Bump. Anyone? Bueller?
Hey guys. Lately I've been reading and hearing a barrage of information about Paleo/Primal diet that has me slightly concerned. I am asking for your help!
Firstly, I have heard that people who follow the paleo/primal diet have a very elevated risk of developing Pancreatitis bc of the high consumption of fats. I am inclined to believe that it really depends on the source of the fats (i.e. perhaps the studies that found this were studying people that ate nitrate filled bacon, sausage, and grain fed beef, etc. rather than grass fed, nitrate free, wild caught). Any thoughts on this?
Then I just read this today from a source that I do not know on the internet. I'll post the link but I'll also copy and paste the article below. Let's see what you think of this. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer in shedding light on this: Dangers Atkins Low Carb Diet
The Dangers of an Atkins Low Carb Diet
The Atkins or Low Carb Diet is enormously popular right now. The arguments for the Atkins or Low Carb Diet are largely based on the "hunter-gatherer", or Paleolithic concept. The idea is that man, since he walked out of the jungles, hunted and - you guessed it - gathered. In fact, Low Carb proponents argue that this is how man flourished.
The research that has poured out of the laboratories and universities in the last decade has revealed one danger after another with this dietary system. Let's start with testosterone. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that a Low Carb (30%) Diet lowered free testosterone by about a third and increased cortisol by about a seventh (15%) when compared to a high carb (60%) diet in intensely trained athletes.  This is every guys worst endocrinological nightmare and, while it may seem counterinututive, shows that carbs protect your testosterone and keep stress hormones at bay.
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A Low Carb or Atkins Diet will affect your penis in other negative ways as well. one landmark study showed conclusively that a High Protein Diet, similar to the Atkins or Low Carb Diet, greatly decreased blood flow. Furthermore, the authors pointed out that "fibrinogen, Lp (a), and C-RP increased by an average of 14%, 106%, and 61% respectively".  These are systemic inflammatory markers that have been shown to lead to cardiovascular, erectile and auto-immune diseases. In addition, one 2009 study on mice showed greatly decreased vascular health.  The mice had greatly increased arteriosclerosis and the researchers believed that it was because a low carb diet limited the mice's ability to self-repair their vessels.
So has the Atkins, Low Carb or Paleolithic Diet done well in any recent research? The results show that these diets are generally dangerous and only good for a) people who eat almost no carbs to lose weight  and b) possibly people with diabetes or the Metabolic Syndrome.  However, for all others simply maintaining their weight with a Atkins (Low Carb) Diet, the results are not looking good at all: one recent study in the prestigious journal Circulation showed increased bodily inflammation and LDL levels. 
And that same study  found something else the Atkins or Low Carb Diet proponents are not likely to tell you: "reduced endothelial vasoreactivity". That means they found the same old curse of saturated fat: it temporarily "hardens" your arteries. Yes, that means that one of the dangers is decreased blood flow and potentially less hard erections.
Furthermore, animal studies have revealed that a High Fat Diet, similar to the Atkins Diet, turns off genes used for proper mitochondrial function.  This has been verified in many animal studies and this is bad - very, very bad. The researchers in the above study stated that "combined, these results suggest a mechanism whereby HFD [a High Fat Diet] downregulates genes necessary for OXPHOS and mitochondrial biogenesis. These changes mimic those observed in diabetes and insulin resistance and, if sustained, may result in mitochondrial dysfunction in the prediabetic/insulin-resistant state". In other words, over the long term a High Fat Atkins Diet could lead to Metabolic Syndrome issues due to mitochondrial dysfunction. And remember that mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with low testosterone as well. 
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Just as bad, researchers have found that another danger of the Atkins (Low Carb) Diet is increased cortisol levels by allowing cortisol to stay in one's system longer.  High cortisol levels are bad for many reasons, including the fact that they attack neurons, cause weight gain and many other ills. (Read this link on the Brain for more details.)
It should also be pointed out that there was one very large study that found that a low carb diet did little nothing to reduce heart disease risk.  Now contrast all of that with our old friend, the Mediterranean Diet, which is a proven cancer, heart disease and erectile dysfunction fighter and which is low on saturated fat and meat. Study after study has shown the Mediterranean Diet. There is no equivalent body of research from the Paleolithic or Low Carb Diet crowd.
The same goes with the Low Carb (Ornish) Diet. It has actually decreased plaque in the arteries, drastically lowered blood pressure and cholesterol and has turned off hundred of Prostate Cancer genes. Again, the Atkins or Low Carb Diet has no equivalent body of research.
