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Thread: Conflicting perspectives on the Paleo Era diet

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  1. #1
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    Conflicting perspectives on the Paleo Era diet

    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.

  2. #2
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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
    Paleo since November 2011 - Carnivore since June 2012
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    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread65846.html
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    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread65400.html
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    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...tml#post955444

  3. #3
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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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    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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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyH View Post
    "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?
    The study comes from Ethnographic Atlas by Dr. George P. Murdock...if you take issue with the data why don't you be more specific as to where it is incorrect based on your knowledge of the work that has been done? In the process maybe you can even come to some of your own conclusions. Are you upset that you have nothing to contribute, or that in the end nothing is absolutely certain? I thought that we all (everyone competent enough to discuss things logically that is) agreed that we were working within a framework of theories rather than set universal laws.

    Oh, and since the OP brought up Cordains ratios it should be noted that he got said ratios by studying this very Atlas.....so at least the information is relevant to the discussion at hand. The actual debate has been that Cordain actually under represents fat in his computations of hunted animals thus skewing his ratios higher in protein and lower in fat. Plus since small game is included under "gathered" vegetation maybe also overrepresented in the overall analysis.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-30-2012 at 01:53 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    The study comes from Ethnographic Atlas by Dr. George P. Murdock...if you take issue with the data why don't you be more specific as to where it is incorrect based on your knowledge of the work that has been done? In the process maybe you can even come to some of your own conclusions. Are you upset that you have nothing to contribute, or that in the end nothing is absolutely certain? I thought that we all (everyone competent enough to discuss things logically that is) agreed that we were working within a framework of theories rather than set universal laws.

    Oh, and since the OP brought up Cordains ratios it should be noted that he got said ratios by studying this very Atlas.....so at least the information is relevant to the discussion at hand. The actual debate has been that Cordain actually under represents fat in his computations of hunted animals thus skewing his ratios higher in protein and lower in fat. Plus since small game is included under "gathered" vegetation maybe also overrepresented in the overall analysis.
    In your post you stated your own analysis and ratios. You didn't quote any Atlas.
    Last edited by KathyH; 09-30-2012 at 01:58 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyH View Post
    "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?
    Erm, that post seems to be entirely factual. Neckhammer is not misleading you by overstating his assumptions and presenting his opinions as facts.

    Perhaps you would prefer to read posts where opinions are asserted as facts (hi Choco! ). Would that provide the concrete evidence you are looking for?
    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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    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.
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