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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 14, 2010

The New Evolution Diet: An Excerpt (plus Art De Vany Answers Your Questions)

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If you’ve been lurking in the Primal/Paleo community for any length of time, you already know who Art De Vany is. If not, here’s your chance to get a quick glimpse of the man who is billed as the grandfather of the modern Paleo movement. He’s been living this way for a quarter century, and his personal results speak to the long term benefits that come from emulating a hunter-gatherer existence. All of us who dabble in the Evolutionary realm owe Art a debt of gratitude for his early and continuous exploration of this lifestyle and philosophy that we all hold so dear. In fact, my own first few essays in the blogosphere were actually guest posts on Art’s site. And it was the enthusiastic response to those posts that helped convince me to try my own hand at this “blogging thing” back in 2006. Thanks, Art.

His long awaited book The New Evolution Diet goes on sale next week, and he has graciously provided an excerpt for you here today. I think you’ll find it thought-provoking on several levels (the math, the historical and personal perspectives, and especially that last line). While Art normally confines his comments and answers to his paid site (arthurdevany.com), he has agreed to lurk on MDA for a few days and answer as many of your questions in the comments section as he can. Make ‘em good, people. You can pre-order his book on Amazon right now (affiliate link), and it goes on sale officially December 21.

Chapter 7: The Metaphysics Behind the Diet

First came my boyhood passion for sports and strength. Next was my immersion in the world of nutritional science and metabolism because of my wife’s and son’s diabetes. The third and final element that connects all the dots and accounts for my fascination with the subject of this book: The ways in which the New Evolution Diet has intersected with my intellectual life.

A little background: A great deal of my work as an economist has been in the study of complex systems, such as how natural gas prices are determined by the marketplace. Not surprisingly, given that I had grown up in Southern California and taught at a university there, I eventually turned my attention to a notoriously murky, seemingly impossible-to-forecast industry: Hollywood.

Since its inception, the people running the motion picture business have tried to unlock the mystery of which decisions lead to financial success and which to failure. At some point, all the wisdom had been boiled down to this rueful admission by screenwriter William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything.” That’s exactly the kind of axiom that an economist cannot let stand untested. So in 1995 David Walls and I gathered box office revenue data on 300 Hollywood films and began to investigate what separated the winners from the losers.

This research produced a book, Hollywood Economics, and several scholarly papers, but the gist is this: Goldman was right. There is no way at the outset to plan a movie’s success. Neither the choice of stars or directors or writers nor the genre of movie nor the subject matter were found to make a reliable difference in how the films performed.

Meanwhile, my ad hoc study of health, nutrition, and fitness continued to deepen. I had already begun to discover that our ancestors’ lifestyle from 40,000 years ago could teach us how to live today. Now I was also beginning to perceive the full complexity of the systems and dynamics that determine whether or not we will be healthy.

At some point I realized that a human being is just another economic system. Indeed, your body contains an entire economy. There is the allocation of assets according to a hierarchy of needs. There are competing interests that sometimes struggle over resources and other times cooperate for the common good. There are surpluses. There are shortages. Like economies–like the movie industry–your body is a complex, decentralized system poised between chaos and order.

In the movie business, word-of-mouth reviews, more than anything, were what prompted fans to see one film instead of another. It is a powerful feedback loop made up of millions of small parts, each acting independently. This system has grown exponentially since the advent of the Internet. Where once millions of moviegoers chattered, now there are billions, perpetually in contact with one another, weighing in, arguing, linking, connecting and disconnecting, uploading and downloading.

It mimics perfectly what goes on inside our bodies. Billions of cells, all connected but working autonomously, with no central authority to guide them, take in information. react, then talk back and forth at the speed of electrons, each one responding in small ways that collectively add up to a powerful force.

“Information cascade” is an economics term to describe how even a small piece of knowledge can be amplified as it spreads from one decision maker to another. Your body is also controlled by cascades of information–your bloodstream is hit with a dose of carbohydrate, which is the signal for your pancreas to release insulin, which turns off fat burning and silences the signal from leptin, the hormone that would ordinarily tell your body that it has adequate reserves of energy and need not store any more.

Likewise, in the aging cascade, we lose metabolic fitness. And as a result, insulin rises and we grow more acidic, which further decreases metabolic health, and each event amplifies the momentum of what preceded it.

Hollywood wanted to believe that there was some stable, easy-to-predict dynamic that ruled the movie business. If there were, decisions could be made and investments taken with confidence in their outcome. Similarly, health experts use oversimplified analogies to predict how metabolism manages nutrition and weight. All you have to do is burn more fuel than you take in, we were instructed, and you will reliably lose weight. Burn precisely as much as you consume and you will maintain. Burn less and you’ll gain. Simple arithmetic that doesn’t add up.

We tend to simplify what otherwise seems overwhelmingly complicated. But as we now know, our metabolic function is infinitely complex. I found myself using concepts from other scientific disciplines to help me understand and explain the human body’s inner workings.

According to chaos theory, certain systems that seem to be random in fact are not–it’s just difficult for us to perceive, at the outset, all the subtle factors that set the course and determine the outcome. One landmark of chaos theory is the “butterfly effect.” This says that even a very small, unseen occurrence in a far-off place can have a large eventual impact–that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Hong Kong, the resulting breeze can trigger a cascade of atmospheric events and cause a hurricane in Brazil.

This can be used to explain many of our bodies’ inner workings. Here’s a simple one: If you go to the gym several hours after your last meal (so that you’re on a relatively empty stomach), your body will quickly burn through whatever glycogen is in your muscles and then move on to burning fat, which is the desirable state. But if on your way to the gym you have a sports drink, one with lots of carbs, you’ll need to burn off the glucose first. And depending on your workout, you might never get around to burning fat at all. Same exact exercise routine, very different outcomes, all because of your choice of pre-exercise beverage.

