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Primal Wisdom: Paleo = 20:25:55

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  • Primal Wisdom: Paleo = 20:25:55

    I came across Don Matezs's blog recently (and I know others did as well), and saw this post. The title is "Who Said Paleo Diet Had High Fat Percentages? Part 1"

    This is pretty much a 180 degree turn from what MDA, Wolf, Cordan you-name-them advices.

    I advice anyone to read it - I think it is very interesting, and Don says himself, that he will change his macro ratios to 20% fat calories, 25% protein and 55% carbs.

    I myself, have always wondered how eating natural (i.e. wild-caught meats) could ever be high in fat. Any game meat I have is very low fat, so that has never made sense to me. I am excited to hear his follow-up as well!

  • #2
    This is what lean game meat looks like:
    Archevore - Archevore Blog - "Lean" grass fed bison*images

    The hunter gatherer ate it all. The game meat you get has the fat trimmed off.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bissen View Post
      I myself, have always wondered how eating natural (i.e. wild-caught meats) could ever be high in fat. Any game meat I have is very low fat, so that has never made sense to me. I am excited to hear his follow-up as well!
      That assumes you're only eating the muscle meat, which is lean on its own and also trimmed of the surrounding fat... Our paleolithic ancestors would have definitely eaten all the high-fat organs like the brain as well as any fat deposits in the body.
      My food blog, with many PB-friendly recipes

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ajax View Post
        That assumes you're only eating the muscle meat, which is lean on its own and also trimmed of the surrounding fat... Our paleolithic ancestors would have definitely eaten all the high-fat organs like the brain as well as any fat deposits in the body.
        As we all pretty much evolved from the Africans, you would assume we all ate the same meats (and here I intended to include quotes, but changed my mind...)

        Instead of me quoting practically his entire post, I recommend you read it instead. He does make some very fine points; let me however add that I too, am not overly convinced, and I think he jumbs a bit around all over the place (diet-wise). I like fats too...
        Last edited by Bissen; 05-17-2011, 10:03 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bissen View Post
          I came across Don Matezs's blog recently (and I know others did as well), and saw this post. The title is "Who Said Paleo Diet Had High Fat Percentages? Part 1"

          This is pretty much a 180 degree turn from what MDA, Wolf, Cordan you-name-them advices.
          I'm not sure that it is a 180 degree turn. Cordain's book is littered with side-swipes at fat, particularly saturated fat. As for "Who Said Paleo Diet Had High Fat Percentages?" Well, perhaps no one did. But does it matter what "paleo"—meaning here no more than an ideology about what one should eat —"says"?

          What when it comes to actual hunter-gatherers in the actual Palaeolithic Age (and after)? Palaeolithic hunters certainly didn't eat "paleo"—canola oil, diet soda, lean meat, and de-skinned chicken breasts—all of which pop up in Cordain's book. it would be tiresome to list all the evidence showing that they deliberately killed the oldest, largest, and fattest beasts (which had the richest fat deposits)—in fact, that was so much so that, over generations, they actually caused some herd animals to become smaller. We know that from the archaeological record. They were also often highly selective about what they ate, often abandoning the carcasses of leaner animals they'd killed in favour of fatter ones, often taking only the fattest cuts of meat from carcasses. The way bones lie in archaeological sites tells us that—for example, google "garnsey bison kill site".

          Hunter-gatherers we know about from more recent times go out of their way to get fat. This was true, for example, of the Australian Aborigines. It was also true of North American Indians, who have been described as having a diet of "guts and grease":

          Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans

          The Jaminets advise people to eat 65% fat, 15% protein, and 20% carbohydrate and have some interesting reasons for that as Chris from the Daily Lipid tells.

          How do they arrive at the 20:65:15 ratio? The Jaminets rely largely on the convergence of four pieces of circumstantial evidence, supplemented with a copious amount of data gathered from free-living humans. None of this evidence is fool-proof, and I suspect that humans have the capacity to eat a much broader range of macronutrient ratios, but this ratio may serve as an ideal starting point for many people.

          Their first piece of circumstantial evidence is Loren Cordain’s analysis of 229 hunter-gatherers, who ate an average 30:50:15 macronutrient ratio with a 65:35 plant-to-animal ratio. They supplement this with isotope evidence suggesting our Paleolithic ancestors ate even more animal foods than this, and suggest that the encroachment of civilization on hunting territories may actually have increased carb intake. The Jaminets believe that our Paleolithic ancestors ate a range of 5-35% carb, 50-70% fat, and 15-25% protein.

          These ratios are similar to those obtained from human breast milk, after adjusting for the excess of carbohydrate provided for the infant’s growing brain, and are similar to the composition of the human body.
          Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet

          Don says himself, that he will change his macro ratios to [B]20% fat calories, 25% protein and 55% carbs
          Let him. It's a free country. Maybe he'll be OK on that. It is very low in fat, though.

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          • #6
            Lewis: I'm all for Paul and Shou-Ching - reading their book atm, and like it very, very much! I actually just passed them the link to Don's post.

