Weekend Link Love – Edition 198

Because ninjas never sat down to type WordPress blogs.

Speaking of ninjas, let Al Kavadlo show you how to do a kip up.

Should we kill animals that kill humans?

A recent study suggests that “dense acellular carbohydrates” (in other words, grains) were found to promote inflammatory intestinal microbiota, as opposed to carbohydrates from “cellular tubers, leaves, and fruits.” Sound familiar to anyone else?

The Human Food Project quizzed a group of 37 microbiologists about their thoughts on diet and gut flora, including what a diet that promotes a healthy microbiome would look like. The results are pleasantly unsurprising.

New research shows that traditionally-shod runners who go barefoot for the first time immediately improve their running economy and adopt a shorter stride length.

All the more reason to support pastured (or at least organic) poultry: antibiotic use in chickens has been linked to bladder infections in humans.

Did you know that the Paleo diet is uncivilized, unhealthy, and untrue? That we’re just all a bunch of savage bloodthirsty heathens? Yeah, apparently it’s true. Seriously, though: a $50 gift certificate to PrimalBlueprint.com to the person who comes up with the best comeback or rebuttal in today’s comment section. The Worker Bees and I will judge. Contest ends at midnight PDT, July 17 – two days from now.

Co-evolution, schmo-evolution; pit bulls are natural born killers. Right?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (July 15 – July 21)

Comment of the Week

Oh boy, you’re putting your foot in it again, Mark! ;o) *says the grandma who is younger than you and who is also interested in the science of it*

– Yup, I shoulda known, Janet and Estelle. My apologies to all the grandmas out there.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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265 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 198”

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  1. I just read a bit from Forks and Knives and I stopped reading at the “artery clogging” bit about this WOE. My husband,who had a heart atack from high cholesterol and plaque, just shocked his cardiologist with completely normal arteries. No plaque AT ALL!!
    So, that argument does not hold water.

    1. i too could not get past the “the hunter-gatherer diet is REPULSIVE”

      … but’skuse me, my grilled kidneys with tripe and garlic sauce are being dished up… (hey honey! don’t forget the liver paste and oxblood gravy!!)


      1. and BTW – if you file-up and temper the down-side of your fork, you can cut through some knarly tendons and gristle and pretty much forgo the knife–

      2. Haha. Love it. I love how, like the ‘repulsive’ comment, the entire article is a series of quotes taken horrendously out of context. It is honestly a joke. I was so mad I don’t have a facebook any more, because I would to comment and rip that thing apart piece by piece. I am sitting here fuming with my copy of The Paleo Diet sitting next to me.

      3. I tried to reply to this article:

        This is what I wrote, but it got promptly deleted and I am blocked from further replies. Sigh. That’s what I get for trying to help some fellow former vegans out I suppose. If anything I was probably too conciliatory in an attempt not to alienate other vegans. That said, my last paragraph was not too nice I guess.

        peaceonplate, I eat a plant heavy paleo diet and ama a former vegan. Unfortunately my celiac disease has caused so mach intestinal damage that I could no longer tolerate any grains and developed a soyy allergy. Letting my vegan diet go was a very emotional and difficult process and I still only eat meat that comes from sustainably farmed and so-called ‘cruelty free’ sources. I do realize that this is not always fool proof. But, I make a reasonable effort to make sure the animals I eat are not tortured or slowly murdered or skinned alive. That hyperbole is a bit ridiculous in regards to the paleo diet, since it basically tells people to avoid factory farmed meat (the places that torture in various forms does tend to to occur). To say that people have ‘no issue’ with it is simply unfair. I wish I could eat only veggies but unfortunately after trying it, I cannot.

        I reject this article, and here is why.

        “The Paleo Diet: The Newest Promoter of Eating the Planet and its Inhabitants to Death”
        1)The paleo diet does not forbid ALL starches. They merely eschew the ones with extremely high glycemic indices, which can create problems with insulin regulation. For this reason, for example, white potatoes are avoided and sweet potatoes, a starchy veggie, are not. Grains are avoided not because they are a starch but because of their inflammatory properties.
        2)Dental records and bones from our paleolithic forefathers/mothers do indicate they were in better health that their neolithic counterparts, and on this point no counter evidence is provided
        3)Yes, I TOTALLY agree that civilization as we know it might not have taken place without the agricultural revolution. But if I can enjoy the benefits of the agricultural revolution while not actually eating grains because of my unique health issues, I don’t see why I shouldn’t do that. Furthermore, the agricultural revolution also led to humanity’s ability to mass murder via nuclear weapons, highly processed foods that are making us sicker than grains or meat in the their pure forms, AND indeed, animal cruelty in industrialized factory farms.

        “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”
        1)Quote from this article: “I know of no large populations of primates who have been strict vegans (ate no animal foods at all)”. Sounds like plant-heavy paleo to me.
        2)Paleo diets, as Dr. Cordain himself will say, CAN be plant based. Mine is!
        3)Sexism: really? This has nothing to do with nutrition and sexism has persisted far past the agricultural revolution. It is invalid and utterly absurd, especially in a discussion about nutrition. Even if the post agri revolution world had had no sexism at all and our primal relatives were the most sexist people ever it wouldn’t tell us a thing about nutrition.
        4)The article listed does provide compelling evidence that SOME of our paleolithic foreparents ate an extremely plant heavy diet (95% in the article about tree bark). However, we are talking about a couple groups in one geographic area and apparently, they did eat meat. Once again, plant based paleo.
        5)Please do not confusing “cooking and preparing plant foods” as NOT paleo. I do that for my family every night.
        6) “People like to hear good news about their bad habits”. Trust me, giving up cereal grains was anything but good news for me. My bad habits of sauteed kale with wild caught salmon, or my giant salad for lunch, was a difficult adjustment after rice pasta with creamy tofu sauce. I certainly did not see the lifetime without white potatoes and cake as ‘good news about my bad habits’.

        GRANTED: I will totally agree that it is possible paleolithic people ate some cereal grains. However, anyone with common sense can probably imagine that those would be a far cry from the pesticide laden, genetically modified, overprocessed grains of today that are undoubtedly fueling the ever growing number of celiac cases.

        “The Hunter Gatherer Diet is Repulsive”
        The author uses a totally out of context quote by Dr. Cordain about how certain paleo foods might at first glace SEEM repulsive to somehow try to prove the entire diet is. This is utterly illogical and obviously was not his point any more than a vegan author saying “at first, a vegan diet might seem unnatural” could be used to say “HEY A VEGAN DIET IS UNNATURAL”.

        “The Paleo Diet is Nutritional Nightmare”
        Ah. At least we actually talk about nutrition. I will concede that the vegan way of life is a FANTASTIC diet for some- espeicially those with heart disease! I am not a fan of extremism on either side. However, for people with an autoimmune disease, like myself, the paleo diet is nothing short of miraculous.
        1)You compared the inuits TO ANOTHER HUNTER GATHERER GROUP. One that eats, apparently, plant based paleo! You did not, interestingly, compare them to vegan Americans. Plant based paleo is still paleo. So all you’re really saying is that animal fat heavy paleo isn’t as good for as you as plant based paleo, a fact that I along with many in the paleo community would wholeheartedly agree with you and does nothing to disprove paleo.
        2)Dr. Cordain’s use of the example of ‘rabbit starvation’ as somehow negating his protein recommendations (vastly lower than those who had ‘rabbit starvation’ and presumably would have starved one way or another) is absurd. Obviously no human could subsist only off of rabbit meat and Dr. Cordain is simply stating the obvious just like a vegan author might say subsisting off of only almonds and nothing else might also lead to health problems which would certainly not negate vegansism.
        3)I reject any study that links Atkins, which allows conventional meats, chemical false sweeteners, and other hazards to a paleo diet. Sorry.

        “…contradicts the obvious”
        1)People have lived on starches… for 13 thousand years? Not quite 2.5 million.
        2)As I said earlier the agricultural revolution certainly led to great accomplishments among humanity. However that does not say anything either way about the nutritional benefit of paleo vs. vegetarianism. Alexander the Great ate grains. So did Hitler. So did Steve Jobs. So did Mother Theresa. So did Stalin. Your point?
        3)Utilizing the Blue Zones to try to prove a point about starch is ridiculous. Once again you are lumping ‘plant based’ and ‘unprocessed’ into ‘starches’. A huge logical fallacy when discussing this topic! Furthermore, most of those people in the blue zones eat SOME meat. (With the exception of the 7th Day Adventists, of course). So this just indicates that emphasizing unprocessed foods is good and that people should eat plenty of plants, something most paleo gurus would agree with.

        I have read books by Dr. Ornish and I have read the China Study. I have read “Skinny Bitch” and “Eating Animals” and “Quantum Wellness” and just about every vegan book out there- I was vegan for years before giving it up because of my autoimmune issues. NONE of them say “starch based” and ALL of them say “plant based”. Your constant references to starch in an extremely transparent effort to sell your book are utterly misleading and untrue.

        “Ecological Disaster”
        This might be true. However, the SAD diet has also led to ecological disaster. I don’t think the entire population of the world is going to adopt paleo anytime soon, so I will eat it while I can now, turn my back on all types of factory farming, buy local, and when the world does have an ecological disaster it will probably be due to factory farming and pollution far before it will happen due to sustainable meats and local organic veggies. Factory farming and pollution, by the way, are both by products of the agricultural revolution.

        It is true that civilization as we know it would not exist without the agricultural revolution. However, this has led to both good and bad and like I said, has no place in the discussion about nutritional merits.

        I believe this article was totally misleading while I have a tremendous amount of respect for T. Colin Campbell, Dean Ornish, and other vegetarian spokespeople, I am utterly disgusted at the lack of research and totally deceptive techniques of this article. I am disappointed that the author used the works of reputable researchers like Dr. Campbell to try to prove his own point about a so called “starch based” diet. Shame on you.

        You write a book called “The Starch Solution” and then criticize someone for giving ‘good news about bad habits’? Yes, white potatoes and insulin spikes are the road to good health indeed. (?) My guess is that that title is meant to entice insulin crazy sugar and carb addicted people whereas the book will ACTUALLY say what T.Colin Campbell and Dean Ornish already have- it is a plant based diet; not merely the starchy plants, that lead to better health. But, props for putting a potato on the cover. I’m sure a lot of people will get some wonderful false hope about that.

        1. What a great response. Thank you. I was a vegetarian for years, then “McDougall” starch based vegan last year. I lost weight when I just ate oatmeal for breakfast and salads for lunch and dinner. When I added starches at every meal as prescribed by the McD plan, my blood sugars begin to rise. My a1c jumped from low 7s to mid 9s in five months. Not a healthy diet for diabetes, or at least for me. Now I’m doing a mostly plant based low carb diet with small amounts of free range eggs, turkey and fish. I just started the plan this past week, so will check results in two months.

    2. Carry on reading for even more misinformation. It is a hoot!

      Apparently it “takes 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to produce the beef used to make one juicy hamburger.”

      Yes, that one hamburger took up to 18000 gallons of water to be produced! How much would a whole cow take?

    3. UM, you guys- apparently “The Starch Solution” is an actual book?! I have been sitting here laughing aloud because it looks like a joke. The Starch Solution. Are you kidding.

      “The Starch Solution is an easy and powerful way to achieve the very best of health.” – Dr. Neal Barnard

      “You’ll be doing the happy dance when you read this book! Hallelujah, and bring on the pasta!” – Kathy Freston

      Well, I have gotten my laugh in for the week. De-evolution at its best. Take some krill oil, peeps.

      1. hey – there is a whole weight-loss diet called “Losing Weight with Bread”

        yes – really , no sh*t

        1. Yeah. And according to this jerk paleo is trying to give people good news that leads to unhealthiness by allowing the keep their bad habits? Right. I’m going to go eat some wonder bread with mashed potatos now. It’s OK though. I put transfat laden margerine in them. No animals had to endure the trauma of being milked to make ghee. So much healthier than my wild caught salmon.

    4. Primal Living…bringing you civilization for 2 million years … and counting…

  2. The “dense acellular carbohydrates” link makes fats sound bad: “[…]with fat able to effect a “double hit” by increasing systemic absorption of lipopolysaccharide.” I like the idea of looking at food from the POV of “Is it made of cells.” Are there fats made of cells?

    1. (Obviously animals have fat cells…I was thinking more about coconut and olive oils).

    2. I think the point is that high fat in the presence of high dense acellular carb intake is really bad.

      I believe this is why you can have a scientific study concluding that fat is bad, when in reality, it’s the other stuff that is causing the problems.

        1. Probably not. Cream by itself raises LPS by ~40%. But from Peter’s post what would seems to happen is LPS increases, the immune system’s activity increases, this lowers the gut bacteria until the immune system and gut bacteria strike an equilibrium.

          The problem may arise if this negative feedback system no longer works in the contexts above where the immune system is overwhelmed.

          Thanks for the question. I may add this to the post

      1. Steven,

        I tried to comment on your article, but couldn’t. Your discussion is obesity pathology is fantastic and I love an article that requires a table of contents and citations into the 90’s!

  3. Best response would be to send John McDougall, M.D. a dinner invitation, seeing how he thinks we should be practicing cannibalism in order to be authentic.

    About killing man eaters, yes, we should. And the edible ones, like the alligator, should go on the menu. And people who feed wild animals should be beaten about the head and neck. I grew up in Florida and it was pretty common knowledge that alligators tended to be fairly timid unless cornered or defending their nest. They become a problem when they lose their fear of humans, often due to ignorant people feeding them.

    1. I live in Florida and I work on a beef ranch. I can honestly say that I drive by hundreds of the healthiest cows I’ve ever seen on my way in, and I’ve seen more than one alligator, too!