Another scientific concept, the power law, also comes up often in my discussions of health and fitness. It is based on the Pareto principle, named for Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. In essence, it describes the relationship between how common a factor is and how much influence it exerts. It says that the most unusual events will have the greatest impact. Pareto’s study determined that 80 percent of privately held land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population.

Similar power laws exist all around us. This relationship between low frequency and high impact is found again and again, in various fields of science, business, and elsewhere.

There is a power law of exercise, too: Your least frequent, most extreme exertions will have the greatest influence on your fitness. The peak moments of a workout count far more than the amount of time you spend working out. This is why a series of 40-yard sprints at full speed benefits you more than half an hour of jogging. It’s also the reason why lifting a weight heavy enough to make your heart pound and your muscles burn counts more than spending hours at the gym. When a work-out becomes an unvarying, monotonous routine, it loses its effectiveness.

My average output of energy per week may look fairly modest. But the stretches of relaxation are offset by two or three sessions of extremely intense activity, which do most to determine my well-being. Ancient hunter-gatherers spent much of their time doing little or nothing. And then, every so often, they took action that would exhaust any 21st-century gym rat. Overall, they burned twice as much energy as we do.

A few of the personal trainers at my gym laugh at “cardio queens,” people who waste hours on the treadmill and Stair-Master, trudging away but never really pushing themselves to intensity. But many more trainers recommend the unproductive exercise of “doing cardio” because they still subscribe to the energy-in, energy-out model of body weight. By doing the same cardio workout day after day, their bodies adapt to that exact level of energy demand but nothing greater. The internal message these people send is that they don’t need much fast-twitch muscle fiber, and so it atrophies, and as a result, they lose bone mass, too.

I use other terms and concepts that are not normally found in fitness books. Stochasticity, for instance, means “randomness” or “chance.” A living human leaves a “trail” of events and accomplishments that is so complex that it appears to be random. That means there is no model that can compress the information that is required to describe a lifetime. The appearance of randomness is an acknowledgment of the limits of our knowledge. So it is in markets and in life.

My particular form of engagement with the subject of health and fitness has even proven to have a metaphysical side. Each of us has what I call an ensemble of stochastic life paths–the choices we make. You make each choice in life based on your understanding of the possibility that it will take you where you want to be. But you don’t determine the outcome, only the probabilities. Each path leads to more choices: a cascade to echo all the other cascades that rule our lives. Choosing the path is the extent of your control–beyond that, it’s out of your hands. You choose, and then life rolls the dice.

For example, you can determine what you eat and drink and how you will exercise. But then your genes express themselves as they will. They are beyond your control. You can’t even completely determine your genes’ environment, since outside factors (such as air and water quality) and internal ones (like emotional stress) also have a say. I learned about the limits of control when caring for my first wife, Bonnie, through her terminal illness. I learned it again in my studies of the movie industry, and now in the course of my ongoing education in health.

It has even allowed me to recognize, in this thought, the Zen of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle: There is no failure, only feedback.

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160 Comments on "The New Evolution Diet: An Excerpt (plus Art De Vany Answers Your Questions)"

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Jonathan
Jonathan
5 years 9 months ago

Art can one follow your plan on a veg/vegan diet

Paleohund
5 years 9 months ago

It is not called the New Devolution Diet.

Sorry, can never turn down a jab at veganism.

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago
You could live AS a vegan, but you can never BE one. It is not in your genes or your metabolism to be other than a omnivorous carnivore because meat is where the dense nutrients and energy were trapped on the savanna. Anything else is merely a choice. I concede you may have reasons to make that choice, or give it up as many have done, most recently Angelina Jolie (she said it nearly killed her —I secretly get all my diet advice from the movie magazines). Cro Magnon homo sapiens were just about the wolf in nitrogen intake —… Read more »
Laurie D.
5 years 9 months ago

Looking forward to the book. I am accumulating quite a library of paleo/primal/evolutionary eating books! One thing I have to note on the above is that I live amongst the Old Order Amish in southern Pennsylvania and none of them are vegan. They raise sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, etc and eat plenty of them! Perhaps you are confusing them with the Seventh Day Adventists?

Kurt
Kurt
5 years 9 months ago

The Amish eat a lot of meat.

Rebecca Latham
5 years 9 months ago

I recently spent a day with the Amish and shared a meal with an Amish family. They do eat a lot of meat, but they also eat a lot of sugar and flour.

http://lowcarbbetterhealth.blogspot.com/2010/10/eating-high-carb-with-amish.html

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

Check out the link to ‘a vegan no more’ from Mark’s weekend link page on 28 November, a very candid and heartfelt essay on returning to an omnivore life from ‘hard core’ veganism which was wrecking her health.

Until February I was vegetarian and did manage to eat Primal but it is very limiting and all the best positives that have flowed from the dropping of grains and sugar came after returning to a full omnivore status.

Art
Art
5 years 9 months ago
I was vegan/vegetarian for 5 years, maybe longer. I also did the raw foods thing for a while. My wife bought “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and I started reading it, and it blew my mind. Then I found Mark’s book and decided to give it a try. I started on April 29 of this year. Right now I am in hiatus/limbo, whatever you want to call it (I’m starting again in January), but the point is…not only did I rediscover my lost love for meat, but I lost 25 pounds and have kept it off. It seems my body has… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 9 months ago
The Amish are vegans? That’s news to me. I found out the hard way I can’t do without preformed vitamin A. I tell people about this whenever I can because small preliminary-type studies seem to show that almost half the human population can’t make an effective enough conversion of beta carotene to live on that as a vitamin A source. Nobody seems to want to follow up the preliminaries and I’m unclear whether the researchers (both in the US and the UK) controlled for conditions such as hypothyroidism and diabetes, which both affect BC conversion–but my own experience is enough… Read more »
andre
andre
5 years 3 months ago

The conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A requires saturated fat. Because of scare tactics most people get way too little sat-fat. Just eat meat with the fat on and chicken with the skin and full fat dairy and vitamin A won’t be a problem.

pixel
pixel
5 years 9 months ago

In regards to walking the vegan tightrope, what do you think of the Dr Garams 80 / 10 /10 diet? Im also curious as to why everyone on it is so skinny. They seem otherwise healthy.