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            • #7
              Humans clearly can live and thrive under very different breakdowns of fat/carb/pro, so maybe low-fat will work for him. Personally I feel great at around 40% fat and don't believe I'm suffering ill effects.

              I do think his posts lately are not thought through very well. He says in the post that people would be as poorly adapted to eating high fat as to eating cereal grains, and I just don't think that's logical. There are times when a HG tribe would be eating very high fat (certain meals, certain times of the year) and times when it would be lower fat. Humans are adaptable that way, but I don't see how that equates to something as foreign as grain agriculture, especially modern high-gluten grains. Weird.

              Another one is where he says things like fat from coconuts shouldn't be allowed because we didn't have the technology to open them? Or maybe he meant we couldn't extract the oil. Ok, well fine maybe we didn't have jars of coconut oil sitting around, but if we wanted to eat a whole coconut every day I don't see a problem with that.

              I guess this just brings up the argument again of exactly how far back in evolutionary history do we think we must go to unlock our potential? I think this post about only eating game meats, without cooking vessels is going back unnecessarily far and borders on "reinactment" when we really just don't know what the food landscape was like and can't recreate it anyway. Many of the paleo animals are gone, all cultivated plants are hybrid freaks compared to their paleo counterparts and what's the point of "perfecting" the diet when we're sitting on chairs, using artificial lights, breathing pollutants, and sleeping on mattresses? There are too many things about modern life that cannot ever come close to paleo life, I just don't see the point of getting all wrapped up in fat levels.

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              • #8
                Well, said, Pitter!

                Another thing that just came to mind was this... Doing something just because our ancestors did so. It's like if I started training like Bruce Lee - because if Bruce Lee did it, I will be like Bruce Lee. It doesn't work that way. (Besides, Bruce was pretty cwazy O__o)
                A third thing is "what our ancestors did (or didn't) eat/do" versus "what is optimal". No doubt there's a lot of things that were NOT optimal for our caveman!

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                • #9
                  He says in the comments section: "In later posts I will further address whether high fat intakes have adverse effects on health. I think the evidence is pretty compelling that excess dietary fat, particularly highly saturated fats, does harm...ranging from obesity to cancer."

                  Uh oh, next stop McDougall Diet.

                  I'll keep him in my blog reader because I love to keep challenging my viewpoints, but I have a feeling our beliefs are about to diverge. I mean what the heck happened? He saw the Venus of Willendorf one day and all of a sudden carbs aren't a problem and fat is?

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                  • #10
                    I don't know...

                    Anyways, I'm also thinking, hey, this primal (as we know it from MDA, lol) works well for many people, so why not let it be. One can try and mix things up, like with a carb recycle, bumping up general carbs, go zero-carb for a while, drop dairy or whatnot - as long as it works, it works.

                    But I am still interested in seeing his next post

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                    • #11
                      I would mostly worry about nutrient and vitamin absorption on a rather low fat diet… even if it’s one that’s “clean” in paleo/primal sense.

                      I only eat per his breakdown on re-feed days but that’s twice a week at most.
                      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                        I would mostly worry about nutrient and vitamin absorption on a rather low fat diet… even if it’s one that’s “clean” in paleo/primal sense.

                        I only eat per his breakdown on re-feed days but that’s twice a week at most.
                        Very good point! -How's progress with your re-feeds, btw?

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                        • #13
                          Paleo re-enactment is a fallacy because (1) we can't really be entirely sure about what they really did eat, (2) there's no real way for us to eat genuine paleo foods whether plant or animal (they've all changed since then), and (3) there's no guarantee that the original Paleo diet is optimal for health. I suspect the issue was due to vitamin and mineral status, as glucose and fat (saturated and mono-unsaturated, anyway) have low to negligible toxicity. Unless carefully constructed, low-carb diets will tend to be low in the nutrients that are mostly found in plant foods: minerals mostly, but also vit. C and prebiotic fiber which seems to be unessential but still beneficial. I'm sure I'm missing other stuff too.
                          Last edited by AndreaReina; 05-17-2011, 12:20 PM. Reason: clarity

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bissen View Post
                            Very good point! -How's progress with your re-feeds, btw?
                            Good enough for me to trust it for now, still time will tell though.
                            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AndreaReina View Post
                              Paleo re-enactment is a fallacy because (1) we can't really be entirely sure about what they really did eat, (2) there's no real way for us to eat genuine paleo foods whether plant or animal (they've all changed since then), and (3) there's no guarantee that that way is optimal for health. I suspect the issue was due to vitamin and mineral status, as glucose and fat (saturated and mono-unsaturated, anyway) have low to negligible toxicity. Unless carefully constructed, low-carb diets will tend to be low in the nutrients that are mostly found in plant foods: minerals mostly, but also vit. C and prebiotic fiber which seems to be unessential but still beneficial. I'm sure I'm missing other stuff too.
                              This, or that?
                              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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