      1. I don’t see why we have the right to kill any animal that happens to kill us. I don’t see why we think we have the right and domaniance over every animal. If an animal killed an entire village and threatened more people, yes, it should be put down. But overall, what gives us the right to control how Mother Nature works?

        1. Problem is, people have already destroyed how mother nature works in these animals. These animals that have to be killed have stopped being afraid of humans and started associating us with food. They didn’t just happen to kill a human out of the blue. And humans have always tried to change how mother nature works, sometimes even succeeding, such as selective breeding, which you can thank for dogs, cows, domestic horses and assorted other animals we live with. And yes, this often involved killing.

        2. We have a similar issue here in Australia at the moment. There has been an increase in shark attacks in Western Australia, so the kneejerk reaction is to allow culling of sharks (even though White Pointers are a protected species). In reality, it is probably more likely a side effect of overfishing to feed the ever-increasing human population…the sharks are simply looking for something to eat.
          If we enter their territory, I believe we have to expect that there is a certain level of risk involved. When they start coming onto land looking for food in my territory, they should expect the same!

        3. As a Western Australian scuba diver I agree completely with Amanda. If I choose to be in the shark’s territory I accept the risk. Part of being a sentient and intelligent human being is accepting that there is a food chain and we won’t always be at the top.

          Great whites are, and should remain, a protected species.

      2. hey,
        where in fla is the ranch? I live in palm beach county. good beef there? always lookin for supplie!

        1. They don’t sell direct, unfortunately. They wholesale it. Dinner on the hoof!

  4. Holy Crap Mark! That website is currently being torn apart. Really amazing how strong the paleo community is. Awesome job everyone!

    1. My big contribution was to make sure everyone realizes that if you have an M.D. behind you’re name that you’re infallible, and that a “lay person” couldn’t possibly be intelligent enough to learn science and apply it, since learning is confined to the halls of medical school and teaching hospitals.

      Something new I learned from all the discussion… You must have earned “respect” in order to be correct – that seems to be these people’s most important criteria when judging scientific evidence.

      1. That’s what it ends up being all about.

        Mostly I’m pursuing a medical education (osteopathic) because no one will listen to someone with a minor in biochemistry, but they will listen to a DO (provided they know what a DO is…)

        1. …. my question is – how do you put up with all that DO-DO you have to listen to in med school….? 😉

      2. Medical doctors are practitioners, not experts. One of the public’s problems is its regard for doctors as experts, particularly when said doctors don’t actuallybdo research or even read literature.

        1. I’m working on a chemistry minor at the moment, and I’m trying to find out if there is a possibility for a DO/PhD program at the schools I’m most interested in.

          Here’s a link for you for the American Physician Scientist Association: http://www.physicianscientists.org/

          And I’d deal with it first in the same way I dealt with the DO-DO in undergrad: question all the things. Second, I feel that having physicians who are also scientists is important, but you can’t change it by pointing fingers and talking about how it needs to change. I have the opportunity to be the change, as kitschy as that sounds, so I’m doing it.

      3. Um thank you. I love how anyone who disagrees with this lifestyle decides to suddenly take the position (or maybe they had it all along) that listening to your body is a terrible idea.

    2. I’m glad that site is being torn apart after vegsource took down my totally civil comments that literally tore that article apart section by section. I at least take satisfaction in knowing they had to go to the trouble of reading at least part of it to delete it. Sadly though, the misinformation is still up there. Some people really don’t care about the truth and just want to pat themselves on the back for how ‘kind’ they are, even though another article on that site actually makes fun of the way paleo people look. (“Paleo Authors are Fat” or something like that. Vegans are so much kinder than us! Personal attacks and accusations of murder and deleted truths are a great rebuttal to actual evidence though, right?)

  5. “If You Repeat a Lie Often Enough, It becomes the Truth”
    We were eating egg substitutes, margarine, vegetable oil, skim milk, whole grain everything, lean meat without bones and washing it all down with 8 glasses of water each day and at least an hour of cardio.
    If PRIMAL is a lie, I am happy to live the rest for my days in blissful ignorance munching on my chicken bones and playing in the sun. GROK RULES!

  6. It’s pretty clear the Dr. McDougall is writing staunchly from the bastion of conventional wisdom. While I assume his medical training was from a time well before the Primal Blueprint was on the scene, his unwavering bias and barking out of well-established “facts” shows to me at least he is simply reacting, instead of learning.
    Modern health professionals must keep up with the latest stuff – it’s called “Continuing Education” for a reason. It is imperative that our health providers keep up with the times and evolve to meet the new standard of health.
    My advice go McDougall would be to do his duty as a medical doctor, health provider, and scientist and read the studies and objectively assess the information. If he has quibbles with the studies, then the best way to refute the Primal diet would be pick apart the studies.
    He either is so totally opposed on principle to learning anything that he refuses to acknowledge that there might be even a partial bit of truth, or he does not yet want to admit that perhaps the basis of his nutritional knowledge has been erroneous.

    1. Even the current nutritional education is provided by the same entities who provide CW: The ADA, the AHA, the USDA. Unless a doctor has a background in biochemistry, it’s just too easy to stop at the words “artery-clogging saturated fats” and accept it without trying to learn the physiological and chemical mechanism for that claim.

    2. I totally agree.

      I can say that there is a glimmer of hope in the future. My friends and acquaintances who are currently studying are actually learning the right way, and I often discuss with them how refreshing it is to see the “conventional wisdom” slowly washing away.

  7. Dr. McDougall’s piece is nothing other than a fine example of the fact that even scientists are capable of religious zealotry. Cherry picking scientific evidence, using a poor understanding of the diet he’s attacking, and using opinion as a persuasive element, Dr. McDougall makes it clear that in his mind, we cannot “all get along”.

    Thanks but no thanks, Doc. I’ll continue to be a free thinking human striving to live the best life for me, and I encourage others to do likewise. I may be biased with a general distrust of doctors (because of the institutionalized and unfortunate brainwashing their education and training resembles) but I have an even greater distrust of emotionally charged propaganda.

    May you find peace and peace of mind somewhere in the middle ground.

  8. That Ninja Standing Desk is a really clever design. I’m tempted to get one even though I don’t have a laptop or a door to hang one on! Clever ad campaign, too.

    After watching Al’s Kip Up tutorial, my husband wants me to make that my new goal, just because it looks so cool. (By the way, I’ve also heard it called the Chinese Get Up.)

  9. My father had a Pit Bull babysitter growing up in the 40’s. I loved to hear stories of Tippy. My dad was a small kid, and small kids get picked on. Not my dad. His faithful friend by his side kept the bullies at bay. She was with the family 16 years, and was a kind, patient dog, unless one was going to cause harm to her family. Then she would only have to curl her lip back and give a low growl and people respected that. A great article! Thank you for posting it.

  10. In the good Doctor’s defense, when I tried to do a low fat, vegetarian diet for a month I was in a pretty foul mood too.

    1. Enough said, there. For every hundred calories I counted, one more person out there should be glad I didn’t lose my mind and become the starving, mindless cannibal this man thinks I am now.

    2. i wish there was a way to measure the dysfunctional, aberrant logic and violent, abusive tendencies caused by CW –

      (as if we need a study to prove that one…)

  11. Here is what saddens/angers me: Paleo followers and vegetarian followers probably have the same mindset, that is, to prevent/reverse disease and eat the best diet possible to obtain optimal health. While I am Primal, I don’t shy away from articles promoting the vegetarian lifestyle because I want to obtain ALL the facts. Unfortunately, the article for Forks Over Knives was heavily biased, sensationalist, and overwhelmingly uncited.

    Let’s just go from the top shall we?
    1) Ketosis is a state of illness which promotes weight loss because people become to sick to eat: False. Operating of course on the premise that Hunter-Gatherers preferentially chose animal foods, they were in ketosis frequently which necessarily makes it a natural human state. Which means that ketosis does NOT equal illness. If anyone eats less while in ketosis it is because fat and protein are highly satiating and because the body is accessing its own fat for energy and this is a natural state, not an illness.
    2)Sexism promoting the consumption of meat over a “natural,starch based diet” is absurd. No one is going to willingly eat a diet (starch based) that makes them feel crappy because hunting is “sexy”. Men hunted, women gathered and BOTH groups were needed to feed the tribe. Also, women in general tend to be the ones caring for the children – would you take your toddler on a hunt? Honestly. Bottom line: animals were nutritious and made people feel good so they were willing to go out of their way to get them. I don’t have a source for this besides common sense and bits and pieces gathered over the year so feel free to be skeptical.
    3) The food supply for hunter-gatherers was different depending on local which resulted in a wide range of numbers as far as macronutrient composition of diet goes. https://digital.library.txstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10877/4061/fulltext.pdf The first column on page 33 shows it best. Fat was AS LOW AS 28% or as HIGH AS 58%, carbs as low as 22% or as high as 40% and protein as low as 19% or as high as 35%. This suggests that humans survive on a range of macronutrient compositions but in the paleo-sphere we tend to think that the IDEAL way to do it is higher fat and protein and lower carb with our carb sources being extremely nutrient dense and anti-nutrient (lectin, phytate) free (or else very low).
    4) “The Hunter-Gatherer Diet is Repulsive” Really? This is pure opinion, hardly worth a response.
    5) “Nutritional Nightmare” Okay, I will try to make this short and sweet: high carb is the TRUE nutritional nightmare! High carb diets wreak havoc on the hormonal systems of the body, most notably insulin. When insulin gets out of whack, everything gets out of whack and you end up with atherosclerotic plaques, AGEs, excess body fat, non alcoholic fatty liver, high triglycerides and small,dense LDLs, lowered HDL…etc etc. Excess carbs often make even moderate amounts of fat look bad on paper which is why I prefer to spend a decent amount of time in ketosis or, when I do eat carbs, they come from fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds. Also dark chocolate because that stuff is awesome!
    6) “Most people have lived on starch based diets” where the evidence is being gleamed from remnants of grain products on mortar and pestle relics or making assumptions. The Italian and Greek diets, for example, aren’t necessarily “low-animal” – they eat their fair share of lamb/fish/seafood/etc. They just also happen to enjoy their fruits, vegetables, and very MODERATE amounts of grain products. They don’t sit down to a heaping bowl of pasta each night and expect to remain slim and healthy.
    Lastly, evidence that I’ve seen from Sisson and others suggests that our high fat, high protein diets are what truly allowed us to become Homo sapien as we know it, not starch.
    I didn’t hit every point because I didn’t want to repeat the article author’s mistake and talk about things which I don’t know much of.

    Great Link Love mark!
    “Kip” it up, man!

  12. The majority of the greatest crossfit athletes in the world live by a strict paleo diet. Dr. McDougall believes that ketosis is an “illness” brought forth by low-carb/high-fat diet such as eating Paleo, thus achieving “illness” seems like the greatest benefit to reaching my personal health goals.

    “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth” – Which is evident by our country’s adherence to the FDA’s ever changing food pyramid and the American obesity epidemic

    “The Hunter-Gatherer Diet is Repulsive” – To a bunch of overweight Americans suffering from high blood pressure, CVD, and diabetes. You gotta try it, it’s fun! (I recently added sardines to my breakfast omelettes and I am loving it).

    “The Paleo-Diet is a nutritional nightmare” – I had my blood tested a few months ago from living strict paleo:
    Triglycerides – 40
    HDL – 66
    LDL – 89
    …and my roommate thinks all the bacon I eat is going to kill me, hah!

    “Most people have lived on starch based diets” – Most people are overweight.

    “Widespread Adoption of the Paleo Diet Would Soon Become an Ecological Disaster” – See Mark’s posts about feeding the world on Primal.

    “Civilizations Could Not Have Thrived on the Paleo Diet” – I actually agree with Dr. McDougall about this statement. However, this does not mean that we as individuals cannot thrive by living Primal given that the foundation of our civilization has already been established.

    To be honest, I’m not looking for a $50 gift certificate, but I did need to get some of that off my chest. SAD friends, so I’m sure you can understand.

  13. Part of the issue is people thinking that Paleo or Primal is a set of hard and fast rules and we all sacrifice babies to the paleo Gods…

    I have never come across a more informed group of people than those who eat primal.

    1. I agree with you, I’ve seen people lose weight and improve their health via diet changes in different ways. However, all of them had the common thread of drastic reduction or elimination of sugars and starches. The mistake I see a lot of times coming out of the Vegetarian/Vegan camp is this across the board condemnation of the main aspects of the S.A.D. without breaking it down into its parts and evaluating each. Plus because a lot of people adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for moral or ethical reasons that injects an emotional component into it that you just don’t find in other dietary schools of thought.

      1. I have to disagree, because I’ve seen both. I don’t ever go to paleohacks, for example, because the moment a person suggests anything that isn’t 100% pure paleo by-the-book, the personal, emotive attacks on that person start… exactly the same way the Everything-in-Moderation crowd attacts vegans and paleo eaters alike.

        It bothers me that food becomes so divisive. It’s supposed to bring us together, not tear us apart. Instead of finding common ground in pursuing real, healthy food, it’s an all-out turf war for cyberspace.

        1. I haven’t spent much time there, but let’s try to fix it! The last thing we need is paleo/primal being another religion!

  14. “Grandparents, women, and children did the gathering, while men hunted. Glory always goes to the hunters.”

    Clearly John McDougall never met Julie Foucher.