Are there hormonal dangers with having only 5-10% of your calories from fat?

Would there be any long term dangers associated with it?

James Wallace III
James Wallace III
5 years 8 months ago

Not to mention the possibility of anemia. The body gets iron from animal and plant sources, heme iron and non-heme iron respectively. However, the body can only use non-heme if it is also getting heme, i.e. animal. If you want to be healthy EAT a vegan~

Mike
Mike
5 years 9 months ago
Professor De Vany – One of the many techniques of yours that I’ve implemented with some success is the ‘hierarchical’ workout. While this is relatively straightforward to implement with weights (especially machines), many of us primal folk use bodyweight exercises. What are your thoughts on working out so as to fatigue the muscle fibers in ascending order, as with the hierarchical sets, using bodyweight exercises where one cannot add weight? Is this possible? I’ve had a hard time coming up with a satisfactory approach to this. Thank you for all of your contributions – it’s a real pleasure to be… Read more »
Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago
The hierarchical technique really works well. I think Mark does it too. I call it 15-8-4 because you do about 15 reps of an exercise with a lighter weight to drop out the slow twitch muscle fibers (ST) and then go right into a heavier set of 8 reps with a heavier weight and then onto a final set of 4 reps with a lot of weight. I sometimes finish this off with negatives, pushing the weight up with two hands or legs and lowering with one. You are moving up the muscle fiber hierarchy from ST to FTa and… Read more »
James M
James M
5 years 9 months ago

Art,

I always was curious regarding your recommendation to begin with slow-twitch (15 reps) and move up the hierarchy, rather than beginning with fast-twitch (4 reps) and dropping down in weight. What’s the basis for this preference?

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

I am working to drop out the ST, then the FTa, then kill the FTx fibers. That puts the max load on the FTx because they are not helped as much by the other fibers. You have to go quickly through the sequence though or the slower fibers will recover and assist the FTx.

James
James
5 years 9 months ago

De Vany is a beast. I will be buying this book. At just over four months of becoming primal, I have begun to heal a serious bout of Sebhorreic Dermatitis, am stronger than ever (doing Stronglifts 5 x 5 twice weekly, Yoga twice weekly), and hover around 6% body fat (I was already “in shape” before my transformation – ha!) Fifteen pounds just melted away, and I feel better than ever.

Great stuff.

CS
CS
5 years 9 months ago

That is the kind of material I love to read… a mix of scientific with anecdotal; theory with real. I’m buying that book.

Alison Golden
5 years 9 months ago

What an awesome article.

It feels like much more than a blog post. Many, many profound thoughts in this and much to think about.

I loved how you introduce us to systems theory, economics and Hollywood all in a post about primal living.

Thank you for writing. I will definitely be checking out your book.

Rebecca Latham
5 years 9 months ago

I think this is not a blog post, but a chapter from the actual book…

JD Moyer
5 years 9 months ago

Reading Art De Vany’s blog was my first introduction to the paleo (or paleo/Med) diet, and eventually led to huge improvements in my health. Thank you Art!

Jeff
Jeff
5 years 9 months ago

I finished it last nite. It is available right now from Kindle. Good book with excellent points. Encouraged me to think differently about a couple of things.

rob
rob
5 years 9 months ago

Good price for the book from Amazon, ordered mine for $18 including delivery charge.

Robert
5 years 9 months ago

I feel smarter just reading these paragraphs. I will pick this book up for sure. Love the Chaos Theory, I see in my mind Mr. De Vany doing his best “Jeff Goldblum” when reciting this chapter!
Thanks for introducing Mr. De Vany, I feel between him and Jack Lelanne, who have been doing this since the 50’s, we should have gotten this by now. How can any of this still not be mainstream? We still have a ways to go?

Lars1000
5 years 9 months ago

“There is no failure, only feedback.”.

I’m going to carry those words for the rest of my life. Thank you and definitely picking up the book!

pieter d
pieter d
5 years 9 months ago

Professor De Vany,

As I understand, the most extreme workouts will lead to the most effects on our health. But we still need the other, more gentle and playfull physical activity, don’t we?

Thanks

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Play is the essential human quality. That and sociability which is so evident here on this happy site Mark has created. Is there a more informative, enjoyable site out there? Only Jimmy Moore’s comes close.

My exercise is to give me the metabolic headroom to enjoy my play. You want to be able to make Max METS. You gain a sense of self-efficacy and fearlessness when you can move through life effortlessly. Max METS gives you that capacity, which we call physiologic capacity. It is a capacity for life.

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Yes, we must play and use all of our muscles in many patterns of movement.

Hannah
5 years 9 months ago
“There is a power law of exercise, too: Your least frequent, most extreme exertions will have the greatest influence on your fitness. The peak moments of a workout count far more than the amount of time you spend working out. This is why a series of 40-yard sprints at full speed benefits you more than half an hour of jogging.” I’m not sure why, but this description just made more sense to me than anything else I’ve read about sprinting! In my non-pregnant state I definitely got to my leanest point sprinting rather than jogging, but this just reinforced that… Read more »
Paleohund
5 years 9 months ago

Thank you for sharing a section of your book with us!

