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  • #61
    "The problem with the first justification for PB has already been brought up in this thread, basically it amounts to, how can you eat like a caveman when we don't know how cavemen ate? This get's to the heart of the weaknesses in the scientific justification. "

    We actually do know more about what they ate from the study of ancient bones. The isotopes and carbons extracted can tell us the predominant foods in the diet.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/n2871q7u63170045/

    This paper presents the published and unpublished stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for 36 European Upper Paleolithic humans from 20 sites. The isotope data were measured to determine the sources of dietary protein in Upper Paleolithic diets; the evidence indicates that animal, not plant, protein was the dominant protein source for all of the humans measured. Interestingly, the isotope evidence shows that aquatic (marine and freshwater) foods are important in the diets of a number of individuals throughout this period.
    Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
    Current weight: 199
    Goal: 145

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    • #62
      Katt -- So that at least would address the various claims that we were all somehow vegan in the past. (But most of the pro-vegan arguments seem to be based on ethical claims rather than nutritional history... I mean we don't need to look back far in history to prove that people eat meat. They're doing it now!)

      joerandom -- this is why I wish for some nice, large sample size, scientifically-valid studies of eating and health (weight loss or heart failure for example) that actually include a primal-type of eating. RE: heart failure, there are lots of existing studies claiming red meat is bad for cholesterol but it's always in combination with people eating non-primal carbs, so there's no good variable isolation. If, as so many here claim/believe, the non-primal carbs are causing this inflammatory reaction that makes dietary cholesterol less safe, it'd be great to have more scientific evidence there.

      The individual experience is anecdotal but it's still important for the people who find encouragement to try this and then discover that it does work for them (for whatever their goals are -- lose weight, avoid diabetes, get off heart medication.) That's probably true for any dietary or health modification approach, there will always be people who feel that it works for them and others who don't find long-term success like that. (look at all the ex-veg*ns here for example, or people who tried a bunch of other diets before settling here.)
      "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

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      • #63
        We haven't been Vegan as a species for a very long time. (maybe never?) Not even our closest relatives, Chimps, are Vegan.
        Last edited by Katt; 12-02-2010, 11:19 AM. Reason: Sentence construction sucks sometimes.
        Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
        Current weight: 199
        Goal: 145

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Katt View Post
          "The problem with the first justification for PB has already been brought up in this thread, basically it amounts to, how can you eat like a caveman when we don't know how cavemen ate? This get's to the heart of the weaknesses in the scientific justification. "

          We actually do know more about what they ate from the study of ancient bones. The isotopes and carbons extracted can tell us the predominant foods in the diet.

          http://www.springerlink.com/content/n2871q7u63170045/

          This paper presents the published and unpublished stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for 36 European Upper Paleolithic humans from 20 sites. The isotope data were measured to determine the sources of dietary protein in Upper Paleolithic diets; the evidence indicates that animal, not plant, protein was the dominant protein source for all of the humans measured. Interestingly, the isotope evidence shows that aquatic (marine and freshwater) foods are important in the diets of a number of individuals throughout this period.
          This is sort of the point I was trying to make. We can have some idea what pre-historic man ate, but we're never going to have an exact picture, or at least not until the science get's much stronger. This paper uses information from a sample size of 36, we wouldn't base medical treatments on one study of 36 people so why should we base dietary decisions on so little information? Anyway, I know that there's more evidence than just one paper, but my point is that there's a lot of uncertainty built into these studies so we should be careful about the strength of the claims that we make based on them. I'm not claiming that we definitely don't know how pre-historic man ate anymore than I think we should be claiming that we definitely do know how pre-historic man ate.

          This paper indicates that aquatic foods and animal protein were important, okay that's all well and good. But when new evidence shows up that pre-historic man ate grains, as in the NYT article, we don't update the PB diet to include grains. So the scientific/"this is how humans used to eat" justification isn't sufficient if we're not changing the PB diet based on new scientific evidence about pre-historic diets.

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          • #65
            Well, the grainhood of most of the NYT article's "grains" is debatable; lotta root starches there, cattail etc. And certainly that doesn't translate to "eat gluten, they did!" even if it was gluten-y.

            I agree that we shouldn't be making big sweeping claims about ancient foods beyond the evidence.
            "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Sassy View Post
              So was I....guess what fixed it.
              Very good point!

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              • #67
                My feeling is that paleo man may have eaten grains occasionally, but I seriously doubt it was a mainstay of his diet as it is of modern man's.

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                • #68
                  I think these two posts get to the heart of the most legitimate criticisms of the PB diet. It seems that there are two main justifications for the PB diet. First is the general argument that pre-historic humans ate differently than we do now and that the way that they ate is better adapted hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. This argument is essentially a scientific one. Second is the common sense argument that so many people seem to have had really notable success, i.e. that the adherents to the diet are the best evidence in favor of it working. This argument is anecdotal at heart.
                  actually it is not strictly anecdotal or scientific guesswork since there are modern day statistics of drastic changes in the health of " primitive populations" who suddenly adopted western diets...

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                  • #69
                    I think one of the biggest problems with saying "this is what paleo man ate" is that our ancestors would have eaten different food depending on where they lived.