    1. Please see this photo: http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/polar/images/lc_inuithunt_sm.jpg

      Taken about 1910 by explorer & photographer Frank E. Kleinschmidt, it shows Inuit women leaving on a hunt. Note 2 of the women are Inuit; the third, the tallest, is Kleinschmidt’s wife, who the Inuit women taught to spearfish on the ice, as shown here. While Inuit men usually did the hunting/fishing, it was not unknown for women to hunt/fish together on occasion. This photo is in the Collection of the Library of Congress.

    2. Yeah, I found that really offensive. Even a woman with a baby on her hip can snare fowl or net fish. The hypocrisy of crying Sexism! while depicting women as helpless requires a special kind of asshat.

      1. Awesome comment em. Right on. Completely agree. When I went through school in Anthropology it was drilled into my head that we see all kinds of live ways in the cultural melange that is humanity… Women have and do participate in all ranges of activities in part because cultures are different but also because women are different. Some can’t wait to have a baby on their hip while others hunger for the spear. Just like men, just like anyone.


      2. AMEN. Also- it is utterly illogical and has nothing to do with NUTRITION. Even if H/G societies were sexist, so was EVERYONE post agri revolution and arguably more so- which doesn’t freaking matter because it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ISSUE. Asshat indeed.

  15. I can’t even begin to rebut this article.

    Firstly, there are dozens of ways to approach a “paleo” diet. You are referencing one book by one man.

    “Research published in the journal Nature (on June 27, 2012) reports that almost the entire diet of our very early human ancestors, dating from 2 million years ago, consisted of leaves, fruits, wood, and bark—a diet similar to modern day chimpanzees.”

    Exactly. Prehumans. No human posesses the enzymatic activity or the necessary gut bacteria to digest cellulose, the main component of your precious Nature Valley Carboard & Granola bars. In fact, only ruminants can digest and use it. That would be “meat,” to you. In a lot of societies in the past and even today where people don’t have toothbrushes, using fibrous plant material as a scraper to clean one’s teeth is a common practice.
    As to grain-eating, we didn’t experience bone diseases, short stature, or tooth decay until after adopting it as a food source, and the modern incarnation of most grains are nowhere near the grains that early cultures enjoyed. We also do not prepare them for consumption as they did, and therein lie just a few of the problems with modern grain consumption.

    “In addition to the usual beef, veal, pork, chicken, and fish, a Paleo follower is required to eat; alligator, bear, kangaroo, deer, rattlesnake, and wild boar are also on the menu. ”

    Veal is not a requirement of the Paleo diet. Alligator is not a requirement of the paleo diet. However, wild game and alligator are delicious. Your argument is invalid.

    “This approach forbids starches, including all grains, legumes, and potatoes.”

    Again, you reference only one book written by a doctor of anthropology. Consult medically-verified and biochemically sound literature on the topic, and you will note that only grain and legume-based starches are forbidden, and it is for their antinutritive and inflammatory properties. Starchy vegetables like tubers, squashes, sweet potatoes, and flours made from them (like tapioca, for example) are non-inflammatory sources of carbohydrates that are more nutritious than grains and legumes, and these are permitted as long as they don’t comprise the bulk of calories.

    “No mention is made by Paleo experts about the frequent and habitual practices of nutritional cannibalism by hunter-gather societies.”

    That’s ONE example of cannibalism. Just one, and yes, it was a practice in some cultures to eat the heart or brain of one’s enemy in order to take his courage or intelligence into oneself. The Paleo diet does not require cannibalism, but it would certainly help mitigate the damage of a burgeoning population. You evidently lack the ability to do proper research however, so assume that your brain is safe from us. For now.

    “By nature, the Paleo Diet is based on artery-clogging saturated fats and cholesterol, and bone-damaging, acidic proteins from animal foods.”

    Saturated fats do not clog arteries. Fat doesn’t jump directly from your mouth to your bloodstream. Cholesterol is needed for proper cell repair and turnover, and is transported by LDL particles to repair vascular tissues. Plaque buildup happens when the vascular tissues, like arterial linings, get damaged (one cause of which is high blood sugar, which comes from a diet high in any kind of carbohydrate) and the LDL particles get oxidized and trapped within the lining.
    Saturated fats have also been shown to be protective against heart disease. Here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7830030, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22291727, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15690318.

    “…a diet very high in animal protein foods would cause a person to become seriously ill with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually death from protein toxicity… For most people the dietary ceiling for protein is 200 to 300 grams a day or about 30 to 40 percent of the normal daily calorie intake. The Paleo Diet is as high as 35% protein. ”

    For a 2000 calorie diet, the current USDA recommendation (which shouldn’t be recommending dietary guidelines, since they exist to protect agricultural interests, not health) 200-300g of protein is 40-60% of dietary intake, not 30-40%. Invest in a calculator, please.

    A low-carbohydrate diet, say, 150 g or fewer per day of carbohydrate, consists of 30% of carbohydrate. If we assume approximately 35% protein, that means that the remaining 35% of the diet is comprised of fat. Fat is the body’s preferred source of energy, and when provided with sufficient fat, the body will not attempt to metabolize protein for energy and uses it instead for protein synthesis and other cellular needs.

    “Rabbit starvation” occurs when there is no fat or carbohydrate available fo energy, and protein is metabolized instead, resulting in nitrogenous by-products and other nasty things. In short, eat nothing but protein and you’ll poison your cells because they have nothing else to fuel themselves with. Eat fat with your protein and they will be fueled by fat, and use protein to build new cells, hormones, and enzymes.

    “Eating animal-derived foods causes our most common diseases for many well-established reasons, including the indisputable facts that they contain no dietary fiber, are filthy with disease-causing microbes (including mad cow prions, and E. coli and salmonella bacteria), and contain the highest levels of poisonous environmental chemicals found in the food chain.”

    Metabolic syndrome is caused by inflammation and insulin resistance, which both result from a diet high in carbohydrate. More carbohydrate means higher blood sugar (including those lovely “complex” carbs… they might take longer to turn to glucose, but that’s what they all do), and high blood sugar demands more insulin. If the insulin can’t keep up with the onslaught, insulin resistance results, causing perpetually high blood sugar. High blood sugar is also a cause of inflammation, and I refer you back to the topic of plaque buildup. Some studies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22291727, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11078235, http://www.bmj.com/content/2/6145/1109.abstract, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10868993, http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/PIIS0899900710002893/fulltext#sec18

    You’ll note that the explosion in metabolic disease only came about AFTER we began eating large quantities of grains, processed foods, and industrial vegetable oils. As of now, our meat consumption is higher than it was in the 1950s, but our consumption of grain products and corn-sweetened processed foods have increased by 45% and 39%, respectively. Given that there is more than one variable here, you cannot pin down meat consumption as THE cause of metabolic disease. (http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf)

    As to the disease-causing microbes, safe food handling is key. Additionally, the “poisonous environmental chemicals” come from the treatment of food crops with chemical pesticides, fungicides, et al. Feed an animal corn that’s been packed with toxins and the toxins bioaccumulate in its fat. The long solution to this would be to cease monocropping to make room for greater organic/environmentally friendlier production of fruits and vegetables (which only comprise about 5% of our cropland thanks to corn and grain subsidies) and sustainable livestock rearing. I’ll continue the logistics of that later.
    Since many of us can only use conventionally produced animal foods, we trim the fat to remove the bulk of this toxicity.

    I will also remind you that we aren’t eating a diet made of 60% animal protein. By volume, we’re eating mostly plant foods.

    “The most effective diets ever used to cure people of common day illnesses, like coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, arthritis, and obesity minimize animal foods and require people eat the bulk of their calories from starches, including grains, legumes, and potatoes (foods forbidden to Paleo eaters).”

    Inflammation and high blood sugar are the results of high-carbohydrate diets and the causes of these metabolic disorders. The people “cured” by these diets are also heavily medicated with statins, artificial insulin, anti-inflammatory medications, and hypertension medications. Additionally, the high-starch diet recommended to diabetics is fairly new. In the past, diabetics were cautioned to limit carbohydrate intake to REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR. Even my father-in-law has been told to limit his carbohydrates to control his TII Diabetes. Increasing the blood sugar of diabetics is a ridiculous notion. More studies: http://www.mdconsult.com/das/citation/body/172519925-2/jorg=journal&source=MI&sp=12416117&sid=0/N/12416117/1.html?issn=, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16157837?dopt=Abstract , http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/18/1/10.abstract, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16043740?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=18

    “Widespread Adoption of the Paleo Diet Would Soon Become an Ecological Disaster”

    You distinctly failed to mention the amount of water used to produce the massive quantities of largely inedible grain crops here in the US, which comprises the majority of cropland. Since most of it is not edible by humans, it is fed to ruminants in CAFOs or sent to be chemically processed to create food additives like hydrolyzed wheat protein, soybean oil, corn oil, and HFCS, which all demand huge quantities of water and toxic, volatile solvents to create. This also creates the massive price gap between fresh fruits and vegetables and cheap, processed foods. CAFOs also multiply the demand for water by requiring not only the water that the animals drink, but also the vast quantities needed to produce their feed.

    Using beef as an example, since I work on a beef ranch, grass-fed beef production does not require as much water as grain production or grain-fed beef production. Nor does it demand the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, since ruminants will consume whatever grass is available to them in the region they are being raised in, and they fertilize the grass themselves. Mechanical dragging of the fields is sufficient. Lack of confinement reduces the incidence of disease and thus the use of antibiotics, thereby limiting veterinary interference to basic vaccines that protect the animals from vector-borne diseases.

    As for not being able to feed the world this way, eating a diet high in fat (remember we’re eating more fat calories than protein calories, here!) means eating less food. Because we are satisfied and because we are not dependent on carbohydrates for energy, paleo eaters do not eat five or six meals a day to control their blood sugar like high carbohydrate diets demand. Ultimately we eat a smaller quantity of food throughout the day.

    “Choose 10 close friends and family members. Which nine should die so that the Paleo people can have their uncivilized way?”

    Unless you do not get the news underneath your rock, you would notice that we are already approaching an unsustainable global population, and food production is not the only source of the squeeze on resources.The subject of population decrease demands a look at more than just a culling of humanity. There are societal and cultural factors that have created the population boom, such as preferences for large families or lack of the knowledge or resources to prevent them. So what’s the solution to maintaining both the earth AND our health?

    1.) Waste reduction in the first world. There is no reason for the amount of industrial and consumer waste we produce. The cloth bag and reusable container movements are a start.
    2.) Energy solutions in the first world. Infrastructure creates the difficulty in having clean, cooperative methods of transportation and energy usage, which would in turn reduce waste.
    3.) Food as food, not politics. In countries like ours, we grow money, not food, and the emphasis is on selling commodity crops and not promoting the health of the people. This has been an ongoing battle since monocropping was subsidized in the US, and complacency is costing us our health.
    4.) Population control in the first and third world. Dozens of factors create the large populations of people globally, including lack of education, lack of resources, and cultural expectations. By turning priorities away from traditionally large families to sustainable communities, we could halt the population explosion.
    5.) Reallocation. The resources being spent on keeping sick monocrops alive and processing the massive excess into the foods that are poisoning us must be reallocated to raising real food. Instead of engineering processes that make it cheaper and easier to eat otherwise inedible grain products, interdependent systems must be built that make real food production as efficient and sustainable as possible, something that environmental engineers are working on as we speak.
    6.) Tradition. Returning to traditional food preparation makes the entire scheme of real food more sustainable. Consumption of organs and using bones to make soups instead of just lean cuts of meat ensures that more food is provided by each animal and none is wasted. Our grandmothers did it and were far healthier than we are. I repeat again that the Paleo diet is mostly fat, not mostly protein, so meat consumption would be higher, but not nearly as high as your alarmism suggests. I’ll also repeat that less food is being consumed overall because of the high satiety. A topic The Paleo Diet (the book) does not address is the preparation of certain foods to reduce their antinutritive and inflammatory properties. Properly prepared by soaking or sprouting, some legumes and non-gluten containing grains can be eaten without incurring negative effects on the gut or on blood sugar. Does this mean that the Paleo Diet per Dr. Cordain’s book wouldn’t be followed to the T? Yes, it does. But these suggestions do not adulterate the basic premise of following a paleolithic diet, which is that modern, processed foods are injurious to ourselves and to the planet, and returning to whole, real food brings health back to the world.

    1. Kristina, you did what I wanted to but was too lazy to. Well said.

    2. she’s got this one! nice! shooting down all the prehuman evidence for why we should be eating plant based! so much misdirection in this guys article!

  16. Civilization is in the eye of the beholder.

    To me, uncivilized is a way of eating that enslaves humanity to a diet comprised of the commodities of industrial agriculture for the benefit of big business.

    To me, uncivilized is a diet that nurtures pandemic diseases of modernity for the benefit of big insurance and big pharma.

    To me, uncivilized is a body of self-annointed experts that disempower human beings from accepting their personal responsibility for fostering their health for the benefit of big universities, big medicine, and big government.

    To me, uncivilized is advancing a personal agenda through calculated lies intended to play on human emotion.

    When I wake up every morning I can look at my reflection in the mirror without a twinge of regret. Be honest, Doc, can you say the same?

    1. Well of course the doc. can! That’s why he can defend his position so well — his position is morally superior!

      Delete the last line, post it in the FOK comments section, and claim your $50 gift certificate!

  17. I’ll take the babies brain deep fried in coarse ground wild rice, you can have the super sweet ice cream. anyone else out there eaten a person recently, can’t decide what side to have??

    1. My fiance had to have something on his face cauterized last week, and he said it smelled like bacon when the dermatologist started soldering his face. I’d say anything that goes with bacon should therefore complement a person very nicely. Including more bacon.