I do have one question for you: In the aforementioned 40-yard sprints, who would win in a race, you or Mark?

😉

Matt
Matt
5 years 9 months ago
Professor De Vany: Thank you for your pioneering work and your courage to question received wisdom. I have been following diet suggestions from your website and MDA for about a year, and my health has improved phenomenally. But I have a basic question about grains and the “New Evolution Diet.” Based on your writings and Mark’s I have virtually cut out grains from my diet. But as I’ve read more about glucose and insulin, I’ve learned that some fruits have glycemic loads as high as some grain products. For example, a banana and an apple together have a higher glycemic… Read more »
PartyLikeAGrokstar
PartyLikeAGrokstar
5 years 9 months ago

I realize you asked Art, but I figured I’d throw a gut reaction comment at you. That question will definitely depend on your level of intolerance (or lack thereof) to gluten.

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago

I too will give my own perspective.

Both cake and fruits do spike insulin. Their differnece is in nutrient density. Other than calories, grains have little to no nutrients while fruits do have some. Furthermore, grains contain anti-nutrients (toxins) whereas fruits generally have very little or none at all.

Whether or not the price of the glucose/insulin spike is worth the nutrients in the fruit(s) depends upon each individual and their goals.

If you are trying to avoid glucose/insulin spikes for whatever reason, it would be better to avoid both fruits and grains.

mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago

Let’s not forget that modern fruits themselves have been selectively bred to have toxic amounts of sweet-tasting fructose (a hunger-inducing leptin disruptor and, like alcool, a hepatoxin known to cause fatty liver disease and keep your liver from quickly processing glucose, leading to more prolonged hyperinsulinemia, when taken in excess)

Better stick to dark-coloured veggies, and small dark-coloured berries.

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

The deeper issue is gene expression and over activation of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway. It is not insulin per se but the chronic activation of that pathway through continuous eating and provoking it with grains. The grains induce a burst of insulin, particlarly as the are found primarily in highly-processed foods, and they also induce insulin resistance. The lectins provoke the immune system as they interfere with self-labeling of cells. Friend and foe become harder for the immune system to distinguish because the glycoproteins that mark them are disturbed.

So, grains are a double hit, at least.

Dana
Dana
5 years 9 months ago

I have heard that grains, and gluten grains in particular, can actually plug up insulin receptors and encourage or worsen insulin resistance. I’ve loved wheat my whole life, unfortunately, but if I were trying to avoid diabetes and still wanted to eat carbs, I’d eat fruit first.

Graham
Graham
5 years 9 months ago
I have a question for Art: In this excerpt, you mention “people buying into the energy-in/energy-out model of bodyweight”. Well, I’m one of those people. Total calories really does determine bodyfat levels from my experience; much more than the TYPE of calories. Don’t get me wrong, I’m primal to the core for a TON of reasons, but I definitely know people who are RIPPED and eat donuts fairly often! They just keep their calories low enough that it doesn’t matter. Granted, I’m sure they have to deal with insulin spikes much more often than I do or you do, and… Read more »
Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago

It’s a hormonal model of body weight/composition. Hormones are the biochemical interface between our environment (nutrition, activity, rest, stress) and our genetic expression.

tess
tess
5 years 9 months ago

i sure hope you come back as a woman in your next life — that calories-in/calories-out equation is the purest BS!

Rebecca Latham
5 years 9 months ago

“that calories-in/calories-out equation is the purest BS!”

Finally! The voice of reason!

Graham
Graham
5 years 9 months ago
I don’t understand. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m a physicist, and I always figured it came down to the first law of thermodynamics. Simply put: You cannot create or destroy energy, only transfer it to different forms. This means: too much energy taken in, and that excess gets stored as bodyfat. Too little, and your body goes after its fat stores for the deficit. What am I missing here? To be clear, again, I’m primal and feel best off a high fat, low carb diet. But this decision had little to do with bodyfat levels. I was lean… Read more »
Barb
Barb
5 years 9 months ago
What you are missing here is that hormones control how much energy is burned, how much energy is stored as fat, and to a great extent (in our food dense environment) how much energy is consumed. People who have problems with obesity may be starving internally because, due to their hormones (insulin, leptin, ghrelin, thyroid, estrogen, cortisol, etc) they cannot access the energy stored in their fat and are then driven to consume MORE. And if they knuckle down and refuse to eat MORE, then their metabolism just slows down so they can live on 1000 calories a day without… Read more »
CJ
CJ
5 years 9 months ago

“What am I missing?”

Poop, baby, POOP!

The human body is an open system and you didn’t account for calories leaving the body and going into the toilet.

In the case of fat and protein calories, your body sends everything it doesn’t immediately need down the toilet. Any excess calories go swirling down the bowl.

In the case of grain carbs, some of those excess calories get earmarked for fat storage before the remainder gets sent down the toilet.

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago
Graham, The first law is honored and unbroken. The problem you are missing is that body composition is much more complex than just the first law of thermodynamics alone. Take mean global temperature for example. If the sun radiates a constant amount of energy (which it does over the long term), then the earth should remain at a fairly constant mean temperature (yet there have been many fluctuations with ice ages and warmer periods throught earth history). However mean global temperature is more complex than just the first law of thermodynamics alone. Mean global temperature is also a function of… Read more »
mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago
The calories-in-calories-out concept most people refer to here comes from the current, backwards way of thinking in obesity research. From Gary Taubes’ own interviews and research of the litterature in “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, it appears modern obesity researchers know less than they did a few generations ago. The current way of thinking is to completely dismiss hormones and see fat cells as mindless fat storage tanks. What Taubes (and other dissenting researchers) say when they talk about a calorie not always being a calorie is that our hormones and our brain has an ability to control how much fat… Read more »
james
james
4 years 4 months ago

Sorry to necro an old post, but…

What you are missing is that we are not talking about energy in a thermodynamic system. We are talking about chemicals which may be burned for fuel(energy) or used for other purposes… And about chemical processes which cause fuel to be stored rather than burned even when there is a short-fall in energy.

