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Dumb, and common argument against Primal/Paleo

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  • Dumb, and common argument against Primal/Paleo

    I have noticed that (I think) the most common reaction to Primal/Paleo when you try and spread the good word to someplace where the concept is a bit new, is this-

    "Yeah, but Paleo people had shorter lifespans. Who wants to live only 35 years?"

    I can think of a lot of ways to counter this, and I suspect you can too.

    What do you say to these people?

  • #2
    I say that a figure like that is an estimation of average lifespan based on modern day hunter gatherers, if based on anything at all, and the problem with average lifespan is that infant mortality drags it down considerably. In a hypothetical population of two people where one dies before its first birthday and the other dies at age 90, the average lifespan for that population is of course 45 years. If you survived infancy, chances are you'd live a pretty long time. And infant mortality is fairly high in most animals anyway.

    People seem to think that malnutrition and starvation were the biggest killers. They killed us back then just as often as they killed any other animal, if not less (I'm speculating) since we are omnivores. They don't make the connection that they can eat a healthy hunter-gatherer diet while not actually living like a hunter-gatherer.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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    • #3
      Good point.

      The response I give first is that Paleo people lived dangerous lives, didn't have antibiotics, and had less protection from the elements. It's good to see some other views on it.

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      • #4
        Would a proper response be, of you don't really understand, do you? Then walk away. If they continue, pick up a clumP of grass, fling it into the air and grunt.
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        • #5
          I stopped using the "eat like a caveman" thing. Now I just tell people I eat according to the latest science.
          Lifting Journal

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          • #6
            I was just thinking it might not be a good idea to mention the infant mortality thing to most people because in the typical reactionary nonthinking person's mind, it's an easy jump to, "Oh my god, your diet advocates dead babies!"
            You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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            • #7
              In the U.S. at least we are rarely in danger of becoming a meal, and medicine and sanitation have greatly increased life expectancy.

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              • #8
                More common arguments I hear: "If you're going to ditch regular shoes, stop eating grains, and start going to bed at 9:45, why don't you just rip off your clothes and run into the nearest patch of woods?" ; "We've adapted to our diet of grains!" ; "If that were true, the nutritionists would have told us. No offense, but I trust my doctor more than I trust you and some guy with a website."

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                • #9
                  I don't talk about it a whole lot but the one I have gotten several times is "But... it's FOOD!" (when talking about something that shouldn't be eaten)
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Apex Predator View Post
                    I stopped using the "eat like a caveman" thing. Now I just tell people I eat according to the latest science.
                    Yep. I don't go into the evolutionary thing generally. I talk about inflammation and allergies and such. Then I tell them how my lab tests and symptoms for my hypothyroidism are so much better. It's hard to argue with results. They may still believe that they need "healthy whole grains" but it's pretty clear they were doing a number on me.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aly View Post
                      ... No offense, but I trust my doctor more than I trust you and some guy with a website."
                      When it comes to nutrition and/or anything related to drugs, putting "doctor" and "trust" in the same sentence is beyond my comprehension. Most of the doctors and nurses I know are overweight and decidedly UNhealthy. Then I look at Mark - I don't need to see a medical degree to know he's got it figured out.

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                      • #12
                        All I ever hear is "But you have to have grains!" which I counter with "Why?"

                        They usually reply that I'll be missing all that fiber, and I tell them that's what veggies are for.

                        That's when the blank stare comes. And I leave with them still looking baffled.
                        Durp.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LJH View Post
                          When it comes to nutrition and/or anything related to drugs, putting "doctor" and "trust" in the same sentence is beyond my comprehension. Most of the doctors and nurses I know are overweight and decidedly UNhealthy. Then I look at Mark - I don't need to see a medical degree to know he's got it figured out.
                          I've seen people who look as fit as Mark that eat utter crap. Some that eat strict CW diets, too. Heck, Mark himself was an elite athlete while eating that way. He feels a lot better now, but if a six pack is all you need to be an expert he had that back then when he was eating lots of "healthy whole grains". What sways me is the studies and basic biochemistry that support this way of eating.

                          Anecdotal evidence does still count with me, but it's the anecdotes of Mark and all the folks here at MDA as well as the other primal/paleo communities that get me believing.

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                          • #14
                            Last year i was quite 'rotund'. I work in a hospital, and see lots of people every day. When obese people ask me how I lost so much weight, I always say, 'I quit eating sugar and grain'. When they try it, and it starts to work, it leads to more talk and then I point them to MDA and some other paleo websites. I was messing with our nutritionist the other day when she asked how I'd lost so much weight, I told her, 'lots of whole grains, low fat, and no red meat'. She says, 'Wow! Most people can't lose weight that way.' But guess what she tells every obese person referred to her... Anyway, I laughed and told her the truth and she's probably reading this post right now all red in the face!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
                              I was just thinking it might not be a good idea to mention the infant mortality thing to most people because in the typical reactionary nonthinking person's mind, it's an easy jump to, "Oh my god, your diet advocates dead babies!"
                              but thats because they are tasty!
                              Primal Chaos
                              37yo 6'5"
                              6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
                              current 338lbs 49" waist
                              goal 240lbs 35" waist

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