                    In regard to the few studies that paleo critics wave about saying that our ancestors did eat grains, they display the most extreme for of confirmation bias. As Jenny mentioned, in one of those the "grains" were actually ground up starch, like potatoes. I am aware of one study though that found a mortar and pestle with some kind of wild barley. Dating errors aside, I have a number of counter-criticisms:
                    1. Grok would have explored different food sources. That does not mean that he ate them on a routine basis.
                    2. Wild grains that have been fermented are a very different thing than pasta. See the work of Weston A. Price, people can live on fermented grains and still display very good health.
                    3. We have like 1-2 studies showing actual ground grains, and hundreds showing that we ate lots of meat. Which do you think played a more prominent role in Grok's diet?

                    Also, as much as a role model Grok can be for us, he did not always live in the best world. He would occasionally have been faced with hunger. It is quite possible that the few grain residues we have found were actually Grok exploiting the only food he had left so that he didn't starve. That certainly does not prove "healthy," simply calories.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Katt View Post
                      We haven't been Vegan as a species for a very long time. (maybe never?) Not even our closest relatives, Chimps, are Vegan.
                      For a long time Australopithecus was thought to be frugivorous but I think some new methods have shown they ate at least some meat.

                      That is going pretty far back though.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by samjohn View Post
                        For a long time Australopithecus was thought to be frugivorous but I think some new methods have shown they ate at least some meat.

                        That is going pretty far back though.
                        Australopithecus garhi ate meat and they lived 2.5 million years ago: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/...pithecus-garhi

                        Australopithecus Africanus and Australopithecus afarensis lived further back (2.1 to 3.3 and 2.95 to 3.85 million years respectively) and ate a diet that included insects and eggs: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/...ecus-africanus & http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/...ecus-afarensis

                        Australopithecus anamensis lived 3.9 million years ago and were thought to be vegetarian: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/...ecus-anamensis


                        Humans have been using tools to eat meat for more than 2.6 million years: http://humanorigins.si.edu/human-cha...ics/tools-food
                        A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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                        • #72
                          How did pre-agricultural man eat?

                          Firstly, mankind was more or less forced into agriculture as the entire world became full of hunter gatherers. With increased competition for wild tubers and game, the tribes who took care of the tubers by replanting them and/or weeding them survived better...

                          From a food energy perspective, our crafty and often desparate ancestors would have done well to hunt or gather only the most energy dense foods, weighed against the resource costs of hunting or gathering them (and digesting them..). Large herbivorous herd animals, such as a buffalo or deer, could provide enough food for a family for weeks, with the well timed throw of an atlatl. How many grass seeds would one have to gather, carry, and grind with rudimentary tools to provide the same calories?

                          Grass seeds are only available seasonally, if at all...animal meat is a year round resource!

                          If humans were "evolved" to eat grains, we would have five fermenting stomachs like a cow.

                          While we can never know exactly what ancient people ate, deductive reasoning surely points out what a healthy, enduring tribe would have focused their food-procuring efforts towards. Certainly early man ate whatever he could get his hands on, and undoubtably this would include all sorts of herbs, fruits, and vegetables, depending on the season, climate, location, and foraging competition from other animals.

                          What is optimal for us, doesn't depend as much on what Grok ate; as it depends on results, both individual and scientific. It seems that medical and nutritional science is too biased to give the Paleo principles a fair chance at proving their results.

                          How much anecdotal evidence is required to prove a theory true?

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Adrianag View Post
                            actually it is not strictly anecdotal or scientific guesswork since there are modern day statistics of drastic changes in the health of " primitive populations" who suddenly adopted western diets...
                            Out of curiosity, would you mind posting some links? Again, I'm by no means calling it strictly anecdotal, or even anecdotal at all, I'm calling the scientific evidence incomplete and necessarily based on very limited information.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Sam Cree View Post
                              My feeling is that paleo man may have eaten grains occasionally, but I seriously doubt it was a mainstay of his diet as it is of modern man's.
                              We know he didn't eat grains like we do, it's a simple fact of lack of agriculture and that most grains that we cultivate simply didn't exist back then.

                              We don't know what our ancestors did eat but we know for 100000% certainty the things he didn't eat.

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                              • #75
                                Our current level of grain production is unsustainable, it is degrading the top soil and it requires petroleum based fertilisers. Pastured animals are a better option since they don't need synthetic fertilisers; their shit works as a fertiliser (the way nature intended).
                                I think you could make the argument that we are better adapted to small scale pastoralism than agriculture, if the debate gets that far.

                                Our food system now is based on what can be cheaply made, manufactured, packaged, shipped and sold, not on what is sustainable or sustaining. We are a minority, though, worldwide. Most humans get their protein from smaller animals, worldwide. We are talking about chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs. I would guess that that was true also for most of history before the ice ages. Where I'm trying to get with that is that we don't need to provide mega-fauna enough to feed everybody. The turn toward mega-fauna as a primary source of protein was a change forced by climate. It coincided with a big crash in the human population. One thing I read said that there may have been as few as 60,000 total individuals at the low point. So, I'm not sure there is any argument to be made for trying to feed everybody with beef cattle.

                                I am more for identifying a simple diet that is sustainable and supports health, then figuring out how to provide it equitably and (please god soon) moving on to other, higher order, problems, like space travel or global education, etc, etc.

                                I so totally agree with the poster who said incompetence is always a vastly more probably explanation for failure than malice, but the current system is founded more on greed than anything. Can you tell I'm a red or pinko here?

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