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Thread: Conflicting perspectives on the Paleo Era diet page

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    barco's Avatar
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    Conflicting perspectives on the Paleo Era diet

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    Hi, I have no doubt that the Primal diet works wonders for people and it is great to see so many people on here getting great results.

    I am struggling with the claim that we are best matching the diets of our ancestors as there is a lot of debate over this topic. Dr. Loren Cordain argues that meat was dominant in the Paleo Era while other anthropologists such as Dr. S. Boyd Eaton claim that Paleo diets were more balanced and in the 35% fat, 35% carbohydrate, and 30% protein range.

    Paleo Era fiber consumption has also been estimated at a minimum of 100g a day by some anthropologists and Dr. Robert Lustig. However, it seems fiber is rarely emphasized in the Primal diet and I know Mark has said it is overrated and we really do not need that much fiber.

    How should we make sense of this? Thanks for your thoughts.

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    I'll let triple PHD in exercise biochemistry, physiology, and nutrition Dr. Greg Ellis answer this one
    Dietary Fiber covered by Dr. Greg Ellis - YouTube
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    to me the paleo diet makes the most sense but, like you, i do sometimes wonder about the details. in terms of fibre, i dont actually know what sorts of plants would have been eaten but they would all have been more fiberous. Unless they were being used a seasonings, that means they would have been seasonal. IME game animals arent very fatty but then they used to eat the brains and there can be certain times of the year when some are fat. so there is also the issue of seasonal fat consumption. i dont see much about seafood as early man ate stacks of that but that would have to be relevant. the other thing which fascinates me is the whole sugar burner/fat burner thing with glucagonesis ( which i cant spell ) in between. did early man spend his whole time in ketosis? was he mainly in glucagonesis?

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    even lean-looking game animals have a fair amount of visceral fat surrounding their organs and grok ate EVERY bit of the critter, not just the loins.

    fiber consumption by our ancestors is simply conjecture. there is no way to know since we are at best finding only skeletal remains. projecting through a lens of modern-hunter-gatherers isn't much help since their environments have changed too.

    if a bunch of groks came home with a big beast and the whole clan had a big cook-out splurge, they pigged out on meat and that would easily kick them out of ketosis. if fresh berries and fruits were in-season that would have amped up their sugar consumption for weeks at a time.

    i don't know how much of this to worry about since i'm not prowling the savannah foraging and killing wild animals. what i buy at the store, or even from local farmers, is vastly different from what early man ate many thousands of years ago.

    i can only go by my n~1 and how my health improves so much each day.
    Last edited by noodletoy; 09-30-2012 at 01:08 PM.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    Ernest Hemingway

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    I think it's important to keep perspective on two big issues.

    1) Who are your ancestors? Depending on where these people lived, your ancestral diets would be different. Moreover, how pure is your ancestry? For a lot of us living in North America and formerly colonized countries, our heritage is quite mixed, even if you are not multiracial. So the diets of your ancestors are likely to be different, as well. Your ancestors from the Arctic circle likely consumed lots and lots of meat/fish and very little fiber. Your ancestors from the tropics likely consumed large amounts of plant matter, including lots of vegetable rather than animal fats, and had much more sugar and carbohydrates in their diets.

    2) What's really important is getting rid of the processed foods that came into our diet in the 20th century and onwards, everything else is just minutiae

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    Thats why it is easier to look to the data of modern day hunter/gatherer societies (well since they are all but wiped out we look at what we knew of them). They are the closest approximation to wild humans and what a paleo type diet would look like with todays available plant and animals. Seems that these people "on average" eat approximately 70% of their calories from hunted sources and 30% from gathered (in which gathered includes insects and small animals). 46 of 229 studied got OVER 85% of their calories from hunted animals and only 2 out of 229 got 76-85% from gathered foods (again includes small animals and insects).

    Seems to me we are best acclimated as a species to be meat heavy in our diets and supplement that diet for flavor and pleasure with nuts, seeds, berries, fruit, startchy tubers, and other vegetables as we see fit. When the hunt fails we eat other stuff type of thinking.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-30-2012 at 12:25 PM.

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    2) What's really important is getting rid of the processed foods that came into our diet in the 20th century and onwards, everything else is just minutiae
    i absolutely totally agree about this bit. But the bit that confuses me is i see dairy in paleo recipes and vague waffly mentions of a genetic variation in nordic peoples which enables us to digest dairy. and then in some writings that is the excuse used about grains if they are appropriately soaked and prepared. i like cream in my coffee but i do tend to fall more on the side of paleo without dairy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barco View Post
    Hi, I have no doubt that the Primal diet works wonders for people and it is great to see so many people on here getting great results.

    I am struggling with the claim that we are best matching the diets of our ancestors as there is a lot of debate over this topic. Dr. Loren Cordain argues that meat was dominant in the Paleo Era while other anthropologists such as Dr. S. Boyd Eaton claim that Paleo diets were more balanced and in the 35% fat, 35% carbohydrate, and 30% protein range.
    I think that either range is right.

    It's more important to get the right fats and carbohydrates than worry about macro ratios.

    Quote Originally Posted by barco View Post
    Paleo Era fiber consumption has also been estimated at a minimum of 100g a day by some anthropologists and Dr. Robert Lustig. However, it seems fiber is rarely emphasized in the Primal diet and I know Mark has said it is overrated and we really do not need that much fiber.

    How should we make sense of this? Thanks for your thoughts.
    There's nothing wrong with eating food that contains fibre.

    When people speak about fibre today, they mean things like bran (a byproduct of cereal manufacture with even less nutrition than regular cereals). We absoutely do not need bran fibre, since it tends to scrape and damage the micro-villi in the gut on it's way through.

    If you have a healthy gut flora, up to 80% of your bowel motion will be bacteria. But anti-biotics wipe out bacteria in our body, including all the good ones. So to 'solve' the problem of us having killed our gut bacteria, fibre is hyped today is because of the VOLUME it provides in the lower intestine, maintaining regular bowel motions.

    But that's the wrong solution. You should develop a healthy gut flora instead.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    Thats why it is easier to look to the data of modern day hunter/gatherer societies (well since they are all but wiped out we look at what we knew of them). They are the closest approximation to wild humans and what a paleo type diet would look like with todays available plant and animals. Seems that these people "on average" eat approximately 70% of their calories from hunted sources and 30% from gathered (in which gathered includes insects and small animals). 46 of 229 studied got OVER 85% of their calories from hunted animals and only 2 out of 229 got 76-85% from gathered foods (again includes small animals and insects).

    Seems to me we are best acclimated as a species to be meat heavy in our diets and supplement that diet for flavor and pleasure with nuts, seeds, berries, fruit, startchy tubers, and other vegetables as we see fit. When the hunt fails we eat other stuff type of thinking.
    "seems that", "on average", "46 out of 229 studied", blah blah blah, how is that post explaining anything? And from that you conclude that we acclimated to be meat heavy. Why not just say that we don't know. Bottom line, how is that anything other than anecdotal evidence?

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    i gave up grains a little over 3 years ago and my health improved dramatically and quickly. i went primal in january of this year, and i continue to fine-tune. i do great with grass-fed dairy, but cafo cheese or yogurt is a binge waiting to happen for me. learning curve and all that.

    i am italian/irish as far back as we can see so my peeps had plenty of access to dairy. grains too, but i suspect it's the modern dwarf wheat that did me in.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    Ernest Hemingway

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