If all of that wasn't bad enough, there are several studies showing meat consumption is bad for the brain presenting yet another danger to males on such a diet. One recent large study with 15,000 participants found increased dementia associated with increased meat consumption.  Similarly, another recent large study of Latin American and Asian populations showed that the more meat consumption, the more the dementia.  In addition, a 2009 study on rats showed that a high fat diet (55%) impaired both cognition and exercise capacity. The animals essentially became "lazy and stupid". And many people eating fast food and/or an Atkins (Low Carb) Diet approach a diet with 55% fat levels. 
A Low Carb diet has also been shown to be much more worse for your mood and outlook. Australian scientists placed participants on a Low Fat Diet or Low Carb Diet and, not surprisingly, found that both groups lost an equal amount of weight. However, the low carb group "felt more angry, depressed and confused" than the Low Fat cohort. 
Finally, it has recently been found that rats fed a high fat diet developed cholecystokinin (CCK) resistance.  Cholecystokinin, or CCK, controls blood sugar production in the liver. A high fat diet limits CCK, leading to overly high CCK levels. Being CCK resistant will very likely prove to be just as bad as insulin resistant and a high fat diet appears to lead to this condition.
NOTE: Many of my readers are interested in enhancing their exercise performance, endurance, power and so on. The above 2009 study on rats found that animals on a high fat diet could run only about half as far as those on a low fat diet.  This is simple chemistry: fat is an inefficient energy source for your muscles. Just as bad is the fact that a recent study found that carbohydrates are just as essential as protein go muscle gains. 
All of this is the reason that you find researchers recommending either the Mediterranean Diet or Low Fat (Ornish) Diet which have a significant body of research showing improvements in heart, cancer and/or auto-immune outcomes.
6) Clin Biochem,2004 Sep,37(9):830
7) J Nutr,Jun 2005,135:1339-1342
8) Nutr Metab (Lond),Nov 16 2005,2:31
9) Circulation, 2007, 116:II_819, "Abstract 3610: Comparative Effects of 3 Popular Diets on Lipids, Endothelial Function and Biomarkers of Atherothrombosis in the Absence of Weight Loss"
10) J Clin Endocrinology Metabolism, published online Sep 4, 2007
11) New England J of Med, Nov 9 2006, 355(19):1991-2002
12) Diabetes, 2005, 54:1926-1933
13) Diabetes Care, 2005, 28:1636-1642
14) Angiology, 2000, 51(10):817-826
15) Amer J Clin Nutr, Received for publication February 3, 2009. Accepted for publication May 21, 2009; Emiliano Albanese, et al; "Dietary fish and meat intake and dementia in Latin America, China, and India: a 10/66 Dementia Research Group population-based study"
16) Cell Metabolism, Aug 6 2009, 10(2):99-109, "Intestinal Cholecystokinin Controls Glucose Production through a Neuronal Network", Grace W.C. Cheung, et. al.
17) Amer J Clin Nutr, Received for publication February 3, 2009. Accepted for publication May 21, 2009; Emiliano Albanese, et al; "Dietary fish and meat intake and dementia in Latin America, China, and India: a 10/66 Dementia Research Group population-based study"
18) FASEB J, 2009 Aug 10. [Epub ahead of print], Murray, et. al., "Deterioration of physical performance and cognitive function in rats with short-term high-fat feeding"
19) "Vascular effects of a low-carbohydrate high-protein diet", Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Published online 25 August 2009, Foo S, Heller ER, W20) Prevention, Apr 2010, p. 45.
20) European journal of applied physiology, 2010 Apr, 108:1125-1131, "Influence of dietary carbohydrate intake on the free testosterone: cortisol ratio responses to short-term intensive exercise training."
21) Journal of Exercise Physiology, 2009, 12(6): 33-39, "Dietary Carbohydrate and Protein Manipulation and Exercise Recovery in Novice Weight-Lifters"
Bump. Anyone? Bueller?
1) I suggest you spend some time reading some research. One good place to start is with some of Mark's posts, which contain tons of links to some great scientific studies. Look for some topics you find interesting, do some googling.
2) Paleo/Primal IS NOT ATKINS.
3)Try this way of eating for a while and see how you feel. Notice if chronic health conditions/overalll health improves. If you start having any of the issues mentioned in that paper, then go back to eating fast food.
4) For every paper that comes out saying one way of eating is healthy, 5 more will come out saying the opposite. The true test is how you feel. Do what makes sense, make changes if you aren't thriving.
5) We are baraged by tons of crap all day long. The true challenge is to use reason and common sense to figure out which studies have valid conclusions and which are riddled with variables or done using methods that produce flawed results and invalid conclusions. Now is a good time to start practicing some critical thinking skills.
Last edited by BestBetter; 07-18-2012 at 03:14 PM.
The production of testosterone, and ormones in general, is triggered by fats introduced with a healthy diet. Enough said.