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago
The balance equation is just an energy counting identity. It has no behavior behind it. Energy intake and expenditure are not independant; they influence one another through many feedback loops. There are many rest points in the energy dynamic, all of which are places where you will be in net balance, but at most of them you will be fat or skinny. The right poiint of balance to hit (it is really an attractor, not a single point but a group of points to which the dynamics are drawn) is a the correct body composition. At the healthy body comp,… Read more »
Graham
Graham
5 years 9 months ago

Thanks for the replies all. I truly enjoyed the response here.

I guess there are people with healthy metabolisms where the occasional insulin spike is no big deal, but I do notice that fat people go crazy for sugar…while thin people typically don’t.

The ‘context of calories’, I suppose? Like, if I have fruit(or sugar) as a second or third meal in a day, I feel a bigger insulin response than if I eat fruit after a 24 hour fast. Context! I get it now.

Dana
Dana
5 years 9 months ago

More specifically, fat people who eat high-carb diets are constantly craving sugar because their energy’s perpetually locked up and their lean tissue’s screaming for it.

But you see the same with thin people. It’s not really about the weight. Thin people can have hyperinsulinemia too–and in my not-so-humble, it’s more dangerous for them because at least fat people have a visual warning that something is amiss, while thin people think they have a free pass to behave in unhealthy ways since “I’m not gaining weight, after all.”

Sonagi
Sonagi
5 years 9 months ago
Dana wrote: “But you see the same with thin people. It’s not really about the weight. Thin people can have hyperinsulinemia too–and in my not-so-humble, it’s more dangerous for them because at least fat people have a visual warning that something is amiss, while thin people think they have a free pass to behave in unhealthy ways since ‘I’m not gaining weight, after all.'” Fat-thin people have less fat overall than overweight and obese people, so they have less hormonal disruption from metabolically active fat cells. Very overweight or obese people may or may not realize the severity of the… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 9 months ago
It’s not an absolute of either you burn the calories or you store them. Any substance you can set on fire, by definition, has a caloric value. But some of the substances you eat become part of your lean mass, rather than being burned or stored as fat. Actually, from what I understand having read some of Taubes, any energy-producing stuff you eat gets converted to fatty acids and goes straight to the adipose tissue. Whether it comes back out between meals, as it should, depends on how high your insulin is habitually throughout the day. If it sticks around,… Read more »
Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago
I really like this line of comments. SAT, subcutaneous adipose tissue, is protective at some level against the metabolic damage of VAT and ectopic fat (fat in the wrong places, like organ). Once past that margin (non-linearity again) SAT also becomes part of the problem. The immune system faces a lot of dying fat cells that it has to mop up and inflammation results. Inflammation induces insulin resistance. There are no evolved protections against accumulating fat, since that would not have had selective value. Iimaging studies show macrophage infiltration into SAT. More inflammation results. More insulin resistance follows. Then more… Read more »
Kishore
Kishore
5 years 9 months ago

It’s great to see Art’s work being published finally. As a paid member at arthurdevany.com, I can vouch for all the great info available there.

John
John
5 years 9 months ago

Great excerpt for your site, Mark. Definitely putting this book on my Amazon wishlist. The thing I don’t like about Art’s site however is that you have to be a member to get all the good stuff.

Patrick
Patrick
5 years 9 months ago
Dear Professor De Vany, I understand your advocacy of sporadic, intense, randomized weight-training/resistance experiences (power law). In following this model, though, how do you account for gains? Let’s say you want to increase strength gains. Is a randomized approach and progressive overload mutually exclusive? If not, how would you recommend keeping track of progress in strength, speed, or any other measurable output? For instance, I have followed Crossfit main site wods for two years and found gains through their randomized, intense workouts. Now, I follow a more structured program that focuses on my goals of strength gains (Wendler 5 3… Read more »
Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

The whole problem is one of challenge and adaptation. Power law variation, which mimics the movement of wild animals and children, presents a fractal pattern which maximizes adaptation. There must be enough complexity to challenge adaptation but not so much that it exceeds adaptive capacity.

The best gains of muscle mass and strength come from contracting a stretched muscle or lengthening a contracted one. I call this stretch-flex training. Example: if you do curls but never stretch the muscle to full range, it becomes smaller.

Daniel
5 years 9 months ago

Add me to the list of people who never thought of looking at evolution for health and fitness answers untill I found Art Devanny and his evolutionary fitness.

My question.

How do you aproach the basic problems of exercise program dessing? For example..

How do you pick exercises? I remember you use to talk about an X look to a physique that you sought after.

How do you manipulate volume and intensity? Is it by feel?

What tipe of fitness/performance goals correlate positively with good health?

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

‘There is no failure, only feedback’

Yes, that is the perfect description of the place I’ve found having completed my first year Primal.

Hearing the feedback, from everything, is so important and life-changing.

Will be ordering the book 🙂 thanks for sharing.

