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Here's another example: There is a lot of evidence to support that resistance training is much better for you than "chronic cardio".
So, for my first 4 or 5 months primal, I "tried" resistance training. Hated it. Always hated it. Always will hate it. So, I ended up spending my exercise time on the couch.
Recently, I started taking up running again: Long distance running. The most chronic of the chronic cardio. I'm now up to 15 miles per week, and am hoping to be building towards marathon training, with a 30-40 mile per week base building towards perhaps 60 miles per week.
Oh, the horror.
Which is better for me, resistance training, which I will not do, or chronic cardio, which I will throw myself into? Science can't answer that question.
would it really matter if science could answer that question?
Yes, it can. You do each and see which benefits you more. That's science!
I did do each. I got virtually no benefit from resistance training because I could find no motivation to do so. I got great benefits from running because I really enjoy it.
Is that science? Perhaps. But, all that it is measuring is my subjective desire to carry out those exercise programs. The results are of no use at all to anyone else except myself.
I could also conduct other scientific experiements on myself. Perhaps I might find that eating raw slugs might be beneficial. Or, perhaps maintaining a life of celebacy. There may be studies that indicate that living naked in some savanna somewhere might be beneficial to my health.
But, none of the scientific studies in the world that might indicate that living naked in the savanna, eating raw slugs might be beneficial are of any use to me AT ALL. It is just not something that I am willing to do.
Since each of us ARE individuals, we need to individually evaluate the science, and determine what works for us, and what does not work for us.
I am having great sucess with a primal diet. My mother is having great sucess with a conventional diet. Which one of us is wrong? Well, I think most scientific studies will say that I am wrong. Does that mean I should abandon that, which is working for me in favor of a method that I have proven does not work for me?
I adopted this lifestyle without reading a single scientific article. I read the watered down version given to me by folks here. It seems to work for these folks, it makes sense in my mind when explained in layman's terms, and I seem to be enjoying it so far. No one ever gave me a scientific article to read in the 20 years that I lived on Hot Pockets and Doritos, so I'm not too worried about it.
OP has a great valid question which I feel is getting a little ignored.
First let me talk about my personal reasons. I've been studying health for years now (whilst I've been overweight) my health has been one HUGE experiment and I have tried many diets. I'm not gluten intolerant and I never used to have problem with carbs (on a normal SAD diet.)
My results on various whole food diets whilst I was 400 pounds:
Vegan for 2 years = Gained 80 pounds
Raw Vegan for 6 months = Lost 10 pounds in two weeks and then it stopped. Had extremely bad health effects.
Fruitarian for 4 months = Gained 6 pounds, ruined my teeth eventually having 2 removed, ended up in hospital
Pescetarian (Still grains) = Lost 30 pounds, constantly bloated and had extreme panic attacks, ended in hospital with gastritis
So I researched my ass off because those diets above I thought they were THE WAY. I took it in as gospel. So I looked for scientific evidence too, I read Gary Taubes Good/Bad Calories which has an amazingly overwhelming facts on why fat is good and grains are not optimal for the human body. Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution has some great research too, even the Primal Blueprint has some. BUT Fathead was the convincer for me, seeing a guy lose weight like that and then the debunking he did about low fat diets made total sense.
You personally cannot just rely on scientific evidence, you have to look at what is working for a majority of people and what is also working for you. The fruitarian forums are full of people who experience extreme symptoms, however, this site shows alot of amazing success which proves that it does work when used correctly. I have found that when people have certain symptoms on primal they are either not doing it right or eating TOO low carb for a long period of time.
Not only that, you have to dig into the paleolithic research on what our ancestors eat and you'll find that it makes sense. Why would it make sense for us to have naturally ate just the lean parts of the animal? Why would it make sense that we ate grains when if you eat it raw it tastes disgusting? If you do your research you will dig deep and find that most of the food today wasn't around, however, wild versions had roughly the same ratio of macro nutrients in the food we eat today.
Another thing, history tells us a great story on health if you delve deep enough. In the 1800s it was very common to find people that ate completely natural (without grains) it was also common to find people who did eat bread, the difference from the 1800s till the today is that there were lesser rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease. In fact, most diseases in them days was usually due to bacterial infections and illnesses that can be easily treated today. The 1950's is when it all changed really. The use of fast food and deep fried fatty food spiked a health crisis that went unheard for years until we tried to find the culprit, of course fat was to blame. Which is completely true, however, it was trans fat that was the culprit back then and they tied sat fat with the same brush. This isn't scientific research but I think it's fairly accurate considering now most countries are pro low fat, yet we still have soaring rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.
Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.
What's with the anti-science sentiment around here? Stop treating science as a personal entity when it is a method of empirical inquiry.
I feel anti-science because of the so-called science that Conventional Wisdom adherents latch onto, the bad science that is destroying many peoples' longevity. I do get emotional reading about and seeing evidence all around me of suffering people, who are continually fed bad science in the press and by their doctors. If you call it lack of intelligence and competence, you are condemning a wide swath of the population by saying they are too stupid to see beyond the "scientific" propaganda they were raised with all their lives. It isn't easy to cut that cord, to look for alternatives. I used to blame the masses for their problems, but now I feel bad for them, and feel much anger over the conventional wisdom machine.
One thing I like about MDA is that you are encouraged to find out for yourself. The two simplest ways to do that are to read and to experiment with your own body.
As far as reading goes, I've read "Primal Blueprint", "Paleo Solution", "Primal Body, Primal Mind" and I'm about halfway through "Wheat Belly". All 4 are filled with scientific studies and interpretations of the science behind them for the layman. Many of the blogs out there have citations too, so you can see where they're getting their info.
Experimenting with your own body is also key. Take the information you've gained from your reading and see what happens when you add this or remove that or change the percentage of something. Many times you'll feel right away whether it works or not.
We should be very careful not to give too much credence to our own subjective appraisal, though. People simply aren't objective about what is good for them, and oftentimes they will make excuses for the ideas and practices that they have fallen in love with, until it is too late. Oftentimes we can't even see a subjective difference or a difference on basic lab tests, yet there is a big difference going on that will manifest itself in many months. Few people taking vitamin K2 feel any different, but the long-term benefit is staggering.
I agree w/ Stabby, science ain't a bad thing! The Primal Blueprint is BASED on science. Do you think we are all here doing this 'just because this fit guy named Mark said so'?
The reason paleo/primal living makes so much sense (and works) is because of our biology. How our bodies respond to various foods, as well as the nutrients required by our systems to thrive is very telling as to how we are supposed to eat. As others mentioned, the science is out there, you may just need to look for it.
The Perfect Health Diet blog and book is probably a great place to start for someone looking for scientific backing for choosing a paleo/primal diet--chock full of references to scientific studies. (Stabby referenced it above.) It describes in detail the benefits and negatives of incorporating various foods into our diets and makes a very compelling case for following a paleo/primal WOE. For more science focused paleo/primal writing check out some of the following: Evolutionary Psychiatry Archevore - Archevore Blog Hyperlipid http://chriskresser.com/ The Daily Lipid