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  1. #1
    magicmerl's Avatar
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    Primal/Paleo Misconceptions

    Sometimes it feels like my 'primal journey' learning all sorts of health things which run counter to CW (conventional wisdom). I started by reading some 'low carb' books and from there getting into paleo/primal. Along the way there are some things that I took in that I now look back on and shake my head. Things like:

    Myth: You don't need calorie restriction to lose weight if you are eating low carb, because of the 'metabolic advantage'.
    (the truth is that you do need calorie restriction, is just often happens effortlessly without a starvation diet)

    Half-truth: Fructose is toxic and should be avoided
    (in large quantities)

    Truth: You can lose weight without exercising
    (once you have lost the 'easy fat, you might need to exercise to help get past a plateau)

    Myth: A person's opinion isn't credible unless they are ripped

    Half-truth: Dairy is bad for you
    (only for the lactose intolerant, and there's less lactose in the fattier products like cream, butter and cheese)

    Truth: Cutting carbs makes your serum triglycerides (the fat in your blood) go down

    Half-truth: serum cholesterol is driven by dietary cholesterol
    (serum cholesterol is primarily produced by your body)

    Myth: Carbs in general are to be avoided. White potatoes and white rice are fine in moderation
    (it's wheat that is the devil....)

    Did I get any wrong?
    What are other myths or half-truths that you have encountered while exploring a primal lifestyle?
    Last edited by magicmerl; 07-04-2012 at 09:46 PM. Reason: revised based on feedback
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

  2. #2
    tomi's Avatar
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    I once had a doctor tell me that 80% of our serum cholesterol comes directly from our liver, and has nothing to do with diet. The other 20% is directly related to diet. He told me I had a stupid liver and it just didn't know when to stop pumping out the cholesterol. Six month ago I stopped taking cholesterol meds. My numbers are high - but not panic high. My triglycerides dropped to 77 after cutting all grains.
    Read post #2626
    my motivation

  3. #3
    Fletch666's Avatar
    Fletch666 is offline Senior Member
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    My three cents...not that pennies are being made anymore...

    Myth: You don't need calorie restriction to lose weight if you are eating low carb, because of the 'metabolic advantage'
    I'd call this a half-truth. On a low carb diet it becomes more difficult to over eat and you tend to lose weight without really having to count calories. So...you don't need intentional calories restriction cuz it'll happen anyway.

    Half-truth: Fructose is toxic and should be avoided.
    I'd call this a mostly truth. It's maybe not literally toxic, but why would you eat that shit? Wait...I'm thinking mostly of fructose corn syrup. Whatever. A little natural sugar in fruit is fine.

    Half-truth: You can lose weight without exercising
    This is just true. You'll lose it a bit faster, and look better if you exercise, but you can totally lose weight without exercising above and beyond your normal daily movement. I've done it. I counted calories and weighed food and I was thin and weak.

    Myth: A person's opinion isn't credible unless they are ripped
    With you here.

    Half-truth: Dairy is bad for you
    Agreed. Apparently some people have trouble with dairy. I'm not one of them. Maybe the trick is just to always have your cheese with red wine.

    Myth: Dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with serum cholesterol
    My understanding is that this is about 80% (or more) true. Dietary cholesterol has almost nothing to do with serum cholesterol. While eating a 60%+ calories from fat diet (including 6 eggs a day) my cholesterol numbers (and more importantly the ratios) were beyond healthy.

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    I agree with Fletch. You can definitely lose weight without exercise, and cholesterol is mostly independent of food. You can eat NO cholesterol and still have "high cholesterol."

    I'd add:
    Myth: Carbs in general are to be avoided. In fact, it depends on where you're at and what your activity level is. My current version of PB includes white potatoes and white rice, in moderation, whenever I want them.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

  5. #5
    Paleobird's Avatar
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    I would call the calorie restriction myth the "chuck your scale, eat bacon, and be happy" diet plan and you will just magically become the optimal weight. If you are one of the people for whom this actually works, I envy you. I agree with fletch that a lot of unintentional calorie restriction goes on and this is often enough to get people started but then comes The Stall. If you want to progress, you have to be a little more mindful. This can include calorie counting without angering the gods of primality. (See chapter 8 in the PB).

    Fructose in small quantities won't hurt you. Of course we could debate how small is "small" all day.

    Exercise is another one of those things where it depends how far along you are toward your goal. You can lose the first chunk without it but as you get down to those last few, you need to make it part of the plan.

    I tend to believe people who have made a transformation themselves like Dr. Terry Wahls when she talks about "Minding your Mitochondria". Mark is gorgeous and always has been but he did make the transition from overtraining, physical and mental burnout, and repetitive stress injuries, to the picture of health he is today.

    Dairy is one of the very sensible places where Primal diverges from paleo. Leaving it up to the individual to decide based on sensitivities plus availability of better dairy options such as raw.

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    magicmerl's Avatar
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    Ok, I updated based on the feedback. Are there any other primalish things that people once thought that they now thing are silly?
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

  7. #7
    Paleobird's Avatar
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    I think the prohibition on peanut butter is silly. I would not have made it through childhood without it. Yes, it is technically a legume. Yes, it can have mold but that doesn't mean that it always does. Yes, some people are allergic but so what? I'm allergic to Kiwi fruit. That doesn't make them un-Primal for everyone else.

    I would put peanuts and peanut butter in the same category as milk products. If you have good sources for the quality stuff and aren't allergic, decide for yourself.

  8. #8
    Lewis's Avatar
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    To be honest I don't think just because you used to believe X and you now belive Y, that makes X a misconception (or a "myth").

    Further, I don't think youi can arraign the Paleo Diet unless you make reference to a recognized source - such as one of Prof. Cordain's books - quoting chapter & verse. After that you'd need to make detailed argument (again, probably with references) to say WHY you disagreed. Similarly, if you wanted to have a go at Primal you'd need to start by quoting Mark's actual words.

    If you want an example, I'd say the claim by many people acknowledged as authorities in the Paleo movement that hunters are always taller than agriculturists is false.

    I've heard Robb Wolf say (on the Dr. Lo show) that medieval Frenchmen were short because they ate unleavened bread. I think he's allowing his enthusiasm to rub away with him. Historical sources indicate their bread was leavened. I think the poor - not ALL Frenchmen - were short because they didn't get enough protein.

    That's an example of "Paleo" mythologizing. It's fairly harmless, though & anyway you shouldn'ty eat bread, leavened or not!

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