  18. Dear Dr. McDougall,

    I am writing to thank you for showing me the light. For a period of time, I was seduced by the primal way of eating and living. You can see how I would have fallen under their spell. They promise increased energy, better health, mental clarity, and more sex — all while eating bacon, steak, delicious coconut curries, and chocolate chilli. I mean, it’s basically the perfect con, isn’t it?

    It wasn’t until reading your post that I realized this group had a much more nefarious agenda than helping me live longer, healthier, and happier. No, it seems their real goal, as you suggest — was to eat me. Me! A human being! Their promises of bacon and brisket were no more than an adult version of the witch’s candy house in Hansel and Gretel. It was a lure, meant to fatten me up and increase my deliciousness. Needless to say, I was repulsed.

    After this horrifying realization, I continued to dig deeper into this rogue community. I found myself thinking of your quote from Dr. Cordain, where he wrote: “Without them (starches, like wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes), the world could probably support one-tenth or less of our present population…”

    I found myself wondering … what if this was more than a simple observation on the over-population of our planet? What if it was … a clue? A thinly-veiled hint at the paleo movement’s greatest plan? Was Dr. Cordain sitting in a giant leather chair somewhere, pressing his finger tips together and cackling maniacally as he contemplated his world domination?

    Yes, I realized I was onto something. It is my belief that the paleo community intends to attempt to take over the world, and kill off, enslave, or possibly dine on 90% of the world’s population.

    I’m sure this will come as no great surprise to you, as you seem to be able to clearly imagine the depths of depravity within this community. But I urge you to do more than write bitter blog posts about it — we must act. Soon.

    If we are going to mount a counter attack, though, we have a lot of work ahead of us. I mean, have you seen these people? I don’t mean to alarm you, but a lot of them are pretty darn ripped. Many of them seem to be involved in something called “Crossfit”, which originally I thought seemed quite benign, but now I realize must be a part of their militia training. I’m afraid we will have a difficult time defeating them. I propose we look into the possibility of robot sharks. It may be our only hope.

    Until then, I would like to make you an offer. I will gladly stay in the primal community, posing as one of them, learning to eat as they eat and live as they live. You know, to be a mole for you. It will take great sacrifice on my part, but I am willing to do it. That is how deeply I believe in our cause.

    Yours in gratitude,

    1. LOL!! I think you probably just scored yourself a gift certificate!

    2. “Meat is good. Vegetarians might disagree, but this is because they’re scared, weak people who are afraid that if the world runs short of cattle, they’ll be eaten first. They’re right.” – Chaos n Pain

      1. Who wants to eat a vegetarian? Yuck! They probably have way more O6 than O3! The only good thing about them is– wait for it–


    3. I hope you are a writer, Andrea. You are hysterical and your comment was the only thing that made my massive irritation after reading that piece subside.

  19. I left my 2cents in the discussion. The article is biased and provocative, but what can we do, we cant’ save the entire world

  20. In the name of Asclepius! That Dr. McDougall should have his medical licence revoked.

    I’m starting to think doctors should have to have their licences renewed every five years or something like First Aid certification has to be. Maybe we could filter some of these morons out or at least make them better informed.

    1. Revoking this idiot’s medical license won’t make a difference. You cannot argue with “stoopid”. As a retired physician, diabetic, I lost 58 lbs. on paleo, my blood chemistry looks great and I look forward to many long years of enjoying my retirement. We all need to learn and to take responsibility for ourselves and our health.

      1. “We all need to learn and to take responsibility for ourselves and our health.”

        That process would be a lot easier (especially for the masses of people not good at thinking critically) if morons like this weren’t out there peddling mumbo jumbo and hiding behind a medical degree and confusing people.

  21. I can’t imagine anyone other ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, and the shills for these corporations caring what I eat.

  22. Honestly, the question about animals that kill people was just trolling. Of course it’s completely situational. If a drunk breaks into a tiger’s cage and gets eaten, should we label the tiger a man-killer and kill it? Of course not. If there is a rabid, aged or injured man-killer stalking and killing people for food in the wild, sure, kill it.

    You have to be careful about the exact circumstances and also understand the impulse to retaliate. Too often in history, the impulse has roots in the farmer’s hatred of all ‘vermin’ or ‘predators’, and his dissociation from the real natural world, not to mention an exaggerated profit motive. Leading to programs of extermination that have been grossly misapplied to wild animal populations.

    1. BillP! How dare you advocate a measured reasoned response that respects nuance and context. For shame! (Not that I’m saying that’s not something people do here… just that people don’t do it much period)

      Isn’t pretty much everything best dealt with in this way though? Yet what I like to call ‘Binary thinking’ where people just reflexively choose one side or the other of an issue is far more common.


  23. Three steps to a more civilized primal experience:

    1. Always wear a tie or an ascot during mild cardio,

    2. Whilst partaking of meat and offal (using a knife and fork of course), remember to extend your pinky finger,

    3. During play (ascot optional), remember to encourage your comrades with cheers of “good show old chap,” or “I say – capital frizbee toss my good man!”

  24. Yeah, I’m posting twice today, but now that I’ve gone over the sore points of that article, I have to ask (and I asked the commenters over there, too):

    Why do we have to constantly attack each other over how to eat? Not everything works for every person. I’ve cured my own prediabetes, lost weight, and achieved beautiful lab results eating Paleo. One of my close friends does it eating a vegan diet. Other friends of mine do vegan+fish, paleo+dairy, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo+traditionally prepared grains… We run the gamut between high fat, moderate fat, moderate carb, low carb, plants, animals… the only similarity is that we all eat whole food and skip the cheap, chemical-laden processed foods.

    Enough with the dietary secularism! Why do we spend so much time convincing ourselves that we’re all beautiful, unique snowflakes right up until we talk about nutrition, and then it’s “You MUST eat vegan,” “You MUST eat whole grains,” “You MUST eat low-fat,” “You MUST eat dairy,””You MUST eat Paleo,” or “You MUST eat X,”? Enough is enough!

    We need to start eating for health instead of eating to push an agenda.

    1. I think you are right Kristina.
      Why all this negativity? Our goal is the same. Health and richer lives. Who cares if one does it Paleo and another does it Vegan. We need to remain focus.
      I am Paleo myself but I respect and admire all who makes an effort to change their life to the better.

      1. Why? Because it’s sad to see sick children. 🙁

        I see fat kids, scrawny kids, pale kids with allergic shiners, kids on daily meds for all sorts of ailments that kids shouldn’t have… All things we know will go away if their parents just fed the poor things real food.

        1. I’m all about fighting for real food. It’s the arguing about which real food is the “realest” that bugs me. Get to the “real” part and let it be.

      2. have to agree with kristina – i am appalled that our “civilized” world tolerates people with serious eating disorders like veganism to literally starve their children in the midst of affluence and plenty. after several attempts to sincerely and heartfully communicate this to several young vegan parents whose shy (frightened) waif-like offspring were clearly suffering for their parents ignorant – no, downright stupid choices.

        they will diverge genetically if they survive – our brains have already shrunk by 10% since the advent of agriculture – to continue down the herbivore path will simply lead them to become herbivores with all the characteristics of a cow.

        ‘course – then they’ll be tasty…..

    2. I’m not sure who your comment is directed to exactly… I realise you’re trying to be the ‘voice of moderation’ but I think you’re missing the point.

      Paleo is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of ways of eating; it’s pretty flexible (there are very few “you MUST”s), but this whole idea of “everyone is different” only goes so far. There ARE things that are near-universally bad that people shouldn’t eat.

      ‘Anything goes’ is just as bad as super-strict ‘Eat only this specific way’. The people here DO eat for health rather than an agenda… we only ‘fight’ to defend the actual evidence from people like McDougall and his ilk who deny or try to obfuscate it.

      1. Paleo isn’t an umbrella term to everyone. To some, there is no “mostly paleo” or “paleo plus dairy.” There are just as many absolutists in Paleo Land as there are everywhere else. My theory is that we have more Crossfitters, so the meanness is reduced by self-preservation. It SHOULD be an umbrella term, but unfortunately there’s divisiveness here, too.

        And my idea of “everyone is different” doesn’t extend to the SAD or CW. I simply mean that as long as you’re doing what’s physiologically and biochemically correct, then to you-know-where with everyone else.

        In my idea of everyone getting along, and idea that evolves constantly as I learn more about biological processes and biochemistry, everyone must ensure that he or she is getting all 10 essential amino acids, everyone must ensure that he or she gets all the important vitamins and nutrients AND sufficient fat intake, both saturated and unsaturated. Everyone should assess their response to carbohydrates of all kinds and adjust accordingly. Beyond that, EVERYONE should try a few elimination-reintroduction diets to see what makes himself or herself tick.

        Until you isolate the things that make you feel good and bad, you can’t say for certain that you can eat “everything in moderation,” which is why that buzzphrase irritates me. After each person has self-experimented, they can decide what will work. Maybe certain seeds are okay if they’re sprouted. Maybe beans are cool if prepared a certain way. Maybe dairy is an okay source of fat once every few days, but not daily. Maybe less meat makes you feel better, or more. Maybe X amount of fat doesn’t work, but Y does.

        So I guess it’s not really “anything goes.” It’s “anything that you have personally determined is suitable for your optimal function and enjoyment of life goes.”

        1. If your ‘anything goes’ policy *doesn’t* apply to CW or SAD then what’s your point exactly?

          This Dr. McDougall is promoting CW and bad science, not a “Can I handle a little dairy or not?” or a “Am I doing what’s biochemically correct?” approach.

          Sure, we all have the same goal of being healthy but even you admitted that not every approach (CW & SAD) works. We can’t all just get along, explore our biochemistry together and not fight when there are people who are promoting completely invalid approaches. We *have* to fight when people try to push BS as science. The only agenda I see people on this side of the debate trying to push is that good science be accepted.

          I, and I don’t think anyone else here, needs a lecture on self-experimentation and ‘finding what works for you’. This is MDA; like half the posts here in the past 6 months have been about that.

          So, if you’re not arguing that we should be more forgiving or cooperative with people like CW Dr. McDougall or that “anything goes”, I don’t get what your point is. You’re not saying anything everyone here doesn’t already know or anything that’s really related to the topic; it was a completely non sequitur comment.

        2. I’m sorry if that’s what it sounded like. I should proof my posts to see how they sound instead of assuming they say what I’m thinking they say.

          I was expressing my frustration with the rigid attitudes and emotive attacks everywhere, not just from people like these guys who would know better just by having an organic chemistry textbook in the same room.

          The people who aren’t getting along are the people who have already decided to eat real food but keep sniping at each other over purism.

          Looking back I obviously wasn’t clear and didn’t bridge the gap between the conversation and my thoughts.

    3. I understand your frustration with this behavior. I used to feel it too but I’ve moved to a different place where I feel that even though I’m not out there judging people, looking to find their faults and point them out, others are and that it doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong and I am right… just that we are different. It’s not paleo or veganism that’s to blame, it’s people. People can get dogmatic, people can be rigid, people can look to place themselves above others. I don’t believe it’s something we can change. It just is.

      The judgers can go on judging others, be they vegan or paleo or whatever other personal axe they’ve chosen to grind. I will continue to try to wag my finger less and live with acceptance and compassion more.


  25. Dr. McDougall makes a fortune off his line of “Dr McDougall’s Right Foods” line of crappy processed grain-based grocery store shelf pseudo-food.

    Nuff said.

    1. totally.

      “John McDougall, MD, is medical director of the McDougall Program”

  26. I started reading the forks over knives post, but then I remembered that article on The Onion about the open-minded guy who realized he spent his entire life listening to bullshit. So I just went back to eating my Big-Ass Salad =)

    1. You can’t argue with salad. I think we should have a meeting with this doctor over salads and see what kind of vicious flesh-eaters we are then.

    2. Hahaha the onion , brilliant .

      We should be just open minded enough that our brains don’t fall out.

    3. Just read the Onion article, hilarious!

      I’ll also take the liberty of quoting it: Dear Dr. McDougall, “your idea isn’t good and you are wasting our time and you need to shut up right now.'”

  27. Usually, when you have someone espousing something so vehemently, they have an ulterior motive involved.

    My observation suggests to me that Dr. McDougall so strongly believes in his lifestyle, he cannot possible understand why other lifestyles also make sense to some people. We as humans have the same problem with Religion, Politics, or anything else that can polarize viewpoints. In his case, I imagine that he also has money riding on people believing him. No offence Mark – I know you do to because of all of the wonderful merchandise you sell to people who love the Primal lifestyle.

    That said, perhaps we should turn our attention to what I’d like to call the unbiased third party.


    Gary Taubes explains in layman (or caveman) terminology the science behind why insulin has become the enemy. He even provides some graphic (though clinical) imagery to support it. So, while at times a bit over the top with his science, the book has one thesis – Insulin is the enemy.

    While Mark and Dr. McDougall have certainly started a polarized debate, something that the internet does a very good job catalyzing, I’d suggest going outside of Paleo for validation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Paleo lifestlye. But, not because Mark sold it to me, trust in ACCURATE science did.

    1. You make a great point! As with any argument – people are very committed to their viewpoint and are unlikely to keep an open mind.

      I think the part of the article at Forks that made me the most sad is the response in the comments. The supporters of the article wanted to know why so many paleos were reading it! What? I’m sorry. I must have been too busy stuffing my face with bacon to realize that I am not allowed to read articles with a viewpoint in opposition to my own. As a librarian and a champion of discovering knowledge, I am deeply saddened.

      These posts have definitely made my LOL though. Yeah for primal!