Andrea Reina
Andrea Reina
5 years 9 months ago
Graham, In my experience it’s really not only calories-in/calories-out. Personally, my bodyweight has hovered between 125 and 130 for at least the last 5 years, despite fairly large swings in my caloric intake over the years. Is it likely that I’m eating exactly my maintenance calories? I don’t think so, especially when you factor the number of people I know with similar metabolisms. A point Art (and Mark) make is that plenty depends on how your genes express themselves. I’m guessing my body adjusts its metabolism to match my caloric intake, or I actually dump the excess glucose (is that… Read more »
Rebecca Latham
5 years 9 months ago

“I’m guessing my body adjusts its metabolism to match my caloric intake”

I know that mine does that! Eating a wide range of calories and still maintaining, or gaining, has been my experience. In the face of Adaptive Thermogenesis or Homeostasis, what do you suggest, Art?

Lowering calories or increasing activity just seems to cause my metabolism to slow down even further…

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Homeostasis is dead.

Ryan Denner
5 years 9 months ago

Finally, someone with a lot credentials has said something I have come totally to believe in: “We tend to simplify what otherwise seems overwhelmingly complicated.”

I think I need to this book. I like how he has a total macro & insightful view on everything.

Mark
Mark
5 years 9 months ago

Professor De Vany

Thanks for all the info you have provided over the years. I look forward to reading your book.

Melissa bring ups some good questions in an early review (http://huntgatherlove.com/content/two-philosophies). I have similar questions as well base on reading your blog over the years. Any clarity you can provide around your thinking on fat/saturated fat would be much appreciated!

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago
Dr. De Vany, I look forward to reading your book. I very much relate to the scientific concepts and terminology that you used in the excerpt above. I’m also very much in tune with your underlying message to live life with an awareness of our stochastic network of choices, paths, and possibilities. As many of us develop this awareness and adopt a lifestyle more suitable to our genome, do you think it is possible to significantly slow or stop the process of aging as Dr. Michael Rose has hypothesized (http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-to-achieve-biological-immortality-naturally)? Basically, Dr. Rose seems to suggest that as we age,… Read more »
Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

I have posted on Michael Rose’s theory (he and I were colleagues at UCI, though we did not meet).

I will open that post to everyone. Go to my site and have a look at Biological Immortality.

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago
Thank you for opening up that post for us. Myself, I noticed a somewhat rapid degeneration of my gene expression in my early 30’s as I became ill/injured more frequently and put on weight with great difficulty taking it back off. My ancestral genetics are European and Amerind leaning more towards Amerind. I suspect I should have transitioned to a more paleolithic lifestyle in my late 20’s instead of my late 40’s. So I guess I shorted myself out of about 20 good years of life, but as you said in your post, “… who knew any of the things… Read more »
primalman
primalman
5 years 9 months ago

I have been following Art for years. He has significantly changed my life and for that, I am very thankful.

Kay Keith
Kay Keith
5 years 9 months ago

Art: Are you aware of any studies and/or commentary on how the Evolutionary/Paleo ways can prevent Prostate Cancer? All I have found, so far is a vegetarian approach. HELP. . .

Kaylean

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

My brother had prostate cancer. I don’t. There is a large difference in our diets. Having a good immune system and being low in inflammation stress gives you a good headstart to preventing cancer. The Paleo/Primal/NED diet is close to optimal in those respects.

They may yet find that many cancers are viral in orgin. An enlarged prostate may create ischemia in the tissues which can promote inflammation and DNA damage.

mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago
Beat prostate cancer the same way you beat all cancers: go into ketosis, stop eating carbs. Stop eating anything remotely inflammatory. Fast at the very least, just before chemo. Starve the bastards, and allow your immune system to fight without the major compromising effects of elevated blood sugar. Cancer cells can only proliferate by eating sugar. 70% on your immune system’s ability to eat pathogen gets seriously compromised when you eat too much sugar. As for prevention… well pretty much the same as above except you don’t absolutely have to be in ketosis… (not that eating plant anti-oxidants really helps… Read more »
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[…] zile, noua sa carte, The new evolution Diet, va fi disponibila pe Amazon. Pana imi ajunge, am citit primul extras pe blogul lui Sisson. In momentul de fata, paleo a devenit main stream, iar asta inseamna alterarea […]

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[…] Mark Sisson features a passage from Art’s book. He says this: At some point I realized that a human being is […]

SuperMike
SuperMike
5 years 9 months ago

Art and I have had a great relationship for over three years now. He reads, dissects, and simplifies all the deep, complicated, scientific papers out there and I reap the rewards.

cathyx
cathyx
5 years 9 months ago

I have a question for Mark:

Are there any differences between yours and Art’s diet plans?

Tam Warren
Tam Warren
5 years 9 months ago

Mark explained the difference in a blog a few year ago.
Here’s the link, very interesting read:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/whats-the-difference-between-primal-and-paleo/

Dave
Dave
5 years 9 months ago

Art,

What are you thoughts on the best eating patterns for folks with Hashimoto’s Tyroiditis and Psoriasis? I understand they are both autoimmune disorders, but don’t know if they have similar food reactions. Any particular food that one MUST avoid to help manage these conditions? I’ve had psoriasis for 40 years (since age 2) and been hypothyroid (diagnosed) for 12 years. Thanks.

mm
mm
5 years 9 months ago

With autoimmune, you should be more concerned about what not to eat…

Ginger
Ginger
5 years 9 months ago

Thank you for bringing this new book to our attention. I will definitely be ordering.

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 9 months ago

Professor De Vany,
What can one do to ease into exercising? I know some people who are very interested in the theories presented here, but feel discouraged due to already damaged joints- arthritis, hypermobile hip, damaged spinal discs, etc. How can I show them that they can still benefit from the exercises in your and Mark’s book?

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 9 months ago

I meant “yours and Mark’s books.”

