Read more »
Anna
Anna
6 years 10 months ago

Good Calories Bad Calories is a top book to become familiar with to help shoot down any grain/low fat diet going around. The research is there!

jimmy
jimmy
6 years 10 months ago

highly refuted research….

dixonge
6 years 10 months ago

actually the research itself is undisputed. Research is research. It is the conclusions reached from said research that is controversial. But Taubes’ conclusions have not been refuted. Debated, yes. Argued against, yes. But that’s about it…

Max Barry
6 years 10 months ago
Hi Mark, I enjoyed reading this post, as well as the replies. As a Certified Personal Trainer, and Nutritional Consultant, ‘diet’ is 80% of what I do. I currently eat 90+ percent paleo, and just getting most ppl on whole food is a tremendous start! Being open, honest, and realistic with others on the PB Model is the best way to open their eyes to it. As I am not an MD, my most common, yet poignant statement is “Give it a try…see how you look/act/sleep/feel/perform.” On the other hand-and maybe other can relate- I tend to get a little… Read more »
Chris
6 years 10 months ago

I agree with Max – suggest that folks give it a try, “it” being whatever diet or eating plan they want to try. And sometimes it can get frustrating when I’m talking to someone about a sound eating plan with proven scientific data, and they are convinced that the latest fad touted by the media is just as valid. I think people are still looking for a quick fix, and until they are ready to give that up and get serious, it can be difficult to convince them of the benefits of the paleo diet.

Simon Fellows
Simon Fellows
6 years 10 months ago

sorry the flakedon but as… phuq the ‘left-foot’ writer whose names eludes ‘
Angels fly..cos they take themselves.. and their dogmas lightly !’ I added the dogma.

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[…] No matter what your dietary beliefs, keep an open mind to new and useful information. Treating your beliefs as infallible robs you of progress. […]

roberto
roberto
6 years 10 months ago
I have been lurking around this site for a few weeks now but this is my first comment. I bought and read the Primal Blueprint book about a month ago and found its principles fairly convincing and in general, a very good foundation for an optimal lifestyle of quality health. Although I’m in agreement that we as a species are extremely similar on a genetic level, I think there is enough diversity in the epigenetic response of our species to the environment (including diet), that any of us should be able to build enough variety upon the PB foundation without… Read more »
JD
JD
6 years 10 months ago
I predict in the next ten years we’re going to learn a lot more about genetics and how to tailor one’s diet to one’s genotype. Of course gene expression and epigenetics play just as big a role, but genotype is still important. I wonder what we’ll learn? The paleo crowd (I include myself) pays a lot of attention to carbs and insulin, but not as much to salt, advanced glycation end-products, and other factors that may influence health. It’s good to zoom out now and then and consider the big picture. I love the spirit of this post and the… Read more »
Ben Fury
6 years 10 months ago

Lyle McD “completely” tore apart Taubes? Musta missed that. Got a URL?

Richard Nikoley
6 years 10 months ago

Here’s a good review of GCBC by a scientist who actually understands thermodynamics.

http://entropyproduction.blogspot.com/2009/02/all-medical-science-is-wrong-within-95.html

McDonald does not.

Ben Fury
6 years 10 months ago
“Lyle McDonald Gary Taubes calories” yields no results. I asked for a URL, not a junk search. Looked at Google’s substitute results and can’t say I’m impressed. Lyle picks out a few things he disagrees with and then sums up by saying, “Taubes book is garbage.” This is not a useful or accurate summary of a book that in 601 pages systematically strips away much of the nonsense surrounding present dietary advice for suporting health and preventing disease. Does Taube’s book have flaws? Yes. Is it garbage? Not by a long shot. Good Calories, Bad Calories is an important if… Read more »
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dixonge
6 years 10 months ago

it’s like the Lyle McDonald fan club put out a hit on Marks’ forum. LOL

Grok
6 years 9 months ago

Actually, they sorta did. There’s a thread on his forum. Some of them are bagging on Mark’s body composition, yet they fail to post pictures of themselves… and are probably a 1/3 his age.

dixonge
6 years 10 months ago

oh Jane – if you won’t read the book (which answers your question) don’t expect any one here to take your comments seriously. But just because we can’t fully re-create Grok’s diet and environment doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get close.

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6 years 10 months ago

[…] Sisson talks about the need to keep an open mind about diets and […]

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[…] Position for Snatch Grip – IronMaven Diet As Dogma – Mark […]

Marina
6 years 8 months ago
Thank you very much for this post. I have been pondering the same things of late, and am amazed at how utterly different people can be convinced of the most polarised things. It’s so difficult to keep uprooting one’s own views in order to refine or re-learn, because as humans I think we immediately want stability and security. So we seek what confirms our existing views, and such company that agrees with us. I applaud the constant struggle of a “fertile mind”, but I am also a little wary of a society where intelligent people do not dare state a… Read more »
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[…] all that is natural is good, and all that is unnatural is bad. That’s far too simplistic, far too dogmatic. Life is made of gray, not stark black and white dualities. Context is everything. We may start […]

Chris
Chris
6 years 3 months ago
My story is a lesson on how bad dietary rules can replace common sense. I was a strict vegan for 3 years then a vegan raw fooder for 7 years after that. I had very strong emotional and ethical reasons for doing so and they kept me in this lifestyle. The idea of eating meat was abhorrent to me and upset my whole system and psyche due in part to the constant negative reinforcement of meat being bad all around by all the groups I associated with and the vegan diet gurus. And so I never explored eating any other… Read more »
Grok
6 years 3 months ago

Thanks for this Chris.

Chris Califano
5 years 7 months ago
Chris, I feel for you! I too have been vegan (100%) since 1985 and raw since 1999 (100% except for about for or five cooked carb snacks within that time), but I was lucky to pay attention to the fundamentals of nutrition and not get hooked into any dogma. It is not that easy, but my tenacity only led me to success. I know many others (not my own clients) who have failed on a raw vegan diet, but it was only b/c they failed to eat properly. Cooked or raw, meat or veg, you have to adhere to the… Read more »
Tx CHL Instructor
5 years 7 months ago

“Chris, I feel for you! I too have been vegan (100%) since 1985 and raw since 1999 (100% except for about for or five cooked carb snacks within that time), but I was lucky to pay attention to the fundamentals of nutrition and not get hooked into any dogma.”

Not sure where to even begin with that. I wonder if vegans are capable of understanding what they say. I would consider the quoted statement as very strong evidence that veganism destroys the ability to think clearly.

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[…] from what works and what does not, regardless of the source (this isn’t religion, folks, and dogmatic purity doesn’t matter when you’re just trying to get healthy and live well). Caloric restriction […]

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[…] people for ya. We can be miserable and happy at the same time. We can believe something despite evidence to the contrary staring us in the face. You’ll see it in online arguments, especially regarding subjects […]

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[…] aware of where and how their health might suffer in modern “zoo” life? Does it simply reinforce the refrain to avoid evolutionarily novel foods, habits, and stressors, so long as they are shown to be […]

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[…] Are you loathe to give up low-carb Primal because it makes you feel great or because you’re wedded to it ideologically? The distinction […]

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