  28. rebuttal” the starch solution uses exactly the same formula as “Paleo” eliminate the processed shit and eat whole food.”

    in summary , try to get the bulk of your calories to maintain your weight eating as much bland starch as possible and watch the pounds fly off.

    At a certain point you want quality of life not just to weight less.

    The tag line of His book(yes he’s selling a book to free you from paleo) is as the eating plan for the (debunked) The China Study.

    He praises starches ability to create Large civilizations then chides civilizations for their destructive farming practices ( but only that of animals) .

    He calls “Paleo eaters” uncivilized then cites the dietary preferences of Ancient Mass Murders as proof?

    “The ancient conquerors of Europe and Asia, including the armies of Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC) and Genghis Khan (1162 – 1227 AD) consumed starch-based diets. Caesar’s legions complained when they had too much meat in their diet and preferred to do their fighting on grains. Primarily six foods: barley, maize (corn), millet, potatoes, rice, and wheat, have fueled the caloric engines of human civilization.”

  29. Since the americas were not in the european radar until 1492 it would have been an impossibility for the romans to have even known about corn or potatoes (which are new world crops), much less eaten them. Just a little heads-up.

  30. Just like the movie “Forks over Knives,” I wasn’t able to make it very far in that article…prop-a-gan-da!!!

  31. In the USA, civilized = consuming subsidized kibble; Healthy = medicated; Truth = 65% obesity and mounting. Is our lifestyle uncivilized, unhealthy, and untrue… YES IT IS! We are Primal. We are going “against the grain”. We chose to munch plants and animals over kibble. We play in the sunshine rather than plugging into the Borg. We seek to redefine what is civilized, healthy, and truthful! Grok on!!!

    1. Love this point; several other readers have noted this “Doc” is very much influenced by mainstream media and government “science,” etc, but I think this comment says it so simply. What is civilized or uncivilized anyway?! And if it’s defined by some power- or fame-hungry propagandist, why the hell should we care what’s civil or uncivil? We’re totally making t-shirts that will say “Against the grain,” by the way, thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  32. Forksoverknives;

    Well, what a load of lies in there to boot as well as just bashing meat… how did this guy become a doctor?

    I think the best, meat-eating, barbarian response comes from Robert E Howard’s Conan:

    ‘Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing’.

    Run, you bandy legged, pudgy little icon of civilization; the barbarians are coming to eat you.

  33. That article is so full of untruths it’s not even worth the trouble of rebutting.

    First, he associates the human diet with that of a primate which never evolved a large brain by eating meat. Then he claims that the reason why we don’t compare our diet to primates is because of sexism.

    Then it just gets worse from there…

  34. Not mine but I think it fits, thanks for the site.

    If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself, you should say: “He obviously doesn’t know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.”

  35. The article claims that grains are good because they allowed the rise of civilization which allowed for conquerors like Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to form great warring empires.

    In summary, grains are good because killing and wars are good.

    1. Seriously, right? The invention of private property, wealth, government? I mean, antibiotics are awesome (when used judiciously) and I love being able to expect that all my children will survive to adulthood. But let’s face it, “civilization” is a mixed bag.

      Also, can we get a big “thank you very much” on behalf of all the hunter-gatherer societies, whom he does not consider “civilized”…? This article is just dripping with Western Male bias.

  36. Two points come to mind. First, follow the money. from his website, 10 day live in program:
    Full Participant
    (medical care, laboratory, etc.)
    $4,360/person (double) $4,960/person (single). Hmmm, and they give Mark a hard time for selling some supplements.

    Second, THUNDERDOME!! Two men enter one man leaves, Grok and Dr.McDougall. Odds anyone?

    1. Right, the live-in program: it’s a safe bet, since nothing will get fixed, he’ll have plenty of repeat customers.

  37. “If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth”
    Ancel Keys comes to mind.
    SAD diet proponents come to mind.

    “They base their hypothesis largely upon a flawed review of contemporary hunter-gathers”.

    Ancel Keys based his hypothesis largely upon his own flawed review of the Mediterranian diet.

    I could go on, but I think you get my drift.

  38. Every society that adopted grains has shown a decrease in health and more importantly, brain size. So we devolving as a global populace. Sorry but I dont want my great grandchildren to be monkeys because of quaker oats.

  39. Leaving all the bad science and suspicious ulterior motives (someone said this guy has a high-starch “health” food line for sale??), my biggest beef (hah!) with the article was the fact that one its main points essentially boils down to “because, um, ew.” Really, now. You’re a grown man with letters after his name. You’re just embarrassing yourself, as well as insulting the countries and cultures whose culinary canon includes the “icky” parts of the animal, like, oh, osso buco and fois gras and blood pudding and haggis, to name just a very, very few. Personal distaste is not a valid argument. I can’t stand even the smell of bananas, but I’m not going to advocate that everyone else stop eating them too. Just my boyfriend, and then only when he doesn’t have a toothbrush handy.

  40. Dr. Mc Dougal, you are absolutely correct! All of us primal eaters are evil cannibals who are out to devour everyone who is not like us. Please help us get back into the civilized crowed. You know the one that chugs down Pepsi products and devours junk food. The same group that overlooks or turns a blind eye to the fact that the companies that make their “food” use fetus organs in their taste testing procedures?? Now who are you calling cannibals!!!

    1. “companies that make their “food” use fetus organs in their taste testing procedures??”

      I’m sorry…what?

  41. What do you expect from a group whose brains are shrinking at the rate of 1% per year, according to the latest studies.

    1. can you document that? no seriously – do you have a reference – i would love to have that in my arsenal…

  42. I’m always surprised at the hatred that comes out of vegetarians towards meat eaters. It’s like a religion of true-believers. He must suffer from a bacon deficit. If I ate his food products I’d be hungry & fat.

  43. Here’s my comeback:

    What can I say? You can’t save people, so I won’t even try. I could attempt a rebuttal, but there’d be no convincing you in the face of such strong denial. Nevertheless, the truth will out, as they say. What I can tell you is that I spent the last 10 years as a vegetarian—the wholesome kind, who cooked all his meals from scratch, everything unrefined and unprocessed—and not until just recently did I ever feel alive. To each his own, though, and you can eat however you want, and so will I.

  44. Not sure if many others noticed, but the author cites a study as evidence that the Inuits (Alaskan natives) get heart disease due to their high-protein diets. I was very eager to check the study because I have always read the opposite. And low and behold! The study concludes “High-carbohydrate diets, particularly in the form of high-glycemic index carbohydrate, have the ability to directly induce atherosclerosis.” So he quotes a study that directly contradicts his statements. That’s just sad!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed this. The traditional Inuit diet (i.e. before flour and sugar were introduced through trade, and started causing disease, surprise surprise) has been shown time and again to be excellent for health, vitality and longetivity in some of the harshest living conditions on Earth.

      How many sheeple would click the link to investigate further, though?

      I also noticed he provided no source for his claim that hunter-gatherer societies subsisting on starches are “free of these diseases”. I call shenannigans!

  45. Dear McD,
    So proliferating the human population beyond belief thanks to the “agricultural revolution” is environmentally friendly ? Please tell me how that has led to less CO2 emissions.

    Ah well, perhaps your method is what I have been waiting for to cure my Celiacs disease… “the gluten solution” ! I’ll be your test subject. The experiment is simple: You feed me grains, then sit in an enclosed space with me for a while. I guarantee you’ll change your mind.

    PS .. 1 word: Phytoestrogens. Not exactly what I look for in a man.

  46. I have to apologize, but I cannot write a rebuttal, because halfway through McDougall’s article I started craving some meat and had to head to the BBQ, but 2 points stood out:
    1) if the Neanderthal ate all those “starch grains”, where are they now?

    2) the whole human brain-eating thing made me realize that zombies have been around 4ever!

  47. Not much to see there on the Forks Over Knives. Just someone trying to make some money by calling their way the ‘only’ way.


    I assume pretty much all ways work to get overweight people more healthier as long as they keep out the sugar. Once that is realized, it just comes down to a person’s preferences.

  48. Paleo uncivilized? So is a lack of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, arterial plaque, and cancer! (Seriously – Those are the diseases of Civilization. My uncivilized Paleo diet is fixing or preventing the lot of them in me even as we speak).

    Former high BP type 2 diabetic who survived 3 major strokes brought on by the metabolic syndrome I developed enjoying the industrial diet prescribed by the USDA. Probably owe my current thriving condition to Art, Mark, Rob, and the rest of those caveman pushing lunatics. Thanks, for being crazy enough to spout this heretical primal/paleo gospel.

  49. Honestly? Why are we defending Paleo when Cordain supports diet soda and lean meats, and won’t recognize that pastured dairy kind of rocks (if you don’t have issues digesting it)? But okay, sure.

    “Bone marrow or brains of animals were both favorites of pre-civilization hunter-gathers. (p 27) For most of us the thought of eating bone marrow and brains is repulsive.”

    I don’t see how your repulsion is relevant. Your societally-ingrained squeamishness is not an argument against nutritious food (that isn’t actually unpleasant to eat, unless you’ve been raised to think it’s gross).

    “No mention is made by Paleo experts about the frequent and habitual practices of nutritional cannibalism by hunter-gather societies. (Nutritional cannibalism refers to the consumption of human flesh for its taste or nutritional value.)”

    This is wrong for moral reasons, not health ones. (Though prion diseases such as kuru are ALSO a risk, they’re not the biggest reason not to practice cannibalism.) Note that you condemn cannibals, but laud Alexander the Great. Oh, and those Roman soldiers were spreading daisies and happiness everywhere they went, right?

    “By nature, the Paleo Diet is based on artery-clogging saturated fats and cholesterol, and bone-damaging, acidic proteins from animal foods.”

    Oooh, terrible stuff. I’ll tell the cavities eating a normal diet gave me that they’re wrong to disappear! I’m eating animal protein! I’ll warn my teeth to stop getting better. That way I can go back to having dentists drill in them, right?

    Also, saturated fat. Not artery-clogging. Yummy, though! 🙂

    “For most people the dietary ceiling for protein is 200 to 300 grams a day or about 30 to 40 percent of the normal daily calorie intake.”

    200-300 grams of protein per day would be 800-1400 calories; if that’s thirty to forty percent of your normal caloric intake, you’re eating anywhere between 1800 and 4200 calories per day. SOUNDS A BIT HIGH THERE, but of course if you’re eating addictive, MSG-laced, sugary crap, it might not be too hard.

    “There have been only a few small isolated populations of primitive people, such as the Arctic Eskimos, living at the extremes of the environment, who have eaten otherwise.”

    Agreed, especially since the Maasai live in an extreme environment and not, say, the supposed birthplace of humanity.

    “Civilizations Could Not Have Thrived on the Paleo Diet”

    Alas! O Civilization! What would we do without thee? I cannot bear to live without sexism, osteoporosis and tooth decay! Oh! Banish the thought!

    “Dr. Cordain finishes his 2011 revision of his national best-selling book The Paleo Diet by warning, “Without them (starches, like wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes), the world could probably support one-tenth or less of our present population…” (p 215)”

    Egads! Live in smaller groups that more closely approximate the population density of hunter-gatherers? Not have enough people for huge, always-lit cities? Terrible!

    (Seriously, how is this one a DOWNSIDE??)

    “Choose 10 close friends and family members. Which nine should die so that the Paleo people can have their uncivilized way?”

    I’m sorry, a hilarious and sarcastic response is not merited. No response is actually merited here. However, I will make one nonetheless.

    1. This kind of rhetoric is designed to halt debate by framing the paleos as MURDERERS!!!!!eleventyone! It’s phrased in such a way as to deliberately make people stop thinking critically. Have I failed to make any appeals to critical thinking myself? Yes, but that’s because this piece doesn’t merit a serious response and I was instructed to write “the best comeback or rebuttal”.

    2. THAT’S NOT HOW POPULATION SHRINKAGE WORKS. Or at least, that’s not how it SHOULD work. The world’s overpopulated to begin with and honestly we were kind of hoping lower (sub-replacement) birthrates could shrink population over a few generations, which is probably (somewhat unfortunately) about how long it would take to get other people to eat paleo.

    SO, in closing, a couple of general comments: it doesn’t truly matter how the hunter-gatherers ate. It’s not THEIR good health that makes me happy with the changes I’ve made. It’s mine.

  50. She’s technically right. Being in the presence of one of us causes vegans to shrivel up and die, which is the destruction of human health, after a fashion.

  51. I’m sorry but I am not going to waste my time with this article. I skimmed through it and had enough right away.

    I love my meat but this back and forth is not helping improve the health of the world.

    Instead, ask the vegans and vegetarians countless questions. Show them that you are listening when in the back of your mind you are 100% certain that animal foods are completely necessary for long-term optimal health.

    Don’t fight against them. Fight with them. At least they eat real food! Once they add back in animal foods then there health will thrive. We just need to ask them questions as to why they avoid animal foods.

    If you do this then many more vegans and vegetarians will be open to trying new ways.

    We tend to enjoy being a rebel so they will always fight if you want to fight.

    I’m done with fighting.

    1. I LOVE asking my vegan friends questions! One in particular likes to keep up on the research into phytochemicals and other interesting compounds in plant foods. Delicious!

  52. Dear Forks Over Knives,

    I’m a vegetarian, and I’m on their side. This should clue you in that your arguments are dumb.

    Step away from the keyboard, sit down, and have a nice cup of tea. I’ll even let you taint it with soy milk, as long as you promise not to enjoy it.

    Hugs and kale,


  53. Look out blueberries, spinach, and avocados. There’s a new set of super foods in town. They are wheat, soybeans, and russet potatoes. Sporting impressive nutritional profiles such as iron*, virtually no FAT soluble vitamins, plenty of B vitamins to support energy for your yoga class, enough Zinc for testosterone levels to rival that of a healthy 86 year old, and enough B12 for….Uh, your body can recycle B12 for up to 7 years I heard.