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago
Often it is found that damage is in the image not in the action. That is, something like disk degeneration is read from an MRI but the patient is asymptomatic. Meaning it doesn’t hurt or impair their function. So, clearly, it is possible to function even when there is damage. I think the main issue is to dampen the inflammation, which the diet will do to a great extent. Next, exercise will lessen inflammation too. You need good blood flow into the damaged areas to bring anti-inflammatory cytokines and nutrition there. Damaged tissue locks up and goes into anaerobic metabolism,… Read more »
Zora
Zora
5 years 9 months ago

How much damage done by the modern American diet over 20 years can be undone, realistically?

Gordo
Gordo
5 years 9 months ago

If running marathons is so bad for us, how in the heck did we evolve the ability to do it so well?

Rebecca Latham
5 years 9 months ago

I don’t understand your point. Is it that if we CAN do something, it means that it is healthy to do it?

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

Exactly Rebecca, I commented on a friend’s blog just the other day – he was boasting about riding 191 miles in training that week mostly commuting in minus 15 … my comment

‘just because we can, doesn’t mean we should’

Rebecca Latham
5 years 9 months ago

Yes. If you can push yourself to run a long distance, and it causes hormonal imbalances and other disturbances, that means that you are not designed nor “evolved” to do it. Not to mention the injuries that are caused by running. I heard this question is often asked of runners “Are you running right now or are you injured?”

Gordo
Gordo
5 years 9 months ago

Nature is efficient. We don’t evolve abilities that are not needed and used often. Why then, are we such incredible endurance athletes compared to the rest of the animal kingdom?

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago
Our “endurance” relative to other mammals is due to our bipedalism and the fact that we are for the most part hairless. Moving on two legs is more energy “efficient” than moving on four and it also minimizes the surface area exposed to solar radiation. Evaporative sweating from hairless skin is much more “efficient” for staying cool than panting with your tongue. So perhaps nature is not so efficient since most mammals walk on all fours and have hair over their bodies making humans more of an outlier oddity in the animal kingdom. These evolutionary characteristics allowed us to hunt… Read more »
Gordo
Gordo
5 years 9 months ago

@Asturain –

“Moving on two legs is more energy “efficient” than moving on four”

Wrong.

http://barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/Nature2004_EnduranceRunningandtheEvolutionofHomo.pdf

“Even today, hunter gatherers rarely run down their prey for more than an hour or 8 to 10 miles, NOT 26.”

Wrong again.

http://www.mattmetzgar.com/matt_metzgar/files/persistence_hunting.pdf

“In the paleolithic, human prey animals were much larger than they are today”

Wrong again. This was true for only a short period in our evolution. Wanna go 0 for 4?

Gordo

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago

Nah.

By all means feel free to Darwinize yourself Gordo. Why would I care?

Gordo
Gordo
5 years 9 months ago

“Why would I care?”

Isn’t the whole point that whatever exercise/diet patterns we evolved are the healthiest for us? Isn’t that why we’re here?

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago

Beautiful.

I have always been a fan of what academicians call “interdisciplinary approaches” to an idea. Prof. DeVany, you’re a master. Thank you for bringing this level of insight and creativity to a subject that can’t afford to be reduced to sound bytes.

Rita
Rita
5 years 9 months ago
Dr. De Vany, My daughter was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes one year ago and you mention that your wife and son were similarly diagnosed. Did your whole family adopt this lifestyle and if so, how did it affect their health in relation to their condition? How did you propose this change to your family if you did? I have been following the Paleolithic diet for about 2 months, since I read Mark’s book and have found that the carbohydrates from more original sources (i.e. apples) as opposed to the same amount of carbs from grains have a drastically different effect… Read more »
Eric
Eric
5 years 9 months ago

Rita,
I applaud your efforts to help your daughter with a Paleo approach to nutrition. My 20 years with the disease have taught me many things, but only recently did I figure out nutrition. I’m certain Dr. DeVany can speak much more eloquently about the matter, but if you’d like a brief read, check out one of my articles, here: http://asweetlife.org/a-sweet-life-staff/featured/eating-like-a-caveman-an-interview-with-eric-devine/8926/

I wish you and your daughter all the best with her care.

Eric

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

I discuss type-1 diabetes in my book. We decided to let the liver supply glucose to the brain rather than eating carbs and then trying to “cover” it with insulin. Safety requires that you leave a margin of carb lest the insulin trap it all in the body and deny it to the brain. This is the “energy on demand” concept which our bodies are evolved to do. Grains induce insulin resistance so does cheese and most dairy because of the IGF (bovine form).

Scott
Scott
5 years 9 months ago

Looking forward to reading this.

shoreline
shoreline
5 years 9 months ago

Where does dairy fit into fueling your body. Milk good? bad? full fat or low? Yoghurt full fat greek or low fat greek. Cream, okay occasionally or consume til satisfied.
Thankyou

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Dairy is allergenic and produces a huge insulin hit.

Stay away.

Steve Reeves and other body builders knew this.

gian hodgson
gian hodgson
5 years 9 months ago
Dr. De Vany, I have been a serious tennis player for most my life (juniors, played college, etc), which means practicing 3-4 hours a day + gym 6 days a week. When I went on the evolutionary diet I found that I was loosing too much weight. I had gone from being 193 to being around 180 lbs (im 6’3 and was already skinny). Now that I’m not playing tennis seriously I have no trouble following the evolutionary diet, but I’m not sure what to tell fellow athletes who are still going through brutal practices. Do you think the evolutionary… Read more »
Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Ivan Lendl did not become great until he shed some of his body fat. Power to weight ratio is the key in sport.

Get strong and eat Paleo/NED and let it happen.

Ned Rain
Ned Rain
5 years 9 months ago

Dr. DeVany,

Did you read his questions?

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Yes, I did read them. Most tennis players are too fat because they carb it up. gran was probably a bit skinny fat as we say at my site. When people lose weight they think they are losing muscle, but they usually are not. They are dropping fat and decreasing the fat stored inside their muscles and organs.