Moreover, carbs are empty calories, in the sense that they are just calories, nothing more. Fats come in many forms and bring vitamins with (A,D, E and K).
When you do a scientific research you can decide in advance what your result will be. I don't even bother looking at the references, I know already they are tampered. Remember when the researches demonstrated without any reasonable doubt that smoking was not a concern for health?
This is a serious scientific experiment, I have been primal since mid April 2012n and:
- I am in the best physical shape of my whole life (I am 38, I wasn't like that even in my 20ies)
- Strength has increased, this is not compatible with the theory of the bored, sleepy, energy less low carbs guy
- The days I decide to do some cardio I am exactly as resistant as I was on high carbs
- I had a blood exam last week. Results are better than the one I did 5 years ago
- Other details are private, so I prefer not to speak about them
Paleo diet is dangerous... yes. It is: for the current status quo. The official medicine cannot admit that they have been wrong for the last 60 years.
Conclusion: do not worry about these researches, eat 50-75 grams of carbohydrates per day (from green vegetables and berries) get the rest of the calories you need from healthy fats and do not forget: 1g of proteins per Kg of body weight.
plain large baked potato (300 grams):
7 grams protein
48% vitamin C
7% vitamin K
Compare that to the same amount (by weight) of
Coconut oil (300 grams):
1% vitamin K
That's it. Now, I'm all for coconut oil, but it has ZERO vitamin and minerals. You could argue there are other health benefits (which I agree with) but your assertion that fats 'bring' more vitamins and minerals with it is just plain nonsense.
I would recommend following through on the cited sources. For instance, one study the author cites (ref #9 in the article) was pretty heavily analyzed by Denise Minger over at rawfoodsos:
Brand-Spankin’ New Study: Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble? « Raw Food SOS
I am not a scientist, but I am a firm believer in science, and I don't like to dismiss studies - even ones that contradict what I do or believe - out of hand. If the science is good, the science is good.
A lot of the science isn't good (and that can be true for studies that support, as well as those that refute, something like a paleo/primal diet, or low-carb, or whatever).
The article you posted raises a concern for me out of the gate because it *seems* like the poster isn't a scientist; the tone of the writing strikes me as someone with an axe to grind or an agenda of some kind. That doesn't mean, either, that he/she is wrong, but what it does make me want to do is look into the studies quoted myself, and see if I draw the same conclusions he does.
This was demonstrated recently in the Swedish study that came out a few weeks ago that said "Low-carb diets will kill you" or something along those lines. The study was published legitimately, and picked up by a lot of news outlets with a headline similar to the one I just quoted.
When you look at the study itself, you find that there data was based on a food survey done only once, at the beginning of the study, in 1991! This means that this particular study was asking people what they ate in 1991 (or, well, it asked them then) and then - without asking them about any changes to their diet - based an average of 15 years of observation on that data. In simple terms it means, if someone in 1991 said "I ate a lot of red meat" and then died 14 years later, the scientists were indicating a correlation (they themselves did not claim to have identified a *causal* relationship, and they also said, in the original paper, that one of the several shortcomings of their study was that they only did a food survey once, at the beginning of the study).
All this to say:
1) Learn what you can about interpreting/reading scientific studies.
2) Try to make an assessment if the source you are reading is reputable or not.
Does that help?
“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
While I find immense wisdom in & benefit from a uber-higher quality Atkins inspired Phase 1 induction, I believe the other aspects of Atkins are severely faulty & would no doubt lead to health problems in the long term - recommending sustained use of crappy meat & dairy quality products, & pushing their Atkins crappy soy oil, fakey synthetic ingredient laden bars & shakes.
"Science is not belief but the will to find out." ~ Anonymous
"Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart." ~ Gandhi
"The flogging will continue until morale improves." ~ Unknown
Using the MDA's Search button just now, there were "About 3,030 results" for "Atkins". There's TONS of info & intelligent discussion of Paleo vs PB vs Atkins deep with the archives of MDA
Don't get me wrong. I said that carbs are empty calories, not carbs sources. I love vegetables and fruits, as I mentioned in my previous post.
You make the example of a glass of coconut oil (and comparing it to a portion of pommes de terre à la provençale, c'mon that's unfair!!! ). Coconut oil are isolated fats, much like white sugar is isolated fast carbohydrates. In my opinion, coconut oil is not even food although it can be eaten. However, it still has more virtues than white sugar. I drink my coffee bitter, but put some spoons of coconut oil onto my thai chicken.
Let's speak about a nice "venetian style beef liver", an excellent source of proteins, fats and vitamins. That's worth comparing to a portion of baked potatoes.
Last edited by primal_alex; 07-19-2012 at 08:12 AM.