    *Test results indicate that these five commonly eaten legumes are all poor sources of dietary iron: soybeans, split peas, mung beans, black beans, and lentils.

    Authors Lynch SR, et al.
    Journal Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Jul;40(1):42-7.

    1. As a personal anecdote, a relatively healthy person can probably get enough iron from legumes. I have been anemic most of my life. I’ve solved that recently by eating offal once a week, but as a poor college student several years ago, my iron count went way up when I ate lots of legumes. I was a pretty sick person before I was finally diagnosed with Celiac, so if I could absorb so much iron from legumes, an actual healthy person might thrive on them.

  54. I for one am glad to follow a diet plan that allows for the occasional cannabilistic spree. I’ve grown accustomed to the brains and marrow of young children (mostly 8-12 yr olds) but am looking forward to trying fresh baby.

    Freaking ridiculous.

  55. Reply: Ok I’ll buy, I am unhealthy. Before I admit defeat would you care for a foot race, push-up contest, pull-up contest, body fat % calculation, blood test, or wrestling match?

    Because if eating organic meat and veggies cooked in coconut oil is uncivilized, I don’t want to be a citizen of wherever you’re from!

    Thank you 🙂

  56. I’ve been paleo 2 years and I didn’t know we got to eat human too. Does U.S Wellness Meats carry that or am I going to have to go to the Thai Grocery again?

  57. Dr. McDougall is on a mighty high horse for someone with so much skin in the game. With all due respect, of course. I don’t mean to be nasty or to encroach upon a person’s fundamental beliefs regarding nutrition, as I myself have a near-religious, utopian cult mentality surrounding my personal diet preference (Primal, because it works for me! Finally!). However, I have difficulty taking advice about the health of eating meat from someone who has a major line of shelf-stable vegan quick foods that, although made in California in my current town, were readily available all the way in Montana to contribute to my whole grain, health-food, ovo vegetarian, 30 lb. weight gain, leaky gut, insulin resistance, and PCOS. Thank you vegetarianism, after 6 years total you’ve given me a lifetime of damage to repair. That’s quite a record. I will never go back.

  58. Re: Dr. McDougal

    I skimmed the article; it was ridiculous. The commentors who support him are basically saying, “They’re doctors, so they’re right.” That’s rank authoritarianism.

    In science, the only authority is evidence.

    His statements about ketosis being an illness and red meat and other animal food causing disease identify him as a liar. The truth is widely available; not opinion, but the documentation of the evidence which proves his statements false. He is neither mistaken nor confused; he is lying.

    1. its only the very fact of his being a doctor that gives him any credibility whatsoever – not to me for sure, but to veg-head sheeple, clearly authority is both scary and sacred.

      sadly, i can no longer garner virtually any respect for any aspect of modern medicine save it’s rather impressive technical abilities and successes in emergency procedures.

  59. We don’t eat grain-fed beef and pork because they are fat, unhealthy, and pumped up with antibiotics. We’re not going to start eating the grain-fed humans for the same reason: they are fat, unhealthy, and pumped up with antibiotics.

    As for all you other primal eaters, however, watch out. I’m coming after you for your cage free tender deliciousness. I hope you havn’t been skipping your sprint days because I am fast as hell.

    Don’t worry Dr. McDougall, because you were right about eating humans like you…ick.

    1. Hilarious. I almost died laughing, and then I became really concerned you would catch me. Guess it’s time to run like being chased. Haha

  60. To be honest, some of the talk about eating half a dozen eggyolks with a generous portion of bacon for breakfast does sound alarming. Then again, there are vegans who try to live on beans and rice and TVP. For just about anyone, colorful veggies are a big part of a balanced diet.

    For the organ meats, of course a vegetarian agenda site is not going to wrap their minds around it. Our meat-heavy culture can barely tolerate the thought of eating the parts that still look like animal. I wonder how they’d react if we told them that ideally a modern caveman should be able to sit in their backyard with an urban foraging guide and munch on bits of their lawn?

    He’s got a point about the environmental impact. Though about the wild game, it’s not required, but probably part of our duty to eat the local pest species.

  61. Aside from the more ridiculous parts of the article (cannibalism & sexism are related to a primal diet? Seriously?) what struck me was that the Dr. McDougal really doesn’t understand what a primal diet is all about. I get the impression that he thinks it’s all about scarfing down as much meat as possible and little else.

    Anyone who has ever adopted a primal diet (for real) would probably say that they eat more high quality organic vegetables than ever before. It’s not *only* about the meat- though that is a big part of the diet. It’s about choosing quality, sustainable local products whenever possible. It’s about sustaining the body with high quality nutrients that are derived from natural sources.

    I have a genetic condition that was tearing my body apart when I followed the conventional wisdom path (like the one FOK promotes). Going primal has literally saved me from nonstop pain and I’ll never follow the CW path again.

  62. Much wit has been put forth about the “good” Dr’s poorly researched and hysterically written article, so I will add just my two cents (instead of the several dollars I have to say about things like this):

    – Him talking about organ meat was just like listening to a child saying brussle sprouts are gross. I lol’d.

    – Society and modern civilisation aren’t actually that great.
    Sure, we’ve got the interwebz, dubstep, and carbon fibre mountain bikes, but the Australian Aboriginals lived the true hunter-gatherer lifestyle until the English showed up, and have a rich, diverse and immeasurably long cultural history. Just because they didn’t build buildings, write stuff down or plant seeds doesn’t make their culture less ‘civilised’ than ours, and Dr Whatsisface is being extremely racist by suggesting that agricultural civilisations are better.
    Honestly, what good is all this progress we made as a species if we’re going to end up destroying our bodies (by eating that for which we were not designed – I am not a cow!!), our planet (through overpopulation, pollution of big business and farming it into nothing), and our innate curiosity (by refusing to be open to new ideas)?

    Screw that, I’ll be a meat-eating, sex-having, life-loving, sexy cavewoman any day.

    Also, I dare Dr Conventional Wisdom to try and qualify for the Crossfit Games Masters, to put his starchy money where his close-minded mouth is. Those unbelievable athletes would prove an object lesson in empirical evidence.

  63. John McDougall writes ‘Every person that Paleo gurus convince to follow an animal food-based diet brings us one more step closer to the end of the world, as we know it.’ I say the sooner that happens, the better. The world as we know it is full of obese, sick, unhappy people stuck in the vicious CW cycle. The more people that go paleo / primal, the healthier and happier the world will be. And I agree with sqt – McDougal has no idea of what a real paleo lifestyle is about. I’d challenge him to try it for a month but I could tell from his article that he’d be too much of a precious princess because, to him, ‘the thought of eating bone marrow and brains is repulsive.’

  64. I think the most appropriate response to the article is silence. It’s doing exactly what it claims about paleo — repeating lies in the hopes of being believed.

    I recently read “Empire of the Summer Moon” about the rise and fall of the Comanches. What struck me while I was reading it (among other things) was that the Comanche diet consisted entirely of Buffalo (fresh or dried) and that the Comanches would only eat vegetables (mostly tubers) if Buffalo wasn’t available and they faced starvation. Yet I never heard of obese Comanches falling off of their horses suffering from heart attacks. It’s people on the SAD who do that sort of thing.

  65. “If You Repeat a Lie Often Enough, It becomes the Truth”

    Yeah, well they should know.

  66. I tried to write a rebuttal that was in the style and tone of his article, but I just can’t do it. I am just too open to the possibility that other viewpoints on diet may have benefit; from what I’ve read, he does not in the least.

    Nutrition in the human body is enormously complex. We don’t even know the majority of variables in the diet/health equation, much less know how to properly tweak them. While I feel infinitely better on a Primal diet than a SAD diet, I am very open to the possibilities that his diet would have benefits too. Maybe it is the similarities between them (removal of bad oils, sugar, processed foods, etc.) that are the biggest contributors to overall human health rather than ceasing animal consumption to avoid leeching of bones or ceasing grain consumption to avoid phytic acid.

    Now. That being said, you will NOT see me ditching Primal and trying his diet. There is NO way you’re takin my bacon!

  67. My rebuttal:

    Dear Dr. McDougall,

    There are many things I could say in reply to your recent article, but I’m afraid I don’t have the time — the baby will be waking up from his nap soon. My main point of contention is your assertion that a low-fat starch-based diet is the healthiest diet we can eat.

    I adopted a low-fat vegetarian (nearly vegan) diet in my teens. 15 years later, when I had married and was ready to start my family, I discovered I was infertile. My husband and I tried for two years before seeking help from fertility specialists, who offered me drugs and invasive procedures with low odds of success (10%).

    Out of desperation, I looked to alternative medicine. My practitioner instructed me to change my diet to a high-fat whole food diet, very similar to Paleo. A few months later, I got pregnant — no doctors, no drugs, no test tubes. Just fat, meat, and sex. After my son was born, I transitioned to a fully Paleo diet. We had no difficulty when we were ready for another baby — even at the obstetrically advanced age of 35, I was pregnant again after one month.

    Now, you say that this low-fat starch-based diet is best. And I’m sorry, sir, but I have two beautiful children who prove otherwise.

    1. (I guess if I’m going to seriously throw my hat in the ring here, I should leave my current email address.)

  68. It’s a sales pitch!!! Hahaha, and a bad one. I like how he linked to the “Blue Zones” peice and in the very first sentence after the introduction they said ” The secret to longevity has less to do with diet—or even exercise—and more to do with the social and physical environment in which people live.” …. I don’t like this guy lol

  69. Ok I have one question for the venerable Dr. McDougall. If the cow farts causes global warming and the heat will kill all the plants you say are the foods of choice for a healthy life. Out of our two groups who still has a steady source of food. Question two, If diabetes is a failure to process carbohydrates(sugars) how did that disease come to be but by eating starchy foods and grains. A final statement. Before we humans settled down into villages we were a nomadic people. We followed our food from area to area as it looked for its food. WE ate the seasonal foods in the area that our food moved too. You need not look to the millions of years ago, and guess at what humans did for food, come to the near past like 300 to 400 years ago and study what the American Indians did they moved with the elk, deer, bison, moose what did their diets MOSTLY consist of……………..ANSWER they were in the People Eating Tasty Animals movement.

  70. For an article that tries to claim the Paleo diet is unhealthy, it has very little content relating to health and does a very poor job of explaining how the Paleo diet is unhealthy

    “By nature, the Paleo Diet is based on artery-clogging saturated fats and cholesterol, and bone-damaging, acidic proteins from animal foods. Respected researchers find that those modern-day hunter-gather populations who base their diets on meat, such as the Inuits (Eskimos), suffer from heart disease and other forms of atherosclerosis, and those modern-day hunter-gathers who base their diets on plant foods (starches) are free of these diseases. Osteoporosis, from their high animal food-based diets, is also epidemic among meat and fish consuming hunter-gathers, specifically the Inuits.”

    The lipid peroxidation of PUFA are a key part of the atherosclerotic process. More dietary PUFA, more PUFA in LDL, more oxidised LDL. High SFA or MUFA diets have less oxidised LDL than high PUFA diets. SFA is not associated with cardiovascular disease. SFA is negatively associated with atherosclerosis, while PUFA and carbohydrate is positively associated with atherosclerosis. SFA protects against oxidative stress in fatty liver disease (a much better predictor of cardiovascular disease)


    An alkaline diet doesn’t protect against osteoporosis. Vitamin K2 supplementation reduces fracture rates by roughly 60-80%. Paleo diets are rich in K2 while low fat veg*n diets are probably deficient in it. These high results suggest most people get insufficient K2 from their low animal fat diet. Osteoporosis can also be a result of chronic inflammation and Paleo diets are anti-inflammatory compared with Mediterranean diets (which are similar to low fat veg*n)


    Many of the nutrients to support mitochondrial function are found mostly in meats. (B vitamins, CoQ10, carnitine, carnosine, creatine, taurine, zinc, selenium and heme)


    “The original Atkins Diet is the ultimate in low-carb eating. This diet works by starving the human body of carbohydrates in order to induce a state of illness (ketosis), which can result in weight loss. People become too sick to eat too much.”

    Ketosis isn’t a state of illness, it is likely a metabolic adaptation to food scarcity. Ketosis can be used therapeutically to increase mitochondrial biogenesis. A reason people mat eat less on ketosis is because the mitochondrial biogenesis improves mitochondrial function overall, which decreases ER stress, decreasing PTP1B and leptin resistance.


  71. It is scary to know that innocent looking chicken cutlet is linked to bladder infections. Does anybody knows what can be alternatives to organic chicken meat for those who are on a budget? Cause i believe that organic chickens are rather expensive!

    1. If you still want chicken, you could go for the cheaper dark meat, or buy bone-in whole chickens instead of just breasts or just cutlets. By buying the whole chicken you pay less per pound, and while some of that is due to bones and offal, you get more out of it, I think. You save a bit of energy roasting them two at a time. The breasts are great sliced by themselves, on salads, and in soups. I use the dark meat to make a HUGE pot of chicken curry whenever I roast them. It all freezes well, and if you save the bones you can make stock. I saved the carcasses from four small roasters and made stock this weekend. I have 12 cups of perfect chicken stock in the freezer (and about 6 more in the fridge for this week)! Since you’d be buying organic, you could even save certain of the organs to be cooked later too (I’m not keen on eating conventionally produced livers, but that’s just me.)

      I’m not sure what another alternative would be except to get more red meat. Wild-caught fish is expensive, too, and turkey probably has the same issues as the antibiotic chicken.

  72. Dear John McDougall,

    You know what’s really uncivilized? Your untrue article, littered with your unhealthy bias.
    For someone who doesn’t like to eat meat, you seem to really enjoy having your own foot in your mouth.
    I suggest a nice Burgundy to go with it. Sort of the boeuf bourguignon of foot.
    Besides, you probably need all the resveratrol and flavonoids you can get. Anything to compensate for the lack of (delicious) health benefits you’d receive from eating what nature bred us to eat: MEAT!

    Is it just me, or does lack of Bacon seem to make people angry and moody?

  73. The article about pitbulls “nanny dog” made me sad. Because we recently moved to Australia, and the American Pitbull Terrier was a banned breed for import here (dangerous dog). So I had to leave my beloved pitbulls to loving new homes in the United States before coming over here. I’m still heartbroken, 4 months later. I have a 16 month old baby and they were amazing with her. My youngest one used to lay her head in her lap and kiss her feet and would do it all day is allowed to.

    On a different note: I actually enjoyed reading the anti-paleo article. It’s always good to read the reverse side of the story too.

  74. The comeback to this article is right there in it: “If You Repeat a Lie Often Enough, It becomes the Truth”

    I feel sorry for the people who will read that, believe it, and miss out on optimal health because of it.

  75. Its crazy to me that people get so defensive and stressed out over their food choices. So much that its a constant attack and defend cycle of nonsense. Who the hell cares if people only want to eat leaves, sticks, and berries or ten pounds of bacon. Far as I know Vegans and Paleo folks are not necessarily dropping like flies. So annoying is the Cult of Primal/Paleo versus the Cult of Vegetarian/Veganism vs the Medical Community vs the person that just wants to be free to eat what the hell they want. I dabbled in veganism but it was short lived because I like to eat animal flesh and I was tired of the moralistic preachy snobbishness. Primal/Paleo is a good idea and all, dabbled with it to try and keep my husband well fed and help him lose weight and I was in contest prep and needed meal ideas that weren’t carb heavy, but the cult like swarm of bees mentality is a turn off. That and I like oatmeal and pancakes too much. Relax. If you think the US or the world is going to adopt a primal diet and we will live happily ever after your living on the same rainbow militant vegans do. Be secure in your diet if it works for you, don’t get so riled up by what other people say.

    1. I agree. I have a deep appreciation for fresh, warm bread as a vehicle for really good butter, and if I want to eat it next to my steak and veggies on a night out, I’m gonna.

  76. Just as an aside, did anyone listen to Dr. Barry Groves’ presentation on the Real Food Summit last week?
    re: “artery clogging saturated fats”- Dr. Groves analyzes the diet of several mammals, including gorillas, cows, sheep and wolves. Turns out that the hind gut fermentation of gorillas and the fore gut fermentation of cows and sheep turn the herbivorous diet into : short chain fatty acids, which are by definition all saturated! That’s right- the nutrient profiles of all the herbivores look remarkably like the paleo diet profile: about 25-30% protein, 10% carbs and 55-65% fat, mostly the saturated variety. The human digestive tract most closely resembles that of obligate carnivores like wolves. We don’t have several fore stomachs or a huge hind gut to ferment plant materials into saturated fats, so we’re stuck with eating them directly! What a shame.
    Since, Dr. M., you are so concerned with artery clogging saturated fats as well as the poor beasties we prey upon, why aren’t you doing something to help all those heart attack prone cows and sheep?
    Oh, wait, it’s because they don’t have heart disease-at least until we start feeding the poor herbivores an omnivorous diet of BT corn and GE soy and hybridized wheat, oh, my!
    Next time you want to bash someone else’s diet, please have a fact checker make sure you get at least one thing right. As for me, I’m sticking with a diet that has helped me feel better than I can ever remember feeling.

  77. I left some love for the article at it’s source, but here it is too:

    “Low-carbohydrate (low-carb) diets are fueling the destruction of human health and our planet Earth.”

    I think actually that would have to be the barbaric wars and starvation that plague billions of people worldwide. Did you know that 2 billion people do not have access to a sanitary toilet?

    “In an attempt to remedy the obvious harms to human health caused by very low-carb eating, apologists (including the Atkins Nutritionals) have added fruits and non-starchy vegetables to their programs”.

    Fruits and non-starchy vegetables? Well that’s most of my diet right there. I think low-carb generally refers to not gorging on 300+ grams of the carb macronutrient a day. This is sound advice. “Low” is a relative term to the 300+ grams that will kill anyone off eventually. I do not think “Paleo” is about perpetual ketosis or pure carnivorousness.

    “The Paleo Diet (also referred to as the Paleolithic Diet, the Paleodiet, the Caveman Diet, the Stone Age Diet, and the Hunter-Gatherer Diet) is the most recent and popular approach to weight loss”.

    Like, “Shake-weight” kind of popular?

    “Teachers of Paleo nutrition claim our ancient ancestors were hunter-gathers with an emphasis on hunting…”

    I think the general emphasis is actually on fresh produce. Meat is next in importance.

    “…genetically adapted to eat what the hunter-gathers ate—mostly animal foods…”

    I’m not sure how many people believe that. Switch the word ‘animal’ with ‘plant’ and they are equally true statements to make. One can survive off of a non-animal foods diet perfectly fine. Humans are pretty much adapted to eat ANYTHING and survive. We’re a pretty sweet rigged species. It’s really hard to starve a human. Eat whatever you want people, be happy.

    “The Paleo Diet book (revised 2011) is “the bible” for followers of this approach…”

    Take that zealots of the PALEO DIET BOOK. BWAHAHA! Buy the starch book; it’s better.

    “Research published in the journal Nature (on June 27, 2012) reports that almost the entire diet of our very early human ancestors, dating from 2 million years ago, consisted of leaves, fruits, wood, and bark—a diet similar to modern day chimpanzees.”

    This is… 80% of my diet! INCREDIBLE! No seriously; for the longest time I was eating ONLY yams, spinach, cocoa nibs, annd bacon! (whoops!) my bad. I’ll cut out the bacon (I won’t); otherwise I’m on track! To all you readers out there; this combination is totally legit; you’ll poop great and have tons of energy. That’s: Yams, spinach, and cocoa nibs – only now I would have added in mixed berries. You now have my persistent diet for the last 6 months. Enjoy! It’s like a paleo/starchsolution love baby! Dawwww’ :3 ?!

    “Bone marrow or brains of animals were both favorites of pre-civilization…”

    And modern day humans! You should see some of the things Anthony Bourdain eats! I heard he ate a cobra’s heart while it was still beating! Gnarly! Let’s not be hasty on what we call disgusting, these are nice people we are considering here.

    “…artery-clogging saturated fats and cholestero…”

    Isn’t this a Katy Perry song? Blah Blah Blah? No wait, that’s a Ke$ha song! Silly me! (I ? Katy Perry with all my little artery clogged ?’s! :3 :3 :3 OMG).

    “addition of non-starchy fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds…”

    Are incredible for your health and attitude; and your stool! Ever try eating a one-pound bag of mixed berries topped with some chia seeds? Wonders! I could never eat ANYTHING ELSE and survive off of that combination happily.

    “are filthy with disease-causing microbes (including mad cow prions, and E. coli and salmonella bacteria), and contain the highest levels of poisonous environmental chemicals found in the food chain”.

    Read “The Jungle” (Sinclair); watch a few documentaries on how ANY food product is mass-produced in the United States; edible animals (and also humans) are mostly filled with microbes and stuff; by nature all animal life is not filthy as described. By design, the mass-food industry makes them so. People, edible animals, plants alike are all ridden with disease causing microbes and deadly chemicals, because big companies make it so and nobody tries to enforce quality control or reasonable health standards.

    “For most people the dietary ceiling for protein is 200 to 300 grams a day… ”

    I dare anyone to eat that much of any SINGLE macro-nutrient in one day and enjoy it afterwards. You’ll poop your brains out by eating too much of anything. We all know that from experience.

    “A recent report from U.S. Geological Survey estimates that it takes 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to produce the beef used to make one juicy hamburger”.

    I still think bottled water makes this statement pretty unconvincing. Also flushing toilets, showers, lawn sprinklers, ALL of modern agriculture as it stands – meat or produce, are all pretty wasteful. I don’t think beef is the evilest. I’m not necessarily and McDonald’s fan either. It’s that whole industrial food thing again. Get a composting toilet anyways, even if we are doomed to the cows! That’s what you can do for America! Be patriotic.

    “Men and women following diets based on grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables have accomplished most of the great feats in history. The ancient conquerors of Europe and Asia”…

    Butchered and raped their neighbors for hundreds of years! Sounds familiar to the last few centuries. I dare anyone to argue neolithic man is more ‘civilized’ than paleolithic man. I DARE YOU. GOOD LUCK.

    “In other words, if people had remained on a diet of mostly animal foods (assuming our ancestors actually did), we would still be living in the Stone Age”.

    And, so? Paleolithic humans were smart, spiritual, and artistic people.

    They had feelings, played instruments, and painted.

    I don’t care what ancient humans ate.

    Everyone should strive to be as soulful and rich as our ancient ancestors.

    Anything less would be a foolish disregard of our humanity.

    “Which nine should die so that the Paleo people can have their uncivilized way?”

    Well… better start lifting weights and practicing your spear-play and we’ll find out eh? I guarantee I’ll be lifting 500 pounds and sprinting 100 miles faster than most if we start now; on ANY diet! I’ve got the conviction to survive. The ignorant and weak spirited will die; the strong and smart will endure – if that’s what it comes to in the ‘end’.

    1. “Which nine should die so that the Paleo people can have their uncivilized way?”

      “Well… better start lifting weights and practicing your spear-play and we’ll find out eh?”

      love it– big +1 !

  78. It does not take two sentences to tell the bit from Forks over Knives is dishonest. And that’s about it.

  79. “This diet works by starving the human body of carbohydrates in order to induce a state of illness (ketosis), which can result in weight loss. People become too sick to eat too much.”

    I would really like to see one of our so-called sick people kick their sugar-burning asses at, well, pretty much everything.

  80. Here’s the rebuttal: Michael Duncan Clarke is a vegetarian.

    1. Obviously this man hasn’t eaten enough meat, because his brain cells are starving. Reminds me of when I used to be vegan and I would start crying for no reason because I was in a perma-brain fog. Saying that a suggestion that Dr. Cordain made to eat alligator meat is a requirement of paleo is absurd and dishonest. Saying that Dr. Cordain’s statement that the world population would be smaller means we should basically pick out, to murder 10 of our family members so we can have our paleo world is so absurd, and so illogical, I am utterly beyond words. He is mistaking a by product of what could have been as a requirement for the paleo diet. You would have to be an outright moron to do that. I cannot imagine how this person graduated from a four year college, let alone medical school. The future attorney in me would love to eviscerate this article piece by piece but why bother… I have meat to cook, vigorous, healthy little celiac children who are thriving on a paleo diet to take care of, sunshine to soak in, and a life steeped in natural order to LOVE. If you want to kill your brain and your muscles by starving them, go for it. Not me though, and not my babies:)

    1. Nicely spotted. I didn’t click all the links and I missed that one. Interesting!

  81. Simple biochemistry.

    Essential Amino Acids are required for the human body to survive. All of these can be obtained simply from proteins derived from animal meat. You would need to eat a lot more plant food to get the required nutrients than you would need to eat animal based products.

    Essential Fatty Acids are also required. Again, you can obtain these from animal based foods. It would be difficult to find all the required acids through plant food.

    What the body does not require is carbohydrates or sugar. Any of these can be created on an ad hoc basis when the body requires it.

    YOU DO NOT NEED VEGETABLES OR FRUIT. All of your nutritional requirements can be derived from a meat based diet. You cannot however, derive all of your nutrition from a plant based diet. If you tried you will succumb to disease and die.

  82. Many dog breeds are “baby sitters.” They protect family members from other people.

    When raised from puppyhood, the problem with Pit Bulls isn’t the danger to your children, it’s the danger to every other child who comes into your home.

  83. After all the Geiko commercials, you’d think people’d stop underestimating cavemen.

  84. McDougall leans on unjustified claims like ‘ketosis (state of illness)’, ‘artery clogging saturated fats and cholesterol’ and ‘disease causing meats’. He also comes to the ridiculous conclusion that we can’t really practice paleo without cannibalism.

    If this is the output of one of the vegan movement’s finest minds, there should be no lingering doubt as to which diet is better for the brain.

    With people like Art De Vany and Nassim Taleb on our side, there’s no need to argue against the likes of John McDougall and T Colin Campbell. The argument is long over and we won.

  85. For a guy who probably has tubors growing out of his ears, he’s sure full of a lot of bull.

  86. If the paleo diet is such a repulsive nutritional nightmare, why are the results so damm attractive?

  87. A wide variety of plants and animals for our ancestors: $0

    Optimal health and weight: $0

    plenty of play and sunshine: $0

    A vibrant primal life: priceless

    There are some thing a primal life can’t improve (doctor salaries), for everything else, there’s the starch diet.

    I’m so ashamed of my unhealthy, savage ancestors for living in their dirty tribes, telling stories instead of tweeting, and respecting a lush, vibrant earth. If only they had known back then how planting a few grains and potatoes would lead to overpopulation, global pollution and a pharmaceutical industry…we all might not have been born and had to suffer through that idiotic article.

  88. And, Mark…
    seriously, thank you for posting that pit bull article. My best friend would give you a high five if you were here with us. (yeah, my dog gives high fives.)

  89. I now have the proof I need – low carb diets will cause you to eat your children.

  90. This is the usual fanatical response when beliefs are challenged, an emotional response with specially selected information to bolster their arguments.

    The difference is we (the MDA community) like to experiment and try new things, if they work great, if they don’t, change it.

    I think the way we need to settle this is not via argument but by an experiment.

    How about this:

    10 ForksOverKnives readers and 10 MDA readers get their cholesterol, fat and various other levels tested. They then follow the others recommended diet (getting a veggie to eat meat would be difficult but they want to prove they are right don’t they?) for 6 weeks then get re-tested.


    1. That’s too small a sample size to get a good statistical analysis. We’ve got enough on both sides to get at least a couple hundred people from each camp in on it. That would be enough to account for variables like vegans vs vegetarians, dairy vs nondairy, activity levels, et cetera without totally skewing the results.

      1. I agree, but my point is that they approach vegetablism (as I like to call it) as a religious cult, whereas paleo /primal comes from scientific research into cause and effect.

  91. Such a poorly researched, uncited article is hardly even worthy of response, IMHO.
    Results show more than any internet arguing ever will. People that are looking for long-lasting answers, and that are willing to follow the results, will find us. We don’t need to run around trying to prove ourselves to people who make broad assertions without citing sources, mostly likely in the attempt to sell their books on low fat eating.

  92. I think what the Forks Over Knives people are missing is that Paleo doesn’t force me to eat organs, skip veggies etc… But holy hell do I *want* to eat organ meat, it’s delicious! And I don’t skip veggies, I eat my greens like its going out of style, I have a garden full of kale, broccoli, leaf lettuce etc…

    It would be unreasonable for anyone to follow any diet 100% of the time, and the assertions that the author makes are wild, for instance I have never experienced:
    “Furthermore, according to Dr. Cordain, a diet very high in animal protein foods would cause a person to become seriously ill with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually death from protein toxicity”

    Any person – well any rational person – who experienced that would quit the diet in a heartbeat. But none of us have quit the diet because none of us have had that experience. Fat is delicious, protein is delicious, I actually eat less now than I ever did!

    Finally I went Paleo because I’m a Celiac – actually my full diagnosis is non-responsive celiac with IBD and since going Paleo, for the first time in my entire life, I’m actually losing weight (60 lbs so far) and putting on muscle.

    I’m also a lot less cranky, my joints aren’t always on fire, the bathroom isn’t a dreaded cauldron of hatred and I’m generally better.

    I think the author of Forks over knives needs to try Paleo for at least 6 months before passing that kind of judgement.

  93. BTW – Rabbit Starvation is caused by eating lean meat – which is generally tasteless – not fatty meat – which tastes like heaven.

  94. I would bash the primal diet too if my book was called ‘The Starch Solution’.

    Besides he went to Michigan State.

  95. “For most of us the thought of eating bone marrow and brains is repulsive.”

    Stopped reading here, clearly the author has never had goat marrow.

  96. McDougall, is that the name of a comic-book character? I cannot believe he is a real person (let alone doctor).

  97. McDougall went boasting,
    in an internet posting,
    and said paleo’s uncivilized.

    To the heart it is brutal,
    and contesting it’s futile,
    when meat is so grotesquely prized.

    But just like some ramen,
    his comments were straw men,
    with little nutritional clout

    When we peel back the curtain,
    see his vegan friends lurkin’,
    we understand what he’s truly about.


  98. Contrary to popular thought, the high infant mortality rate of the Paleolithic period was not due to stress or environmental factors, rather, it was due to the anthropological truth that children are, in fact, tasty.

  99. The first thing that went through my mind reading McDougall’s article (besides laughter) was recalling Survivor season 1 … didn’t they end up eating rat? Because they were hungry and to be honest, anyone that’s dropped on a deserted island is going to first search out food sources and at some point are going to make spears to hunt things.

  100. His (John McDougall) knowledge of agriculture is just as bad.

    Industrial livestock methods use grain as the main feedstock. The modern production of grain is dependant on modern fertilisers. Modern fertilisers are derived from methane. In the process of making fertilizer large quantities of CO2 is produced. Modern fertiliser run off into the water systems creates quite unpleasant results (toxic algae blooms for one)

    The raising of grass feed beef (or any other naturally raised animals) does not require the need of external fertilizers and therefore is carbon neutral.

    Further, cows feed on good quality pasture with a mix of different grasses and plants produce significantly less methane than cows feed a modern grain diet. Recent research has found that our friend omega-3 (in grass) inhibits methane production in ruminants.

    Oh, and animal poop is a fantastic fertiliser.

  101. I’ll take happy, healthy and fit any day over a civilized SAD diet.
    I was a vegetarian for ten plus years in good health and spirits, and definately on the forks over knives bandwagon. I then switched to a paleo diet to support the misses in her weight loss after our 2nd child. Surprise, surprise I became much healhier with in two weeks of stopping eating grains and was shocked at how much better my back/legs /and hips felt after eliminating grains and sugar for only two weeks (I feel like I have found religon, where I am trying to spread the gospel of how much better it is without grains and sugar in your diet).
    Twice a year fast for a week (for about 10 years now) and did not see any difference like this. I have literally rolled back my athletic clock by about 10 years in how my legs/back/hips feel and act in the mornings and thru the day. I will never go back to eating grains and sugar on a regular basis again, because my body just did not like it.
    P.S. I put happy, healthy and fit, with fit last, because happy and healthy come first, but being fit is fun. I droped about 7 pounds after about two months being paleo and look fantastic. If I had known about being paleo when I was young (up thru my mid thirties) and athletically competitive it would have made a big difference in my performance and injuries.

    Looking forward to passing paleo on to my 2 boys, and maybe a little girl and watching them run with it,

    Thank you paleo.

  102. A friend of my mom actually forwarded this to me. The part that made the the most mad was about the Eskimos. Two issues with that; the link that was provided doesn’t result in ANY useful info. and I have already seen a video about these two guys who basically proved Eskimos eating a traditional diet were in fact extremely healthy, and that the Eskimos shopping at the market were the ones who have actually started having health problems.

  103. This was my rebuttal to a friend who posted the article on Facebook, saying “Don’t fall for all these fad diets people”:

    “Consider that the writer is not an unbiased source, however–he, too, has a method to sell–books, 10-day residential program. etc.”

    “And unfortunately, Dr. McDougall doesn’t seem to consider that just because ‘the Agriculture Revolution, with the efficient production of grains, legumes, and potatoes–the very foods forbidden by the Paleo diet–allowed us to become civilized”, it doesn’t automatically counter-indicate that this “revolution” occured because it was the most biologically beneficial way. We shifted our attention elsewhere once we no longer had to make a lifestyle following our food (both plants and animals)… in the same vain of convenience and very closed related to our technological revolution, we now have bags of artificial food that can last on a store shelf for years; simply noting that it has happened doesn’t mean it was optimal!”

    I also sent the friend a link to this website, shared the Primal Blueprint book with him, and recounted how my own experience with Paleo/Primal eating has dramatically changed my health. [I am anemic and have had a lifelong history of extremely bothersome seaonsal allergies, both of which DRASTICALLY changed for the better when I re-tooled my diet and lifestyle.] Additionally, I used supplemental materials regarding carbohydrate intolerance written by Dr. Phil Maffetone to reinforce that our grain-based diet was not constructed on the parameters of having better health and well-being. It is worth noting that he has since visited the website, is in the process of reading the book, AND has even come as far as accepting some help transitioning into minimalist-style footwear for running/exercise and is considering a makeover for his heavy-lifting/too-many-cardio-miles workouts!

  104. As an ex-vegan: There’s a little too much in common between the paleo diet and the vegan diet to really start throwing dirt like this.

    Lots of fresh veggies at every meal is not an earth-shattering proposition. It’s also the primary reason the people in Forks Over Knives lost weight. They – like many Primal eaters making the shift – didn’t get enough of the good stuff before. Mudslinging over the differences between two lifestyles that get people to eat their veg is ridiculous! Especially since both camps tend to get defensive about their choices…

  105. “Children were not off the menu. And we are supposed to eat the favorite meats of our uncivilized, pre-Agriculture Revolution, hunter-gather, ancestors?” I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought, “Wow, those kids are starting to look pretty delicious,” after being an uncivilized, hunter-gatherer for the last 2 years. Really?

  106. Rebuttal:

    And now let’s hear from an unbiased source without an axe to grind.

    “John McDougall, MD…is co-author of The Starch Solution…”

  107. The guy sites an article that does not corroborate his argument. Strange.

    The longest living populations on planet Earth today live on starch-based (low-animal food) diets. These include people from Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, who live in what are called the “Blue Zones.” The link then goes to this article:


    1. I pointed this out in a reply that quickly got deleted. Most people who live in so called “Blue Zones” do eat meat (except Adventists) and their success can be largely attributed to the fact that so much of what they eat is unprocessed.

      My favorite part of the article was when he compared Inuits TO ANOTHER HUNTER GATHERER society. What wonderful logic!

    2. The longest surviving population, however, was prehistoric as far as we can gather with a primitive lifestyle and diet that included flesh. No tractors or factories full of robots back then.

  108. The funny thing is… if you look at the testimonial page, there are only three “success” stories, which don’t even seem that impressive.

  109. I have two pitbulls. Best dogs I’ve ever had. Last year when my son was three he had a chest infection and just laid on the couch or in bed for three days. My pitbulls stayed right by him the whole time, one of them wouldn’t even leave his side to eat. Laid practically right on top of him literally the entire time. Have lots of pictures of that lol. Plus their personalities are like little kids lol. Gotta love em!

    1. Cute. Animals are kind of like cushions. I’ve woken with one of my cats lying on my chest and it was very comfortable, though one time when I was sleeping on my back on a couch with it sleeping on my chest another cat knocked something over, causing a loud noise, awakening me and the cat on me and causing it to dig its claws into my chest and spring onto the back of the couch in a reflexive motion.
      A few times, moving obliviously out of habit, I’ve begun to sit on cats.

  110. Well perhaps it is the way they are being bred now…. but there is no denying how dangerous pitbulls can be. I have seen too many court cases and other reports of attacks by them on people as well as other dogs

    1. Well, they were traditionally bred to be very docile toward humans. They were once even nicknamed the “nanny dog” because they were and are so good with children. Remember the dog who was the mascot of Our Gang? It was a pit. Helen Keller’s dogs were pits. They got the bad rap from people who were messing up the originally breeding and reversing the docile nature toward humans to an agressive, attack animal. But most pits are lovebugs, like our precious Mocha Sugar!

      1. How you treat a pet affects its behaviour. Don’t try to pwn it. Act as if you are its servant.

  111. My reply is short but sweet..
    “You believe what you want, we’ll believe what we want. Go ahead and stick to your rice cakes and test-tube cheese-like products. More grass-fed beef for us!”

  112. I am appalled by Dr. McDougall’s poor writing style.
    It’s difficult to take this guy seriously when he’s not able to convey his ideas concisely. Mark’s blog is a whole different story.

    1. Agreed. His article was disjointed and severely lacking in evidence. Also he seems to have removed the comments section…

  113. Apparently 80% of long term vegans are deficient in b12 which is needed for proper mental function. Perhaps this has effected the Doctors reasoning abilities.
    B12 deficiency causes dementia, cognitive impairment, depression, and degenerative mental disorders


    1. I think it’s more nefarious than simple B12 deficiency. Go to greenmedinfo.com; there’s an article written by Sanyo Ji called “The dark side of wheat” which gives some pretty specific info on the narcotic properties of wheat gliadin. Points out that giving and withholding of wheat rations to Roman soldiers may be a surreptitious effort to control human behavior.
      One wonders if the good doctor is trying to control folks or just dipping a little too heavily into his own starch stash!

  114. That John McDougall is a sly one indeed! Here I thought that he was trying to discredit Primal eaters altogether. But! In fact, it was well hidden fist bump of approval in the form of a well placed comment!

    Near the end of his article he made the joyous proclamation that “Every person that Paleo gurus convince to follow an animal food-based diet brings us one more step closer to the end of the world, as we know it.”

    You know, the world where two thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese? Where 40 percent of men over the age of fifty have prostate cancer? Where the same percentage of women over that age have breast cancer?

    The end of the world, where heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s are all out of control!

    The end of the world, where children are so sick they are not expected to live as long as their parents and average life expectancy is expected to decrease!

    The end of the fat, sick, out of shape, UNHEALTHY world!!!

    Happy dance much? I think so!

    Read the article again all you lean, angry, well fed folks! And see for yourselves.

    Well played, McDougall! Well played!

    1. Where are you getting the stat that 40% over women over 50 develop breast cancer?

  115. In John McDougall’s write up he cites “Eskimos” as his reasoning for believing that Paleo is bad for your heart. (1) No one calls them “Eskimos”, most Inuit I met will punch you in the nose if you call them an “Eskimo” (Source: Lived in Inuit Communities for 2.5years in Canada’s North). (2) Inuit have health problems for a whole slew of reasons, including lack of access to appropriate healthcare, cultural stigmas, but most of all I would say the introduction of S.A.D. foods to their diet. Most people in the North eat much, much more processed and prepackaged foods then traditional nowadays. From my experience up there (again, 2.5years living in the communities), I would say the average diet is perhaps 40% game meat/60% prepackaged burgers/fries/dorritos/coke.

    (For anecdotal evidence I present the story of a Native friend, he believed that the prepackaged cheeseburgers you purchase at the store and then microwave, while still in the plastic wrap mind you, was a healthier option then to the rest of his diet. (rest of the diet was as mentioned above, pizza, pop, caribou, etc))

  116. I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.