I am saying that gran should get strong and not worry about sports specific nutrition.

Rob
Rob
5 years 9 months ago

Art, I love your analogy of the human body to an economic system!

How many pull-ups can you do?

Do you consider rope-climbing to be a good workout?

How do you feel about medications for conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes?

Finally, is dairy better left in the cow or does it deserve a place on our plate (or glass). And full-fat or not?

Thanks so much for your time, I know you are a busy guy!

Rob

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

Art

The biggest effect from becoming Primal for me has been the cessation of bipolar symptoms to the extent I would not now consider myself a sufferer.

Do you have any evidence amongst your EFers of a similar effect?

My Paternal grandmother was a diagnosed and medicated manic depressive(1930s onwards) and was also a type II diabetic (her mother was a type I) and died prematurely in her 50s from heart disease through poorly controlled diabetes. I was a gestational (only) diabetic.

I’m convinced there is a link.

Thanks

Kelda

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

The insulin pathway is a culprit in depression and, maybe, in bipolar. It somehow increases the take up of serotonin in the neurons, if I recall correctly, or maybe its dopamin. I have a post linking to an article about the insulin pathway and mental health. Very new stuff.

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

Thank you, that’s very interesting, I have been searching and searching the net, the nearest I’ve come is to finding a ‘bipolar’ diet and low and behold it’s pretty much the Primal one keeping carbs low to control insulin.

I must surf around your site for the link.

Kelda

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 9 months ago
Admittedly, I have not done any research into depression and even less into bipolar disorders, but I have come across its association with serotonin deficiency. Serotonin deficiency may have a link to insulin or B vitamins or even thyroid dysregulation. Tryptophan is an amino acid precursor to serotonin (and also melatonin) and yet this amino acid is the most nutritionally rare of all the essential amino acids in our diet. Furthermore, tryptophan must compete with a handful of other larger amino acids to get ferried across the blood brain barrier in order to create serotonin. Insulin is a storage hormone… Read more »
Kelda
5 years 9 months ago
Austrian – check out Art’s site, I’ve just signed up and there are a number of excellent links to what is ‘cutting edge’ research into the pathways/effects of insulin, and they are massive, more complicated and still being discovered. They are also now seeing links between insulin resistance/malfunction and mood disorders ie many diabetics also have mood disorders and those with mood disorders are often pre-diabetic. The thrust of much research seems to be finding a magic pill (which I find frustrating) that for me is the tail wagging the dog. The more I read and the more I understand… Read more »
Soup Sandwich
Soup Sandwich
5 years 9 months ago

I absolutely cannot believe that I spent the last 4 years at UC Irvine and never once took a class or even talked to Professor De Vany. Not to mention, I just so happened to have majored in economics from UCI. I would have loved to have humored the topic with him.

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

I left UCI in 2003 when I retired at 65. My classes got too large. It was time to move to other things.

kim
5 years 9 months ago

Hi Art

Thank you for the excerpt, from your new book, became so engrossed that I can’t help but buy it now, to find out more.

Thanks

Kim

Doug
5 years 9 months ago

That ninja can write, count me in as a future reader of this tome. Nicely done.

Tab
Tab
5 years 9 months ago

“Likewise, in the aging cascade, we lose metabolic fitness. And as a result, insulin rises and we grow more acidic, which further decreases metabolic health, and each event amplifies the momentum of what preceded it.” Interested in this qoute Art. I’ve been doing Paleo for a couple years now but have but a water filter that makes alkaline water. Was curious of your thoughts on alkaline water and it’s effects on reducing acidity in the body.

Great book can’t wait to buy it!!

Tab

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

Alkaline water may be fine. Alkaline foods such as vegetables are too. I take a bit of potassium bicarbonate now and then.

Samantha Moore
Samantha Moore
5 years 9 months ago

Thank you for “legitimizing” complexity- really looking forward to reading your book.

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

There are lots of references in the endnotes to complexity and fitness. Fractal physiology is a growing field that takes up that theme.

Alhaddadin
Alhaddadin
5 years 9 months ago

In that case, definitely count me in! I read a post not too long ago on John Durant’s blog that alluded to your “fractal theory of fitness” (if I may call it that) and I’ve been transfixed ever since.

Really looking forward to it.

salim
salim
5 years 9 months ago

Dr. De Vany,
what do you think making the workout more skill based and gainig strength thru those skill requiring moves. Such as instead of doing pushup, climbing a tree up and down. Instead too many jumps on a box, jumping from one target to another without loosing balance (from rock to rock). Is this kind of approach more usefull or do we also have to do both; just strength workouts and also skill development ones ?

Art De Vany
5 years 9 months ago

To some extent skill and strength are separate modalities. I think it is slightly better to train them separately.

salim
salim
5 years 9 months ago
thkns for the repsonse. i ordered the book. cant wait to read 🙂 . you also mentioned the strength to weight ratio. how do you balance not increasing the weight by gaining muscle ? i did not too much fat ans 99% paleo when i first heard about paleo. when i started eating more protein & fat, i gained more muscle and i am heavier now. For me the best way to understand is rock climbing or climbing in general, it shows you if you are gaining more weight (even it is muscle) than strength. is there a practical approach… Read more »
The Primal Palette
5 years 9 months ago

Adding this to our Amazon.com wish list!

JB
JB
5 years 9 months ago

Can you comment on tubers, specifically potatoes? In the context of a complete meal (and its associated GI), can potatoes complement your diet? Any issues other than the glycemic spike (which is mitigated with a complete meal high in fat and protein)? Having trouble eliminating all grains, rice, and potatoes.

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