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Paleo-Diet: Not the Way to a Healthy Future?? NPR blog

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  • Paleo-Diet: Not the Way to a Healthy Future?? NPR blog

    On NPR's website, there is a science blog, which I often enjoy quite a bit. Today's contribution was titled: The Paleo-Diet: Not the Way to a Healthy Future. Written by anthropologist Barbara J. King, it addresses the global sustainability of paleo eating and the lack of scientific foundation for de Vany's and Cordain's tenets.

    The Paleo-Diet: Not The Way To A Healthy Future : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

    Notably, she made no mention of Mark Sisson or the very adaptable approach he recommends. She points out that human populations adapted to available resources depending on where they were. PB is consistent with that, it would seem, as there is an enormous variety of choices available from which to make our appropriate regional, seasonal and personal selections.

    She also seems to think that all advocates of a paleo approach think that everyone on the planet should be eating this way (she cites the population of 7 billion). Mark explicitly states that this is not a recommended approach where animal protein is hard to come by and caloric resources are largely plant-derived. And he explicitly states that, given a choice, free-range and grass-fed are preferable to grain-fattened anything (one of King's objections is the need for more grain-fed animals raised in factory farms).

    I'm curious to see what rebuttals you more experienced Grokkers would offer Ms. King, if you could chat with her and set her straight, at least as far as the PB approach goes. She makes a variety of points, but I see flaws in many of them. How about you?

  • #2
    I would also like to know how large of a population could be supported on paleo. I'd be interested in anyone that had better knowledge on the subject.


    • #3
      I saw that pop up on my facebook page and commented wondering if NPR was underwritten by Monstanto today. So far I've got 8 "likes".
      carl's cave


      • #4
        I'm all for the population decreasing. I think the argument certainly holds water when you consider the population boom due to agriculture. All these people are about to make the planet go out of orbit if they keep fattening up and reproducing like its their right or something. No more than two kids per household if that, and ration the food, mass suicides are encouraged as well.
        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


        • #5
          I would be very interested in finding out more about sustainable food production myself. We've come a long way since Frances Moore Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet (pretty strictly vegetarian). With the local and slow food movements, there is some pressure to put agriculture back on a sustainable footing (it is definitely not there now).

          There is a lot of talk about reducing the impacts of agriculture on climate change, with one major target being the production of grains to fatten livestock. But that assumes that all animals intended for human consumption must be raised in confinement on largely grain-based diets. That is certainly what I learned back in the late 70s in my livestock nutrition classes at Purdue, but we are talking about the birth-place of Big Ag! Their focus was the most pounds produced for the least money. Period. Fortunately, in the intervening 30+ years, we have learned the advantages of other rearing methods.

          I have often contemplated raising free-range chickens and rabbits as my home meat and egg producers. I may do that when I retire, but at the moment I'm not looking to add complications to my life.


          • #6
            Rather Darwinian thinking, iniQuity.

            I think that the problem is one of distribution, not production. That is, policy and politics are the problem, not biology.


            • #7
              It's an overpopulation issue, not a paleo dieting issue. I look forward to listening to the story and commenting.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Northern Light View Post
                I think that the problem is one of distribution, not production. That is, policy and politics are the problem, not biology.


                • #9
                  I agree with iniQuity. There are too many people, period. I feel like Agent Smith from "The Matrix", but seriously, enough is enough. This world can only support so many people.

                  And no, I don't plan on ever having any kids.


                  • #10
                    I think sustainability freaks are just as much "blind fanatics" as we are, except they're worse because they're self-righteous. The assumption that we believe 7 billion people can eat and live like this is flat-out insulting.

                    Does anyone know of a Paleo guru who claims the diet is sustainable? I know Mark doesn't.


                    • #11
                      Good point, Yvonne.

                      It may be easier to defend vegan or vegetarian choices as being "good for the planet", but if those choices are not "good for the body", I fail to see their virtue.


                      • #12
                        I like the end part where she says that genes aren't in control. Bloody hell they aren't in control. We're like machines running around doing things and thinking that we're autonomous beings. We're really just vessels for our DNA that either gets passed on or fails based on how well we are suited to all aspects of the environment that we live in.


                        • #13
                          I am one of those "sustainability freaks", Burger. One of those weirdos who indeed want the planet to be habitable by some human beings for another few millennia or so, just not necessarily by so many of them.

                          I am also one of the original ZPGers (Zero Population Growth, for you youngsters), from back when there were only 4 to 5 billion souls on the planet. I also chose not to have kids, and our extended family is currently in replacement deficit (less than two children per adult couple). Because I don't really like the idea of mass starvations (climate or biological problems) or mass murders (policy problems).
                          Last edited by Northern Light; 10-27-2011, 08:59 AM.


                          • #14
                            Daemon, I wonder whether she thinks that genetic birth defects are "not in control". Or that carrying the various BRCA breast cancer risk genes does not put a woman at greater risk. Mind over matter! Society trumps biology! Yeah, yeah. I read Margaret Mead, too, Ms. King. But she was not talking about nutrition and physiology.

                            If those "bad" genes can so dramatically affect peoples' health, why on earth would anyone think that our "normal" genes are not running the show (or trying desperately to do so)?


                            • #15
                              Am I the only one who truly does not care one iota if there is enough grass-fed beef to go around to feed everyone in China? Is that really an excuse for Westerners not going Paleo in the first place? I'm a flaming liberal, but this sort of thing makes me roll my eyes. I care about my own health and keeping my grandma's leg from having to be amputated as a result of her diabetes. I've got to save myself and the people I actually know and care about before I can save China.
                              "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates